Dear wife whose husband loves another woman,
I loathed reading your story because I have been where you are. There is no pain in my life that compares to that of finding out about my husband’s affair. Notice, I said husband, not ex. We made it, and you can too! It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
I saw the comments on your article, so many well-meaning women who believe you are delusional or submissive. But I know you better than that.
I know that you were blindsided, because I was, too. Like you, my husband is a man of faith, and we grew up together as teenagers, high school sweethearts. It was a lovely and beautiful story, until suddenly the words came out of his mouth, “I’m having an affair.” If he didn’t tell me himself, I wouldn’t have believed him because he was the last person in the world I ever expected to hear that from.
Like so many of the posters, I was the woman who said, “If my man ever cheated, he’d be out the door so fast!” The irony of being that woman and having to eat my own words was never lost on me.
But here’s the thing: in the hypothetical situation, before you have lived it, you can’t fathom the experience itself. And one thing I have come to learn about infidelity is that no two stories are alike. Some spouses cheat many times, and give encouragement to the adage “once a cheater, always a cheater” and others just end up there in completely unique ways.
In my case, my husband had an emotional breakdown. He had never properly dealt with some trauma from his past, and experienced parental abandonment at the same time he was sent away from our family for work. It was the perfect storm for Satan to attack, and that’s exactly what happened.
A co-worker began to catch his attention. He knew that was wrong. To this day when he talks about it, the guilt and shame are so evident on his face. He fell to the temptation. In his emotional weakness, he filled himself with anything that would mask his pain including drinking and other things, too. It was absolutely horrifying when I found out just how deep the problem went.
There I was, keeping the home fires burning, while he is acting like a single man partying away. To this day, reflecting on being that wife devastates me. Knowing we will always have this ugly stain on our lives is truly heart breaking.
I knew this wasn’t my husband. I knew this was a product of so much, and thankfully even though my husband had developed feelings for the other woman too, he finally came to his senses and realized all he stood to lose.
I, on the other hand, blindsided and betrayed in the worst way possible, immediately went into damage control. Somehow, I managed to keep the house afloat and raise my three young children through it. I read all that I could, I opened up to my pastor and a few friends and family I knew would be trustworthy, non-judgemental and prayerful. I wasn’t expecting to be a divorced mom of three kids, and I wasn’t OK losing the life I had built and having my future dreams suddenly squashed.
So I stuck it out. Oh, the stories I could tell, but in the limitation of words I have to keep it simple. My husband returned home, left the job he was at, and like yours, committed to trying even though his heart seemed elsewhere. We went on a marriage retreat, we did counselling separately and together, we completed step studies through Celebrate Recovery to overcome his brokenness that lead to his affair, and my brokenness after going through it. We screamed, cried, argued and made up.
It was not easy. It’s now been five years, and it’s still not always easy. But it is so worth it. My husband made poor choices that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, I will too. But I would even if we didn’t reconcile.
My children are growing up with their parents together. We now have a greater sense of commitment to our marriage. My husband is open, honest, and completely willing to hear me out whenever anything bothers me. He is completely sober and honestly, an even better family man than ever before because he knows how close he came to losing it all.
Our marriage will never be the same, but it is healing. Not all situations are black and white, and it’s not always the right choice to stay, but I knew in my heart it was and I haven’t regretted that. Someone told me at the time, “You took your vows seriously, and you will fight for your marriage until you believe there’s no fight left.” And that is exactly what I did.
My husband’s bad choice hasn’t destroyed us because I didn’t let it, and I’m pretty sure that’s harder than just leaving. That’s courageous—when your heart is broken into a thousand pieces and you choose to forgive and trust the one who shattered it in hopes of the marriage you always dreamed of.
You got this. I am rooting for you. I am proof that you can do this!
Hang in there. Rome wasn’t built in a day . . .
Praying for you, friend!
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