Wracked by grief at a husband’s long-ago betrayal | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022



It has been a year since I discovered that my husband had an affair that produced a child who’s now over 20 years old. He said the affair was over a long time ago and that there was no love involved, just sex. He said he never acknowledged the child.


I thought things would get better over time, but the pain lingers and haunts me day and night.


There’s too much hurt and anger consuming me. There is no morning that I don’t think of them—the many times they were sexually intimate, and in what setting and where. I feel tortured at how he was able to get away with it for so long.


I can easily walk away and spend the rest of my years in peace, but my husband, now retired, is in his late 60s (to my 50s) and in an advanced stage of cancer. Our grown-up kids know what’s happening. Early on, betrayal was already an issue between us. I caught him cheating once or twice and warned that I would leave when he did it again.


I managed to forgive and forget and moved on. Things got better later on as I supported him in his career, which saw us traveling and living all over the globe. I let him shine, while I remained in the background and kept a very low profile.


There is not much time to make amends for the betrayal, as he is too weak and very sick. I still take care of him 24/7 but he can feel my sadness, hurt and bitterness. I stayed on in this marriage because of my vows, though in one of my darkest moments, I tried leaving him.


He had a total breakdown. He sobbed in my arms and made me promise to stay. He said he wants me by his side when he dies.


I have sought professional help, and am now on medication for my depression and anxiety.


Can you walk in my shoes and live the life I’m living now for one minute—and tell me what you’d do?




Millions of other heartbroken women locked in mirthless marriages are walking in your shoes right this minute, and living life much like the walking dead. There is not much comfort there, but that is the reality of most relationships. Many like you have just learned to cope and carry on with dignity.


Your husband is in the throes of death, and though late in the day, be comforted knowing he is holding on to you for dear life. Nobody would blame you if you’re tempted to dig the hole with your bare hands and throw him in right now for all the pain you’ve endured during your marriage.


But instead, you’ve turned into his tower of strength, his comfort, his solace. If you believe in karma, fate is already transforming all your tears and pain into something your guardian angels are most proud of.


You’ve become the safe harbor, undeservedly, sheltering your husband in this final storm battering his life.


Whatever it is that you’ve endured, not everything and every nanosecond could have all been wretched. Life is in a constant, continuous ebb and flow—the ebbs that made you cry balance off the flows that made you smile. You’re clearly wracked with a heavy heart and that unbearable pain that has lodged there. But in the deepest recesses of your mind, you know that you’ve been blessed as well with unimaginable and boundless joys.


In its final tabulation, your life, believe it or not and however distressed you look at it, has been balanced fairly. The gods of fate are never unfair. They simply would not allow it.


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