Hi there, I would be so grateful for some open-minded and gentle opinions about my situation. Please listen to the good things I have to say about my husband as well as the bad! And I apologise in advance for the length of this post, please bear with me.
I am the mother of a soon-to-be 5 year old son (and, importantly for me, only child). My DH and I have been together almost 11 years, doing IVF for ages to have a second child, but yesterday I found out that he has been screwing around on me (his ***** kindly called to let me know). I am in total shock, not to mention devastation, and I just don't know what to do.
Here's the background and the bad stuff on DH - I am from Europe, he is from South America. We moved to South America from the US a year ago. We have been having relationship problems for a long time and have basically got to the point that we're just parenting together. I have been suffering from mild-moderate depression for a few years. Why? Well because in the 11 years we have been together my husband has not worked a day. I paid for his studies, helped his family financially, paid for everything in our life together. It has always been me that has carried the can - not just for working and earning, but for planning, making all significant decisions in our relationship, for guiding him, pushing him to do something with his life, to take responsibility. I know that works for some women but it doesn't work for me. I had a bit of a breakdown about 2 years ago and left my well-paying job so that we could come to his country and he finally get his act together. But we've been here a year now and he's only now just on the verge of setting up a business (financed from my savings). Who knows how it will go? So after so long of "wearing the pants" in the family (forgive the political incorrectness) I have just lost so much respect for him. Our sex life has been terrible - once a month, maybe, and ain't no spontaneous combustion going on during it, if you know what I mean.
That said, both of us (I think, well, I certainly did) very much hoped that once he got his business up and running, he could finally begin to provide for his family, develop as a person, and I would recover my respect and groove for him. I really imagined that we could (not would, but could) get over it. It is safe to say that there is quite a lot of love between us, even though I have not been able to say that out loud for quite a while (he has).
I never, ever, ever thought he would be unfaithful, despite the way infidelity is a way of life in South America. Why? Here's the good stuff about him - he is a very gentle and caring man. I have no doubt that he loves me deeply, and apart from his failure to provide (and set an example for our son in that regard), he is an outstanding father. Even though I have paid for everything for 11 years now, he has never been interested in material stuff, never gone out and spent my money stupidly or anything. He is helpful in the house, definitely does his fair share. I do not doubt that the coldness in our relationship pushed him to have this affair - sex is very important to him. While the woman says she has been trying to end it with him and he will not accept it, he says the exact opposite. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that all men in these situations are liars, but I know Latin women (apologies to any of you out there), and a lot of them can be very mean and cynical in these kinds of situations. So I'm inclined to believe him (with lingering doubts). Of course he is in breakdown at the moment, and is extremely sorry for what he has done and says it will never happen again (though I think a lot of women have heard that one before). He says he doesn't want to lose us.
Here's some bad stuff about me: while would like to think that I am a basically good and generous person (I think my husband would support that), I have a very strong character, I can be overbearing and bossy, and I have emasculated my husband over the years. The only question is, has my bossiness and emasculation been the cause of his inaction, or is it the result? Of course I am me and I say it is the result (I feel like only the most submissive, inane women would not have nagged this man senseless), but this is deep stuff I know and either way it is not healthy.
This is so long, I am sorry, but here's the most important issue. I know my son would be absolutely devastated if we split. Not just by the split, but by the fact that we will probably be living on opposite sides of the world - I couldn't stay here. I love my son more than the air I breathe and I can't bear to do anything that will harm him for the long term. I read an article about how kids from "amicable divorces" do worse in the long term that those that come from low-conflict, intact homes: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ri-2eUuFu_sJ:www.utexas.edu/features/2006/divorce/index.html+divorce+%22only+children&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&source=www.google.com. I would sacrifice my hopes for a happy and healthy marriage (with someone else) in a heartbeat to protect my son from lasting damage. (Honestly I can't imagine when I will feel the slightest interest in any other man again anyway.)
So, I could decide to try and forgive him and make this work, give him a bit more time to set up his business and provide for us (I didn't want to go back to work), prove that he is trustworthy, and preserve the truly beautiful relationship my son has with him. (Of course I don't know yet if I can totally forgive him and never bring the subject up again, but I think we could not fight in front of my son and always put his interests first.) Or I could cut my losses after 11 years of carrying the can and then getting screwed around on to boot. I am of course terrified on a personal level about the second option. I haven't lived in my country of origin for 20 years. I love my family back home, but I am not so close to them, there are no cousins for my son or anything. He is totally on his own family-wise (here as well), apart from grandparents and one aunt who is good to him but doesn't really like kids. I do have good friends with kids though.
I am so scared and I would really appreciate your insights. I will try and get counselling here, but I don't know what it will be like in South America!