Now What?

Life is funny. I’m not talking about laughing till you cry funny, although there are plenty of times I’ve laughed till my cheeks ached and my belly hurt.  I’m talking about ironic, where the heck did that come from, turn your life upside down kind of funny. I’m talking about crazy, way out in left field, life changing kind of funny.           

I’m talking about a funny that never causes you to laugh.

Long before I married my husband, if the subject ever came up I would boldly and firmly declare to whoever was listening that I would never take back a man who cheated on me. Not only would I never take him back but I would cut off his manly parts before marching out of his life so he could never cheat again. This was an absolute for me. I warned my husband many times that his masculinity was at stake if he ever cheated. As if I could scare faithfulness into his brain. There was no doubt about it, I would absolutely never, not ever, forgive such an unforgivable act. That just wasn’t ever going to happen.

Then the unthinkable occurred and out of the blue I was confronted with my own words, my own line in the sand that had been crossed, my absolute resolve to never, not ever, stay with a man who betrayed.

Life is funny that way.

My first instinct was to leave. It was evening when the betrayal was discovered. I told my husband that my daughter and I would leave in the morning. He said it was his fault and he should be the one to go. I told him he had to leave right then and there.

He did. He packed his bags and with nowhere else to go he ended up at her house.

Now what?

  • This was Saturday night. Monday morning I see an attorney and start divorce proceedings. She gets a judge to grant me temporary custody of our daughter.
  • He comes over to talk. It will never work he says.
  • He comes over to talk again. Can he come home? He’ll do whatever it takes to make it work.
  • He changes his mind, it will never work.
  • I’ve had days to cry, rant, and ponder. I’m bewildered, numb, paralyzed. I’m full of fear, hate, confusion, denial. Ultimately, I’m confronted with my own words, I will never…
  • My line in the sand is blurring. We’ve been married almost 25 years at this point but we’ve known each other over 35 years, since high school. That’s a long time.
  • After I’ve had eleven agonizing days and even longer nights, now what do I do?

I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the sorry state of our marriage. I hate him. I love him. I miss him. I never want to see him again. I want to chop off his manly parts. I want to throw my arms around him and never let go.

Now what?

The decision to stay in the marriage or end it is complicated, scary, exhilarating, thoughtful, and so much more.  Samuel, another blogger with Affair Recovery, years ago wrote “The Courage to Stay.” 

It takes courage either way. I asked myself, do I have the courage to stay in this marriage? Do I have the courage to face the pain? Almost more importantly, do I have the courage to leave? Do I have the courage to start over? The reasons to stay are many, the reasons to go are profound.

Now what?

The decision is made. I will eat my words. Bottom line, I’m not willing to give up without a fight. I must be able to look at myself in the mirror five years from now and know without a doubt that I did everything I could to heal, grow and learn from this agony.

How will I know my marriage was unsalvageable if I don’t try?

My husband comes home and we begin recovery. When it came down to whether to stay or go I just couldn’t give up on the years we had shared. He deserves a second chance. Our marriage deserves a second chance. We deserve to find out if we can have the type of marriage that everyone on the outside thinks we already have. He deserves the chance to make amends. I deserve the chance to forgive. We both deserved the chance to learn and grow.

Is it safe to stay in my marriage? Affair Recovery is replete with information on safety. Rick has an article, several actually, addressing this very topic. "Is My Mate Safe?" This one is straightforward and to the point.      

The answer is yes, my husband is safe.

This was nearly two years ago. My line in the sand was erased. We have fought for our marriage in ways I never thought possible. He has changed in ways I never dreamed achievable. We have come a long way. We have a long way still to go.

Now what? I’ve learned that when it comes to absolutes, never say never. But there is one absolute I can positively say, I will never regret giving my husband a second chance.

There is still much work to do on our marriage. What’s next? A future that is stronger, healthier, honest, respectful and so much more. A future together.

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Me too.

I come from a long long line of betrayed women. Honestly all the way back to my great grandmother. She was the other woman and he left his wife and 5 kids for her in 1918. But guess what? He also left her and their 2 kids for another woman. Both grandmothers were cheated on. My mother was cheated on by my father and her next husband. Both sisters. My uncle had an affair that produced a child. My husband walked into my life knowing some of this history and how I felt about cheating. I used to tell him cheat on me and I will
Clean you out!! Half of everything you have and you will buy me a house with the alimony payments. THEN IT HAPPENED. And then I discovered this was not the first time. But like you I could not just give up on 20+ years. So here we are 2 years later figuring it out. Working through the pain. And repairing the damage. I am not to the point yet where I can say yep it was worth it. But I am a hell of a lot further than I ever thought I could be.

Thank you for your writings. They really do speak to me on a level I did not know existed.

Wow! That's a sad family

Wow! That's a sad family history. I'm honored that my writings are helpful to you. it helps me to hear such kind words. It's so brave of you to continue to fight for your marriage. Brave of all of us. Stay strong and good luck.

Now what

So well written. I have had those exact conversations with my husband of 28 years.
And here I am. Eleven weeks past D Day. Still hurting,still in total disbelief, how could you? So many levels of betrayal in our case; so very complex.
He could not despise himself more, so much deep regret.....hard to see and hard to live with. Pray for us, and thank you for this piece, for the insight it offers.

You are still taking baby

You are still taking baby steps in recovery. I remember when I was only 11 weeks out. The anguish, pain, humiliation and betrayal are crushing. Believe me, it does get better. Time is not your enemy right now. Are you in recovery of some kind? I recommend EMS Online...such a marriage saver! Helped my husband see aspects of his character that he didn't like very much. Helped him understand just how deep the pain goes that he so selfishly caused. Helped me see that he does have true regret and shame.

I regularly tell my daughter, you are stronger than you think, braver than you believe. And so are you. Remember that when you feel hopeless.

Now what

Lisa, thankyou.
You are right, baby steps. And we are getting help. I am considering the online course, I love this web site so much, I've learned a lot.
The hardest part is his pain and anguish over what he's done to me, to us.....he despises himself. Self loathing, I've never ever seen anything like this. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

My heart and my life relates to every word

It feels good to know that someone "knows" what I am going through and they are choosing to fight for their marriage too. It's scary, it's risky, some days it is down right discouraging. I have to take one day at a time, knowing that I can "lay it down" and walk away if I have to. I do believe our marriage, our family, our testimony is worth the fight... but there is NO guarantee of success. I can lose this war... but I am determined NOT to lose myself or my faith!!! BE CALM & CARRY ON...

You are so right, there is no

You are so right, there is no guarantee of success. Just the other day I had a "mini" melt-down and asked myself for the umpteenth time why I stayed to fight. When the dust settled I reminded myself how far we've come in building a new marriage.

We are in this fight together. we will stay strong, together.

Never ever

That was my deal breaker too for my husband, we're high school sweethearts and since then I told him, I will never forgive infidelity because I've lived through it all my life and it is painful to watch, I can't imagine experiencing it. My father had cheated on my mom throughout their whole marriage. My mother stayed. He had quite a few lovechildren. The last one was my age, we even had some classes together, we hated each other but she was the one that bullied me. Her mom was still in my dad's second life up to his death.

So when my husband and I got married I told him again, you will be dead to me if you have an affair. Fast forward 3 and a half years and it happens. I find out valentine's day 2015. It's a been a little over a year and I still can't believe I stayed. Still working through it, still haven't forgiven him. But I can say I am way better off right now than I was the first few months after D day. I love reading these stories because they make me realize I am not alone. I am not crazy for the flooding, for the staying, for trying to forgive. Thank you.

I am reading your post today,

I am reading your post today, it's Valentine's Day, 2017
I pray that you are still healing, and that you are at peace......this is a difficult day, for all of us, but for this to be the anniversary of your discovery, that's really something. God Bless.

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-D, Texas