*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Trusting your partner to keep the commitment you made on your wedding day and letting them have a different schedule from yours while coming home at very different hours will require determination and patience, but you won't always see positive results come of it.
Sometimes, all the trust you put in your spouse only means they can look for something else while you think everything is ok and they're just working longer hours. Would you be able to forgive them if they didn't even apologize but still told you they loved you more than anything?
My friend Tammy has been married to her husband Lucas for 12 years. They have one daughter together, Lia, and Tammy has been staying home to look after her and their house in Phoenix, Arizona.
They met in their last year of college, dated for about four months, and then Lucas proposed.
"We didn't spend much time being friends because we were so in love. I didn't want to be his friend. I liked him so much, and I wanted a family and our home together as soon as possible, and he felt the same way. We didn't want to waste time planning or moving in together first," Tammy said.
They set the marriage date just two months after the proposal, and both their families helped them organize the ceremony.
"Our wedding day was so special. We had a simple ceremony and a little party after. There wasn't anything expensive, like intricate flower arrangements or a complicated menu. It was mostly homemade food, cakes, and the flowers we picked up the day before. What mattered to us was having our parents and all our friends close on that day," Tammy said.
After tying the knot, the couple moved into their home and began their life together.
"It was challenging to share the same space, and none of us had done house chores much. But I learned how to cook, and Lucas helped me with cleaning and laundry. In a few months, we were quite comfortable and thought about raising a family," Tammy recalls.
Six months after getting married, she found out she was pregnant, and she and Lucas were excited to be parents.
"We told mom and dad and my in-laws. They were all so happy and had a party. There was a lot of shopping and decorating the baby's room, and they supported us through it all. My mom and my mother-in-law also came by often during the last months of my pregnancy to ask if I needed something and do part of the house chores," Tammy said.
She had been working part-time while she was pregnant, but once their daughter Lia was born, Tammy and Lucas agreed she should become a full-time mom.
"I always knew I wanted to take care of my family, and staying home with Lia while making she sure she had all she needed and keeping the house tidy was the way I thought about having a family," Tammy said.
Lucas worked in the office so he could cover all the bills and other expenses, and sometimes he had to do overtime so they wouldn't be in difficulty at the end of the month. Despite the long hours, each time Tammy offered to work part-time, he refused because he felt her place was home, close to their daughter.
"I was so thankful for him. He supported Lia and me and never once complained he was too tired or that he couldn't handle it anymore. He was the best husband and a great dad," Tammy said.
As time went by, Lia went to kindergarten, and then she started school. In the meantime, Lucas got promoted, and his salary was higher.
The couple was able to plan family vacations and include their parents on the trips too. They also took a few trips together and left Lia with Lucas's parents.
"They offered to take care of her so we could have some time just for us. And it was wonderful to get away from it all for a while," Tammy said.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the same for Lucas. While he always agreed to go on those trips, he spent a lot of time on the phone while they were away. And he got texts at all hours, sometimes all through the night.
"I asked him, and he said it was about work. That he has a lot of projects to supervise, and that was why he needed to be online and check on things," Tammy said.
Their most recent trip was two months ago, and since then, Tammy felt uncomfortable because Lucas spent half the time on calls and couldn't enjoy much.
"It wasn't just that he couldn't come with me to visit the place; he didn't seem interested in what we were doing. He was distant and didn't give me any compliments. He barely noticed I was there, and I had to say everything twice to get his attention," Tammy said.
She felt something else was happening, so she decided to find out what it was. Her mother-in-law watched Lia every afternoon for a week as Tammy looked into Lucas's schedule and activities.
As she waited in her car close to his office, she noticed a woman come to pick him up for lunch every workday.
"They went to an expensive restaurant I'd always wanted to have dinner at, but Lucas told me we couldn't afford it. And there he was with her. I went in, too, and told the waiter I wanted to look at the menu. And I heard him call her 'darling.'"
Besides the planned lunch dates, Lucas also finished work two hours earlier than he told his wife, and he met a different woman then. They either went shopping or to her home.
"He went out with two women while I thought he was working for his family," Tammy said.
After watching what he did for a whole week and seeing his activities were unchanged, she decided to have a talk with her husband.
When he realized she knew everything, Lucas wasn't sorry, and he didn't try to deny what he'd been doing. He simply kept telling Tammy that he only cared about her. And the other women were just to distract his mind from stress at work.
"He's not sorry for going out with other women; he says he loves me. How can I be sure he means it? What if it's just for Lia that he wants to stay? He admitted he was talking to both women during our vacation, too," Tammy said.
She asked him not to see any of those women again, and Lucas agreed. At the same time, he told her there might be others because he always got in touch with plenty of women. He still assured her going out with anyone wouldn't mean much to him, though.
How do you think this situation should be handled? Should Tammy ask for a divorce, or is there a chance Lucas might give up going out with other women and focus on their relationship? Can they have a happy marriage and be good parents to Lia while Lucas is seeking different women?
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