How Do I Stay With My Husband When I Feel Like I Married The Wrong Man?

How do I stay with my husband when I feel like I married the wrong man

I have been married for the last 2 1/2 years and I have an 8-month old son. I found out that my husband had been cheating on me during our first year of marriage. I decided to stay with him and try to work things out. Shortly after I found out he had been cheating, my whole world fell apart when my sister-in-law suddenly died in a car accident. I was very broken up as she and I were the same age and very close. I felt like my world had completely shattered and I had nothing left. I told my husband that she had died and all he could say was “sorry”.

I flew back to my hometown in Texas for her memorial by myself. We live 21 hours away in North Dakota and I spend most of my time by myself as it is. So I go back to Texas completely destroyed and my ex, who I am still good friends with, comes over to help my brother and I grieve. I felt more comforted by my ex-boyfriend than I did by my husband. All we did was spend a few hours talking with my brother and a friend of his. But the fact that he was there for me and my brother, really meant a lot to me. It meant so much to me that in fact all of my feelings for him, that had been long forgotten, came flooding back in an instant.

I flew home feeling like I had married the wrong person. I became indifferent towards my husband and I began to distance myself from him. He didn’t even notice. So at Christmas, I decided to leave him and it was a complete surprise to him.

I had become very miserable. My family didn’t know that he had cheated on me. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anybody about anything. I moved back to Texas to live with my parents for a bit then I found out I was pregnant. The fact that I was pregnant with his child made me feel obligated to go back to him, so after a month of living in Texas, I went back to him to try and work things out for our son. Things haven’t been bad since I moved back but I still harbor those same feelings for my ex and I can’t seem to shake the feeling that it’s him I should be with. What should I do? Now my husband and I have moved back to Texas and everywhere I go reminds me of my ex. It’s like I’m going through the breakup all over again and neither my husband or ex knows how I feel. What should I do?


Oh boy, Allison. I’m sorry you’re in this predicament. But you’ve made a few questionable choices here, and we need to acknowledge them before we try to untangle this mess.

First of all, you probably DID marry the wrong man. That is your responsibility and your responsibility alone.

Second of all, you felt so good around your ex-boyfriend that you treated your husband poorly. Regardless of whether he noticed, you know that two wrongs don’t make a right. Instead of trying to have an adult conversation about how you haven’t felt connected to him since your sister-in-law’s death, you acted out to try to provoke a reaction from him. That’s backwards. You’re more likely to have a successful marriage if you provide an example for him to live up to, instead of imitating his poor, indifferent behavior.

You probably DID marry the wrong man. That is your responsibility and your responsibility alone.

Third of all, you got pregnant and had a baby with a man you don’t want to be with. That’s a personal and sometimes religious decision and I’m not suggesting that you should have aborted your child. However, you willingly created a life despite your doomed marriage. Your child will likely become a child of divorce and you will likely be a single mother. Being more careful when having sex might have been a good idea, presuming you weren’t planning on conceiving.

Fourth, because you’re emotional and reeling, you’re conflating any warm feelings for your ex-boyfriend as evidence that he was “the one that got away.” You’re forgetting a few things: 1) He’s your ex-boyfriend for a reason, 2) You have a husband, 3) Your ex was merely being human and comforting you — it doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate. The ONLY thing that your ex’s behavior has cemented is the contrast between him and your current husband.

Which brings us to the present.

The ONLY thing that your ex’s behavior has cemented is the contrast between him and your current husband.

Given the gravity of the situation — an 8  ½ month old child — I would do everything in your to attempt to make your relationship better. Read the book, “Kiss Your Fights Goodbye,” so you can have an honest, meaningful conversation about your relationship without attacking him. Go to couples counseling. Pull together around your daughter. Whatever it takes.

And if it’s just not going to work because you simply married a selfish, insensitive, tone-deaf man, then you can and should get a divorce — but NOT to crawl back to your ex. Use your single status and freedom to get into therapy yourself. You’ve already proven to make short-sighted emotional decisions, and mistake your ex’s kindness for a declaration of love. And I candidly think you need to work on yourself before you should be with another man. I wish you the best of luck.

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  1. 1
    Move on Mama

    First of all, leave that cheater and gain a life. You’re   comforted by your ex because while he is a good person, your husband is a selfish guy who really couldn’t careless about your feelings. And your husband doesn’t care about your feelings because, my hunch is, he’s still cheating. He’s going through the martial motions out of obligation   but not giving you anything more than that (because he’s giving his sparkly and “caring” self to the side piece/s). Not only once a cheater, always a cheater, but you’re right, you won’t ever feel the way you do about him as you do your ex because your husband betrayed your trust. You will never be able to fully trust him again. And that’s on him, not you.
    I too had a baby with my (now ex) husband after he was cheating on me and I forgave him and things just got worse. And I   also was comforted in the early days by the kindness of an ex boyfriend and thought I chose the wrong guy. Now I am remarried to a wonderful man who treats me and my daughter with respect and kindness we deserve that I couldn’t get from my ex husband and I am much more compatible with than my ex boyfriend.  
    Life leads us in mysterious paths but trust your instincts. You yearn for the ex because he’s filling a void left by your sh*tty cheater husband. leave the jerk, rebuild your life and find your inner happiness for yourself and your baby and when you respect yourself fully, rejoin the dating pool as a confident, hot mama! I don’t know why we were meant to have our children with such awful ex husbands but take the DNA and run. You deserve so much better- like a man who loves you as much as Kayne loves Kayne 😉 best wishes!!!

  2. 2

    Good response 🙂  

  3. 3

    I could maybe get over the cheating but the fact that he couldn’t bother to comfort you at a time of loss, he’s your husband, not a coworker you exchange casual words with in passing. Yes, you should go to counseling but my hunch is you married the wrong man and will likely divorce. Sometimes people are much better co-parents than they are spouses. Children deserve a healthy environment and most children of divorce I know, liked like a whole lot more after mom and dad split up.

  4. 4

    Being in a lousy marriage and having negative feelings about the future with your husband, how irresponsible not to have used some form of birth control. My thoughts are with the child.

    1. 4.1

      I have news for you– birth control fails all the time. Even vasectomies fail. No matter how responsible a woman is about her birth control, she might get pregnant.  

      1. 4.1.1

        If that’s the case, it seems that she should have avoided sex with her husband altogether, no?

        1. Sunflower

          Thank you from one responsible person to another.

    2. 4.2

      Miranda 10 may disagree, but i agree Sunflower! too many selfish iresponsible people around these days!
      personally i wouldnt bother working it out with the husband, he sounds aweful to me. but this passive aggressive games of running to the ex-bf, is immature too.

  5. 5

    From your letter, it sounds like you think that you ex bf is an actual romantic option for you.   I think he was just being supportive and kind.   It would be a mistake for you to think that he’s waiting for you with arms wide open once you divorce your current husband.
    On the other hand, your relationship with your husband right now doesn’t sound very healthy and sustainable.   I agree with Evan’s advice.   You owe it to your child to give an honest, mature try at the relationship.   Try to communicate your needs clearly to him.   Tell him that you would like him to support you emotionally.   Even try to tell him how to do it if he’s not used to doing it.  
    You shouldn’t divorce your husband because you think the grass is greener elsewhere.   You shouldn’t not divorce your husband because you feel trapped or you feel that you’ll have a difficult time finding someone as a single mother.   You should divorce him if after your heartfelt and mature attempt at reconnecting with your husband fails.   It’s important that you divorce or not divorce him for the right reasons, because that will affect how you see yourself.   But I think only you can figure out exactly what is the right thing for you.

    1. 5.1

      This is also sensible advice (Rose).
      I want to add that someone told me a long time ago that if you move away from a marriage which has the potential to be worked on and improved (ie. almost all marriages if there is no abuse or violence), then if you don’t do your own work before trying to move on, the same issues will crop up with the next person you try to pair up with (hence the commonness of serial monogamy).
      So unless the OP is serious about wanting to be single for a time and not be with a man, trying to work with what is in front of her seems the most logical first step.

  6. 6

    “NOT to crawl back to your ex. Use your single status and freedom to get into therapy yourself. You’ve already proven to make short-sighted emotional decisions, and mistake your ex’s kindness for a declaration of love. And I candidly think you need to work on yourself before you should be with another man.”   GREAT ADVICE, EVAN!

  7. 7
    Single lady

    Good advice everyone, especially Evan and Move on Mama. Move on Mama can certainly identify with the lady, having been in that same situation before. I honestly the best thing is to make an attempt to work on things first and foremost. If, however things do not improve then you plan your exit as per what the other posters have said. Seems like u married the wrong man for true. I can’t imagine u losing your sister in law and he didn’t support u. What a selfish brute.

  8. 8

    The one that matters here most is your child. Try and make your marriage work; lacking that, prepare to be a responsible, centered, functional, single parent. Lots of folks will act kindly towards one when a relative has passed; just went thru this myself. It means that they’re being kind, nothing more.

  9. 9

    Not sure how people feel it is there right to make judgements about which children aren are desirable and which are notm. For t hi ose who feel that a child in a singlrnfamily home is less worthy than one with a mom and dad, I say welcome to the 21st.century.   There are all kinds of families including those headed by gay men and disabled single people and they have wonderful kids.   There are other paradigms besides Ozzie and Harriet.

    As for trying to stay in a marriage with a cheater for the sake of your child, that is not a good enough reason.   If he cheated he needs to be actively working on gaining your trust back.   If he’s not wanting to do that on his own, youll never convince him to and youll waste precious years.   If he’s not on board, get out as quick as you can and dont look back.   People can change but they usually don’t.    If they do, it’s because they have a powerful motivator.

    Good luck with a difficult situation.  

  10. 10


    Go you! It must be great looking down on people from that self righteous high horse of yours.   
    Youre no sunflower lady, more Magdelene sister.  

    Acceptance, forgiveness, insight, learning from mistakes, self improvement will be essential to move forward. take some time out and therapy to find balance. Children thrive on time and love, be available for them, other relationships can wait.  

    1. 10.1

      Well I guess you told me Miss Miranda.   Because getting your rocks off is sooooo much more important than the possibility of creating a human life and providing the essentials that human life will need to become a well-balanced individual.   You should write a book.

      1. 10.1.1

        I agree Sunflower that people should make absolutely sure that they don’t get pregnant to a person whom they know they are not compatible with and whom they know they have no future with. However, who knows what was going on in Allison’s mind when she fell pregnant for the second time.   Maybe at that particular moment, things were looking up and she started to get optimistic.
        It is hard to tell what is really going on there. First it seemed all so bleak to the point of her requesting a divorce – which was a “surprise” to the husband – so maybe in his view she had no reason to be unhappy. As for her claims of him cheating, who knows what she meant by cheating for all we know he could have been flirting or watching porn. As for him being cold and distant, he might have always been like this and it wasn’t a problem for her until she ran into her ex. We know certainly that things took a turn for the better when she returned after finding out she was pregnant. Could her husband have tried harder at that point ? because she was pregnant and he decided that a divorce would not be a good thing for their children and for them ?
        Allison makes her husband sound like a real selfish, insensitive jerk but something about her actions just doesn’t jell or make sense with what she is saying.
        him being “cold” and “distant” – maybe he has always been like this and it wasn’t a problem for her until she unwarrantedRemember how she went back to North Dakota after finding out she was pregnant and things seemed OK ?

  11. 11

    When my ex husband cheated, I walked away because for me, it is the ultimate betrayal. And, while it is possible to forgive that kind of thing, my problem would be that he is not trying to move heaven and earth to prove that he is a better man.   I am sorry but I am not going to go out of my way to save the marriage from someone who broke his vows if he is not 100% in it and yes, he should be willing to go above and beyond because of the betrayal. If he is still his withdrawn, disconnected self after the cheating, that would have been it for me.

    And obviously being a single parent is not ideal, but  awesome children have come out of single parent homes for  centuries.   I am a single parent of two but if I had stayed in that marriage, it would have destroyed them.   And  for the people who are questioning when she got pregnant, things are not always black and white.   She could have been completely optimistic about the marriage at the time of conception. I mean, he is  her husband.       

  12. 12

    If you don’t want to be with him, leave him.

  13. 13

    Problems Evan these people have so called problems all in their minds right Evan

  14. 14

    While I am not without compassion for the OP, we are often led by emotions rather than our values.   Feelings are a guide, but often fickle.   The biggest thing I learned from my divorce is, I should have fought harder for my marriage.   I’m not saying that she must accept cheating and poor treatment.   But we do often have a “grass is always greener” point of view.   Even if it is, she will have to mow that grass too.   I would get in counseling before I decide to leave.   I think a good faith-based community where older married couples can serve as mentors and examples would also be good.   

  15. 15
    New Day

    Your husband cheated on you.   You found out and you then made the decision to stay.  
    You cannot forever hold that against him and pull it out like some “Get Out of Jail Free Card” whenever you feel like bailing on a marriage.   You need to forgive him and move on.
    By moving on I mean you need to find a way to make your marriage work.   Okay, your marriage got messy and now it’s no fun.   You can’t bail every time things don’t go your way.
    Your husband put a ring on  your finger – your ex-boyfriend didn’t.   THAT’S important to remember.
    Go to counseling , both individually and as a couple and get ready to roll up your sleeves and do the really hard work that’s needed to keep a marriage together.   Some days you may be happy and there will be many days that you won’t but the two of you made a baby and now it’s time to give her an intact family.
    I guess I’m saying that if you leave now when the going is getting tough that you will leave the next man, and then the next as there won’t be anyone in this world that will make you 100% happy all the time.  
    You really need to grow up and start acting like a parent.   Your child really does deserve your best.

  16. 16

    Stay for the sake of your children

    1. 16.1

      No, not just for the sake of the children. For the sake of the family, maybe, meaning that the parents want to give it an honest try. But for the sake of the children only doesn’t work unless they’re both Academy Award-caliber actors. Ask anyone whose parents did that.

  17. 17

    Absolutely useless reply from evanmarckatz. “You probably DID marry the wrong man”?! Wtf kind of thing to say is that

    1. 17.1
      Karmic Equation

      It’s called “the truth”.

      If you want validation or you can’t handle the truth, you need to visit other blogs.

      Women accept the wrong man ALL THE TIME.

      Once she has sex or deemed that she has “fallen in love” – most women would go to the ends of the earth to preserve the relationship, even if the man treats her like crap.

      One-sided love is not enough reason to preserve a relationship.

      Have the courage to end relationships where the man refuses or is incapable of making you feel safe, heard, and understood.

  18. 18
    canary head

    Karmic Equation is right. Women can have very conventional thinking fused with incredibly, bone crushingly low self esteem. Too scared to believe in themselves and what they yearn for, a better life. Cling like a mollusk to the ordinary and wallow forever in the victim mentality, you will have an ordinary life.

    You have to take risks and be courageous to have an extraordinary life. The great majority of people play the percentages, play it safe, doubt themselves and settle for good enough or second best. Have the courage to follow your happiness and the courage to say to hell with what others might think or what society might think. Everyone makes mistakes. Get up, dust yourself off, and get going in another direction. Take your kid along for the ride. He or she will learn valuable lessons about being fearless when it comes to emotions.

    One thing about romantic movies, the heroine has to BELIEVE she deserves to be the heroine, that she’s good enough. Do you think you deserve to be the heroine or hero of your own life? Most people, for a myriad of reasons, do not.

    1. 18.1

      Oh how I love this comment!

      I’m so sick of all this “you have to make your crappy marriage work with that crappy husband of yours. Because he is your husband after all.”

      Well, all I can say is: it’s easy to say “yes” to someone. It’s not enough! It’s not enough to say I love you. It’s not enough to marry.

      Actions speak louder than words. Consistency screams. So loud that you can’t even overhear the message.

      And no sense or logic in comparing the husband with the ex-boyfriend.

      Yes, dust yourself off, take the kid, make a life for the both of you. You are strong.

  19. 19

    What shamefully ridiculous replies to the OP, who found herself depressed in a mediocre marriage. Less than 35% of couples remain happy together, even if they do not divorce. Despite your guru, this is the fate for the overwhelming majority of us. And out of these medicore to abusive majority marriages, doomed to emotional and or legal failure from the start, will we bore the next generation as we have before and before.

    As far as our awareness goes, we are the children of a new world, born without the scripted rules of the past. We’re all new at this OP, learning how to make our way in love and living beyond the extensive social shifts and transitions that came before us. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.  



  20. 20

    Whoa!   That is quite the predicament this girl has on her hands!

    Excellent advice as always,   Evan!

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