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Family Forum – Thought of affair is agonising

I am almost certain my husband is having an affair and I suspect it has been going on for some time. Read on…

Question:

I often plan to confront him about it and then lose confidence. I am frightened that once it is exposed he will leave and I will be left to look after our teenage children alone. Also I want to avoid having to sell the house to divide the money equally, which I believe is what happens in most divorces. I don’t imagine I will be able to buy a decent place to live with only half of the value of our current house to spend. I am miserable and confused, and too embarrassed to talk to a counsellor or even to discuss this with friends and family. I am hoping and praying the affair will run its course and we will be get back to normal. I cry a lot, I don’t know what I have done to deserve this. I have also found myself fantasising that my husband may get cancer and that will solve the situation. Am I going mad?

Answer:

You are living with a great deal of uncertainty and fear. Consider the cost to your mental and emotional health and wellbeing of remaining in limbo.

The looming crisis may seem overwhelming but you cannot answer all questions or solve all problems in advance. There will be people who can help you through the process of separation, should this take place. For now, try to deal with what is in front of you, taking one step at a time and reviewing your situation as you go.

There are two main options: either accept the probability that this affair is taking place, attempt to live with it and improve things as much as you can, or speak with your husband directly about your suspicions. What have you discovered, or noticed has changed about his behaviour?

Check any reasons provided for changes in behaviour or unexplained events. This conversation may reveal important issues that you need to approach as a couple such as sexual difficulties, withdrawal of affection, or mental health issues. Avoid making assumptions.

It is easy to take changes in a partner’s behaviour very personally and even respond in kind by becoming distant. The panel suggests that whatever you decide, approach your partner and try to connect, it will be important to the future no matter what happens. Also, try to ask open questions so you do not do all the talking, as you may come away feeling frustrated that your questions have not been answered. A counsellor may help, particularly where there is distance or a disconnect emerging. You may be experiencing grief in anticipation of the turmoil and losses you believe are to come, so it could be good to speak to someone confidentially and focus on yourself right now. Revenge fantasies are a normal part of a grief response and perfectly fine, as long as your behaviour is kept in check (i.e. no law breaking or harm to self or others).

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