Dear Annie: This is in response to “Let the Truth Out.” I was the woman on the hurt partner end of an affair, and I disagree with your advice not to tell the wife about her husband’s cheating.
The cheater informing their spouse is something that rarely happens, which perpetuates the lie. In the end, someone outside the marriage should inform the hurt partner.
Hurt partners not knowing about infidelity stifles opportunities for the couple to seek support and does not afford opportunity for partners to move forward.
My husband cheated on me 20 years ago. The affair came to light recently, after 41 years of marriage. Only now, with the help of a counselor, are we dealing with the hurt, pain and destruction that this long-kept deception caused, and we are finally repairing issues in our marriage.
The affair was with a co-worker. Knowing the school staff knew and gossiped about the two of them, and it was public knowledge in our community, is extraordinarily hurtful.
The fact that no one told me allowed the affair to continue for 14 months. If I had known about the affair when it was going on, it might have ended earlier, and we could have dealt with issues in our marriage 20 years sooner.
Yes, it could have ended in divorce, but at least I wouldn’t have been living in a marriage that was a sham for 20 years and could have been with someone deserving of my love.
I contend telling the hurt partner is hurtful but not cruel. In the end, someone informing the hurt partner allows opportunity for healing or for the marriage to be terminated. The real cruelty to the hurt partner is living a lie. Finding out about an affair is devastating, but when the hurt partner is made aware of the deception, the couple has an opportunity to deal with issues in their marriage. No matter what choices are made regarding the marriage, the hurt partner is not living in an unfulfilling marriage fraught with deception. Knowing is a gift. – Wishing I Would Have Known
Dear Wishing I Would Have Known: Thank you for your letter, and I hope you and your husband find healing through the truth. If you love him, work on forgiving him, for your sake.
Remember the old saying that acid can do more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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