Infidelity may be one of the most difficult situations to challenge a marriage. Recently a number of readers have written very painful letters, telling of their spouse's affairs. This situation isn't limited to the women at home, either. Drivers who come home and find their houses cleaned out and their spouses missing must also consider the possibility of another man or woman in the picture.
Can your marriage survive an affair? Are you willing to pick up the pieces and put the violation of trust behind you? Can you forgive and move on? Is your spouse committed to you, or are they still involved in the deception? These are all questions you must answer before you consider your next step.
First, remember that you are not alone. According to James Patterson and Peter Kim's book, The Day America Told the Truth, almost one-third of Americans have had an extramarital affair. The authors claim that the average affair lasts one year, and only 28 percent of those cheating were planning on ending their trysts at all.
Trust and fidelity have been found to be dependent upon the person's values, not his or her occupation
Wow! Are these same figures applicable to the trucking industry, where the partners are often separated for days at a time? Probably, as trust and fidelity have been found to be dependent upon the person's values, not his or her occupation. Even though an affair a thousand miles away could be harder to discover than one in the same town, either one is just as likely if your spouse is capable of cheating on you.
If your partner has had an affair, what do you do next? Obviously, you need to sit down with your loved one and discuss your options. If your spouse is unwilling to give up the other person, then you have to determine if you want to remain with someone who is unfaithful to you. Simply put, you can stay or leave. Those are your options.
If both of you are willing to work through your problems, you're off to a good start. Begin by getting outside help, perhaps from your clergy or a counselor. It will take a long time to work through the pain and hurt, but more importantly, will you ever be able to trust your spouse again? A lot of the healing may depend on whether the affair was a one-night experience, or a long term, more emotional involvement. Can you be sure that your spouse will stay away from the other person with whom he or she was intimate?
One reader, who has been married for more than 25 years, recently discovered her husband's infidelity. "I thought we had a good marriage, and discovering this has forced me to take a second look," she writes. This woman wonders if she'll ever be able to trust her spouse again. She asked for suggestions from other women who have survived an affair.
A Georgia reader tells about her husband's affair with a truckstop waitress. They were able to work through the hurt by talking for four days, without interruptions.
She writes, "I say we cleaned our closet. Every feeling, ever desire... hurts, failures. We uncovered everything." Neither of them was willing to throw their marriage away, and this woman has rebuilt the trust she had in her husband. She forgave both her spouse, and the waitress who was available when her husband was looking for comfort and appreciation. This is a strong and forgiving woman, who advises other trucker's wives to "Love him when he comes home... show him how important he is and he will be faithful to you."
Many readers have experienced an affair and are still married. Others couldn't rebuild the trust they had depended upon to survive the absences of a long-distance relationship. If you are willing to share your thoughts on this topic, please write or e-mail us at the address below. Your insight is valuable, and if you can offer your advice to others who are experiencing this situation in their marriages, please relate it to us. Thanks for your part in helping others keep their marriages strong and intact...in the long run. LL