How many of us have agonized over that question...
My mother told me, shortly after D-Day, that she believed my husband loved me "the best way he knew how." Unfortunately for all of us, his best wasn't particularly good. But, she added, pointing to the new improved him, "now that he knows better, he can love you better."
At first I scoffed. Honestly, I thought, how hard is it to NOT have sex with someone else when you're in love with your wife? And for me, the answer is, not very hard at all.
Still sinking under the weight of betrayal, I couldn't really see my husband...or acknowledge that I never really had. He wasn't the person I thought he was. That much was clear. But could I love the person he was? Did I want to even try?
It's small comfort that your husband may well have loved you...the best he could.
But for those men who were never loved particularly well in their own lives, the whole notion of love and marriage can get a little sticky. (I'm not talking about your standard-issue asshole here who simply doesn't care who he hurts...but rather those who genuinely seem as baffled by their behaviour as the rest of us).
In my case, I agreed to stick around long enough to get my bearings. To not make any decisions for 6 months or so. To sit back and really get to know this man – and decide if he was a man worth knowing.
If he hadn't worked so hard on exorcising his own demons, on really getting to the root of his beliefs around love and marriage and self-respect, I would have continued to doubt his love.
But my mother's words continued to play in the back of my mind. And encouraged me to examine my own thoughts and beliefs around love and marriage and self-respect. I came to understand that my husband did love me...the best he could. And I hadn't loved him perfectly or purely either, despite my self-righteous conviction that I always had.
So now, even amidst the detritus of a marriage made messy by betrayal, we are both able to love each other...better.