Our story was exactly how I had always envisioned what true love would look like. We met after I had started college, and the attraction was intense. It felt as if we had known each other for years, and it was comfortable. We fell right into one another. So we got married and spent the first couple of years enjoying the newlywed life. There were weekly dinner dates, summer concerts with friends, and social gatherings at the local bars. But after we had our first child, life shifted. We were connected, but we weren’t. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and just trying to navigate this realm of parenthood with him. But never in a million years would I expect my husband to have an affair.
I sensed something was off one summer evening when he raced into our bedroom to accept a call from work. When I asked him what that was about, he brushed it off, saying it was a call from someone at the office who had a question about something at work. It felt weird, but I shrugged it off. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “Why did he have to go hide to take the call? And why are they calling him at 8 pm on a Friday?” It wasn’t adding up, but I had no reason not to believe that he wasn’t telling me the truth.
But a few weeks later, I greeted him with the usual hug and kiss when he returned home from work. Immediately I smelled alcohol on his breath and was taken aback. It was barely 5 pm, and he never mentioned after-work drinks with his colleagues. When I asked him about it, he denied it up and down. The empty look in his eyes still haunts me to this day. It was that moment when I knew that deep down, something bigger was going on.
Towards the end of the summer, I opened up our shared laptop to do some work. I went to log out of his email to log into mine, and that’s when it caught my eye. It was an email with a weird subject line from a name I had never heard of – and that’s when my heart dropped. I opened it, read it, and immediately wanted to throw up. The email was a chain of love letters back and forth to one another. I felt like I was in an alternate universe while reading these emails. How was this happening to me, and how did we even get here?
But more importantly, why would he do this to his child?
The moments of confrontation are still a blur, but I remember that I made him leave until I was ready to look him in the face and talk without wanting to burn him to the ground with my eyes. At first, he tried to deny the affair. He made excuses and then ultimately admitted to what I knew had happened. He claimed it was just emotional and never physical, but years of trust had been broken, and I couldn’t believe a word that came out of his mouth. The amount of pain that my heart and soul felt will never be forgotten. A family has been broken over his selfish choices, and I wasn’t sure I wanted any part of him again.
After months of counseling, we were able to work through the affair and decided to stay together. It has been almost a full decade since I discovered those emails, and we continue to get counseling both as a couple and individually. But it has been a long process of healing for my mind, body, and soul. It has also taken me a long time to gain that trust back after the affair, and to be completely transparent; I’m not sure it’s all there. Over time, I have been able to reevaluate my priorities, process, and make the best choice for myself and my family. I love my husband, and this will be something that we live with for the rest of our lives. The decision to stay together was what was right for us – and that’s our story to tell.