I knew my husband was having an affair. All eighteen months, I knew. The very first time I told Niel I was uncomfortable with his level of friendship with her, they were already crossing the line. I knew it, and his defensiveness only proved it. And by the time I found his secret email account, they'd already made their relationship official.
But every time I questioned him or voiced my feelings, he denied it.
And shifted the blame to me.
Niel tried to make me feel guilty for accusing him. He attempted to convince me that I was being unfair---that if I have a best friend, why can't he? He said the real issue was me. I was blogging too much. I wasn't socializing with our staff enough. I was too paranoid. I was untrustworthy because I kept trying to check his phone and email. With sleight-of-hand manipulation, he'd divert attention from what he was doing and heap shame on me.
I saw through it. I just felt defenseless against it.
I withdrew into myself. I grew increasingly depressed. I thought I was going out of my mind. I don't know how else to describe what it feels like when I know something to be true that is continuously denied---but it was crazy-making.
Niel and I fought constantly. The second half of last year was brutal---we argued every single day about this. And yet he still wouldn't own up to it.
It was only when I held undeniable proof in my hands that he finally began telling the truth.
Sometimes I wish I hadn't known all along. I wish that, like the majority of spouses in a similar situation, I'd been blindsided when the truth came out. Because there is added betrayal and pain in him choosing to progress the relationship even though he knew I knew.
I can't even begin to describe how worthless that left me feeling.
And even putting words to it now, I feel shame. I don't fully understand why, but I feel embarrassed, ashamed, that I knew. Maybe because I wish I hadn't sat in his denial for so long. Maybe because I have regrets for choices I made along the way. Maybe because it makes me feel foolish, stupid, naive.
But it's true nonetheless. I knew even when I couldn't put my finger on it. Even when I had no hard evidence. Even when Niel told me every day that I was wrong.
Discernment is bittersweet. But I always want to sense His Spirit inside me, leading me into all truth.
Because even when it hurts, truth will always set me free.