Surviving Infidelity and Healing a Marriage.
Surviving Infidelity and Saving a Marriage
I hid in the bathroom. It was the only place I could go where my sons would not see me crying. The cold floor emphasized the cold feeling in my heart. I had developed anxiety attacks that would come on with such force causing sharp shooting pains through my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack. The first time it happened I went to the emergency room. My body was handling what my spiritual heart could not, the betrayal of my husband. So often I look back on that time in my life and wonder how I survived… much less forgiving and taking him back.
When we marry a person it is for life. That is the understanding. There are many reasons to leave. The reasons range from ridiculous to monstrous. What happens when the greatest relationship you have ever seen is torn to bits? There is a misnomer among people that good relationships are not dissolvable. This is simply not true. Every relationship has a breaking point every marriage is under threat and that safe place can turn into something horrific with just a few words.
I had the marriage everyone wanted. My husband and I were great friends and we loved each other. In fact many people can attest to the reality that my husband and I could carry on conversations without speaking. This was a special gift that freaked out those around us. We did not think the same but, we did not fight, we simply discussed things like adults. We compromised sometimes and sometimes we swayed each other, we always worked together.
It seems unreal to me even now that we divorced. In that moment sitting on the bathroom floor there was no one to call, no one who would understand. It was as if, part for my soul were being removed and I could not alter the expereince. People are rarely honest about divorce. It is always one persons fault, not really but, we see it that way. In this case it was husbands fault. He had strayed, he had taken what once was beautiful and warped it into something evil and regrettable. Those of you who have felt that moment, know that blame doesn’t make you feel any better. Deep inside we all know, we too, contributed to the death of the marriage.
Most people have a supporting cast of family and friends during this type of trial. Most people would cling to those people and breakdown. Unfortunately, I was always the person everyone came to with their problems. I never went to anyone else, never even considered it. I had three wonderful sons counting on me to be strong and to be there for them as both mother and father. More than anything I did not want to let them down.
So there I sat on the bathroom floor, quietly crying while my kids slept, knowing that the electric bill was due and I was broke, knowing that tomorrow would be another day and it too would rough like today. In my mind there were not anymore happy days, only survival.
That was six years ago and it seems like it was another life. At the time I wanted to get over my pain. I wanted to move on and be strong. I read every article I could get my hands on concerning surviving infidelity. I read books with nonsensical advice. The only thing that did help was prayer. I prayed every day to be enough for my children. I prayed for God to hold my heart and make me strong. And he did.
Since those days I have learned that as long as you are still breathing there is another day and there are miracles to be witnessed every day. I read a book about a woman who went through a similar break up, she got to go live with her parents and cry for a month while her mother took care of her children. Everyone handles infidelity different however, my mother worked full time and I had to support myself so that was not a route I could employ.
With all that said I am not writing this too gain empathy. There are two things I would like all married people to know. The first is about evil, and maybe you are not Christian so I will put it like this “Evil or the Devil knows what you and your spouse will sacrifice your marriage for”. If your husband is addicted to work, he is sacrificing your marriage, if you shop until there is not money for food, you are sacrificing your marriage. The marriage has to come first. You don’t get married to accumulate wealth or be pillars of the community. Marriage is between two people not them and the rest of the world.
The second thing is that no two people were ever perfect. When a person starts to get angry over inconsequential things, they are really mad about something else. Here is an example, you get really angry that your spouse does not pick up their shoes and put them in the closet. Does it really matter that the shoes are out? Probably not, but if you are getting angry about this, then there is a good chance that your spouse did something to upset you and instead of discussing it, you let it go…until grabs hold of your emotional responses to that person. At that point you are ready to scream over something silly. When you are upset about something your spouse does, discuss it. Be honest with yourself and that person.
Putting it back together…
You have read all the way to this point and you are wondering, where is the reconciliation? Two years ago I remarried my husband. Oh I felt you cringe! How could I do that? How could I forgive him???
It is always easier to forgive people you don’t care about isn’t it? If you do not care about someone then you can walk away easy. When you love someone the hurt runs deep and even though the only way you are going to survive it is to forgive, you can’t seem to do it. Two years ago I was done with him. In fact I had started seeing other people, not a lot, just a few dates. In my mind we were through and sometimes I even felt bad for him. My heart had healed. I was on another road, a road that I was creating. The grand thoughts of a reconciliation were long gone.
What I did to get to that point was live. I took up kayaking and painting. When my kids were at their dads I cleaned the house, read books, and went places. Most importantly I did what I wanted. When my kids were home we spent time together. We went on trips. I created new traditions where the old ones had once been. Eventually, I was so solid I could have my husband over and not feel the fall out when he left. Living doesn’t stop because you are not with someone. Time is time and it passes no matter if you waste it or do something meaningful
You can do many things to try to get through a tough divorce, learn to dance, go out, get a hobby, or even get an education. When it comes down to it, time is the only thing that helps. Every day that you don’t sit in the bathroom crying, everyday that you can hold your head up, you are one step closer to being ok. Live! Life is the greatest gift. Go live it. Notice the miracle of trees, air, and water. Take people up on their offers to try something new. Be ok with being single, it doesn’t make you any less of a person. Use the time to become the person you want to be.
Healing a relationship is not easy. Infidelity carries with it a special type of pain. This part is for the person who cheated:
When you hurt a person this badly that person bounces between the emotions of love and hate. If you decide to stay then you have to realize that the person you hurt is going to lash out at you for no reason, cry at times when it makes no sense, and at times it will feel like you are not getting anywhere. You will want to leave rather than handle the pain you caused, but be brave, be loving and know that one day the same time that caused you to split apart will heal the wounds. If you have been sincere in your efforts and loved with everything you are… one day you will get back what you lost. The best things in life , are the things in which we work the hardest to obtain. Be worthy of the love you want.
How do you put a marriage back together? Both people have to want to be together. Both people have to be honest about who they are and willing to take each other as they are. You never know a person until you see their worst side. Divorce brings out the worst in people, if you can see that and still love a person then you may be further than most people. It is easy to love the nice side of a person. It is not so easy to love both sides of a person. Can a person forgive? Yes.? Can a person find themselves in a disaster like divorce? Yes. Can two people be better together than they ever were before? Yes. The human spirit is capable of great things in the face of adversity.