It’s not easy to stay married to a man you know has cheated on you. I don’t like using that word because I believe it is not natural for a person to live the rest of their life with just one person. People will step out of their marriages in one way or another. They either flirt quite ‘harmlessly’ or have sex without strings attached or have a deeply-satisfying emotional affair or have deep friendships but won’t commit physically. All of this counts as cheating, but it is also natural human behaviour. So then why do I call it cheating? Because when you get married, you enter a bond that says you will be there for each other in every way. And you are breaking that bond if you are giving yourself emotionally to someone else. You are taking time away from the person you are married to if you are giving yourself physically to someone else.
Now let me tell you why I chose to forgive my husband even after I found out that he was having an affair with someone. There are two reasons and both are simple. The first is that we have built a life together that I don’t want to undo. He treats me with respect and the affair is never rubbed in my face. He takes care of our kids as much as he can and spends enough time with them. It’s only him and I that don’t get time together but I understand that now. When I didn’t know about his affair, I used to fight with him to do things together, but now I don’t. When I first discovered his affair and created trouble, he was the most unhappy that I had ever seen him. But when I gave up struggling with him, and let him be, he became calmer and happier. And that is the best thing for the home and our family. He is agreeable, helpful, responsible and kind. What more can I ask for?
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The second reason is that without his salary, I won’t have the life that I am accustomed to. We own our own home in a beautiful locality. I only take up freelance projects that I want to and spend my time pursuing my hobbies or other things I like to do. He earns very well and I refuse to let go of that. Don’t get me wrong. Just because I consider his money my own doesn’t mean I don’t contribute. Do I feel like a parasite living off his money? Not at all. I keep house, I raise our kids, I do all the things that need to be done in terms of planning for the family, take care of his parents. All the school-related work is my job; his job requires him to entertain a lot and I make sure we have a home that is welcoming and gracious. I know that, without me, he won’t know what to do with the kids. All the cues of his parenting are taken from me and if I were to leave him, I won’t be able to afford the education we are giving our children now.
Do I feel disrespected that he loves someone else? Sometimes yes, but not enough to want to leave him and take my kids with me. When families can adjust to broken limbs, bad eyesight or relocating (unwillingly) to a new country, why can’t they also adjust to one of the partners falling in love with someone else if that keeps them happy? Maybe one day I will find the will and the circumstance to walk out. But for now, I don’t see a reason to do so. In every way, we are peaceful. The kids have a steady home, so why should I disrupt that? I’d rather be lonely or alone now and then than struggle for everything I have right now. Because finding someone to connect with and fall in love with doesn’t take too much time, but to build your place in a social circle, to have all the things that give you a sense of security takes a very long time. In the end, you do what is important to you. For me, being comfortable and secure is important. Love will come.
By Jaila (name changed to protect identity)
This post was first published on zenparent.in