I am writing for the first time yet have read on and off for years. (Almost 5) I initially arrived here broken beyond comprehension in desperate need of help. I searched many sites. Some members here definitely helped, but I feared telling my story because many members were beyond hurtful. I now know they were acting from their intense pain yet I was not in a head space to "take what I need and leave the rest". The "rest" that I didn’t subscribe to still hurt like a bitch. So, I backed off in search of more compassionate places to read.
That being said, I vowed to myself to report how my story turned out when I felt I was healed. I felt I owed it to the ones here who did help me and to push back on some of the absolutes so many hurting spouses spew. I don’t believe them to be helpful to anyone, ever. The statements I am referring to are "your marriage is a sham", "your spouse is not remorseful he is sorry he was caught", "your spouse is still cheating, he’s just underground now", "reconciliation is a mythical unicorn"… etc. Those statements were/are people simply pushing their truths, their reality, and their mindset on to others and it’s not helpful. Ever.I don’t mind these statements if they are preceded with "in my experience " or "me belief is…", but blanket Statements about my marriage or anyone other random internet stranger is ridiculous.
So, I am here to push back on some of those absolute statements. Before I do, I want to make clear I acknowledge they are many people’s truths in their situation, but not mine. Let me start with the one that bothered me the most as I was going through hell (user name) "your marriage was a sham or a lie". Nope, not my truth. My marriage was more than just fidelity. It was built on shared dreams and goals. Some goals we have achieved and many we still work for, even during cheating years we still worked as a team. We had wonderful now adult kids. We traveled. W e laughed. We loved. I worked hard to get all my memories back. My husband always said they were real "yes, I was being a cowardly, cheating asshole, for a longtime but it was all in a box and when I walked away from it each time she meant nothing. My family was always my priority". Now, is this an excuse to let him off ? Hell no. And did his actions match his words? Yes, and no. He was financially very faithful. Always worked multiple jobs and brought all the money home for me to not have to work or want for anything as I raised kids. I had a house cleaner and rarely cooked. (He’d often bring dinner home). He never told me no. He did his own laundry. When D day came about, the 180 was easy because he never had any demands or expectations on me to begin with short of caring for the kids. Throughout the cheating years we enjoyed each other’s company and shared love. The fact that he was also cheating does not change that. Yes, he had a horrible lie he was hiding, but that’s not all our marriage was. Therefore, my marriage was real and not a sham. He was behaving unbelievably awful, behind my back, but that does not negate our times together. If he had secretly been doing drugs for years would I think my marriage as a sham because he has a secret life? Nope. I’d just be hurt and pissed. For me, marriage is much more than undying love and fidelity and just because one is absent the marriage is still real. At least my marriage is.
Another absolute I hated was "your spouse is still hiding truths". Maybe, but I have no reason to think so. He answered all my questions as painful as they were.
And another "your husband can’t walk away after all those years without missing her"… well, if he didn’t he deserves an academy award for acting as he dropped her cold and callously. I’d have felt sorry for her if she didn’t deserve it. 🤷♀️😂 in fact, when I suspected he was cheating and asked, he admitted and was relieved if was over. She of course thought it was their "time". He was relieved to be done. I asked a therapist how he could spend years f’ing another and walk away and feel nothing? And could he do that to me too? Apparently it’s not that unusual. I am not making excuses or minimizing the horror show my husband inflicted on me. This is just my story. He knew his affair was just an escape and it was not real. Just a bunch of nonsense perpetrated by two mentally weak, unhealthy, and broken people. Hurt people hurt people. It truly had nothing to do with me. I was just the innocent bystander sucker punched.
That brings this too long of a post to my final "truth". My husband’s infidelity was not abuse. He never meant to hurt me. Never wanted to hurt me. I think abuse needs intent. For me, it does. I know many of you feel that your betrayal was abuse and I respect "your truth". It’s just not mine so I cringe when I see people insisting their truth is universal. I think it comes from a place of pain and extreme self doubt in one’s decisions. They need others to believe like they do. I don’t need others to feel like I do to be confident is my choices, but if offering my perspective helps anyone, I’ll tell my truths.
In a nutshell, almost 5 years out I am happy. My marriage survived. It is different. It would have been different with or without cheating as humans grow and change. Is it better because he cheated? Hell no! Is it better because he finally worked to heal his demons? Yep. Would it have happened otherwise? I don’t know, but doubt it. For me, staying was the right choice. There is residual pain and likely always will be. But, at my age, everyone has scars and aches. This is just one of mine. But, this marriage has also provided me a rich life full of family and unbelievable blessings. Those mattered to me more than the idea of divorce and the hope of finding a new love. That was never a priority to me. My dreams were always an intact family and happy kids. I still have those. My priorities may be different than others, but we get to decide our own life. This is mine and it’s wonderful. I’ll end this finally by saying I believe I will be married until one of us dies. However, if we do ever split, it won’t be because of his affair. That’s over and we’ve healed. I wish all of you newbies healing and an outcome you hope for. Whatever that is LIVE YOUR LIFE and TRUTHS.