I came home from work yesterday to find a moving truck at my house. All of my things were being put into the back. That which needed to be packed into boxes had been. Everything was clearly labeled -- "Jen's Books," "Jen's Clothing" -- etc. My heart slammed to a full stop in half a second within my chest; I knew what was going on. It was pretty painfully obvious.

I went inside, and found my husband of eight years, with whom I have a small child (currently 3 years old). I won't lie. I wasn't thinking about our daughter at the time. I was thinking about what he promptly told me: he wanted a divorce. Typical of his way of doing things, he'd already been in contact with my parents, and informed them that my belongings were being shipped to their home, where they could "do as they liked with them." Eveything went cold for me; this was final. This explained why my mother had been trying to get in touch with me, repeatedly, over the last two or three hours (I hadn't picked up; I was at work, and then I was driving, I've been known to text and drive but I simply wasn't in the mood to talk to begin with yesterday). When I set out to return home from work, I had no idea that anything was wrong.

That said, I don't have to guess at why my husband wants to end things.

Two years ago, we had a big fight. He had stormed out of the house. The fight was over dinner, except it wasn't; we both looked forward to having dinner together. He'd had a bad day at work, and I'd had a bad day at work, and when I got home I heated up leftovers of his favorite meal, which we'd had the night before. I didn't feel like cooking, but I told myself that he'd be happy, because it was his favorite. Needless to say, he wasn't happy, but he didn't complain; he just ate, in silence, letting himself grow more and more resentful over the meal that had been set down before him (I never minded cooking for him in principle; he worked about 10 hours a week more than I did, and brought home about half again as much money; we split other chores pretty evenly, but I'm a much better cook). 

I watched him grow more and more resentful, and in turn, having had a lousy day, I got more and more resentful in response. The argument was finally hit off over the conspicuous absence of his favorite salad dressing, which he had enjoyed the last of with this particular meal the day before. It was stupid. It was the result of two people not talking after they'd both had a hard day. It reached epic proportions; it honestly stopped just short of being physical. We each knew how to push each other's buttons. He left, saying he "didn't know when he'd be back," but I knew he'd be home shortly thereafter... and that he'd gradually simmer down to a vague grumble.

I cried for a few minutes after he was gone; I needed to cry. I then curled up on the couch with one of my favorite movies. He came home about halfway through. That was when I realized that I hadn't cleaned up the dishes from dinner yet.

He glowered at me. I jumped up to get the dishes. He made a beeline for them, and we proceeded to have a food fight as we scrambled to get into the kitchen first. Without a word shared between the two of us, we were laughing together again -- especially me, as he soon got be between the ribs, leaving me to yelp and drop the plate I was carrying. "Ha! Get to the housework, wife," he said, pointing at it and laughing. I snorted, and he stuck out his tongue... then broke his own plate on the floor, pulled me into the living room (I didn't make it easy) and nearly destroyed the couch with the ensuing wrestling match. 

I fell in love with him all over again... but something wasn't working. Something had led to this fight, and a number of other fights before it which weren't as severe. That night, as he lay sound asleep in bed, I lay beside him with my eyes wide open. Nothing had been 'resolved.' Rolling around the living room floor had been fun... but all jokes about "making up" aside, we hadn't. We'd simply reaffirmed the state that we were already in, which hadn't stopped our fighting over something that was nobody's fault to begin with. We were stressed, and neither of us had the time or money for an 'outlet.'

It wasn't a quick, logical leap to the conclusion I arrived at. It wasn't even really something I "arrived" at. The next day, I was at work, and one of my younger male coworkers teasingly hit me up for drinks, like he did almost every day. To my own surprise, I accepted. I'll skip the intervening details; we had sex. That night. And on many other nights. He was dating someone, but said he felt that the "mystery" had gone out of their romance... whatever, I wasn't in any position to judge, though I'd be lying if I said that it didn't take effort to hold back from "he's probably just saying that." He'd never really pushed me to do anything, just patiently teased me like he knew it would happen. Maybe I'm just a terrible person... but it was forbidden and wrong and dangerous to do this, and it satisfied some need that I'd had trouble putting a name to, and the stress was completely gone. It should have made me more stressed, but it didn't. I went home at the end of each day, having told my husband that my schedule had changed at work, and I felt great. He remarked on it, too. It made our home life much better. 

I know that doesn't excuse it.

Over recent months, things had happened less often between myself and my coworker. I found out that he was seeing another woman "on the side," someone younger than me... I felt jealous. I felt betrayed... and I knew that I had to end it, if that's how I was starting to feel about him. I wasn't supposed to have feelings about him. That was where I'd drawn the line, for my own benefit. 

I thought he wouldn't care. To my enduring shock, he was angry. I said it wasn't him, that I couldn't go around behind my husband's back anymore. 

That was two weeks ago. It's a pretty fair guess as to who informed my husband that I'd been cheating on him. I wonder what he said? "I didn't know about you," or something else, maybe... but I can't blame him. It was my own mistake. The only thing my husband would say to me about it was "I guess none of it meant anything to you." He then told me that he was going inside, and that if I followed him in he was going to call the police. I'm not sure he can do that, but I didn't have any strength left at that point. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I wished he'd just do that, and then let me inside, but he would never do that. Ever. 

I made a mistake. I let it run my life for a while. I don't understand how he could feel like "nothing" meant anything to me. Was the sex all it was about for him? But that's not fair to ask. I'm the one who went behind his back and betrayed him. I know he's hurting, and all I want in all the world to do, right now, is make it feel better, fix everything, get everything back the way it was. It was a stupid, stupid mistake that I let myself do, knowing I shouldn't have... but after eight years, he won't even talk to me. 

I don't know what I'm going to do now. We're both still young. I guess I'll move on. 

User Comments

I'm sure that a lot of people aren't very sympathetic. It's unfortunate that this is the culture in which we live now. You definitely made a mistake, but it's one that thousands of people have made, and no worse than those made by millions of others. Whatever happens to you now, you need to learn to forgive yourself before you can move on.

There's more to you, as a person, than what you've done wrong.

I'm sorry to hear about this. I hope, perhaps against hope, that things turned out better than how they were going. I do hope that, really. 


I don't see where he had the right to make you leave your house like that, adultery or not. Get a good lawyer and hit him where it hurts. You have a child together, get him off that high horse, and do it fast.