Shared by Casia Schreyer.

I met my husband in high school. He asked me out and I shyly said yes. Our relationship was good but sometimes strained because he lived just out of town and his father was very controlling. Outside of school I rarely saw him. But we felt connected, and we took things slowly.

At some point in our relationship I became friends with another boy. It was just a friendship, someone to hang out with in the evenings, to shoot pool with on the weekends. But slowly it became more. How could it not become more when I saw him more than I saw my boyfriend?

Hormones, strange new emotions, the need to be accepted – they all played a role in what happened next.

When I say I cheated on my boyfriend, I wasn’t sleeping around. There were a few kisses that shouldn’t have happened but I was emotionally cheating on him. I was treating my friend like a boyfriend in every way except for physical “perks”. I felt guilty but there was a thrill to the whole thing and I couldn’t stop.

Eventually I broke up with my boyfriend and dated this other friend for a few months. It was a lot more exciting, we could see each other more often, but there were more problems too. He wasn’t interested in talking about the future – did we want the same number of kids? Were our careers compatible? Where did he envision himself living? None of these questions interested him. I don’t think he even knew what he wanted to do with his life. He said he’d quit smoking – he didn’t. He had a history of cheating on girls – I didn’t believe he could cheat on me, but now I’m sure he did.

He broke up with me over the phone (at least I’d had the guts to tell my previous boyfriend in person). He said he wasn’t ready for commitment. He said he wasn’t ready for a relationship. The first thing I did was call my ex in tears.

My first boyfriend came over later that day or sometime the next and we just talked. He said he wouldn’t be a rebound, but we could be friends. We hung out a little, and we talked a lot. At some point we went on a date with a group of people, just a movie. It was slow, even slower than our first time dating, but after a whirlwind heartbreak I just wanted to take it slow.

People were critical of us, of course, but at some point we really started dating again. It was hard, there were months of my life I wasn’t able to speak of at all around him because he’d get upset if I mentioned this other boy. At some point he forgave me. It took four years before he was able to say he really and truly trusted me again.

People can change, they can grow up and mature and be better than they were. It’s hard, and it’s even harder to forgive someone when they hurt you. I had to be brutally honest and open for four years – I told him where I was going, who I was seeing, the reason for every visit. He wasn’t controlling, he was just scared, and I didn’t want him to be scared anymore.

He didn’t have to give me that second chance but he loved me from the start and he never gave up on me. I messed up, big time, but I was willing to admit it, and I apologized a lot. We still don’t talk about ‘him’. I’m not friends with him, I didn’t keep in touch. Even writing this story dredges up feelings of guilt and memories I don’t want to remember.

What happened? Well, we’re married now; we have two beautiful children and a nice house. We trust each other completely with our deepest secrets. I can go out during the day and if he calls from work and there’s no answer he isn’t afraid anymore. But we’re also brutally honest with each other (unless there’s a surprise involved somewhere down the line) and that open honesty keeps our trust strong.

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