Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I have been married for 7 years with 2 girls. My husband cheats and has 2 boys from his affairs. Each time I forgive him and try to get past it. Once caught, he lies unless I show him the evidence; then, he admits it and blames the women for making it easy for him to cheat on me. Sometimes he blames it on his ego. Sometimes he wants favors from the women and they demand for sex, which he obliges just to get his favor done. Also, he is always watching porn movies and he takes Viagra because he comes too quickly. Most of the time we don’t do any foreplay before sex because he wants to go in before he loses his erection.
Through all of this, I still stay faithful to him. I try my best to be a good wife. I do his laundry, take care of the kids and clean house and make his meals and pack them because he is a truck driver. He was previously married but never told me about them until I found out myself. He travels outside the country about 2 to 3x a year without telling me and I find out from his phone or other people. I’m tired of nursing heartbreaks every 3 to 4 months. When caught he throws a casual apology and continues with his act.
Recently he started unlocking his phone since we tried to rebuild the trust, but I noticed he deleted his chats with women and leaves those with men. I feel deeply hurt and don’t even have financial security because he spends the money on his exotic lifestyle and trips with these women. My siblings are the ones who support me financially. Each time I suggest counseling he turns it down or makes an excuse about not having money to pay for it. This is not the kind of marriage I want. Can My Cheating, Lying and Baby-Making Husband Change?
Wife in Need of Help
Dear Wife in Need,
I have been in the mental health field for over 20 years and have provided both individual and marital therapy to over 30, 000 individuals worldwide. I share my credentials not to boast, but to say that I have heard a lot, seen a lot and have advised a lot of people. Over the years I have worked very hard not to advise people to leave their marriages. As a psychotherapist, I believe that people can change. However, I do not believe that people who do not want to change can change.
With that being said, I do not think that your husband can change. I say this, not because he is not capable. I say this because he does not demonstrate any evidence of wanting to change. There are five stages of change, which include pre-contemplation (not ready), contemplation (getting ready), preparation (ready), action, and maintenance.
Your husband has been and continues to be in the pre-contemplation stage of change (not ready). Individuals in this stage do not intend to take action in the foreseeable future. Unless he is mentally challenged, he is aware of his behavior and the consequences. Therefore, if he is not willing or ready to get help, I recommend that you consider the possibility of divorce. Generally speaking, I do not believe in giving up on people, but I also do not believe that anyone should be a victim of other peoples’ dysfunction. One of my personal favorite quotes is, “Love me or Leave me because Abuse is not an option.” I want you to think about my quote and how it applies to your marriage.
Some people will get angry about your situation and want to cast stones at your husband. I understand their sentiments, but this situation is more about you. A man or anyone else can only do to you what you allow. Your husband cheats because you allow it. Your husband lies because you allow it. Your husband manipulates you because you allow it. Your husband spends the money on himself because you allow it. Please do not take my comments as attacking you. I am simply pointing out that your husband has to have your permission to act as he does. I understand that you are concerned about the children and finances. However, I want you to think more about what you deserve.
In 2018, I am challenging women to stop settling for less than what they deserve in their relationships, marriages, careers, and life in general. You deserve more happiness, more love, and more prosperity. I want all of these things for you and I am on a personal mission to make sure that women like yourself get what you deserve which is why I’m releasing the new film, “You Deserve More: Everything Women Need to Create More Happiness, Get More Love and Generate More Prosperity, on March 29, 2018. To learn more go to www.drbuckingham.com.
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I highly recommend that you get professional help and begin the process of focusing on what you deserve. You definitely do not deserve to be in a marriage filled with infidelity, emotional abuse and outright neglect. You asked if your husband could change and I am wondering if you can change. Change what you tolerate. Change your situation and change your way of thinking so that you can get what you deserve.
Dr. Dwayne Buckingham
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to email@example.com
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.