After The Affair
It’s never a good time to get busted for having an affair. There are only degrees of bad timing. And I felt that my timing could not have been worse. The day my indiscretion came to light was the day before our son was to start preschool. I feel like it took forever to convince my partner that the boy should be in school. He is speech delayed and so mom has a reasonable fear that if something were to happen to him he wouldn’t be able to communicate that to us. If somebody did something he didn’t like at school, he’d have no way to tell us. My thinking was that being around his peers would help him. The other kids would be his role models and he would want to learn as they learned. Preschool would help him.
The misses did her homework. We found schools that offer therapy and had programs geared towards his needs. We narrowed our selection to three and paid them a visit. After that, we were able to find a slot for him at our first choice. It was only part time. It would only be a couple days a week. But as soon as a full time slot was available for his group we would get first choice.
But the sudden knowledge of the affair threw everything into a tailspin. The misses was in no mood to have her world further dismantled by having her son go off to school leaving her alone and instilling a deeper sense of abandonment.
The next morning I was begging her to please let him go. We went through so much just to get here could we please keep this plan. She agreed only if we could get into some kind of therapy because she wasn’t going to sit around the house feeling like shit. I got on my laptops and looked up marriage counselors in the area. I only got a recorded message from the first two numbers I called. The third number I tried I got a human. It was for a psychologist out in Clayton. He answered himself. He didn’t have a receptionist or someone to screen his calls. I introduced myself and explained the situation in the briefest of terms. My partner just discovered that I was cheating and we were in need of some emergency assistance. He slotted us in for a session an hour after our son was to be dropped off at school. His first day was saved.
Less than twenty four hours after the initial shock we were on our way to getting help. We argued all the way. I’ve never heard so many four letter words flying back and forth in all my life. Somebody would strongly suggest that we turn the car around. Somebody else would agree. Somebody would threaten to jump out the car. Somebody else would offer to pullover. Somebody would spew all kinds of vulgar insults. And somebody else would spew just as many in return. From the preschool to the counselor was the longest five minute drive I’ve ever experienced.
When I made the appointment, the counselor left instructions that we were just to wait in his small waiting room until he finished with the previous appointment. The wait was pretty frosty. But somehow we managed to hold our tongues. Finally, our counselor emerged through the door and rescued us from our silence. The misses sat on the small couch. I chose the comfy chair strategically placed to provide an option with enough physical distance between couples quarreling. The counselor only expected me to show up and so he was surprised to see us together. He asked how the indiscretion was uncovered. He asked questions about our lives. We explained what got us to where we were.
I don’t remember all the details of that visit. I do remember feeling extremely guilty and sorry for what I did. The psychologist theorized that I had an issue with feelings of unworthiness. I disagreed and couldn’t follow the connection. But he broke it down for me. I had a woman at home who was doing everything she could to help me with what I needed to accomplish. She took care of my son. She took care of my mom when she was sick with cancer. She took care of me. She took care of the house while I went to work. And I betrayed her trust in me. Coincidentally, I had just left my dream job because of a manager I found intolerable. Oh yeah, I had issues. I have issues.
At the end of our visit, the counselor suggested that we get our hands on a book titled “After the Affair” by Janis Abrahms Spring and her husband Michael Spring. We argued later that day and the next. Not the typical arguments of a couple. We had some deep down hurtful shit going on. We found the book on Amazon and ordered a copy. But the next day, tired of waiting and needing all the help we could get, we went to the bookstore and bought a copy off the shelf. We started reading it immediately.
The book is very insightful. It is helpful to any couple interested in rebuilding their relationship after an affair. So far, this book has been extremely practical and applicable to both of us. We’ve been given a great deal of clarity into who we are and what has gone into making us do what we do. The authors explains how both of us, the unfaithful partner and the betrayed, can confront the programming from our parents that drives our fears and prevents us from constructively communicating the pain and anger often associated with having an intimate relationship.
The ultimate goal of the book is to help people restore their trust in each other and to forgive. The author suggest to both partners to investigate the deeper meanings behind the affair. There is a reason why it happened. It’s easy to lay the blame solely at the feet of the partner who committed the adultery. But both partners need to examine themselves for their contribution and learn to accept responsibility for it. It by no means absolves anyone for any discretion. Trust me, I don’t feel like my partner had given me some kind of permission or excuse to do what I did. I take full responsibility for the choices I have made, no matter how poor my choices have been.