‘I grabbed his phone, punched in the numbers. My heart was pounding out of my chest. We’d just made love, and there she was.’: After affair woman says, ‘We don’t have the perfect marriage, but we do have a renewed one’

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“I got down on all fours, in plank position, and crawled under the bed to the other side. I grabbed his phone. We had just made love, so he was in a deep sleep. I walked to the bathroom to prove my suspicion. I never knew the password to my husband’s phone. We never had reason to check each other’s phones in the past. But something just wasn’t right.

My husband had seemed distant and mean for a while now but who had time to think about that? After all, we had two young kids and they needed me. But something wasn’t right. So tonight, in the middle of our family vacation, I chose to figure out what was going on. I closed the bathroom door and locked it. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I didn’t even know his password, but it’s odd how God will bring things back to your remembrance at just the right time. Months before, I had seen my husband unlock his phone. I guess the keystrokes stayed buried in my memory.

On cue, I punched those numbers in and voila. There it was. Or should I say, there she was. Mystery solved. My husband was having an affair.

I had shared my suspicion with my mother earlier that day and she told me, ‘Unfortunately, you’re not the first woman and won’t be the last woman to be betrayed by infidelity. Use wisdom.’ I remembered her words and began taking pictures of the messages between the two of them so my husband wouldn’t know I had accessed his phone. When I was done, I got back in bed and just stared at the ceiling.

Who was this person lying next to me? This wasn’t the man I had married. As I laid there all I could do was think, what now? How was I going to take care of my kids? I was past the question of should I divorce him. That was eminent. My husband was the sole breadwinner for our house. How would I be able to make it without his support? I crawled back under the bed and grabbed his wallet. I went back to the bathroom and started going through it. Two hundred dollars cash. He would notice if I took that. I started taking pictures of each of his cards, front and back. In the morning, he would be leaving to go out of the country. I would make a list of each bill we had and pay them up as far as I could. That would hold us until the divorce proceedings began.

I remember lying in the bed after getting home from our vacation, thinking, ‘How is this possible?’ This man and I had been through so much together. We had goals and dreams. This wouldn’t just affect him and I. This would touch everyone who knew us: our kids, our parents, our friends, our colleagues. Everyone! Had he given that any thought? I instantly turned into an espionage Nazi. Who was this woman? I knew from the messages between the two of them, she knew about me.

I think I said what every wife does when they finally see the other woman. I thought to myself, ‘Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. This is what you risked your entire family over?’

But she was beside the point. My covenant was with him, not her. She owed me nothing. He owed me everything!

I knew I didn’t want to share my findings with everyone, but I quickly created my tribe. I needed these women and they didn’t disappoint. One of my girlfriends (I’ll call her my ‘ride or die’) was absolutely down for whatever, be it a drive at 3 a.m. or social media espionage. She was an expert at getting Intel but only used her powers for good. She asked no questions, just got it done. I remember not being able to sleep one night so I called her around 2 a.m. and told her I needed her car. She told me to let her know when I was outside. When I arrived, she opened the garage. The keys were on the hood. She said nothing, just let the garage down when I left.

When I got back, she asked, ‘Did you get what you needed?”

I replied, ‘Yes,’ and she closed the garage.

I spent the next few weeks completely numb. My other girlfriend (I’ll call her my ‘been there, done that’) had gone through a similar situation and came through it unscathed. I called her constantly during this time asking her when the pain would be over. She would remind me I was in phase one and phase one was very painful, as I got used to my new norm. She advised me to watch my husbands’ actions during this time because the tongue was deceptive.

My question was always, ‘When will phase one end?’

Her response was always, ‘You’ll know when it does.’

During these weeks, I focused mainly on just functioning day-to-day. That meant getting out of bed, taking my kids to school, and going back to bed without drowning in my tears. When I thought I couldn’t cry another day, my last girlfriend (I’ll call her ‘peach bellini’) called and said she had two plane tickets. She told me to pack and head to the airport. For a week I laughed, I cried, shopped, and drank peach bellinis until I almost forgot my life back home. These women held me up in one of the most difficult seasons of my life and I’m so grateful to them.

When my husband returned home after his business trip, things moved pretty quickly. While he was gone, I had found an attorney who was a God sent. She helped me craft a message, letting my husband know I knew about the affair.

He was shocked, to say the least. I had been asleep in my marriage for so long. I think he thought I would never notice, let alone find out about the affair. Even more shocking to him is I didn’t just find out, but I had a plan and executed that plan beautifully. He was dumbfounded.

After the initial anger between us both, we settled down and began to talk. He initially denied everything but eventually acknowledged the affair and ended it. He told me he wanted our family.

I needed answers. I wanted to know why. When? How long?

I would meet my husband and have long talks with him when these thoughts would begin to run rampant through my head. Our initial conversations were filled with tears and yelling and walking away. They got better over time, but the pain was still very present. Our first court date was fast approaching. I remember my husband saying, ‘Everything will work itself out.’ I didn’t know what that meant because as far as I was concerned, I was done. I had begun going to counseling so I could get everything out without exploding. I was a broken woman trying to put the pieces back together.

During our court-ordered mediation, my husband requested counseling. He told the judge he didn’t want a divorce. She ordered us to go to counseling. That didn’t go very well. I ended up slamming the door on the court-ordered counselor and my husband.

When I went to my counselor the next day, she asked if I thought my husband would be open to a program she walked through with couples called ‘Intensive.’ It was faith-based counseling where you were in a hotel for 3 days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During that time, you got to the root of the issues and wrong belief systems in each individual and dealt with replacing those beliefs with truth and forgiveness. It was intense and lasted 4 days for us.

When we were done, I remember being disappointed. I thought when we left, my husband would be a totally different person. But he wasn’t. I remember hearing God say, ‘It’s a PROCESS’ and I had to begin celebrating the small victories so I could see the bigger ones. He was so right.

I don’t really know how to explain it but that was our turning point. I began to notice, although we were still separated, my husband would call if he were going to be late getting home, just to let me know where he was. If he went out of town, he would call me when he arrived and let me know where he was staying and how long he’d be there. My husband had never done that. One of my biggest complaints during our marriage was if anything ever happened to him, I wouldn’t even know where to tell the police to look because half the time, I had no idea where he was. My husband began planning family trips for us and spending quality time with the kids. I was not without change. The Lord dealt with me on my contributions to the demise of my marriage. He reminded me I had stopped doing the very things that had attracted my husband to me. I was so supportive when we were dating. I would go to every speaking engagement he had. I was always front row. But eventually after we got married and had kids, I stopped going. The Lord showed how easy it was for another woman to take my seat.

My husband and I were becoming friends again. I could see his heart turning towards me. That was one of my biggest prayers during our marriage. I would pray my husband would have a heart for me. When a man has a heart for you there are just certain things he’s not willing to do because he’s not willing to risk your heart. My husband was very passive-aggressive, partly because he had grown up without a voice in his own home. Although he would go along to get along, his actions would show how he really felt. My husband had been angry with me for years. He felt I had abandoned him when he needed me most. That anger turned into resentment and then his heart left our marriage. He was an easy mark for any woman.

I was also asleep in my marriage for a long time. I thought if I prayed hard enough or kept my mouth closed for the sake of not arguing, things would get better. Not so! There is a spiritual side and a practical side to everything. We were fooling ourselves to think things would get better by themselves. We had to put in work. Now that we had unearthed the pain underneath, it was time to rebuild on a new and better foundation.

My husband was becoming a new man. I had become a new woman. By the time we got back to court three months later, we decided to dismiss our divorce claims. We made the decision to do a total reset and start over.

We don’t have the perfect marriage, but we do have a renewed marriage. I’ve learned I don’t have to give my entire self to another person to love them. I can still have a life as a woman without feeling guilty about spending time with my kids or husband. I didn’t think it was possible but it’s sweeter on the other side!”

Courtesy Shaundra Anderson

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shaundra Anderson. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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