Hope for Our Future

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.
— Lewis B. Smedes

When I look at my husband’s infidelity and try to evaluate why and how it happened, sometimes it doesn’t surprise me. I mean on the outside everything was happy and perfect. But that was somewhat of a facade. We were happy and involved. We have friends we enjoy spending time with. We enjoy spending time together alone. We are both involved in our children’s lives–coaching, volunteering in their classrooms and whatever they ask. We went on vacations and spent time with our families. We did love our life. 

So why doesn’t it surprise me? Because we weren’t making time for our marriage and making sure our love was safe. Our sex life was dwindling. There were times when we only made love once a month. We both not only wanted and desired more intimacy but were afraid to communicate those needs. WHY? HOW did we get there? We are very comfortable together in bed and communication has never been an issue. I noticed he was changing in bed…. his erections weren’t as firm and a few times he would lose it before the fun began. I knew it was natural and part of aging (he’s in his mid-40s)…. but I thought if he didn’t want to talk about it then I shouldn’t force the issue. But then we were both avoiding the issue. Pretending intimacy was not a integral part of marriage. The facade began to build….

And the more we ignored the issue the more we ignored other emotions. I don’t blame myself for his decisions and choices. I blame myself for not speaking aloud the thoughts in my brain. I thought we needed to see a sex therapist but never said it. I thought he seemed to be pushing me further away in bed but ignored it. I thought he seemed upset about something–something unrelated to me–and I ignored it. 

I guess, I thought marriage was easy. I think I actually said that a few times. I thought if you truly love someone and he loves you–then nothing could ever challenge that love. The truth is we are all human. We all have weaknesses, self-doubts and insecurities. And if someone is looking to capitalize off our insecurities and self-destruct, they will. 

Marriage is sacred. It may not be perfect or protect you from pain and suffering. But a husband and wife need to protect the marriage. Put the marriage above the menutia in life. For better or worse–those are the vows. When you say them you never can imagine what worse will mean to your marriage. You can only envision happiness and purity. This is my worse… my worst fear, the worst thing he could have done to me & our marriage, the worst pain. I will take the memory of this infidelity and make myself and our marriage stronger. We will grow from this and become better more fulfilled people. 

In an effort to strengthen our marriage and heal we are dating again. We are talking about our insecurities and desires. We are making love… multiple times a day. And the sex has never been better. [Don’t worry, we’ve been tested for STDs and are practicing safe sex.] We take time for each other first–before the children, work, everything. Our love is actually stronger right now than it has ever been. I am not afraid to reveal my pain and fear, and neither is he. I may never forget his affair but I am on a path to forgiveness. 

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6 thoughts on “Hope for Our Future

  1. I recently found your blog and was amazed at some of the parallels of our situations…

    Our 37 year marriage has always been loving and happy, we were considered the ideal couple by our family, friends and the community. Not only that, we have always really LIKED each other and genuinely preferred each others’ company over spending time with anyone else. But then a few years ago, I noticed my husband distancing from me, not being as attentive and generally treating me like I was some kind of annoyance. He began drinking more, even smoking pot in the evening and checking out from me physically and emotionally. Our sex life had also dwindled, and like you, I chalked it up to the middle age blahs. And also like you, we had both become dissatisfied with our sexual and emotional connection, but were too complacent, polite, and ultimately annoyed with each other to say or do anything about it. I had never felt suspicious or concerned that my husband would cheat (he wasn’t the type…now I realize that ANYONE is potentially the type!!) but a friend of mine suspected he might be having an affair and encouraged me to do a little snooping. It didn’t take long for me to find the flirty texts between him and his long-time coworker. And in that sickening moment, I knew that it was more than flirting and it had been for a long time. For anyone reading this who has had their own DDay, you know what I mean when I say that I will never forget that moment in time; trying to stay on my feet, my head swimming in circles and feeling like I was going to faint or throw up.

    And I really wanted to tell you that I loved your Thanksgiving post; I nodded in agreement as I read each line. Thank God he was NOT in love with her. My husband had been looking for an escape from his affair, but she was in it for the long haul. Let’s just say that there were threats of blackmail involved on her part, and he was definitely not looking to create a scandal, either at his workplace or with me. She loved drama, and even though she was married and had children, she called him her knight in shining armor and wanted him to leave me so they could be together (he told her he would NEVER do that!!) And, by the way, she is married to a man that she had a workplace affair with while they were both married to others. That affair produced a child and broke up their existing marriages. Interesting that it didn’t take long for her to tire of that relationship and start planning a life with MY husband. And as you also said, she brought stress, pain and regret to his life. He hated himself and the man who he became when he was involved with her. He was RELIEVED to finally be caught, even though he was heartbroken at the pain that he caused me and our grown children. Fortunately, they were no longer working together when I found out, so he cut her off swiftly and completely. He gave me complete access to his phone, computer and emails. He was done with her, and damn happy about it.

    So I say to you, bravo for working on your marriage. If your husband is truly sorry, happy to be finished with that ugly and deceptive way of life, and you two are in counseling and still in love with each other, your marriage can be better and stronger than ever. Like you, we now put our marriage first, have lots of fun, playful and loving sex, and do not take one another for granted in any way. We snuggle, flirt, cook together, check in with each other and pay attention in ways that we never have before. And even though the pain from the betrayal will never completely leave me, it is less and less every day. I choose to concentrate my focus instead on our recommitted love and the depth of the history that we share. And even though our kids would not speak to their dad for over 6 months after I made him tell them the truth, they can now see (and he has told them) that he is ashamed, remorseful and would never go back to that way of life. They have forgiven him, and I believe their marriages will be stronger because they have seen first hand the heartache that affairs bring to ALL members of a family, not just the husband and the wife.

    I’m sorry to have taken so much space here, I really just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Infidelity, unfortunately, is everywhere. It is what we do with it, how we go forward with our lives that we have control of. Expect more from your marriage. Give more to your marriage. With this blog, you are sharing an important example of what works and what doesn’t. Thank you so very much…

    • Hi Stephanie… Thank you. Reading your story and feeling those emotions that we both share hit home. It’s true… this can happen to anyone. Like you said–I never would have thought my husband would get involved with anyone physically or emotionally. He loves me and it tore him apart being invloved with this woman. The way you described D-Day was spot on… that moment when you see one email or text that makes your head spin and wonder if the floor was just pulled out from under you. Everything you thought becomes an unknown. Everything you believed is clouded with doubt.
      I wish I knew five years ago what I know now. Even great marriages are fragile. Humans have weaknesses and you have to take care of yourself and each other. Admit your faults, doubts, struggles to your loved one. Let your spouse see you as you are–don’t pretend to be stronger than you are. Love is precious. My marriage is a blessing that I will never take for granted again.

  2. Wow! I feel like I know you all and we are BFF’s. I have been reading bits and pieces of the blog since my DDay 6 weeks ago. I have a weekend to myself so I am starting at the beginning and working toward the end. i can’t believe how similar all of our stories are. What a journey this short time has been. My discovery was similar to Stephanie C in that he was so relieved that the affair was over. He has gone above and beyond to be the man he should have been. I have access to everything and have the cleanest chandeliers and perfect yard in town. He is trying so hard reading, counseling, talking, listening, and praying. I jump from yes I can do this to absolutely not on a daily basis. I ask myself all the questions you all have asked. We had a great marriage,we were active in the community and I was very content in our world. We talked all the time, we went everywhere together, went on date nights at least monthly, went to counseling here and there just to check in, and had sex on average 4+ times a month at least. I am so frustrated that I have to make a choice I never ever wanted to make. The only set back at this point is that the other woman who I have named Pernicious, (named with friends over a big margarita). Look it up it might make you laugh. Anyway, she will not go away…she has contacted all community organizations we were involved with and anonymously told them about the affair, called his work to try get him fired and even posted something on our church website. She says he has a moral obligation as if she was not involved. We have asked her to stop and she continues to tell me more details than i care to know. We have had to take legal action which has made it all the more embarrassing. I just want to try to think about our marriage. I feel bad for her because he told her so many lies to keep her from telling me. I know she believed once I knew then they would be together. I just keep asking where is her husband in all of this and how does she feel that my husband owes her anything. Enough of her. This is about me and my husband and the years we have built together and where we will go from here. Well I better get back to reading considering I am in Nov of last year. I am thankful to read all you have experienced. It gives me great hope for a future.

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your story. I had to chuckle about Pernicious. I am glad you have friends and margaritas to get you through all this! Margaritas are the cure all–I swear. 🙂
      I can’t imagine what Pernicious’ agenda is to be so persistant? The only thing I can imagine is that she just wants to split you two up but she fails to see all she is doing is bring you closer together. When my husband and I learned about the lies of his OW–I couldn’t help but ask–really? You couldn’t see Crazy coming? Oh well…

  3. I am just over 3 weeks since D-Day. My husband was having an affair with our live in au pair. Your comments about marriage being sacred are so true.
    Both my husband and I had previous marriages that didn’t work – ironically his first wife left him for another man, mine had no infidelity involved. But we both knew that love wasn’t enough, that marriage required work. We actually started marriage counselling a year ago because we recognised that things weren’t that great and we needed help to figure out how to get back on track. We were working on it, monthly date nights, better communication, more touches, though sex wasn’t that regular with us both working full time with two young children. Despite all this work he still had the affair. I don’t feel like we could have been doing anything more to prevent it. Which makes me so terrified that it will happen again.
    Thank yoiu for your wonderful blog – it has been a great help while I ride of the rollercoaster of emotions! I even send some to him to read as you capture the emotion so well.

    • I spent the first year (or more) fearing that this [an affair] could happen again. My husband could promise me whatever he wanted but he cheated once. We’ve all heard the line: Once a cheater, always a cheater. I have Other Women write me constantly telling me my husband will cheat on me again. Yet, recently I spoke with a man who told me about a similar event in his marriage. His wife discovered he has been keeping something a secret for over ten years. While it wasn’t an affair she discovered, there was now a lie and some intended deceit in their marriage and she was furious. He said that having to come clean and realizing how he had let her down and hurt his wife made him never want to lie about this again. I think if you can get through all the crap that comes along with discovering your husband’s affair and he can apologize, repent and atone for his mistake then there is a good chance he will never cheat again. It will take time to trust him again. Trust is difficult to earn back once it is lost. Our eyes are wide open. We see things differently now.

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