Ask Audrey: 'My husband cheated on me with our daughter's teacher'

Audrey Griffen
Contributor

Audrey is a mother to a 15-year-old with another on the way. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey dishes out the advice for a woman who's husband of seven years has cheated on her. Photo: Supplied

Dear Audrey,

Last year I found out my husband of seven years cheated on me with our daughter’s piano teacher and I don’t know if I can ever forgive him.

A family friend saw them all over each other at a restaurant about two hours from where we live, and felt she needed to tell me about it.

I’ll forever be grateful to her that she did because who knows how long it would have gone on if she had kept quiet?

When I confronted my husband about it, he initially tried to deny the whole thing, saying he was away for work that weekend and she must have mistaken him for someone else.

But after a while he admitted it all. They’d been seeing each other for three weeks, ever since a recital I couldn’t attend because I had the flu.

He told me she meant nothing to him and that he would call it off and never her again - and for the sake of our daughter, I decided to give him another chance.

As far as I know, they haven’t spoken since and I’ve found a new piano teacher for my daughter but I just can’t seem to move on from his betrayal.

I feel humiliated, angry and devastated at what we’ve become. I don’t know if I can ever trust him again. Should I keep trying to mend our relationship or let it go?

Thanks,

Torn wife

The woman only found out because her husband was caught in the act. Photo: Getty Images

Dear Torn Wife,

What a predicament you are in! Infidelity is so crushing, I’m sorry that you and your family are going through this.

Your feelings of betrayal and anger are totally understandable and are to be expected for someone in your situation. How can you accept that someone who you love and trust, your husband of seven years, values you and your family so little that they would jeopardise it for a fling? His actions would bring into question your own worth, and for me, that’s where I would get stuck.

So how do you get past this betrayal? I feel it will need to be a multi-pronged approach.

Firstly, if you have a counsellor or psychologist, book in with them to discuss what’s happened, purely from your perspective. You need to be able to express the emotions that are swirling around in your body without feeling like you have to be sensitive to anyone else’s feelings, or that perhaps that what you’re saying could cause damage to your relationship.

Often, we try to internalise and deal with these emotions alone but unfortunately, just because you’re not verbalising doesn’t mean your anger and humiliation can’t be felt through your energy by those around you.

While he told he he'd never see the teacher again, she doesn't know if she can forgive him. Photo: Getty Images

It’s ok to get some release by speaking to your close friends. We’ve all had those chats with our friends over a wine or ten, but bear in mind that they are only wanting to protect you and may very well say some things that, should you decide to stay with your husband, could taint your friendship.

Next, put it to your husband that for you and your family to be able to move forward, he needs to put the work in for himself. He needs to figure out WHY he needed to go outside the relationship to fulfil whatever need it is that led him to betray you like that. There’s no excuse for his behaviour but understanding where it’s come from will hopefully enable him to never feel the need to take that path again, and to reassure and prove to you that he values you, your marriage and family.

Lastly, for when you both have had some time to process your emotions separately, it’s time to get some counselling together. It's important to understand that infidelity is often a symptom of something bigger, something else that is not working within the relationship. This is tough, but if you're ready to do the work - I've seen a similar couple close to me pull out of a nosedive and back to loving, caring family life when they took this step.

Both Osher and I have gone to couple’s counselling together for various reasons, especially when it seemed like we were speaking different languages to each other, and neither of us was able to understand what we were saying to each other.

While it was effective, it did also highlight that sometimes the issues I was bringing to the relationship couldn’t be solved jointly - I had to deal with them on my own, and then we could come back together to work on a solution.

This happened a few times, and I’ll admit, I became very resentful of couples therapy until I did my own work. It helped me feel like change was achievable rather than trying to solve personal and couple issues at the same time.

For your sake and your daughter’s sake, if you find that after you and your husband do all this work, that you can’t truly accept and move on from what’s happened, take a break.

You may think you’re doing the right thing by your daughter in trying to push through, but it could end up doing more harm than good for her. Children are perceptive creatures and can tell when something is up between their parents.

Unfortunately, they are still just children and may assume that the problem is in fact them or something they’ve done, and not their mum and dad’s relationship.

Your daughter deserves to be surrounded by love and safety, and if you feel like that is becoming impossible despite both you and your husband’s best efforts to love and feel safe with each other, then she’s better off not to be brought up in that environment.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for you all that you all can move forward together, and that you’re able to feel acceptance and safety in your relationship with your husband.

Audrey x

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