Does involving the word 'love' alongside sex in a relationship make it worse to cheat than if it involves just 'sex' alone? I recently discovered my husband had a 7-month affair while working away during the week and he claims it is forgivable because he did not love her and it was 'merely sex'.

I think the problem with cheating is the cheating part. You and your husband made an agreement, presumably in good faith, that you would not do the very thing he did. I doubt if at the time he stipulated that he might have "merely sex," but would abstain from sex + love. So...he violated your agreement, and this gives you a reason to regard him as in the wrong. Period.

As to whether his violation is forgivable, I suppose it is. But that is entirely up to you--not up to him. He doesn't get to tell you that he deserves forgiveness--that adds presumption as an additional violation to the one he already committed. So the issue of forgiveness is yours to decide. He may ask for it; he may beg for it. But it is your decision entirely.

I can see how loving the other woman might have added to the offense (though I don't see how the addition would convert a "forgivable" offense into one that is unforgivable--because even had he loved her, you might reasonably determine that it was best to forgive him--after all, it would still be entirely your decision whether to forgive him or not). But I think the main issues here are two:

(1) He already violated your love (whether or not he loved the other woman), and the isssue that needs to be resolved is what you (and he) are going to do about that. So I think his trying to make the issue whether or not he loved her to be a case of misdirection--he's changing the focus from what is most important to something much less important.

(2) He seems to think he is in a position to command--or at least make a justified argument for--it being the right thing for you to do to forgive him. He is in no position to make such a command or argument, because it seems to me that you, as the wronged party, are entirely in charge of that issue. On this point, too, it sounds to me like he is trying to put one over on you. Were I in your shoes, I would regard his argument as making him less worthy of your forgiveness, on the ground that he doesn't seem to "get" the fact that he is the one wholly in the wrong here.

If you do decide to forgive him, then he should be humble and grateful. If you don't, then he should make his retreat knowing that once he did what he did, he lost any ground for telling you what you owed him. He owes you!!!

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