For the first time in all the years I had an affair, I was genuinely distraught and heartbroken by my actions. I wanted nothing more than a normal marriage. I wanted to start a family with my husband, and the fact that I broke and had sex with my lover was overwhelming. I thought I was finally ready to move forward, but something about Derrick’s touch always pushed me ten steps back. Every time I made progress, there was an incident that destroyed my progress. To make matters worse, when my husband came home, he had news that turned my life upside down.
Minutes after arriving from his business trip, he said that we needed to talk. He motioned me towards the dinner table and I immediately knew it could not be good news. I ran through all my mistakes and wondered if I had been caught. As my mind spiraled out of control, he began to talk. But in my daze, I could barely comprehend his words. It was all too much.
Robert explained that he hired a private investigator many years ago. He said after the incident at the restaurant where he found out I slept with Derrick while he was still married, he had to see if I was unfaithful to him. He said he felt deep in his heart that something was wrong and that he wanted to make sure I wasn’t cheating. Robert pulled out a folder full of pictures. Most of them were of me and Derrick at dinner, or on one of our many outings. A few were of us at his house. But the worst were of us kissing, and a few of us naked and in action.
My husband explained how he could not stomach losing me. He said that at that time in our marriage, he decided it was best for him to stay. But as time passed, he began to resent me, especially as I started to pull back from him. He said that every time I left the house to go out, he knew that I was going out with Derrick and that it killed him. He turned to alcohol and eventually began to get violent with me. The affair was slowly killing him. The first day he put his hands on me was the day he received proof that I was having sex with Derrick. Staying was his only option. He loved me too much to leave. And while many times he purposely tried to push me away, he could not stand the thought of being without me.
“I tried hard to win you back, Cassandra, but you stopped loving me.” Tears began to fall down his face. “I know it was partly my fault because I got abusive, but I didn’t know how else to react. Every night you came home, I knew you were with him. I was so angry. I tried to make you fall in love, but you were done. From the start I knew something was wrong. You didn’t look at me the way I thought you should. And sometimes, even in our happiest moments, you looked so sad, like you were missing someone. Your body language and your words said you were happy, but your eyes told the truth.”
Every word he spoke broke my heart. I was finally ready to really settle down. I was ready to love him unconditionally. I was ready to start a family and love him like I promised years ago in front of friends and family. But now it was too late. It was at that moment I realized that it was never him who destroyed our marriage—it was me all along.