Long Shadows - A Cautionary Tale Of Close Friends And Husbands

It was over three years ago, and they say time heals.  I wouldn't go so far - it just mists things out a little.

I met what was to become my husband when I was just 16.  We both had nothing to our name, but we fell in love.  There was no way we could have seen that the business we started at 18 and the work we did was to bear fruit in the way it did.  We married after 8 years, had children and became fairly successful with a beautiful place to live and a happy marriage.  Life was by no means easy going, but who's life is?  We fought our battles together and I believed in him implicitly, blindly.  Our businesses made us well-off although we did not splash our money around as we re-invest most back into the business for our children.

It was on our 13th wedding anniversary that I found my husband crying in the kitchen, around 1.00 in the morning.  I knew things were not right recently and had put it down to the stresses of running businesses, assuming we had lost everything and had to start again.  I knew instantly if this were the case, fine - we had been through rough patches before and we could definitely do it again. Money is nice, but we didn't need that much to get by - we could always work from the bottom again.   It was not like him not to have talked things through with me but recently friends of ours in the village had been experiencing marriage difficulties and we had been there for them.  I guessed any other problems had been put on the back-burner and not discussed as they might have been.

 I feel stupid now, looking back it is obvious.  The marriage difficulties my friend had was because she had decided she wanted to be with my husband and had put him under pressure to leave me for her.  He had even been the best man at their wedding after they had lived together for years and she had confided in him more and more about how she was unhappy in her relationship and how her now husband was not good enough for her.  She said how her husband did not provide for her properly and she would like to live in our house and how she would make it better than I had.  She said her younger daughter loved him and looked to him like a father.

Meanwhile, she had been talking to me, upset about her marriage, and I had been saying how no marriage is perfect, illustrating it with how my husband had annoyed me that morning, or how I feel when he is in a bad mood.  I did this to show her how nothing is perfect, but it turned out she would go behind my back and repeat what I had said to my husband, but without the context in which it was initiated.

He in turn thought I was unhappy with him, all the while with her showing him how perfect she was for him.  She said I was planning to leave him soon and that he was her first true love.  She lost weight and spent lots of money on new clothes and asked for us to go out as a foursome so she could see him more.  She played footsie with him every time we went out as a group and asked him not to hold my hand when we were out as she got upset.  I just thought he was being quiet and, seeing the attention he paid her, decided he did not love so much any more.  It happens.

Needless to say, it didn't work out between them.  Her husband twigged, I twigged, my husband admitted all, she admitted nothing, saying she was the victim of my husband being infatuated with her and stalking her.

She still lives locally and has kept hidden ever since, not wanting me to blow the whistle on her affair as her family seem to believe her rather than admit the truth.

The sad thing is that my husband offered to leave on the day he admitted all.  I said no as we have two children and to be honest, it had not sunk in.  He said there had been nothing wrong with our relationship but she offered a fresh and therefore more passionate experience, something that had, of course, not been with us for many years.  We had a healthy marriage, but not the type of a new relationship with new couples.

My husband says he feels stupid and that he still loves me, but it has changed everything.  The dimensions of our marriage have changed in an almost impercepatble manner, but  none the less, irreconcilably .  The hard work I have to put into the business now seems pointless and when we have those extra problems to sort that always arise with a business, I no longer feel we are fighting as a team - my heart is just not in it.

When this came out, people who knew us were all shocked, saying none thought my husband was 'that kind of man'.  Weirdly, I still find it hard to believe.   I have been made to look like an idiot and he to look untrustworthy.  She tried to chase him a bit after all become common knowledge, even saying she would leave her husband and wait for mine, all the time spreading the lie that she was being stalked.  She was a quiet, unassuming woman who wouldn't say 'boo' to a goose.  People were shocked.

Looking back there were many instances when I thought 'what is going on', but I either dismissed them as purile jealousy, or decided I had the wrong end of the stick - my trust in my husband was that strong.

The long-winded affair he had has made me feel we are no longer part of a strong team and his guilt has led to things changing on his side too.  I don't hate him, I just don't feel I want to be with him any more.  Once my youngest leaves for university, I intend to leave and live alone.  I know that having never done this before it will not be easy, but a betrayal is a hard thing to take and whether I like it or not, it casts long shadows on our relationship.   Please, if you have read this far, listen to the little voice inside you and take this as a cautionary tale.
Bellaelephant Bellaelephant
41-45, F
6 Responses Aug 8, 2010

Get a divorce. Adultery is a sin. Even Jesus quoted adultery as tbe only grounds for divorce. This is why I feel it is important for women to be financially independent

You will be lonely with him or without him but your life WILL change dramatically without him. I never dreamed how much mine would change when divorced my louse of a husband. Started like you, built business from nothing. I financially backed him even though I was 10years younger only to find later he had been living a double life-16years too late. And 7 years later he is a famous racing crew chief while Im homeless and used to be a famous model....go figure...But do know-even if you hate them-your life will be worse if give them the divorce. So sorry to read your story. Good luck.

Sorry to hear about your story. A similar thing happened to me . Last year Feb. 15th I found out that my husband was having an affait for almost 3 years with a friend. Like you I though I was being irrationally jealous, I mentioned it to him and he also said nothing was going on between them so I trusted him and what he was telling me.<br />
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I only wish my kids were as old as yours, I have 2 who are under 8 years old. I have often though I should stay until they move out but that seems like an eternity. Things have changed in me and now 1 year latter, I am dying to leave him. Funny thing is we don't really argue about the silly things any more, we do get along well but my heart is broken and I can't seem to find the will or passion I to keep us together. I am not angry with him any more, but I'm just tired of feeling like this.

I also have been cheated on but not with a friend. I understand BlueSkySam's remark as I feel as if my heart is broken and it is years later now. I still believe that much depends on the actions of your partner after the event. I guess that "getting on" is not enough and I also am tired of feeling like this. I am not sure that, once trust is gone, it can be retrieved. I was trusting but that is what we must be permitted to be in a truly great partnership. I do believe that if trust could be restored then my relationship might be, but at a minimum that would require a very long period of constantly reassuring behaviour and generous information sharing. I think my spouse genuinely finds that difficult and this is perhaps partly understandable because it is in stark contrast to the trusting approach of over 20 years together.
To BlueSkySam everyone is different of course, but you might consider that our children feel our moods, and will, probably have awareness of your (at best) ambivalence toward your spouse. You undoubtedly have time to "start again" if your children are still under 8 and perhaps there will be an opportunity for them to see a truly happy mother.
I personally now regret that my children have seen too much of a damaged person affected by my spouse's cheating. They do not know the cause but times of mild to severe depression must affect them despite attempts to hide it (although there are great times with them too of course). I never felt depressed in the manner I have since the cheating and it is common apparently.

I totally agree with you, the atmosphere between the partner after the betrayal is crucial if you reconciliation is wanted. My husband cheated on me many times and the last one which was the hardest for me hit me rock bottom, I was destroyed. I could not get over it and after 9 months he decided to turn cold and said he had enough of many efforts without seeing any results. He decided to leave is life the way he wanted (he always did but now he just didn't bother about me and the kids). So I decided to keep on working on building back my self-esteem and get ready to move on. Some husband will regret and move the earth to make things right again, it takes patience but it is only doable if the love is genuine. My love does not love me.

Thank you for your kind comments. Someone once said listen to the little voice inside you,and mine is saying our marriage is irretrievably broken but we still have a relationship. I hate to admit I feel a little sorry for Carol, the friend as I realise she must have been, andstill must be, unhappy with her life. I just wish she seeked a different solution!<br />
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I have decided to make a new life away from home once my daughter leaves school in two years.<br />
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Thank you once again all you kind people who have taken the time to comment - it is appreciated.

Thank you Artydesigns and PurpleQueenofNowhere for your kind comments. It isa hurtful and a harsh lesson, especially when there is no going back for me. No matter how hard I have tried to forgive I am not capable deep down and the subtle shift in my feelings is enough to make me want to end our marriage. We still get on; live and sometimes work together, but I no longer wear my ring and do not feel relaxed around him. I haver two more years and then I am looking to my future.<br />
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It is strange you picked up on the 'single white female' effect, Purple Queen - Yes, she did start copying my clothes, tried being interested in the things I was and followed me around unnecessarily when we were out. However, the thing I find most hard to take is that this affair was a two-way street and I am still with the man who did this. Her denial does not help much either. She told my husband she was sad she was going to lose the only real friend she had (me) when they ran off together. It really was all about her being a victim at this point, one of the reasons my husband fell for her, I think. <br />
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I have posted the story as a warning to others out there whom might be wondering if something is wrong themselves. If I can save someone from letting it go too far, than at least some good will have come out of it. <br />
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There is no way it is going to ruin the rest of my life though. What it has done is foist an unexpected plan for my future. Two year's time, I am hopefully moving to the coast, making new friends and pursuing my painting and sketching. Until then I am hanging on.

She manipulated him because she was jealous of you and wanted your life,she wanted the ideology and not the reality,your husband was weak and beleived her lies and deceit.<br />
dont give up,make him KNOW what he has done but love can prevail,even if it takes ten years