Since Dday, I have searched, read, reread and read more about affairs and infidelity. I have learned more than I ever thought I’d need to know. Like most betrayed spouses, I believed my husband would never cheat on me. I had no concern that he would. Turns out that was the first of many lies… But I digress.
A few days ago, a kind man commented on a post and recommended a book. It was a new title to me. Off I went on a search to learn more about it. I’ve added it to my reading list. Maybe someday I’ll get to it. But it, like many infidelity resources claims to make your relationship better than ever.
That claim always leaves a bitter taste. I mean, really… My husband had a fucking affair. By default, doesn’t that mean it has to get better, in order for us to stay married. Because it sure sucks right now.
And I’m not a pessimist. Really I’m not. I thought my marriage was safe. It was comfortable and predictable. I thought my husband was beside me. I knew there were things we could improve… We have been drowning in responsibilities for a few years. At the end of the day, we were together and in love. Living the beautiful life we created, messy sometimes, but no less beautiful.
So why does the prospect of “better than ever marriage” make me cringe?
I want the marriage I had. The one before my husband cheated on me. Before all the lies. Sure it could have been better, clearly.. He was having an affair!!!
Any new and improved marriage we forge now may be a better marriage .. Better communication, honesty, sex, blah blah… But it will always be scarred. I can never “unknow” about the affair. It’s always going to be part of our past.
My husband can’t tell me he won’t cheat again. I mean, he can say the words, and has. But I don’t hear them the same. Sure, I hope he’s being truthful. But those words will never leave me feeling safe assured, confident in his fidelity.
So I call bullshit on a better marriage. It can be different. Have new and improved attributes, but better? That just feels like it excuses the damage done by the cheater.
There are better ways to improve a marriage than having an affair. If he came to me, instead of her, we could have done the work to make it better. Now, we have to repair it.
I was shoved into this after affair hell. I didn’t choose this path. I wouldn’t have chosen this path. And regardless of how we come out at the end of this, I will never say, “My marriage is better because of his affair.” What I can say, is my life will never be the same.