I have been afraid to write this post for a long time. Which is exactly why I am going to do it now.
My husband and I were separated and when we got back together, we both just kinda shoved all feelings that the separation caused to the side. I know I did…. I just wanted all the anger from things I couldn’t change or control to disappear. About 6 months later, she told me via email. “I’ve been sleeping with him for the past two months…just thought you should know.” The thing is, in the back of my head… I knew something had changed. I remember feeling rage but thinking at the same time, “so I wasn’t crazy, this was real.”
Suddenly all those feelings I never let out, came flooding back and I was raging. I threw him out and if you asked me then, I would have said that I would never forgive him and that I would never stay with someone who betrayed me like that. In fact, it’s something I hear lots of women say…”I’d never stay with a cheater” “I could never live with a cheater” or even, “how could she stay with a cheater… I feel so sorry for her.”
Nothing I had ever thought about feeling came to light. Sure I was angry, but after throwing things and crying over a few Adele songs (oh Adele…you and I should have drinks girl)…I felt numb. I knew I was doing it again. My self defense mode: Ignore. Ignore, Delete, Ignore. But in this case, I couldn’t delete him… no matter how badly I wanted to right then. He was my daughter’s father and he was a good dad at that. Sometimes, I would watch her playing or watching TV and I saw him right there. No, I couldn’t erase him…he was part of me…of my daughter… forever.
So, I decided to let him back in. I wasn’t sure if I could heal, I was too everything to know if love remained but our daughter was the reason I let him in to talk. He made the counseling appointment and he opened up about things I never even knew. It took me 4 sessions to open up, but once I did, it came like a flood. Everything I had pushed down so hard and wanted to ignore…and everything that I allowed to put a wall around me so he wouldn’t get close again.
I learned that while the cheating was his fault…our relationship was broken before it and we both needed to work on it. I needed to forgive, regardless of whether we stayed together or not. To forgive, I had to let myself feel the hurt, feel the anger and above all, communicate it. Both of us had to learn how to function as a unit, something I am not sure we ever did before that.
It’s a couple years later, and I am more in love with him than ever before. We have our bad days, just like everyone else, but instead of tucking things away we deal with them together. Staying with someone after being cheated on isn’t weak nor am I saying everyone should stay with a cheater. However, for some people like me (and maybe you?), it doesn’t have to be the end, if you both are willing to fix what’s broken.