He cheated, I cheated, we stayed to­gether

Jamaica Gleaner - - SEX & RELATIONSHIPS -

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, and 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 learn from our mis­takes and re­main faith­ful to you spouse.”

*Names changed to pro­tect pri­vacy.

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