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Dear Emuna: Cheating Husband
Dear Emuna

Dear Emuna: Cheating Husband

Something special between us was broken. Can we rebuild our marriage?


Dear Emuna,

Nine months ago I found out that my husband of 11 years cheated on me. I have had a very hard time getting over it and trusting him again. He swears that it will never happen again and regrets what occurred but it's just not the same anymore. I love him to death and just want everything back to normal again. I don't understand why it happened. We always had a very good marriage and communication between us was great; even our bedroom time was the best. Where did things go wrong?

I am scared and confused. I also tried to commit suicide and was helped just in time. I was so confused and the medicine I was on did not work with my emotions. We are trying again but I still think about it every day. Please give advice how to overcome this shock. My husband was my first love and only one ever and I was his first too. That is why it’s so difficult; something special between us was broken. Please help me rebuild the confidence again because I can see that he is trying.

Really Hurt Wife

Dear Really Hurt,

This is a very hard one. Before you can rebuild your marriage, please look into getting some serious psychiatric help. If you tried to kill yourself, you need much more help than an advice column can give you. In addition to rebuilding your marriage, you need to heal your deeper psychological wounds. So please get help immediately.

As far as your marriage goes, I certainly understand how hurt and betrayed you feel. But you need to make a choice. If you really want your marriage to have a chance, you can't keep harping on this event. You have to look to the future, not the past. You probably need some couples' counseling that will allow you to examine together what led to this behavior on your husband's part. What aspects of your marriage need fixing? You are right. Something special was broken. Things will never go back to normal; certainly not the normal that was before. But you can create a new normal – with good will and some good therapeutic interventions.

I don't think the two of you can manage this alone. As I mentioned, I think you need some individual help for your suicidal tendencies, your husband may need some individual help to examine his own motivations and actions and you probably need help as a couple. Don't wait too long to get it.

Additionally, if ever there was a time for prayer and Divine help, this is certainly one of them. You can't do this alone and you should pray constantly, asking the Almighty to help the two of you to move forward. I hope and pray that the new year will be a time of healing for both of you.

Dear Emuna,

My husband likes me to travel with him on business trips. He says that my emotional support is very important to him. I try to go when I can and when the kids at home don't need me. But I get a little frustrated. When we are on the trip, he is frequently busy talking to his business colleagues and I am left sitting by myself. I'm not sure what to do. We end up fighting about it all the time.

Any words of wisdom for me?

Staying Home in the Future

Dear Homebody,

It can't be said too often that all relationships, and marriage in particular, are about compromise. No one party can get their way all the time. In this situation, there are a number of needs to balance – your husband's needs, your children's needs and your needs, which includes the emotional and the practical. Often situations that seem quite frustrating and differences that seem irreconcilable when we are in the middle of them can actually be resolved fairly simply and practically.

I don't know how often your husband travels for business. You don't mention how far he travels or how long he is away at a time. But I imagine the "negotiations" would beginning with dividing his trips in half and your agreeing to perhaps accompany him on half of his trips instead of all of them. That's step one.

Step two would be to see if he could help you manage your home and other responsibilities to make it easier for you to come.

Step three might involve finding a way for you to fulfill some of those responsibilities while away – skyping with the kids, telecommuting for your own job etc.

Step four might include giving you a more proactive role in the business events so that you don't feel that you are solely an appendage to your husband and that there is no meaningful role for you to play. This is neither magic nor rocket science but it does involve hard work on both parties, a real spirit of cooperation and an ability to give in or let go.

That's why step five is prayer. Ask the Almighty to help you work it out, to give you the strength and the insight, the ability and the determination. And most of all the good will. With good will and a real desire to make this work for both of you and to satisfy each other's needs, I am confident that you will be able to resolve this issue to your and your husband's satisfaction.

Dear Emuna,

Sometimes my spouse makes jokes about me in public. He thinks they're funny but I think they're disrespectful and mean. I would like him to stop but he says that I have no sense of humor. I'm really hurt. What should I do?

Wife in Pain

Dear Wife in Pain,

As everyone (except perhaps your husband) recognizes, there is some truth in every joke. That is why you find it hurtful. Therefore he shouldn't make jokes about you, even in private. And even if this is the exception and your husband's jokes really do not contain even an iota of truth, the fact that you find them painful is all that counts. Any activity, even a seemingly innocuous one, that one spouse finds hurtful, should immediately be stopped.

My husband doesn't like the smell of gum. It's not an allergy, it's not painful or hurtful but since he doesn't like it, I try (not always successfully) not to chew any around him. How much more so should we be sensitive to behaviors that actually cause our spouses emotional pain.

If your husband refuses to stop, even after repeated conversations – and they should be conversations, not arguments or diatribes – then you need to get a third party involved to help mediate the issue. It is not healthy for either of you to allow the situation to continue as is.

July 27, 2013

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Visitor Comments: 18

(15) Bobby5000, August 4, 2015 2:04 AM

Publicly Demeaning Husband, Confront Him in Public

You tend to see more women demeaning their husbands then the other way around, but in any case it is unacceptable.
Next time, stop and say, I don't find that funny and I do not why would want to embarrass your wife. Watch everyone and him get uncomfortable and he says its just a joke. No it isn't you are demeaning me and your conduct is unacceptable.

(14) SusanE, April 15, 2015 1:39 AM

Once a cheater....

Men never say they are sorry until their wife finds out. - - - - Her suicide attempt was extreme. Anger is expected, shock and resentment are normal in betrayal, but she attempted to kill herself. That isn't a normal reaction to any life crisis. That would be the biggest problem right now to take care of.

The only difference between last year and now in her marriage is that now she knows about his adultery. He is still exactly the same person he was last year. She says she wants her marriage back to 'normal' again, but that normal marriage is where the adultery was born. It will never be as it was before. Both husband and wife have to change. It is possible to reclaim a failed marriage and make it even better.

(13) Anonymous, August 13, 2014 9:57 PM

Dear Really Hurt wife

The problem is you are very angry as to his cheating and need to get counseling and psychological help especially that you felt suicidal. It will be difficult to put the relationship back to where it once was.Saying it will not happen again is not good news its like an alcoholic saying he will; not drink again.You need time alone to reflect on this and get some space.The trust part has vaporized into thin air and left you betrayed by someone you admired and trusted.Couples counseling may help but you do need some time out to reflect.

Robert Rabinoff, February 15, 2018 4:12 PM

Repairing a Sin

I was once reading at my Shabbat table (I live alone) and when I was done I inadvertently switched the lamp off. I was horrified! My first instinct was to "fix" the situation by turning the lamp back on. Fortunately I stopped myself. But I reflected that we can never put a situation back to the way it was, especially after a sin, and especially after a sin like this one. But Reish Lakish says that t'shuvah out of love can make even willful sins into mitzvot. His honest t'shuvah -- and showing you by his actions that he's a different man now -- can actually strengthen your marriage. From your side, you have to judge that his t'shuvah is sincere, that he really has changed, and then accept it, and him. This may take some time. But this is what the Ribono shel Olam does with us, all the time, out of His great love for us. Good luck.

(12) Rick Wolf, August 2, 2013 1:43 AM

Remember why you loved his company in the beginning

Although it seems like the end of the world, its not. You have never lost your trust, he has ruined his for now. Remember our creator has never lost his love or trust in us. What I would do is to remember why you loved to be with him in the beginning. Never let your mind wonder off from that. Start with little things and build one day at a time. Every time you bring it up with hem he needs to acknowledge he was wrong and you are right in your anger. But remember pain is like a cancer it only hurts you. And rebuild your relationship the way you want it. But do not build it in anger only love. Remember he lost something in himself not you. So be kind and build a better stronger relationship if you and only you want it. May our creators love dwell in you and give you true piece. I will pray for you and remember you really love him or you would not be so hurt. So love him back, it was not your fault. Rick

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