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.