Despite my efforts to think positive and be strong, I am not always full of inspiring thoughts and happiness. Sometimes I just want to cry, curled up in my bed. Today I went to the grocery store which is the most common outing possible. As I was walking between the paper goods aisle into the frozen food section I began to think about how I shopped at this grocery store last year for our family while he was cheating. I started to dwell on how I was committed to taking care of the family–doing the things I didn’t want to even do or be responsible for–all the while, he was lying, deceiving his family and cheating. I finished my grocery shopping, loaded my bags in the trunk and began to drive home with tears streaming down my face.
My thoughts? Despite our healing and growth–this is now a permanent part of our love story, our marriage, our history. He can never take back what he did and the lies he told. No matter how I forgive him, he forgives himself and we rebuild. This is part of who we are. Problem is… I’ve always held myself to very high standards. Even as a child I wasn’t happy with myself if I didn’t try my best. If I got a B+ on a test, I was not happy with that. When I went to college I didn’t involve myself in relationships that weren’t good enough for me. I’ve never smoked a cigarrette or tried any drugs–because I want to live my life without that blemish. So now here I am with a husband that cheated on me. I guess I didn’t cheat. I didn’t cause the infidelity. But I have to live with it because he is my husband. His mistakes are mine. If he had invested all our money in his own business and gone bankrupt–would it hurt like this? No, because that would be chalked up to poor business decisions, bad luck or the economy. It wouldn’t reflect on our love.
Often when I tell him how I feel he gets upset with himself. He hates that he’s caused this pain. He said: “You didn’t and don’t deserve this. You have always been an amazing wife. I have a hard time looking into the mirror at myself right now. There’s isn’t much I like about myself.” I struggle with how his suffering makes me feel. I feel as though I need to love him and support him through his pain. But I should be more concerned about myself, right? I should be taking care of myself, not worried about his guilt and pain. He brought that on himself.
When I got home from the grocery store I called him to say I was having a rough time. He was at work and called me back right away. I told him everything I was feeling and he got very quiet. I asked him why he never weighed the consequences of his actions before he got in over his head with her. Why didn’t he think of what he stood to lose–me, the children, our marriage? He answered: “I thought about it but I never really believed it. You don’t truly think about it when you are in it.” Really? I don’t know if I can accept this. I’ve never been actually put in a situation where someone was directly trying to get me to enter into an adulterous affair–there have been men that flirt with me but never anyone that suggested openly that we cheat. But I work with many good-looking men and one of friends asked how my husband felt about that. I told her he knows I would never risk our marriage for a meaningless tryst. I thought about it–but it wasn’t ever a real scenario in my life. So is that the difference? When you are in it–you don’t think about what is at risk?
Yesterday my husband was reading his book about how to help me heal after his affair. He told me how he cannot believe how perfectly he fits the profile–how “generic” his situation was and how much he hates himself. As we were talking I asked him why it was easier to cheat on me than just tell me the truth. The truth could have been his self-doubt, his unhappiness or that he was in too deep with this woman. Any of it would have been better than cheating. He says he doesn’t know yet why he couldn’t tell me. Hindsight is always 20/20…. There are so many things I wish he had done differently. I find myself focusing on if he had done one thing–be honest about telling me this woman was going through a divorce or that she was coming into his office to talk more and more or that she was helping him with things with his business–even though she didn’t work there. Which thing could he have told me that would have prevented all this? Then I remember it doesn’t matter… I can’t go back in time and change anything. Nor can he. This is our life. And sometimes that makes me sad.