Ask Evie: My husband cheated, should I give him a second chance?

Hi Evie, I’m at my wit’s end. I recently found photos in a folder on my husband’s laptop of another woman. Long story short, he had an affair with her last year. When I confronted him about it, he told me that it was only for a couple of months and that she’d pursued him online. They’ve never met in person (apparently) so it was all emotional. We’ve been married for 7 years and up until now, I genuinely thought we had a healthy and happy relationship. We hardly ever argue. He really wants a second chance, but I can’t seem to get over the fact that for many nights when he was supposedly “working late,” he was actually messaging her. I’m so angry at him but also embarrassed to be put in this situation – all of our family and friends think we’re a perfect couple. But we’re clearly not. I also know it could have been worse if he’d had a real-life affair as opposed to online. What should I do? 

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Betrayal is a terrible thing, especially when you don’t see it coming. So I want to start by saying:

Allow yourself to feel all the feelings. 

Anger, hurt, embarrassment, whatever emotions you’re experiencing right now are valid. Don’t try to suppress them or ignore them as they won’t go away. Instead, pay attention to them. Your emotional response is not just a sign of hurt; it’s a powerful tool for understanding your own boundaries and values.

It’s also important to recognize that you are not defined by your husband’s actions nor by the perceptions of your relationship held by friends and family. Your worth and identity are not contingent on being part of a ‘perfect couple.’ This situation presents an opportunity for you to reconnect with your authentic self, beyond the roles and expectations imposed by marriage or societal norms. 

In other words, forget about what everyone else thinks. 

Now is the time to focus on yourself and what matters to YOU

So, before deciding whether to give your husband a second chance or not, you need to look into the reasons why he cheated in the first place. You mentioned you hardly ever argued, but I’d like to point out that that’s not necessarily a good thing. When two people never argue, it can sometimes signify that one or both are brushing issues under the rug. 

Could this have led to a disconnect in your marriage?

Could your partner feel resentful, or as if he’s unable to voice areas of the marriage he’s perhaps unhappy with?

None of this excuses his behavior, but understanding why he did what he did will inform you of your next steps. So, have a few honest conversations with him. The truth isn’t pretty, but it’s worth pursuing before you make any rash decisions. 

And ultimately, some couples do bounce back from infidelity stronger and more connected. Others don’t. That choice is yours to make but only after you’ve both bared your hearts and got to the root issues in your marriage. 

Whether you choose to work on your marriage or move forward independently, ensure it’s a decision that resonates with your innermost self, not one dictated by fear, insecurity, or societal expectations.

Sending love and strength during this difficult time, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

Ask Evie

Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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