In my marriage, I was filled with angst — and that eventually led me to do things I knew I shouldn’t be doing. As a child, I was applauded for being the good daughter, the rule follower.
“Don’t have sex before you get married, marry a nice Jewish boy.” Those words rang in my head for aged. And I did all of that and found the perfect match on paper. I knew I wasn’t ready to get married. I had oats to sew, but I was told by family “he may not wait”. I became enthralled with the wedding plans and the honeymoon and the fantasy of it all. Both families were thrilled, and it was the right thing to do. It didn’t take long for my soul to realize something wasn’t right. I was starving to fill an emptiness inside and there was always another man there to step up.
They weren’t as much physical affairs as emotional affairs. Although I needed both, I had my line in the sand, the boundary I wouldn’t cross. It was agonizing all around. We then bought a home, raised three daughters and I fell into family life. Two of my daughters were very ill for years and the last thing I could think about was my own happiness. There were financial struggles and his professional unhappiness and years of feeling unfulfilled. We loved and respected one another, but I was a dumping ground for everyone’s problems and struggles. I was the air they all breathed, and I was slowly suffocating.
So, finally, after 30 years — I left. I was 50, and put all of my energy into my career. It began to flourish, as did I. I am amazed at the person I have become, and I feel very proud of myself for what I have accomplished. I reinvented myself, and it has paid off exponentially.
Sadly, my spouse continues to struggle to find himself. He was incredibly hurt by my choices — the adultery, but more so my decision to leave. We do our best to have a nice relationship, and still celebrate our three daughter’s birthdays together. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company. But it took years. I know he is permanently scarred, and that is my biggest regret — and my cross to bear.
Our kids have come a long way. Of course, initially, selfishly, they hated the impact this had on their lives. They saw their father crumbling and that was painful for them. As they see us happy they can be happy. It is not the way they saw their lives turning out, but I think as the years go by and they see the contrast between the two of us they understand the steps I took. Being in relationships of their own also gives them a new understanding of what it takes to hold one together. Once they have children I believe they will gain even more insight.
When I look back on my life as a marriage woman: I see myself as a speeding train that couldn’t have been stopped. But it finally gave me the catalyst to move on. But infidelity is unfair and hurtful. Being married and being in a committed relationship don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I don’t long to marry again, in fact, I don’t have any desire at all at this point in time. I am in a committed relationship though. I live by the mantra “you be you and let me be me.”
I am not looking to change anyone, and I don’t want anyone to try to change me. I have been through a lot in my close to 55 years and I have come out pretty darn good. I want peace and serenity in my life and if someone can’t provide that I know I can survive on my own and be happy. I can’t be with someone that dumps their problems on me, I have never done that to anyone and I don’t want that done to me.
Being there for one another and being supportive is important. But I can’t be the reason for someone’s happiness. They need to come to me already happy. I want an equal partner on all grounds, emotionally, physically, and professionally. I feel truly blessed that I have found that. Are things perfect, of course not, it’s not realistic to expect that, but I know how fragile relationships are and I truly want this one to last? We are good friends and companions. There is comfort and security in his arms that is home for me. I always think how lucky I am, but I like to think that I listened to my inner voice and made this all happen.