*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Getting your relationship back on track after your partner realizes they can't trust you can be very difficult.
Once an affair takes place and your spouse doubts your commitment, you will need to show you still love them and try different ways to convince them how much you care. But what do you do when it's been several years since the affair, and your spouse is still annoyed with you, and you're not getting the things you want?
Is that a reason to think again about your marriage and relationship, or do you just need to try and compromise some more until your spouse is pleased with what you have again?
My friend Angelo, who lives in Dallas, Texas, has been married to his wife Sandra for six years. They had a short engagement and planned a simple wedding ceremony with their family and close friends.
"We didn't need to spend too much on a big wedding since it was more about showing our commitment to each other than having a party. Our families and friends were there for us, and that's all that mattered. They knew us since we began our relationship and were glad to see us taking that step," Angelo said.
Once they went through with the ceremony and moved into their new home, Angelo was sure he and Sandra would have a happy life together while supporting each other.
"We weren't ready to start a family back then, but I was confident our relationship would make a difference for our careers too. She had been there for me while I changed jobs, and I wanted her to be successful and get promoted because she deserved it," Angelo said.
Unfortunately, by the time their first anniversary came around, Angelo was traveling very often for work, and Sandra argued with her husband because she felt lonely.
"That wasn't fair at all. I wanted him to do well and stay on top of his projects. But if he was managing that by ignoring me, then our marriage wasn't on the right track at all," Sandra said.
Things stayed the same for the following eight months, but Sandra wasn't willing to wait too long for an improvement. Instead, she got on social media and started making friends.
And that's how she met Dean. They initially chatted in the evenings, but then they gradually messaged more and eventually exchanged phone numbers, too. From there, it only took a few days to call each other, and after three weeks of talking, Dean asked her out on a date.
"He knew I was married. I told him, and I also warned him I wasn't going to get a divorce or anything. It was just because I was getting upset being on my own for too long," Sandra said.
Due to her husband's travels, she didn't think he would learn about her relationship with Dean, but one of his coworkers saw her having lunch with him and also met them while shopping a few times.
He let Angelo know what was going on, and he asked Sandra what she wanted to do for the future. Sandra assured him she didn't want to give up on their marriage and offered to end what she had with Dean.
"She let him go as soon as I found out, but things weren't the same anymore., How could they be? I had trusted her, and she used that to find someone else. It was more than getting bored; it was disrespecting our relationship and what we had promised each other. I agreed to try and find a way to have a better marriage, so we stayed together," Angelo said.
While they didn't get a divorce, the couple was also a lot more distant than before. Angelo changed departments, and he avoided any kind of work trips, but Sandra got the impression he did that because he wanted to check what she was doing all the time.
Since then, they have celebrated more anniversaries, but Sandra still isn't sure her husband is over what happened with Dean.
"I haven't seen Dean in a long time, but Angelo still brings up his name every time we argue about something. I'm not convinced he can forgive me. And things are getting worse. He's not willing to buy me anything, and when I ask about trips, he says there's no need to plan anything. What are we going to do sitting at home for months?" Sandra said.
She's upset because they haven't gone on a vacation together since the affair happened. As for presents, Angelo still got them for her, but since their last anniversary, he has avoided doing that.
He doesn't get her flowers, books, or any of the other things she loves receiving from him. And if things go on the same way, she's convinced Angelo will end up asking for a divorce. Sandra does admit that she hasn't made any efforts to apologize and just expected Angelo to realize the affair was his fault.
She still thinks he should do a lot more if he wants to be together for a long time, but their relationship isn't improving, and even if he's not traveling anymore, Angelo is often doing overtime just to avoid spending time with his wife.
"I want presents and a vacation to get back together; he's upset I had an affair. All that happened because he wasn't home. And he still blames me after so many years. I don't think it's fair at all," Sandra said.
What do you think about this situation? Is it ok for Angelo to keep bringing up his wife's affair and not make any time for her? Should he focus on their relationship and avoid thinking about what took place before if he still wants to be with Sandra?