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I found out recently that some friends of mine are breaking up. The woman had an affair — twice.

The first time she cheated on her husband, he accepted her apologies and forgave the breach of promise. The second time was the deal-breaker, and they're in the midst of dividing their belongings and making custody arrangements for their child.

I read once that women are forgiving of an affair. They don't like that it happened, but it seems that women tend to understand the reasons and prefer to hang on to their partner. Men, I read, found an affair a virtual insult and they cast off their spouse more easily.

I could forgive an affair. I'd be hurt and most likely be untrusting for a long, long time. But I could also move past it — I think. I haven't lived that situation and it's hard to say what my reaction might be.

Twice, though? No. If I had a husband and he cheated, I would need to know that the mistake wouldn't happen twice.

I think affairs are simply symptoms that something in the relationship is very wrong. I think an affair means someone just needs someone to provide comfort or affection or...something. A couple facing the issue of an affair needs to treat the illness and mend the wound.

But if that's impossible, then it's time to split up.

I also think there's a level of respect involved in a relationship, even a broken one, that demands people be mature. I know that the attraction to someone else when the fights are raging is pretty easy to slip into, but there's something to be said for being honest.

My ex used to say, "I could understand if you find yourself wanting to be with someone else." After all, he knew there wasn't much love lost between us during the years we spent fighting. "But if you're going to have an affair," he went on, "At least have the respect to let me know before it happens and I'll step out of the way."

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10 comments

  • Comment Link Gina Monday, 22 April 2013 16:00 posted by Gina

    My husband admitted to sex with a prostitute last year when he went across the street from the hotel to the mall and was approached, this was in Manila. He and his business partner had 48 hrs in Manila, and he decided to check out the mall in the afternoon and the hooker approached him by coming up behind him and touching his arm and asking him if he was alone and in need of company, in which he just said yes. they walked back to the hotel across the street and she put a condom on him and he started to have sex and within seconds he stopped and told her to get the f**k out of the hotel, this transaction cost him $50 and he said he doesn't know why he even did it, he said he caught himself seconds to late and is very remorseful. He confessed this to me 2 months ago, so needless to say I am hurt, angry, hateful,,and the list goes on! We have been married 27 years and I guess it's just a number to him,even though he doesn't want the marriage to end. On my husband's insistence we are in marriage counseling and he has joined me in going to church, he was fed up with religion but can now see how having God in your life is such a blessing, we also see our pastor individually again on his insistence, he is in shock by what he has done and wants our marriage repaired, BUT I am having a really hard time with this. please pray for me as I struggle along. Thankyou

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 31 October 2012 10:52 posted by Guest

    Where are you now?: I am where you were when you wrote this.... I found out after 16 years of being together, 3 kids and a happy life. He didn't go looking for it but was targeted by a desperate housewife (my words, not his). She was going through a divorce and wanted someone to take down with her and chose my husband. He didn't love her, he didn't find her attractive, he didn't want to sleep with her but got wrapped up in what he thought was a friendship. He now sees that she was not a friend to him--otherwise she would have listened when he told her he loved his wife and would never leave me. She didn't care. I found emails that said: "you are going to have this affair. You are going to do this." Wow.... I don't want to be ignorant to his choices. There was something broken in him and I didn't see it. But I am angry that he didn't allow me or ask me to be the one to fix it. He wanted her to do it. I question if she was the one that broke him down? He's a man of strong character--truly--so how did he get caught up in an affair? Why did I have to discover it instead of him coming to me? Would it be harder to forgive if he had admitted it to me? I don't know.
    You can't unring a bell. He can't take back what he did. Our therapist told me in private that she has NEVER seen in her 25 years of therapy a man so remorseful and hurt by what he did. She believes we can fix our marriage. I believe we can too.... I am just so sad that this is our scar forever. That he marred our marriage and never gave me the chance to help him through the struggle. Why did he turn to her? Why did her friendship and neediness seem more important than our marriage vows?

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 18 August 2012 08:26 posted by Guest

    Wow. All I can say is that I:


    Wow. All I can say is that I truly don't understand this whole culture of infidelity we have in America. As many problems as DH and I have had, I can't imagine ever sleeping with anyone else or him doing the same. Oh my god, it would just be.... icky is the closest I can come to expressing it. It would make my skin crawl, as the idea of sex before marriage did.




    Perhaps I'm just sheltered. I don't know. But I'm really sorry for all the hurt and pain so many couples go through because of this behavior. Are we animals or people? Sometimes I wonder.



    I guess I'm writing this to say... "There are faithful people out there. Don't lose your faith in human nature because of what's happened to you."

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:32 posted by Guest

    should i forgive: Reading these posts really frightens me. I have been with my husband for 16 years and recently found out he was cheating. But...i found out that he saw the 24van yr old girl (hes 38) for about 6 weeks and lied to her saying that he wss taking an over seas job but he would talk to her on the phone for atleast an hour a day and email her atleast 50 times a day. That went on for a month before i found out. Of course he begged and said it would never happen again so we decided to work it out. 16 days later i found out they were still talking on the phone. We fought again and he says he cut off all communication with her. It has been 3 1/2 months and my mind is still goin crazy. I forgave him because i related to his position. He lost his job and all income about one year ago. He has always been the provider and now i'm the only one that works. He came to me many times before this all happened about how he felt like complete and utter crap and i simply told him to get ANY job to help. I agree i was not supportive at all when he was in the dumps but i still didnt deserve this. He has cheated on me 3 times. Once while we've been married and the other two when we were still kids.. I just dont know what to do! I feel like a complete IDIOT staying with him but we truely do love each other...and we have two kids and a long life together. I still feel like i'll never get over this!

  • Comment Link Julie Tuesday, 07 August 2012 18:40 posted by Julie

    I agree with Steve. I didn't: I agree with Steve. I didn't give it a second thought...........as soon as I knew he was cheating, bye bye. It hurts like HELL, I feel like I am in HELL but I know I did the right thing because I would rather go through this now then have to constantly look over my shoulder the rest of my life.......NO WAY!!

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 26 January 2012 04:17 posted by Guest

    Can o forgive?: This is what I struggle with now: can I forgive the cheating? He didn't go looking for it and she did a real good number on him. We weren't happy but I really don't think it was more than stressed out parent blues. I don't agree it's a sign of a bad relationship. I was in the same marriage and I was trying to improve things. I didn't cheat. His cheating was due to a flaw in him- a selfishness and arrogance he didn't even know he had until he was deep in the affair. Hopefully he can fix himself. Probably he can given the effort he's putting in. But can I ever trust him enough? Can I get over the humiliation of keeping the damaged goods? Or get images of them together out of my head?

    My responsibility was I didn't spot his flaw and put him on notice sooner. I won't make that mistake again. But do I join the ranks of first wives or let him try to mend us? I am torn by overwhelming anger and horror, hurt and humiliation. Yet I don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face. I always hated beig alone bedew I was with him. I don't like the sigle life. That's not fear of going back to somethig that was fun at 20 and finding it's awful at 40: I always hated it.

    No idea what to do. I feel like the bulk of advice is kick his cheating ass, he'll only do it again, people don't change.... No one posts about being ok, what it's like and hats different and how you learn to accept the scars without wanting to amputate so you never see that particular wound again.

    How do I know what to do? Can I forgive him is a very live question!

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 09 August 2011 23:34 posted by Guest

    This is why I don't: This is why I don't understand why women push marriage so much. In a lot of cases one partner strays and cheats on the next... how can you possibly stay with another knowing that? You'd be a fool. If they realize that you are accepting that it happened and that you'll be there for them still, don't you think they'll find it easier to do again and again? When someone cheats, you simply have to move on... no talking, just pack your stuff and leave. It's really that simple. And if you can't understand that, then maybe you need counselling and not the cheating partner.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 09 August 2011 11:09 posted by Guest

    MEN AS FAR AS I HV SEEN, HV: MEN AS FAR AS I HV SEEN, HV TERRIBLE MALE EGO. They will do the same thing 2 their women which they cant tolerate in their women folk. their xcuse is that the socirty being male-dominated, it must hv some reason. my ex-husband tried hard 2 convince me that women need the urgent & essencial protection of men 2 survive, so thay he cud break my mental strength. later i came 2 know that he was in love with somebody else. He wanted me 2 b a show-piece in his house just 2 satisfy him at night. He challenged me that a girl like me --as unsmart like me cudnt dare 2 leave him & go. He xpected me 2 stay on with him while he wud go on cheating me. Now that i'm a free bird again, i feel that this male-chauvinistic pig will destroy another girl's life. although wat i am saying is quite irrelevant 2 the topic under discussion, i just felt like revealing my own story. He was thoroughly flabbergasted wen i left him & decided 2 live an independent life.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 26 April 2011 14:45 posted by Guest

    cheating: The rest of the question is what is cheating? Was my husband cheating on me when he began involving himself in other womens lives or did it not become cheating until the drawers dropped? Is he still cheating even though he doesn't actually see the latest one anymore but refuses to stop calling her - multiple times a day? Is he just being caring or is this emotional cheating? He likes to be the knight in shining armour and "save" women who are in distress. This played a part in our getting together, some 30+ years ago when I was a teenager in desperate need of guidance but now that I am mature and strong it bothers him. He needs to be needed - if I were being cynical I'd say he likes to be controlling. He has never apologized for his actions - he is sorry I'm hurt but always has a reason that in his mind makes it right. So, I've never had the chance to forgive him as he has never asked for forgiveness. The question is should I live with a man I will never be able to trust?

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 26 April 2011 14:44 posted by Guest

    I did forgive my stbx for: I did forgive my stbx for cheating 14 years ago. And I was glad that I did. We did tons of counseling and I worked on anger a lot. I thought this was all behind me. Then, this past August, I catch him *with the same woman* and he blames me. During the initial fighting and raving, I learn he also cheated on me - with her- 21 years ago when we were engaged. I was devastated! But I've now spent these past months learning a lot about me and stbx and I see him for what he really is. And, you know what? Now that I see him clearly, I'm happy to be divorcing. I realize that his cheating reflects his need to be the center of my universe. Every time I experienced a positive, life-changing event that made me the center of other's attention (marriage, birth, my new business) - my stbx cheated. So, I do believe in counseling, but I did it wrong 14 years ago. I scheduled the counseling appointments and worried about his emotional health and needs. What I should have done was left it all to him - I now know he would never have gotten around to counseling and I would have seen him clearly. But I was very vulnerable and believed he was my best friend. He's now with OW who is a needy train wreck and I'm a strong, confident mother. He will be her 3rd husband - she cheated on all of them - but she fills his ego endlessly. So he gets what he most wants and I get a lot of alimony! I would've loved it if stbx could have been the husband I thought he was, but - given what he's really like - I'll be better off without him. I will fill my life with people (and maybe even a man) who shares my values and is on a life path similar to mine. OW will spend the rest of her life watching him pay me what she considers 'her' money . . . . justice. - Beachgirl