He Cheated, She Feels Guilty For Leaving. Seriously?!

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By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

Here are are the bullet points of this reader’s situation: She was married for 20 years when she found out her husband had two affairs: first he cheated with a good friend of hers, then with one of their neighbors. She forgave him and thought they had moved on. Three years later, (which was recently), she found out he had another affair, this time with an old girlfriend, who the woman says saw sexting him and sending him porn. Now she is leaving her husband, and she feels guilty for leaving.


The husband, who the readers describes as “good-looking, hardworking, very generous, supportive, and amazing in so many ways,” wants to work on the marriage and stay together.


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The reader says she doesn’t think she can ever get back the love for him or the desire to be with him sexually, but that he is now “fully committed” and wants her back very badly.


Again, she says she feels guilty for leaving and is afraid of making a mistake.


“Does anyone think I should still try working on this?” she asks.


My gut reaction is that I am furious with the husband. I am beyond angry with this selfish, cheating, manipulative person who makes promises and commitments—repeatedly, to the woman he committed to, and then can’t keep them.


Let me back up and first say, I am honestly someone who thinks that when someone has an affair, it doesn’t mean the end of a marriage. I truly believe that some marriages can be saved after cheating, and many can even become stronger and better.


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That said, I feel like this is different. This man has shown he cannot be faithful time and time and time again. These three cheating episodes are only three that the woman knows about. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more.


Let’s talk about the wife. I don’t want to judge her because I don’t have all the facts and I think someone’s decision to leave or stay after cheating is a personal decision that should never be judged by anyone. Everyone has his or her own reasons for doing what they do in relationships.


So, for whatever reasons, she took him back three years ago. But now, I have immense respect for her decision to leave. Leaving takes courage. It’s scary as hell. You have no idea what’s ahead for you.


But here’s where I have issues with her. First, she describes him as “supportive and amazing in so many ways.” Hmmm…. Supportive? What is he supporting? If it’s financial, or if he supports her in her career, that’s good, but he’s not supporting her need to feel loved and cherished and appreciated and monogamous. He’s disrespecting her and the marriage by taking his clothes off with other women behind her back, by sexting and sending and receiving porn. Also, amazing is not a word I would use for this man based on his actions. Insecure, selfish, disrespectful, careless, thoughtless, or self-centered might be better words.


My other issue with this woman is that she feels guilty. Seriously? Why on earth would someone feel guilty for leaving someone who cheated on them MULTIPLE times??!!! Because she is letting him manipulate her by saying things to keep her.


My answer to her question regarding if should continue trying to work on this is vehemently and passionately NO.


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In my gut, I don’t believe her husband will ever change. Am I being a judgmental, closed-minded biatch? I don’t think so. Maybe if he cheated once, they could go to therapy and try to work it out. But at this point, he is clearly unable to control his unfaithful behavior.


This woman did a smart thing by getting away from him. She should not question or doubt what her gut told her to do. And, she should not let him try to control her or convince her that he will change.


The saddest part about this whole story is, the husband will eventually realize what he had, and he will regret it for a long long time, if not forever. He might or might not ever admit that to his ex-wife, (she will be his ex by then) but trust me, he will regret it.

But it will be too late by then. This woman has such a great chance of being happy. She might be by herself for awhile, but isn’t it better to be alone than be in a relationship full of lies and deceit? Also, someday, she might find true love with a man who wants pure monogamy, and who is faithful and loyal and trustworthy. That is what I wish for her. In any case, I am confident that she will be OK. He’s the one who will have to live with his actions all these years.

Like this post? Check out, “Should This Woman Be Getting Divorced? 8 Reasons Why I say Hell Yes!”


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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

4 Responses to “He Cheated, She Feels Guilty For Leaving. Seriously?!”

  1. Judy

    One time shame on me.. two times shame on him and you and the third time WTF!!!! My ex cheated on me and I tried to restore it however it takes two to restore it and this man didn’t bring a fight to the ring. I have no regrets divorcing him as he went on to break up a 20 year marriage. The husband called me and I told him I am not sleeping with her.. call him.. lol Needless to say, they got married before our divorce was a year old and live in our house… I am truly blessed to be free of that garbage of a man!!! #stillsingleafter4years

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      What I find bizarre is, would you really want to be that woman? (who stole someone’s husband and then couldn’t even find her own house with him?–had to move into yours? I would rather be you than her.

  2. Byron

    My ex-wife cheated. I chewed on that for almost two years, trying to figure out what I did to push her that direction. As our divorce made its way through the system, I also found her true self (with the help of a counselor), and elements of her character and personality were simply incompatible with the notion she’d planted in my head that I was somehow responsible for her taking up with another guy.

    It’s my firm belief now that a person who “cheats” has far deeper issues than infidelity. They’re broken. They may well be disordered or mentally ill. They’re eventually going to leave you, physically or emotionally, if they haven’t already done so. They’re going to try to break you in the process as well. They’re a train wreck just looking for a place to happen. And we keep them around ,,, why?

    In some cases I could see where there may be some apprehension. They’re the breadwinner and you can’t support yourself. Children. Networks of family or friends. Or maybe you’re that person who meant it when you took those vows. I fought to keep my marriage together. It’s just what some of us will do. But, in hindsight, I was only playing myself to be the fool. Getting that lying, self-absorbed, irresponsible, soulless person out of my life ranks right up there as one of the best things that ever happened to me, as well as for our children.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      First of all, the only person responsible for cheating is the cheater. Period. Anyone who doesn’t own up to that has serious narcissistic problems. Secondly, you are correct that the person who cheats has far deeper issues than infidelity, but they are not necessarily broken. They might be unraveling, and although I have compassion for those people, the bottom line is that instead of finding another way to cope/fix their unhapiness, they chose to cheat. I do have issues with that. But, I will say, if a cheater has the desire and is willing to try to work things out–and obviously not cheat again, I do think marriages can survive infidelity. But more often than not, the cheater either doesn’t have the self-awareness to own up to it, or the damage/relationship resentment is just too far gone for repair.


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