i had a part too

I was a bitch for a long time after hubbys affair. Years. As I look back on my journals from that time period, it makes me wonder how the hell we are still married. Yes, we love each other now, but I was down right mean to him.

Yes, he had an affair. Yes, I had every reason to be angry and every reason to be hurt. He says I had every reason to treat him like a bitch.

Now that I have done years and years of processing of my own, all I can think is “no…I didn’t need to be bitch. In fact, had I dealt with the issues in a healthy way, we might have healed so much sooner than we did.” But “He hurt me…along with her…she was my friend too.”

When we are in those moments of terror and trauma, it is easy for us to want to grab ahold of everything we can. For me that came out in the form of control. Where is he? Who is he with? Who did he talk to? He needs to hold my hand when we are out so people know he is with me. He can’t look at other people. He needs to sit with me and stay next to me.

And what if he didn’t? That just gave me more reasons to hate him.

Controlling him was how I was trying to preserve myself. It was my self-preservation. I pretended to be the good wife in front of others, knowing that at home I was tracking his whereabouts and looking through his texts. I gave him more sex in hopes that he wouldn’t “feel the need” to look outside of our marriage again.

What a crock of shit I was fooling myself into believing. I was convinced that the other woman wanted my life. She was out to destroy me. And that because she had “gotten away” with the affair for 7 months, that it was her fault that my perfect marriage wasn’t perfect anymore.

What I didn’t know or wasn’t willing to admit to myself was that what I really needed to do was let go. I needed to be open and vulnerable with not only my hubby but with myself. The openness and the vulnerability that I needed was what was going to make it possible to rebuild the foundation that had been broken between us.

She didn’t want my life. He wanted to be married to me. But I couldn’t see that. All I could see was my hate for her and my hate for him, despite the fact that I said I had “forgiven” him.

Fast forward years… my own internal processing. Therapy. Book reading. Research. What I needed to know in those years was that even though it was hubby who made the mistake, I needed to own up to my part. I couldn’t change my hubby. I couldn’t change the other woman. The only person I could change was myself. If I couldn’t see how I needed to make changes to myself to be happy and accept my life as it was, then I needed to leave.

Sure, I didn’t cheat, but I was a part of a marriage that was not as perfect as I wanted to believe it was. I could say that I failed my husband in terms of sex, but that was the “easy” explanation. The harder aspect to think back on is all of the times where even though my words were nice, my tone wasn’t. Or when I shut him down when he wanted to talk about something hard. Or when I pushed him away rather than letting him in. He wanted to love me, but I made it hard…and after a certain amount of time, I can understand how it’s easier to stop trying than keep getting shut down.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I condone what he did. I’m not saying that it was HIS fault or MY fault. I’m not saying that cheating is the “solution”. I’m saying that a healthy marriage takes two people.

I am still not perfect. Far from it. But I am actively working on myself. I am actively working on my marriage. Some days are messy. Some days are fun. Some days are stagnant. I’ve learned a lot…about myself, my hubby, and my marriage. We have learned to communicate and love each other in a way that has allowed us to grow together instead of apart. Yes, his affair was hard, but we are here. Together. In love.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

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