As a Cheater, Was I Allowed to Be Angry When My Husband Betrayed Me?

Elle Silver

My palms sweated. I was nervous as hell. It wasn’t just the humid summer air that was making me perspire. This was the night that I planned to tell my husband the truth about my affair.

I’d been cheating on him for three months. I had no idea how he’d react. Would he scream and yell? Would he become violent? Worrying about it had me practically having a panic attack.

Earlier in the day, I’d proposed we talk about “some things” later in the evening over beers. All day long I’d been freaking out. Now later was here. I had to do this.

I had to be honest.

I couldn’t live this double life anymore. Lying had become an intolerable burden. I waited until we both finished our beers, then took a deep breath and told my husband everything.

I told him about my lover. I told him about seeing this man every weekday morning after I dropped our kids off at school. I got this news off my chest and waited. I waited for the terrible reaction I’d expected.

When my husband just stared at me blankly, I became even more anxious. Nothing could prepare me for what happened next.

My husband admitted he’d been cheating on me, too.

Emotions aren’t logical.

You’d think I would have felt relieved. I’d been dying from guilt ever since I started seeing another man behind my husband’s back. With the revelation that my husband had also been unfaithful, I was off the hook. I was no longer the “bad guy” in our failing marriage.

Everything also now made sense. Why my husband had never asked where I’d gone each morning. Why he was never concerned that I was away from the house for hours. Why he’d never suspected anything was amiss.

He’d been going off to meet his own lover.

I didn’t feel relieved though. Now I felt incensed. Yes, I’d gotten exactly what I deserved. I’d earned this comeuppance. However, emotions aren’t logical. I was steaming mad.

I realized that I’d actually wanted my husband to express some kind of emotion. In its bizarre way, I’d wanted him to show he still cared. I wanted to feel like I hadn’t stuck around in this marriage for nothing. I wanted to believe I had a reason for not leaving him years ago.

I’d felt neglected so long. Why else had I slept with another man?

And to now find out the reason my husband wasn’t angry was because he’d been cheating, too?

I was irate.

He couldn’t understand why I was so angry either.

I stormed out of the kitchen after he told me about his affair. When it was time to go to bed, I marched into our bedroom, grabbed my pillow, and carried it off to the guestroom.

I refused to sleep in the same bed with a cheater!

My husband was in our bedroom when I did this. “Where are you going?” he called me. “We need to talk.”

I calmed down. I had to be more logical. I’d also been unfaithful.

I went back to the bedroom and we talked for hours. It felt like the first real conversation we’d had in years. He told me everything — about his dates in the morning while I was out seeing my lover.

I asked how he met this woman.

“On Ashley Madison,” he said.

“I thought all the profiles were fake,” I said.

He said there are a lot of scammers on the site, women asking for iTunes cards in exchange for cashing their “inheritance checks.” But the woman he met was real.

I asked if he ever suspected me.

“Yes,” he said.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“For the same reason you didn’t.”

He also wanted to keep trying to stay together even though we were both profoundly dissatisfied.

I wanted to see his profile on Ashley Madison for myself.

I couldn’t help it. The following evening, I made an account on Ashley Madison and logged in. I browsed through the numerous “attached males” in a five-mile radius. It didn’t take long for me to find my husband.

I stared at his likeness. A mixture of emotions washed over me. I felt angry, disturbed, sad, and disgusted.

But the weirdest emotion of all was the attraction I felt. He looked cute in his photos.

I thought back to when we first met on a traditional dating website. I’d been attracted to him there, too.

In his profile, he said that he wanted a woman who was professional, educated, natural, with long hair. His perfect match sounded a whole lot like me.

She was in a relationship but looking for more fulfillment in her life. That’s exactly what I wanted. That was why I had cheated!

I almost wrote to him: Hey, we should meet.

We tried to stay married.

Now came the hard part. We wanted to stay married, but to do so, we both had to confront our flaws. We both had to be unflinchingly honest with one another and with ourselves. I had to hear for myself that my husband had been just as unhappy with me as I’d been with him.

He’d also been trying to survive in a difficult marriage. Neither of us could point the finger at the other and say it was all the other person’s fault.

But still, the truth remained: we’d both been unfaithful.

We came up with a solution: we’d stay together but open our relationship. Sadly, in the end, it didn’t work. No alternative method of staying married could save us. We had relationship problems that could not be fixed.

That we’d both cheated just highlighted our irreconcilable differences. We ultimately split up.

Take it from a cheater — don’t make my mistakes.

What can I teach you from having gone through this experience?

1. Don’t wait until it’s too late to be honest about your unhappiness.

If you’re not satisfied in a relationship, speak up. Discuss the issues you have before you feel the need to cheat.

2. Don’t cheat on your partner.

Though I understand why I did it, I would never recommend that anyone betray their spouse. You cheapen yourself when you lie to somebody who’s that important in your life. You owe it to them to be honest. If you’re unhappy, then make a break — the cleaner the better.

Don’t drag out a relationship that’s not working with betrayal. Acting unethically is never the answer.

I never want to repeat this experience.

In the years since my husband and I split, I’ve had to scrutinize myself carefully. I’ve had to take stock of my life. I’ve had to grow

One thing’s for sure — I never again want to ask a partner to meet for a beer on a hot summer evening so I can admit that I’ve been cheating on them, only for them to confess they’ve been unfaithful, too.

This sort of headline should be saved for only the trashiest of tabloids, not for my life.

Photo by Dids from Pexels.

Comments / 4

Published by

I'm a relationships expert with a focus on post-divorce dating and family. Everything I've learned about love, I've learned the hard way. You can learn from my mistakes.

Los Angeles, CA

More from Elle Silver

Comments / 0