I didn't think he had it in him to cheat ... but when he did, I changed (for the better).
Dear, [Prostitute Who Slept With My Husband].
Thank you for posting your prostitution ad on Craigslist.
I'm not being sarcastic. Last year, I called you the "c" word when I asked you to stop writing to my husband. We blocked your email address so your emails would stop.
I stalked your website where you sell sex. I hated you ... and your youth. Your disregard for the norms I grew up with made me sick.
I learned that sex is special, and there you are, selling it.
Worse, my husband took your bait.
You created a fake persona, posing as a Yale music student, sharing photos of yourself in your bra and underwear. You were "looking for friends" because you're new in town. In answering my husband, you asked if he could pick you up.
The day he wrote you, he told me he loved me.
So, why am I thanking you? Because if you hadn't responded, I might have never noticed that I wasn't being a true partner in my marriage. Because of you, I chose to stay married.
When I first found your message on his Blackberry, he didn't admit to contacting you. I grew suspicious of him then. But I naively believed he didn't have it in him to go outside our marriage. He hated lying and wanted acceptance from my mother, who didn't approve of our relationship.
But, our second year together was tough. We weren't blissfully happy like "good couples" are.
We married young and were in love, but struggled to accept what each of us was becoming as we grew up.
I was on mission to prove that getting married young wasn't defining, so I trained for marathons, studied for a masters, and worked full-time. My desire for time on my caught my husband off-guard at the same time he was also struggling with his own career setbacks. Because of the latter, he had time to peruse Craigslist at work and at home.
Once he complained about being our maid, but still I didn't suspect a thing.
He had no problem telling you he was 26, married, and wanted to meet up on a day I had class until 10:30 p.m. But he didn't tell you he was lonely or wanted company.
Maybe, if you two actually did meet for "friendship" over coffee (instead of for sex), my husband would have opened up and shared how he felt I'd changed lately. How he hated when I spoke to my mother about him. Maybe he'd talk about our fights and the ups and downs of our life together. Maybe he would have mentioned I never help out with chores and I act like I dislike marriage.
Or maybe he would have told you nothing at all. Maybe he really did want sex. Maybe he just wanted to feel like a man, in charge of his life, by being with you.
I won't deny it — at the time, I sucked at being a wife.
I cared only about moving forward in my career and my education. When I asked for help, he called me "superwoman," saying I didn't need him. My mom became my support system. She urged me to complete all my goals. I did.
Meanwhile, my husband and I hummed along to different tunes and I confess, I grew less attracted to him over time. But I still considered him my best friend.
I think a part of me felt intent on reclaiming my youth by doing what my single, professional friends did. Another part of me wanted to prove my mother wrong by showing her getting married young wasn't going to bring me down (or hold me back). I'd still rise above and make the most of my life.
My husband told me I "didn't need to do any of it," and I felt like he was trying to hold me back from becoming a better person.
The day I confronted him with evidence of his time spent with YOU, he wasn't guilt-ridden. Instead, he was mad at ME, for what I'd become.
My mother soothed me to sleep. She thought I should divorce him. It would be easy to seek an out that way. But at work the next day, I remembered the choice I made on my wedding day —t he dream I had of building a life with the man I love, until death do us part.
I wanted him.
After days of dissecting the raw facts, we both gasped for air, crying at how far we strayed from each other (and ourselves).
Instead of celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary, we talked about moving forward. He vowed to never bring anybody else into the marriage ever again. I vowed to never speak negatively to my mother again about my marriage or my husband.
I vowed to prioritize my life so I could show my husband I love him daily, while still pursuing my goals. I also promised to get off my lazy bum and start doing laundry or something.
I chose to trust him, but honestly ... it took me months to forgive and forget.
When your website disappeared from the Internet, I felt such relief. Glad to see you and your sex-selling ways go. For good.
The following months were so difficult. But I still wanted to go home to this man who breaks into dance in his boxers. I still longed to hear his laugh. And I wanted to sit down with him for dinner. Most of all, I wanted him to look across any room and acknowledge me as "his" with a glance, wink, or kiss.
In the end, fighting for him and for us was worth it.
So, why then am I thanking you? Because if you hadn't responded to his emails, I might never have realized how my behavior in the marriage affected him. I wouldn't have understood that my husband and I need to unite as a team, battling the world side-by-side, instead of declaring war against each other. I would never have learned that saying "I do" doesn't guarantee a partner for life.
Because of you, I realized that I needed to change. I learned to include my husband in making decisions. I began to appreciate him as a spouse again; the smell of him and his comforting presence at home. I remembered to treasure every moment we triumph together. I fell back in love with the man I married.
Because of you, I chose to stay married. You helped save our marriage. I bet you never thought "your work" would ever do that.
This article was originally published at The Frisky. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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