The day I got the news of my husband’s cheating was probably one of the worst feelings I had ever felt in my life.
I remember the numbness. Shock and disbelief that the man I had spent so many years with had had sex with another woman.
I couldn’t breathe. I was fighting for air, feeling empty and hollow, unable to utter a word.
He was sitting there beside me, crying and telling me everything because it was eating away at him, and he felt I needed to know. It had happened ‘’only’’ once, and he was extremely broken up about it.
I needed time to process it. The love of my life had slept with another woman and broken the complete trust I had in him, and I didn’t know how I could ever recover from that.
It was a very, very rough day a couple of years ago. My husband was fighting tears as he was confessing to me the details of what had happened, when and with whom.
I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to know but I couldn’t bring myself to stop him.
I was listening and hoping I was dreaming. But his sobbing kept waking me up and making me realize it was all too real.
My heart was instantly broken into so many pieces, and I could feel my soul almost leaving my body. My eyes were wide open, and my mouth couldn’t utter a single word.
I couldn’t find the appropriate reaction to what I was hearing, and he kept begging me to say something, anything…
All I could say was a quiet, unsure: ‘’Why…?’’ knowing that whatever I would hear next wouldn’t make me feel the least bit better.
He knew that there was no acceptable answer, so he just kept saying how it was the stupidest thing he had ever done, and he would do anything in the world to show me how remorseful he was.
It was really taking a toll on him, and even though I do not defend cheating, I saw how broken he was by his horrible decision that had taken place a few months back.
Today, I am writing this with my heart in once piece and a good head on my shoulders, to tell you I stayed. We are still ‘us’ and our marriage has survived.
Today, I can tell you exactly how we got to this point, and how I managed to keep it together for the sake of myself, my child and ultimately, my husband.
The affair, if I can even call it that since it only lasted that one night, took place a few months prior to his admission.
It was a woman he had met through mutual friends, and it was after a night out celebrating a friend’s promotion.
I am not going to go into details about the woman because she is irrelevant here.
I am rather going to focus on my husband and his actions after that unfortunate event, and how I survived, recovered and learned to forgive.
First, what I am most thankful for in this fucked up situation is that it only lasted that one night, it was with nobody I knew, he was smart enough to wear protection and there were no feelings involved.
I know it’s a messed up word to use when I say ‘thankful’ but honestly, it could’ve been much worse.
This way, at least I didn’t get an STD, there wasn’t a pregnancy involved, and my child never has to find out about his dad’s indiscretion.
I am not condoning this behavior, and to each their own. I respect the fact that not everybody would’ve stayed, and anyone who makes that decision has every right to do so.
But for me, I felt like the circumstances were a little better than what I initially expected when I heard, so I was adamant to do everything I could to try and save our marriage and protect our child.
The most important thing for me was, after coming to terms with this, that I saw how all-encompassing my husband’s remorse was.
He had kept it to himself for months because he couldn’t bring himself to crush me like that and risk me leaving him.
I know he loves me more than life itself. And I do him. So I felt I owed it to us to give us another chance at love.
It wasn’t easy. Not by a mile. The first few weeks after having learned about this were fight or flight.
I couldn’t look him in the eyes. Every time I would look at him I immediately went back to the day I found out, and his swollen eyes from crying, and I just couldn’t relive it.
I knew how fucked up it was for him as well. He knew there was nothing he could do to make it better for me, so he was just trying to live one day at a time and hope I didn’t do something rash.
We both knew that it was a horrible mistake, and since it wasn’t an emotional thing, nor was there ever a possibility of him leaving me for her, we decided to try and get through it as a united front.
I didn’t forgive him just like that. I was still mad. I was pissed, and at times I would let him know.
He never tried to make it into something that it wasn’t. He never made excuses, not one.
He was owning up to it one hundred percent, and I saw how genuinely sorry he was.
He didn’t want to lose what we had, and after so many years of marriage, a beautiful child and getting through every obstacle, we both knew we would find a way through this as well.
There was nothing that affected my husband as gravely as knowing he broke me that day. He was a shell of his former self.
Nothing can compare to how big of a toll doing this to me took on him, and that made me realize how much he really does love me.
He easily could’ve left. He could’ve been a coward and taken the easiest way out. He didn’t have to tell me. I probably never would’ve found out if he hadn’t.
But he did. He knew he owed it to me. And that is something I appreciated.
He admitted he did something that affected me so horribly, and he couldn’t stand seeing me so broken in the following weeks.
There was still so much love between us. As hurt as I was, I never thought of leaving. I couldn’t see a future without him. I knew this was an obstacle I would learn to overcome.
I saw it very clearly. The humility in him. The remorse that he felt so deeply for his actions.
Never expecting me to forgive or even understand, merely hoping I still loved him enough to give him a chance to redeem himself.
I do not regret staying with him. I am proud of myself for fighting though this, and fighting for a love that was too great for us to just let it wither away.
I never felt confused, uncertain, or regretful over my decision to work towards the repair of our relationship.
It was always going to be that way. I only needed time to find the strength to look my husband in the eye again and realize and accept how remorseful he was.
He will be the first to tell you that this was by far the biggest mistake of his life. Without hesitation. Everything else pales in comparison.
Hurting me was the most difficult thing that he ever did. I know that he will never forgive himself for it, and that is why I learned to forgive him instead.
Having a kid only made it that much easier to make this decision.
We were still very much in love. We still put each other first. We would still do anything in the world for each other, and for those reasons it was easy deciding to stay together.
I wasn’t going to throw away so many happy and fulfilled years with each other due to one horrible mistake.
I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and we have finally found it.
It took some work though. My husband was ready to listen to me vent, complain and cry whenever I felt mad about it.
Whichever emotion I felt, I expressed it openly and never bottled anything up.
I screamed at him more times than I am willing to count, and he was beyond ready to put up with it.
He let me feel however I felt each day, and being so ready to let me find my way toward forgiveness was what made the decision so easy.
I suggested seeing a counselor, and he was more than open to it. We went for a few months, and he showed up every single time.
He listened to me talk about how hollow and helpless it made me feel, and he took full responsibility for his actions without ever making a single excuse.
With each passing month, things got easier. I could finally look at him without feeling angry, and he was at his best behavior every single day.
I really didn’t make it easy on him, but he never complained, and all he ever wanted was to keep loving me and remain in this marriage with me.
Finding my way to happiness again was not an easy journey, and I do not expect everyone to understand or agree with my decision. But, not every situation is the same and not every person is the same.
What I saw was regret and remorse in the eyes of the man I love more than anything in the world, and his honesty and willingness to do whatever it took for us to survive this made me realize that I made the best decision in staying with him.
By saying this, I do not encourage anyone to stay with a cheating partner.
Everybody has the right to do what is right for them and their family. And I did what I felt was right for mine, and I do not regret it for a second.
Choosing love and forgiveness was my decision because I didn’t want to spend my life far from a person who I knew loved me more than he could possibly put into words.
For me, life is too short to spend it on anger, resentment and misery. Those weren’t really an option. I always strive to find a way out of any unfortunate situation, and that is exactly what I did.
My family is my world, and preserving our love and unity will always be something I am most proud of.