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'AITA for wanting a divorce after my wife said she was tempted to cheat on me?' UPDATED

'AITA for wanting a divorce after my wife said she was tempted to cheat on me?' UPDATED


"AITA for wanting a divorce after my wife said she was tempted to cheat on me?"

For background, I (33M) and my wife "Kate" (32F) have been married for eight years. We have one child (M3), who was unplanned but not unwelcome.

When my wife found out that she was pregnant, it obviously came as a surprise to us. She had been taking birth control ever since we started dating, since we agreed that we were not financially ready to have a kid. However, after being married for five years and advancing our careers, we felt like we could make it work. Thus, we decided to keep the child, and began planning for the next phase of our lives.

Prior to Kate getting pregnant, she worked as a waitress at a local restaurant, making just above minimum wage once tips were factored in. On the other hand, I am a construction worker who made 2-3 times more than her at the time. We lived in a decent apartment, but we agreed that we would need a real house to have the space for our child, so we began looking for our first home.

During that process, and as Kate's pregnancy went further along, she quit her job to focus on preparing for the baby. We found a house that we liked, but it was more expensive than I was hoping for.

I make good money working construction, but having to fund two people, a new mortage, and buying all the supplies a baby needs is not easy. I began putting in more hours at work to be able to afford everything, resulting in me being able to spend less time at home with my wife.

The baby finally comes, and he's a healthy little boy. I couldn't be more proud, but once he was born, Kate began to change. She was more tired and stressed, having to care for a newborn, which I don't blame her at all for. I know kids are a lot of work; I essentially had to raise my little brother who was ten years younger than me growing up.

However, Kate would also complain that I wasn't around very often, and that when I was home, I wouldn't help with the baby as much as she thought I should. I explained to her that to be able to afford the house, the baby, and the two of us by myself, I had to put a lot of extra hours in, and when I come home every day, I am exhausted.

I lift heavy s%$t for a living; I'm lucky to be able to make it through the day without my back being terribly sore.

Still, I tried to help out more. I changed diapers where I could, fed the baby where I could, etc. The one thing I refused to do was get up in the middle of the night, which is something I know upsets her. My reasoning is that I'm barely getting five hours of sleep a night, and if I get any less, I'm going to be an utter wreck on the job. If that happens and I get less hours or even get fired, we're financially screwed.

As time went on, we kept making it work, and eventually things get less crazy and stressful. The older the kid gets, the less constant attention and work he needs from us. That's not saying caring for a toddler is easy, but it's easier than caring for an infant who can't sleep through the night.

Two months ago, Kate suggested that she get a regular job again, and that we use the extra income to pay for a nanny, and in general help with the expenses. I agreed, because I was exhausted and the idea of being able to put in less overtime sounded great.

Fast forward to last night, and Kate has been working as a cashier for six weeks now, we've hired a nanny, and the money situation isn't nearly as tight. I was able to work less, though with Kate working now, I'm not able to see her in the mornings, which is usually when I would see her due to how my shifts work. I thought things were going great, until Kate sits me down last night to have a conversation.

She admitted to me that there's a guy at her work who's been flirting with her, despite knowing she's married. He's funny, easygoing, handsome, etc. She said that he asked if she was available to go on a date behind my back, and though she said no, she was "sorely tempted" to say yes.

This blindsided me then, but now that I've had a day to think about it, I think I can see how this happened. She was always upset that I wasn't home very often, wasn't there to help and support her with the kid, and so on.

Our current arrangement allowed me to have more energy when I came home, but since she leaves for work in the morning before I wake up, the actual duration of time I see her each day has shrunk even further.

I think that the reason she was tempted by this guy at work is that he's giving her the attention she wants from me. I can understand that, but it also pissed me off. Frankly, I've been busting my a$$ for three years to afford our child, the house she wanted, and her ability to be a stay-at-home mom.

I've been working 10 or 12 hour days six days a week to afford this, and she's tempted by some guy at work after knowing him for six weeks. I felt betrayed, more than I ever have before.

I asked to see her phone, and she gave it to me without resistance. I went through all her contacts, deleted messages, everything, and didn't find anything suspicious. I don't believe that she actually cheated and is only pretending to be "tempted" to, but I suppose it's possible.

She seemed genuinely remorseful during our conversation, but that didn't make it feel any better. I told her in the heat of the moment that I want a divorce, and this caused her to break down in tears and beg me to stay. She asked if I would tear our family apart over just the idea of her cheating, and I threw her words back in her face and said I was "sorely tempted."

I then went to bed and ignored her attempts to get me to talk, since I had work today, the work that has kept our family afloat for the last three years, and more if you want to count the five years I spent making 3 times more than her.

I thought about this all day today, and I'm not sure what to do. I can't get over the idea of my wife wanting to cheat with the first man she's spent any extended time with in three years.

She asked me if I was going to throw it all away over a feeling, but she was going to do the same damn thing with guy from work. She's angry that I got angry at her in the moment, but I think I have good reason to be furious. AITA?

Comments on the first part of the post:

Unless you're willing to stay married to a woman tempted to have (or has had) an affair, it would be a good idea to talk to an attorney. Not only to protect yourself, but also your son.

she told you and was honest about it. she didn’t cheat. neither of you are the a#@hole but i do think some couples counselling wouldn’t hurt.

ur feelings of betrayal are valid, but recognize your wife’s emotional needs too. Her admission may have been a cry for help. Work together on finding a balance

Edits from OP:

After reading through many of the comments here, I've decided that I'm going to have a thorough conversation with my wife before taking any harsh action like divorce. I feel, or maybe I just hope, that there's still a chance for us to be happy and healthy together, despite everything that's happened.

For starters, I'm going to tell her how I truly feel about all this, not just what I was thinking in the heat of the moment when she told me about what happened with the guy from work. It f%^&#@ng hurts to know that my wife was sorely tempted by some stranger she met six weeks ago after being married for eight years and having a son together.

I've busted my a%$ literally and figuratively to be able to afford everything, and I feel like she hasn't been appreciating that. I understand that she's been busy at home taking care of the kid, but if we were to trade jobs for a day, I highly suspect she would change her tune regarding the division of work and effort that we've been putting in.

Also, I plan to tell her that I want her to quit her job immediately. Even if she wasn't tempted at all, I don't want her around the type of scumbag man to take advantage of married women. If she doesn't agree to this, then I will have to assume that there's more between and guy at work than she's letting on.

Lastly, I want to discuss what needs to be done in our relationship to mend it at this point. As many commenters have pointed out, she's almost certainly feeling Ionely and neglected with how little time we get to spend together, but I'm not sure how we can improve that while maintaining our current lifestyle.

If I'm going to be supporting our family on my own, then I simply won't have time to spend with her during the week. A few commenters suggested she get a job with hours that align with mine so that we're home at the same time, and honestly that sounds like it could be a partial solution to this.

Even if it's just a few hours a day where we can both be home, and I'm not falling-over tired, it would be better than what we have now. And as she slowly gets raises and promotions, I'll be able to work less and devote more time to her and our son.

I'll probably update this post tomorrow once we have that conversation, but for now, I need to get to sleep. Thank you everyone for all the feedback and advice, truly.

Comments after the edits:


She is a cashier and you can afford a nanny?

How does she make enough to pay for a nanny and ease the burden of finances as a cashier?

Update from OP 15 hours later:

Before I get into the update, I need to clarify something that many commenters were asking about on the initial post. I edited that post as well, but decided I should put the explanation here as well.

Many people have been asking how my wife getting a job was able to pay for a nanny and me reducing my work hours slightly. The answer is that we live in the northeastern USA, where minimum wages are good (relatively speaking), and that "nanny" was a poor choice of words on my part. She's more of an informal babysitter, not an official job.

She's a college student who wanted to make some money while taking online classes, without dealing with the hassle of getting a real job. My wife makes around $16 per hour with a standard 40 hour work week, while we pay the babysitter $10 per hour for five hours per day, five days a week.

After taxes on my wife's income and paying for the babysitter, we have around $900 a month left over that has allowed me to reduce my hours slightly.

Now, for the update. I called in sick to work today, which is something I rarely ever do, and asked my wife to do the same so we could sit down and talk about everything. She agreed, and this morning we had a long, heartfelt discussion. I told her that I was sorry for what I said in the heat of the moment.

I don't want to divorce her, I was angry and hurt and wasn't thinking about the damage threatening divorce would do. I told her that I understand things have been difficult for us the last three years, but I was shocked that she would be "sorely tempted" to cheat on me after just six weeks with some random guy at her job.

I told her that having been the sole, or at least the main provider for our family pretty much the entire time we've known each other, I felt like I wasn't being appreciated enough for the work and effort I've been putting in.

She said she felt the same way, that she felt like she was struggling thanklessly since I was never around to be with her. I told her that that was only the case because I had to make enough money to pay for the kid and the house she wanted. (And before anyone tries to twist my words, I love my son dearly. I am not simply "putting up" with him because she wanted to keep him.)

If I took less overtime to see her and help with the kid more often, we'd have trouble keeping the lights on. We both agreed that we needed more time with each other at home, but talking out how to make that happen took awhile.

Eventually, I told her that I stand by what I said to her when we first bought the house we are currently in: it is too much house for us. It's a two-bedroom, two-bath house with more area than we need, and the mortage and property taxes are too high.

I brought this up when we first looked at the house, but my wife insisted that this would be the perfect house for our family to grow up in, and that once it was paid off, we would be set. But seeing how much we've struggled to afford this house while slowly falling apart physically and mentally, I think she understands now that it's too much.

After some prodding, I convinced her that we need to start looking for a house to downsize into. Selling our current house will give us enough cash to pay off the mortgage, though not by much. Once we're in a smaller home with smaller expenses, I won't have to work as much, meaning we can spend more time together as a couple and a family.

She told me that she "just wanted [my name] back," and I honestly almost cried hearing how much she meant it. I was so focused on work and paying the bills that I lost sight of what we needed as a couple, and our marriage very nearly imploded because of it.

The final issue to address was her job, and more specifically the scumbag who was hitting on her while knowing she was married. Given our current financial situation, it would be stupid to make her quit her job and go back to staying at home, plus it would probably only make her feel trapped again since she only recently got back out into the world after bring a SAHM.

However, I can't stand the thought of that guy even looking at my wife, especially since I know she harbored some sort of interest at some point, even if it came from loneliness and desperation.

I told her that at the very least, she needs to report the guy to management/HR and ask for different hours so that they are never in the building at the same time. If that happens, then there's no reason for her to just quit, but if that doesn't happen, then I'll be helping her look for a new job immediately.

Things are still difficult right now, but as I type this a couple hours after the conversation, I think we've pulled back from the point of no return. We're both just taking the day to calm down and think rationally about what needs to happen to get our financial and personal relationship back on track, but I'm hopeful.

Thank you so much to all the people who gave advice and constructive criticism. I know lots of you suggested couples' therapy, and while I'm considering it, that's another big expense I don't want to take on right now unless it's absolutely necessary.

If things continue to improve between my wife and me, then I won't waste the money, but if things start to stagnate or get worse again, then I'll bite the bullet and suggest getting professional help to her.

Here's what people had to say to OP after the update:

Fantastic update! Most of us were rooting for you. Isn't it wonderful when sitting down like a grown up and having a conversation works out!? So glad for you both.

OP responded:

Yeah, I see now that this conversation was needed a while ago. Both of us trying to just push through it nearly ruined everything. Thank you for the kind words.

Yeah she’s going to HR to report a guy for something she was reciprocating. That’s not fantastic.

Hope things work out. A two-bedroom home seems like it's required if you have one child--that's what we started with.

Oh boy. Letting her stay at the same job as the guy eh? Will be on the lookout for the next update.. 🍿

No offense, but your wife sounds like a child. It's insane that she wouldn't immediately push back on any advances/flirtation by her co-worker. Its disrespectful to you, your child, and herself.

OP says:

She agreed to report him to HR tomorrow. I might update this post tomorrow depending on how that goes.

See everyone tomorrow?!?! 🍿🍿🍿

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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