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My Husband Had An Affair: Real Women Share How They Coped with Infidelity

Reader's Digest.CA Logo By Editors of Best Health of Reader's Digest.CA | Slide 1 of 3: <p>[dropcap]S[/dropcap]andra Barrett* had what she considered to be not just a good marriage but a great one. She and her husband, Bill, laughed together every day and had two kids they doted on. Bill shared the chores and childrearing, planned trips for the family and often wrote her poetry.</p><p>After 17 years of marriage, <a href='http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/7-unexpected-health-benefits-you-get-from-sex/1/'>they still had sex regularly</a>.</p><p>But earlier last year, things suddenly changed.</p><p>Her formerly attentive husband started going on more business trips and, when home, was becoming emotionally distant and spending more time texting.</p><p>She suspected he was <a href='http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/15-steps-to-surviving-an-affair/'>having an affair</a> and confronted him repeatedly.</p><p>He denied it repeatedly.</p><p>Her husband accused her of being paranoid, which led her to seek counseling to deal with what she assumed was <a href='http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/make-jealousy-work-for-you/1'>misguided jealousy</a>. 'He had me convinced it was all in my head,' says Barrett, a 51-year-old nurse practitioner in Ottawa.</p><p>Then she found the love letter; penned by her husband to a woman he’d reconnected with from his past.</p><p>Finally, her husband confessed: He’d been having an affair for six months. He loved the woman, who was also married and wanted to be with her just as soon as she left her husband.</p><p>In the meantime, he suggested he live in the basement until they sorted things out. 'He wanted to keep the affair a secret and tried to convince me this would be better for the kids.' But Barrett wanted none of it. She asked him to leave. He did.</p><p>The next three months were agony. Barrett could barely eat or sleep. <a href='http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/signs-of-cheating/'>The fallout of infidelity</a>, she soon realized, is that it chips away at you incessantly. 'You question your whole marriage. It eats away at your sense of reality.'</p><p><b>How she healed</b></p><p>One dark night, thoughts of suicide entered her head.</p><p>But she didn’t go there. Barrett knew she had to take the same advice she had given to her patients who had been devastated by a partner’s affair: Take care of yourself first.</p><p>She took antidepressants during the day to deal with the raging sadness and sleeping pills at night to get some much-needed sleep. Barrett took up running and meditation, kept a daily journal and sought professional counseling for herself and her kids.</p><p>Because she was so preoccupied with the emotional pain of her marriage breakdown, she cut back at work. 'I felt cognitively impaired, and I knew I was at risk of making mistakes with my patients.'</p><p>She took a month’s leave and then went back to work half-time for several months. All the while, she has kept her children front and center: Having to care for them has enabled her to get through the ordeal, she says.</p><p>And talking has helped. Because her friends and family knew what happened, <a href='http://www.rd.com/culture/inspiring-stories-about-women/1/'>other women confided their own stories</a> of infidelity, which made her feel less alone. Almost a year on, Barrett believes the worst of the pain may be over.</p><p><b>Words of wisdom</b></p><p>'I needed to take care of myself. I know that by doing all these things, somehow I will heal from this.'</p>

My Husband Had An Affair: 'After finding his love letter to another woman, I made him leave'

Sandra Barrett* had what she considered to be not just a good marriage but a great one. She and her husband, Bill, laughed together every day and had two kids they doted on. Bill shared the chores and childrearing, planned trips for the family and often wrote her poetry.

After 17 years of marriage, they still had sex regularly.

But earlier last year, things suddenly changed.

Her formerly attentive husband started going on more business trips and, when home, was becoming emotionally distant and spending more time texting.

She suspected he was having an affair and confronted him repeatedly.

He denied it repeatedly.

Her husband accused her of being paranoid, which led her to seek counseling to deal with what she assumed was misguided jealousy. 'He had me convinced it was all in my head,' says Barrett, a 51-year-old nurse practitioner in Ottawa.

Then she found the love letter; penned by her husband to a woman he’d reconnected with from his past.

Finally, her husband confessed: He’d been having an affair for six months. He loved the woman, who was also married and wanted to be with her just as soon as she left her husband.

In the meantime, he suggested he live in the basement until they sorted things out. 'He wanted to keep the affair a secret and tried to convince me this would be better for the kids.' But Barrett wanted none of it. She asked him to leave. He did.

The next three months were agony. Barrett could barely eat or sleep. The fallout of infidelity, she soon realized, is that it chips away at you incessantly. 'You question your whole marriage. It eats away at your sense of reality.'

How she healed

One dark night, thoughts of suicide entered her head.

But she didn’t go there. Barrett knew she had to take the same advice she had given to her patients who had been devastated by a partner’s affair: Take care of yourself first.

She took antidepressants during the day to deal with the raging sadness and sleeping pills at night to get some much-needed sleep. Barrett took up running and meditation, kept a daily journal and sought professional counseling for herself and her kids.

Because she was so preoccupied with the emotional pain of her marriage breakdown, she cut back at work. 'I felt cognitively impaired, and I knew I was at risk of making mistakes with my patients.'

She took a month’s leave and then went back to work half-time for several months. All the while, she has kept her children front and center: Having to care for them has enabled her to get through the ordeal, she says.

And talking has helped. Because her friends and family knew what happened, other women confided their own stories of infidelity, which made her feel less alone. Almost a year on, Barrett believes the worst of the pain may be over.

Words of wisdom

'I needed to take care of myself. I know that by doing all these things, somehow I will heal from this.'

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