A marriage built on lies

Let's Talk

With WAYNE A POWELL MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, April 02, 2012

Dear Counsellor,

I have been married for 20 years and I have a 15-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. Five years ago I had reason to accuse my husband of having an affair, which he denied, but the evidence was there. Even though I knew of his cheating ways I still remained committed to the marriage. This incident has been the basis for mistrust, dishonesty, and arguments between us. I told him we needed to work on our relationship and that he needs to come clean but he keeps saying I am creating mischief, and even with the denials, I discover more information about his affair. I told him he needs to be honest because we can’t continue a relationship on lies. I love him dearly and I want to keep my family together but this situation is making me most unhappy. I don’t know how much longer I can live in this situation. Please help!

Some men will be barefaced and carry on their cheating behaviour with the full knowledge of their partners; others are discreet and cover their tracks, while others will deny any such behaviour even when they are caught in the act. Like Shaggy they will say, "It wasn’t me." Your husband no doubt falls in the last category.

As you have indicated, the marriage is characterised by dishonesty and mistrust. No doubt communication will be severely impaired, hence quarrels, verbal clashes and malice will persist. Living in such an unhealthy environment can be most depressing, so one can feel your pain.
You may not be able to change your husband and his wayward ways but you can certainly determine how you will deal with the situation. Some women will take the denial route and convince themselves that all is well and just "work with the programme"; others will do their detective work, checking cellphones, wallets, emails etc for any piece of evidence they can find, then when they find the evidence they make the cheaters’ lives a living hell.

Others like you will present the evidence and hope your spouse will penitently acknowledge his indiscretions, seek forgiveness and so restore the relationship. Unfortunately, this is not the case nor it does not seem to be heading in that direction for you.

As much as the situation gets you down, you need to maintain good mental health. Be the best mother you can be to your children. Don’t allow the situation to make you engage in tit for tat. It’s not worth it, especially with the children looking on. Do preserve your self-respect and the respect of your children.

Let your husband know that you are unhappy with his behaviour and that you are willing to discuss with him the issues in the relationship that might have prompted his actions. Indicate to him that you wish to save the marriage and that you would want to engage the services of a marriage counsellor. The offending party tends to be more open and honest in a counselling setting.

Nagging and cursing your husband will only make matters worse, this is not saying you should sit down and accept his behaviour, certainly not. Be resolute in your stance against his behaviour. Bear in mind also that gentle persuasion works sometimes.

If you have reason to believe he might be "busy" elsewhere, do protect yourself.

Send questions to crisscounselloronline@gmail.




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