A few points worth clarifying, before we continue:
• This is a story from the past. Not the distant past, however you care to define it. Other than the fact that I imagine making the information public will change the dynamic somewhat, this is not something with which we’re currently coping.
• The only names that will be used are mine and Jake’s. In this context, those are the only stories I’m interested in, and the only stories I have the right to tell.
• Don’t come here looking for sordid details or gossip tidbits; you won’t find them. This is a story of healing, in hopes of helping other people find the same.
• Everything I share is with Jake’s explicit permission. As much as I appreciated the compliments yesterday, he’s the brave one.
• Vilification of either party in any marriage will not be tolerated. There are no good guys and bad guys in this equation; this is not a story just for the spouses who were cheated on. If you’re reading with any intent of casting judgments, probably wise to just unfollow this story now.
• Some content may be triggering. I can’t tell this story without also discussing, however briefly, childhood sexual abuse. What happened to Jake as a child and what happened to us as adults is fundamentally connected, and there is no avoiding that fact.
• This is not a how-to guide for saving a marriage. We had one counseling session together. We’ve screamed at each other. I’ve said terrible things, and I don’t recommend that. My idea, rather, is to make this a safe place for sharing, for me and for anyone else. But please don’t do as I did. The fact that we “worked out” strikes me as somewhat improbable.
• Most important of all: This is not a story of infidelity. Yes, that’s a part of the story, and a fundamental one. But what I’m really interested in discussing is getting honest about what marriage is. Recovering from infidelity taught us a lot about that, but not everything, and that part of the story will be in the context of something bigger (and infinitely better) than a single issue.
• If you are interested, at any point in time, I invite you to share your story. For me, it was important to use real names, but that’s a personal choice. You are welcome to comment or share in whatever way suits you, with or without identifiers.
• We don’t have a perfect marriage now. Never will. What we have is a really, really good marriage, one based on honesty, candor, vulnerability, and faith. That’s the only way it can work for us.
And lastly, I don’t really know, yet, the direction this will take. Writing this story is something I’ve pondered for years, from very early on in the recovery process. All the same, I woke up this morning and thought, Well, shit, guess I just committed myself to talking about that. Now what? Your patience, as well as your feedback, will always be welcome and appreciated.
Now then. Let’s see where this goes.