Home » Hey Joe! Advice Column » Emerging from the Ashes

Emerging from the Ashes

Hey Joe, I could use some male perspective here. I have a 1 yr old baby but last year right after I got out of the hospital from having the baby; I learned my husband had cheated on me. I already know what everyone is thinking, but that’s not why I am writing. It began with someone he considered a good friend when I was 7 months along. Essentially, the short story on that is that he had  a serious breakdown during my pregnancy and decided to hide it because he knew I was nervous about being pregnant and labor etc.. I can almost even understand why he’d hide his breakdown.. but not when it lead to something like that. You’re thinking he confided in her and she reeled him in.. nope, he didn’t tell her anything. Instead, she played the damsel in distress and he ran to her aid when she threatened to kill herself. That’s how things got too involved, but – we’ve gone through this in depth and discussed everything. We’ve been more open and honest with each other than we have been through our whole relationship I’d say. Our fights are more fair, our time together is more precious and we don’t take each other for granted. We are getting stronger and we’re doing quite well. The problem comes in with my self esteem. I used to feel confident, almost cocky, with my looks (I had gotten into really good shape before the baby) but the double whammy of the terrible event and the giant baby (over 9 pounds) caused so much devastation. I don’t know what to do to get my confidence back. I feel like a shell right now; I’m a good mom and I’ve already lost nearly 50 of the 65 pounds I gained during the pregnancy but I constantly feel deflated and subpar and I worry all the time that my husband doesn’t see me the way he used to. I’m sure this is more my problem than his, he probably feels the same about me he always has – but I don’t. I realize nothing I did caused him to do what he did, but I can’t get past it. Help 😦

– emerging from the ashes



  1. Joe Smith says:

    Hi! Thanks for using the new e-mail address! As for a male perspective, I think I have that covered. I have been one longer than I can remember. As far as I can tell, you have several different issues here. 1st – he obviously cheated, and hid it. 2nd – why was the “friend” pulling the damsel in distress bullshit, and 3. Why did he fall for it? Let me break them down into equal parts here.
    He cheated. Believe it or not, this is ridiculously common. I’m not saying that makes it okay, I certainly don’t condone it, but I am saying it happens all the time. The question is, why? Based on what you’ve told me, and my own experience with having three kids of my own, it could very simply be for sex. From what I know about the female body, every pregnancy is different. You may not have wanted it when he did (it’s not right, but it is how it is). It’s difficult for women to understand the insane constant urge to always have sex that men have. The only thing I can even compare it to in your world is oxygen. If you have it, no problem. Go without for just a little bit, and you start to miss it. Go without it for very long, and you’ll do damn near anything to get it. Your mind shuts out nearly everything else until you get it, and then you can think clearly again.By then though, whatever you’ve done to get it, can’t be undone. Women honestly treat sex as though it’s merely a want for guys. It really isn’t. If sex was all that it was, now that you’re better than ever, and he’s confessed all, no worries. Based on his behavior now, that’s my bet.
    Next is the Damsel. How good of a friend was she? Also, was she your friend, or his? My guess is a little bit of digging would reveal that she’s done this shit before to other women. I have a theory that there are people out there that hunt for married individuals, because there is no chance of them getting attached. I’d check her out, and see if she’s doing it now with someone else’s husband.
    Why’d he fall for it? Because he’s probably actually a decent guy. A decent guy that made a huge mistake, but if he wasn’t at least decent, you wouldn’t have even married him. It’s natural instinct for a woman to try to calm a kid that’s raising hell. For men, we naturally try to fix shit. It’s just our nature (most of us anyway).
    You seem like a pretty good catch. If you are willing to work through his bullshit, even the horrific fucking timing of the situation, then you are head and shoulders above most women I know. As far as your feelings of inadequacy, the next time you are beating yourself up over this, just think of all of the girls you know. Then ask yourself if they would be strong enough, and confident enough in their relationship to move on after something like this. I’ll bet 90-95% of the time, the answer will be no. You’re way stronger than most for even trying, so keep your head up!
    emerging from the ashes says:
    April 21, 2013 at 12:50 AM (Edit)

    some answers to the things you asked:
    she works very hard to have a sob story for everything, she’s an attention seeker and this made her feel important. She began emailing and messaging me “comforting” me and telling me how strong I am/was and that I’d do just fine without a guy like that and about how beautiful I am and how I can do better. Her behavior is psychopathic and she could care less that there is a child involved.
    She doesn’t appear to have even given up yet, she keeps sending things under an alias.
    Why did he fall for it? Because he likes to be the knight in shining armor guy, he likes to rescue women because it makes him feel good about himself and because he genuinely believes that someone should be there to take care of them.
    Did he do it for the sex? He didn’t go after it, she begged him for it pretty much and he got his ego so inflated that it became like a drug to get the kind of attention she offered. She built a pedestal for him that couldn’t be rivaled because it wasn’t real. She said exactly what she needed to say. This was planned and executed very specifically and it is clear to me that this is how she handles all people. She only knows manipulation.
    And she was never my friend, I tried my best to be friendly with her and she would make conversation but that was all. I still kick myself for all the obvious things that came my way and told me to cut him off from her long before this happened. I can’t change the past and yet it is one of the things that haunts me most about this.
    tinkadele says:
    April 23, 2013 at 10:04 AM (Edit)

    Hi, I know that you wanted a male perspective but I can don a moustache and we’re practically there. I think the first thing is to not blame the other party (the female) more than your own husband, they were both equal in this – it takes two to tango. I think it is so admirable that you are ironing out the creases in your relationship to make it work, in a usual case, I would say go on a rampage and put his clothes out on the lawn like a lunatic but since you have children and given other surrounding circumstances and the way that you have handled it up until now, I’d say you’re doing the right thing. I’m sure the thought of him almost losing his world – you and your children – has given him a reality check. However, you are naturally going to be cautious and a little unstable in the relationship going forward. I really think you just need more time, time is a healer, he needs to gain your trust back and as more water passes under the bridge you will feel more secure in the knowledge that he won’t be doing that to you again. He does love you and that is why he is making this work with you, rather than taking that route with her any further. The insecurities are coming from his cheating on you, you have to take that out of the equation for a moment – if you’re wanting to move forward – and realise that you haven’t changed so you don’t need to be insecure. You don’t need to do anything more than you did before to keep hold of him, he’s the one who needs to be putting in the extra mileage to reassure you.

  2. Oh and I just saw the title of this post was emerging from the ashes. I would request that joe change the title to emerging from the assholes. Now I can go boil myself.

  3. arielleofearth says:

    Right.. this bitch your husband was dealing with is clearly a sociopath, you’re husband clearly is NOT a sociopath and therefore I can see why your blame shifts more heavily to one side. I think most people can look back and go “holy shit that guy was poisoning my life!” but it’s all in hindsight. Granted; this in no way means he should ‘get away’ with what he did. I’m sure he isn’t, in any case; but as your your self esteem.. having a baby is rough on everyone. I have one of those tiny people, myself, and pregnancy does a number on your self esteem, especially when all the physical changes are as drastic as they sometimes can be. My advice is to go into your workout mode, whatever that may be and focus on being the best mommy you can be. The puzzle will put itself back together when you do. You were most damaged by all of this and it’s clear that the blast radius is right on top of you on the radar but your child is more important than any of the other people in the equation. Focus on your baby and yourself – everything else will fall into place.

  4. bossymoksie says:

    I agree with these answers.
    That other girl is shit, don’t worry about her or focus on her. Focus on yourself, getting your mind right, and your baby.

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