Topic: My husband cheated on me during my breast cancer treatment

Forum: Family and Family Planning Matters — A comforting place to discuss planning a family, fertility concerns, parenting children, or relationship issues with partners, siblings, or parents following a diagnosis.

Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 10:53PM

Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 10:53PM

Emma12 wrote:

hi I am new to this forum. I need advice and someone to talk to. I am 36 yo with three children aged 9, 7 and 18 months old,was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer July  2013. I feel so alone. Had x2 operations, chemo, and recently finished all 25 radiations now taking  tamoxifen. My husband of ten year cheated on me  towards the end of my chemo treatment. The third party new I was sick.  She too is having martial problems and has two childrenonly found bc on my mother in law told me. When i confronted him he admitted to the affair but said it did not go that far, just holding hands, even said she makes him feel alive. I was gutted and my world can tumbling down. He threw ten yrs of marriage down the drain. He wants to make thing right by me and the kids. I am scared he will do it to me again. He is a good man and a good father to the kids. Could he have made this one mistake bc I was sick and not paying any attention to his feeling????? I don't. Know what to do for my sake and the kids. Is flirting and holding another woman's hands classed as having any affair??? 

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Feb 17, 2014 11:54PM Moiralf wrote:

Yes, because even if he didn't cheat on you physically he cheating emotionally and mentally. That is still an affair.

I don't want to give him any outs here but men have great difficulty dealing with the ones they love getting sick.

They sometimes have few ways of dealing with their own pain and grief while feeling hopeless to relieve yours.

That's as much credit as I am prepared to give him. He failed to man up and be there for you when you needed him most. In no way is this your fault for being sick and going through the rigours of treatment. It wasn't up to you to be there for his needs. Sorry but for me right then it was all about you and he failed in his role. You were doing all you got to get better and that is enough, you actually needed him to be super on your side and not focus on his sorry feelings.

If he truly is a good man and you love him in spite of this major strumble he has taken, then I would suggest marriage counseling for both of you as a couple and individually. Also cancer/grief counselling for each of you. If he is truly struggling with coping with all this and watching you go through this without him "being able to fix it" as many men see their role, then he needs to find a way to deal with it in a health way. It isn't easy for our loved ones to walk alongside us but not be in a position to make it all better. For both of you to have somewhere to vent without the other having to witness it and take it on board as somehow their burden too is very freeing. Especially with someone trained in understanding cancer and it ongoing effects.

BUT, he has to truly buy into all this and commit to putting this behind you both and working damn hard at earning your trust again. To me it wouldn't be the lost of love but the loss of trust and loyalty. And he gets one chance, one poor lapse in judgement but it one strike and he's out. 

You need to be clear on what is important to you, what you want for the future and do you see him being in it and how do you see that working out. A number of women on these boards have found themselves in exactly the position you are. They have heaps of advice, but in the long run the choice is up to you. But one thing cancer has taught  me and many others too. I don't have time to waste on people who are not healthy to be in my life. I don't have time or energy to fix them either. Stand up and be with me or get out and let me find my own way.

In the Maori language of New Zealand they say: Kia Kaha-- Stay strong.


Moiralf Dx 11/16/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, 9/13 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2014 04:50AM Racy wrote:

I am so sorry for your distress after all you've been through. Are you sure he has told you all that happened (with men there is a ?)?

Do you believe your mutual love remains intact and worth saving, not for the children but for you two?

Dx 2010, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2014 06:11AM Emma12 wrote:

dear Racy. Thank you for your reply. I believe in my heart that my marriage is worth saving. I have known my husband for nearly 20 years. I met him when I was 17 years old.  Dated for few and then married in 2003.  I still love him deeply and can't imagine my life without him. He tells me that's it's over and that the affair did not go that far, tells me that they held hands.  I questioned the sleeping with her part but got an abrupt NO. So I don't know if he has or not. I want to believe he has not.  I am still deeply hurt. 

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Feb 18, 2014 09:56AM brooksidevt wrote:

Emma, One of my friends just went through something similar (minus the chemo and rads) and was really thrown for a loop.  Once the dust settled, she realized that the issue had meant nothing to him and should mean only slightly more to her, and their marriage was more important than the issue.  Two weeks later, she's put it in perspective and they had a lovely valentine's day.  Remember that with a so-recent diagnosis, not to mention all the treatment you've been through, you and hubby are both in a very vulnerable place and your normal coping skills just might not be up to speed.

Dx 11/21/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2013 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel Radiation Therapy 2/21/2013 Breast Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/4/2014 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 9/28/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 18, 2014 10:19AM Hoolianama0508 wrote:

Emma, I am sorry this happened during such a difficult time. I wanted to share some thoughts with you that I hope will be supportive and encouraging.
Please don't put the blame on yourself. The responsibility lies with your husband and the other party. You faced all this treatment  surgery, and radiation, while raising 3 small children, and yet you didn't find someone else's "hand to hold." 

If you want to stay in the marriage and give your husband another chance, then I strongly suggest that you give him specific instructions that he should follow in order to gain your trust back. For example, no emails, no phone calls, no texting, no contact of any kind with this other person.  Your feelings should be his top priority. He should agree to couples counseling.

I matter, I count, I am important. I am living strong Dx 3/27/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2014 11:21AM banr wrote:

hi sorry to hear that you have to deal with this right after your treatment.

Hold on to your relationship while there is still hope. Your husband as you say is a good father and i am sure he will stay in this marriage. 

This entire episode of dealing with cancer comes as a shock and makes us so drained out..... we really have no energy to deal with another life changing event!! just go back to your normal life and get him back... He may or may not have been physically involved..dont think about that. I think emotional infidelity is more harmful than physical infidelity because the former takes a long time to forget, sometimes never. So if he is ready to forget her, you just forgive him and get on with your life and ensure that your children have both of you in their growing up years.

I am sure if he is ready to leave all contacts with her, you have to give him one chance..he will respect you for this throughout his life.

Just too many things to deal with right? first the treatment and then getting back to normal life, certain side effects of chemo do remain for a few months, then follow ups and a sub conscious fear of recurrence popping up on and off..lots of things to deal with. We really want no other tension anymore...

I have a daughter and when i got diagnosed with this the first thought was scare...not scare of death but scared of my beautiful child losing her mother. I am sure all of us with children realize this...that we are ready to do anything to ensure that they have us..

I pray that your children grow up to be wonderful adults and have mommy and daddy both in their growing up years..

wishing you good health and a happy family life

Theory of unfair! Dx 9/12/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/30/2013 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Chemotherapy 11/6/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/11/2014
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Feb 18, 2014 04:56PM Emma12 wrote:

a big HELLO. Thank you for your advice it means so much. I wish I had joined this forum a few weeks back, I wouldn't have felt so alone.  Your words of advice and encouragement is exactly what I need to hear. I draw strength and love from my 3 children and mostly from husband. When he was not there for me  while going thru the radiation mostly by myself and the kids, it killed me all over. My husband has apologized and said he is here for me know and forever. It's going to take a long time for me to trust him again. I lost trust in him and it's always on the back of my mind if his going to cheat on me or not.

Like you said my health and kids are my main priority.  Their love will get me thru this.  I am still so angry with my husband.  Finding the strength to move forward has been hard.

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Feb 18, 2014 05:08PM exbrnxgrl wrote:


You have received a lot of good advice. I'm glad you brought up the trust issue because that will be the most difficult part to repair. Your husband needs to understand that a breech of trust is very difficult to repair and that if he is committed to your marriage then he must give you as much time as you need to regain trust. You get to call the shots on that, not him. Best of luck to you.

Dx IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2014 05:12PM Hoolianama0508 wrote:


I would also like to add that a major part of the healing and forgiving process is to let go of any resentment you feel towards your husband and the other party involved. It may be difficult at first, but if you can get to a stage where you can honestly say, "I let go of any resentment I carry towards ___________ and ___________", I believe the trusting part can return to your relationship. This is extremely important for your health as well. Bottled up resentment is toxic, and you don't need that at all.

Another thought is to focus on what will always be true for you; you will always be a mother to your children, and you will also be a fighter and survivor of this diagnosis. 

Thinking back to my experience, I recall my husband being upset that some "friends" who were sympathetic to me when they saw me, would behind my back ask him if he needed "comfort".  Yes, there are individuals out there that just don't care. Their lives are messed up  and they want to mess up the lives of others.

I matter, I count, I am important. I am living strong Dx 3/27/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2014 11:36PM Emma12 wrote:

thanks for all your support and great words of wisdom. I truly have received good advice. I will need time to heal my broken heart and need to find the courage to move forward. There is alot more to live for. This cancer and infedility chapter in my life needs to left rested and to never relive again. My wish for now is to find strength and courage to move foward, survive cancer and to live for myself and family.

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