18 months ago my husband of 10 years cheat on me with someone at his job. We had two children and a baby on the way. I found out through someone else and it took him an entire year to finally admit it to me. I was devastated. It not only rocked my marriage, but my self-worth, identity, even my ability to parent. I felt like I had failed and that caused him to stray. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that he had to return to his ship and deploy again, fortunately not with the same girl, but away and exposed to temptation none-the-less.
We spent months fighting; every conversation, every meeting, every correspondance. I was so angry that it overflowed into the simplest, unrelated, exchanges. I had decided to forgive him and planned to save our marriage. I felt like he wasn't doing enough to "pay" for his mistake and I needed justice. I never even got to confront the girl. I felt like I was living in a private hell and no one understood. Blogging was a helpful outlet, although I eventually delete many of the more specific blog posts on the subject.
Recently I realized that deciding to forgive someone doesn't mean anything. You can say the words all day long, but until your heart heals and you genuinely feel it, the anger and hurt will still create a barrier. Infidelity is an absolute deal breaker for a lot of people. Not to say I accept it, or would react with grace if it were to happen again, but I don't think that forgiving and re-committing to your marriage is a sign of weakness or a permissive act. His weaknesses are different from mine, but in many ways, no worse. I've built a life with this person and what we went through recently falls squarely in the "for worse" portion of our vows. On a recent week home on leave he and I finally reconnected. Through supportive girlfriends and a lot of introspection I've realized that his mistake has nothing to do with a failure of mine. I'm still the beautiful, strong, funny woman I was before he cheat. Realizing that gave me the sense of control I needed to recover. Are things 100% back to normal? No. But, we're well on our way back to a good better place.
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