I need help – my husband cheated during the pandemic and left my children and I

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Spouses & Loved Ones I need help – my husband cheated during the pandemic and left my children and I

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    • #171445
      smonty
      Participant

      Unfortunately this is a pattern of my husband who has adhd and depression. He is also drinking again after staying sober for 18 years. Every 3-4 years he goes through a depression, cheats on me or changes jobs, leaves me and the children, files for divorce and eventually comes back home after he has inflicted much pain and suffering. This time it’s happened during the pandemic. This will be the last time for me. I will be ending the marriage but my children are so hurt and devastated. They are 8 and 11 and don’t understand any of this. It’s been 2 weeks and he won’t tell me where he is staying. I don’t know what he is doing and who is with. He wants to see the kids but how can I allow that when there is a pandemic? The kids don’t want to see him anyway. I want him to come home so we can co-parent the kids and deescalate. I am a full time student earning my masters and now I am struggling to complete my classes and mangage the children and their feelings. Does anyone have and advice for me? How can I get him to come back home? What should I do? Thank you

    • #171547
      KafaiA
      Participant

      Ask yourself why do you feel it is okay for him to treat you this way? Do I want this for my children? Unless you change what is going on in your marriage, your children will repeat this. Do you have friends or family to help?

    • #171552
      ryoto
      Participant

      I am just wondering why do you want him to come back? You have said you want to end the marriage and it seems like from what you have said he has done this before, if he came back how likely are you to fall back to old habits?

      Only you can say what is best for you and the kids but think hard about what you want and stick to tour decision.

      Personally I would only have him meet you and the kids on neutral territory while you both argue out your future and any divorce type things.

      He has chosen to leave the family home, kids and you. He has done it before and he expects that you will let him do it again.

      Take care of yourself.

    • #171548
      meganeff
      Participant

      I created an account just to reply to your post. First, I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult situation during an already difficult time for the world collectively. Please, please, please remember that you are more than enough as you are. If your husband can’t see that, that is because of him. His infidelity & his drinking are also decisions that are on him. They do not reflect poorly on you because you didn’t cause him to drink or to cheat. He can blame you for circumstances, but circumstances are irrelevant. He is the person he is, and that is why he left you guys. Who he is on on a moral & ethical level is why he left and cheated and started drinking again.

      The worst part about infidelity is the trauma that inflicted on their partner & children so please, please, please also make sure your sweet babies know that this is not their fault or your fault. They need to understand that this is daddy’s issue. This pandemic is already traumatic enough.

      Your relationship could be salvageable if he is willing to take responsibility for his actions and put the time and energy into fixing your relationship. That being said, it’s not likely he can handle it. He wold have to acknowledge the pain he caused you & accept responsibility. You would also have to know that you can forgive him because if you do decide to stay, you have to forgive. You cannot hold this over his head every time you guys fight. I’m not saying you should forget it – no, no, not at all! Mending a relationship after many infidelities is difficult, and you are the only one that can decide if you want to fix it. You’ll get a lot of outside opinions about if you should stay or go, but outside opinions don’t matter like your own opinion matters. Think about your babies & the stability they need.

      On a kinda related note, my dad has ADHD and left during this pandemic. My parents are divorced for over 20 years now. My dad lives alone and decided to fly across the country & then drive back with his brother because his brother was having a “tough time”. He didn’t tell me he was going, and he was planning on finally seeing my son after he returned – except I wouldn’t have known he went out of state. He could have opened my family up to the virus because he felt his wants & desires were more important than being altruistic. People are losing family members & they have to stay home, why is he special? Because he’s impulsive & has ADHD. Just know that your children might have a relationship like I do with my father so they will need as much stability as you can provide. Good luck.

      If you want to hear about my story healing a relationship after infidelity while I was pregnant, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Uhf3lZqFkw0 (no pressure honestly, but this gives you a way to reach me if you need someone to talk to)

    • #172605
      chino
      Participant

      How exactly do you know he’s cheating? Have you actually caught him in the act or have any evidence for it or are you just suspicious? We do stuff like that when we are frustrated and overloaded. Maybe marriage is not for him.

      Disclaimer: I am writing this assuming you are willing to stick together despite the cheating, and that you’re willing to swallow your pride and keep the marriage together no matter what.

      If you want to help him you must put aside judgement and patiently and gently ask him whats up. You must let him calm down. Before you can start working out problems you have to help him settle the emotional turmoil that’s within him. You can’t even imagine what it’s like.

      Be gentle. I understand you are devastated and this will be hard to do, but try to be the girl he fell in love with. Be his sweetheart not his spouse for a while.

      Remain composed and listen. Don’t nag, pass judgement, be passive aggressive, put him down. Do not under any circumstance compare him to anyone and ask him to “just be normal”. Don’t approach him with the “we need to talk” face. Lure him in with a homemade pie, a bottle of wine, maybe even sex. We are self indulgent and it works.

      Once you’ve gotten him comfortable, ask him if everything is alright. Try to suggest something he might enjoy. Ask him if theres anything hed rather do. It is very likely that he is sick of his desk job. We aren’t fit for that. If he can’t change the job maybe he can do something in his free time that will bring him joy.

      If he comes back to you and the kids you obviously matter to him. Never demand his undivided attention. He’s a person, not your dog. Let him spend his evenings in the garage fiddling with a car, or carving sculptures out of wood if it would make him happy. Encourage him to do what he loves. This will mean a lot to him.

      Also, once you see that tension is building up, that he’s frequently cursing complaining whining, etc. its a crisis building up. Ask him if he’s alright. Don’t tell him that he “needs therapy” because “youre embarrassed by his behavior” or that “its not socially acceptable”. Gently suggest that he could get help if hes feeling bad. Make it about him, not anyone or anything else.

      • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by chino.
    • #177758
      judiro
      Participant

      smonty,
      I am so sorry to read what you have been through, and are still being put through. ADHD is not an excuse for his horrible behavior toward you and your children.

      Please consider not listening to the advice above from chino. You describe a pattern of behavior and emotional abuse, which, if you allow him back again will eventually repeat. It is not your responsibility to put aside all the hurt and pain he has caused you, to “lure” him back. Under no circumstances should you “lure” him back with a pie, wine (FFS, he has problems with alcohol!) or sex. All of these suggestions from chino amount to co-dependency, and that will further erode your sense of self, and provide a horrible example to the children of how you are willing to be treated in your marriage. I would urge you not to let him come back home until he demonstrates to you that he is serious about confronting his own problems and until he really faces how destructive and corrosive his behavior has been to you, the children, and himself. You cannot rescue you him from himself if he is not willing to participate and engage in his own recovery.

      You should focus on finishing your Master’s, healing yourself, and being present for your children. Your husband is an adult, and he can either choose to act like one, and start doing some really hard work on himself, or he won’t and you do not need to be there for that! It might not feel right now like you have the strength to do this, but you do. You will become even stronger through this ordeal, and you will come out the other side of it and you will be okay! Choose yourself. Choose your kids. Don’t sacrifice your and your kids’ well-being to a person who is not valuing you.
      Wishing you the best,
      <3

    • #177873
      AdeleS546
      Participant

      I agree with the above post from judiro. Ignore the suggestions from “chino”. Catering to an abuser will not fix the problem. He is an adult, and only HE can address his issues. If he is an alcoholic, he needs to admit it, and get help.

      I would never tell anyone how to live their life. I will tell you what I did in my marriage. ADHD or not, there is no excuse for abusive behavior…PERIOD.
      Catering to him with only continue the cycle of codependency, and give him Carte Blanche to do what he wants.
      I was the meek little wifey who smoothed things over, because I feared my husband’s rageful outbursts. It didn’t work. He took advantage of my kind nature, and I let him. My needs were not even a consideration, and he was minimally involved with raising our two children.
      Things went from bad to worse, and I sank into a deep depression that lasted for years. Because it went on behind closed doors, my family and friends didn’t know about it. I finally took a stand and left him after 20 years together. It was a toxic relationship and I didn’t want our children to be affected by what they would eventually see. I was afraid that our son would grow up to treat women like crap, and that our daughter would think that this was what all men were like.

      I agree that you should focus on healing yourself and on your children. Focusing on your self isn’t selfish, it is necessary to be a good Mom and a healthy person. Life is complicated for all of us due to the pandemic, but do you have a professional you could speak with, a counselor or pastor?

      • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AdeleS546.
      • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AdeleS546.
    • #179292
      vkg1
      Participant

      I’m a little confused. I thought the OP said she wanted a divorce, but also seems to be asking how to get him to come co-parent with her? If it’s time for a divorce I would think the topic would be how to get him to discuss arranging custody etc.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by vkg1.
      • #179425
        AdeleS546
        Participant

        I think the original poster is asking what she can do to get her soon-to-be EX to come back into the children’s lives and be a parent. Whether they stay together or whether they divorce they have children together and he needs to step up and be a father to them. Sounds like she is overwhelmed because she’s going to school and taking care of the children.
        Perhaps she does not have family nearby that could help her with the children.

        • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by AdeleS546.
        • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by AdeleS546.
        • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by AdeleS546.
    • #179691
      spidermonkey70
      Participant

      Im so sorry your dealing with this. My husband did the same thing. He has cheated throughout our marriage. I have left him on more than one occasion only to take him back because every time we seperate he becomes stable holds down a job and stops chasing everything that moves. My work completely collapsed during the pandemic with no sign of it starting back up and I became sick. He fought with a friend of mine who came out durring the shut down. He magically found a job in California where we are from and found someone to move him to the other side of the country. He has a new job an apartment a new Girl friend who is apparently the “true” love of his life and his missing puzzle piece. The final stab, he is trying to take our son away. I kept asking myself why? What I did that was so terrible. I supported him for almost two decades. I forgave him for his infidelities over and over again. WHY?!?! Then with alot of help from some very wise friends I realized I was trauma bonded to him. What he had done created a level of stress I could not endure. I was searching for him to feed me the dopamine I needed to feel better and when I did get in touch with him i did feel better until he told me he was seeing some one. Then it started again. Then it was pictures of them on social media kissing and hugging. taking vacations while we sat in poverty. He has very narsassistic tendencies. I casnt say if he has NPD but it would point to it. Your not alone. Look into trauma bonding. Start excersising when you feel like contacting him. If hes back do your research. safe guard yourself. Have no contact if hes still gone. it helps to break that cycle of cortisol and dopamine. slowly my house is healing but only because he is so far away. I know you cant see the light so you must be the light…your children need you to guide them and lead them out of this darkness. you can do this. your not alone.

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