What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by an anonymous reader.
After 10 years of marriage and a long struggle with infertility, my husband and I finally achieved our dream of becoming parents through adoption. Prior to bringing our son home, we had the typical DINK (Double Income No Kids) marriage and lifestyle. We both worked hard during the week and spent our weekends enjoying our free time. We went on vacations, attended concerts, socialized with a close knit group of friends, enjoyed dinner at nice restaurants, completed projects in our yard and home, and pursued many hobbies. We enjoyed many hobbies together. We had our separate hobbies too. I went to graduate school. He took up golf. He played Xbox Live. I took up running and yoga. He enjoyed weekends with the guys. I shopped with my girlfriends. In spite of our infertility struggles, we were living a happy life together.
When we adopted our son, I was so excited about finally being able raise a child with my husband. Sure, our DINK lifestyle changed. No more nights out, no more free time. That was ok with me. I was on maternity leave and enjoying parenthood more than I could have ever imagined. My husband was great with the baby too. However, I noticed some changes in him. He started staying up really late at night to play Xbox live with his friends. I noticed that he was talking to his brother and his friends on his cell phone more than he had in the past. I began to notice that he seemed to be missing his carefree pre-father lifestyle. I asked him about it and he told me he was fine. He just didn’t seem right, though. He seemed distracted and distant. Still, I chalked it up to being an overwhelmed new dad.
One morning, I awakened with an idea to take our son to the local zoo. My husband had been up late again, so he was still sleeping. I got on to the computer to check for the time that the zoo would open. What I found on the computer screen shocked me to the core. That previous night, he had forgotten to shut down and delete an instant message threads between he and another woman. I read every word and looked at every picture. They discussed their late night chats. They discussed their physical encounters. They exchanged pictures. My husband also talked about how unhappy he was with me. She talked about how unhappy she was with her husband.
After I printed the chats, hacked his Facebook page, found all e-mail accounts, downloaded all of his cell phone records, and found additional evidence of this extracurricular relationship, I awakened him. He admitted to the affair. He told me that he did not love this woman. He said that he would stop the affair instantly. I did not believe him.
I had always thought that if my husband had ever cheated, that I would instantly leave him. When it actually happened, I did not know what to do. It wasn’t such an easy decision. This is the man who I love with all of my heart and soul. Or was it? I felt like I did not know this person at all. Turns out, he was sneaky. Turns out, he was not honest. Turns out, he was a cheater. That, in my mind, is not love. I was shocked, angry, and disappointed.
First, I threw him out of the house. He begged my forgiveness. I begged that he leave me alone. After some time, we decided to locate a marriage counselor. We began our road to saving our marriage and our family. We have worked hard to change our behaviors, rebuild trust, and rebuild love. It has not been easy.
Almost three years later, we are still married. We still work each day to respect one another and keep a healthy, loving marriage. The affair was a huge bump in the road and I am not sure if it is fully repaired yet. It took a lot of soul searching and counseling for me to find it in my heart to forgive him and to begin to trust him again.
I am a strong independent woman. I want you to know that there are circumstances where staying in a marriage after one of the partners has an affair is ok. I want you to know that the marriage and family can still be happy after such an event occurs.