Fri | Jan 19, 2018

He cheated, I cheated, we stayed together

Published:Monday | September 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Twelve years ago when Julia* said I do to her high-school sweetheart Dane* it was the happiest day of her life. This was a day she had been planning for, for at least three years, even before he proposed.

But as the years went by, the couple got caught up in work and their three children. The time they spent together whenever possible, was brief. They were slowly growing apart - vacations were taken separately and so were family trips abroad and out of town.

Telephone calls and sexy texts were a thing of the past and would be done only whenever necessary - a reminder of PTA meeting or birthdays. Date night? What was that? To even have everyone present for a family function was a challenge for the once happily-married couple.

Dane knew he was guilty of cheating, and his conscience was beginning to nag at him. He wanted to sleep better at nights as well as to find out if she had any clue. So he came up with an approach.

Dane sent the children to spend the weekend with their grandmother, and he and his pleasantly surprised wife went out of town. "The ride down was a little awkward but I tried not to show my emotions as he seemed nervous," shared Julia.

The worst was yet to come. After dinner, he asked her to take a stroll with him on the beach, she obliged. There he confessed to his wife that he was no longer the saint she knew in high school. He had slept with so many women he had lost count.

With tear-filled eyes, Julia almost fell to the ground. "My knees were weak, and I could only hear the waves crashing against the shore. I knew he was unfaithful but I would have never imagined it was so bad. I was angry, sad, disappointed, tired, hurt, shocked, happy (and) confused, all at once. Why was I happy? It's because I was glad he finally confessed. I know I wasn't being a good wife to him and as such was not that alarmed when I saw a few messages he exchanged with other women." Julia also felt a great sense of guilt. She blamed herself for weeks and believed she pushed him away.

Dane had hoped she was going to be mad, but she had a secret of her own. "I was also unfaithful for a while, too. I had met a man while grocery shopping one day and within a month we were hitting it off." Julia dropped that bombshell on her husband. He did not see it coming, at all and he was devastated. "I remember him thinking I was joking. So he laughed and asked me to be serious. I told him I wish that was the case but it wasn't."

Three years later, the bond between the recommitted lovebirds is stronger than ever before. But that did not happen overnight. "We sought constant advice from a counsellor as well as two trusted friends. We had to start from scratch to relearn each other and our marriage. There was also a lot of arguments, tears, fights, malice, divorce threats - but we are surviving and still trying to repair the damage done," Julia confessed.

She advise couples that no matter what's going on, do not cheat. "I know being in a monogamous relationship is difficult, especially for men, but it is not hard and most certainly not worth the heartache it brings. So take learn from our mistakes and remain faithful to you spouse."

*Names changed to protect privacy.