Some marriages do survive infidelity. It takes open, honest communication, commitment and a fundamental agreement about what being married means. What happens when you think you’ve got that mutual understanding and it happens again? The undeniable evidence of another extramarital affair slaps you in the face.
That’s what happened to my current guest, Missy. Here’s Missy:
I had learned to set some boundaries and part of that was establishing what my bottom line needs in a relationship were. At the end of the day, I needed kindness and I needed faithfulness.
That is what I needed from a spouse. I could live—maybe not happily, but I could live with a lot of other quirks and things that we had just come to in our marriage. For instance, he began smoking which I abhor. I could not stand that, but that was something I was willing to live with. There were lots of little things that I could have picked apart, but the bottom lines were that I needed him to be kind to me and I needed him to be faithful to me.
The raging and those issues were always going to be a struggle, but we had started to at least get better about the way he treated me and back and forth. I feel we were maybe overcoming some of the kindness issues. But about every two to four months, another woman would still pop up, whether it was in text or online or I would hear about somebody seeing him at a restaurant with someone; these types of issues.
I had told him, “If there is ever another real life person, I will file for divorce. Bottom line. I’m not doing this for the rest of my life.” He knew that and I knew that.
Then when I discovered yet another woman, I was crushed, because I still did not want to be a divorced woman. I didn’t want my children to come from a home where they had to move back and forth between two different homes. That’s not what I wanted to have.
How I found out about the last one was a God thing in my opinion. He never was without his cell phone. That was something he kept very close to him at all times. We happened to be in a van together and he had to run in to pay something and he left it on the console of the van. It just happened to go off when he was inside.
I wasn’t trying to snoop but it was just lying there on the console and a very explicit text popped up that was obviously not for me. I didn’t say anything at the moment. When we got home, I just said, “I saw the text and I know something’s going on. Is it another woman and how far is it?” He admitted that it was another woman and another time he’d been unfaithful and that’s when I said, “I’m leaving for the night.”
The Divorce Coach Says
I’ve heard plenty of people say, “If my husband/wife ever has an affair, that’s it. I’m done, I’m filing for divorce.”
While infidelity wasn’t an issue in my marriage, I’ve always thought it wouldn’t be that black and white. There always seem to be so many variables and nuances to consider.
In Missy’s case, this wasn’t the first incident. Missy had already done a lot of personal work to understand her values and what marriage meant to her AND she’d been willing to continue the marriage in good faith. Now, she just needed some time to decide: should she end the marriage or let it continue?
What would you do?
Missy blogs at Far From Flawless where she writes about leading a Christian life with a blended family hoping that sharing her journey will empower others to shun the mask of imperfection and open themselves to authentic living.