I am following a new blog by a cheating spouse who is trying to make up to his wife. It’s called Fulfilled Entrepreneur and he writes of the things he is doing to try to make up to her. It’s endearing to read of his efforts. He is going above and beyond in many different ways to show her that he loves her and wants to be with her. She has let him back in the house to be with the kids, but he sleeps in his own apartment.
I’m sure she has feelings that he deserves this, and she deserves the special treatment. Of course she does, and I was the same. She probably also feels it is about time he helped out, and also that she would like him to feel what her life was like when he was traipsing around the world with his other woman, and maybe even that he should suffer for his crimes. It’s all a natural reaction.
If she is anything like me, though, there is more to it than that. My husband also went out of his way to take care of everything at the beginning. He still does a lot for me. Today I appreciate it because I finally know that it is for real. But for a long time, I felt I couldn’t trust it. I felt it was a big show so that he wouldn’t have to give up his comfortable life. He had NEVER done so much for me before, not even before his affair. I didn’t think it would last. I thought he would get tired of it and come to think it wasn’t worth the effort and then he would leave. But while he has a lot of trouble communicating with me, he has continued to do much of the cooking and cleaning, and he does special extras for me whenever he sees the opportunity.
Right now, I am under the weather – caught a cold from one of my students. So my husband went home on his lunch break and made me a ginger smoothie. Ginger is very soothing to the throat and good for the health. He went without lunch to make it and bring it to me at work. He can be such a sweetie – it made me cry to when he surprised me with it. But Two years ago? I would have been touched to receive it but not have accepted it as proof of his love. Proof of his guilt and remorse, maybe, but not of real love. I didn’t think he was capable of real love.
Kayboo commented on his blog that it is a gift of sorts to allow him the chance to prove himself. It will just take time, as we’ve all said. If someone stole your identity and ruined you financially, would you ever trust that person to sit in your house unattended? And yet, that’s basically what cheaters are asking of their spouse. A betrayed spouse’s sense of self has been destroyed and their entire marriage seems like a lie.
I’m not trying to dissuade cheating spouses, or ex-cheating spouses I should say, from trying to save their marriage. Just the opposite… I am so glad to see someone like Fulfilled Entrepreneur with determination and openness. I am rooting for him! I just don’t want ex-cheaters to think that they can escape the long haul that it is. It is a process and there is no over-night remedy. Great patience is required.
I do finally believe that my husband is here to stay and that he isn’t in contact with her. After two years, that is a relief for both my husband and me.
The big BUT is that he does everything on his own terms. It is all stuff *he* wants to do and what *he* is comfortable with. I have learned to appreciate the things he does and probably would not have come so far without those gifts and things, but what I really need is for him to show me he is changing. To show me I can trust him. What does that look like? I would start with reading about affairs and learning about himself. I would go further by going to counseling, both individual and couples’ counseling. I would talk things out and share what’s going on in my mind. It may hurt but I need to hear it. I need to know what’s going on. I went for six years as a outsider with my own husband. I need to be one with him.
Even today, in my marriage, I never hear those things. I have to guess at what’s going on inside that thick skull. And so I still struggle…