The message in this post was hard for me to put in words, and I'm still not satisfied with it, but I pray that you will understand what I am trying to say.
I've heard this sentiment expressed by many women: once they find out about their husband's addiction and lies, they feel like their entire relationship was built on lies. That everything was fake. That he never loved her. That she was stupid to have ever believed in him. That it was all a lie.
It's not true.
I can say this, because I have come to know this. I know what it's like to wonder if your husband is lying to you about everything. I do not claim to know what it is like to have my husband cheat on me, but I do know what it is like to have him lie to my face and to look back and wonder how many times he lied to me. So, please, open your heart for a minute to what I am about to say.
My husband's addiction does not invalidate everything else about our relationship.
He married me because he loved me. Has he made some bad decisions since then? Sure. Does that mean he didn't actually love me when he married me? No, it does not.
We have laughed together millions of times since we have been together. Has he looked at pornography behind my back and lied about it? Yes. Does that mean he faked all the laughs he shared with me? No, it does not.
People make mistakes. They make bad decisions. They even fall out of love. But that does not mean that everything that came before or the life they led with you was fake or a lie? No, it does not. Am I excusing their lying and cheating? No. Not at all. But please remember that the lying and cheating does not automatically mean that everything else about your relationship was a lie.
In fact, many times an addict is afraid to tell their loved ones about the addiction for fear of abandonment. Think about that for a little while. They are afraid to tell you for fear that they will lose you. They know what they are doing is wrong, but that doesn't mean they want to lose you. I know it is selfish and flawed thinking on their part, but it means that their feelings for you were real even as they were making bad decisions.
It is your decision whether you stay with this person or not (and often a very difficult decision at that), but whether you end up staying together or going your separate ways, please PLEASE do not convince yourself that everything in your life was a lie.
I am grateful to have gained this perspective now. I hope that if my husband and I ever separate in the future, I can look back on the good times we had and know that they were good times. His joy was real. My joy was real. Our love for our kids was real. Let good memories be good memories. Separate them from the addiction and the lies.