Q: I had suspicions for many years that my husband was unfaithful in the marriage. There were signs such as his coming home very late. But it could be explained by him working hard or being out of town. Then he started to study and he had to be out late with study group, but he never finished his studies. When he was absent on weekends he said it was his time to play golf with friends. I believe that even his involvement with a service club was a cover for his nefarious activities. In addition, he would miss important dates in the children's schooling, claiming that he did not want to be a 'helicopter parent'. He showers the children with expensive gifts, and they adore him for the gifts. I know he has been unfaithful because I saw pictures, love notes and his response in an email trail which speaks to infidelity. But his mantra is 'it wasn't me'. He will not admit to anything. He will not say sorry and he is not showing any sign of remorse or change.
Furthermore, I have discovered that he is paying school fees for a child as I saw the receipt. He says that he is doing it to help out an unfortunate child. The child has his surname but he claims it is coincidence.He always has an excuse and an explanation when he is cornered. It is now almost a year and he will not admit. He does not know that I did some detective work and know that it is his child. We have worked hard together for 13 years and it is like I have wasted my life on him. I stay because of the children but there is no relationship. Should I accept that he will not change and admit his unfaithfulness and maintain a form of being married or should I move on and suffer with the children on my small salary?
A: It is very sad that your husband is not faithful to the commitments and vows he made to you and in front of others. And worse, he is not admitting to his unfaithfulness and seeking forgiveness from you. Obviously, he is not sorry for what he has done and he is either a pathological liar or in a state of denial. In addition, he is disrespecting you and insulting your intelligence. He appears to be a callous deceiver. He uses work, play, service and study as cover for his trysts. This does not sound like a person who is interested in his marriage or family. He wants to live a cowboy life and treats you as furniture that remains at home.
There is danger in accepting unfaithfulness as a way of life. It could lead to you discovering more children and all the complications that are involved. It might also put you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, when trust goes in a relationship then anything negative can happen. It will be difficult to know what to believe from your husband.
Perhaps you will be happier living at a lower standard of living than remaining with your husband. If you feel you want to leave and you do not feel that you can manage financially, then start making arrangements to increase your wealth. Furthermore, if there is a divorce you will be entitled to maintenance. And he, perhaps, will take care of his children in any case. He might like the freedom of not having a marital commitment. You need to decide quickly which option you will follow.
How are your children dealing with your husband's frequent absence? Are they aware of the problems in the marriage? Do they know that they have another sibling? They might need a counsellor to help them process these issues.