I read recently that people who make the choice to have an affair do not fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. I believe that is only partially true. I believe they contemplate the fall out but do not understand the depth. They also turn a blind eye to what they risk because they don’t want to face the consequences. Basically, the consequences vary depending on the state of your marriage and the relationship with your spouse. This is a story of the consequences to my marriage that was loving, secure and emotionally connected with a healthy sex life.
I can tell you that my husband had no idea of the consequences of what he was doing when he made a choice to betray me. We were in our early 30’s, 15 years into a good marriage with one small child. My husband didn’t cheat because he was in a bad marriage. He was reacting to a traumatic situation which we were trying to deal with as a couple. The situation left him wanting an escape; not wanting to face the tough road ahead ahead so he began to chat online as a way to avoid the unavoidable in his life.
One thing lead to another and he was swept into the world of online sex. Emailing and flirting soon were not enough to satisfy him. He met someone, chatted with her for weeks and they eventually hooked up in a hotel room. In the meantime back at the homestead, I found in our computer an email account I did not recognize. Without saying a word to him, I began the process of trying to crack his password. A week later, Bingo! There was laid out for me in email; his conversations and proof that he had met this one woman, one time. My first reactions were total shock and anger. His dive into this underworld and my discovery of his betrayal took place in one short month. What tipped me off in that month? Simply his behavior, I loved him and knew him inside and out.
I carefully gathered the evidence of his straying and prepared myself to confront him with what I had learned. I am not prone to dramatic emotion so when it was time to finally bring it up I was calm and straightforward. When I confronted him, he exploded in anger and denied all. There is no denying hard evidence. His reaction is what finally triggered my true emotion to what I had uncovered. To betray me was one thing, to be angry and deny to my face meant he did not respect me. He already hurt me and the anger and denial just added another layer.
Never in my life had I experienced such gut wrenching hurt. I don’t think until that moment that I ever realized how much I truly loved and trusted him. Then to feel that he must not love me the same was heartbreaking in a way that is impossible to describe. I cried, which I rarely do. It was a cry that felt as if my very soul was coming out of me. My husband was not a perfect man but the one thing that I always knew in my heart was that he loved me perfectly…..until that day. When he witnessed me crying like that is when I think he finally realized the impact of what he had done. He had never heard me cry like that in our long relationship. He then began to face the fact that he caused pain, to the one and only person in his life that had every truly loved him.
I cried, which I rarely do. It was a cry that felt as if my very soul was coming out of me.
I of course debated ending the marriage right then and there but I decided I should try and see if we could work it out for our child. We went to marriage counseling and my husband worked very hard to apologize, make amends and to regain trust. It took two years of hard work and a transparent life on his part to regain some of what we had before. The thing is for me it could never go back. I once loved and trusted him blindly and with the whole of my heart. Once he cheated, I learned I could no longer do that. I loved him still but never in the same way. I’m not sure if he knew that or felt that but I think he did. It felt as if he was forever trying to get my attention after he cheated but I believe the attention he craved, was simply the security of love he felt before he had cheated.
It’s strange to look back at it now and put myself in his shoes. I can logically understand why he cheated and how it happened. I can forgive him for it but it doesn’t erase what has happened. He did not and could not have known the consequences of what he was doing at the time. He could not have know that one month of infatuation and lust would forever change a relationship that was the core of his world. He would never have done it if he knew the depth of the consequences. What he gained was nothing compared to what he lost.
This is why whenever I see someone on the forums that is thinking of having an affair, I simply say: What is your spouse’s love worth to you?