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Can I learn to live with his philandering?

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Dear Bunmi,

I am 28 and my husband is three years older. We’ve been married for four years and have two lovely children. He has always cheated on me, even before we got married. Every time he has told me that these women mean nothing to him and that he loves only me, so I have learnt to forgive him. As far as I know, he’s been quiet now for about four months.

I love my husband a lot and I don’t want to lose him, but I can’t get images of him with other women out of my head.

I’ve tried to talk to him but he just gets angry and tells me to stop nagging. I’m scared that if I don’t put all this behind me and start to trust him, our marriage might suffer.

I don’t think I can cope if he leaves. I’m scared of being on my own in spite of the fact that I have a good job and I don’t want to meet another man only to go through the whole heart-ache all over again.

Tessy, by e-mail.

Dear Tessy,

Your response to this man’s repeated infidelity is inhibited by your fear of being on your own with two children. I sympathise, yet your well-being and success as a woman do not depend on any one man. Right now, this marriage is not making you happy. You deserve the love of someone who will be true.

A woman may rationalise her partner’s infidelity, as he is likely to do, and tells herself that his having sex with other people is unimportant. Your husband was telling the truth when he said that these brief encounters meant nothing to him.

He has opportunistic sex when it was on offer, not because the women are beautiful, not even for the sake of variety, but because it stroked his ego.

No woman feels secure if her partner has sex with other people, no matter how insignificant they are to him. Of course, you’re plagued by cruel images of his infidelity.

One day, one of these women may gain his affection and steal him away from you and the children. You must not tolerate this.

Don’t criticise your husband. Explain to him that his behaviour is endangering your love. If he still cannot commit, then you’ll either take him as he is or leave.

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