Yesterday, I received an email from a woman who wrote: “I feel intense hatred for my cheating husband. I can not even stand the sight of him. I hate him today every bit as much as I loved him when we married. Is something wrong with me? Is it normal to feel this way? What can I do about these feelings that won’t go away?”
First, she didn’t say if her husband was still cheating or if he stopped the cheating and was remorseful. This makes a huge difference. So, I asked for clarification and found that yes, she was sure of the fact that the cheating has stopped and that technically, her husband was doing “everything right.” So, in the following article, I will share with you part of my response to her.
If The Cheating Was Still Happening: I know this was not her situation, but I have no tolerance whatsoever for husbands who are still cheating or who can not let the affair or the other woman go. If that is the case, then the husband deserves every single negative emotion flung his way. I will not defend him or stand up for him in any way. I often tell wives in this situation to tell their husbands to not even pollute the atmosphere with their presence until they can prove and demonstrate that the affair is completely and totally over, that they understood full well the fall out of their actions, are remorseful for them, and are ready, willing, and able to do what needs to be done to rectify the situation.
If He’s Stopped Cheating And He’s Remorseful: Hating The Cheating Without Hating The Person: On the other hand, a man who is sincere in his wish and desire to be completely rehabilitated is another story. If he’s made every effort to make amends, is completely open with his whereabouts and his intentions, and is showing patience, honesty, and vulnerability moving forward, then at some point, especially if you want to save the marriage, the healthy thing to do is to at least entertain the idea that you may be projecting your hatred of the act and the betrayal onto the person who caused these things.
Yes, what he did is despicable and unfortunately it can not be taken back. Yes, you are right and normal to hate what this has done to your life. It is understandable to hate the betrayal and the fact that your life has been turned upside down. But, does this diminish the positive and loving things that this man has done? In my own case, at some point, I woke up one day and realized that my husband was still the man who never left my son’s side when he was sick, who worked two jobs when we were first married, who sold his own priceless baseball collection so that my children would have what they needed – (and the list could go on and on.) This didn’t buy him a get out of jail free card, but I couldn’t deny that it mattered. At some points, I had to ask myself if it mattered enough. But ultimately, as I began to heal – little by little – I began to decide that yes, it mattered very much.
How Healthy Is It To Hate?: I’m not an expert, but I can tell you the conclusion that I came to. No one came blame you for hating what this has done. It’s painful beyond belief and it’s not fair. Unfortunately, you can not change the affair. You can not turn back time and change what is the reality of today. You don’t have a choice with this. But, you CAN chose what happens from here on out. You can chose whether you decide to walk with dignity and grace or whether you’ll allow something that wasn’t your fault to alter your ability to live your best life, the life that you deserve.
Yes, your husband and this woman have taken away the life you thought you knew – at least temporarily. But, they can’t change who or what you are. They can’t take away your outlook on life and your own happiness – if you chose not to let them. Whether you let your husband back in is up to you. But whether you do that or not, this shouldn’t diminish your ability to chose what makes you happiest and to take back what you want. They should not be able to change that.
I won’t lie. I loathed and hated my husband after his affair. By little by little, I came to realize that this was only bringing me down. Restoring my self esteem and self worth after my husband’s affair took work, but it was so worth it. I now understand myself, my husband, our marriage, and our intimacy on a much deeper level and I no longer worry that he will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.