Sex and the City: Disloyal ‘New daddy’

I found out that my husband was having a sexual affair throughout my pregnancy with a married lady from our social group, just a day before I delivered. His credit card bills, Whatsapp chats, hotel and limousine bookings are all the evidence I have coupled with the testimony of the husband of the married woman that his wife has been cheating on him with my husband. There is no longer any denial from my husband, though it took a while to get him to accept it. He profusely apologises and cries, but on my part, I just can’t trust him. I feel deeply betrayed and feel he has ruined the most beautiful part of a couple’s life i.e. sharing the birth of a child. I feel depressed and can’t bring myself to forgive him. I also feel guilty as my depression does not allow me to enjoy and be there fully for my child. How do I move forward?

You have collected a fair bit of evidence to prove that your husband’s been having an affair. A solid step. You know that he repents for what he has done. An important development. He is been morally cornered and now the ball is in your court. The next steps that you take will be crucial both for you and your husband. Do you wish to let a sword dangle over his head for what he did to you and your marriage? Are you keen on moving on and embarking on a path of forgiveness – a path chosen by so many great men and women from the world of religion and spirituality? Either of these options lead to very different paths for you.

Now all this talk of forgiveness can sound impractical and theoretical and that’s because a lot of people try and directly jump to the forgiveness stage without first letting the pain fully settle. One does not treat a wound without first disinfecting it. Forgiveness is that it requires time and courage. One can’t be bullied to forgive someone or else that forgiveness feels superficial and inauthentic. Forgiveness is a way of signal to ourselves that we are ready to move on and work towards a happier future. Being happy requires us to make certain decisions that support happiness.

Happiness isn’t a goal as much as it’s a process. A process that involves feeling deep empathy while also being clear and assertive with circumstances. Despite your life’s painful moments – you have the freedom and the right to work towards your personal goals of happiness. Only you can do this. It would be completely understandable if you are not quite ready to trust your husband again after you have discovered his affair. Clearly, trust must be earned and negotiated for and that takes time. Time which you can choose to carefully allocate to your husband so that he may prove to you in concrete and measurable ways that he truly feels repentant for what he has done.

The intervention services of a trained counsellor may help teach your husband to structure and word his apology accordingly if that’s what you are keen on. Let’s look at some facts now. If you hold on to your resentments, the worrying will affect your mood and productivity. This could be a problem. These changes in your intra-personal mind-body-space will no doubt have an adverse effect on your child. Children are very perceptive of their parents’ moods but often don’t understand the finer nuances of what ticks their parents off. Arbitrary rules get made up by children due to a lack of experience which often becomes an emotional prison.

A child’s journey is defined by several emotional decisions made by a parent. If a child sees his mother being cold, dry, withdrawn, disinterested, forlorn and generally looking lost and resentful, the child may grow up wondering how it all went so wrong. It’s not uncommon for children to migrate towards the following mindsets.

Here are some examples – Resentment of parents for not being there for him/her, Resistance shown towards parents every time the parents tries to come close to him/her, blaming parents for ruining his/her childhood, trying to constantly please parents by turning into a ‘perennial rescuer’ and setting oneself up for a lifetime of being exploited and taken for granted by the world, making the most of the fact that the parents are emotionally preoccupied with themselves – by engaging in ill-informed and high risk behaviour just because he/she can without a parents’ vigil.

It is important for you to fully understand that moving on towards a reconciliation or towards an annulment of the relationship will not only have far reaching consequences in your life but in your child’s life too. Our emotions often make it difficult for us be practical. You are hurt and that means you are emotional about this situation. This is understandable.

Perhaps a visit to a relationship counsellor with your husband will help with the processing of all latent feelings. It will also help you will find the right words to navigate towards a happier situation for the both of you. Be clear with your inner truth and the rest will follow once you decide on a plan you would like to work towards.

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