I owe an apology to my readers for taking so long to update this blog. A year and a half since I last posted? I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone? Gratefully, that time, or precious little of it, has gone to brooding, worrying or rage. We have moved on, very definitely, and with that change of address has come some interesting developments.
In the beginning, while still in shock, my friend, Jeannie, who works with married couples, assured me that our marriage would come out stronger for this. I knew Jeannie was not a liar, but I could not for the life of me get from where I was, numb and anesthetized with disbelief, to…having an even better marriage than I imagined. She assured me that couples who stayed together after an affair came out better.
Then, she asked me if I wanted to go find the other woman and beat her up. A true friend will say things like that when you need it.
I thought about what Jeannie said as I put one foot in front of the other, day after agonizing day. It felt like the kind of bad dream you have where you can’t move any faster because your legs are like lead or stuck in mud or cement. The seeming slowness of recovery, alone, enraged me. I didn’t need this, now. I had other, critical things going on. I hated it, just like I hated the months following breaking my ankle. Time dragged slowly by and I could do exactly nothing to change the way things were.
We learned a great deal about ourselves and our marriage’s priority in our lives. I may have thought that the affair, itself, shows where the priority is for the offender, but no. The importance of our marriage became very clear as the smoke cleared from the wreckage. My husband committed himself to submitting to what I needed at any given time to help in the restoration of my trust for him. He proved his love for me by putting my needs at the top of the list, regardless of how angry I was. In short?
He took it, the mess he had made, like a man.
As my husband humbled himself, daily, my respect for him began to grow. I wasn’t over it, yet, not even close, but he was going to be patient and not whine about my bad mood for as long as it took for me to trust him, again.
The end result of this journey is that, bizarre as it may be, an affair can be a gift. It shakes things up, it gets down and dirty, you feel broken beyond repair. Eventually, the haze begins to lift, bit by bit and the bizarre gift left behind is a new understanding of what the marriage means. A new and deeper intimacy. I still don’t get it, but, there it is.
This blog has been, as I reread it, raw emotion, a catharsis for me. Letters and comments I receive tell me that it has been helpful to others who feel all alone. These letters often ask for advice,
“What do I do, now?” and
“How am I going to get through this?”
I have decided that I will start a new section to After His Affair. As appropriate, my husband may step in and clarify some things for the benefit of people whose husbands may be shutting them out. The name of the new section is “You Can Burn His Stuff, Later…” for now, just don’t draw blood. A guide to living when you feel like dying? A roadmap to getting your life back? You get the idea. I am not an expert, but I have some experience.