Yesterday, I introduced Student Mama who has been separated from her husband for about five months. They split up after Student Mama discovered her husband had been unfaithful, although for Student Mama the affairs weren’t the deal breaker. Here’s what she found.
Finding out about my husband’s affairs rocked my entire world. Everything I thought I knew was all of a sudden, not that way. I went to counseling, did a lot of research and ultimately, my decision to leave the marriage had less to do with the affair and more to do with the realization of just how unhappy I was.
Marriage is a commitment by two people and after infidelity, regaining that commitment is a big process. It’s not like you caught your spouse and all of a sudden he’s back in love with you. Your husband now has an intimate relationship with another person and you’re the outsider. Becoming an insider again is the biggest hurdle and if the two of you can’t overcome that, then the marriage isn’t going to work. But there are couples who are able to work through it and are closer because of it.
When I found out about the affairs, I left for about a week and I said I wasn’t coming back unless he found a counselor and scheduled an appointment which he did. I wouldn’t say he was a willing participant in the counseling, there was a level of emotional unavailability. So it was sort of superficial instead of digging into the meat of our problem.
However, the counseling was helpful for me and in the end it made me realize that I was capable and able to make decisions for myself. Before that, I remember looking at my husband a lot when I would talk, subconsciously thinking, ‘Is he going to be OK with what I’m saying?’ Through that counseling process I realized I had my own ideas, I had my own voice and it brought it out. That’s where I realized I didn’t need to continue in a relationship where I didn’t feel somebody was committed to me.
I also realized that I keep people at a distance and how that contributed to my husband’s unhappiness. I don’t take responsibility for his affairs because he could have decided to deal with it differently but I do accept that my own behavior contributed to the downfall of our relationship.
The Divorce Coach Says
Sometimes I think infidelity is a complex issue – why does a person who seemingly has it all, risk their marriage? Other times, I think it’s quite simple – like Student Mama says, it’s an indicator of underlying unhappiness. For Mama J, it was certainly a deal breaker and that was a mutual decision. I’m a regular reader of T’s blog Quest For T and in December she wrote a series of posts about the affair – her own. While I’ve interviewed T (Divorce isn’t a failure), I haven’t met her and only know her online presence, yet I could feel her hurt and pain through the posts which must have been agonizing to write. At times, it felt she was in the room with me, sharing her story through her tears. Very powerful. If you’re looking for insight into infidelity, I’d recommend reading the affair. I wonder if there is any issue that is more painful to deal with in marriage than infidelity?
Photo Credit: Flickr: yourdon