First, I wish to apologize to anyone I might have offended with my original post. I should have written the post in first person from my own point of view and did not mean to imply that any choice is better than another.
I was having a tough day. My sister in law actually asked me "how do you have any self-respect left staying with him after he cheated on you?" It tore right through me... so hence my previous banter. More venting than anything.
I have revised my post to reflect more respectful point of view. No matter what your path or decision I support you. And wish you only happiness in the future. We all deserve it.
Question: How can I respect myself if I stay in my marriage after my spouse had an affair? Isn’t this a sign of weakness on my part?
Answer: I look at this completely differently. The ability to forgive someone makes you a better and stronger human being. For me it has taken greater strength of character to rebuild my marriage after my husband's affair, than to give up and quit. I do really love my spouse, and my spouse has expressed genuine remorse and is willing to do his part in rebuilding the marriage, there are greater rewards in staying than there are in giving up. I don't want to give up on what I really want in life because there is a major obstacle in the road that would not allow me to have self-respect.
In my situation, the other woman was bound and determined to be with my husband. I blame my husband, but in my case she was very seductive. She wanted my life. She was banking on the fact that as soon as my husband told me of the affair, I would be so mad that I would just throw him out and make it easy for her to take over my life.
I have come to ask myself how could I respect myself if after 18 years of marriage, if I allow some other woman to waltz into my life and walk off with my husband, breaking up my family and taking my children’s father away from them without so much as putting up a fight? If I view myself as a woman who is worthy of deep love from a man, how can I not even be willing to give some time to my decision of whether or not I want to stay?
If I’m a strong woman who respects myself and is capable of thinking for myself and making my own decisions, why should I allow those in society who’ve never walked in my shoes to make the decision for me ba
The ability to forgive a spouse, heal a marriage and become a better stronger person through the pain is something I am learning to be proud of.
One of the biggest rewards I earned for staying and working it out was the respect of our children. I want them to know that sometimes life throws you curve balls and there are tough times but through hard work and forgiveness you can make it. I don't want them to be raised to walk away when things get tough. I want to be an example of hard work, love and faith.
I've come to see that my husband’s affair was not something he did to me. It was something which was a reflection of his weaknesses (not my failure as a wife) and what he didn't understand about affairs before the subtle lure of friendship at work led him beyond the line.
Of course if he was continuing to have affairs that would be an entirely different story, but he has done everything any man could ever do not only to make it up to me, but to become a better, stronger man himself and to ensure it never happens again.
A vice president of a large corporation once made a huge mistake which literally cost the company millions of dollars. As a result he (and everyone else) assumed he would be fired. But the President said, no way, I’ve just spent millions of dollars training this man. He’ll be the smarter for his mistake. After spending all that money on his education, I’m not about to let some other company reap the benefits.
So also my husband has made the biggest relationship mistake possible for which he has paid a huge price and become a much better man as a result. Should I now just hand over the man I love to some other woman, now that I've paid the price in his learning experience?
I challenge myself to have a strong enough self-esteem to stand up and fight for what I really want. I want to grow into a better person and learn how to overcome major pain and learn how to build a better marriage. I don't want to quit, without first giving my marriage at least a chance when I really love my husband.
Of course, everyone has a choice and I respect and promote individual choices especially when it comes to infidelity, but being able to forgive, heal a marriage and overcome problems is a sign of strength of character and is for heroes.
But heroes come in all shapes and sizes and have different paths and journeys. We are all heroes in our own right. If we stay and work through it or if we choose to leave because it is the right thing to do. Please realize that I support everyone through their personal path and journey. The road that leads to happiness is unique for us all.
The strength to heal a marriage after an affair or to leave because it is the rigth thing to do is something to be proud of. Dealing with infidelity, it is not for the weak or faint of heart. Daring to make your own choice and do what you really want is to be commended and respected. This is neither weakness nor low self-esteem. It's starting to become my new FREEDOM....