Despite knowing he was gay and had already had an affair with a man, Jessie was determined to honor her wedding vows.
"I think we both wanted to stay married. I wanted him to stop cheating on me and breaking our vows. It didn't matter with whom he was cheating, man or woman."
Jessie says she believes that "people can choose to be faithful. It doesn't matter their preference."
They stayed together for three years. For the first year and a half, they were trying to work through their problems. They continued to have sex.
During the last year and a half, things began to fall apart.
"Although I tried to forgive him, I continued to struggle with what happened. Finally, I went to a therapist for one session. She helped me see I was suffering from grief. Armed with that information, I tried to work through the grieving process by writing in a journal. I also tried to 'bury' the man I thought I knew and accept this different person. Several times, I wrote in my journal: 'Purgatory is real, and I'm living in it.'"
Chris never saw a therapist. They both continued to attend church and talked to their pastor. By this time, Chris was working in New York during the week and returning home on weekends. "This was not helping our marriage or my confidence in him. When I confronted him, he at first denied there were problems. When I tried to communicate with him, he would get angry and close up."
Finally, one night, everything came to a head and Chris asked for a divorce. "Nothing had changed for him. He was still gay. I tried everything, from reasoning with him to making him feel obliged to keep his vows. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had always felt confident in our marriage and knew I would never get a divorce."
For the last five months of their marriage, they lived in the same house and slept in the same bed, but without having sex.
"Many times, I wished I had let him go instead of agreeing to live that way. I knew it was just a matter of time before he left for good. So I started figuring out what it would take for me live alone. I wrote up a budget. Five months later, he again asked for a divorce. By then, I was too tired to fight, so I agreed. But if he hadn't asked for the divorce, I would have stayed married to him."
Three years later, Jessie was at a local festival with a girlfriend. One of the vendors sold water filter systems. They stopped to talk to him about the different systems. "He was flirtatious and told me he was divorced and he needed a good woman in his life. Before I left, I purchased a sport sipper with a filter. A month and a half later, I needed to replace the filter. I went to his office. From there, we started exchanging emails and texts. A week later, we had our first date. We were married soon after. He's been understanding and has helped me work through issues I was unable to face alone. In December, we'll celebrate our second anniversary. You can move on."
Have you hung on to a bad relationship for too long? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."
Photo credit: goodinteractive at Pixabay