I can't change the past, but I can choose the present

This was one of the great truths I have learned through the recovery process from my affair. My choice to have an affair ripped my wife’s heart in two and almost destroyed our 25 year marriage.

I used to fixate on the fact that I had ruined what I believed had been a good record. I no longer could boast as a superior husband, father, or even human being. I had cheated on my wife and I was now considered lower than pond scum. No longer could my wife or my children be able to say at my funeral, “he was a good man and faithful husband.” I had destroyed any chances of receiving a eulogy that would compel all those present to say to my grieving widow, “Jack was such a wonderful man. Knowing him has changed my life. My greatest regret is that I didn’t know him better.”

Yeah, I used to think about that kind of stuff.

I used to obsess over the choices I had made that had gotten me here. I would replay them in my mind along with the “if only” game. If only I had not chosen to be so self-centered. If only I had not blamed my wife for my dissatisfaction. If only I had taken responsibility. If only I had understood what loving my wife really meant. If only I had not had this affair.

Now, these are all good issues to examine. Having a greater understanding of myself and my responsibility and what it means to love my wife – all great to know and critical to my recovery. But wanting a better past was futile. I had made horrible choices. I had crashed “an apparently” good marriage. There was no denying what I had done. I realized I could not change the past. And I had to learn to let it go. I had to give up hoping for a better past.

Through my recovery I have learned that I can choose the present. I can create a better future with the help of others and God. I am not stuck obsessing over a terrible past, but looking forward to living every day to it’s fullest.

Add New Comment:

Comments

I appreciate what you have

I appreciate what you have written here. however, what is hard as the betrayed is the choice that my husband made not only changed his past but destroyed my past and memories as well and I didn't chose to do that, he did. I am trying to choose the present but losing the dream of what I thought we had and changing my history/ our history is very painful to forget and do....

I understand. You are the

I understand. You are the innocent bystander. You did not sign up for this when you got married. So the choice for you is more challenging. But I believe it is possible - with time doing the right things. Early in our recovery, my infidelity felt like our entire story. It was what defined me and our marriage. My wife especially could only see/believe that our entire marriage of 25 years had been a lie. Early on it was the WHOLE story. But now as time has gone by and we have been working on our relationship with God and with each other - my infidelity has become PART of our story. And actually, it has led to a very redemptive place in our lives. It is something that we both can accept. And as we have seen God do amazing things in spite of my horrible choices - we have hope in a better future. And we are living that hope right now.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer