Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I was reading one of your articles online at Black and Married With Kids. I have a question and/or need some direction on where to go for help in restoring my two year old marriage.
My husband told me of the affair two days post our annual anniversary trip with two other couples/friends. The news came to him by way of another couple that we know. A woman had a two-week-old baby that she claimed to be his. So he was basically forced to tell me before someone else did and said he had no knowledge of impregnating this woman.
He finally told me she was someone who works at the same place he works but in a different department. It’s so hard for me to believe that he hadn’t seen her at anytime since he had sex with her. Although I don’t believe she said anything to him about the pregnancy, because I think she wants to have him in the way I do. Her mother also works at the same place and told one of his family members that she didn’t tell him because of his situation but yet she told someone that knows our friends to make sure it gets back to both of us. Either way, it hurts. He claims it happened once and he made a terrible mistake, of course.
My question is, Can A Marriage Survive Infidelity that Results in Childbirth? Can my husband be trusted after putting my life on the line, having unprotected sex and also with this baby?
I know counseling is paramount but what type of counseling? Where do we look? Should I stay with him? Should he or I move out? I want to work things out but I’m not sure how to trust him. This will either make our marriage stronger or kill it. I’m confused.
Thanks in advance,
Betrayed and Confused Wife
Dear Betrayed and Confused Wife,
First, thanks for reading my articles and having the courage to ask for guidance.
Second, I will begin by telling you to keep your ears closed to people who do not speak life into you or your situation. I say this because some family members and friends will not hesitate to tell you to leave. Of course leaving is an option, but you must determine what is the best option for you. If you had your mind made up about leaving, you probably would not have expressed confusion. Also, people should spend more time listening to you and helping you process your distress. Be leery of people who push their agenda on you without trying to understand your agenda. Lastly, it is okay to be confused. Whatever you do, do not compare your situation to anyone else’s. Every situation is different and as a result you might need to handle your situation differently.
Third, marriages can survive infidelity that results in childbirth. I have seen it happen and have also facilitated the process. Of course, the most difficult part is rebuilding and restoring trust. You asked, “Can My Husband be Trusted after Putting My Life on the Line by Having Unprotected Sex?” It is true that he put your life on the line. However, he also put his own life on the line. I mention this to highlight that his recklessness was not solely intended to hurt you. Anyone who places his or herself in harms way has deeper issues.
Trusting him again will require him to gain some insight on how he can trust himself. Before you make any harsh decisions, I highly recommend that you listen to his rational. If he does not feel that he can trust himself, you will not be able to trust him either. It is apparent that he committed a sin and violated his marriage vows. However, the “Why” is what you want to understand before taking action. He committed adultery. Why? He did not mention the affair. “Why Not?” Be mindful that you are not looking for an answer that will satisfy. Understanding his “why” is not about satisfying you; it is about gaining clarity. You need clarity to help you minimize your confusion. Once the fog is lifted, you can think, feel and act rationally.
Fourth, seek professional counseling from a therapist who specializes in grief, anger management, and mourning. These emotions and behaviors are normal for individuals who experience infidelity. The therapist can help you work through your distress. Also, consider combining some spiritual counseling as well. I found that individuals who combine secular and spiritual counseling are better equipped to move forward. Secular counseling keeps you grounded in reality and spiritual counseling reminds you of the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. You can find psychotherapists like myself who provide both secular and spiritual counseling on Psychology Today.
Lastly, Pray. I often remind individuals that regret happens when prayer does not. For some people, prayer does not resolve their emotional distress, but for others it is the pathway to God. Regardless of what happens between you and your husband, you must believe that each day can bring a new beginning. Listen to your heart and allow God to guide you.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.