The double life – Externally smiling, Internally broken

What is the double life for the betrayed partner? It is that duality that we live. The one side has to look happy for the kids, strong for the betrayer (my wife) and confident for our co-workers.

On the inside, we’re freaking dying though.  The bottom line is that being betrayed by our “best friend”, our spouse, our lover is effing hurtful. It breaks us completely. There is a depression inside that just doesn’t seem to go away. I am 6 weeks post-discovery of my wife’s second affair. This time, it hurts worse than the first because all indications were that she’d healed and wouldn’t ever do that again. The sad reality is that often, cheaters are repeaters.  They may have genuine remorse, they may be saying and doing the right things, but cheating — according to experts — is cyclical and WILL come back around.

The question is, how long do we wait as betrayed spouses? If you’re like me, you LOVE your spouse. I do.  I love my wife. Always have. Always will. So, she has a power over me that is very difficult to shake. Because I know her and I love her, she can say sweet words to me and I melt in her hands. So, when she’s in recovery, everything is great. We have make-up sex….often. She is sweet to the family, she is great with our kids. But, once she goes into the triggered or cycled space, she becomes pretty hard to deal with. She’s aggravated easily, she’s much more short with us all, and you literally can’t apologize enough to make her feel like you’re truly sorry for something.When she is like this, it is only a matter of time before she reaches out to another man.

The thing is, how do you tell her that this time is different. This time, I am dying inside and I don’t see her the same.  I can’t stand what she did this time. After the first one, I chalked it up as a mistake.  A painful indiscretion and I got over it.  Forgave her, etc. Now we’re into multiple affairs. Cyclical affairs. They could become more and more frequent as her brain desires that chemical rush that she got before by sneaking.

Stop Blaming Yourself

Usually, the one leaving the relationship has spent months, and sometimes years, creating a distorted story in their heads to somehow justify their wrongful behavior to themselves. (From this article)

If you’ve been cheated on, of if you’ve just gone through discovery, then you’re probably experiencing some of the following.

  • Low self-esteem/ self-worth
  • Decreased value in yourself
  • Blaming yourself (because often, your cheating spouse is blaming you and you believe it.)
  • Questioning everything
  • Wondering if you’re even attractive
  • Believing the worst about your future
  • Believing horrible things about yourself

It takes several weeks, if processed correctly, to stop blaming yourself for your spouse’s affair. Discovery for me was on March 20th, 2018, just about six weeks ago. My wife had a two-month long affair which was both emotional and physical. Yes, she had sex with another man. Before this affair, I was the only man she’d ever had sex with. So, this one hurts. Also, this was her second affair in six years. In the first one, she didn’t have sex, but got close.

UPDATE: MY WIFE HAD YET ANOTHER AFFAIR LAST YEAR!

Now that it’s been six weeks, I am getting past the idea that I am to blame for this. In the quote above, you can see that my wife created a narrative that she started believing about me.  She even said it a few nights ago. She said, “I have to trust you rather than what I believed about you.”

When a wife has an affair of this type, she has to create a story of how bad it is in her current marriage so that she can beautifully justify her involvement in an affair. For her, she truly believes that her husband is that bad and that she deserves to have someone care for her in ways that her husband doesn’t.

So whether its verbally to their spouse or just in their heads, the unfaithful person usually struggles with negative self-talk, both negative thoughts about their spouse (mostly untrue), but also both negative thoughts about themselves (Source)

Note: “Mostly untrue” above. Do you see that? The negative self-talk that an unfaithful spouse engages in is not true. So, if they’re blaming you, it is incorrect. It is not true. There may be some elements of truth. There may be arguments you two engaged in that helps her justify cheating. In my story, it goes like this: “Remember when we got in that argument and I told you we needed counseling. You refused to go and now look where we are.”  Basically, she said, we argued, I said we needed counseling and YOU refused. Thus, it’s your fault I slept with someone else. Hmmmmmmmmm?  Sound unreasonable? It is!

I accept no blame for my husband’s affair. I do not feel I can be held responsible for something, when I did not have the opportunity to participate in the decision of whether or not it was going to happen. But I do accept blame for my part in our relationship breakdown. (source)

Even if your spouse is saying things like “I never saw it coming” and “I didn’t plan on having an affair” the real truth is that affairs are calculated, premeditated betrayals. Your spouse had 100’s of chances before and during the affair to stop the behavior.  As a matter of fact, there were many times that your spouse thought how badly this would hurt you and DID IT ANYWAY.  Don’t be fooled by sweet words. They did it on purpose. Why they did it is much more important than the fact that they did it.

And the “why” is what a therapist or counselor has to help them find. YOU CAN”T do it for them. If that “why” isn’t found, then they will cycle back and get into another affair. Just a matter of time.

Multiple Affairs

As you know, I caught my wife in her second affair in March (2018).  The question of should I stay or go is haunting me daily, hourly, by the minute. My wife is now a repeat cheater. She has exhibited a pattern or a cycle. Perhaps it is an addiction. Maybe it’s a mental disorder. I am not sure. Several things that experts know about multiple affairs.

  • People who have multiple affairs have never gotten to the core issue that they brought into the marriage
  • People who have multiple affairs often say “it just happened” and “I never saw it coming”
  • People who have multiple affairs are in cyclical patterns.  Now that I have had a long history with her, I am seeing those cycles play out.
  • People who have multiple affairs will likely repeat the pattern unless they put a ton of effort into healing from those core issues.
  • People who have multiple affairs truly believe their own remorse. They believe their own apology is sincere and they believe that they will NOT do it again.
  • People who have multiple affairs NEVER get professional help or NEVER get the appropriate professional help that helps them heal.

So, with all of that, we MIGHT have a chance IF Allie is willing to put in some long, hard work on herself. You see I am NOT to BLAME for her cheating. It is hers. She owns it and she has to face the issues head on. She has to be willing to do whatever it takes to heal from this. As a busy mom, there is huge concern that she will ever find the time to make progress.

 

Hanging on by a thread

The last day or two I have been hanging on by a thread. Since discovering Allie’s affair in March 2018, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. Anger, depression, heartbreak, isolation, embarrassment, rejection and insecurity are just a few of the emotions I have experienced in the past 6-7 weeks.

Now that my emotions are beginning to normalize a bit, I have a lot of questions in my head about Allie. Questions about whether I want to stay with her or not. I am reading a book right now called “After the Affair“.  Here is just one of the profound quotes from the book when a person discovers their partner is having an affair.

“Your view of your life and the world you liven in may be ripped apart” & “the greatest threat to recovery is the loss of hope itself.”

The book is heavy, but eye-opening. It identifies feelings that people experience and describes how to recover. I am only in the first section which is written for those who have just discovered their partner’s affair. I very much identify with the people and examples the author cites.

Part of the trauma that you get to enjoy when your spouse has an affair is that several illusions are shattered. The illusion that you are special above all others is a big one.  You know, the idea that because she married you, she would be faithful to you and not go out sleeping around.

Another illusion you might have had is that your marriage was extraordinary. No matter what you’ve made it through your wife sleeping with another man will end that idea pretty quickly.

Now, you’re dealing with the loss of those two ideas that you had. You’re not special and your marriage wasn’t valuable. Those two corpses will leave you reeling for a while.

Another illusion that is there is that the kids will somehow play a role in giving your wife a conscious when she strays. Nope. Even our youngest child who has Allie completely wrapped couldn’t stop her from the affair. I venture to say, she’d have moved his car seat out of the way to lay down in the back seat with Mark.

As your illusions get shattered, your confidence in those illusions and beliefs get destroyed. All that you fought for in the past changed in an instant. None of it really matters any longer.

Here are some things that I believed:

  • 18 years of history meant something.
  • Our three kids and their future emotions are vitally important
  • I am special among all men
  • We have an extraordinary marriage
  • She loves me and would fight tooth and nail for us
  • She loves herself and wouldn’t not cheapen herself
  • She wouldn’t risk getting an STD (we get to enjoy one of those now too. More on that later)
  • She is an upstanding Christian woman. She doesn’t have the capacity to go from texting to sex in just a few weeks.
  • She respects me
  • She honors me
  • She honors our marriage
  • She has the maturity to come to me FIRST before having an affair.
  • She is an honest person
  • She knows how bad it hurt me the first time she cheated. She wouldn’t go that far again.

You see, all those things that I believed are shit.

Another day another argument

Couldn’t sleep this morning. Woke up at 4:00 or so and just stared at the window in our bedroom. It was dark last night but there are some streetlights that illuminate our window blinds a bit. I just lie there thinking about how many slats were in the blinds. Could I count them? Would that help me sleep?

Allie moved closer to me and wrapped her arm around me. That may have helped in the past. But now, all I can think about is the nightmare of Allie sleeping with another man named Mark. On March 20th, 2018, I discovered Allie was having an affair with Mark. Since then, I have woken up almost every night at either 3:00 or 4:00 am. Sometimes I can go back to sleep. Sometimes I can’t.

Allie doesn’t like that I wake up and get up. She says it bothers her. Ok. But I am bothered that she’s had her second affair in six years. My problem is that I don’t come to decisions very quickly, especially when the decision is the hardest one I have ever made. Do I stay or do I go?

So last night I woke up. And pondered. What does staying look like? What does divorce look like? Do I want to get divorced? Can I ever trust Allie again? Will I be able to get past the visions in my head of the two of them having sex?

Allie woke up too. Then she starts talking. (always a bad choice at 4:00 am) It isn’t long until we’re arguing about some semantics.  Yesterday she described the affair as a “relationship.” While I agree that it was a relationship, my mind says that you don’t get to have sexual relationships and love relationships with other men unless you’re divorced or single. Once that is the case, then you have relationships. Until then, they’re affairs. And affairs aren’t relationships. They’re fantasy escapes for cowards.

An affair is a sexual relationship, romantic friendship, or passionate attachment between two people without the attached person’s significant other knowing.

Since Allie had all of those things — sexual relationship, romantic friendship and passionate attachment — without me knowing, that is an affair.

Okay. Point made. But she was arguing that the word relationship didn’t matter. It really doesn’t but she gets pretty defensive and will rail on me until I get her point and her side.

I didn’t argue back at all.  Just said that the use of the word had bugged me. Then Allie proceeds to tell me about context and how I assume things, etc. Remember, I only said that the use bothered me.  I didn’t verbalize any further assumptions.

As she argued, I was reminded that this is precisely why I want to divorce. I can apologize, I can be kind, I can give grace, I can try to calmly express my feeling(s) and she goes to effing town on me.

When she took a break, I finally said that this is one of the big things I have to see change in her before I make a decision to commit fully to this marriage.  I have to be able to express my feelings and be safe in that. If I can’t, then I will probably leave.

She said “if you want to leave, then go for it. I don’t want you to and it will suck, but just do it and get it over with.”

Before March 20th, I didn’t want to leave.

The Deathblow To Marriage

Having an affair can be a deathblow to a marriage. As a matter of fact, it has a high possibility of being the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

I was reading this article today on Focus on the Family’s website. The author is a wife who cheated on her husband and subsequently got divorced. (She describes the divorce here) As a husband who has been cheated on, this article resonates with me. The author, Cheryl, says this:

“I quickly developed a deep emotional connection with a man I barely knew”

You know, that kind of sums up the sheer pain that the faithful spouses go through in all of this. Our wife has shared intimate emotions and intimate sexuality with a complete stranger. And for no good reason. I mean, all cheaters have their “reasons” but affairs don’t even mimic dating. In dating, my wife and I were cautious with our hearts, our emotions, and our physicality. We waited for all three. We spent time with one another and learned about one another. I remember that we didn’t kiss for about 60 days after we’d first started dating. My wife was a virgin and we were cautious with that part of our lives. We broke a few months before our marriage and she shared her virginity with me. We spent 3-4 months before marriage making love and it was beautiful. We even had a private “ceremony” before our real ceremony so that she knew my intentions were to always be with her and her alone.

Just 12 short years into our marriage, Allie had affair #1 with a man she didn’t know. She’d met him mountain biking. Just a stranger she met on the trail one day. Soon, they were texting back and forth and Allie found herself telling him how much she was falling in love with him. They had several encounters, but Allie reports that they never had sex.

I gave her another chance. And here we are another six years later, Allie has had another affair. This time, sharing everything (and I do mean everything) with another stranger.

Sure, they spent a lot of time talking on the phone and texting. And they met up a bunch. But for all intents and purposes, he is a complete stranger. She doesn’t know him, they’ve never dated. They never spent any real time getting to know one another. Yet, Allie “fell in love” with him. We all know it is fantasy and Allie is becoming more and more remorseful every day, but for those two months, she was at it with this guy.  If this were a dating situation, she wouldn’t do that. It is COMPLETELY out of character.

Now that Allie is super-remorseful and wanting things to work out in our marriage, I spend a lot of days very confused. I am thankful that she’s here and didn’t leave. I am thankful that she is remorseful and very upset with herself that she did what she did. BUT, I am having a nearly impossible time getting over the fact that she did it in the first place.  She did it. No stopping her.

This is possibly the deathblow to our marriage for me. I have found myself wondering, even looking outside of our marriage. For the first time since that private ceremony where I committed my lifelong sexuality and faithfulness to her. I am considering other women. Even somehow welcoming the thoughts. Would I go through with it? Not sure.

Allie opened a door to our marriage and it’s like opening a porthole underwater. The water just keeps coming in. Even if you happen to get the porthole to close, it has already flooded the room you’re in. You’re going to be wading through water for a very long time. Every step you take will be in the flood waters and you’re going to be constantly reminded of how the water got there in the first place.

“It never crossed my mind to be cautious about my relationships with other men because I never realized I could be so vulnerable”

The author in the above linked article says that it never crossed her mind to be cautious about her relationships with other men. Interestingly, I warned Allie about being cautious with Mark. I saw the two of them laughing about something in the Crossfit class and I said that she needed to be very careful not to give off the wrong impression. The problem was that Allie was ALREADY looking outside of our marriage for affirmation.

Mark is a narcissist. That narcissism gives him the enviable ability to complement others and make others feel good. But those complements and affirmations are a means to an end for a narcissist. They aren’t genuine. Rather they are manipulative, cunning and sly. They are simply to satisfy themselves. Narcissists will freely give complements, attention and affirmations to get what they want. For Mark, it was sex with my wife. He used her. And she let him. She fell for the oldest trick in the narcissist book.  Flattery. Allie falls all too easily to the narcissistic people of the world. Her dad was the biggest example in her life. Completely into himself and himself ONLY, he used manipulation to exploit those around him.

But Allie is married to me. A non-narcissist. I am skeptical. When I first met Mark, I thought to myself “that guy is full of shit…and himself. If he’s full of himself and shit, then the two must be related.” Is Mark pleasant to be around? Sure.  In doses.  He’s pretty funny,  confident (as all narcissists are) and seems to be happy. But for those of us who can see through it, we’re quickly turned off by the superficiality of narcissists. Allie on the other hand, plays right into a narcissist’s hands. And as her husband, there is NOTHING I can do to stop it. If I try, I am just being an asshole.

There is the rub with the idea that our marriage can go on. I struggle daily with the idea that we can remain married. I am married to a woman who is completely vulnerable, easily tricked and willing to give herself over to another man. Scary huh?

But on the other hand, divorce effing sucks. I will lose 50% of my time with my kids simply because she couldn’t keep her clothes on? Not a great deal for me.

 

 

Stay for the kids

There is a good argument out there about parents who have experienced infidelity. The argument centers around staying married for the kids’ sake. If that is the ONLY reason you’re staying, then you will be better off divorced. But, your kids may not fare so well.

Studies indicate that there are lifelong consequences for kids who experience their parents getting a divorce.

  • Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.
  • Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.
  • Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.
  • Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.
  • Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly.6 They are also more likely to suffer child abuse.
  • Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress.
  • And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.

So parents who are considering divorce are statistically likely to put their kiddos through these things. Some kids don’t experience these but the probability increases.

The Wallerstein study shows that the effects of divorce can last 25 years!  Yep. You read that correctly. (the linked article above has all of the references linked)

“Contrary to what we have long thought, the major impact of divorce does not occur during childhood or adolescence. Rather, it rises in adulthood as serious romantic relationships move center stage . . . Anxiety leads many [adult children of divorce] into making bad choices in relationships, giving up hastily when problems arise, or avoiding relationships altogether.”

Wallerstein adds that the problems are compounded by parents who go on to marry another spouse. Feelings of abandonment and confusion are added because of the parent’s desperate attempt to get their own needs met. The driving force for divorced parents is the loneliness that makes people kind of crazy.

The desperation for a single parent to find someone who will love and accept them causes them to almost forget about their first family.

“Children never get over divorce. It is a great loss that is in their lives forever. It is like a grief that is never over. All special events, such as holidays, plays, sports, graduations, marriages, births of children, etc., bring up the loss created by divorce as well as the family relationship conflicts that result from the ‘extended family’ celebrating any event.”

The article goes on to say that parents should take a LONG PAUSE before pursuing divorce. That’s what I am doing now. I am pausing. Though Allie is remorseful and apologetic, I am still triggered every day, every hour by thoughts. I am wrestling with the decision of staying or leaving after discovering her second affair.

 

Scared of rejection

Have you ever heard the phrase, “hurt people, hurt people”?

I think that it probably holds true for other types of emotional trauma as well.

  • Ignored people ignore people
  • Bullied people bully people
  • Molested people molest people
  • Rejected people reject people

Allie was rejected for her entire life. Her parents required the utmost from her scholastically. She earned strait A’s throughout high school, college and graduate school. She graduated college one year early, finishing in three rather than four years. She ran cross country and helped pay for her higher education through an athletic scholarship. Yet, it wasn’t enough for her mom and dad.

Mom would still embarrass her about her appearance, saying that she needed a haircut or brush. Her mom still does it today. Her dad would completely detach emotionally. He wouldn’t let her have emotions that he deemed negative. If she had a negative emotion, he would send her away to her room. When she returned, everyone would pretend that didn’t just happen.

Worse yet, her emotions would be spiritualized. Basically, if she was down, her parents would read the Bible into her to let her know why she was wrong for being down. Wrong for being sad. One story she has told me was about a friend of hers who was in a horrible car crash. Allie and her dad went to the hospital to pray over her and “heal” her. Her dad had her believing that after a severe head injury and the removal of life support, that her friend was going to get up and be completely healed. Long story short, her friend died. Allie probably saw that as God rejecting her.

Later in life, her dad had a marriage ending affair and then married his affair partner who is about 20 years his junior. She’s only about 11 years older than Allie. It’s not uncommon, but her dad took it several steps further. He not only left his wife of 42 years, but he abandoned all of us. He doesn’t speak to Allie, Allie’s brother, his son-or daughter-in-law or ANY OF HIS GRANDKIDS.   He has five and has only met three of them.  The last time any of us saw him was in 2012.

He still sees his own immediate family. Brothers, sister and mom.  But not his family, kids or grands. That rocked Allie. Complete and total rejection from her own father. Do any of us understand it? Nope.

So Allie has been rejected. And rejection has a special kind of sting and pain for her. So, my theory of Allie’s abandonment of me has evolved. I believe that I got a bit of a revelation this morning when thinking about this. Rejected people reject people. Why? I am not a mental health professional, but I can guess that it is a defense or protective mechanism.

Allie loves to gather up a posse for any event we have. She is so inclusive and internally she hopes that each event will create a lifetime of memories. Sadly, she often feels the sting of rejection when she coordinates and plans these outings. Her sister-in-law is especially guilty of giving Allie the cold shoulder and since she’s married to Allie’s brother, there is an effect on him as well.

So, as I process and contemplate my marriage with Allie, I am reminded just how painful rejection is for her. Allie is an approval addict. She loves attention, adoration, approval and affirmation. She sought those things from Mark, her affair partner when she perceived that she wasn’t getting it from me, her family, or her parents.

On the other hand, that was her perception and sometimes perceptions don’t have much to do with reality. Allie created a fantasy world in her brain where she was “alone in our marriage” and “felt dead inside.”  It’s my opinion – and I know her better than anyone in the world – that she was rejected by her dad with his new family and that filled her rejection cup completely. Then, all she could get from me was rejection. Even though I don’t actively or consciously reject her, she could only perceive rejection.

I don’t want to be a cheater

Yesterday I was having huge mental struggles with the idea of staying married to Allie. But I didn’t take it out on her and I am long past the argument stage. It simply isn’t worth my energy to fight with her. Instead, I will struggle and I might say something like, “today’s a hard day.”

At any rate, Allie wrote a note to our counselors, in part she said the following about me:

“Bob is still having a hard time today trusting that I won’t cheat on him in the future. I can tell you that I don’t want to cheat and I won’t cheat because I don’t want to be a cheater.”

Can anyone tell why the above statement bothers me so badly? Can you spot the fatal flaw in her thinking? Who can tell me exactly why I keep saying that I don’t know if I will stay with her?

Allie says, “I won’t cheat because I don’t want to be a cheater.” Do you see the difference in that statement and a statement like, “I won’t cheat because I love my husband”? Or, “I won’t cheat because my family means more to me than life itself”? Do you see the difference?

What she wrote to them PERFECTLY sums up why I feel that Allie is staying with me because of Allie, not because of me and not because of the kids. If given time to think, she will write that she loves family, wants to leave a legacy, and loves me, BUT when she’s in a hurry, the truth comes out. She wrote to them in a hurry.

Basically, she wants the counselors to give her a clean bill of heath. “Congratulations! You’re not a cheater any more!” She would love to hear them say that. That would be an accomplishment. Allie loves accomplishments. Do you notice that it is about her though?

She could then wear it like a badge of honor. The “I am not a cheater” badge is given to those who complete the special 6-week training course. In the course, you’ll learn:

  • How to not be a cheater
  • Ways to convince your family and friends that you’re not a cheater
  • Five easy one-liners to shut down those who would mention the infidelity (including your husband)
  • The “get over it” pin that you can proudly wear
  • Added bonus: You get the quick “I am not a cheater” reference guide with helpful chants you can repeat in your head.

You see Allie believes that her being a cheater can be erased rather than faced. Can you imagine if AA told their participants “Congratulations! You’re not an alcoholic now”?

Actually the opposite is true. When people go to AA meetings, they will start by saying “Hi, my name is _____________, and I am an alcoholic.”

I know a man who has been going to AA for nearly 40 years! To this day, he will say “I am an alcoholic” though he hasn’t touched a drink in four decades. Why does he keep admitting that? Because he knows that the problem he has will always be there, ready to come back at any time.

Saying you’re not a cheater doesn’t mean that you’re not. It is a phrase that is meaningless UNLESS you’ve never cheated before. Chanting it over and over will only harm yourself in the future.  You’ll chant it right into the arms of another man.

What will keep you faithful? What will keep you from being a cheater Allie?

  • Loving someone so deeply that you simply could never do it
  • Daily walking with Christ
  • Open and honest communication about the real struggle you have
  • Telling your spouse EVERYTHING, not just the stuff you believe won’t hurt him
  • Being open with your temptations and having true accountability

You see, it is not that you have to publicly wear the “I am a cheater” label. But you have to know that it is always there. You have to be aware of it at all times so that you can guard your heart and mind from further temptations and indiscretions. If you finally come to a place where you can say “I am not a cheater” then that is the perfect time for Satan to launch another attack.  Your pride will make you fall…again.

Saying that “I don’t want to be a cheater” is NOT powerful. Wants are weak. As soon as something comes along that you want more then you will give up that want. It is natural. If you want a taco for dinner and someone offers you a burrito, you may find yourself wanting the burrito more. Thus, the want for a taco becomes unimportant and irrelevant in light of the burrito.

To put it another way, think of all the people who “don’t want to be in debt.” Those very same people will still have a credit card in their wallet, and they’ll buy a car and get a car payment. What about not wanting to be in debt? They will justify the card being in their wallet because of emergencies. They will tell you how their old car had so many issues that they had to get this new one. They will be stuck in debt forever because the “want” simply isn’t powerful enough to overcome the other “wants”.

We are staying married

UPDATE:  I am filing for divorce this week.  After six months of thinking, praying, and clearing my head, I simply can’t take the pain of the affair(s).  Oh Yeah, when I wrote this, I wasn’t aware of the affair she had with her boss last year for several months. That really was the straw that broke my back.

Do I feel secure in my marriage? Nope.

Do I think that Allie will cheat again? Probably, if given the opportunity.

So why then am I staying married to her? Why put myself through that again? Great questions.

As you know, Allie had an affair with Mark which I discovered on March 20th, 2018. Since then, it has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I have wrestled with the question of staying with or leaving her. And what is best for our three sons. This was Allie’s 2nd affair.

Allie’s affair partner Mark is now divorced and Allie was at least a 50% cause of their marriage splitting up. I have a LOT to deal with mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  All of that being said, I am staying with Allie for now. Perhaps forever.

So the question is why? Why would I stay with someone who obviously doesn’t care about her commitment to me and/or her covenant with God? Why stay with someone who would treat me like absolute crap, rake me over the coals, tear out my heart and then try to make amends? Why stay with a homewrecker? Why give into her at all? Why not punish her by letting her be a single?

My answer is complex. I have loved her since the day I met her nearly 20 years ago. Allie wasn’t my type. She wasn’t the most attractive woman I had ever been with or ever met. Allie struggled with acne, even at 23 years old when I met her. Her mom wasn’t attractive, her family was quirky, and she came with a load of medical school debt from her physical therapy degree. But for some crazy reason, I loved her.

We have been through a MASSIVE amount of experiences together. We’ve lived overseas….twice. We’ve traveled the world. We’ve given birth to three sons in three different countries. We have done more than most couples I know.

She is the mother of my three sons. And it is well-documented that kids get screwed up by divorce. Sometimes for their entire lives.

Lastly, God. My faith in God convinces me that I should stay. Not for her, but for Him. Because she deserves divorce and struggle and pain, I won’t give it to her. God wouldn’t give it to me when I deserved it. When Paul was in prison for sharing faith in Jesus, he said that he has learned to become content in all circumstances. Then he goes before King Agrippa and states his case. He has done nothing wrong, yet he is punished.

I also haven’t done anything wrong in this affair. Quite the opposite. After the last affair, I changed. I became the man Allie said that she needed me to be so that we could avoid another affair. Then she had another affair. It crushed me.

Has everything changed? Yes. I will never see her the same or see our marriage the same. It’s not the same any more. Everything has changed. My views. My life. But I can still be content. I can still be satisfied in God with what He has for me though my life isn’t what I had hoped or planned.

Right now in Allie’s remorse, she is being very sweet and attentive. We had a great sex life before and that has not changed since her second affair. She is aware of me and my physical needs and she is being very apologetic. Could be empty words to avoid punishment. Could be true remorse. The only way to find out is to stick around.

If I divorce her, it would be final. But I think I would regret it for the rest of my life. I think that if I do it now, I wouldn’t know the end of the story. Imagine watching Star Wars and giving up on the heroes when it seems like all is lost. Imagine any story where the situation seems hopeless. Then, by the end, there’s a ray of sunshine. Hope.

Will I ever love her the same? Will I ever love her better? Will she become brand new? Will she make it into heaven? Is her soul lost?

I don’t know. But if I divorce her, I won’t ever know. Divorce ends the story. Our story. Sure, I could write another story with another woman, but honestly…..fuck that. Seems like a nightmare to me right now.

I have heard that 2-3 years after divorce, your head is clear and you can date again. You can be healthy. I think that 2-3 years after divorce, I would be wondering what would have happened if I had stuck with Allie. I can’t just unlove her, even when she does what she did.

Does it suck? Yes. But I am still hanging on. Still writing the story.