Question:

How do you trust your spouse after he has been texting and emailing another woman?

At first, he assured me it was nothing. Eventually, I found out that it's been going on for months at all times of the day and night.

We have started going to counseling but the trust and security of a marriage is gone. I'm finding it hard to forgive and let go. I love him very much and he has assured me it has stopped. How can I ever be sure?

We have teenage children already. I thought we had a good marriage. I'm so hurt, confused, betrayed and I just can't seem to let go or forgive him.

Response:

I can feel your pain, the pain of having your love betrayed, especially after so many years of building a home together—it's a pain that can leave you lifeless on the pavement. I'm a man, and so in some ways it may be inappropriate for me to answer. Yet on the other hand, there are some things I can tell you that a woman might not.

Take this to heart: Men are not unfaithful because they do not love their wives. Nor because they are weak or fickle. They fail because they are men, and men are designed to fail. When the Creator made us, he built into us this propensity. Without the ability to fail, neither would we be able to succeed. We would not be men.

I do not believe there is any virile man out there, no matter how deep and wonderful his relationship with his wife, that is not capable of falling into an affair tomorrow. The wisest sage, the most righteous tzadik, the most faithful husband—none are invulnerable to a woman's seduction.1

None of this justifies a husband's flirting with another woman. As we were given the ability to fail, so we were given the ability to overcome and conquer our desires and impulses—or at least to run from it before it conquers you, as Joseph ran from the wife of Potiphar2. A man is held accountable when he fails to engage the inner fortitude it takes to resist temptation.

I am not justifying what your husband did in any way. I am only writing this to you because I want you to understand your husband's failure, because without understanding there can be no healing.

As the woman has the power to seduce, so she has the power to heal. If you can forgive him, you will be able to help him heal. He wants to heal. It's up to you now to open that door for him.

He is going to counseling. That is a lot more than most men will do. You can ask, perhaps through the counselor, for unlimited access to his computer—not to spy on him, but to assist him to break out of this.

Healing does come, but true healing comes only with time. A marriage once healed is never weaker, on the contrary, the love runs much deeper, the bond is yet more profound. While I empathize with the hurt from this scar, you have every reason to look forward to many years of joy together. Please accept my heartfelt blessings for much nachas from your bond together, from your children and grandchildren, and from yourselves as well.