Reasons to stay after betrayal

staying 3Once you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful; has betrayed you and broken your trust in the most despicable manner, you realise that your life will never be the same. Every foundation that you thought you were standing on gets ripped out from under your feet and you have nothing but tumultuous free-fall.  In the midst of this whirlpool of despair which drags you to emotional depths you didn’t imagine you had,  not only do you have to somehow comprehend the horror of it all, you have to make a decision as to whether to remain in your marriage and somehow accept adultery or seek divorce.  Neither option is attractive; and neither option is one that you ever predicted you would have had to face in your lifetime.

 

For me, the circumstances of the discovery played a role in how I responded and why I chose to remain in the marriage. Prior to D-day, all I was aware of was a kind of distancing from my husband but nothing that caused me any alarm.  We had been together for ten years and I appreciated the natural ebb and flow that occurs in long term intimate relationships.  I thought it was a midlife crisis of sorts for him, related to his work and also his lack of passion for anything in particular.  I would ask what was wrong and would get nothing much back in return.  He would say that he felt differently about me but could not explain it in any comprehensible fashion.  The stance that I took was to allow him the mental space to work things out in the hope that in time it would pass and in the meantime thought it best just to love him and try to understand he was going through a difficult patch.  It makes me weep to write this.  There I was, working on my conviction that I loved him and needed to be kind to him even though I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the shift that I was sensing in his feelings towards me.  I asked if there was someone else.  I asked if he was gay. No, was the reply.

 

Then, a type of crescendo occurred in his behaviour and attitude. Over a few days, after we had come back from our holiday, I knew he was becoming increasingly troubled.  One night I just held him and we both cried and cried.  I felt that I had reached him in a way that had not been possible for months.  He clung on to me really tightly that night in bed, telling me over and over how much he loved me.  I tried to sooth him.  To sooth myself.  By the morning, any ground that we had made was lost.  I got up and went about my day.  Had lunch with an old friend.  I can’t recall how it was when I returned home, but I do remember him sitting on our couch with his head in his hands repeatedly saying “I don’t want to be here”.  He was ignoring anything I was saying.  I remember that I went to bed first and was reading my book when he opened the bedroom door to inform me that he was going to sleep in the spare room.  This had never happened before under any circumstance.  I was lost for anything more to say.  I let him go into the spare room and then after a couple of hours of uncomfortable restlessness I left the house and went to my brother’s house to stay.

 

I arranged a meeting with my husband two days later in a neutral location. I told him that I’d heard him clearly and was not prepared to continue as we were.  If he didn’t want to be with me I would accept it but I wanted him to move out, to go and stay with friends because I was finding it all too difficult.  I don’t know how, but I kept my tears held in tightly until I had driven far enough away in order to park in a side road and weep and weep and weep.  He had seemed relieved and I believed that his love for me had somehow disappeared.  That he had fallen out of love with me.  I could not work out for the life of me where it had all gone so dramatically wrong.  From a sense of disconnect to this complete break up between us left me reeling in shock.  In such a short time I had moved from a belief that I was happily married to the understanding that we were separating. How could the marriage have faltered so badly without me knowing? But, I know that you cannot force someone to love you, and honestly, I would not want to. He moved out a couple of days later, saying he appreciated my understanding.  Of course, he did not go to stay with friends, he went to stay with Pig Shit who must have offered him peace and solace between her legs whilst joyously happy basking in her understanding that she had ‘got’ her married man away from his wife.  12 shags over a period of one year and that was enough for her to believe in her ‘romance’ and that they were now going to live together, happy ever after, now that I was out of the picture.  Really, what woman in her right mind would have thought this a possibility?  Didn’t she smell the rat that had entered?

 

I put our house on the market, visited a solicitor and cried myself to sleep for about two weeks. I consumed a fair amount of red wine too.  We were polite with each other via e-mail and texts; as he works from home I had to deal with some of his work matters that didn’t travel so easy.  I was just getting along with it and I have to say I was exceptionally strong.  This is what has amazed me the most.  When I thought he had stopped loving me, I was able to confront that devastating truth with courage, resilience and acceptance.  But, after ten days of separation I was shocked one morning, when he arrived on the doorstep.  He looked lost, dejected and somewhat vacant.  I invited him in for tea (it’s an English thing) and from then on, the road to his return was laid.  I was not prepared to just have him return.  I needed him to provide some explanations for his behaviour.  Over time he said a few negative things about our relationship but nothing that shocked me and nothing that couldn’t be easily rectified.  He did keep saying it was him and that he had got lost and didn’t understand himself which all fitted into my perception of him having a midlife crisis.  We met with his mother (because she was/is a problem for him and us).  He met with my daughter (his step daughter) and with me on several occasions until I agreed he could come home and we would try to breach the gap between us.  He was over the moon.  I really mean this.  He was absolutely over the moon.  And I, in my naivety, believed that we would be able to get our marital discord sorted with relative ease and that he would ‘find’ himself again and be the man I thought I was married to.  But this feeling didn’t last long.

 

Two days later Pig Shit decided to text me and the rest is history. Whereas I can confront the possibility of my husband not loving me anymore, I could not for one single solitary second face the reality of him committing adultery and lying to me.  My rage erupted.  I wanted him OUT! OUT! OUT!  I crumbled.  Why didn’t he just stay with Pig Shit?  I had made it so easy for him.  What insane impulse led him to leave me only to return in such a short space of time?  Why didn’t he tell me the truth BEFORE returning?  Well, I know his answer to this and he is probably right.  Whereas I would not have let him return – once back in the home he would have a slim chance of staying.  That slim chance materialised.  It is almost four years later and I have to say that I do not doubt either his determination to make amends for what he did or of his honesty towards me.  Equally, Pig Shit was totally out of the equation so I was not subject to any overlap between us at any time in our recovery.

 

I think my motives for staying are clear to me. I had had a good past with him, and from day one post D-day he has stepped up to the plate and shown me behaviour that convinces me that he is deeply remorseful and committed to being trustworthy and loyal. I believe our future has every prospect of burying this shed load of toxic waste if he/we continue in the same manner. But each experience of adultery is different and clearly every betrayed spouse faces a unique set of circumstances in which to make the decision of whether to stay or go.  I have not had to engage with the ‘pick-me’ dance that some spouses face and up until recently had not given thought to why anyone would agree to this charade.  However, it’s so easy to think you will do what you say you will do.  Reality is a different playing field.  I didn’t think I would ever accept a husband committing adultery but I have.    Just recently I have read a book which opened my mind to why a woman might agree to the ‘pick-me’ dance.  It made total sense to me and if I were in her shoes, I’d likely do the same.  It was because she had two young children, and this made all the difference.  But I think her strategy makes sense in a number of ways, even if young children are not involved.

 

You see, it all has to do with the OW. We KNOW that a woman with no scruples about having sex with someone else’s husband is a dirt bag; in fact that’s probably her major attraction to the unfaithful husband. I don’t think it’s what they cultivate between their ears that create the lascivious infatuation.  I’m sure that my husband was craving arousal rather than intimacy from Pig shit.  The OW won’t be any sexier than the wife but I guarantee that she will be sluttier.  And of course, the husband becomes an equal dirt bag by his actions with her, so really the whole thing is a degenerate process enveloped by the stink of betrayal.  In anger, it’s easy to say that he deserves to have the dirt bag OW – lock stock and barrel.  HOWEVER, at the end of the day, he is one woman’s  husband and maybe the father of lovely children too and the OW inveigling herself  fully into the husband’s  life is not necessarily going to be the best idea for the betrayed spouse,  whether she chooses to stay or leave her husband.    My husband is not the man I thought he was, but to be honest he deserves better than Pig Shit.  She would have thought that she had hit gold with my husband.  He would have simply hit rock bottom.  Yes, you could say he deserved it but what if you don’t want to see him punished in such a fashion? And what if you don’t want the OW to have the satisfaction of thinking that she’s had a victory albeit a pyrrhic one?

 

Staying 2The book ‘Couple Mechanics’ written by Nelly Allard has really got me thinking differently and I am far more sympathetic to betrayed spouses who do their best to pull their spouse away from the OW.

The wife in Allard’s book is not shy of the truth “He’d betrayed her trust, he’d reduced them to a tawdry mediocrity she didn’t want and didn’t deserve” – this certainly sums up how I feel. Her hatred of the OW is, as we all know, something very difficult to acknowledge and then deal with.  In the novel, Juliette, the wife was “disturbed to acknowledge a mounting feeling toward [the OW], a feeling she had recognised as hate.  She loathed what she herself was becoming because of this woman, loathed the violence building inside of her.”  She knew that she should have resented her husband alone and that it was unfair to focus her anger on the OW but it didn’t stop her wanting to “crush her head between two stones”. 

 

At times in the book I just wanted Juliette to fuck her husband off as he vacillated between her and the OW, but by the end I fully understood that IF she had not thrown down the gauntlet it was likely that in his weakness he would have just been led by the nose (maybe the penis) into a hopeless situation with a disturbed young woman who was desperate to be in his life AND to have a part in his children’s lives. Before this book I hadn’t realised the severity of this scenario.  I am now deeply sympathetic towards betrayed spouses who have to somehow accept that the dirt bag OW will now have intimate contact with her children.  I think the maternal instinct would really kick in here for me.  Irrelevant of whether the long term marital future is secured, at least dragging him away using whatever means available, means the dirt bag gets vanquished whilst the wife gains the emotional space in which to decide upon her own future.

 

Perhaps deciding to stay need not be a romantic response. Hell, the adultery fed off that myth!  It is difficult for any woman to learn that she has been a cuckquean but we must be cautious about conforming to social expectations.  As Lauren Rosewarne suggested in ‘Cheating on the Sisterhood’ “For many betrayed women, external pressure and cultural perceptions about the significance of infidelity may motivate departure.”   It may also be harder for those of us who consider ourselves to be feminists of some kind.  Rosewarne goes on, “the nature of betrayal by the person you love most in the world, compounded with cultural and political expectations that you leave, may make departing seem like the appropriately feminist response”.

 

Should we decide to stay, others’ responses to our decision can be quite resolute and this can be a challenge to face along with the challenges already being faced by the trauma of discovery.  But maybe we need to reflect deeply upon this before we make any decision that will dramatically impact our lives. As Juliette notes in ‘Couple Mechanics’, “People have a clear idea of how women who’ve been raped should behave, they also have a very clear idea of how a betrayed woman should behave, what she can and can’t put up with, what she should and shouldn’t accept, and in the name of women’s dignity and integrity, the consensus was that it was their duty to be intransigent, that they were required to choose glorious solitude over flawed love.”  

 

But Rosewarne offers an alternative perception on staying. “If a woman decides to exit her relationship because of an affair, her actions may be construed as handing victory to the other woman, regardless of whether the man stays with the other woman.  To throw in the towel in this manner, to give up and let the other woman or women – more broadly – partake of the spoils of a relationship breakdown maybe a sufficient deterrent to the betrayed woman walking away.”

 

“For some betrayed women, while the affair may have been perceived as a relationship threat, her ego, stubbornness and competitive streak may prompt her to decide that it will not RUIN her relationship.” Citing the work done by Shirley Eskapa (Woman v Woman) “women who resist in an unnecessary divorce frequently gained immeasurably in self-respect and in many instances the marriage was stronger”.

 

Marriage recovery need not be the unicorn that many suggest. Obviously I am not suggesting for one moment that a woman needs to accept any and all acts of adultery, but I am saying that we need to recognise the complexities and contradictions of choosing to stay.  It is a very tough choice to make and as with all choices there are no guarantees, and it may take a lot of time to establish a firm footing with each other after one has betrayed the other, but it’s OK to fight and it’s OK to feel like it’s a battle.  When I look back at my husband’s adultery, I liken it to being placed in a boxing ring with a blindfold and my staying 4hands tied behind my back with a host of collaborators in ring side seats watching  me get hurt by my husband and Pig Shit.  Now, and forever onwards, the blindfold is off and nobody will tie my hands behind my back again.  I will never be able to blindly trust a man again but at least with my husband he understands why, that in itself helps me because he ensures that I never have reason to be suspicious and this offers me a peace that I can bathe in.

 

“Despair and fear do not disappear overnight when the conditions that wrought them have changed. You can’t change the tale so that you turned left one day instead of right, or didn’t make the mistake that might have saved your life a day later.  We don’t get those choices.  The story is what got you here, and embracing the truth is what makes the outcome bearable”  Gail Caldwell; New life, no instructions.

 

“But we keep making our way as we have to. We’re all pretty much able to deal even with the worst that life can fire at us, if we simply admit that it is very difficult.  I think that’s the whole of the answer.  We make our way, and effort and time give us cushion and dignity.  And as we age, we’re riding higher in the saddle, seeing more terrain” Darin Strauss: Half a life

 

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21 thoughts on “Reasons to stay after betrayal

  1. Nuthatch

    A sound reasoned piece as always. So glad that you are forging a new marriage. It is really heartening after all the crap you have endured.

    I’ve long suspected that my H is on the autistic spectrum – high functioning aspergers. His behaviours, the way he speaks, formulaic responses, lack of both empathy and emotional intelligence and in particular the difficulty of healing when faced with a man who withdraws in the face of emotional pain and turbulence. It became particularly apparent in Counselling. Unfortunately the Counsellor has no experience of Aspergers. As his wife, I know H better than most. The silences………….more than just pregnant pauses. He is not diagnosed however Professor Baron-Cohen’s autistic spectrum questionnaire suggests H’s score is highly indicative of this developmental condition. Aspergers is NO excuse for infidelity. However H might misconstrue verbal and non verbal communication he still knows right from wrong. I am left thinking how much of him is his personality and how much is aspergers. Expert opinion suggests that me as the neurotypical needs to make most of the changes and adaptions to construct a relationship. Conflict needs to be minimised and generally suppressed. Support to be gleaned from elsewhere. To me, that implies I will lose who I am and possibly end up with autistic characteristics myself. I am left thinking that after having had to try to heal for 27 months in the company of a man who struggles with communication and doesn’t understand empathy that this is just one more component that I now feel unable to cope with. I understand that I cannot expect to get my needs, my emotional support and socialisation with H but need to maintain a life of my own. It then begs the question of why are we married? He is happy to escape to spend hours playing computer games and pursuing other solitary activities and the sadness is that he just doesn’t get it. I thought he was just selfish but maybe this is partly his condition – I don’t know where the division is anymore between who he is and how much is the autistic spectrum.

    I’m 60 years of age, second marriage of 5 years and if this is it I feel that on top of his affair it is more than enough. Having to heal myself and then change myself and lose my authenticity is just one step too much. It has affected my health – no doubt. There are a lot of males who are on the spectrum – more than females however if there is motivation, there are strategies that can be employed. Personally, I’ve lost the energy to drive this forward anymore so am opting out for a few weeks to decide where I go from here.

    For all those who can – fight the good fight. At present, I feel life is short and I’m too old.

    Love and hugs x

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      Dearest Nuthatch, it’s funny but since the adultery I’ve looked at my husband differently. My first husband was older than me, this my second husband is nearly five years younger. I made a mistake with his behaviour. What I thought was boyish charm is actually stalled emotional development. I watch him communicating and recognise the difficulty he has in ways that I hadn’t noticed before. I’m 60 also so relate to where you’re at. I understand you not wanting to fight. You have to make a decision though (when you’re ready). Love and hugs back to you xxxx

      Reply
  2. laurelwolfelives

    Staying, for me was never an option. Did I “hand him off to that WTC?” Nah….I just let the water seek it’s own level. My level was much too high for him. He made his adulterous bed….and now he’s sleeping in it. He has no honor and neither does she. That makes me smile.

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      Laurel, of course I appreciate that for some it is an impossible call. If you know for sure you’ll never be able to get over the reality of it then it would be a waste of your life to stay. It’s good that you can smile. They must be miserable, everything I’ve read suggests that their future is fractured from the start. Do you have young children?

      Reply
      1. laurelwolfelives

        No. All of my children are grown…and gone. They chose him and that tramp. They have less “drama” and everybody wants “dad to be happy.” Makes me want to puke. LOL

      2. laurelwolfelives

        I would have never in a million years thought my life would have ended up like this. I would have never thought the only “family” that was truly mine would disappear. I guess that’s what I get for thinking, huh?

  3. janine99nz

    Thank you. This has given me a better understanding of why I stayed. My husband also described himself as lost.

    We are now just about 2 years post D day. We are about to go away for a long weekend to celebrate 25 years of being together. Silver wedding anniversary is next year..

    Marriage is now stronger and my husband is a better husband and father.

    Thank you again for your amazing blog. It gives me hope.

    Reply
  4. owlieme

    I had my husband call the other woman whilst I was in the room. He explained I was there, I knew everything and that it was over. There was just silence, for a long ten seconds – silence. I often have wondered what she felt she lost in those seconds, and what I won.

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      She didn’t have much to lose owlie, apart from her fantasy. She lost her fantasy and was reality slapped with the misery of participating in adultery. You won a lot, although I know it doesn’t feel like it. But you never lost the high ground ever! Thanks for responding.

      Reply
  5. ijustlookbadonpaper

    It’s so typical of us as humans to resoundingly state what we would do in a “what if” scenario. Sadly, reality greets most of us eventually and our former predetermined choices come crashing all around us. Finding oneself in the midst of an adulterous marriage, is so very many things, but one thing it is not, is certain. Your decision and ability to move forward with that decision is so dependent on so many factors. I still wish for a day that my husband’s proclamations of love become more than just words and that maybe, I could have the option to stay. Once again, thank you for this piece.

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      Ijustlookbadonpaper – lovely to have you join the conversation – thanks for responding. Yes, it’s a human thing – we think we will know what we will do in a situation but the truth is until it happens you cannot be sure. I don’t consider myself very brave so when I hear stories about what people did during the resistance in WWII to Nazi Germany I always say that I couldn’t possibly be so brave. BUT the truth is, I might be. Unless I was in that circumstance how would I know? Equally, people who think that they would be brave – would stand up and be counted – sometimes back down in the reality of the situation. And of course there is always a big difference between what we say we do and what we do in practice. Espoused theory and theory in practice – there’s a lot of research that supports this view.

      Reply
  6. kaye72978

    I really loved this post and appreciate you taking the time to write and share it! I think my husband’s OW is so vile that he would never have chosen her and had he known her true personality prior to the affair, I don’t believe he would have ever pursued it. All he saw, instead was a woman flirting, and making his ego feel good!

    I think you hit the nail in the head when you said the OW isn’t sexier but she us sluttier than the wife! I think a wife needs to know that.

    My husband and I have clawed our way to restore our marriage. It has been so painfully hard. I lost a great deal of respect for my husband during the affair and I think there will always be some loss there- but seeing him work so hard to be a very different man has also made me so proud of him! There’s a genuineness, a humbleness, and an honesty in him that had been lost for a long time and it thrills me to have him be real and vulnerable.

    He did hit rock bottom when he pursued the OW and he dragged me there with him but I do love him too much to let him stay there and he didn’t want to be there. The affair being discovered was the first bit of light that shined on the step of recovery, and sometimes we walk it separately but most of the time we’re making it out of the pit leaning onto each other and our faith!

    I’m so grateful that even when I felt like I was walking it alone I had all of you, in this little community that has been forged to help me stay the course and urge me on when all the hurt and pain became so overwhelming!! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      Thank you for your response Kaye, your situation sounds very similar to mine. I’m glad that you’ve been able to reconcile. I agree it is very painful and very hard and we definitely lose our respect for them along the way but staying can be the best choice. Only the individuals themselves know what’s best and it’s not straightforward even then! I think part of the choice is what we think about – what we focus upon. For a long time I focused on his adultery and what I thought of him during that time but now I find it easier to focus on the good times we had before, the good times that we have had since (and these have been shared with a man much more vulnerable and caring than he ever was before) and I’m very hopeful for our future without being naïve. I agree about our community and how helpful it is. I’ve had a few miserable trolls but in the main it has all been very positive. Hugs to you.

      Reply
  7. Elsie S

    I have been silently reading your blog for a while.

    Your reasons are so perfect. I caught my husband cheating and have not left him (not yet, atleast).

    I find him remorseful. But I want to someday make him understand the gravity of the betrayal. He is cozy in the fact that I have not told my or his family about it.

    Did your husband tell his friends or family about what happened between him and Pig Shit?

    Reply
    1. marriagerecovery Post author

      Hi Elsie, great to have you join the conversation. He had a truckload of male friends from school days. They would have lads nights & a few times a year, couples nights. One couple (who introduced Pig Shit who also went to the same school – yawn) encouraged & facilitated the adultery. A couple of the other males socialised with husband & Pig Shit in pubs. This couple were planning their own wedding whilst all of this was going on. My husband was to be best man!!!!! Go figure! Anyway their marriage went ahead without us. The shit had hit the fan by this time & ALL his schoolboy chums are out of our life. Totally.
      My daughter knows and has accepted by decision with grace. If she hadn’t I doubt my marriage could have sustained her disapproval.
      His mother now knows – told in the last year – but she is a wretched woman, no empathy and certainly not much love between mother & son.
      My girl friends all know but we form a separate sisterhood of kinds – seldom have males enter the conversation. Most of them don’t get how serious and how devastating adultery is so can’t comprehend my turmoil fully. But hey, I was no different before it happened to me.
      Nobody at work needed to know.
      Husband has, in effect, had to build himself a new circle of friends. He likes male company. He has joined a cricket club and this has become a healthy focus for him and a welcome additional social events for us as a couple.
      The one casualty for me has been my brother. I didn’t know how much he disliked husband. Our split gave him the opportunity to offload his feelings to me and although he doesn’t know about the adultery he has used our split as a way of withdrawing from husband completely. This is difficult and my brother is a stubborn old man but I will not be coerced into having a husband that my brother approves of. I believe he should accept my decision. I’m 60 – hardly a child and have survived well thus far without his guidance.

      D-day was an explosion and the carnage was necessary in order to rebuild a new relationship with different boundaries.

      Time has helped things to settle and a sense of normality is returning. I don’t think we will ever get over the trauma that his adultery created by I do know that slowly but surely we are getting through it.

      I’m glad my blog helps. I can only offer a partial perspective but it helps me. I wish you courage and love for your future.

      Reply
  8. Brokenpieces

    Marriage recovery, how do you feel now on a day to day basis?
    I had “forgiven” my H for cheating on me approx. 1 1/2 years ago.
    However, recently I broke things off for good as I found that I couldn’t shake the betrayal from my mind.
    No matter what I did it always seemed to follow me wherever I would go.
    Example: having a bad hair day? Ow always looked perfect.
    Feeling dumb? Ow was highly educated
    Feeling insecure? Ow was dancing on table tops every weekend – at least according to her social media account…
    I guess both the combination of the betrayal as well as the insecurities that erupted from it has haunted me since D-day.

    I went through a year of therapy to try and forgive and “forget”, but was unsuccessful.

    Does your H affair still haunt you to a debilitating point?
    How often do you think of the affair on a day to day basis?
    Do you still have triggers or has too much time passed now?
    Do you truly feel that you will ever fully forgive him and the situation, or is this still a one day at a time scenario for you?

    Reply
    1. Iris

      Brokenpieces, I won’t answer for MR but:

      It just shows how bad some therapy is if it was supposed to facilitate you forgiving and forgetting. Why should you do either? How can you do either? You can learn to trust again over time if a person’s actions earn your trust; small actions, many actions, repeated evidence of kindness and reliability. Forgiveness stems from that process over time, again: as you say you had only ‘forgiven’ him. Too soon of course. One and a half years is no time at all. It isn’t surprising that you can’t shake off the betrayal yet. He had a lot of work to do and maybe he can’t do it. Maybe he’s just weak. Maybe he isn’t worth it.

      Nor is it surprising that you’ve decided to end the marriage. Only you know what’s best for you, and at this stage it is all about you. Not about your husband. Not about some idiot posting selfies of her perfect life.

      No woman should feel inferior to an OW. Bad hair day? I believe some woman is running around right now cursing her ‘good hair’ as the world’s greatest diva puts a baseball bat through her reputation. Screwing around with someone else’s husband behind their back is nasty, it’s unkind. It lacks class. No excuses. You will come out of this the winner.

      Reply
    2. marriagerecovery Post author

      Dear Brokenpieces. On a day to day basis I feel really good about my decision to stay and the shape that our marriage is taking. I believe that this has a lot to do with him ensuring that he does all he can to ensure that I don’t have any insecurities about us. So, his behaviour and his actions validate his words. Time also plays an important role. It’s almost four years that have passed. I seldom experience a trigger and when I do, it doesn’t burn like it used to.

      Interestingly, I am not the same woman. The experience of adultery has changed me – I am now a woman who can accept that my husband did what he did. I don’t understand forgiveness. I think it’s a Christian concept that it would help me feel better but quite frankly, why do I need to forgive him? He did a terrible thing and he is deeply remorseful. I accept that life rolled out in a way not of my choosing – but hey – life does that! I could dwell on the rubble that remains of his adultery but it doesn’t help. Instead I look around at what we are building and believe it or not our marriage is now what I would want in any relationship. However, I didn’t know this previously – I just thought that our marriage could be a backdrop to our lives. Now our lives are the backdrop to our relationship. It is a point of focus. We are so much closer now than before the adultery. I like this very much. I feel valued, loved and treasured.

      I understand that not every marriage can be recovered. If the betraying spouse doesn’t want to be faithful then there is not much hope and from what I read on Chump Lady it’s hell on earth when you are continuously played. Equally, if the betrayed spouse finds the principle of adultery cuts too deeply into their sense of self then there can’t be much hope. A friend of mine with a beautiful family – lovely wife, three gorgeous sons and a wonderful lifestyle – found out that his wife committed adultery with a student of hers. She told her husband. It was so STUPID – it meant nothing to her and she became broken by her own behaviour. But, my friend just could not accept what she did. No matter how much she begged and pleaded. He just couldn’t accept it and therefore couldn’t stay no matter what. It was terribly sad.

      Every adultery is different, every marriage is different, each of us as individuals bring different traits to the table. We can only do what we think is right for us. It’s a choice we have to make. I know it’s not fair but life is not fair. But, it takes two to reconcile and if you can’t let go of the horror of the adultery it will be so corrosive that it will eat itself up even as it happens. This cannot be a healthy way to live.

      Reply

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