I often ask myself why, when I was 22 years old, with an infant, I knew instinctively that my first marriage was over, yet at 53, I was willing to give my second marriage another chance.
Was it the difference in my age? I don't think so. I didn't feel 'old' at 53. I didn't think about finding another partner to be with, but if I had, I didn't consider that I was too old to find happiness with someone else.
Was I afraid of being alone? Definitely not. I had as much confidence in my abilities to be independent then as I had when I was a young mother.
Did I love my second husband more? Perhaps. The first time around, we had been married less than two years, so we were still really in what I had thought was the 'honeymoon phase'. I was mature enough though, to realize that if my ex could do this at that point in our marriage, expecting our new baby, then he was not what I considered good husband or father material!
Was it the longer history I had with my second husband? This did have a play in my decision, but the affair had lasted longer than the part of our marriage when he had been faithful, so the greater part of our history had been an illusion designed to fool me.
I believe the greatest reason for wanting to reconcile was family. Our children were not children anymore. In fact, they were almost all out of the nest. But we as parents, were the 'glue' that held this family together. My husband was an integral part of that family. I wanted my family back, whole, even if we were all damaged by the deception. And believe me, my kids were all damaged by this also. When they think back to their happy childhood years, they will remember that their father was living a double life.
So I gave reconciliation a chance because of family. I also felt very sad to think of my husband growing old alone, and lonely, regretting this terrible choice he made. I knew I would be OK, but he would have been lost without his family intact.
So far, things are working well, so I am still here, enjoying this 'new' marriage. But I know very clearly that there would not be another chance, should he deceive me again. I don't believe he will, but I never believed he could.
I chose family, but with that choice I accept the suffering which I need to bear to make this work. I am hoping that one day I will feel great joy, but I don't yet. I do know that I would never subject myself to this pain again.
You are young, with your life ahead of you. Look ahead to where you could be in ten, twenty years. How would you like your life to be? What kind of person do you want to share that life with?