ABOUT ME: I’m Jack. I’m a Floridian. I’m a 47 year-old (at the time I wrote this), partially disabled Army veteran who works in financial services in the private sector now. And yes, I am a former cheater – a “recovering wayward spouse”. I ended an almost 2 year affair in 2011.
Sometimes I look back at those two years and it’s like watching a third person. I can’t believe it was me. What was I thinking?? It went against who I really am! Yet, I did it anyway. I feel and probably always will carry an incredible amount of guilt, shame, anger at myself and a certain measure of inner bewilderment.
If you have come here to judge me and rail against me because I’m a former cheater, please don’t. I created these blog entries because I think they are TRUTH, and will be helpful to people. Nothing I’ve written is a excuse for myself or my horrid behavior.
I assure you that I have been consistently and diligently self-critical throughout my journey. The reality is that by the time my affair started in late 2009, I had long ago given up on my marriage, which had become not much more than a unemotional business partnership — to run a household and raise children. Our passion, our emotions, our need for each other had largely disappeared. Our connection was almost nonexistent. The emotional chasm between us began to open when our first child was born and kept growing, slowly but surely, over more than a decade. I was trapped by myriad responsibilities in a very unsatisfying existence and a disappointing marriage. I felt unloved, misunderstood, unwanted and undesired, although my wife is a very good woman. I felt like not much more than “finance and labor” in my own home.
I misunderstood her as well and did not send these affirmations back to her. I didn’t realize until recently how unhappy she was either. We didn’t fight, but there was no much going for us in our semi-happy marriage. Looking back, our marriage was ripe for an explosion — an affair, a divorce, or both, or perhaps just a slow, inevitable death down the road. We were both to blame for that.
But it wasn’t just her. It was also me. Deficits within myself. My affair was not just the expression of a man trapped in an unsatisfying reality, but also a reaction to the many hurts and injuries done to me by my parents and others in my childhood. I was compensating for these things at some level, although this is definitely 20/20 hindsight. I didn’t realize it back then, and I’m still trying to work it all out on my head.
So for those out there who refuse to really delve very far into my blog so as to best understand my message of understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope, please try and understand this blog entry is NOT an endorsement of cheating by any means. Nor am I validating a set of “excuses” of why people cheat. If you have read any of my blog, you would know that I think cheating is 100% wrong and there is no excuse for it .
So before you send me email or post nonsense on your blogs about me (and attempt to on mine), please re-read this again: Affairs are 100% wrong and I was 100% wrong for the decisions I made to start and continue one, even if my marriage had become crap.
My poor marriage, and my inner demons, were the “reasons” for my affair, but not an excuse. There is none. Many Betrayeds have a hard time grasping this concept, but it’s the truth for the majority of affairs. Happy and content people in solid marriages rarely have them. But that’s not an excuse either.
If you read my first version of this blog, I also wrote in detail the terrible things my ex-Other Woman did to me merely because I wanted out. It was ugly. And here, as of March 2013 (when I last updated this entry), she’s still trying to contact me and/or take shots at me and my wife, although I haven’t responded to her in any way since September 2011. I found out she wasn’t who she said she was. She lied to me. In big ways. She did all she could to hurt me and my wife when I terminated things with her based on a D-day that she herself engineered. But that’s not why I went back to my wife. But she certainly has shown me that I made the right decision and averted a real disaster.
This blog, however, is not about me, my affair and my marriage. It once was, but now it is no longer. Instead, I have pared it down to the posts that are more generally about affairs, recovery and healing — posts that seemed during the first version of this to have resonated with people.
I truly believe there is hope out of the disaster and betrayal of infidelity — if you as a couple really want to rebuild and restore your marriage. An affair doesn’t have to mean the end! It takes strength, character, courage and the ability to REALLY look at yourselves and your marriage honestly.
YES, THERE IS HOPE. My wife I have turned it around. I no longer feel the vague discontentment. How did WE do it? By ‘dating’ again. By doing more things together. By being romantic. By being very sexual again. By opening up like we’ve never opened up before — Communication!! HELLO!! Something we never did very deeply.
By making “us” a priority again. By no longer taking each other for granted any more. By not getting overly focused on operating a home and family. By rediscovering what we once saw in each other — when we first met. We again feed the relationship. We are maturing and changing together and within its boundaries. And liking it. Our satisfaction grows. I’m no longer semi-happy. I’m very happy. PERFECTLY happy? Hardly. But I feel content in my marriage. Optimistic. Happy. Looking forward to whatever years we have left together. I feel like part of a ‘couple’ again. I don’t feel like the guy I used to be any more. But 2 years ago, I certainly did feel like a man trapped in a low-conflict, but dull, existence. It was a big reason for why I ended up where I did.
I am not here seeking the forgiveness of readers — the only person I have sought forgiveness with is my wife. And she and I are healing and remaking our marriage into something stronger, more satisfying, honest and resilient. Something different and better than it was before. And we are on this journey together and privately.
So if you wish to judge me, this is not the place for you. Or at least judge me silently. I hope however that what is posted provides a perspective to a lot of different people who have been involved with or touched by infidelity in some way.