Summer is here and I’ve been distracted from writing. I am busy with the kids, with my husband and catching up with friends and family. But I haven’t had a day yet where the affair hasn’t crossed my mind. Lately, I am very happy with my husband and my life. There is almost a sense of calm and contentment, reminiscent of my pre-affair marriage.
Last week my husband and I were kayaking out on the lake enjoying a beautiful day. It was serene, peaceful, romantic and fun. There wasn’t a problem in the world in that moment for us. This was how our marriage used to be. There was no overshadowing of sadness or unhappiness. No worries of trust or infidelity. We were happy. Truly happy.
I remembered later that day this was how my life used to feel—those moments in the kayak were my everyday life. Everything in my marriage was perfect, happy and loving. We respected each other and we were faithful. Our happiness was real. When I first discovered the affair I questioned my own happiness. I thought I was wrong. Even as my husband told me he was happy and never stopped loving me, I started searching for problems that didn’t exist. And I know that even more now because I can feel it again. When we are living our life and not burdened by the affair… we are infinitely happy. I want to enjoy those blissful moments and let them encompass my life again.
It hurts to know our wonderful life wasn’t enough to keep him faithful.
I am surprised by my emotions sometimes. Just when I begin to believe that things are so good and I won’t be triggered and breakdown again—the pain surges inside and I feel myself begin to crumble. I wonder if summer itself is a trigger. My husband established his secret “friendship” with his AP two summers ago. She spent the summer of 2011 zeroing in on his vulnerabilities until she had him hook, line and sinker. Just after Labor Day they slept together. He had an entire summer of red flags being waved in front of his face, but he didn’t see one of them. Last summer, he realized he wanted to end the affair but he couldn’t do it alone. Last summer is when I realized something was really wrong in our marriage. My husband was not okay and he was falling apart. Last summer I looked her in the eye and knew she was pursuing my husband—I never imagined that he would cheat.
Accepting that my husband cheated on me took almost ten months. Because his love for me is not something he hides—he puts it out there and tells me and everyone else (including his AP) how happy and lucky we are to have each other. He constantly told his AP how much he loved me and that was never going to change. Notwithstanding the affair, my husband has always lived his love for me out loud. We spend time together and we are both focused on the same goals and values in life. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a man with high values and morals could cheat on his wife. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand that a couple that has it all and is happy could be dealing with infidelity. Infidelity doesn’t just happen to couples with marital problems.
Acceptance is (ironically) the last stage of grieving. I wonder what phase acceptance is in healing? Even more ironically, acceptance allowed me to enjoy floating in a kayak on the lake with my husband. I am enjoying my life again. Sometimes there is some guilt when my marriage feels perfect again because I almost feel like the strength our marriage has gained in the last ten months is more than we lost. Accepting that my husband and I can have something better than what I once believed was perfect was a hard pill to swallow. It can feel like I am betraying my old marriage when I feel calm and peace.
I am trying to look forward more than back these days. I want to create a future that is even better than our past—better than perfect.