I got the surprise of my life on my wedding day. My bride had been cheating on me with her work colleague!
As the wedding date got closer, she’d started treating me badly. I had to do some checking and found out for myself that she’d been having an affair.
When confronted, she apologized to me and said she’d end it. But she hasn’t done so emotionally. They’re still chatting by text and I can’t stand it. What should I do?
Don’t accept what you can’t stand. She owes you more than a weak promise that it’s over, when they’re still emotionally connected.
She needs to provide some answers as to why she’d cheat (for how long?) and yet go ahead with the wedding.
It’s also unclear why you’ve stayed with her once you knew the truth. You haven’t mentioned feeling “love” for her, so what has you stuck in place - embarrassment?
My questions are only to help you think through the impact of her behaviour on your present situation living together as man and wife, and your future.
Since not everyone wants to bare their troubles to a therapist (though I do believe that’s often very helpful), I suggest you tell your wife directly that she owes you more than just “sorry.”
Insist on a full explanation: Had she been in love with the other man when she accepted your proposal? If so, why didn’t she cancel the wedding?
Once you hear some truths, how to handle your own reaction may become clearer.
Tell her that without honesty between you, it’s impossible for either of you to have a happy future together. The same goes for trust.
It’d be sadly foolish for you to hang on without a credible explanation from her and agreement that you both do everything possible, including marriage counselling if you can’t do it on your own, to re-think your wedding vows.
Otherwise, move on.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding an archived column from May 2, 2016 and recent reaction to the wife’s physical abuse of her husband (Oct. 12):
“In the original column, you wrote: “Of course, your co-worker’s wife was as much a monster as any man who physically attacks and abuses his spouse.
“I disagree. I think calling anyone a “monster” is judgmental and shaming. As a woman who was abused for many years and then, in turn, abused others, am I a monster? Or a victim? I’m neither.
“Can we not have empathy? Can we support with love and positive reinforcement? Can we learn from our behaviour without being judged or called a name?
“Therapy has helped me find my way. I’m no longer abused nor do I abuse. I still have shame, still feel victimized, still working on both.
“But being called a monster? Not acceptable. I’m accountable and responsible for my actions and behaviour, and in need of understanding.
“The wife who attacked her husband isn’t excused. I’d ask her, why is she so violent? No one should have to live with violence. Rage and anger are symptoms of something deeper.
“Many unhealthy minds and behaviours are caused by generational trauma, substances and anger. But below these symptoms, we can find answers, support and resources to heal.”
Ellie - A thoughtful perspective. For the man whose wife bashed his head in with a door, the abuse felt monstrous. Hopefully, the woman’s violent issues and rehabilitation followed.
I’m a single senior living alone but have a supportive, loving family. I’ve struggled with depression which Covid has made more challenging.
Also, my partner of six years was diagnosed with dementia, adding more stress/sadness.
Despite loving my family, it’s exhausting to spend time with them. I drink little but their alcohol flows from 3pm. One family member’s alcohol-dependent, one couple has relationship problems.
Our two-to-three-day Christmas cottage-based celebration is looming. I found a one-day Thanksgiving party physically/emotionally exhausting. At Christmas, the driving north in winter weather, is overwhelming.
Do I tell them that I can’t manage it?
YES! Being a senior means taking care of yourself. It absolutely requires knowing your own limits. Also, that cottage drive can sometimes become a dangerous snow/sleet nightmare. So, too, if you should feel pushed to drink more than you can handle comfortably.
Sing carols together through Zoom or FaceTime, and stay comfortable and safe at home.
Tip of the day:
Cheating right up to the wedding day calls for discussion/honesty about why/whether to commit to your relationship or divorce.