Over the years I have been called nuts, stupid, ad accused of having low self esteem for standing by my cheating husband. I am none of those things. In fact I have a high IQ, I am very much sane (depending on who you ask), and my self esteem is too high. I am a kind, giving person, and spend much of my time helping out others. I am a dreamer and a mother, a writer and a friend. All of what I am is why I am able to forgive, but never forget.
I am not going to sit here and write out every affair my husband has had. To do so would take more time than I have. I'm only going to really write about the last time since that's the one that's still very fresh in my mind and by far the worse one to date (The girl was a completely manipulative, nasty person).
I am also not suggesting what my choices were are right for everyone. This is just a post to help others who may be now or in the future be standing in my shoes.
When a spouse has an affair it hurts. The word hurt can't describe the pain of it. I'll never forget that gut wrenching pain. It starts with hyperventilation that moves into a full panic attack. My emotions were all over the place. The last time I put my foot through a cupboard as Dave begged me to calm down and listen. I can still hear him saying I am so sorry please don't do this as I was screaming for him to get out. I'll never forget collapsing to the floor sobbing to the point I couldn't breath. Being 6 months pregnant didn't help at all either. I wanted to know who and why, questions he wouldn't answer. I held my phone in my hands wanting to call someone and talk, but I didn't know who to call nor could I see the numbers through my tears. I was completely paralyzed by the pain.
I had kicked Dave out, but he wouldn't leave. My mean side went into full gear. Since I wasn't able to sleep I made sure he didn't too. After about a week he stopped asking for forgiveness and finally left. By this time my friends and family knew and the embarrassment set in. It was like I had failed in some way. Then when I started hearing all the lies he was telling everyone about me I freaked. How could this man that only a week before begged my forgiveness be saying such horrible things about me. It wasn't until months later I figured it out. He was embarrassed too. He had to go day to day trying to explain how he could leave his children and pregnant wife. It was so much easier for him to say what a terrible wife I was.
Throughout this time he would call and ask me to forgive him. I never would. He was starting to go out and pretend to be a different person. He forgot about the fact he had this whole other life. He told me later it was because it was easier not to think about everything. I was growing more and more angry all the time. He was out having fun while I was at home mending six little hearts when all I wanted to do was break down. It didn't help when the girl was nasty with my children. I had to set all of my emotions to the side as best I could to get them through. There were still times late at night when my oldest daughter heard me cry and tried to comfort me.
We were separated a total of five months. In that time I gave birth while he was at the movies, I dealt with staples in Nellie's head, multiple er trips for asthma attacks for Nellie, and he was no where to be found. I was a single parent and I hated it. I missed laughing with Dave at the things Devony would do and being alone with the long nights with a newborn. I hated him. I hated him with all I was, but I still loved him too. I felt horrible when he came to me and told me how depressed he was and how miserable his life had become. Then he'd go off and pretend to be this other person again and my hatred grew.
I don't want to write this and come across as bashing only the other woman. In fact I have forgiven all of the other women so far. I had to really open my eyes and mind to see what these other women had been. They were weak, they had low self esteem, and weren't eye catching so to say. They were easy targets for a man who was looking to catch an easy score. Dave never wanted to lose his family. In fact he said I never would have left if I hadn't got caught. Does that make it okay, absolutely not! In fact in a way it makes it worse, but it also helped me to see it wasn't about what I was or wasn't. It was about his issues and the women who think it's okay to have a thing with a married man.
This last girl was the exception to the weak women he'd been with before. She was the aggressor in it all. She wasn't much to look at, but was young and liked to party. She told Dave how unfair it was he never got to do this or that. She promised sexual gratification in one breath and then would say but not as long as you're married in the next breath. She was the classic home wrecker and in Dave she saw an easy target. A man who struggled with self esteem himself, a man who worked a lot to support his large family, and a man with a history of cheating. I have tried over and over to see her point of view and be able to forgive her as well, but that hasn't happened thus far. Unlike the other woman she feels no remorse and she was, as mentioned above cruel to my children. She was the reason I wasn't willing to forgive him this last time. I couldn't understand why this person who was so ugly inside and put on such a front to the outside had weaseled her way in between my world and she just wouldn't go away.
I feel as though I'm starting to bash so I move on. one of the biggest things I grappled with was looks. I was obsessed by what she looked like. I am not an ugly person, far from it. I get hit on all the time and complimented on my looks often so when I finally saw her I was like what is going on here? Then I read something called the affair down. To learn more about The affair down click here. Nothing helped me like reading that did. It validated that I was the person I thought I was and it was not my fault.
So now you may ask how I came to the point of forgiving my husband. It was when everything finally blew up in May. I lost it on him and when I cut off all ties to him he couldn't handle it. He said he missed us, that it was over between him and her, he promised a better life, and to be a good husband. It was all things I'd heard before. He and I both knew nothing he said was going to make any difference to me. I'd heard it before and he'd messed up too many times. It was then that life kicked in. My grandmother was dying, our newborn son was having some problems, my uncle almost died...the list goes on. It was more than I could handle and he was there. He stood by me through it all and reminded me why he'd always been my best friend. He reminded me that the good times far outweighed the bad. Somewhere along the way finding a place back in my heart.
It has only been a few months now so I have no clue what the future holds for us. Dave reminds me everyday what I mean to him and that helps. He is seeking help with his issues and in order to stay he must continue in therapy for a very long time to come. I have had to accept the fact I am married to a man who can not control himself. I have to deal with the fact it could happen again. That is not something everyone could do. It takes a heck of a lot of strength and forgiveness. I have had to outweigh the good and the bad. It's isn't and never will be easy, but neither is life. Anything that comes easy usually isn't what it appears to be anyway.There are struggles to everything. It's what makes us grow stronger as people and better able to handle the twist and turns life tends to toss our way when we least expect it.
If you're reading this and you are dealing with an affair as hard as it is find things that make you happy. Go out, put on makeup, and live your life. For a while it will be you pretending, but you'll find as time passes you will be living again. Don't close your heart to forgiveness. It doesn't make you weak, but actually very strong. Remember you didn't do anything. You may be hearing people are saying this and that about you, but you know who you are not them. No one knows what went on in your marriage better than you. The pain will pass! I allowed myself to be angry. I said things I shouldn't have, but they were true. I gave myself the space to say the things I needed to. Yes, people may have thought I lost my mind, but I don't regret a word I said because it all helped me to later let go. I remember once the other woman said to me those are real good Christian values. All I could think was it's my Christian values that keep me from breaking out the baseball bat. I also found it amusing she questioned my Christian values. It was the things she said that proves I was the bigger, better person. Avoid at all costs getting into a argument with the other woman. I did my best to say what I needed to to my friends and family. Now I'm not saying I never said anything sometimes it was unavoidable. Most of all don't let anyone tell you to not cry, be sad, or be angry. You have to do what you have to do to get through the hardest weeks after finding out. It's in these weeks your true friends will reveal themselves too and the rest will just fade away. Lean on the people who stand by you, you'll need them more than you realize.
If it comes to the point you chose to forgive remember that's a long road as well. There are going to be fights, questions, and answers you may not want to hear. You need to allow yourself to open up like you may never have before. Your partner must be held accountable for his actions. You are also going to hear the classic it takes two to tango and that's absolutely true, but no one says forgiveness of the other woman has to happen any time soon. It took me years to let go of my anger towards one girl. She'll be the first to tell me now how sorry she is and how if she'd known me it never would have happened. She accepts the blame for her part and apologized. That's what made all the difference. Am I her best fiend no, but damn it feels good to not have to hate her. I doubt true, total forgiveness will ever happen for this last girl as she seems to think what she did was okay. Oh to be young again. Darn it I'm back to bashing. All I'm saying is you have to forgive your partner as he is the one in your life not her.
These are the things to think about when dealing with adultery and forgiveness:
1. Are you strong enough to forgive or strong enough to walk away. There is no in between do not make a decision until you can answer this question a hundred present.
2. Are you able to let go of all the emotions and move on? You can not throw the affair up in his face every time you have an argument. If you want to move on with him move on and act like you're starting over.
3. You're in a tough spot and no matter what you do it won't be easy.
4. If it's a serial thing therapy for him and you both as a couple is in order.
5. Take all of your values into account and make sure your choice reflects them.
6. Remember to do what you want and don't let others influence your decision. It's yours alone.
I think I have stated everything I needed to in this post and I know not everyone is going to agree with what I said. Remember this is coming from my own personal experience and my not be right for everyone. Some woman could never find happiness with their partner again or there are other things that just can't be worked through. Only you know what's right for you. You must take your time and ask yourself is this something I can deal with and get over. Take the time to weigh everything before you commit to anything.
For myself I'll be living day to day and taking things as they come. I pray my husband will never hurt me agai, but I accept the possiblity is real. I will not delude myself, but I will remember who I am and what my husband and I are together. We've made it through a hell of a lot and always came out hand in hand.
Love is what you've been through with somebody.
I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail, poisoned in the bushes,
blown out on the trail; hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn,
"Come in," she said, "I'll give ya shelter from the storm."
Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.