One of the plagues of infidelity, for the betrayed partner, is the fact that you will never know the secrets of the affair. I imagine the excitement, the passion, the private conversations. And to accept means that I will never know the depth of those moments and I will always be excluded from them. Is it possible to accept that a period of your marriage doesn’t belong to you? I’m grappling with that at the moment.
When love matures, there is a different relationship.
Prior to the affair, H and I had a baby. We kept trying to make time for each other but like any couple with a new baby, there were exhausting days, disconnection and lack of time. It seems like there should be a grace period in relationships when you have a baby. A level of understanding that this is temporary and you will resume connection after you have some coffee. That wasn’t the case in my marriage. Leading up to the affair, H said the disconnection was really hard for him.
There are no excuses to cheating on your spouse and it is never deserved, whatever the circumstances leading up to the affair might be. But I know that if we stay together that there are things we can work on.
The other day, at a high trigger moment, I talked to H about how overcoming the ‘secret excitement’ that he shared with the other woman was one of the hardest things for me to work through and how I don’t know if I will ever get over that. Mature love rarely has that excitement. And the deep moments of gratitude and joy that you have with your spouse, that special moment when you are connecting and your heart says, ‘I love this man so deeply,’ seems to pale in comparison to the idea of the excitement of an affair.
I told H that since I could never give him a risk-filled passionate affair, I feel as though he would always view the affair as greater than what we could experience together. However right or wrong that feeling is, grief makes it true in the moment.
H responded to that. After hearing me and thinking about it for a few minutes, he said, ‘I understand how that would be difficult. In my view, I wouldn’t call it excitement, I would call it desperate for attention.’
He said it with a tone of embarrassment and self-loathing. Desperate for attention.
My therapist is constantly telling me that there is no benefit in twisting words through grieving emotions, that in choosing to build trust we take what’s said at face value instead of trying to analyze it with a grief filled heart. I’m trying to work on that.