Someone asked for an update. There really isn't one. We are still together. We do great some days, and some days we don't. Some days -- the good ones -- I'm so glad I made the decision to stay in the marriage. Some days I think it was a mistake.
That's after 12 years. Someone posted a comment recently that 5 months after learning about the affair, he had days when he thought he should give up. Which seems very normal to me after only 5 months. Is it normal to still have days like that after 12 years? Yes, I think so. The difference, though, is how frequently those days come, and how intense the feeling is.
The bad days are much more rare now, and the feeling much less intense. Now when I feel like giving up, I recognize the leftover scars for what they are and remind myself of my commitments. I remind myself that I blame things on the affair that really aren't the affair's fault. Because heck, even couples who haven't dealt with infidelity have problems and feel like giving up sometimes. Even when no one has cheated, people think they made a mistake when they married his or her spouse.
The truth of the matter is, some things would have been easier, and still would be, if I had divorced my wife. Some things would be a whole lot worse, but not everything.
Anyway, comments sometimes get lost in the shuffle, so I'm going to repeat here what I said to the guy who was having bad days after 5 months:
To the guy 5 months in:
I hear you. You want to know when you will stop having days when you feel like giving up? I'm 12 years in. I'll let you know when I stop having days like that.
I don't say that to depress you or to make you want to give up. It is just realistic (at least for me personally).
To this day, things come up that remind me of my wife's affair. Every time I become angry with her (like happens with any couple ever, whether there has been an affair or not), I'm tempted to blame things on the affair.
If you stick with it, and if you are BOTH committed to making things work, those days will become more rare. In my humble opinion, I don't thing those days ever go away completely.
That's why I'm not crazy about the language some people use about becoming "healed" from the affair. I don't think you heal from something like this, in the sense of getting back to the way you were before. It changes you. Some of it is for the better, some isn't.
Imagine that someone negligently causes an accident, and as a result you lose a leg. You can forgive that person, but the leg is still gone. Sometimes you will wish you could run again. You're body will heal, in the sense that the wound closes, but your leg is still gone. You can still have a great life full of promise and achieve many of your dreams, but your leg is still gone.
And it always will be.
So for me -- and everything on this blog is describing my own personal experience, not to tell other people what they should do -- I decided that having days when I felt like giving up wouldn't make me give up. Just because I have days like that does not mean that I made a mistake. And even if I DID make a mistake, it is made. I promised to stick around and do my best to make things work, and that is a promise I am going to keep unless she gives me Biblical grounds for divorce, such as another affair. It is a vow I take as sacred as my original marriage vows.
One day at a time, friend. Your difficulty of dealing with it personally will diminish. Time will tell if you have a partner in recovery or not. If you do -- if you are both determined to save the marriage --
God will give you the strength to do so.
But it won't always be easy, and your leg is still gone.