“Now you want to say you’re sorry,
Now you want to call me crying,
Now you gotta see me wilding,
Now I’m the one that’s lying,
And I don’t feel bad about it,
It’s exactly what you get,
Stop interrupting my grinding…
I ain’t thinking ’bout you.”
I had never looked at another man ever in my marriage in the 10 years we were together… until 2015. It was our 6th year of marriage and I found myself wrapped up in an emotional affair. I felt depleted in all areas emotionally, mentally, and physically, and I allowed myself an inappropriate outlet to make myself feel like something… anything…to feel sane…
It seemed innocent at first, but they always do. Being married, I never thought it appropriate to be out making new friends of the opposite sex unless they are a mutual friend of both the husband and wife. Although this person wasn’t new to me and was someone I’ve known a while, he wasn’t a friend of my husband, so that immediately crossed a boundary. My husband knew of this person and didn’t like our friendship. I defended it inappropriately, downplayed it as “nothing”, and then… not adhering the warning signs and not listening to my husband…
I cheated too.
I would insert ‘finally’ in there because in the flesh, and in my head, after all the infidelity I dealt with since we met in 2006, I guess some would say I did pretty good with not stepping out up to this point. Some would say I would have been justified to cheat too, and honestly, there was a moment in thought where I did feel like the lyrics of this song.
Things were already shaky in the marriage, I was having an emotionally hard time rebounding back from all of the infidelities up until this particular point, and I was so depressed I just felt like I was bursting out at the seams. Everything about me was weak and I let myself, for a moment, become someone I had never been, and who I never wanted to become. Even being in the first family in our church for about a decade at that time, I felt like church wasn’t working, God wasn’t working, he wasn’t working, I wasn’t working….nothing was working to mend our marriage….
So…I too, allowed myself to be enticed by someone who was not a respecter of marriages and relationships. I was selfish, listened to my temporary emotions, and let myself engage in the biggest mistake in my life to date. The thought of having one night of an emotionally, physically, and mentally fulfilling experience, when I think about it, was so dumb…
…and it was absolutely NOT worth it.
I didn’t feel justified. I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t feel better…
…I felt even worse.
It took me about a week or two to tell him because I didn’t want to face the shame that I now became someone I said I would never be. I took pride in having never cheated on a partner before, and now that reputation and integrity was stained. I also didn’t want to see the hurt on his face when I told him. I was embarrassed that I dishonored God, my marriage, our family,… and myself.
The news was just as heartbreaking when I told him as I imagined. I did make it a point though to let him know, even after his infidelities, he did NOTHING to make me do what I did. My intentions were not for it to be a “tit for tat” revenge thing. I don’t believe people make other people cheat. No one can control your personal responses to a situation, so no one made me do it. As bad as I was feeling about our marriage struggles, as many bad seeds were down by his actions towards me, I still felt he did nothing to deserve that, and I wanted to make that clear to him. I made that poor decision on my own because of my own weakness, and wanted to make it clear that I took full accountability for my actions.
I deeply apologized and even asked him if he wanted to get a divorce at that point. He said no not at all and that we would work through it… so that was what we tried to do moving forward.
I don’t know if me cheating made things worse for him our last year together ecause he still continued to engage with other girls. I found us a marriage counselor (that he never made time for so I ended up going alone), and I completely stopped talking to the guy I cheated with and blocked him to stick to my resolution of change and to try to again his trust back.
I decided to continue on with counseling myself because I thought to myself, if nothing changes with my husband or within my marriage, I need to change something about me. Maybe I need to figure out how to be a more supportive wife. Maybe there is something about me that I need to clean up since nothing else has been working. If I’m going to choose to stay, I need to get myself together for the journey.
When he cheated on me for the last time in 2016, I kept still kept seeing the counselor. It was then no longer for marriage counseling, but at that point, it had just become personal counseling for my healing through the trauma of it all.
I still stick to my principle that no one can make you cheat. I don’t care about the situation or circumstance, no one deserves to be cheated on and it’s simply not worth it. No matter what he did, he didn’t deserve the heartbreak and there were so many other ways to make myself feel better. That didn’t have to be an option.
I take my integrity seriously and take full responsibility for that experience. I regret very few things in life, but that was one of them. I’m glad that a personal lesson came from it and that regret led to better decisions in my future relationships, but I am sad that was the path I chose to learn that lesson.
A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it. If you learn from it, and change, it becomes an experience that is useful for your growth.
Don’t make the same mistakes twice.