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Is he being honest? What else don’t I know? Can I trust him? Should I trust him?

These questions plague me. The reality that my husband had an affair sucks. Hurts beyond words. Some of it is the act itself. The fact that he chose to invite a stranger into our marriage. He chose to connect with her instead of me. He had sex with her. Some of it is the betrayal. The lies. The deceit. The cover ups. The actions he took to live a lie. For me, that is harder to move on from.

Do I think my husband intended to have an affair? No. Like most people that have an affair, I don’t believe he went looking for it. He maintains that what he wanted was a friend. He maintains that he was clear with her that all he wanted was a friend. He says he told her that he didn’t want a relationship with her. But the lines got blurry and he didn’t see it. He was too clouded from a very negative filter as far as I was concerned and a positive one where how she made him feel was concerned. He was able to justify his actions. Compartmentalize. Convince himself that she was “just a friend”. He still says he’s only ever thought of her as a friend. Though now he understands where the boundaries got crossed.

We were both unhappy before he met her. We’d talked about divorce before he met her. Nothing that occurred in our marriage makes his affair acceptable. Nothing excuses his behavior. I didn’t deserve to be treated so shitty. Here’s what helps me though. I also treated him in a way that he didn’t deserve. And, just like his justifications he sold himself before and during his affair, I justified my actions. The reality is I never healed from the trauma of an abusive boyfriend and abortion at the age of 15. As a defense mechanism and a vow to never be a victim again – I wasn’t available to him. At least not in the ways that make for a strong relationship. I wasn’t available emotionally and sexually. I wasn’t honest with him. I kept a secret for 20 years. I hid my emotions. I withdrew. I became negative. At times, I hated him. I was always able to justify my behavior. I could always make my behavior about how he was treating me. I wasn’t able to look within and see my own flaws. My own pain. I wasn’t able to see that I was acting out because of the trauma I suffered before I met him. I wasn’t able to see how that trauma was affecting me and our relationship. The way I acted after such a trauma is normal. Understandable. Much like his affair, my behavior had more to do with me than him. But my husband didn’t deserve it. Yet I did it. I’m able to look at his affair in a similar light. I didn’t deserve to be lied to and cheated on. But it happened. And it had more to do with him than me.

I feel confident that I will fully recover from his affair. Therapy has been amazing. I’ve also been amazing. I’ve been working hard to build my self esteem, self worth and love myself. I’ve been able to look at a terrible situation and self reflect. That doesn’t mean I accept any responsibility for his affair. It means I accept responsibility for the role I played in the destruction of our relationship before his affair even started. It helps that he is able to do the same. It helps that he has been willing to answer questions. Hold me when I cry. Been patient with questions (for the most part). Sure, I would love it if he did more. If he told me how sorry he is more regularly and without me having to ask. If he told me he was willing to do anything to make things better. In the end, I’m the only one that heal me. He can help, yes. But its me that needs to do the work. It sucks and is unfair that I have to do so much work to heal from his lies and deception. It sucks and is unfair that I couldn’t eat, sleep or focus for far too long. It sucks and is unfair that I’m in so much pain from actions that were done without my knowledge or consent. The whole situation sucks. Its all unfair. His affair has definitely ripped the security blanket off me. I no longer “just know” we’ll always be together. There is a very real possibility we won’t.  My eyes are wide open. I need to be whole, happy and fulfilled whether we are married or not. So the reality of this shit sandwich is that while he can definitely help me recover (and has been) – the hard work is for me to do. And I’m the one that will benefit from the hard work. I will get what I deserve. I deserve to heal. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be confident. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be treated with respect and honesty. And I will no longer settle for less. I deserve all these great things in my life. And its my responsibility to get them. Again, he can help. He can treat me the way I expect. But, its ultimately up to me. Just that same as his happiness is not my responsibility.

What is most troublesome is the doubt. The lost trust. The questions.

Is he being honest? What else don’t I know? Can I trust him? Should I trust him?

It only takes one lie to question all truths