My husband found a message and a voice memo and learned everything

Visitor's Question from a 41-50 year old Female
I am madly in love with my husband... the biggest problem with our marriage was always (and is still) his anger issues. I can live with that. But I strayed... not for anything more than the fact that it was pretty daring. I wasn't attracted to the guy... didn't enjoy being with him... couldn't wait to get it over with. What was it all worth? The attention??? My husband gives me more attention than any woman could ever ask for. Well... my husband ended up getting a couple messages from my cell phone. The two times in my entire life that I ever had any kind of relationship with any other men (the last was 9 years ago and I had a very caring relationship with a man on the phone -- my husband considered that an affair, too, which makes him believe I've done this twice now). The situation at home was different last time... my husband was drinking all the time and miserable. I needed somebody to talk to... this time, I didn't need it. I was just plain stupid. So, my husband found a message and a voice memo and learned everything that he ever needed to know. We spent the entire first week after he found out battling each other. We yelled and cried and had sex and made passionate love... we drank, we went out (something that I wish my husband would have done with me more often since it's like pulling teeth to get him out of the house). I know it's going to take time, but my husband spends each and every day badgering me over this. I keep telling him that I'm going to stick it out... I don't want to lose the one man in my life that I truly love. My husband tells me that I don't know how to love, and if I truly loved him, I wouldn't have done this. There wasn't one minute of any day that my husband wasn't on my mind. Even when I was with this other guy, I was fantasizing about my husband... I had to... this guy totally didn't turn me on at all. I've let down my husband and broken his heart... I've disappointed my children (two of whom went through this very situation 18 years ago when their father did it to me). I went through it with my parents... went through it with my ex-husband. My husband would NEVER do this to me, and I will NEVER do it again as long as I live. I have the best thing that I could ever ask for and I don't want to lose it. My husband absolutely does NOT believe in therapy and refuses to go to marriage counseling. He doesn't believe in my going for individual counseling either. What in the world do I do to make things better at home? I know it's going to take him years to ever trust me... if he ever does (he has never truly trusted me, although now he claims that he did -- I never knew that because he was always accusing me of having boyfriends and being unfaithful -- sometimes I used to think that some day I might as well do it since he's always accusing me). The only explanation for why I did it with this man was because I felt terribly sorry for him. He's much older, got divorced, had girlfriend problems... I wanted to be there for him, although I managed to be there for him for a long time without making that ultimate move to make it more intimate. I so felt sorry for him, and now I regret every single phone conversation I ever had with him... please... if you have any advice on how I can make things even a hint better at home, I'm reaching out for anything. My husband is in the mindset now that he has to go and find somebody else. He wants to get on line and chat with women who have found their husbands having affairs. Last week he went to a bar to pick up girls. I STUPIDLY dug out the dress I was wearing 15 years ago when we met, put it on, dressed up (as well as I could after a week of crying), and went over there. If my husband is going to pick up a woman, I was so hoping it would be me. When I left the bar, he told me he didn't know if he was going to go out further or come home. I had to get home -- first, I had to be able to drive, and second, I was exhausted from all the crying I was doing and lack of sleep I was getting. Well... he ended up leaving the bar, stopping for food and came home. The other night he made love to me like he's never made love to me before... then yesterday he badgered me all day about where I was when I was at the Xerox machine at work, etc. Anyway, sorry to keep rambling... I love my husband so very much... I'm so sorry... I know that telling you I'm sorry doesn't help matters with my husband, but I've said it all to him. Then he questions me and finds fault with everything I say. Please... any advice you have would be more than welcome. I wish he had friends to talk to... or somebody... anybody.

Thank you so much. Advice
Your husband has ruled out the best and most obvious advice... see a marriage counselor.

You said you wished he had someone to talk with. It appears that you are going to have to be that person. This means you need to continue to bear the brunt of his unhappiness and at the same time try to slowly and gently encourage him when he is making peaceful signs. Think of him as a wounded animal who is still in pain. Everything you do nice for him will be recorded and felt.

Fortunately it seems you two are not going to split up over this. It is the unpleasantness that has to be dealt with. Like every wound this one will take time and care to heal... and even after it heals twinges may still reoccur years after. Don't expect miracles and be happy for small advances.

Good luck! George

-- from George
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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