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 blood 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

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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 versus 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, ultimately, 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.

i’m not sure what a ‘critical stage in a high school career is’, but unless it’s exam time, i reckon there’s no time that is going to be a ‘good’ time. conflict is an inevitable part of relationships; divorce is always going to be disruptive; neither have to be thoroughly awful experiences.

you’re also 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 to broach this suspicion and/or reality. and then it could involve separation – either legally or by agreement.

Although it is not easy to get your head it 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 (incidentally i don’t think her ‘breasts continually falling out of her tops’ is a good reason for suspicion). you could even ask her outright.

Go for a blood test and, until he is ready to seek counselling with you, don’t have sex with your husband. if he refuses counselling, 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
dot