After cheating several times, my husband is at it again

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He always apologises and I always forgive him. However, late last year, he confessed to having sired another child with yet another woman. Since then, I have been trying to find reason to stay in this marriage but I cannot

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and in this time, he has had three children outside our marriage, with two different women. He always apologises and I always forgive him. However, late last year, he confessed to having sired another child with yet another woman. Since then, I have been trying to find reason to stay in this marriage but I cannot. How can one always apologise for the same mistake but never change? The few friends I have opened up to are telling me to stay for the sake of my two children, who they say should grow up in a family that has a mother and father. Please advise. Anonymous. Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

It is sad that you are going through such a stressful period in your marriage. It is bad enough being cheated on once, but to have a serial cheater for a husband is incomprehensible. This can be emotionally damaging and can cause your relationship to turn toxic. This can also lead to chronic stress if not well attended to.

Usually, behaviour repeats itself and it is likely that someone who has cheated once can cheat again unless they are intentional about getting external support from the spouse or a professional relationship counsellor.

In some cases, such people are battling a behavioural addiction and in this case, the multiple relationships are used for their numbing effect. There could be other causes including how he was raised and what happened in his formative years.

However, despite the fact that there could be underlying causes, you need to remember that it is his personal problem that is affecting the marriage. It is up to you to decide whether you can stay with him if you are able to. You will need to speak to a professional counsellor to give you adequate space for mourning about your relationship such that you are able to make an informed decision.

Although you have to create a safe environment for your children to grow, you also need to take care of your mental health so that you do not transfer the frustration to them. Your friends might be telling you the truth as per child protection but it is not healthy to pretend that you are okay yet you are not.

It is important to let your husband know in a non-confrontational way how his behaviour is affecting you. Let him know that you have zero tolerance for an inclusive marital relationship.  You could invite him to a session with counsellor who will give you both an avenue to discuss what is going on and the way forward.

Reader advice

He will not change

Jane Mukisa. Waiting for your husband to change is not likely to end well, so you will probably have to cut your losses and walk away. Given the patterns and personality traits involved in serial cheating, it is not often that a serial cheater becomes faithful. Serial cheaters engage in repeat cheating and feel no remorse, so they have no internal motivation to change. In addition, their manipulative ways and charming personality allow them to get away with it.

He must own up

Gordon Mukasa. Change might be possible if your husband takes accountability for his harmful behaviour and demonstrates a desire to learn to be faithful. Still, it will be difficult and probably require professional intervention.

You have allowed it

Sarah K Frankie. I am not sure why you expect a different outcome. You have stayed in spite of the disrespect, have tolerated his adulterous behaviour maybe out of fear of being alone or for financial stability; whatever your reasons may be. To some extent, you have enabled this behaviour by accepting apologies without a change in behaviour. What you allow is what you will continue to receive. Perhaps you need to evaluate what is more important to you; is it your well-being or your marriage? Remember when you are at peace, even your children will thrive.

Consider your wellbeing

Bartholomew Diaz Nsubuga. Although I believe that any decision you make should be considerate of the children’s wellbeing, your life and happiness should take centre stage.

He is careless

Moureen Talma. The same way he fathers children outside of your marriage is the same way he will keep infecting you with sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/Aids. He is careless and, therefore, putting your life at risk too.

Pray for your husband

Getrude Nakaddu. Read Galatians 5: 22; (but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law). This will enable you love your hubby and hate the cheating demon in him. When you pray for him and your home, God will bring the change that you desire.

It is better to leave

Fananda Lubeck. Growing up in dysfunctional home is not going to help your children. With time, they will become resentful and hate relationships. Its better you let go if you feel you cannot do it anymore.

Make a sound decision

Esther Kads. You are the only person who knows how you feel, what you want and what you are going through, which you can never exhaustively tell anyone. So, just think about your situation and make a sound decision without bias from friends or family.

Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation