Murphy’s Love


Dear Stacy:

My husband, the father of my three children, is cheating on me. This is not the first time and we’ve been through therapy and sex addiction groups and all the rest of the things you do when your husband is a serial cheater. The truth is that I don’t want to live with this anymore. I don’t want to work on it. But my husband is very smart, ambitious, and tech-savvy. I imagine that he will have a lot of things to throw at me in a courtroom and I am scared about leaving him as a result. I don’t know what to do.

–Not Sure What’s Next

Dear Not Sure:

I can imagine it took quite a long time, and a variety of disappointments, to get you to the point of saying you don’t want to live with this anymore. I’m not going to talk you out of that. And I’m not going to talk you into more couples therapy and relationship exploration. Sometimes we just can’t work our way out of the web of resentment spun by infidelity. Sometimes we have to listen to our bodies when they tell us that we can’t take any more.

From your description, it sounds like you expect a fight from Husband. What do we do when we know we’re in for a fight? We start training. We gather resources. We make a plan. You need a guide to get this going and it’s not going to be a newspaper columnist: call a lawyer today. Look for someone with a specialty in helping women with children. Get someone smart. Make sure you feel confident in your decision and then trust Smart Lawyer’s advice.

At the same time, gather your own people around you. Family, friends, neighbors, a new supportive counselor – consider all of your options. You are going to need a support network and it’s always best to have those people in place before you drop the bomb that you’re onto him and you’re leaving.

Finally, stop putting yourself in the subordinate position by saying you “don’t know” what to do. You do know what to do. You might be afraid of it, but you know what to do.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to


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