I am a mother to four amazing children ages 18 to 27 years old, and for 18 years my marriage was bliss. My husband and I supported each other’s careers and encouraged each other’s growth. I went up the corporate ladder of a big retail service chain in the US while he stayed in his job here and visited the kids and me regularly. He did quite well in his own field, the military, and earned his stars.
But the distance proved to be a real challenge that, after five years of being apart, the kids and I came home to be a family again. A few months after returning, we discovered that while we were apart, we both had extramarital affairs. It was painful for the both of us.
We promised to save our marriage and move on, but I soon discovered that he continued his affairs nevertheless. When I confronted him on the first one, he said, his way of dealing with my own affair was to take revenge. I tried to understand his macho pride and forgave him.
It was followed by a series of text messages, e-mail and telephone episodes with more women, leading to sexual encounters known and unknown to me. I tried to forgive all of them, again. I was rationalizing that it was his way of dealing with the loneliness of us being apart. But all his subsequent affairs say is that he hasn’t forgiven me.
After much talk between us and the kids, with the promise that he would really change, we decided to give it one more go. Thus far we’ve gone into counseling and are spending more time together.
I ask myself if I did the right thing in taking him back. Am I setting a good example of a woman empowered to make decisions that would command the respect of her children? I am scared of the future. I cannot stand a repeat of the emotional battery of the past six years. He seems to be truly sorry and has committed to change. I see changes but the consistency is not yet there.
—CONFUSED AND IN DOUBT
Yeah, sure! It’s so easy to rationalize that what your husband did and continues to do is just a tit for your tat.
But how many tits would it take to cleanse his mind and pride of that one tat you did? Are you ready for more? Or will it never stop?
As for worrying about losing the respect of your children in this family drama—don’t! Your honesty and determination will guide them. They want to see integrity, loyalty and unwavering love in you. Your children who are now all adults will understand and support you. Give it your all and you’ll get it back a hundredfold.
You ask if you did the right thing taking him back. There is no right or wrong here. If you believe this is the only way of saving your family, that you truly love him and accept turning a blind eye to his many affairs to forgive your one indiscretion, then so be it. It’s your right way.
It is only wrong if you avowedly hate everything you’re doing but keep on doing it anyway. Every fiber, every molecule in your body will go against you, totally negate everything in you, and produce toxic elements that will make you sick one day.
Remember what one doctor said: “Our cells are constantly eavesdropping on our thoughts…” You’re an intelligent and caring wife and mother. You know in your heart what’s best for you. The decision you make, with or without your husband in it, must and should give you contentment and peace of mind in the end.