Ask Dot :: He is cheating

Hi Dot,

My husband of 17 years came home and said he was involved in a road rage incident, prompting him to get a blood test done. This is after I saw the mark on his arm where blood was taken. Blood test account was emailed to me for payment (am main member of med aid), he was tested for HIV, gonorrhea, syphilys and chlamydia. I confronted him and he got on the offensive, accusing me of not trusting him when he told me why he’d had the blood test done, he can’t say why the doctor ordered the other tests.

I don’t believe him and I’m pretty sure who he had unprotected sex with, an acquaintance who shares a lift club with me and pretends to be my friend. I don’t have proof, but lots of subtle hints on her bbm statuses. May or may not be aimed at me, but, hey, after this I have a right to be suspicious. Someone whose breasts are continually falling out of her tops, even at school. She also went for a bood test just before my husband went.

I am in no position to divorce, we are financially very strained at the moment and only have one car, neither of us can afford to move out. There are other issues involved but I am sucking it up and pretending to believe him in order for my kids’ life to remain relatively normal. My son is at a critical stage in his high school career and doesn’t need his life falling apart. They don’t know about any of this and I’ve decided that for now, while we are financially strained, I am going to carry on as normal.

Things might be looking up financially and, once we’re back on our feet, I am not going to live like this. I am very concerned about stds because he has had unprotected sex with me before the account arrived in my mail box. He is probably expecting it again because I so-called believe him. It’s an issue I will have to work out.

Carrying On As Normal


Dear Coan

I think you know 100% what is going on and by denying your instincts by ‘carrying on as normal’ you’re only going to be hurting yourself further. I’m not going to focus on whether or not your husband is cheating or how he’s choosing to do so and with whom. frankly, if he’s not going to be honest with you, all you have to work with is you. so let’s look at that.

you’re making it a choice between honesty and divorce, and living a lie and staying married. and you’re choosing the latter based on two things: kids and money. so what i’m hearing is that you’ll stay resentful, lied to, being made a fool of and victimised because you want the best for your children and because it’s safer financially.

so indirectly you’re making your children responsible for your happiness and the course your marriage takes. that is unfair to them and patronising if you think your kid in high school has no idea something is up. by not living honestly you are showing him that this is how conflict is managed: stick your head in the sand and don’t rock the boat to keep everyone else happy. also, you’re waiting for a day that might never come – the day you feel financially safe enough to divorce your husband.

this is a big thing that is happening to you now, but it is not something you can put off facing until some better day when your kid is ok and you have enough money. your reality has already changed and life, as you think you’re protecting your kid from, is already falling apart for you. pretending this is not the case for just a little bit longer is not going to make it change back or get better or keep you physically healthy.

saying that. you need to take as much time as you need to look at your options before you start diving off into the deep end with divorce. these could involve couples counselling (if you’re with a church you trust you could look there for a resource) or separation — either legally or by agreement. Although it is not easy to get your head around at first, I know couples who have separated or divorced but have stayed living in the same house (separate rooms though) due to financial constraints. This would come with an incredibly strict set of rules to begin with, but it can be done.

if i were you i would find someone close, someone i trust, to confide in. I would find a way of having as little as possible to do with your girlfriend who you think is sleeping with your husband. I would go for a blood test and no longer have sex with my husband unprotected. or, have no sex with him at all. i would move towards legal separation.

but that is me. and that is based on experience from a kid’s perspective over two divorces. an unhappy, resentful or loveless home is no place to grow up in.

good luck

(dudes, if you’re going to comment, please don’t be a trolling douchebag. i will smite you.)


  1. As a child of divorced parents who should have gotten divorced loooong before they eventually did, I completely agree with Dot’s response. I survived the divorce (I was 16 at the time) quite easily.. a hell of a lot more easily than surviving living with unhappily married parents and KNOWING they were only together for my & my sisters’ sakes.

    Affairs are, however, very complicated. I highly recommend reading the book “Sex at Dawn” to understand SOME of the potential reasons for affairs. Affairs are also not the end-all of relationships – with counselling and commitment to be honest, you can get through it. You just have to determine if the will to get through it is there. And that is actually the hardest part – because society has told the cheater that they must lie, hide, be ashamed etc so they will not easily immediately open up – they will be scared of your reaction and this influences the level of honesty. Good luck.

    April 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm
  2. Hi Dot,
    You always seem to help out the ladies, but as a guy, I need your input!
    I’m a 30yr guy, separated from my wife at the moment. We met when we were young, together for 7years, married for 3yrs. 6 months ago she cheated on me. Then lied about it, slept with the guy a few more times, lied again. Carried on lying throughout but I always managed to find out.
    Everything she says is about how much she loves me (we hardly had any major fights) and how much she wants to spend her life with me and have kids BUT every action revolves around the complete opposite, she just keeps fucking up.
    I’m battling, she was the woman of my dreams and now she makes me more unhappy than ever before.
    She still messages me, says she misses me. I’ve started to ignore her now.
    So all I want is for someone to say, you’re crazy to stick around, leave!
    I just feel like it’s always the nice guys who finish last? I have always treated her like a queen, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her, friends and family said we were perfect. Now i’m like, what the hell must I do, I try do everything right and it blows up in my face, should I just try becoming more of an asshole?
    Blah, writing it all down just makes the answer seem more visible!
    Thanks for the blog, keep up the hard work!

    April 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm
  3. I really hope those two replies (which are great), really encourage you to make the changes necessary for a healthier emotional life for all involved. Good luck!

    April 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm
  4. Thanks for your reply to Dot’s comment, I have a lot to think about with both your comments, I did know as I wrote my story that it wasn’t going to work by carrying on as normal, no matter that I was determined to do it. I realise I’ll be hurting my kids and making them responsible for me letting myself be made a victim and a fool. I don’t ever want my daughter to think that it is ok to let yourself be used like that or my son to think that actions have no consequences. I appreciate both of you taking the time to open a complete strangers eyes. I am sorry for what you and your son went through when he was in matric, that is hard for anyone to cope with. You have a good weekend.

    April 13, 2012 at 9:34 am
  5. Excellent reply Dot. To support your advice (a) my sister stayed in an abusive relationship until the kids had finished school to “give them stabiltiy” All it taught them was how to have a dysfucntional relationship with their own partners and (b) my son was in matric when I was hijacked and my company went insolvent, not only did he survive the turmoil he did prettty well. Get out of that situation now Coan, before you end up with HIV

    April 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Leave a Comment