Jessica never dreamed she would have to deal with infidelity in her marriage. She married her best friend Richard soon after she turned twenty-three and graduated college with a teaching degree. She dreamed about starting a family, fixing up their new house and becoming involved in the community with other young couples following this path.
Twenty years of marriage later all of her dreams came true. Jessica and Richard’s two sons attended the local high school and their daughter was a freshman at college. Their fixer upper house morphed into a beautiful home where they entertained regularly.
They had a handful of friends whose marriages went by the wayside because of infidelity, but Jessica especially felt immune from this possibility.
When her children were school age she began teaching at the local elementary school, so that her schedule would coincide theirs. Richard, an insurance broker, maintained a more demanding schedule, often coming home late and occasionally needing to travel.
Jessica and Richard maintained the connection within their marriage over the years by building a weekly date night into their schedules and of course kept regular contact when they needed to be apart. Wednesday night became their designated night for intimacy. They emanated happiness and evoked feelings of jealousy in others for their seemingly perfect existence.
Jessica did not notice when things began to change. Over a period of some months she found herself feeling lonely and even isolated, though nothing seemed particularly different. Richard did not seem as engaged as usual or even as appealing as he had been all the years prior.
She thought maybe she felt down because she had a birthday coming up in a couple of months. Jessica reminded herself that she always felt sad around her birthday. It must be that, she surmised.
Two days later Richard came home from work and announced that he needed to talk. That rainy night Jessica put the pieces together. She learned that Richard had been having an affair with his much younger secretary for the past ten months. He professed his love for Jessica, expressed his deep sense of shame and remorse about his actions.
Richard wanted to work on repairing their marriage but admittedly still had feelings for Michelle, his secretary.
Sucker punched, Jessica needed time to think and demanded that Richard leave the house, at least temporarily. She found herself spiraling down into a dark and despairing place and brought her fragile self for her first therapy session ever.
Her immediate question when we met was ‘Can her marriage survive this betrayal?’
What are your thoughts about whether a marriage can withstand infidelity.