How to deal with divorce when your husband cheated

Divorce husband cheated

 

 

We’re negotiating our divorce settlement and I believe I should be compensated for losing the family I wanted. My husband cheated, decided to leave, and I now miss my kids half the time and don’t have a real family.

I am so pissed I have to pay alimony! He was unfaithful — how is that fair!?

He moved in with his girlfriend — the one he had the affair with. I will never be nice to her and do not want my kids exposed to her. She is a horrible person!

I make sure I don’t get a raise so he will have to keep paying alimony. That way, he doesn’t get off the hook — my husband cheated, went on to make way more money than I do. He needs to be punished.

For  the record, my ex-husband didn’t cheat on me. He did announce to all his guy friends (some of whom told me) that the minute he moved out he had a number of hotties he planned to ask out, which, in the depths of my pregnant self, hurt like a mother. 

Ask any divorce lawyer, and they will tell you: When there is infidelity, settlements are all but impossible, rationale goes out the window, and contention runs higher than in other matrimonial dissolutions.

“That betrayal colors every single part of the divorce process, and makes it so much harder for the cheated-on spouse to be reasonable,” said my BFF single mom friend, New York City family attorney Morghan Richardson.

It is understandable why cheated-on spouses go so bananas with rage. You had a deal. You would sleep with and only love each other. You and your family came first, no matter what. That is the deal in marriage today, and you signed up and stuck it out, and he didn’t. That isn’t fair and it sucks so freaking bad.

Also: Trust. You trusted him. You trusted yours was the only pussy he would put his dick into. You trusted him when he said he was working late, or having a beer with his friends or at work during working hours and not running around in the back of his car or at her house where her kids played in the next room.

This was not the man you knew and love (yes, currently. You probably still love him, at least a little. Or a lot). If he had a secrete life, untoward agenda about his romantic life, can you trust him to be the father you thought he was? What else is he lying about? Money? Accounts?

If this is you, if your now- or soon-to-be-ex cheated on you, here is what you do:

Feel the hurt. 

Get all up and messy with that pain. Yes, you were betrayed, lied to and manipulated. Perhaps you took seriously your wedding vows, or simply trusted him. That is serious and you must acknowledge it, work it through with your therapist and understand why it happened and how it affected you.

Understand the law when it comes to cheating.

When it comes to moving through and past divorce or other serious breakup involving kids or assets? It matters to a judge or the divorce negotiations zero. ZERO!

No-fault divorce is standard in ever state, judges could care less. They’ve heard it all before, and it matters none how many people he fucked, whether they were your best friend, neighbor, sister or cousin. Don’t care! Doesn’t affect how much money each party gets, and infidelity does not affect his ability to parent.

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Those judges are right, and they are correct. If you understand what the law says about divorce, it will help guide your negotiations. Whether you mediate or each retain attorneys, the goal is usually to avoid trial, and therefore apply to any discussions what a judge would typically rule. Hopefully, you have a great lawyer who will guide you through a slit that is as low-conflict as possible. Listen to her. And she will tell you: No one in the legal world cares a bit that he cheated. Remember that!

In other words: There are no reparations in divorce. 

No financial compensation for your broken heart, and no parental upper hand because you loved him more than he loved you. Sure, you can blackmail a bigger financial settlement in exchange for not telling his super-religious mom about the Korean prostitutes, but she probably already knows. And if not, who cares? He’s not your husband any more, he can’t give you an STD any longer, can’t spend your money any longer, and it is over. Plus, no one likes a tattle tale. All you can do is move on.

Put your husband’s cheating into perspective  

Look, people cheat every single day, and have since the dawn of humanity. It hurts, yes it does, and those feelings are real and valid. But ever-after, fantasy love and lifelong marriage based on romantic feelings? Never proven sustainable, and face it: You know it. You know that is a fact now as you read this, and you knew it when you got married, and before that, too. You know half of marriages don’t last. And you know plenty of married people who have affairs. I’m not passing judgement on this fact one way or the other. But it is a fact, and if you thought you were immune from it, well… now you know you were naive and wrong. I’m sorry for your pain, but that has nothing to do with what happens next.

Shit happens. Shit happens in business, in the economy. The natural world is full of shit happening, the government is a mess and your friends will inevitably let you down. Do you wallow in it? Or do you own your feelings, sort out your part of the mess, and push forward into a brighter future?

Make it your goal to forgive the infidelity, heal and thrive.  

Ask any divorce lawyer. Family court judge, therapist or best friend of a divorced person: The people who thrive after a split are those who get on with it already. No matter the circumstances, they forgive, focus on what they can control (not him, for cryingoutloud! YOURSELF. Your life, feelings, actions. YOU!). They don’t drag the ex to court every other week, or get into text pissing matches, blaming the other party for “ruining our family.” They accept their kids’ new step parents and ex’s romantic partners, because, what is the other choice? To badmouth the person to your kids for eternity? Spew vitriol across the aisle at your kids’ wedding, or confirmation or bat mitzvah? Wallow in the pain and contrived victimhood of your divorce? Not a good look.

It may take time to actually, authentically feel better and whole and strong again. Until then, fake it till you make it. Be civil and focus on getting through the horrors of the divorce process. I’ve been through a divorce, and let me give you the best piece of advice I can: GET OUT OF THAT PLACE ASAP! Clench your jaw and get to the other side as graciously and maturely as possible. Help your kids acclimate to their new living arrangement. Be at the very least civil and non-violent to his new (or maybe not-so-new?) girlfriend. Bite the shit out of that tongue. Just bite it and smile.

This is want that for you: A happy, STD-free future, full of forgiveness and peace. You got this. But it is on you.

 

Did your ex cheat? How did that affect your divorce? How did you get over it? Share in the comments! 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “How to deal with divorce when your husband cheated

  1. Thanks… I totally get this. I was so angry at my ex when I left because of his cheating. Luckily we were able to get through the divorce in little over a year with a pretty fair settlement but I still felt like I was owed something and it wasn’t until recently when I really started working on myself and became more self aware that I realized I’ve been trying to manipulate my teenage and adult kids in my favor. That all is ending now as I’m putting the focus on me and the bright future I have ahead of me. I am so grateful for so much in my life and for this second chance at happiness, I finally know what it means to love myself. I’m no longer holding on to the anger towards my husband, it’s his birthday this Saturday and even though my kids are supposed to be with me I told them they should spend part of the day with their dad… and I plan to wish him a happy birthday and mean it.

    1. twelve years ago, when people said i’d be happier in the long run, it was difficult to believe. i felt so sorry that my children were being robbed of an intact family, and i was being robbed of a long term marriage. but guess what? all that time and attention i was using, focusing on him and when he was going to go off the rails, i got to pour back into me and my children.

      i am now able to recognize the unhealthy role i played in our relationship and i have done some real down and dirty work on myself. I know myself and my children better than I ever would have had i chose to stay. it has been fascinating to watch him still pull the same sh*t with his new wife, and be so elated that it’s NOT me.

  2. I am going through this now. In the middle of divorce proceedings. I filed after I found him at a hotel with the other woman. They rented an apartment and moved in together two days later. He has nothing to do with our kids, hasn’t seen them in over 4 months. Says he will reestablish his relationships with them when I am ” out of the details”. The pain and heartbreak of the betrayal have been almost too much to handle. I am now at a place where I want the peace of forgiving, moving on and being a better me. It’s hard. The hardest thing I have ever done. I just don’t want to be one of those people that live the rest of their lives bitter and angry. I want to be happy and free. It’s hard to not want my children to hate him for what he has done to our family, but I force myself to focus on what is best for them. It’s a long, hard road.

  3. I am going through this exact scenario now- married 16 years, together 21- found out he was cheating for months and once I realized she was in my marital home and bed, I filed … But it just seems so unfair – I do everything for the kids while he goes out for dinner with the GF – he gets to be “Disney dad” and I am left to pick up the pieces (ignoring my broken heart) and trying to “protect my business” of which my voluntarily under employed soon to be ex, wants at least “half” to “live the life he is accustomed to”- sigh… I know the universe must have a “bigger plan” in store for me and my three boys- but the whole situation is just so unfair… Any additional advice to stay positive, forgiving and move on?

    1. I found out a week before my divorce was final that my ex had a child with his mistress. He told me the day she delivered because he wanted the kids to know. It’s been hard especially since he told me we had enough kids when I wanted to have more. In the end, I am working on myself now and find who I am again. We were together 23 years (since high school) and married 12 years. My advice is to nip negative thinking as soon as you start, find hobbies, read, make goals for your life and kids, and do something “YOU” want to do. I have been spending my weekends hiking, traveling, and reading. The pain is still there but I am finding my happy place one day at a time.

  4. Here’s the thing. If I had known before I got married that my marriage vows was a contract written in the sand, I would have approached things much differently and had a prenup with many clauses. You’re right, the courts didn’t care about his cheating, nor his extreme spending, nor his ongoingverbal and emotional abuse towards me. They also don’t care that I took a lesser paying job to be primary caregiver of our kids (allowing him to focus on his career). I live in a “no fault state” that pushes 50/50 joint custody of kids with a split schedule. So he was able to do whatever the hell he wanted to during the marriage and then get rewarded with the kids 50% of the time (and he has his new wife raising them during that time so he can work), an unaffected job and career, and the money he stole. The biggest problem I have is that we had a deal. I trusted him and he used me, stepped on me to get to a different life. A prenup would’ve covered all of the rules the courts don’t care about anymore. It would have listed consequences for breaking vows, compensation for my changing jobs, child issues, relocation issues, etc. I think many women will get prenups like this or avoid marriage altogether as they learn about the risks of marriage with kids.

    1. Women and men alike are getting married in much smaller numbers today because of these sorts of challenges you outline. And the sort of clauses you mention for a prenup are often overturned in court anyway. I do take issue with your statement that your ex was “rewarded” with 50% custody. A parent of any gender has 50% moral and legal rights to children upon birth.

  5. I understand there is value in a tough love approach. However, I think you have taken it a bit too far. Dubbing cheating and abandonment as “shit happens” minimizes the pain and injustice a betrayed spouse suffers. Moreover, calling on the betrayed spouse to recognize her part in the cheating is akin to victim-blaming. I know you are trying to be empowering but minimizing someone’s pain — a pain that you admittedly have not experienced — is ineffective.

    1. It is only victim-blaming if the cheated on is a victim. It takes two people to make a relationship work, and both parties have to take responsibility for its demise.

      1. That’s where we disagree. The person who was cheated on can be a victim. It take two people to make a relationship work but that doesn’t mean both are responsible for it’s demise. If one person behaves cruelly and abdicates it doesn’t mean the other person is responsible for that behavior. Would you blame a victim of domestic abuse for her part in her husband’s violence?

        1. I’m with you on that. People have asked me how could I not have known? Someone even accused me of being asleep at the steering wheel of my marriage. The thing is – when one party is a very good liar and adept at covering his tracks and cruelly dumps you, you are often blindsided. However I also refuse to think of myself as a victim. I’m taking my power back and rebuilding my life. And yes life is so much better without him – I’m 6 months post divorce. There are still challenges – but my end goal is seeking peace in my life and my relationship with him for my daughter’s sake.

  6. I was married for 17 years and my ex husband cheated on me with my son’s daycare teacher and took my special needs son on dates with him. I tried to make it work after but became a total basket case with the constant fear of it happening again. Trust me ladies that was the lowest part of my life. I actually hated myself for feeling so insecure . A year later we got into a fight and threw him out . He of course went back to her and they are still together. During the divorce I did my best to be aloof although I was falling apart inside . I had all the same feelings the rest of you have had . Inside broken and afraid but would not give him the satisfaction of see me fall apart. That facade I put up helped me move on . I changed my appearance and my outlook on life and am happier of no one really be with someone who doesn’t deserve me . Keep your heads held high . Someone once told me that living happily is the besterm way to show that person that you are invincible and how much they lost . So keep your heads up. I know it’s hard but you can do it.

  7. Hi,
    My divorce was final Oct. 3. This past year has been a nightmare in every way. My ex-husband traveled the past seven years with his career (he was always either on the road or working long hours) and he traveled 100 percent the past three and a half years before hitting me with the divorce. I noticed he was being distant and starting arguments in the spring, but I thought it was work-stress and he was just tired. He was only home four days a month from February through July. My 14 year old son with Muscular Dystrophy had a spiral fracture to his left femur in June and later in July it was confirmed through an MRI that his heart was weakening significantly. He wasn’t even out of the wheelchair from the fracture until August – September. My ex gets a new job close to home with zero travel and tells me to make an appointment for marriage counseling. I did, but he had no intention of going. He started his new job Aug. 17th and hit me with divorce the first week at home. I was devastated and angry, and every time I asked if there was someone else he would look me in the eyes and swear there wasn’t – he just needed out of the marriage. In November, my son’s heart weakened again and we doubled his heart medication. I decided I had enough lies because my ex would make excuses to go away on weekends. I bought a tracker and put it on our truck the week before Christmas. I took the kids to PA to spend Christmas with my grandma, and sure enough Christmas evening his truck was where he had been working for the past year. I hired a PI and they got proof of the affair, and the fact that the mistress was pregnant. It turned out I was left for a 25 year old Outback waitress from Southaven, MS. I was 45 and going through the most horrific time of my life. I thought she was six months pregnant from the pictures the PI sent me, which would have made sense with the timing of the divorce, but it turned out she was only two. On March 15th, my middle son was admitted to the hospital in heart failure and was put on the transplant list that next week. He had an LVAD and a defibrillator put in before getting his new heart on May 1. During that time, the ex moved his little girl to town, about two miles from our home. He lived with me during this whole time and would go back and forth between the apartment and the house. It was a slap in the face to me and the kids, and this went on for months.
    Of course, he also took it to trial because I would not agree to give him joint custody. In the end, the affair did matter to a degree. The judge awarded me primary custody, with both of us having joint decision making on major issues. He gets the kids 10 days a month outside of holidays, vacations, etc. I got the house outright and the judge took $15,000 out of the retirement pot and made him pay that towards my attorney fees, which were a little more than half. Then he split all accounts equally and even gave me half of the Hilton points, which were over 300,000. The only downside was my ex lost that job at home right before trial ???, so the judge reduced his salary by about $30,000, which in turn lowered my support by about $400 per month. My attorney said as soon as he is working we will go back to have that adjusted. He gave me alimony for five years, but it was rehabilitative, which means it can be modified or extended if needed. After the temporary hearing, he had to pay the mortgage, alimony and support, but I am solely responsible now for the mortgage and most of my alimony covers it. I may need to sell, I am still weighing that, but I get to keep all profits from it. I am not to any point of forgiveness yet. He says I was unavailable, but he failed to ever understand everything that was on my plate while he was living it up on the road.

  8. One of my ex- husband’s hootchies had the nerve to knock on our front door telling me, “I got yo man!” I opened the door and told her she could have him and slammed the door in her face. Sometimes they would call the house phone and I would yell, “Your ho is on the phone!” By that time, I was out of love and just done. We got divorced in his home state. That was one of the happiest days of my life! A few of my friends were with me and we had a ball touring the city and celebrating my freedom!

  9. WOW!! I have not been in this position, being married, but understand what it means to be hurt in a relationship in this way. Great, raw writing, and very informative for those in this compromising position. Is there a pun there??

    :) Seriously.

    Kelly

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