Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Once upon a lie, and happily never after?

A long time friend wrote me last week. She has been married for a number of years and has an eight year old daughter. Her husband has met someone else and has had an affair. He sort of wants to stay in the marriage, but doesn't want to do counseling. He also wants to remain good friends with the woman he had the affair with. Sounds very familiar to a situation I faced a year and a half ago (only I wasn't married to the person).

She writes:
"My husband has had [an affair] and we're trying to work things out, but he won't go to counseling and I keep reliving stuff. I still sense red flags. Some days I'm so hurt I don't know how to manage it. So my question is, do you ever really get over it? The betrayal. Maybe you didn't want your wife back after you found out, so maybe it doesn't matter as much. But had she wanted to stay, could you ever have gotten over it? Probably a stupid question. Sometimes I think we'll separate, and if so, I wonder if I can ever learn to trust another person again."

I wouldn't wish this on anyone. You get through it, like everything in life. You eventually get over it (at least most do). Some learn to trust again as they realize not everyone is like that. Some do not.

What would you do? Is there anything you can offer for support that I can pass on to her?

I know that for me, the relationship between my wife and I had deteriorated so much that when she told me everything that was the closure I was looking for. She wanted out from being a wife and a mom and thus began my foray into being a single parent. An open, frank, and total confession can do wonders. At least for me, it is the not knowing everything that happened that drives me insane. I know it is the same for other people I have talked to as well. That nag that the other person is hanging on to something, a secret, where there should be no secrets. As far as "friends" go, seriously a friend would step aside, wish you nothing but happiness, and disappear. "Friends" that hang around after you have slept with them or are willing to sleep with you even though you are in a relationship probably aren't "friends".

March 9th was National Get Over It day. I missed it this year, but it isn't too late to make up for it!!!!


  1. We live in such a litigious society that it seems like anything that could involve lawyers, including divorce or custody disputes, has a lawyer in the background advising their client not to admit to anything. Spouses hide information, until after the judge decides what's going to happen. It sounds like your case may have been different, thankfully, and you were able to get closure. I doubt many people are able to say the same. Glad that I stumbled upon your blog! -Jeremy @ Discovering Dad

  2. Jeremy,
    I don't think I would have ever thought to see it that way. Thank you for the new perspective.

  3. I've not been through this situation so this is only conjecture....but I believe that the only way to work through something like this would be to have an extraordinary effort over a long period of time from the cheating party. That bond of trust has been splintered and if they truly want to mend it, then they need to work hard to do so. Without that effort, I think they're just biding their time until something else comes along (again).

  4. I've actually been the "wife" in a similar situation and I have to say, it's different for everyone. I know some women who say they forgave their husbands, but in reality, they harbor animosity and bitterness towards them and it manifests in other ways. I knew from the start, that I wasn't that forgiving. I left and began my journey into 5 years of single parenting, and to be frank, I loved it. I dreamed of a "happily ever after" and had a very happy marriage up until this one indiscretion, but it broke the trust for me. That's irreparable in my book, I knew I'd always doubt him-and that's no life for anyone to live. But maybe, just maybe, she's forgiving and he's really sorry. My ex was. For five years he tried to convince me of that...but I knew the doubt was too big. Best of luck to your friend!

  5. I got over it. It doesn't bother me at all any more. But we won't be getting back together because while I was sorting it all out and forgiving everyone including myself...I realized I didn't really want to be with her anymore. There was just too much of me left on the cutting room floor.

    So yeah, forgiveness happens, but it doesn't go back to how it was...


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