I’m up at 4:22 am making banana bread. Not because I want to, but because I can’t shut my mind off long enough to sleep. Earlier today, I saw a glimpse of a Facebook message on my husband’s phone. I couldn’t see who it was from, but I saw the kiss-face emoji. Normal wives would talk to their husbands about this, right? They would just ask who sent that message. But I’m not a normal wife. I’m a wife who has already forgiven her husband for having an emotional affair.
About a year ago, my son was playing a game on my husband’s phone and his female co-worker kept texting. I took the phone thinking she needed something work-related and looked at her messages. There were kiss-face emojis, memes about being in love, and texts saying how much she missed my husband. As I scrolled up, I saw that my husband was also sending similar texts. He seemed to struggle in the moments of flirting, telling her how wrong it felt to say these things to her.
I confronted him. I called her. Both swore that it was harmless flirting; it meant nothing. They were good friends and never crossed the line physically. I didn’t believe them. This was a woman I trusted in my home, around my children. She had even been in my house alone with my husband when I was at work. In hindsight, yes, I should have noticed the red flags, but I trusted them. I really thought it was a platonic friendship.
In the aftermath of his affair, I questioned everything. Mostly my own self-worth.
The other woman was skinnier than me; I put on pounds with back-to-back pregnancies. She was docile and shy, while I am assertive and bold. Yes, I am prettier than her, but that wasn’t enough to keep my husband’s attention. He sought out an intimate connection with her and it made me feel like a complete failure.
I read countless articles about emotional affairs and learned that the root of the attraction is how the other person makes your spouse feel. It broke my heart to think that another woman gave my husband the excitement he needed; he admitted that there was a rush and thrill of texting flirty messages to her. What he wouldn’t admit, though, was that it was an emotional affair. A year later, he still doesn’t call it that, but that’s what it was.
We are currently in marriage counseling because we want to stay together. My first instinct was to leave him, but I chose to forgive. Every day, I make that same choice because every day is a struggle. I struggle to feel worthy. I struggle to believe that I am enough for him. Through my own personal counseling sessions, I am slowly realizing that this affair was not about me. My husband has to find his own answers to why he would risk our marriage for a superficial thrill.
When he wakes up, I will have an uncomfortable conversation about the Facebook message. It is probably just from his mom or sister, but I have to ask. I have to ask because I still don’t trust him. I need him to ease my fears about that message so that I can have peace today. I don’t want my mind racing, fearing the worst. I love him and, despite his infidelity, I know he loves me.
For anyone else healing from a spouse’s affair, know that there is hope. Seek help from a marriage counselor to solve the underlying issue. I won’t lie and say that it won’t hurt. It hurts every day, but it hurts less every day. We are slowly finding our happiness again and focusing on the love that never left.