This will be the final post I write about the affair my wife had on me late last year. Honestly, I’m pretty tired of thinking about it, but figure I’ve already divulged so much thus far, I might as well round the story out in case someone else in my shoes stumbles across it someday.
Personally, I found a lot of comfort hearing from others who had been in my shoes when I was dealing with my marriage tearing apart and my wife leaving me for another man.
So, here goes nothing.
The 50/50 Blame Theory
When I first visited a counselor, she told me it was her opinion that affairs always start with a 50/50 blame. Typically, a spouse won’t cheat unless the other isn’t meeting some sort of need. From there, she starts assessing the couple as individuals and the 50/50 split starts to shift.
I liked this approach and took on the challenge myself of honestly assessing my situation. I started by immediately placing all the blame on myself. I thought of the years of working too much, harboring too much anger, throwing childish tantrums at times. The years of impatience. My blame immediately shot up in my mind to 80%.
But then the details of the affair started to unfold, most of which you can dig up on this blog if you really care to. In short, I realized that my wife was really using me more as an excuse and justification to cheat than anything. Not to say all the things I did wrong were not true. They absolutely were.
What made me shift the blame away from myself was the depths of perception and selfishness my wife exhibited. She persuaded me to move out under the guise of “taking a break” when really it was a ploy just to remove me, but have me still pay the bills while having her guy around. She talked me into taking our children for entire days and nights also under the guise of “I need alone time!” when in reality she was about as far from being alone as is possible.
My point is, it really wasn’t me, it was her. Yes I neglected her and justified the affair in her mind, but she made the decision to take it to the level it went. This wasn’t getting laid, this wasn’t getting drunk and fucking an old college flame, this was a full blown second relationship. This was not all my fault.
Today, I lay the blame at about 25/75 split. 25% my fault, 75% hers.
Thoughts on Telling Your Business to Everyone
One of the biggest mistakes I made during the affair was letting my emotions get the best of me. I told WAY too many people my business. I caution others about this. The reason I caution is twofold. First, when everyone knows your business, you suddenly start to feel foolish. You initially share your woes looking for release and comfort but soon you feel like a laughing stock. You feel weak and inadequate. I am certain that most of the people who know about my affair don’t think that about me… but then again maybe they do.
Since my wife and I worked things out, now I feel like a lot of people think less of me as a man. I feel like they maybe think I’m a pushover or a chump. This is probably my own feelings of myself being projected, but the thoughts still persist with me.
Second, when you spread your business to everyone, you humiliate and damage the reputation of your spouse. I’ve destroyed my wife’s reputation, which is partially my reputation by extension. And now, many people know what she did, while she doesn’t even realize they know. I can’t let her know that they all know because she’d never leave the house again!
It was a mistake. I should have just kept the news to my inner circle.
Thoughts on Making up and Reconciling
On almost a whim, my wife decided she didn’t want to leave me anymore. I talked extensively to Atticus and my counselor, and thought about it endlessly. This sums up why I honestly believe she changed her mind:
- Jealousy- Once I thought the split was imminent, I started chatting with other women and to my surprise (and probably hers), they chatted back. My wife went crazy.
- Financial Stability- My wife’s boyfriend is 8 years older than me, makes half the money and can’t even support his own children (he has three between two other women…). Once the infatuation wore off a bit, he became less appealing.
- Mental Stimulation- My wife alluded to the fact that the other guy wasn’t quite as sharp as she’d like several times. In fact, it is the one negative trait about him she has mentioned most.
Why Did I Take Her Back?
I took my wife back because I have two little girls and I couldn’t stand the idea of another man entering their lives. I also couldn’t stand to see them suffer the hardship of a broken home. I also do love my wife very much, but I admit that was secondary to me.
How can I forgive her?
I don’t know. It’s hard. It is damn hard. I have good days and bad days. Being intimate is also challenging for me sometimes. I also think my wife has some serious issues that go beyond me and I feel it is my duty as her husband and best friend to help her through them
I under estimated the amount of guilt my wife would feel after the affair. I think deep down inside my wife hates herself for what she did to me and our children. I can see it in her eyes sometimes.
I also think that she is now in self-preservation mode. She knows she has nothing left. Between her and I, we burned every bridge she’s got during the affair. I think she’s also looking for redemption.
I was at Freedom Church a few weeks ago. The preacher, J.R. Lee, is one of the most amazing public speakers I have ever seen in my life. At one point in the sermon he picked up a huge bundle of chains and said something to the effect of:
“Forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it is about you! It is about taking the weight off YOUR BACK! It is not about letting the offender off the hook.”
The he followed up with:
“No one could EVER offend you as much as YOU have OFFENDED GOD. No one if beyond forgiveness”.
Those words moved me. Forgiveness = Freedom. Forgiveness = Liberation.
Regardless of faith, philosophy or walk of life, these things are truth.