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Is There Happiness After Adultery?

as told to Patsy Rae Dawson


"I thought we loved each other but now realize we suffered from a lack of communication, honesty, and the proper emotional bond needed for a healthy marriage. I found out after 22 years of marriage that my husband is an adulterer and that he has had many different partners during a 5-year period of our marriage. Let me tell you about us."

Dear Patsy,

I decided to write to you because of the help my husband and I received from reading your book: Marriage: A Taste of Heaven, God's People Make the Best Lovers. With my husband's approval and help, we want to tell you our story of how a Christian home can be completely destroyed because of sin. Our hope is that others will learn from the grave mistakes we've made after reading our story and never go down the same road. If so, it will be worth the severe anxiety we are experiencing in exposing our tragic lives.

My husband and I have been married over 25 years and have several grown children. I thought we loved each other but now realize we suffered from a lack of communication, honesty, and the proper emotional bond needed for a healthy marriage. I found out after 22 years of marriage that my husband is an adulterer and that he had many different partners during a 5-year period of our marriage. Let me tell you about us.

Signs of MaskingI was very quiet in nature and very serious coming from an abusive, alcoholic family. My parents were not Christians, but they had Victorian morals. On my own I attended a local church during much of my childhood. If nothing else, that church taught me to practice good morals.

My husband was very charismatic, talkative, and happy-go-lucky. His parents were Christian's and attended a local congregation. We were married without any verbal objections from either of our parents. His mother had a strong, argumentative personality, and she challenged his father as head of the household. His parents also had Victorian morals, and they actually taught their children that sex was wrong, period! Therefore, my husband grew up thinking all sex was dirty and improper even within our marriage.

His mother and father never respected me as their son's wife; and in fact, they were very critical of me. His mother successfully controlled my husband and our marriage for over 20 years, ending when she died suddenly. She did not approve of the way I ran my house or cared for my children since I did not do things her way, even though I was a good mother and homemaker. My husband and his parents had many arguments about me without my involvement. My husband never defended me and told me it was not worth arguing with his mother and to just let it go.

At the time his mother was dying, my husband confided in me that his older brother sexually molested him when he was a child. I was shocked that I was just hearing this for the first time. He doesn't know how long this went on but suspects it continued for a few years. During therapy he's found that his parents probably knew this was happening, but pretended not to. After we married and his personality changed, his parents conveniently blamed me, all in an effort to escape the truth.

Now it started to make sense to me as to why he had difficulty with lovemaking and why he was sexually immature. All along, he thought I was too aggressive and controlling in this area. I confused sex for love and he thought sex was dirty. He suffered from intense guilt, anxiety and premature ejaculation, but blamed it on me. Additionally, since his mother did not approve of me he felt guilty for being with me.

One day I printed out a report of STDs to discuss with one of my children. At this time we had been married for 20 years. After reading it I realized I had had a few STDs over the years and that it was only possible through sexual contact. Since I had never been with anyone but my husband throughout our marriage, I knew he had been unfaithful. I believe I may have known it all along but was afraid to admit it to myself. The next day I confronted him and asked him to tell me the truth. He denied the allegations completely at first. He told me that I was making things up and that I was unfairly convicting him without any proof.

After showing him the report he could no longer deny it. He admitted to one act of adultery only, but it took the next 3 years to finally drag the entire truth out of him piece by piece. Unfortunately, this is the reason that I will always have a hard time believing him hereafter. During this 3-year period he was preaching and teaching at our local congregation.

Here's the rest of the story:

We were married for 5 years when he started traveling for his job. On a business trip he allowed men he worked with to influence him to go with them to a gentlemen's bar. He did not protest because he cared too much of what they thought of him. He went with them several more times as he frequently traveled for business, and each time he watched naked women dancing while drinking heavily. One night they paid for him to be with a prostitute. He claims he objected at first, but finally allowed them to talk him into it. He didn't want to embarrass himself in front of them by refusing their offer, especially since they paid for her. Little did he know he was their entertainment for the evening.

Now he was on the road to adultery. It started with adultery of the heart in lusting after the naked dancers. Next, in the actual physical adultery with the prostitute. After this incident, he had a one-night stand with a stranger he met at a bar while traveling. Later, on another business trip, he had another one-night stand, but with someone he slightly knew. Finally, he had a long-term affair with a woman he also met in a bar. They were friends before they were lovers. As you can see, he wasn't satisfied with watching naked dancers, sleeping with a prostitute, a stranger, an acquaintance, or even a friend turned lover. Each encounter became easier because it enabled him to begin reasoning with himself that maybe his parents were right about me all along: that just maybe I tricked him into getting married and trapped him into having children. He also reasoned that he deserved to experience other woman since I was his only sexual partner.

He was involved with the long-term affair for about a year. He was leading two very different lives. While I was home alone with our children and little money, he was spending his time and money on her. He even spent time with her and her child together. I should have been tipped off since he no longer wanted to be sexually active with me. All along, he insisted that we never miss a service at our local congregation, and he taught the high school kids. Consequently, this involvement affected his job in a negative way. He found another job in another state. We sold our home and he moved us, all to escape his long-term lover, unbeknownst to me at the time.

After finally finding out the entire truth I could not accept the fact that my husband was capable of this behavior. I didn't think any Christian was capable of this, let alone my husband. I became emotionally disoriented and disturbed. I was severely depressed and became very ill for a while. I lost weight because I could not eat. I felt worthless and undesirable. I felt intense shame and hatred for myself, and I became very angry. My doctor started me on anti-depressants and suggested I see a therapist because my physical health was deteriorating.

I always wondered why my husband had aged before his time. We are the same age, but he looks much older. Finally, it made sense. He was very angry that I exposed him. He also stated I should just get over it and move forward, and that I was just punishing him by needing to talk about the adultery. He was very consumed in himself and how this was making him look and did not want anyone to find out what he had done. He was very angry with me after I told him that I had told two people. I told a preacher who was a friend of ours to get advice on my options and scriptures to study, and my father-in-law so he did not confuse my preoccupation with our crisis for any lack of feelings for the tragic death of my mother-in-law. Of course, his first words were that I must not have been there sexually for my husband.

Before making the decision to stay he asked me to forgive him and told me that he was faithful after the long-term affair, and promised that he would never be unfaithful again. You can understand I really couldn't believe him, but the following reasons are why I chose to stay: I was fearful financially and afraid for my future. I was concerned of how this information could negatively affect our children and the other young adults in their Christian lives. I was concerned for my husbands' soul if we divorced and also that our children would not want to be a part of his life if they knew the truth. I could not be the one responsible for this. Even though I could not forgive him at this time, I wanted to keep my family together, so I told him that I would stay and work at our marriage.

Even after making the decision to stay, it was very difficult and our marriage was very close to ending when I found your book: Marriage: A Taste of Heaven, Vol. II: God's People Make the Best Lovers ( My husband and I decided to start studying it together every evening. For the first time in our marriage, we started to understand God's plan for our marriage. We were shocked at our ignorance.

My attitude was still very poor until I read that I needed to fix myself first instead of waiting to see how he or others treated me first. I read the section about the wife not meeting her husband at the door and how it affected their marriage and how their marriage changed for the better after she started meeting him at the door. It was a very hard thing to do, but I started to meet my husband at the door when he came home from work and told him I missed him. I started to be kind to him and not so self-pitying.

I began showing him affection and stopped pulling away from him. I worked at exchanging negative thoughts and feelings for positive ones after reading how this affects sexual feelings. We knew we had to start lovemaking on a new level and he finally started taking a leadership role. He worked hard at controlling the premature ejaculation and it took very little time until he no longer suffered from this. I started the PC muscle exercises and found you were exactly correct about them. I found pleasure that I had never felt before. We were shocked and amazed at what we were missing before. We have a better love life now than we ever had before because we are working at the intimacy first before the physical act of lovemaking.

As you can see, we are finally working through the problems and learning to love each other as the Lord intended us from the beginning. I will always feel the pain of rejection, but I hope it will fade in time. We believe we are stronger Christians today because of the problems we had to face and in trying to overcome them instead of taking the easy way out and ending it in divorce. Your book helped us not only in our marriage, but also in teaching us how to be better Christians and how to properly study the Bible. We now are trying to fashion our marriage and our lives in the way that God designed for us to live, as we should have in the beginning.

We hope our story will help others to work hard in their marriages instead of getting involved in adultery. Adulterers do not think they are giving anything away, only taking, and then only realize the truth when it is too late.

Thanks for sharing God's word and for understanding,

A Reader

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Is There Happiness After Adultery? by Patsy Rae Dawson. Copyright © 2008 Patsy Rae Dawson LLC. All rights reserved.

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