While waiting in line at the supermarket to buy groceries with my two children, my younger son reached to hug me. Pulling my cheek toward his lips, he planted a kiss there.
“What a sweet boy you have,” the woman at the checkout said as she began to scan our items.
Not to be outdone, my older son helped bag the groceries. The woman gushed more.
I was astonished myself. This was not normal.
Usually, my two sons, aged eight and nine respectively, were getting into mischief. They broke down into tantrums as a daily occurrence. They acted out more than they behaved.
Had my sons changed? Or was I the one who was different?
I had changed. After years of suffering in a miserable marriage, I’d decided to have an affair.
I was no longer the same person. I felt happier than I had in a long time — and that happiness was rubbing off on my sons.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not promoting cheating on one’s spouse as the solution to a couple’s marriage problems. Even back then, I knew cheating was wrong. But being angry and depressed while enduring an unhappy marriage was also bad.
Cheating was just a Band-Aid over the festering wound that was my marriage. Though admittedly an analgesic, my affair did provide a reprieve.
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It made me happier, and as a result, my kids became happier, too.
And in that way, cheating on my husband made me a better mother.
My sons benefited from my improved mood.
Think of it this way. I’d been cranky for months on end. Often in a dark mood, I was easily annoyed at the slightest infraction on the part of my sons.