I am 24, married, with a five-year-old daughter. My husband is also 24. I got married when I was 19. I recently found out my husband cheated on me, but this happened three years ago. I know it’s a while back, but I just found out.

I always had slight doubts, so one night I acted like it was a fact that he cheated. It worked! He actually confessed to it!

Now I don’t know how I feel. He wants me to give him another chance, but he said he is afraid I will revenge cheat on him. I honestly don’t intend to do that. I told him, if I stay with him, everything will be different because I have lost trust and respect for him. It’s going to be a rocky road.

I still love him and I know he loves me. He said when he cheated it wasn’t out of love. It just happened, and he blames it on alcohol. To me, that’s no excuse.

He still tries to get intimate with me, but I feel no passion when we make love. During that moment every kiss, every touch, causes me to ask myself: “Did you kiss her that same way?” “Did you tell her the same things?” “Did you touch her the same way?” Then I start to fall apart again.

Now this is what I feel. I still love him, but I am scared to have him a part of my life. And now, being with him, I’m afraid I will never have trust or respect for him. I would just hurt him, in little things, not by cheating back. Then I could look him in the eyes.

I’m dying inside. What should I do?

~ Jocelyn

Jocelyn, men generally know more about team sports than women. They understand how to play offense and how to play defense.

You went on the offense when you challenged him and he admitted to cheating. What was his defense? He too went on offense and said he feared you will cheat on him. Suddenly, he turned into a prognosticator. With a head fake and a feint he got you on your back foot.

It’s like a soccer match when the player committing a serious foul theatrically points at his opponent. It was his full-out attempt to avoid a red card. He does not want to be sent from the field of play. He understands how bad what he did was, but he doesn’t want it to happen to him. He wants to end up in the clear.

Swat away that nonsense. The two of you are in a predicament because of what he chose to do. He crushed your spirit. Poking him back in little ways may feel good for a while, but it won’t fix anything. You will still have those invasive thoughts.

You say you still love him and you say you want to hurt him. Don’t you realize one or the other can’t be true? When the little paybacks don’t stop intrusive thoughts of the other woman, what next? Your actions will have given him a reason to divorce you. Then the divorce won’t be about his cheating. It will be about all the subsequent minutiae.

When a team can’t work together, performance spirals down the toilet. An old sports adage says there is no “I” in team. Yet that is what he tried to do. Sometimes, for the good of the team, you have to cut a player loose.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers for the week of September 2, 2019

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