How one crazy mistake reignited a marriage

Libby-Jane Charleston

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Sally* and James* had been married for 12 years but were living separate lives. Neither of them was happy but decided they’d be better off if they didn’t divorce and Sally eventually hooked up with a new partner. But then fate stepped in - in the form of modern technology.

According to Sally, her relationship with James ended five years ago.

"We slept in different rooms and we rarely went out together, so it was pretty much over, but we were just clinging on for financial reasons. Also, neither of us wanted to put our kids through a divorce. We'd both seen first hand how horrendous divorce was for kids as both my sisters have been through it. Also, I didn't think I could handle having to hand the kids over to James every other weekend, that would be too difficult, I just love them too much," Sally says.

"Breaking up just seemed too difficult, although we had discussed it many times. The love was still there, but it wasn't passionate, it was more like a friendship. But, once we did the math, we realized selling the house and both of us moving to apartments would be such a nightmare."

"Also, we thought our teenage daughters would be devastated, and we didn’t want to disrupt their lives. Everyone knows how tough divorce is on kids, and both our girls already suffered from anxiety. I feared that us splitting up would make things even worse for them.

So we just went on with our lives, not happy but not too miserable either."

Sally maintains she and James still got on very well as friends and they managed to "keep it together" for their daughters as much as they could.

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"Then I met another man whose name - coincidentally, was also James! We fell for each other pretty hard. It was kind of an affair of convenience as we saw each other during the week, he was married to a woman that traveled a lot and he claimed they had an open marriage.

He told me she had a partner in Tokyo where she spent several months a year. Their relationship was similar to ours - neither of us wanted to divorce, mostly for financial reasons. It was a strange coincidence with both my husband and my lover sharing the same Christian name, but that ended up being a strange twist of fate in more ways than one.

In my iPhone, under contacts, I had my husband as James M and my boyfriend as James T – I was always super careful whenever I was texting James T because my texts to him were always loving and romantic while my texts to James M were more business-like – such as, 'What time are you home for dinner?'

Then came the curveball – and I can’t even blame alcohol for this because I haven’t touched a drink in many years – when I was texting James T, 'I love you', I accidentally sent it to James M.

I realized my mistake almost immediately. My initial reaction was, "Dang, now he's going to know that that text was not meant for him!' And yes, I couldn’t bring myself to send a follow-up text saying, 'Sorry that wasn’t meant for you' because I didn’t want to hurt him.

So you can imagine my surprise, my absolute shock, when my husband, James M replied, 'I love you too.'

Sally was even more surprised when, around an hour later, her husband walked through the front door, holding a bouquet of roses for her. He held her in his arms, kissed her, and told her how much he loved her and that he wanted them to work things out.

"What had I done? I had accidentally reignited my marriage. Suddenly I had the old James M back in my arms. He told me he never stopped loving me, he doesn’t want to lose me, he was just waiting for some kind of signal from me that I still loved him," Sally says.

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I didn’t tell him that my 'I love you' text was intended for my lover. I kept that a secret because I realized that I did want to stay with my husband and I did still love him.

Looking back, the only reason I hooked up with James T was because I was lacking affection and attention - all the things my husband had given me in the first few years of our marriage.

I ended things with my boyfriend and explained that I’d decided to give my marriage another chance – to be honest, he didn’t seem too cut up about it at all, despite professing his 'undying love' for me anytime I’d spent a night with him – so it also made me realize that his love was probably infatuation.

Anyway, things are pretty good with my husband now and we did go through marriage counseling to iron out some of our problems. Now I advise all my girlfriends that if a relationship becomes rocky, sometimes all it takes is you reminding your partner that you do love them and, even a simple text can change your life for the better.

*Names changed for privacy

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I'm a journalist and author writing across a wide range of topics, including tech, travel, history, business/startups, relationships, beauty & fashion, British royal history, & local stories concerning Charleston, S.C (where I have a long family history on my father's side: hence my surname! ) Former HuffPost Assoc Ed, ABC TV, ATV Beijing correspondent and many more. Author of "Fatal Females." Mother of three boys: I will love them until the Statue of Liberty sits down.

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