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Hey Amy,

This is me: Decent, working, providing family man, father, faithful husband. At 27 I married a 19 year old girl with a child. Things were OK for first few years, but then my wife started cheating. I spent 16 years trying to understand her depression & cheating, but after awhile, the story of “I don't know why I did it " just didn’t matter to me anymore. I’d had enough, filed for divorce, sent her to the dude she was doing. Wife: about 5 years into marriage, she said she had been raped by a brother-in-law at 16. I encouraged treatment. During treatment it came out that she was molested by father from 12 to 17, when she got pregnant with her daughter. Her cheating was always with a guy that was trash and scum.

My mom said after our divorce that there are a lot of women with her problems! Cheat on the best husband that ever was, even when the sex is good at home, and this behavior is caused by her early experiences. OK, but if you know you are going out and cheating on a good husband, and continue to do it, what’s with the “I don't know why?” Is it normal for women to just whore around on a good man, because of being molested as a child?


Sadly, I do think that your wife's experience is not unique. Many women (and men) who were abused at children have it manifest later in life. As I understand it, being molested at a young age, and by a family member, brings into question all of your relationships: trust is broken from the beginning, and also your sense of self is diminished.

For those of us who haven't experienced abuse, it's hard to comprehend, but for those who were abused from a young age, abuse itself doesn't feel bad because it feels familiar. I don't want to exempt your wife's behavior, but I do want to try to understand it. It's very common for women who are abused as children to continue to find themselves in abusive relationships, and the male pattern is often that if you were abused, you go on to abused. You obviously have to make choices to protect yourself and sadly your wife might be making bad choices based on the same premise.

Good luck

-- Amy