My (42f) husband (44m) cheated last year, we reconciled but now this year I finally read messages.

This is gonna be a long response so I’m sorry in advance.

Staying with someone after infidelity is honestly so freakin difficult and not always for the reasons you think. Like yeah the trust is broken and you’re hurt and there’s heartbreak. And that all sucks. Its awful. But the thing I struggled with when I was in a situation similar to yours was actually more this idea (not totally inaccurate but at the same time not actually accurate) that you’ve chosen to forgive him so how long do you get to be angry or hurt or triggered by the little things. Because of course you can’t bring it up forever more. So how long is too long? For me it took 3 years. And we’re in year 3 now, still together and I’ve come to accept what happened and move on from it.

But I remember three months, six months, a year, year and a half in. And each time I kept telling myself “ok well it’s been x amount of weeks/months/years... you don’t get to be mad anymore”. But I couldn’t help it! I’d think of something that he lied about or be triggered whenever I heard a phrase or saw mentions of a place that he’d gone with her and it’s just rage and sadness and disgust. First with him and then with myself. Him for cheating and lying and doing these dumbass things. And me for not being over it yet. Because why am I still bringing this up? Can I still discuss this with him? Should I? Why am I not over it yet? Literally I used to tell myself this 3 months after it happened or 6 months or a year. But I couldn’t shake it and like you I’d remember those instances. All the little lies he told, all the times feeling like I was crazy, etc. And I wondered like you.. is it normal? Is it worth staying if I’m still not over it yet? Will I ever get over it?

What I learned was... it takes time and you need to let yourself take that time. I made a choice to stay with my partner and honestly, it was the right choice for me. We’re happy. We’ve moved on. He’s a very different person now and he’s matured. He took responsibility for his mistakes and did everything he could to mend what was broken. I’ve come to terms with things and it doesn’t hurt or burn the way it used to. But that doesn’t mean that happened overnight and it took a lot of effort from him too. It’s ok and normal and natural that you’d feel angry. Let yourself feel that way. Staying doesn’t mean you give up your rights to have natural reactions and those reactions will last as long as they last. And denying yourself that reaction is a sure way to foster resentment and downright hatred. But if you choose to stay just remember that it’s okay to feel how you feel now and you won’t feel that way forever. That anger and confusion won’t be there forever.

But in saying that, I’m by no means saying that you should stay or that it’s right for you. I just don’t buy notions of “once a cheater always a cheater” or that somehow every instance of cheating needs to end in termination of the relationship. Every relationship is different and I truly truly hope that your husband is remorseful for the hurt he’s inflicted and takes responsibility for his actions and has taken steps to fix what he broke. That he understands it was unacceptable and truly changes and doesn’t repeat the behaviour. You know him best. We don’t. It would be silly of me to tell you to leave a relationship that.. really only you can determine whether it’s salvageable and whether he’s worth staying with. But don’t be so hard on yourself as you heal. You’re having totally normal reactions. You’ll get there. I swear you will. With or without him.

/r/relationships Thread