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Sunday October 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday October 20, 2013 MYT 9:12:22 AM
I’M 57 and have been married for 32 years. Last year, I was devastated when I found out that my husband, 63, was having an affair with a 28-year-old Vietnamese girl for four years. He met her while visiting a pub in Vietnam during one of his tours.
I discovered many intimate details of their trysts through e-mail, in which they declared their love for each other. My happy marriage was shattered by his selfish act. When I confronted my husband, he told me that it was normal for men to indulge in sexual pleasures.
I couldn’t believe my husband could utter these words as he’s such an “upright” man and always taught his children to uphold good moral values. He had done a despicable act, and showed no respect for me and the children. His mistress is even younger than our daughter. He visited her every month on the pretence of going for a tour. His e-mail and financial accounts showed that he had lavishly spent on her, to the extent of helping her out with the purchase of her house, giving her monthly allowance and taking her on countless tours. To us, he has always been a thrifty man, “tight-fisted” with his money.
He told me that he was not “foolish”, but to see him splashing our hard-earned money on his mistress indicates that he must have loved her very much. Her family seemed to like him as they were all smiles when they celebrated his birthday in her house. He promised to stop his affair as his mistress would be getting married soon.
I was heartbroken as my husband had betrayed my love and trust for him. I felt depressed and suicidal as I couldn’t believe that my husband could cheat and lie to me for so long without any guilt or remorse.
He manages our family finances and I had given him every penny of my earnings. I took up extra jobs to lessen his financial burden, but he looked for excitement and sexual pleasures elsewhere.
It was not only the money spent, but his “love and passionate” e-mail to his mistress that broke my heart. I was contemplating a divorce as it’s frightening to live with a man who had been cheating on me all these years without blinking an eye.
After much counselling, I decided to forgive him as I still love him. After eight months though, I feel resentful as I find it hard to move on and forget my husband’s adultery.
Why did he change from a wonderful husband to a “monster” when he had attained “some success” in his career? Is he a “dirty and foolish old man” lusting after young girls? It hurts to think that he could cause so much grief to me just when our family’s financial situation is getting better .
My husband admitted he was unlucky to have been discovered by his wife as “most men indulge in extra-marital affairs given half the opportunity”. Only my love for him is stopping me from proceeding with a divorce.
Hard to forgive
It is a shock to the system when you learn that the person you have been married to all these years is not the person you thought he was. What’s worse is knowing that you had invested and sacrificed so much for lie after lie.
Men don’t cheat because they are “dirty” old men. They cheat because they think they can. It is a chauvinistic belief that their desires are paramount and nothing else matters.
Most men don’t cheat on their wives, although many do. Not all men are so easily wooed by “anything in a skirt”. It may even be presumptuous to assume that your husband loved the other girl just because he splashed money on her. It is likely that he was simply trying to impress her.
The bottomline: Your husband cheated because he had a need to feel powerful and needed. He had “success” in his work. Think about it – he was “strict” with you and your family; he had a tight grip on your family finances. It wasn’t about good morals or saving money. It was about him exerting his power and influence over you and the family. This is evident even through his behaviour when you confronted him about the affair and he tried to pass it off as his “right” as a man.
And then, his assertion that he was “unlucky” makes one wonder if he would have continued his philandering otherwise. Firstly, no matter what people tell you, it’s your right to be angry with your husband and it’s normal to feel resentful. You would only be lying to yourself by saying everything is fine. Forgiveness takes time. It’s not just a matter of turning the cheek. People often go through a period of anger and frustration before they get to a point where they are ready to forgive.
It’s also a two-way street. In order for you to forgive him, he must show remorse and acknowledge that his actions were hurtful to you and your marriage. Otherwise, what are you trying to forgive?
You should ask yourself before you begin the process of forgiveness: are you ready to forgive your husband, or are you doing it because you feel it is your duty as a wife? If it is the latter, the resentment is going to be there for a long time. This is because it is forced and not coming from a “good” place.
What are you expecting after this? After an event as explosive as this, your relationship will never be the same again. Even if you are able to forgive, you will be a changed person. It will be difficult to say if your husband has changed. But, these changes will affect the dynamics of your marriage and pose new challenges. Are you prepared for this?
It will also be expected that you might be suspicious of your husband and his activities after this. You will always be wondering and he knows this, and this will put some amount of strain on both of you.
You may choose to put everything behind you and start again. Or, choose to turn a blind eye to his activities. No one can judge you or your decisions.Sit down with your children, or other loved ones and friends to help sort things out. You would even have to sit down with your husband to talk things out as surely you have some questions that only he can answer.
Take your time and decide on what you think is best for you. No one has the right to think any less of you for any decision that you make.
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