When you look at me out and about, you see a happy mom to three girls. Three adorable, giggly, sweet little girls. If I’m with my husband too, you see a happy family. A family that supports each other. A family that has things figured out. The funny thing is that I see that too. I always have seen that in us. (You know a “but” is coming or a “things aren’t always has they seem”, and you would be right.)
Maybe I’m naive. Maybe it has always been a thing. Maybe I had on rose-covered glasses. I thought happy couples were safe from affairs. I thought happy couples stayed happy couples. I thought marriage and babies and work and life happens, but I didn’t think affairs happened. Not to couples like us. Not in my world. Not in my life.
I was wrong.
I was also 6 months pregnant with my 3rd child.
It wasn’t me, if you are wondering. It was him. He did it (and by “it” I do mean all of the multiple things you are thinking of in your head). He did it all, and I’m still here almost 9 months after finding out the truth. The truth that she decided to tell me all about once night with a knock on the door. The truth that she felt compelled to get off her chest to get back at him. The truth that woke my 4 year old daughter up from the screaming downstairs. The truth that turned us from a happy family into something else entirely. (Of course I did need to know the truth, but not like that.)
I’m not here to crucify her or my husband. I’m just here to say that I was wrong about affairs. Affairs do happen to couples like us. Surviving affairs also happen to couples like us. I’m not going to say that I was wrong in thinking that we were a happy couple. This affair doesn’t change that fact.
Of course, the affair changes a lot of details in between, but I want you to know (and I’m talking to you – bleary-eyed, tissue-wielding, fake smile wearing wife/husband that has just been thrown into the depths of this horrible place where your reality is destroyed and you start to question all aspects of your life) that I hope you can read these words and know that you will survive. I know that all of your stories won’t end with an intact marriage. Some will likely end with a divorce. Some will stay together but never fully recover. But some will come out of this mess stronger and more connected than in the past.
The thing is I only know us. I know we can make it and will make it. We will let this part of our lives be a small bump and move forward. I don’t know you or your marriage. You will have to make some big decisions down the road, but I hope you take time with those decisions. Don’t just turn and run because of what other might think. I don’t know your story, but I do know that this recovery thing is a long process and won’t happen as fast as you think. You both may lose yourself (or maybe already have), but I hope you will stick around and not make anything final until you have really examined all angles of your relationships.
I’m just trying to provide some positivity because that’s what I wanted when I first learned about what was happening in my marriage. Even if my story doesn’t remain happy forever, at least the semblance of happiness is still going strong right now.
We are still here. We are still surviving. We are still a family. The scars and pain are still here, but joy and happiness are here too.