Jay and Julie had the perfect marriage, or so they thought, until infidelity hit home and their lives were forever changed. In "Surprised by Love," each party gives their unique perspective. Here's an excerpt.
“Jay, are you having an affair?” I asked.
“Where’d you get a crazy idea like that?” Jay shook his head in denial.
Tall, dark, and handsome in his orange polo shirt and stylish jeans, he looked like a winner. Why then, did I sense we were on the verge of great loss?
It was a warm, sunny day that felt cold and cloudy. I’d driven Jay in his sparkling white Escalade to the Tulsa airport. On that first Thursday of September, all that had been bright and shiny in our marriage seemed to have turned dark and tawdry. Lately, Jay had been sneaky, defensive, and on edge — even aggressive and hostile at times. He’d found fault with me and had shown no patience with our children, ages two, six, and seven.
At the airport, planes took off and landed. My mind whirled with misgivings. I felt nauseated and clammy, even though I knew we appeared to be the perfect, upwardly mobile couple as we stood together on the sidewalk.
“I’ve been so worried about you. About us,” I said. “I’ve been walking on eggshells around you for weeks.” I could hardly believe my own words.
“Julie, I’m tired. I’m working fifteen-hour days to support you and the kids. What more do you want?”
“I want you.”
He stepped away.
Clutching his arm, I forced him to stay. “I gave you several chances last week to come clean about what’s going on.”
From the moment Jay told me he would be flying to Orlando, I had started watching the phone records closely. In six years, he had never visited his son Keaton in Orlando more than once every three months. He had just been there a month ago.
“Nothing’s going on.”
“I investigated you. I know you’re staying at the Villa Suites in Room 314.”
“You’re spying on me? You don’t trust me?” He looked angry and indignant.
“I want to. But well, your issues —”
“Stop it. These suspicions are your issues, not mine.”
“Jay, I contacted a PI and set up surveillance.”
I let go of his arm in the face of his fury, but I held my own. My marriage was at stake. “All I have to do to push the trigger is give her my credit card number.”
“I can’t believe you’d do that.” He leaned close. “How could you be so selfish?”
“Me?” I felt defensive when I wanted to feel angry.
“You don’t want me to see Keaton, do you? You want our children to come first.”
“I’ve always been supportive of your son.” I’d tried so hard to blend the child of his first marriage into our family, but I got little appreciation for my efforts.
“Forget the PI,” he said.
Jay pulled me into his arms and held me close, but I didn’t feel happiness, only fear and sadness.
“Everything is fine. We’re okay,” he said.
“I don’t want to call the PI.” My tears spilled onto his shirt as I felt his strong hands stroke my back. The gesture was meant to be comforting. “I love you.”
“You know you can trust me. I love you, too.”
“I feel dirty even thinking about this.”
I wanted to believe in Jay. Surely this was about the stress of his career change from psychologist to consultant. He was doing well and on the road a lot. I was lonely, but I’d focused on our children. Still, I worried about another woman. I needed more reassurance. We had three kids to think about.
“Julie, let it go. You’re tired and stressed. We both are. You’re not thinking clearly.”
“I guess not.”
Loosening his arms from around me, Jay looked into my eyes. “I’ve got to catch my flight,” he said. And then he was gone.
As I drove away from the airport that day, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. But I desperately wanted to accept his words.
So I chose to trust. I chose to believe. I chose to love.
Julie was upset. Over the past several months, I’d become keenly aware of her suspicions. Now, once again I recognized all the signs — the tone of her voice, the tears in her eyes, her desperate, cloying need for reassurance. She was alarmingly close to discovering the truth.
My mind raced. Would she really hire a PI? Clearly she was warning me and at the same time giving me the benefit of the doubt. She knew in her heart and mind that I was involved with someone and was doing things I had no business doing as a married man. She wouldn’t have called a PI otherwise.
What did she expect? She wanted to be a trophy wife and live the good life. I was her ticket. But she’d made an emotional prison of our marriage. I’d married her with hope in my heart, but I’d paid a high price that left me resentful, alienated, and lonely. I was entitled to get what I wanted any way that suited me.
Intoxicated with the excitement of my current life, I was living a jet-set lifestyle. As I traveled around the country, I was consumed with being important, making money, and creating a name and a brand. Especially thrilling for me was my success in having an illicit affair while giving the appearance of leading a normal family life. It was an adrenaline rush that offered a soothing contradiction to my soul-death existence with Julie.
By now my life in two worlds had become almost normal. I was surprised Julie hadn’t caught on before. My ability to live a family life and simultaneously engage in an affair without remorse was alarming. Almost. My dark side actually relished living so well in such complexity.
On the move, I gave people only the pieces of me that I chose to offer. I remained emotionally aloof and disconnected, yet physically present when it mattered. I maintained an illusion of intimacy that allowed me to be perceived as a good guy in the areas where I needed to be considered responsible.
That fateful day I felt like I had dodged a bullet, but I was willing to take the risk. In fact, I was emboldened by it. I almost dared Julie to stop playing games because in my heart I knew she knew. Most of all, I was angry that my gig was likely up, which put at risk the house of cards I’d so carefully built. I feared I was about to experience a significant loss of power and control over my worlds.
Deep down, a small part of me had grown weary of the lies, the duplicity, the compartmentalized existence, and the loss of character and integrity. That part of me wanted to be found out, wanted Julie to put an end to my lies. But a bigger part of me refused to give up the adrenaline rush or the promise of what my fantasy world offered me.
I prepared to do battle for it.
From "Surprised by Love: One Couple's Journey From Infidelity to True Love" by Dr. Jay & Julie Kent-Ferraro. Copyright © 2011. Reprinted by permission of Franklin Green Publishing .
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive