The following submission was sent to Seth and Melanie as a response to their request for blog posts from listeners. However the listener wanted to remain nameless due to the people involved. We hope you find this helpful.
It had been a few months since I had seen her.
I had reached out a few times because our standing appointment had come and gone with no word as to where she was, or why she hadn’t shown up. She had responded once or twice with the, I’m really not well, but that was the extent. When she walked in that day, her face wasn’t as bright, her shoulders sagged, even her children weren’t as bubbly and friendly as they had been. As we sat down she started apologizing for blowing me off, “It’s just such an impossible time,” she raised her eyes to mine, her face turned red, tears ran down her face, “my husband has been having an affair.”
That sinking, life crumbling feeling, the dark loneliness, the validation (true or not) of “I guess I was right, I wasn’t enough”, the debate of “should I stay, or should I go,” the agony of trust betrayed, ending with “This only happens to other people, not to us, not to me,” it was all so familiar.
It may not seem common, it may really seem like something that happens to “other people”, but I have had the above conversation THREE times in the last year, three friends who find themselves in this reality… and that’s not to mention the other conversations I have had with friends who have walked through this years ago and just wanted to share their stories.
To actually start talking about the affair your spouse had can be just as difficult for you as it was for the spouse to admit the affair to you! Sometimes there is a season of silence. Sometimes the shock just takes over and there is no way to even process the new reality. And then you have to process the questions. Questions like, if you say anything are you dishonoring your spouse? They were the one to break your covenant to begin with…they started the dishonor, so…? Were your actions responsible for their actions of leaving you to begin with? You Were partially responsible for the fighting, because like mom always said, it takes two to fight. Are you really that damaged, that your partner would leave you like that…
The questions can be suppressed, at least until your partner is ready to hear them, or you are ready to ask them, or your counselor makes you say them out loud…But they shouldn’t be suppressed forever. You do need to talk about it, for your own healing if for nothing else.
I only talked about it with one person within the first year of the event. And it was only because I got a text about an unrelated mater at just the wrong (or was it the right?) time. I was drinking my morning coffee, overcome with grief, crying as softly as I could so the people in the next room wouldn’t hear me, and the question in my head played on repeat…”What am I going to do?” My phone beeped…I couldn’t believe a friend was actually texting me right at that moment. It was life giving, but my soul sunk at the same time. If anyone would show my partner and I grace, I was pretty sure this friend would. I took a chance. I shared. And I was right. She didn’t defend or ostracize my partner, she didn’t tell me I was wrong for wanting to stay and leave at the same time. It was just what I needed at that moment. And it was a start.
I decided, in the end, to stay. The reasons to leave were many, the reasons to stay were many more.
If I have learned anything in through this event it this… having a partner be unfaithful to you, is a lot more common than is talked about. Finding that one person you can share with, a counselor, a parent, a sibling, a friend, can really help the process of healing. Just because it looks like no one is going through it, just because no one talks about it, doesn’t mean that infidelity isn’t happening. We just don’t talk about it.