Friday, April 29, 2011

Ask Us Anything Friday

I feel like this is my fault, even though my husband says it's not, and that he was just being selfish and stupid, but I don't even know what that means! It has to be my fault! Why would he leave unless I was doing something wrong? And how will I ever keep him from leaving again if I don't know why he left in the first place?
Jesse -- I've said things about this in some of my other answers, but sometimes we feel as though we're going through a crisis in our lives and we struggle to grab onto something to give us hope.  For some men an affair is a way to validate that "we've still got it".  That sounds shallow, and it is, but it really is a result of something deeper.  Many men see the admission that we struggle with identity or value as weakness.  They see it as something to conquer internally and don't let others in to help build them up or if they do often it is in the wrong way with the wrong person.

Your last question touches on an important topic -  ongoing honesty and transparency.  It is very important, even though it may be difficult to hear, to understand the frustrations or struggles that your husband had and why he didn't voice them well enough before.  You can never simply know another person's heart, but you can come to know it if you cultivate that intimacy and honesty.  One thing many men struggle with is the belief that bringing a marital frustration to their wife will always end the same way, with them on the couch.  Wives need to be attentive to this and be receptive to a husband's frustrations.  If they reinforce the idea that their frustrations will always end in an argument or disagreement then they'll just tuck those issues away and that could help lead to a future blow out.

How long had it gone on for?
Lyryn -- Started March 27th (This is how my freakin' brain works... I remember this CRAP!) and ended on July 21st.  Then began back up again around the beginning of October and ended November 14th.
Will you ever tell your children your story?
Lyryn -- YES!  I want to write a book one day so if that happens I'm sure it would be hard to keep that from them, but even if I didn't get published we would still tell them.  Of course, we will wait until they are old enough to understand what it all means, but I do not believe in trying to keep it a secret from them.  I want them to understand how much their parents fought for one another and their marriage even in the worst of times and how much we love and appreciate one another now more because of it.

I want us to be an example of unconditional love in a marriage for them, and show them that a covenant marriage isn't something you just give up on because you are bored or want to trade up for something different.    I want them to see that their father fought hard to break generational curses so that they might never fall into it themselves.  There are many reasons we want to be open and honest about it.  I'm sure I could write a book on this alone.

Was Jesse mad at how many people you confided in? Or that you went to his own family and told them? 
Jesse -- Surprisingly enough I wasn't.  I could understand why some people would get upset, it's a betrayal of sorts.  I have always lived my life as an open book, so I knew these people would all be made aware of it at some point.  I didn't feel like I needed to be the first one to tell them.  I did have communication with all of these people after things calmed down a bit and acknowledged my failures. 

I was wondering if there was a reason why your father-in-law didn't say anything to you when you went there? Was he the one who had an affair too? How long ago?  Did your father-in-law ever explain why he acted that way? Do you think he already knew? 
Lyryn -- I will be writing a post on this next week.  But to quickly fill you in since I got SO many questions and emails about this, yes there was a reason he didn't say anything.  He did have several affairs while Jesse was growing up and at the time he was still living in that sin as well, so he didn't feel like he had the right to be mad at Jesse for something he was also struggling with.  I think he also blamed himself and felt completely terrible because he had seen Jesse and Lauren together in Jesse's car and didn't say anything.  Like I said, there is so much more to this story and I will be touching on it next week. 

I am confused though, why did all of this only fall apart after Lauren broke down to her husband about the affair? I am in no way trying to make this sound bad I am just curious if you had started to realize Lauren was not doing anything for you prior to her breaking down to her husband? Or did you just realize she wasn't the one for you only after she did?
Jesse --  I had always held out very little hope that anything could have ever worked between Lauren and I.  I tried to convince myself that it would work, but knew that it would have been nearly impossible to make work.  When she told her husband it became an impossibility.  I knew that neither her family, nor mine would ever accept the relationship now that it was known to be born of infidelity.  Although I had an affair with one woman the struggle was more about Lyryn or not Lyryn.  Shortly after the affair was revealed I decided that I was going to give my family a shot at being one unit. I just couldn't fathom the idea of not seeing my child as often as I wanted and this was initially a big motivation for pursuing reconciliation.

What do you think would've happened if Lauren hadn't told her husband?
Lyryn -- Honestly, I don't think it would have gone on much longer. That's just my thought of course and I'm just speculating, but because there had been so many lies and so many things covered up it was getting to difficult to keep track anymore.  They were both becoming sloppy and Jesse had just about had it with me so my marriage was about to end.  I honestly believe that Lauren wouldn't be able to handle that; breaking up not just her marriage and my marriage, but splitting up a family.  I might still be very hurt by her and have a hard time forgiving her but I do believe that her heart is good.  It takes a lot for me to say that, it really does, but I don't think she ever wanted to hurt anyone, even more so to rip apart a family.  Again... just my opinion I have no idea where her heart was or is. 
Jesse --  I agree with Lyryn's thoughts, but think it doesn't help anyone or anything to speculate.

Do you still think about Lauren?   
Jesse -- At this point there are moments, few and far between, where she still does cross my mind.  However, it's not really specific thoughts or events.  It's more of a quickly passing feeling and doesn't affect my thought patterns, mood or motivations with my wife.  After the affair ended a thought would cross my mind every couple of minutes all day long.  The frequency of the thoughts dissipated very slowly and then returned once she and I began talking again.  However, once things ended the second time so did most of the struggle controlling my thought life.

Jesse - what outcome/reaction did you envision or expect when you told Lyryn the truth?
Jesse -- I expected for things to unfold about like they did.  I knew Lyryn would be outraged.  As I said, I kind of wanted her to be.  I thought it would make it easier to allow me to walk away, but I still couldn't.  However, I wasn't expecting the longer lasting or frequency of her angry outbursts.

Do you ever miss Lauren? Looking back do you think *something* was really there?
Jesse --  No and no.  The foundation of the relationship was built on lies and mistrust.  Additionally, no relationship can be built upon the destruction of another and be truly genuine.  How can any person trust a person they had an affair with?  Especially when they were both previously married?  If they were willing to have an affair and leave their partner once, why wouldn't they being willing to do it again? During the affair I really believed that I was in love, but I wasn't.  It was lust and infatuation.  Look up 1 Corinthians 13...  If it doesn't line up, then it isn't.

If you could take it all back would you? Or do you consider this one of those life experiences that were meant to happen so that you could learn from it and overall your marriage could be strengthened through it?
Jesse --  God has a plan for where he wants to take all of us.  We sometimes choose a much more difficult path than He originally intended.  God could have (and probably would have) brought us to the same place we are today without having gone through all the pain we've passed through.  I wish I could undo the pain that I caused, but am thankful for where we are today.  I saw a quote not too long ago that I liked, "The point of your greatest misery is the point of your greatest ministry."

Are all of Jesse's tears and such genuine for Lyryn and for what you destroyed in your marriage or are they mourning the affair or tears of getting caught?! 
Jesse -- First, I wasn't caught.  Lauren could have gone home without anyone being made aware of the affair.  I decided to tell Lyryn and be as forthcoming as I could be.  The tears I shed were for everything.  A part of me was mourning the loss of something I had placed a lot of time and energy into, a part of me was grieving over the damage I had done and a part of me was crying in fear of what the future held.

Were you guys living together the whole time he was still talking to Lauren the second time? 
Lyryn -- Yes.

I just wonder what someone is thinking who isn't sorry an affair happened who doesn't want their marriage to work ... and oddly enough the "victim" of the affair wants more than anything to make it work... Any insight into what Jesse were thinking when you didn't want your marriage to work... would be great.
Jesse -- It's rare that a person has an affair and completely wants their marriage to work the entire time they are engaged with another person, though it does happen.  It's not uncommon that (especially in the beginning) the hurt partner doesn't even realize that there is anything wrong with their marriage.  As the affair progressed I began to dwell more and more on all the things that frustrated me about Lyryn.  This constant negative thinking reinforced my desire of wanting to leave.

One of my big frustrations is with our society and the way we treat commitment.  The number of lawsuits we have in our legal system and the number of divorces we see in our country, I believe, are closely related.  We struggle with the idea of seeing things through and personal responsibility and this manifests itself in these two ways.

When did you decide it was time for the 2nd baby and how did you know your marriage was healed enough to take this major step?
Lyryn -- I will also be touching on this next week too.  It was a good year or so after the affair that we found out that we were pregnant with Ian.   He wasn't planned by us, but God knew he was conceived at just the right time!  It was hard to handle at first because it took me right back to my fears of having Jayden and then Jesse hating his life and I didn't want an Act Two of 2008.  It ended up being a very good healing experience for me and I know that he was just what I needed to get to another healing level FOR ME.  Again, I'll post about this next week in more detail.

Remember that every situation is different. We are in no way trying to give all encompassing answers. The answers we give are primarily based off of our experiences, the experiences of some of our friends and people we've both counseled. These are mostly just opinion and should be looked at in this way.


Meredith said...

Thanks for your honest answers and you hearts guys!

Moments and Impressions said...

Every time I read - I just get overwhelmed by your honesty and dedication to your marriage.

Have a great weekend you two!

jennifer said...

Lyryn and Jesse,
What awesome insight and honesty you give us in each post. I haven't gone through an infidelity situation, but I am locking away these nuggets of wisdom for if they are ever needed by myself (hope not!) or a friend. Plus a lot of them just apply to marriage in general and I appreciate that!
Can't believe you have strength to re-live all this.
You rock.

Katie @ Loves of Life said...

These were really great this week! Ian is such a gift.

Emily said...

Wow. This was some good insight. I missed getting my question in but wondered howling it took for anything physical to happen between Jesse and Lauren? Was it easy for him to move to that step with her or did he feel any guilt or conflict about that?

Melanee said...

you should totally write a book!

debbie said...

I just read through your series, and I want to thank you for being willing to share this. Your story can help strengthen any marriage. Thank for reminding me I need to keep working on my marriage and be selfless every day!

debbie said...

I just left a comment and I'm not sure if it worked so sorry if this is a duplicate. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. It is a good reminder for me to always work hard on my marriage and not take anything for granted. I admire you so much.