Dallas, TX

"He had an affair; I'll have him back if I can do the same," wife on husband

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Having an affair will change your relationship permanently, even if your partner is willing to forgive you and try to rebuild the trust you had. That commitment you made in the beginning will be affected by what took place, but is it enough to apologize and expect things to get back to normal, or should the other spouse be able to do the same thing to feel better about it?

Is it ok to answer one affair with another one and make sure your spouse knows you can also do the same thing if you have to? Is there any love left in such a situation, or is divorce a fairer solution to it all?

My friend Sharon, who lives in Dallas, Texas, has been married to Patrick, her husband, for 12 years. They've had three sons together, and they both kept working to avoid stress about the bills or house payments.

"It would've been nice to just stay home and look after the kids, but Patrick couldn't pay for everything just from his salary. And it wasn't fair to ask him to do that. Our relationship wouldn't have made it through such stress. So, I went back to work after each birth, and our parents helped us. They took turns to look after the kids, and we also hired a part-time babysitter so they wouldn't get too tired," Sharon said.

As things gradually changed and their family got bigger, Patrick slowly left off dates and focused mainly on supporting his wife as a mom.

"We co-parented, but our relationship was turning distant. I got little gifts and reminded him about special occasions, but he always seemed so distracted. Even my birthday went unnoticed, and we celebrated it two days after. I didn't know what to think. Did he really stop caring about our relationship as a couple?" Sharon said.

She talked about it with her friends, and they advised her to be watchful since Patrick's behavior could mean he was seeing someone else. On hearing her husband might be having an affair, Sharon thought about divorce but then decided to ask him what was happening instead of following him around Dallas.

"I wasn't going to drive near his office in Dallas and wait to see what he did. He could just tell me. These years together should at least serve to be honest with each other if nothing else," Sharon said.

When she asked him, Patrick first tried to say it was just work, but after his wife insisted that they needed to tell each other everything to keep their relationship going, he admitted he'd been seeing someone. He pointed out it was just six dates and that the rest of the time, he was really working in Dallas. He apologized, but somehow Sharon didn't feel that was enough.

"I still wanted our family to stay together, and I wasn't ready for a divorce or anything like that. I didn't want to be a single mom, either. But I felt I had to do something so he wouldn't forget this was unacceptable," Sharon said.

She thought about it for a week and then came up with an idea to keep going after her trust had been disrespected; Sharon wanted to have an affair, too, just to make things even.

"I wouldn't feel so offended if I went ahead and did exactly what he did. He had an affair; I'll have him back if I can do the same. I told him what it was I wanted, and he agreed," the mom said.

While she's not sure who she wants to date yet, Sharon is looking on social media and apps to find the right person. In the meantime, Patrick has become more attentive to her and the kids, and he's hoping that when she sees his behavior is improved, she might give up on wanting an affair for herself.

What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Sharon to want to behave just like her husband to be able to stay married after finding out he saw someone else? Will their relationship improve once each of them has had an affair, or will it get worse since they could start resenting each other?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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