Had we been childless, I would have left him after the first lie and never looked back.
Instead, I decided to forgive and move on.
To allow myself to do this I adopted a “fake it until you make it” attitude. I concentrated on the good things; like our daughter and what we had spent 15 years building together…a life, which up until my husband’s indiscretion was honest, and all and all, after 11 years married…pretty good.
For months we went to therapy, or if you live in Los Angeles it’s sometimes called a relationship Guru, like a mentor or a life coach. This can get expensive, and depending on how many years you let things…slide, can go on forever. If you have gotten so distant from one another and have not talked honestly about your relationship, and in our case, we each allowed for our needs to go unmet, and instead, kind of…put up with things, then therapy can be a daunting task. You pay a lot of money to air your grievances to a person who doesn’t know you very well and does a lot of nodding.
My husband quickly became obsessed with a relationship Guru, Jerry, whose only degree was from Santa Monica College of Psychics.
Under Jerry’s tutelage my husband started doing guided meditations with the aid of a crystal pendulum, asking it his deepest life questions and expecting it to help him come up with the answers. He started shopping at stores with names like “The Crystal Matrix”. Me, being the practical one between the two of us, was more than a bit skeptical, but went along in an effort to keep our marriage intact.
I kept my more traditional therapist, who has a degree, but soon acquiesced, and went to couple’s therapy with his Guru. I even agreed to my husband’s idea of hosting a ten-week relationship course in our home led by Jerry.
Ten couples from our neighborhood now cram into our small living room each week, and talk about their marriages. This is eye opening. We are not the only ones in need of a marriage tune-up. We are not alone in our dissatisfaction. Even with an affair, I started thinking our relationship was relatively “healthy” after listening to hours of complaining from these couples about their significant other, and hearing the inner most, and intimate workings of their marriages. At least my husband and I actually like each other.
I did everything I could to “fix” it.
- Spend Quality Time Together
During this time, my husband and I learned to engage with one another again, as much as we did when we first got married.
We made an effort, carving out time for hikes and movies and sitting on the couch at night, listening to Jerry’s CD’s – workshops on what healthy relationships look like – or just talking over a glass of wine in our kitchen.
We hadn’t behaved this way in years, maybe since the birth of our daughter.
As time went on, I was no longer spending time with my husband and engaging in a positive way with him for the sole purpose of keeping our family together and saving our daughter the experience of a painful divorce, I now wanted to spend time with him because I was enjoying our time reconnecting, and I was reminded of why we first fell in love.
During the past five years my husband had been busy with his music career, and me, with staying at home raising our daughter.
We put “us” on the back burner. The emotional gap between us started to grow so wide, that is was easier to just give up on making time for the other, rather than try to bridge the gulf that we had allowed to gather. When we did spend a bit of time together it was so lacking in fun and full of stress that both of us started fulfilling our lives…separately. As soon as we started purposefully making one another a priority, the distance between us gradually lessened.
My “fake it until you make it” attitude is working.
- If There Is Still Love Between You and Your Partner…Remember It
There was still love between us, which made the healing go faster and feel more authentic.
I was again seeing my husband as I did when we first started dating, and because he had recently lost weight – same old clichéd story; man hurling towards middle-age when found attractive by some other woman – other than his wife – starts exercising constantly. B-O-R-I-N-G, but true. My husband got a gym membership for the first time in his life. This should have been a red flag for me, but I just thought he wanted to be healthy. He lost 20 pounds for “her” and looked great. He was now more confident in his own skinnier-skin, and I liked his confidence. I started thinking our marriage was not only going to survive, but thrive also.
This didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of time, understanding and patience to start seeing some light.
We would get through this storm, and come out at the end of it closer, and better for it. We were connected again in a way we hadn’t been since the birth of our child. Maybe his affair was the wake up call we needed.
- Building Trust
This is a tricky one. When you have been lied to by the person you are suppose to have the utmost trust with, it is hard to recover to a place of honesty; that space no longer exists because you can’t un-ring a bell. AND not bringing up the lie of an affair while you are trying to reestablish trust again is nearly impossible to do.
The Guru, Jerry, suggested I check my husband’s phone and our phone bills to make sure my husband’s promise of not having any contact with the woman he had the affair with remained so. My husband agreed to this. This, however, is not me…at all. I am not a snoop or a spy and if you tell me I can trust you, I will. Until I can’t.
I couldn’t trust him so I reluctantly went along with the plan of checking our phone bill.
- BOTH of You Need to Want to Save The Marriage
Here is the caveat to steps 1 – 4. You can’t do this alone. You need to do it together, to be on the same page, to want to stay together. I did.
I did check our phone bill, but only twice, and then I didn’t…for months. Until one day – out-of-the-blue – I looked at it, right in front of my husband.
I told him I was going to. I pulled up the account on my computer, and he froze. I could see his heart racing in his chest right through his shirt, and I knew exactly what I would see when I looked at the bill, her number over and over again.
She started calling, texting and emailing him constantly.
With her constant interference working on him, our working on it came to an end and saving our marriage became hopeless, and a joke.
She made it virtually impossible. And, let’s face it, he did too. He answered her calls and texts.