It’s really easy when you’re the betrayed spouse to hold the affair over the cheating spouses head forever. Every argument or disagreement or even something that reminds you of the affair can turn into a much bigger attack against the cheating spouse. I think anyone that’s been in the situation can relate and knows exactly what I mean.
I’d say for the first couple of years I did this a lot. And the reality is whatever excuse or comeback the cheating spouse has, the betrayed spouse can always top. So for the first couple of years, every fight or argument that came up, I won. And my spouse left feeling defeated and most likely a bit frustrated. I walked around like the bigger and better person in my home, I was always right and he was always wrong. His choices made him less smart, unreliable, untrustworthy and basically insignificant as a man. Before the affair, we were equal partners in our marriage, after the affair, I was the more superior being.
It took a very long time and I don’t remember what changed, but at some point I started to realize that if I wanted our marriage to work, I had to change my thinking. I had to accept that although the affair had occurred, I still loved my husband; it wasn’t like I could just turn off that switch after finding out about the affair. Pre and post-affair, my husband was still a good father and provider, none of that changed either. Slowly I started to understand that my husband was still the same man I knew and married. His character hadn’t changed; it was only his behaviour during the time of the affair that had changed. If I wanted things to get better I had to learn to separate his character from his behaviour. This didn’t happen overnight at all, it was a long slow process and it’s still a work in progress, but it’s gotten much better.
I know that there are some angry betrayed spouses that would probably disagree with me. I know that the argument is that ones behaviour is linked to their character, and you can’t separate the two, but like I said above, it was the little things that I started noticing that made me change my thinking.
In my past posts I’ve referred to the affair as a ‘mistake,’ for lack of a better term. But I know it is much more than just a ‘mistake.’ It’s the worst thing that can happen in a marriage, and the long term effects can be devastating. But awhile ago I decided that ‘devastating’ wasn’t what I wanted, so this is the path I’ve chosen, and from what I’ve seen so far, it seems to be working for me!