My husband is a serial cheat. Will he stop?

What you need to know:

Because I became suspicious, I went through his phone and realised he had gone as far as having sex with several of these women

I have on several occasions caught my husband reading text messages from other women. Because I became suspicious, I went through his phone and realised he had gone as far as having sex with several of these women. When I confronted him, he confessed and asked for my forgiveness. He changed for a while but he recently started dating another woman. I have not confronted him about it and I do not know how to proceed. Am I allowing him to get away with disrespecting me? Please advise.

Becky

Dear Anonymous,

Being cheated on is not an easy thing to handle. Learning how to deal with a cheater can help you regain control of your life and help you decide how you want to proceed.

While hurting your husband by let us  say cutting his clothes into pieces may seem like a cathartic reaction, this is not going to help you move on, nor will it make you feel any better in the long run.

The adverse emotional and mental side effects of being cheated on can stay with you for a lifetime. Being cheated on stirs up insecurities, low self-esteem, distrust, inability to open up, give you feelings of worthlessness, and makes you question your qualities and physical appearance.

Remember that the reason cheaters decide to take the unfaithful way and indulge in affairs may have very little, if nothing, to do with you. Cheating in relationships is a selfish act in which a person is thinking solely of themselves. However, many still find understanding the ‘why’ as an essential part of the grieving process.

Try your best not to blame yourself for the act. Often, cheating is in response to something going wrong in the relationship. It is encouraged that the partners sit down and have an honest conversation about what needs are missing. If your unfaithful partner was depressed, they should have told you upfront. Consequently, they should end the relationship before sleeping with someone new.

Dealing with a cheater is emotionally devastating and can change your personality for years to come. Even if you have decided to stay with your cheating partner and work on your relationship, it is still essential to take time for yourself. It will allow you to decompress. It will also allow you to collect your thoughts and grieve the situation.

Confront your partner about their infidelity. This will allow them the opportunity to plead their case with you and for you to be perfectly clear about your feelings. Your feelings of betrayal, anger, humiliation, and hurt should be clear.

This is also an opportunity to let them know if you plan on ending the relationship. It goes without saying that if you decide to work on your relationship together, your cheating girlfriend or boyfriend must end the affair.

Reader advice

Think before acting

Jane Rose: You have mentioned that your husband has done this multiple times, and even after being caught he has repeated the same mistake. In a situation like this, women either continue with the relationship due to societal pressure or thinking about children as they do not want them to be brought up in a broken family. Both situations have their own pros and cons. For instance, if you stay with him, what would it be like to bring up a child with such a father? What are the concerns that you need to address right now and in future? Reflect on these, and also write down the situations you are going to face when you divorce him. What challenges will your children face when you divorce him? What about your financial situation? Think about all the possible circumstances before making any decision.

Seek help

Roland Nsimbi: Dear Becky, if you confronted your husband the first time about his cheating and he asked for forgiveness but has persisted, this time, you may have to consider involving one of his older male friends to help you talk to him. In most cases, men listen more to those older than their age-mates.

Talk to family members

Edgar Fortunate Muhangi. Seek help from family members who will talk  to him about the consequences of sexual networks. He will change with time.

Talk to your man

Justine Phillips. Although it is widely believed that all men cheat, I do not think that a man should do it with so much impunity. The second thing I believe is that there is no way a man will leave his wife at home and go looking for other women unless he has fallen out of love with her. So, sit down with him and talk to him about what you know. Tell him if he does not change, you will leave him for good. It is better to be single than stay in a relationship where you will end up infected with diseases.

Think of the children

Phillip Nsokwa. In all this, I am thinking about the children. Unfortunately you did not mention how old your children are. Are they old enough to see or even understand what their father is doing? Be careful so that the bad effects do not trickle over to them since these can have lasting effects.

Go for counselling

Jude Baraka. If you still love your husband, find ways of talking to him. If the situation calls for it, involve elders such as those in the church or even his parents. Alternatively, you can also seek professional counselling because I believe you will get the help needed.

Ask for a divorce

Lulu Alpha. His behaviour is inexcusable and unfortunately, that is who he is. I do not think this is a marriage anymore. Please talk to your husband but this time, talk of the best way to separate without causing emotional distress to the children. It is not worth sacrificing your happiness for someone who does not love or even respect you.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

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