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'My husband having an affair was the best thing that happened to our marriage'

Marriage Advice - By Mirror | January 3rd 2021 at 01:15:54 GMT +0300
Adaeze had started to become suspicious, so she checked Joseph's phone for messages

Phone in hand, I read the text messages that made my heart stop. There was the undeniable proof the man I loved was cheating on me.

Fury rising, I turned on him, ordering my husband of four years out of the house and out of my life.

As the door slammed, I fell to the floor sobbing. My world was shattered. I had no idea this would be the moment that changed our marriage for the better.

I met Joseph in a club in Manchester in September 2001. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but he was different. He was quiet and shy, a real gentleman, and we happily dated for four years. He made me feel like the only woman in the world.

In summer 2005 I became pregnant. We were shocked but loved each other and had talked about marriage, so tied the knot with a big African wedding that October.

As I walked down the aisle and Joseph saw me, he began to cry. Saying our vows – for better, for worse, until death do us part – were so important to both of us. We intended to keep these promises.

But life isn’t always that easy. Our son Joshua was born just five months later, and our new family life was far from a fairy tale.

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We had good moments, times when we’d take long drives in the countryside, all three of us, happy together. But there were many rows.

Working as a bouncer, Joseph was always out, and even when he was home, we weren’t connecting. I felt angry and frustrated.

“You’re useless,” I’d shout, when it seemed like he was never around. “You’re crazy,” he’d yell back, not understanding.

Joseph was a loving father, but their marriage had become tense and filled with arguments

Pent up anger

Our sex life dwindled rather than stopped completely. Then, in autumn 2008, when I was pregnant again, I felt something change.

Suddenly we were having horrible arguments every day, fighting about him being out all the time, and me asking too many questions.

The atmosphere was so tense that if he so much as dropped a spoon I’d explode with pent up anger. He’d vanish for the night, then at home he’d be in a world of his own.

When Joseph was glued to his phone, I knew something was going on. My mum told me to give him the benefit of the doubt. So for a year, while I was juggling our second baby and a toddler, I waited until I had proof.

Despite loving his two children, I saw Joseph become withdrawn and depressed, losing weight and looking exhausted. We were rarely intimate any more.

Finally, in December 2009, after a year of suspicion and worry, I bit the bullet. “I need to ask your brother a question about Christmas presents,” I said casually one evening. He passed me his phone so I could get the number and I dashed downstairs.

Quickly scrolling through, I saw one incriminating text message after the next. They were romantic, saying how much they cared about each other, and making plans to meet.

It had clearly been going on for a while. They’d met the year before at Joseph’s work.

Without thinking, I called the number and furiously confronted the woman who answered. “You’ve stepped into my family,” I shouted. “You’ve destroyed what I have.”

She was cold and defensive, but admitted it all. “What about my family?” I yelled.

“That’s not my problem,” she replied.

I was livid. But as I hung up I realised she hadn’t made and broken vows and promises to me. Joseph had.

Next, I turned on him. Realising what was happening, he had come to find me. He didn’t deny anything. I was so angry, I told him to get out. Seeing I wasn’t going to budge, he put some things in a bin bag and was gone.

As the front door closed behind him, I was a mess. The man I loved had cheated on me. We had a three-year-old and a baby – how could he do this to us?

I went through that Christmas without him, sure that our marriage was over. For a year I’d been through hell, made to feel that I was crazy when my gut told me he was cheating.

I hadn’t seen a photo of this woman, so every time I saw a pretty girl I wondered – is that her?

Adaeze and Joseph agreed on a marriage contract as a basis for rebuilding their relationship

For months we only spoke to make arrangements for him to see the children. It hurt hearing his voice, but the kids came first. Then, in the spring, I had a surprising phone call. It was a counsellor that Joseph had turned to for help.

“I’ve worked with a lot of men who have cheated,” he said, explaining that Joseph knew he’d be calling me. “But I honestly don’t think that reflects the man your husband is.”

As soon as I heard that, my heart knew it was true. In those months apart my anger had calmed enough for me to think maybe we could get through this.

The next day Joseph asked if he could meet me and my parents. He confessed to everything, apologising for what he’d done. He was absolutely sincere, and said he’d do whatever it took to rebuild our marriage.

I decided to give him that chance – but on one condition. We weren’t going to piece our old, broken marriage back together. We were going to start again from scratch.

Happier future

So, for the first time, we were clear about what we needed from each other. Absolute honesty was essential. We needed to put each other first, listen to the other, and create a peaceful home.

We wrote it all in a marriage contract and signed it. That piece of paper became the bedrock of our new life together.

It was hard work. I’d been deeply hurt, Joseph needed to win back my trust. That meant humbling himself.

Every time he was invited out somewhere, he asked me first, and if I didn’t feel happy with it, for whatever reason, he wouldn’t go. Whenever I needed to ask about the infidelity, he would go over it with me.

He never blamed me for it or made me feel that I’d been the cause of it. He just listened and supported me.

After a year I felt our strategy was working for us, and after another six months I could look back on that time without any emotional pain. We were also blessed with a third child, which brought us closer together.

I know some people say, once a cheater always a cheater. That a woman is weak for staying with someone who cheats. But we are proof there is a way back after infidelity.

As well as being dad to our three sons Joshua, now 14, Joseph, 11 and Jude, 10, Joseph is my best friend, my hero and my rock.

We don’t take our relationship for granted 11 years after the affair. We have date nights and weekends away. We have gratitude for our happiness and we work at it. We regularly talk about our marriage contract.

One day in 2016 – after checking with Joseph first – I decided to make a Facebook video about his infidelity and how we had overcome it.

I wanted to share my story to give others hope, that if both sides work at it you can get through it. The response was amazing.

Messages flooded in, and I realised many people don’t know how to even try to save a marriage. So I became a relationship coach, helping others through my company, Marriage4Real.

I’m now grateful the infidelity happened. It meant the opportunity to start afresh. We had the chance to build an incredible marriage, one that I am grateful for every day.


Marriage Infidelity
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