Monday, November 23, 2009

The Reality Of The Affair, Redux

Posted by Anonymous. (Follow-up to The Reality Of The Affair.)

It's been nearly two and a half years since I wrote the post about "the reality of the affair." I just reread it and all the comments before gathering my thoughts to write this next one. I've often reflected in my mind back to the comments I received after that original post so I wanted to have a fresh look again. This one in particular made me giggle, "You're probably not that special." One of the more profound things I've learned in the last three plus years is what I'm worth.

I followed through and left my then husband about three months after that first post. He took it well but there were some moments that were harder than others. The best part about all of this is he has become a better person and a better father. Without me to pick up all his slack he has had to step up and has found that being a great dad is really his thing. He's had a couple of girlfriends but at the moment is just focusing on himself. We're friendly and I care deeply about him. He is the father of my children and I want him to find the happiness he deserves.

My kids are amazing. They never once asked if dad and I would be getting back together. They never once expressed any concern at all about their future. My ex and I have made it a priority to act like adults and to ensure that our children are secure and happy and know they are the most important thing. They have also seen both of us take this time and discover true happiness. I have instilled in them that they are worth everything and they deserve to be happy just like we all do. In discovering my own value I have taught my children to believe in theirs.

About the other man. He started counseling and began on his own journey of self-discovery. He began to seriously evaluate what it was he wanted and needed and where his own priorities were. We continued our relationship into the summer of 2008 at which point he began to wonder if he would be able to ever find the courage to battle the emotional drama that would come from leaving his wife. It was during that summer that I let him go to discover what it was he wanted and needed in his life. It was a very difficult thing to follow through with - but I knew it was the right thing. I knew he had to know for his own sanity for certain that he could either never be happy with her or without me. I kept in touch with him but we did not see each other for well over a year. That all changed this summer when he came to me a free man, self-assured and ready to pursue a life where he can be truly happy.

Those who've never experienced this will never understand that the road to get here was about courage and righting the wrong decisions we made when we were younger. There is no shame in changing your mind and although marriage ought to be for life, for many of us we made that commitment much too young to even know who we are or what we would want. We both went to individual counseling to determine what it was we wanted in our lives. We both have children who are happier now that we are happier. Marriage isn't something that can bind two people together in paper only. You have to connect emotionally and spiritually in order to make a marriage last forever.

As for the cute little catch phrases like "If he'll do it with you he'll do it to you" I don't worry about that at all. This was never about a cheap thrill. There was no 'fog' over the last four years. We've been through more reality than most couples ever see and we always come out stronger. When your relationship is born through commitment and motivation to be together NO MATTER WHAT then you know what you have and you are unwilling to lose it.

So just remember the next affair you hear about may not just be an asshole and a whore looking for something fun on the side. Sometimes you meet the perfect person at the imperfect time. Some people are worth it and some people are willing to do whatever it takes to be together.

20 comments:

Candy said...

Yeah the old "if he did it with you he'll do it to you" adage drives me crazy. My husband was married when we first met, he had an affair with me, left his first wife to be with me, and we've been together almost 30 years now. Married for 22. Sometimes the relationships we are in are just not right. Stereotypes don't always fit the bill.

Good luck with your situation.

Gunfighter said...

Good for you!

Find your own happy, I always say.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I left my husband because I was not happy in the marriage and met someone else right before my decision to ask for a divorce. This guy is special and this reinforces my decision to get out of an unhappy marriage. Best decision I've ever made and this guy could be 'the one' for me. I really like this update. :)

Anonymous said...

I didn't read your original post until I read this one...but you know what everyone above is right! I agree that you can find your own happy. I met my current boyfriend while dating someone else and as much as I thought I liked the other guy I fell hard and fast for my current boyfriend. I felt bad at the time but now we've been together for 3 years and have a great life. Sometimes the timing of life's events sucks, but it all works out in the end

Joie said...

Perfect person at the imperfect time... Perfect phrasing, my dear. Well said.

Anonymous said...

I am happy for you. I agree with you and Dr Phil. Very well said.

MaggiePie said...

Yes, breaking someone else's heart and blowing up families is absolutely the right thing to do when you meet the right person at the wrong time!!! Have you ever given a moments thought to the spouse that has been betrayed? No, I'm sure that your love is much more important.

I'm sure your boyfriend's commitment to his first wife was born through motivation and being together no matter what. Interesting how that didn't last, isn't it?

You are naive and immature. Please update in 10 years and we'll see where you're at then, when boredom and reality set in.

Anonymous said...

MaggiePie

The Op didn't destroy her BF's family. He made a choice that probably would have been made with or without her. Whether her involvement in that choice was right or wrong; the only person to make a choice about ending the marriage was the boyfriend.
Also, choosing to divorce is not neccesarily destroying a family. It could just be changing the dynamic.
OP-seems like you ended up taking a step back and thinking your decision through. I wish you luck. I've been there, but my situation didn't end so well.

Anonymous said...

Maggie Pie,

Your judgemental sarcasm has probably just doomed you to doing this same thing (cheating)sooner or later, as we always in some way have to "eat our own words" when we try to condemn others. This person may not have made the choices you'd have made, that is all.

Mark it down, Maggie Pie will most likely be in this same situation somewhere down the road. Hope she writes about it on HBMB............

Anonymous said...

I hadn't read your original post until seeing this one and going back, but wow. I admire you for your honesty and bravery in sharing your story.

As someone who has been in the EXACT situation as you have, I completely agree that it's not always about the cheap thrill. People love to judge quickly and harshly when they've never been through this, but damn it, we are not whores.

Andrea said...

I read the 2nd post 1st and the 1st post 2nd. :) And my opinion didn't change from one to the other... and my opinion about this type of thing has been the same for about 5 years now. And that is... people make way too much of sex! I mean, I personally think it's as natural as rain to want to get naked with somebody you're attracted to... and I don't care if you're married, divorced, never been married, whatever. I also think that just because you get naked with somebody else *doesn't* mean you don't want to be with the person you're currently with. It just means you wanted to have sex with someone else. I believe we human beings have the capacity to care about a lot of people... even love a lot of people... but it doesn't mean we want to marry or permanently be "with" somebody just because we might love them or happen to get naked with them. Unfortunately, it's hard to find two spouses who feel this same way so... when the natural thing occurs, for one or the other, the opposite spouse is hurt. They think their marriage partner doesn't love them anymore because that partner decided to get naked with somebody else.

I dunno... I'm probably not explaining myself very well but my thoughts are what they are. I think the world would be a lot happier place, with a lot less turmoil, if we'd just chill out about the sex thing. It's really not that big of a deal & I think it's a shame that good marriages are thrown out the window because of something so insignificant as wanting to lay naked in a bed with somebody else once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

Why do people say "you've broken up a happy home?" If it was a happy home then they wouldn't have found someone else.
Sometimes people marry for the wrong reasons. Sometimes they marry for the right reasons but things change.
Marriage doesn't automatically mean forever.
And while when a marriage breaks up there is pain involved-I feel if you truly love someone then you want them to be happy. Even if it means they have to leave you to do it.
My first love was a heart stopping can't breathe type of love. But we were like oil and water. 5 yrs of intense everything.
One day I found someone who spoke to my heart. It was an easy going smooth flowing friendship that morphed in to an amazing love.
When I left it was hard. And he was not understanding. To this day he will not speak to me, even though he has found someone new a long time ago. He felt I betrayed him, and maybe I did.But I do not regret what happened or where I ended up. I can only hope that one day he sees that this all played out the best for both of us.

Anonymous said...

::claps::

Now THAT is the way to live your life - with a clear, confident, healthy mind!

I am in a similar position and I can see how my soon to be ex is stepping up to the plate and being the dad I always begged him to be. He has to be. I am no longer playing the part of his mother - even though I didn't even know at the time that that's what I was doing.

I don't have another guy yet, just friends that are helping me along the way and supporting me. It was funny that while I was married, I couldn't find a friend around. But now, they're everywhere. Perhaps I wasn't ready to expose the bad marriage that I was in and pushed everyone away. Now that I'm not ashamed to take control of my life and fix the mistakes I've made, I feel so much better.

Congrats on being brave and showing us the way.

I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Andrea -

I second that! Someone once told me that the way we see marriage and monogamy is twisted. We would never call parents selfish for wanting and loving two children, but yet we do that for intimate partners.

If we're concerned about the consequences, like babies and STDs and broken hearts, then be responsible! We can die from eating or walking or driving. So just like everything else, think about it, talk about it, and be safe. Done.

(Researchers say that our greater life expectancy and better health care and disease control has and will change the face of marriage and intimate relationships. The only thing that will make it regress is fear and panic.)

:: wife mom maniac :: said...

Brilliant thoughts Andrea, I loved your post.

Anna said...

Sigh. I can only partly agree here. I do agree that if you are unhappy and you are certain the relationship you are in is not the right one, it is best for all involved to end it. But I don't agree that following your emotions for an another man should be done until you have done the adult thing and "handled" or ended your current relationship.

You made a promise when you wed. It is ok if you have determined that the marraige should end. But fulfill your promise and remain faithful until the relationship has been severed. It's an important part of character.

People fail to relaize a marraige is a business. Sex is separate. But we women tend to put a fairytale view on it. Your business failed, that's ok. But you should have ended it accordingly before pursuing a new relationship.

I am glad it has all worked out for you. It is good that you can be honest about what you did. But people, PLEASE stop justifying adultery as ok if you are unhappy. We are grown ups. Right and wrong are clear. Leave first, THEN love anew.

Louisa said...

Andrea, your comments seem really illogical to you. There's a complete difference between the type of love you have for your children and between a life partner. It's concerning that you can't make that distinction.

Anna, I agree with you and like your comment that it's a matter of character. I also can't help but wonder if you'll cheat together why wouldn't you cheat on someone else? After all weren't your previous relationships also once loving and intended to be life long? It's easy to just see what you want to see. Be careful & good luck.

Anonymous said...

MaggiePie and Anna,

Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately the prevailing assumption is that it was a good marriage or that she is a healthy individual. Sadly, neither is true and I'll never advocate for anyone to stay in a relationship that is unhealthy. I simply cannot find a way to reconcile that because you said "I do" it makes your spouse someone who is devoid of personal responsibility in the breakdown of a relationship.

As for ending the relationship before pursuing the next, I would have agreed with you four years ago. But life has a funny way of happening when you're busy extolling the virtues of living a sinless life. I've learned that I don't know everything, especially how other people ought to conduct their relationships. When the cost is greater, you MUST proceed cautiously. Sometimes you have to learn more about a situation to ensure that it has the potential you believe it does at first glance. These things take time and to rush to end a marriage would be foolish - isn't that true?

To the other commenters,

Thank you for your kind regards. We have taken our choices very seriously and done what we could to make responsible decisions toward ending our marriages and how best to help our former spouses understand. No matter how afraid they were of the relationship ending, they both realize on some level that they do not want to settle anymore than we do.

Anonymous said...

So you had to make sure the new guy you were having an affair with was a better deal than the man you married before ditching him? Gotcha. And who cares that you lied and misled and behaved horribly to the people who loved you while you figured that out.

I'm with Anna. And OP, you sound terribly smug to me. I don't think it's something to be proud of, that your children never once asked if you were getting back together.

Anonymous said...

I happen to think that if you cheat, while married, then you are allowing in to your life that most dreaded phrase "if you did it to xyz, then you'll do it again" or if he cheated with you when married to someone else, then he'll do it again" or whatever it is that people say happens when you/he cheat when attached to someone else.

Married or not. I think the mature, high-road option is to recognize the fact that you are emotionally gone, but you need to physically be gone, from the marriage or attached relationship.

That is the decent, stand-up thing to do, to the other person. Who, doesn't deserve to have the "cheated on" label attached to their heart. Sure, it's over, but make it really over, and leave physically (divorce, break up, whatever it's going to be called) before beginning the next relationship.

Sure, marriages don't last, and you can't make one last if the other person is already gone. Just make it official, then it's not so much to deal with, and the "left" behind person doesn't have as much crap to deal with in the aftermath of things.

And no, it hasn't happened to me, yes, it could, and well, I'm in an unhappily (to me) married relationship of 21 years now. It blows, it sucks, and my youngest son turns 18 this year, so it could very well be over. But, I won't physically cheat before/if/when I leave. THAT'S the thing to do.

Affairs are for cowards.