Further Reading

I cheated on my alcoholic husband, now he can't stop thinking about it

Dr. Stanton,

My husband began drinking after being sober for 15 years. I was so disturbed by this and began having little mental breakdowns.

One night while I was at work I was very upset and cried to my boss, he held me and kissed me and this is not something my husband has been able to do in our marriage. It felt wonderful, but this guy moved away for 6 months. After he came back we began having an affair.

My husband thought something was going on between the two of us, but only talked about it while he had been drinking and would become angry with me while he was talking about it. I told him each time that nothing was happening.

I had ended this affair over a year ago, but my husband has just informed me about two months ago, that he had a digital recorder in my car for the past 2 years and knows it all. He not only heard me and this guy together, but watched us on two occasions. I have heard way to much from him to know it's true, he has told me about things only he could have heard if he'd been there.

He said he never told me about it because he didn't want the confrontation, or the out come of it all. Now that he knew it was over he confronted me with it. We talked, and he says he wants us to work out, he wants me and him to be together forever, but there's a problem...he cannot seem to get over all that he's heard and seen. He thinks about this 24 hours a day 7 days a week. He said that he thinks he was able to control it so well before because he was drinking, but now that he knows just how upsetting his drinking was to me, he has stopped. He acts like he never knew just how bad it was on me, but yet, he watched me have these little mental breakdowns and would hold me and tell me he was so sorry, and say things like, now would be a good time for me to stop, yet, a week later he was back at it again. He says his drinking got worse after he found out what was going on with me and this guy, I can't blame him for that at all, but it's over and done with and my husband mental state is not normal by any means. He never stops thinking of this affair I had and is ALWAYS stressed from it. He says to me all the time, this has to go away or it will kill me. I don't know what to do to help him. Sometimes I think he's doing it to me for a payback. I just don't know what to think or do, but we have both suffered enough and it's time this all goes away.

He is on medication to help him through his days, but he can't even make love to me without seeing me and this guy together when he does.

He wanted a threesome with me and my best friend when I was younger and after five years of begging me for it, I set it up. Big mistake, but when I showed my upset over it, he would say, oh, come on, you wanted it, you set it up. Now if I tell him I know how he feels, because that hurt me when it happened, my feelings again, are just pushed aside. He tells me, this is different, I didn't go behind your back, it didn't go on and on and last for a year and a half. I told him, well, sex with someone else is sex with someone else, whether it happened once or six times, it happened and I have feelings too.

Please, tell me what I should do to help my husband stop these thoughts he has, and move on if that's what he really wants to do.

Thank you,

Dear Anne,

Would you say your husband was selfish?  What leads me to ask you this are (1) his hectoring you to have a ménage a trois, (2) his inability to comfort you, (3) his regularly quitting drinking because it upset you, only to quickly return to drinking.  Your affair seemed to shake up his world.  You did have the affair in response to his actions.  Perhaps you should say to him, “I am the aggrieved party – you drank yourself senseless and ignored my pleas for you to stop – until I started an affair.  What you need to do now is to convince me I was right to stick with you.  If you can’t act like a husband towards me, I need to understand that and move on.”