It’s been nearly a year since I last updated this blog.
After writing last February, I don’t even think I logged into this site. As unfathomable as it was 4 years ago, I just don’t think about the affair much anymore. Our lives have moved on. Our marriage has moved on. Our family has moved on.
In late August, we welcomed a second son. He is gorgeous, healthy, and a terrible sleeper. Husband, big brother and I are very much in love with this little baby who we so wanted. We also moved — back to the USA which was unexpected and stressful at the time but has worked out okay in the end. My husband has a new job that he loves — one that gives him a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction but also requires long hours.
Its been a hard adjustment for me. I miss having him around and I carry the burden of all of the home life. I also had to confront the fear of him returning to work in an office with many women (in the Middle East, he worked with all men). Trust is not the issue now — its just fear. Irrational, illogical fear. He has done nothing to make me worry — well, nothing other than the nearly 4 year affair that is in his past.
But none of that is what drove me to find my WordPress log-in and post today while my baby naps. No, what brings me here is the news I heard third-hand from a mutual acquaintance that the affair partner recently got engaged.
This news has bothered me more than I expected. And I’m having some trouble figuring out why. There is of course the desire in me that she pay for what she has done, and not find relationship success and happiness when she so maliciously played such a large role in the attempted destruction of mine. But more than that — how can someone who so clearly had ZERO respect for the institution of marriage now want to enter it?
I am really curious. I can’t stop thinking that if she got it, if she really understand the magnitude of what she had done, then she would have been compelled to apologize for her role at some point. I never expected her to take full responsibility for the mess, my husband owns more than half of that as he was the one who had promised me faithfulness. But she was (is?) far from an innocent. She knew me. We worked together. She saw me nearly everyday of my older son’s pregnancy. She was invited to my work baby shower, for heaven’s sake! All the while she was doing her damndest to break up my marriage, to convince my husband and my son’s father to leave us. She had zero respect or understanding for the commitment of marriage — and now she wants to enter it?
It baffles me. It bothers me. If I’m honest, its put that familiar deep pit of pain right back in to my gut for today.
I want to warn her fiance. To tell him to watch out. To ask him whether he is aware of his fiancee’s history — that she cares so little for the promise made between a man and a wife that she was more than happy to step in and be a man’s mistress for 3 years and 7 months. Does he know? Does he know that despite what she may say about me as an excuse, that I am kind, loving, and gentle? That despite the damage to my marriage, I found the fortitude to keep trying? To pursue love through the pain of betrayal and mend what she helped to break?
I want to ask her. What does it feel like now, to remember her role in my marriage now that she is close to pursuing her own.
Likely irrationally, I want to hold my sons even closer. To work even harder to raise them to understand that the relationships we cultivate with those closest to us — that’s it. That’s what life is about. That is what is most important. You don’t sacrifice them for the sake of temptation. Ever.
I have worked really hard not to give her more power than she deserves in all of this. I firmly believe that she was a placeholder, and nothing more. The affair was about my husband and his failings and not her. She could have been anyone. The key was she was willing to be secret and hidden, to have sex without promise of anything more. Any woman willing to stroke his ego at that moment would have worked. It was not about her.
I find myself hopeful not that her marriage fails or that she is unendingly, unfailingly unhappy, but rather that she finally GETS IT. That entering marriage and making vows to her husband makes her finally, finally, understand the weight of what she did. The pain she caused. The life changing ugliness she helped bring in to my life and that she sees that she could have ruined the childhood of a little boy who’s only fault was his father’s decisions.
I hope she understands. I hope this makes her really, truly understand.
It’s not “just sex.” It’s not a wrong that lies solely with the married party. If you accept that there is right and wrong in the world, then you understand that every action can be classified as right and wrong. What she did was wrong. It was wrong on every level. It caused pain to me that literally changed the trajectory of my life. The fact that I was able to rebound and make it through does not lessen the pain or mitigate the evil of the situation.
I hope she understands what she’s done and that she sees my kindness throughout it. I could have gotten her fired. Through the wonders of social media, I could have humiliated her and made certain that everyone she is in contact with knew her secret. I didn’t. I often wanted to, but I didn’t. Because I understood that despite how good it would feel, those actions would be wrong.
Catch that. Despite how good it would feel, it would be wrong.
Just like their affair.
Maybe life would be easier without a strong sense of right and wrong. If I simply followed what it was that I wanted, damn who gets hurt in the process. But no, that’s not me. I do care. I do want to do right.
All this to say, I hope she changed. I hope she changed. I hope she’s changed.