Don’t you hate that quote? I hate it because I think people intend to mean everything in life happens for a good reason. While I can accept that my marriage has become stronger as a result of discovering my husband’s affair; that strength is more a result of the discovery and how we dealt with it, not the affair. We chose to fight for our marriage, rebuild our relationship and let go of the marriage we believed was perfect in order to survive our new reality.
What could be the reason for his affair? I have spent the last year trying to make sense of how a moral, family-focused and loving husband has an affair. If you evaluate the consequences of my husband’s affair on him, me and our marriage there is no reasonable justification for his behavior. With time, my anger and pain has dissipated and the rollercoaster ride has ended. In the past three months I’ve had two moments where I gave in to the triggers and pain. Meaning: I cried and curled up in the fetal position for an hour. Other than those two nights, my triggers can still fire at me during the day but I have the power to stop them before they hurt me.
His affair has permanently damaged my trust in him. I don’t think I will ever give him 100% of my trust again. I recently told him that the most I trust he can earn is 99.9%, like birth control there will always be that .1% that I keep for myself. My trust has to be in myself now. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I should have trusted my instincts from the beginning. I was aware there was something wrong or off with my husband from the beginning of his affair but I suppressed my gut feeling because I trusted him. I trusted him more than I trusted my own instincts. As I type those words I feel my stomach cringe at the thought of my naivety. I had no reason not to trust my husband but I had every reason to trust myself. Somewhere along the way, I began to justify questionable behavior from my husband because I believed in us more than myself. I don’t believe that the damage in my trust in him is a bad thing because I have more faith in myself than ever before.
Throughout the past year I’ve had the opportunity to really look at myself—my actions, words, the love I put into the world and the love I take back into my soul. I haven’t evaluated myself this deeply in a long time. My adult life has been focused around my husband and my children. My dreams and aspirations were pushed aside in order to provide everyone else with what they needed. I gave and gave until there was nothing left for me. The assumption from the outside world is that a man cheats because his wife does not tend to his needs and desires but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I gave up so much for my husband, always keeping his happiness first and pushing my own needs to the bottom. I never told him what I needed. By the time my husband’s relationship began with Bat Shit began, my desires were undecipherable even to myself-how could I ever communicate them with him or anyone else? I continued to give up myself to take care of my family and no one ever asked me what I needed, they continued to take from me. I think that’s when you see mother’s become so focused on the success and lives of their husband and children. They became the measure of me. The discovery of the affair pushed me out of the shadows and made me evaluate what I need and want. I realized in less than a minute that everyone in my life is capable of disappointing, deceiving and/or leaving me. At the end of the day I am responsible for my own happiness and love.
Trust in marriage is not about will he cheat or keep his promises. Trust is about having faith that we can communicate our vulnerabilities, emotional and physical needs with each other. The moment I stopped taking care of myself was the moment I stopped being a partner in my marriage. I take no responsibility for his choice to cheat. I take responsibility for not having a voice when I needed one most.
How do I make sense of his affair? What is the reason it happened? I’ve decided I need to just let that question go. There is no reason. Sometimes shit happens. I’ve decided not to change the direction of my life based on shit. I cannot focus my life on something that was destructive to my spirit. I’m about to hit that one year anniversary and I’ve decided this is not a day to reflect on the misery but the fact that the cloud lifting on that day. The measure of my marriage since that day is incredible. The measure of me from that point forward is infinite.