Surviving Infidelity Series: Refusing Blame and Moving on Forgiving Self
My husband and I hadn’t been communicating for a long time and I was concerned so I asked him one day if he wanted to work on our relationship and he said “no”. He said he had already given up on us. I asked what that meant and if he wanted a divorce and he said “yes”. That was how it all started and although I had my suspicions I didn’t “know” that he was having an affair for several months after he had already left. Of course, he insisted over and over again that he wasn’t a cheating spouse and had always been loyal. He said he left because of my problems and his inability to live with me any longer. It was a horrific burden since I had been accepting blame for everything that went wrong in our marriage since the beginning. However, through a mistake he made I was given access to his secret email account and found out much more than I would have ever wanted to know about his current affair and much more. I had a hard time believing what was before my eyes. I went quiet and then alternated that with rages of despair that I had never known the man I was married to. I searched the internet for help in understanding what I was going through and for advise on handling a divorce since once he stated his position he never backed down from it. What I found from your emails, ebooks, and website was that I had made every mistake in the book before I ever knew what was happening. Yes, I did. So, I initially felt guilt about that also. I read “Surviving the affair” over and over to try to help me accept that it was truly not my fault that he chose to cheat again. Yes, the truth of it was that he had cheated before on multiple occasions. And when he did it before he blamed me then too. The reasoning was always just a little different, but somehow I was to bear the burden of his infidelity. I know I wasn’t the perfect wife, but I wasn’t the monster he tried to portray me as either. I’m actually a kind and loving person, a great mother and friend, but I didn’t provide the continual thrills and excitement he needed in his life. So we are divorced. It was not my choice and I would have tried to heal our marriage again as I truly married for life and loved him. He admitted regretting his choices at the end and justified continuing as he felt I would forgive, but never forget. He was right. I have continued to read your emails and occasionally re-read “Surviving the Affair”. It helps me to accept the things that were out of my control. I wish things had ended differently, but that was not to be. One day I also realized that I had spent way too much time in my life thinking about “the other woman” and about what I had done wrong. First, she wasn’t worth the time I gave her and I may have done some things wrong, but I did a lot right and it was finally time to forgive myself. Last, I used many of the techniques perhaps not to survive the affair, but to help me put some distance and objectivity between my emotions and what was happening during the discussions relating to our divorce. My ex-husband wanted a “do it yourself” version in which he remained in charge of what was happening. He was willing to help me, but on his terms and with no binding agreement. After 37 years and lots of lies, I felt I deserved a bit more consideration than that. While I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, I realized I was in a very vulnerable position since I was the one who did not want the divorce. I got a lawyer to protect myself from myself as well as him. I just went for fair and was okay with that.
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