After the Affair

What happens after the affair when you’re still in love? Do you stay? Do you go? One woman shares her real experience.

After the Affair

Here I am sitting in my parents’ living room in the middle of nowhere—a place I never thought I would have to go back to. I didn’t want this, but this is the situation I’m in.

We were supposed to be at a family wedding today on his side. I bought a dress. Now I’m sitting in my mom’s living room with no idea what the future holds.

They were or are in love. He says he doesn’t know. I knew he was still holding back after he was outed. I knew there were still things he wasn’t telling me. So I called her husband again, and I got her number. I called her, the other woman. After a few rings she answered, not knowing it was me.

“I have some questions for you, and you owe it to me to tell me the truth,” I said.

It was pretty obvious in talking to her that my husband was playing both sides, and that she was in love with him. He lied to me about not saying “I love you” to her. He lied to me about them getting a hotel room alone. Lies, lies, lies.

“If you both were single, would you be together?” I asked her.

“Well yeah,” she said, like it was so obvious that I should have known. He was telling me how in love he was with her this whole time.

He told her things about me, about us. He made it seem to her like he would divorce me and be with her. But he was too much of a coward, or maybe he still loved me, so he didn’t go. Instead, he treated me horribly and made it seem like I was the one who wasn’t giving him enough. He wanted me to leave on my own so he didn’t feel as guilty, so he didn’t have to tell anyone what he did.

Who is this person I married? I don’t even know him.

Before I left, he avoided me. During the day, I would get a few texts: how are you, are you okay, we’ll talk when I get home. Then he would come home and go upstairs to take a fucking nap, avoiding me, the situation, and most importantly, what he did.

When we did start to talk, he continued to turn the conversation towards me and what I did to allow this to happen. I’m not perfect, but I did not make him sleep with someone else. He said he needed time to think because he didn’t know what he wanted. He said he told her the same thing, but who knows if that’s true. I asked what did she say? “She cried,” he said.

Fuck that. She has no right.

If I’m being honest, I know he has feelings for her, but they can’t be the same as what he feels for me, can they? He can’t love her like he loves me after almost nine years. It’s based on lust and his own insecurities. She gave him attention, she made the first move, she told him she loved him, and he liked that. He liked that feeling she gave him—like he was wanted. She’s married with kids and lives hundreds of miles away. They aren’t thinking straight if they think their relationship will work, be easy, or even be what they truly want.

When he drove me to the airport, it was a scene. We stood at the curb in the darkness before dawn, saying goodbye. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again or what the circumstances would be. I told him it wasn’t the end. I told him I loved him and didn’t want this. He said he was sorry and he loved me. He just needed time to clear his head.

The curbside bag attendant saw the whole thing. She asked me “When will you be returning?” I said I didn’t know as tears streamed down my face. I just kept thinking next time I’m here, I hope he tells me he can’t live without me and will do anything to get me back.

I landed in the city since that was the flight I already booked, thinking we were going to a fucking wedding. My mom and stepdad picked me up at the airport, and then we drove nearly 5 hours home. It was terrible. Reality was setting in.

“This is really happening,” I thought. “I’m going back to live with my parents. It could be a week or two or maybe months. I’m actually doing this and have no control over anything in my life.”

He reached out to me throughout the day: I’m so sorry, how was your flight, are you home yet? The reality is setting in for him also, but I’m sorry. Texts are not enough.

I want so badly to know if he’s reaching out to her in the same way. I want to know what’s actually going on in his head, but I can’t ask. Even if I did, would I get the truth?

Now I’m in bumble fuck town and he’s at the beach taking time to think. That’s the hardest part—that he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know if he wants me. I’m the one begging him to stay, to love me. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Before I left, I hid sticky notes throughout our apartment: one in the wine fridge, one between the plates in the kitchen cabinet, one under the toilet paper rolls. They said I love you, I’m here for you, I forgive you. As he finds them, I’m not sure if he will feel more guilty or more loved, but I need to know that I’m doing everything I can to save this because I can’t just walk away. It’s not over for me. I can’t turn my feelings off like a faucet.

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