I've posted one of these previously; here is the latest. Again, R is going very well, but I'm still one hurting individual. Comments/feedback appreciated.
We are moving on. Every day we are putting more distance between us and this horrible ordeal. We are (hopefully) about to move forward with the purchase of a gorgeous new home. It’s the home we’ve always wanted, but more than that, it’s symbolic of a new, fresh start for our family, and for us. It’s a wonderful opportunity.
You are the woman with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. I know that for sure now. I can see your remorse, and I believe you now grasp the enormity of the pain you have caused me, and the damage you’ve done to our family. Your owning up to the affair and the damage it has caused has helped me to heal, tremendously. You’ve done almost everything right so far.
But I would be lying if I said I was fine, and have moved on from the biggest shock of my life, and put it safely inside some locked-away place in my heart.
I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t trade this home for a chance to go back and erase the events of this past year. I would.
I am going through a process of slow recovery. I’ve moved from shock and disbelief, to bargaining, to grief, to anger, and now to disappointment. Eventually I believe I will reach acceptance, and perhaps even some level of forgiveness, but I’m just not there yet.
I hesitated at first to write this letter because I know they are difficult for you to read. I know you want us to turn some corner and put it behind us, but I just can’t do it—yet, though I am getting there. And I need you to know how I really feel, so I am continuing to write to you, to let you know how I am feeling inside and not bottle up any resentment.
Right now what I’m experiencing is disappointment, because this affair did not need to happen and should never have happened. All marriages hit bumps in the road, or in our case, valleys of emotional distancing. These problems are not unique to us, they happen to almost everyone. We are not a special case. Look at XXXX and XXXX; she has admitted to you that her tank is near-empty at times. So has your sister with her well-documented problems; so have many of your other friends. XXXXX and XXXXX have had really rough times. My parents. The list goes on and on. Everyone goes through what we had been going through prior to the affair, or other, similar marital problems. What matters is how you choose to address them.
Unfortunately, if I had to grade your response to the first major crisis of our marriage it would be an “F.” You reacted in a disastrous manner. You were like an alcoholic who, confronted with a crisis, grabs for the bottle instead of doing the hard work of working on the underlying problem. You chose a selfish, childish escape route, and self medication, instead of being a responsible adult.
I believe in the saying that you can tell the character of a person not in good times, but in bad. Soldiers say that the mettle of a person is revealed under fire; that it’s easy to be brave before the shooting starts, but true character is revealed when it begins. Your character did not shine in this instance. I was not a loving husband then, but what you did to me was horrible, and many people would consider it unforgiveable, a divorce-able offense. And it didn’t have to happen, but now we’re left with permanent scars. I will never be able to un-listen to the voice mails I heard, un-read the terrible record of phone bills and texts, and un-see the mind movies of you and him together.
I wrestled with leaving you many, many times. But I have chosen to stay. I am choosing to call it an awful choice by a good person at heart. Almost everyone deserves a second chance. This is your second chance, and I hope you appreciate what I am giving you. You get another chance to shine and show the true quality of your character. I know you have it in you, because you are a good person.
But I can’t help but feel profound disappointment, too. Your needs were apparently so great that you gambled with everything, including your family, your husband, and yourself—your morality and decency and integrity—for an old, married, selfish, male chauvinist; a narcissistic jerk and a lifelong philanderer with a broken, fucked-up family of his own making; a guy who used you for sex; a guy who makes XXXXX look like Father of the Year. And a cowardly half-man, too. You were worried about retribution when I told his wife, but he wants no part of me; he lied to his wife and had no problem immediately throwing you—his “soul mate” or “angel” or whatever other horse shit he shoveled at you to get you in bed—under the bus, calling you mentally unbalanced and a liar the minute this ugly affair was exposed. That’s his real character, who he is at heart. A user, and a liar. And this man almost destroyed everything I’ve ever cared about.
Please tell me that now, looking back, that what you felt for this fraud was not love, but an alcoholics’ craving for the bottle, and he filled that need, okay? I cannot and refuse to believe that you loved him like you love me.
I need to say it one last time: If you ever again feel unhappy in our marriage, please do the right thing and a) tell me, then either b) commit to work on it, or c) ask for a divorce. I will not be part of another ugly incident like this, ever again.
So with that disappointment off my chest, let me move on to better things, and a look at our future.
I am sensing that we are turning a page. And I am beginning to see opportunities instead of darkness. You and I are at the peak of our lives, and are full of potential.
I have my whole life to be a better husband. I am not going to abandon you emotionally or leave you feeling unwanted and unappreciated. I did it once, and I will not do it again. I am going to be an active player in our lives. I am going to bring joy to your life and the lives of our children. I am going to achieve my goals, and smile more than being sad.
And you have your whole life to make amends. You have years and years ahead to demonstrate your true character. To show that you believe in concepts like truth, and integrity. I know you do believe in these things, and now you get to show it.
Here is what I know about you.
You are a strong, self-made woman. You worked hard to put yourself through school. You are a respected professional, and your peers and the parents of your kids have put you on a near-pedestal. You deserve their praise.
You have taught our children organization and discipline. You are forging them into responsible adults. And they love you.
You care for other people. You give selflessly of your time. You volunteer to watch other people’s children, and host wonderful parties, because you like making other people happy and making them feel at home. These are admirable traits.
You are strong and fit, and have turned your body into something for which you should feel proud, and that makes men’s heads turn. You are an athlete and a talented runner.
Be proud of who you are, and the family you have built, and the good you have bought to the world.
Yes, your character did not shine this past year, but it has shined before, and it is shining now, in your actions since. That gives me all the hope in the world.
This experience won’t define you. It did not kill us, so it will make us stronger.
I love you,