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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Husband Has a Girlfriend, Should I Tell Him I Know?

March 8, 2020

Dear Stavroula,

I have been married for 17 years to a man I adore. We have a teenage daughter and two younger twin boys. My husband is very well off financially and owns his own business while I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom years ago. I recently discovered by accident (and without him knowing) that he has a girlfriend who works for him. I was in shock, I never suspected anything. The only suspicious thing I should have noticed is that his business travel has increased in recent years. But again how was I to know, when I have a husband who cares about me, is affectionate towards me, and tells me how lucky we are to be together! I find myself in a frightening situation. I chose not to tell him anything until I decided what I wanted to do. On the one hand I do not want to divorce because this will also affect the lives of our children. On the other hand, I feel angry every time I see him getting ready to go to work, grooming himself for another woman. I don’t know what to do to get through this, is it best to talk to him?

Demetra

 

Dear Demetra,

There are many and different reasons why men are unfaithful, even when they seem to have happy marriages. It may be because they lack something, for example they are no longer satisfied with their sex life, or because they have been in a relationship for a long time and feel excited when someone new comes into their life. In fact, when they are at the age of needing self-confirmation, they are easy to find in an extramarital affair, while simply intending to flirt “innocently” with someone in the workplace.

Usually in such cases a man does not easily decide to leave his family, especially if his home is a place in which he feels safe and at ease. And as long as his wife is unaware of infidelity, chances are that he will continue to feel that way.

But when the wife finds out, as in your case, things get tricky.

If you talk to your husband, without making it clear if you want to stay in that relationship, and without managing your anger or frustration, there may be intense conflict that will affect your family. The man may feel pressured to make a hasty decision and in this case your home ceases to be the place for him to feel safe. It becomes a field of tension, accusations, and conflict. And that won’t help you if you want to keep your family together.

If you get stuck again without managing what you are feeling right now, swallowing your bitterness, you may end up isolated, ruining all the beautiful feelings you feel for your husband, and leaving you trapped in a relationship that has lost its meaning for you. Even if you save your marriage in this case, there are no guarantees for the future.

The first thing you need to do is to redefine yourself in your relationship. What do you think led your husband to infidelity? Can the cause be overcome? What are your feelings for this man? Could you forgive him and move your relationship through a process that will bring you closer? This internal process will help you understand what is best for you, what attitude to take.

It would be good to reach out to a specialist, perhaps a marriage counselor who could help you understand and manage the strong emotions you are feeling. Then if you decide with your husband to solve the problem it would be good to consult with him as well.

What can ultimately benefit these cases is the patience and willingness to overcome the crisis. Each person on their own in the relationship needs to work hard even without a guarantee of what will happen in the future. But the sure thing is that through this whole process new perspectives are opened for both of you as a couple or individually.

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