I knew your husband before you did. We had a thing some years ago. And by thing, I mean an attraction to each other that seemed to sneak up on us out of nowhere after years of knowing each other. One rest stop later and things were very different between us.
We never got the chance to explore this attraction. Things got very complicated: He met you and got engaged and I moved forward with my life, marrying my high school sweetheart and subsequently divorcing him. Your husband came to my rescue at that point in my life after years of silence on both our parts. I had forgotten who I was and what I was capable of. He swooped in with his Superman cape and reminded me. An opportunity finally presented itself for us to explore and evolve this relationship. And we did.
The night I knew it was over was after a dinner date. We were in the back of his car kissing and I turned to him and said, "Let's do this for real. You and me. Let's just see what happens."
He responded, "I have a wife."
You see, wife, he loved you enough in that moment to put you first. And, without you knowing it, set your relationship up for rejuvenation. You may not realise it (and, trust me, I want no credit), but our affair was the best thing that could have happened to your marriage, at least from where I stand.
When we started seeing each other again – which was completely platonic and based on our past friendship – I remembered him telling me how he felt trapped and he didn't feel like he made the right choice marrying you. By the end of our stint, he was so afraid to lose you that he left all of the potential feelings, all of the sexual energy and all of the would-bes and could-bes in a relationship with me on the table. Everything he could have had in a life with me, he walked away from because he already loved his life with you.
Our affair strengthened his love for you.
Some relationships can't withstand infidelity – sometimes the cheater can't live life with their significant other anymore after seeing what else is out there and sometimes the cheated on can't emotionally rebuild – but some relationships come out so much stronger. Yours did.
While I am sure you never knew the extent of our relationship (I am sure you know something – you are a woman and women have intuition), I do know that you are one of the lucky ones. Our affair strengthened his love for you. He appreciates you more than he did before, and that's a fact. I saw it happen. He wants to have fun with you, he wants to travel with you, and he wants to be there for the joys that your blended family brings both of you.
When your husband crawls into bed and wants to hold you, let him. He fought for you harder than you know. When he kisses you 'hello' when you return home from work, kiss him back and mean it because you may not have got those kisses if he made another choice. When tells you that you look great, believe him, and don't forget to compliment him back. He deserves to hear that you still think he's sexy in your eyes. When he fights with you and is so stubborn you want to scream (I definitely remember how stubborn he was and it used to make me crazy!), remember that he gave up a life of making love to me to fight with you.
If I could say anything to you, I would tell you to wake up every day and feel lucky to have him. I knew pretty soon after we stopped seeing each other that he and I wouldn't have made it the long haul. We didn't love each other. But he loves you. And I hope you love him.
I would also tell you that I'm not proud of what I did either. Unfortunately, I felt the need to make sure this wasn't my path before I moved on. I felt entitled because I knew him first, I had feelings for him first, I should have loved him first. Well, I should have been a better person. But, I believe I got my karma as "I have a wife" – almost those exact words - came back to me later in another relationship with a man I thought was my forever. I know I deserved it for what I did to you.
So when you crawl into bed tonight, hold him. Because he gave up a lifetime of being held by someone else to be exactly where he is.