‘Pull over.’ My husband was next to us at the light. I made eye contact with him. He followed us.’: Wife ‘relieved’ to come clean about ‘living a lie,’ realizes she’s the one who needed to change in marriage

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“I never thought infidelity would happen in my marriage. Most of all, I never thought I would be the one who committed adultery.

I met my husband when I was 19. We pretty much moved in together from the first weekend we spent together. We had so much in common, yet we came from different worlds. I grew up a small-town girl naïve to the world of drugs and crime. He grew up in the city in poverty doing things as a teenager I never would have imagined happened in real life.

We were engaged after 6 months of being together and married before we had been together for two years. We were young and in love and working to make ends meet. I got a job in eye care at 18 and by the time we were married, I was manager of my own retail store.  He on the other hand had worked several different jobs, each of them lasting less than a year.

Courtesy of Brittney
Courtesy of Brittney

Our first daughter was born in 2008 when we were both 23. This put a tremendous strain on our marriage. We both loved our daughter more than anything, but we faced the same struggles all new parents face. Even though he finally had a part time job that he kept for over a year, we struggled to make ends meet. I often felt like he didn’t help enough. I would find myself home alone while he was out with friends. I would go to bed alone while he stayed up into the wee hours of the morning playing video games. I would do all the late-night feeding and diaper changes alone. I started to have some resentment towards him.

Our daughter was only 4 months old when I found out I was pregnant. I felt like I was holding the world on my shoulders and the stress was building. I would call my mom in tears and tell her about all the things going wrong in my marriage and how I felt I was doing it all alone. After I unexpectedly lost my job, my parents convinced me to leave my husband and move out of state to live with them. I blindsided my husband. Packed all mine and my daughters’ stuff while he was at work one day and I left. I let him come to my sister’s house and see his daughter before I took her out of state. We tried to work through our problems long distance. We talked on the phone every day and I was finally able to express to him how I really felt and how frustrated I had been. The guilt I had for taking his daughter away from him plagued me. I knew that running away from my problems and my marriage was not going to fix things.

Courtesy of Brittney

I was gone a couple of months before I decided to come home with the promise from him that he would do better. I came home to no job and no one who would hire me 5 months pregnant. Luckily his dad helped us pay our rent and bills during that time and I reluctantly signed up for Medicaid and food stamps. I fought to get unemployment from the job I had lost, and it helped us tremendously. He kept to his promise and helped me out around the house more. He didn’t play his video game quite as much and he spent lots of time playing with our daughter.

At the very end of 2009, only 14 months after the birth of our first daughter, our second daughter was born. I was able to stay home for the first 8 months with the help of unemployment and money I made babysitting my nephew. In August of 2010, my husband decided to quit his job and try to get into the medical marijuana business that was booming in our home state of Colorado. I got another job in eye care and became the sole provider for our family. I had a lot of reservations about the medical marijuana industry. At the time it was in its infancy and I worried that law enforcement would arrest my husband and we would lose everything. As it would turn out, it was not a good plan and even though he never got into any trouble with the law, it didn’t pan out.

We ended up moving out of state in 2011 to where my parents lived with the promise that they would help my husband get a job and help us get on our feet. We moved there and I found a job right away in eye care and was again the sole provider for the family. There ended up being a lot of tension between us and my parents. We only stayed a few months before we moved back home in August of 2011.

After coming home, my husband took care of our girls full time while I remained the sole provider for the family. I found out I was pregnant again soon after we got home. This unexpected pregnancy put a lot of stress on me once again and I hid the pregnancy from him for some time before telling him. Our son was born in 2012 and things continued as they had been.

Courtesy of Brittney

By this time, I often felt like a single mom. I was the one working, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. I would come home from work and nothing would have been done all day. There would be dirty dishes in the sink and the house would be a mess. He would be on his video game again.  I often went to bed alone. I spent most of my time with my girls or alone in my bedroom. The resentment I felt toward him started to slowly build. We fought often about finances. I was always telling him he needed to get a job.  He needed to contribute. He never took me seriously. He never made an effort. I would come home from work and he would accuse me of being out doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. He accused me of cheating on him constantly. My ‘hair was a mess’ or he would find ‘a suspicious mark on my skin.’ Every time our busy clinic ended a little late at work or I had a monthly office meeting I got the third degree. Over time my resentment towards him built and built.

Courtesy of Brittney

At the end of 2013 I changed jobs to be closer to home and have a better schedule. Around the same time, I got a message on Facebook from the guy I had dated and lost my virginity to as a teenager. I hadn’t talked to him in a decade. At first, it started out with us just catching up on where our lives had taken us over the years. Over the next few weeks, we were talking on the phone over my lunch hour and texting a lot. Then it turned into me lying to my husband that I was working late so I could meet up and hang out with this other guy. I lied and said I had to work on my morning off and spent the day joy riding around with him in the small town where we grew up reminiscing about old times. I enjoyed the friendship and connection. In the beginning, that was all it was.

You hold a special place in your heart for the one you gave your virginity to. He was the one guy I had dated who over the years I always wondered where he was and how he was doing. The more time I spent with him, the more butterflies I felt in my stomach. When he kissed me the first time, I couldn’t help but feel that way even though it was wrong and I knew it. I let him borrow my car one day while I was at work. He picked me up at the end of the day and was driving my car to where I was going to drop him off. As we were pulling out of my work, there was my husband at the light in his car. As we turned, I looked out the passenger window and made eye contact with him. He followed us.

‘Pull over,’ I told my friend driving.

He pulled over and got out of the car and him and my husband nearly got into a fist fight right there. My kids were in my husband’s car at the time. I pulled him back into my car and we drove off. I dropped him off and then went home. Of course, my husband I fought when I got there. He had his mom come and get our kids so they weren’t there for it. He dragged all my clothes out of the house and threw them in the trunk of my car.

‘I’m going to see a friend who works at the bar,’ I said as I left.

I ended up going to pick up the guy he had caught me with and took him with me to the bar. We had a few drinks. My husband ended up showing up there and was so angry when he saw me there with him.  Once again, they nearly got into a fight but I broke it up. I spent an hour in the parking lot trying to explain to my husband that I was unhappy and miserable. Tried explaining to him that I didn’t know what I wanted. When he finally left, I went back in the bar and drank some more. That night we ended up staying at his place. One thing led to another and I did the one thing I never though I would do. I committed adultery and had sex with someone other than my husband.

It breaks my heart to write those words. Tears stream down face as I put them on paper because it makes it that more real. Even over 5 years later, the guilt I have admitting that is immense.

I went home early the next morning and played it off to my husband that nothing happened the night before. I went on living a lie. I told my husband I wouldn’t talk to my ‘friend’ anymore. It was a lie. I continue to talk to him. I only told one person what I had done. She was basically my sister in law. She had a drinking problem and came over to our house drunk one afternoon before I got home from work and told my husband everything I had confided in her.

When I came home from work, I had to face the music. Honestly, I was relieved. I was tired of living a lie.  It was exhausting. I came clean to my husband and told him the truth about what had happened that night and in the weeks that followed. We talked like we had never talked before. We had a conversation where we both listened intently and thought about our responses. I knew I wanted to save my marriage.  I knew I wanted to keep my family together. I also knew I did not want to go on living the way I had for so long. Something had to give. Something had to change.

The thing I learned in the weeks and years to come was that I was the thing that needed changing. Yes, I resented my husband for not helping me enough. But the thing I failed to realize was that he was a stay at home dad to our 3 kids and he was an amazing father. He spent time playing with them, taking them to the park, teaching them and nourishing them. I was a stay at home mom for 8 months when the girls were babies. I forgot how much it is a full-time job. I wasn’t giving him credit for all the things he was doing and instead I focused on all the things he wasn’t doing. Which was unfair of me.

I learned that yes, he played his video game, but this was his outlet. When he got overwhelmed with the kids and needed another adult to talk to, that is the one place he had to go. Those other gamers he talks to on there are his lifeline to the outside world.

Yes, he accused me of doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, but I realized this was because he was tied down to the house most of the time and he didn’t get to leave and interact with other adults.  Even though it was wrong for him to do this, it was his way of coping. It wasn’t OK to use this as a reason to justify what I had done. There were times I wanted to say, ‘You accused me of it so much I figured I might as well do it.’ However, there was nothing in the world that could justify what I had done.

Just like a lot of stay at home moms can get overwhelmed and depressed, this is what happened to him and I didn’t see it. I never gave him credit. When you are in a slump like that it’s hard to find the motivation to do the dishes or the laundry. I never saw his depression, but I should have. It was a cloud looming over us.

He did some changing too. He realized the things I needed from him and we have both put in the work to make each other feel the way we deserve to feel. Wanted and appreciated. It has taken us a long time. There are still occasional times when he reminds me that I broke his trust. I know in my heart that we can never go back to the way it was before. If he throws out a little comment about me being suspicious, I just take it on the chin. It’s my fault. I put those doubts in his mind. The guilt I feel for breaking my vows haunts me. Just the thought of it brings tears to my eyes. I’m a Christian, although not super religious, and I’ve done my asking for forgiveness from God too. I’m blessed to have a husband who was willing to forgive me. I’m lucky he was willing to put our family first and move on. I wouldn’t say forgive and forget, but at the least forgive. Marriage is that hardest thing you will ever do but the most rewarding. My husband is my best friend. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. Waking up with my family under one roof every day is a blessing. Sometimes just looking at things from a different perspective and changing the way we think, turning negative thoughts into positive ones, makes all the difference in your life. Building a life with our children and showing them the love we have for each other is all that matters.”

Courtesy of Brittney

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brittney. 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.

Read more stories of overcoming marriage issues:

‘You’ve been lying to me.’ My frantic husband was pacing the room. ‘What’s really going on?’ Tell the truth.’: Wife admits her own infidelity, promises your marriage is ‘worth fighting for,’ says ‘you can gain trust again’

‘I knew I was right.’ I blurted out. Rage burned within me.’: Woman discovers husband’s infidelity, is ‘leery’ of counseling but finally ‘develops a healthy relationship’

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