There is a touching story in Salon about an infidelity overcome through the persistence of both husband and wife. Written five years after the affair, it shows that not every affair necessarily ends in divorce.
When Robert told me about the affair, we were walking from marriage counseling through the arboretum near campus. We’d been in therapy for a couple of months, but we’d been fighting much longer than that.
“I have to be honest with you,” he said, slumping onto a park bench, looking ill. “I’m sleeping with someone else.”
“We should get a divorce,” I said.
He put his head in his hands. “That’s the last thing I want.”
So I went for a meeting with a divorce mediator. Ours wasn’t going to be an ugly split; his guilt and sorrow and my shock and ambivalence were the perfect ingredients for a fair settlement. The process of reconciliation was laborious, but Robert threw his heart into fundamental change. He started seeing an individual counselor and began to dig deep into the reasons for his infidelity. I made changes too: I learned that I had to work to better express my wants and needs to Robert.
Five years later I’m still taking our marriage day by day. In many ways, I believe that is the way any marriage should be lived. Each day I work at my marriage a little. Each day I find value in my marriage. Each day I go to sleep glad he’s by my side.
We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary recently at a lovely dinner overlooking the ocean. Rob reached across the table and held my hand. “Thanks for sticking with me,” he said, as my eyes filled with tears.
Read the whole story in Salon. It’s a good testament that an affair can often be overcome if both partners are willing to fight for the marriage. And mediation during the marriage by a mediator, attorney, or other outside professional can sometimes help the process along.