I was happy. My husband and I fell in love in college, we married, and a few years later, we had our first child. We certainly had our share of problems in life, but by the time our child was one, I was convinced the bad times were behind us.
Things had not always been perfect. We struggled at times. I was a good little Catholic girl: I saved myself for marriage, instisted on NFP classes, and did not want to live together until after we were married in the church. My husband was not Catholic, nor was he really raised in any kind of faith, but he respected my convictions and Catholicism a great deal. He loved me more than anyone ever had loved me, and I truly loved him as well. Our first year of marriage was trying, to say the least. I was in a bit of depression for a myriad of reasons, and we were learning how to be married. It was also when I discovered he had lied to me about some things that had happened before we had ever met. I knew that he was not a virgin, and I told him that I did not really need to know the details unless I specifically asked about something. I had suspicisions that a few women he was still in contact with were former flings, but he denied it for a long time, and did not confirm it until the evidence presented itself. One of the women had been dating his friend at the time of the fling, and was now married to him. Though I had never directly met her, she caused problems for me in a few circles of friends and family because she suspected I knew, and did not want her husband to find out. As far as I was concerned, I did not need to be the one to to tell him and had no intention of involving myself in the issue.
Slowly, the next few years of marriage became easier. We bought a house, were finishing graduate school, and finally were pregnant! When we discovered that my husband's plant was going to close in the middle of the pregnancy, we set about making a plan. We talked about our budget, how we would fix up the house and that nothing mattered as much as the fact that our family was together. I felt as though our life was making sense and that all the struggles of the past 4 years were worth it to get to this happy place.
My husband was unemployed for eight months. I had a newborn and was able to take the baby to work with me to my part-time job so he could focus on applying for jobs. When he finally found work, I put in my notice so that I could be at home. I remember feeling incredibly grateful for the timing.
About the time the baby turned one, a chain of events left every corner of my life in pieces.
I left my email account open one evening, and my husband changed the name that I had attached to his email address. One evening a few weeks later, we had a girl's night/boy's night. When the boys returned home, everyone was a little tipsy. My husband handed me his phone before he passed out, and my drunken self thought it would be funny to change my name in his phone. I was considerably technically challenged, however, and after about 20 minutes of trying to figure out how to change the entry, his text messages folder opened, and I found myself face to face with messages between my husband and his friend's wife during the time that he was unemployed.
To say that my heart was broken is an understatement. I cried all night. I kept sneaking into my child's room just to hear the breathing so that I knew something was real. The next morning, I confronted him and gave him the chance to be honest. I informed him that if he was honest with me, then I would stay. If he lied, then I had no choice but to go be with my family while I sorted things out in my head. We had company over that day, so there was little time to discuss anything. He told me immediately that he had an affair with her. He cried, I was cold, and I told him I needed to go get things ready and that we would talk later.
Over the next few posts, I will talk about how things progressed during the worst of times, and how we got to where we are now. For those of you that are just beginning to experience the pain of an affair, I want to let you know that if both people are truly committed to the marriage, there is hope. It might feel as though everything is in flames right now, but you can overcome it together if both parties commit to rebuilding.