I received this question in my DMs recently from a mom of two small children:
I just found out my husband is having an affair, what do I do?
I’ve gotten this same message over the past few years from women (and men) who wake up in the hell of betrayal. Here’s my reply:
I’m wrapping my arms around you a million times. I don’t think there’s any pain greater than discovering this kind of betrayal from someone you love. You keep thinking maybe any second you’ll wake up from this nightmare — but you know you’re not sleeping.
I wish on everything that is holy I could tell you an easy way out, but the truth is, you’re about to walk through hell. You’re going to say, think, and act in ways you never thought possible of yourself. You’ll look in the eyes of your one true love and question everything you’ve ever thought to be true about your life. And depending on where your husband is with the other relationship, things may go from messy, to bad, to worse.
Right now, just survive today. Then survive tomorrow. Then focus on surviving the next day. On the days when the pain overcomes you, remember to breathe and make it through the day. And if you, your kids, your husband, and the other woman are still alive (because you didn’t kill them) it’s a successful day.
No one can tell you what you need to do, and so many well meaning friends and family will offer their opinions because they can’t stand to see you in this kind of pain. But at the end of the day, listen to what your heart is telling you. People will tell you to end your marriage because that’s what we tell people when we see someone we love in this much pain.
Whether you stay or whether you go, you must walk through this hell. But right now, don’t worry about making any lasting decisions for your family. Wait until the dust settles. Everything is so raw and unbearable. There’s no rush. Just make it through today.
Listen to your heart. Do you feel a glimmer of hope that love will triumph?
Sometimes staying is the bravest thing you can do.
Sometimes leaving is the bravest thing you can do.
Only you can answer that.
You are strong and beautiful and the answers will reveal themselves one day at a time. Immediately, get professional help from a counselor. You’re going to need someone you can talk honestly with. Everything you say to family, friends, and pastors will have a lasting impact on your relationship with them and their feelings about you and your spouse.
My best friend called recently (who walked through the affair with me) to apologize because after 6 years she still hated Matt for what he had done to me and the kids. Even though she had supported my decsion to stay in my marriage, she never fully forgave him. After six years, she was finally able to forgive him. I had no idea she still felt that way. You need to find someone you can be honest with and who can be honest with you with no personal ties or judgment. When I say my counselor saved my life, that is an understatement.
Whatever happens over the next few months, just know I’m your sister friend in your corner, supporting you and loving you. Whether your marriage makes it through this or not, you will. One day you’ll be able to smile again. I promise. 💔