Q. I just discovered that my husband slept with a woman 20 years younger than me. He said he made a mistake and wants to stay together. What should I do?
A. It’s completely understandable if you feel devastated. Below are five suggestions to keep in mind as you figure out whether or not you would like to stay together.
Quit thinking about her age:
So what if she was 20 years younger than you? Age is not a factor here. He cheated. Would it have made it better if he had cheated on you with someone your own age? Of course it wouldn’t, and just like you, that 23-year-old girl will eventually get older.
Be honest with yourself:
Sure, he was the one who wasn’t honest with you, but now that it’s out in the open, it’s time for you to be honest with yourself. If you want the marriage to work, you must assess the entirety of the situation and determine whether or not it’s actually worth saving. What is it about the marriage that makes you want to stay with him after cheating? If you can’t find any good reasons, then there’s a good chance that your efforts will render useless. If, however, you find yourself with a list of factors that push you toward making things work, then hold on to these things and think about them every day.
Know who you are, and be comfortable with that knowledge:
For goodness sake, do not start acting younger. Just because he had an affair with a younger woman doesn’t mean he liked everything about her. In fact, there’s probably only one thing that he was after, and it wasn’t her immaturity. So keep your head up and act your age.
Evaluate your sexual health:
Your husband cheated on you with a younger girl because he liked having sex with her. That’s all there is to it. And any healthy marriage requires a good sex life, however, the sex should of course stay between the wife and the husband. If you don’t find yourself sexually healthy, then take steps to change it. This doesn’t mean that you are the culprit of the affair, but if you want to save your marriage, you will need to ensure that the two of you have pleasurable sexual encounters—with each other.
Ask yourself if it was a mistake:
Everyone makes mistakes. Yeah, his mistake was stupid, idiotic and downright hurtful, but it was a mistake, right? Maybe it wasn’t. You know your husband better than anyone else, and you should be able to see whether or not his affair was an actual mistake or whether it’s something that is likely to happen again. If you do determine that it was a legitimate mistake, then there’s a good chance that your marriage can be saved.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.