Separation and Divorce

First off, I feel like I should clarify this by reminding everyone that I am not an expert on marriage. I am simply a girl who has been hurt by the man I love, and has been through the grief and healing process. By no means am I in any position to give advice on when one should stay or leave. All I can tell you is my experience and what I learned from it.

My first reaction when I found evidence of Wayne’s secret life was shock. I remember the room went black and I had trouble breathing. After about an hour of staring at the wall and gasping for breath, I had only one clear thought in my head - that I could not stay in the same house as my husband any longer. I remember being scared out of my ever-lovin’ mind because suddenly it became clear to me that the man I thought I was married to was someone else than the man who had written all the emails I just read. I felt like I had no idea who he really was, or what he was capable of doing, so I went into immediate self-preservation mode. Within a few hours I closed our bank accounts, canceled all our credit cards, and told him he was no longer welcome at our house.

After about a week he confessed the rest of the story that had not been on the computer. I was so overwhelmed with his betrayals that I felt our relationship was beyond fixing. I still loved him, and knew that I always would, but I felt that I could never trust him again. So, again out of a desire to protect myself from further hurt, I filed for divorce.

Two things stopped the divorce from being completed. The biggest one was the change I saw in Wayne. I saw such brokenness and softening of his heart toward me that I began to dare to hope that there might possibly be a chance for us. The other thing that put the brakes on the divorce came from an unexpected source. It was a conversation I had with a woman with whom I worked at the time. She was on her third marriage, and was the most miserable and bitter woman I had ever met. No one ever wanted to work with her because she spent the majority of every shift in an R-rated yelling match with her husband over the telephone. She asked me one day how I was doing with the divorce proceedings. When I told her that we were only a few weeks out from everything being final, her whole countenance softened into the look of a tenderhearted woman as she looked deep into my eyes and told me her story.

She said that when her son was only a few months old she came home and found her first husband in bed with her best friend. She said, “Dana, as badly as he hurt me, I never stopped loving him. But I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid that he would do it again, and it would be my fault for giving him the chance. My friends told me that I deserved so much more than him, and that I should quit crying and be a strong woman. So I divorced him because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I have spent every day since then regretting it.” She then went on to tell me that her second husband had been emotionally abusive and that her trust issues were ruining her third marriage. I will never forget the look of regret that I saw in her eyes when she begged me to give my marriage another chance. She said, “It may not work, but at least if you give it a chance you won’t be ten years down the road looking back at this moment and wondering if it could have.”

She moved away not long after that. If she were still here I would give her a big hug and thank her for the precious gift that she gave me that day. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to her for giving me the courage to put a hold on the divorce “just to see.” It has been a long, hard road, but now that we are on the other side of recovery I can honestly say it has been worth every single tear that I shed along the way. Not only am I able to say that I live with no regrets, but I am also blessed to live life with my whole family, happy and together.

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What Could It Have Been?

Hi Dana,

I remember the dreadful dday last July. Although I had suspicions about my husband's infidelity for a while, it was different when he came right out and told me about it and that it was finally over between them. The following morning I went jogging with a couple of my friends just to get out of the house and share the terrible news. I was a wreck!

After the jog, right in front of me with my consent, my friend had shared with her sister that I had just found out my spouse confessed to a 2 and half year affair. Her sister looked at me in shock, but said, "I would work on your marriage. At least you know you tried. Divorce sucks." Then she turned around and walked into her house. That was about it, but I could see on her face the regret she had about divorcing her spouse a couple of years ago.

I left returning to my home with that knot in the pit of my stomach wondering what the hell I was going to do. Seeing my unfaithful spouse in whole different light was hard. Facing the reality I had been denying for a while was excruciating! I finally had to face the fact that I was either going to stay with him and deal with the pain of betrayal, or divorce him and fight for full custody of our toddler son and still feel the pain. Both options were hopeless at the time.

Now, fourteen months after discovery, I can say that I have a different marriage, although it is not where I know it can be, but it is much better and promising than is was that painful day for the most part. We are still recovering, but it is not hopeless anymore. With the Affair Recovery courses, such as 911 Marriage, Married for Life, Harboring Hope, I have the tools to help me cope with the loss of our old marriage and the courage to begin a new one. It is not easy, that is for sure as you have read my previous posts probably! I still have those days where I want to give up because it is exhausting to do what God wants me to do. I have to work on my thoughts daily and seek God for comfort and wisdom. I have my highs and my lows, but they are not as extreme as they used to be. AMEN!

Through these courses, I have made true friends that are on the path of healing. We encourage each other weekly and offer Godly advice to get through the tough times of this arduous journey...

I have not thanked my friend for her words of advice to stay and work on our marriage... yet. I do thank her for caring enough to let me know that divorce isn't as easy as our society portrays it to be. She still has to deal with her ex-spouse with custody issues, her son has been troubled by the separation and his two homes, and she is scared to death about getting remarried and divorcing a second time. I am glad to read your post, Dana, and want to get to the other side of recovery so I can hug my friend and thank her for her precious gift she gave me that day.

In the meantime, I am thankful that she was honest in telling me to do what society would not want me to even think of! Your story of overcoming betrayal and having a blessed life with your family intact gives me hope for the same thing you have. Thank you for sharing your happy ending!

Mel

Self-Preservation

It was/is similar with me....we have been living apart for nearly 3 months now.  By law, we had to separate our house/auto insurance policies.  We had a business we built together over almost 14 years.  We made an agreement to have my husband buy me out.

I bought out his half of the SUV and retitled it in solely my name.  (The SUV will hold not only our kids, but their sports gear as well.)

I have been out interviewing, as I no longer have income from our business.

My question is....is there a way to facilitate the reconciliation....if that is what we are tryiing for....while still living apart?  Until I feel his heart soften toward me, and the blaming stop - I can't trust him to protect my or our children's hearts.  On a Thursday about a month ago, he told me that he really wanted to be back together, that he missed me/us and etc.  The next night he slept with his AP.

The added issue here is that he has a relationship with his father, and his two daughters from a prior marriage.....as well he should have....EXCEPT, they have been involved in his deceit for longer than I have known about it - with no regard for me or our children.  (In fact, I found out about the entire matter when I overheard my husband talking to his 24 year old daughter and she (loudly) asked about his leaving us.)

I love my husband, but I don't trust him to treat me the way a husband should treat his wife....and because of this, I can't let him move back in right now.  Yet my husband states that my not letting him back is preventing him from trying harder.

Thoughts?

Susan

Susan, I am sorry you have lost so much this year. Loosing your business during this time of grief and pain must be very hard. You asked about the possibility of reconciling while separated... I can only tell you that it worked that way for Wayne and I. It was during our period of separation that I began to see his real heart change. As he showed his concern for my heart and the hearts of our boys, I began to feel safe enough to do the work of reconnecting with him. We did a lot of reconnecting emotionally before he moved back in. So yes, I would say it is possible, if both parties are able to do the work to move in that direction.

What type of affair was it?

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