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Ask Athena: I Just Got Caught Cheating on My Husband


Published August 30, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated September 12, 2017 at 9:58 a.m.

Dear Athena,

My husband lost his job last year and was out of work for 10 months. During that time, he was really depressed, and everything in our house fell to me. I was responsible for our kids, our finances, cleaning ... He was useless. Then he got a job working out of town a lot. He is away for work at least once or twice a month.

I just got caught cheating with someone else. It never got physical — it was all texting and phone calls — but he caught me, and he's so mad. I don't know what to do.

We love each other. We have been married for 12 years. We have awesome kids, but I just feel lost and don't know how to make him forgive me and move on. I do want to make it work. I don't want to be with the other guy. He has to leave for work on a long trip, and I'm scared he won't come back. He won't stop asking me about this guy and is very angry and confused. I have nothing else to tell. I'm sorry, and I'll never do it again. What now?


Mrs. Cheated on My Man

Dear Mrs. Cheated,

It sucks that you're in this mess. I'd love to tell you that the end is in sight, but things will probably be hard before they get better. It sounds like your emotional cheating is indicative of greater issues that you two have struggled with for a while.

You mentioned your husband's depression. That must have been tough — for both of you. Depression is no joke, and it can affect entire families. It sounds like you were burdened with more than you could handle; yet, even though you felt abandoned, you stuck by him when he needed you. In sickness and in health, right?

Still, when your partner needs a lot of help, it often means you do, too. In this case, he got better, and you reached out to someone else to get what you needed. It's as if you were cashing in on all the sick leave you never took. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way, and he has every right to feel betrayed.

It's clear you feel horrible and wish you could take it all back. But you can't expect him to just accept that right away. What can you do? Reassure him of your commitment and ask him to see a marriage counselor with you. Both of you need to rebuild the trust that has been lost. Marriage is a big commitment, and it sometimes means forging through bad times to find the good again. If you're sincere, I believe you can do it.