Occasionally, I hear from women who are being judged for their reaction to their husband’s cheating. Many wives don’t really want to be around their husband immediately after the cheating is discovered, so they ask him to leave for a while.
Of course, when this news gets out, there are people who will have something to say about this or have an opinion on it. And this can cause the wife to second guess her decision or to wonder if she acted hastily or harshly.
She might ask: “should I feel guilty for kicking my cheating husband out? I found indisputable evidence of him cheating. I stewed for a little while after this and then tried to determine what I wanted to do. I considered calling him at work and confronting him, but I could not bring myself to do this. Then, I realized that he would be coming home at any time. I still did not want to face him so I put his clothing in garbage bags and I left a note attached to the garage door. I told him that I did not want him to step foot in our house for a while. I was surprised that he read the note and then left. He did not try to change my mind. But he went straight to his mother’s. And he told her everything. She called me and I did not pick up. But she left a message saying that I should be ashamed of myself for kicking my children’s father out of their own home. She said I should have handled this like an adult and not a child. I asked some friends about this. Although a couple of them said that I had nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of, some of them said that I should have heard what my husband had to say before I made a quick decision to kick him out. Who is right? Should a wife feel guilty when she kicks her cheating husband out?”
Anything that I say (or write in this case) is only going to be my opinion. And as you have seen from the response that you’ve gotten, everyone seems to have an opinion when you are going through a situation like this. But I would argue that only a few people’s opinion truly matters. Your opinion matters most of all. And your therapist’s opinion should also matter. But beyond that, I’m not sure that you should care too much about what other people think.
You are not the one who cheated. Your husband made the decision to cheat. And this, through no fault of your own, left you with a decision to make about your marriage. Probably, you were motivated by anger and shock when you wrote that letter. But I am not sure that anyone could blame you for its contents.
My opinion on this is that it is your right to decide what you want and do not want moving forward. It is your marriage after all and you have to live with the consequences. I do believe that if there are children involved, you don’t necessarily have the right to negatively affect a child’s relationship with his or her father. The relationship between your children and their father is not your relationship.
I always felt that it was in my children’s best interest to encourage a healthy relationship with their father, regardless of what was happening with our marriage. This is why I always kept our marital issues completely separate from his relationship with his children. I was always clear on the fact that my husband was a great father.
There was a short period of time where I asked my husband for some time and space. However, I had an open door policy as far as our children were concerned. I did not feel guilty that I needed space from him. I did not feel guilty that he temporarily stayed somewhere else. I would have felt guilty if I’d keep his children from him, but this was not the case.
It is probably obvious by now that I believe that you have the right to make your choices without guilt, as long as the decisions that you make concern your marriage and not his relationship with other family members.
I also know that often as anger fades, you will sometimes reevaluate these decisions. At the time my husband and I were taking a break, I never thought that I might one day revisit my marriage and be open to trying to salvage things, but that is what I did.
In the beginning though, I did not want to be around my husband and I needed time to process the events that were happening. He understood this, although I am sure that some of his friends did not think all that highly of me at the time. So what, though? It is not anyone’s business but the people directly involved in the marriage. My husband understood that his decision to cheat was the reason for my decisions and actions. If he had never cheated, then nothing would have changed.