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That first week of school, I was scrolling through pictures on my phone when I came across one that made my heart sink. Just a few days later came his final disclosure at the breakfast table. There just were no more options for us as a couple.

96 Relationship Red Flags Every Woman Should Know

Immediately, the business of carefully dismantling our marriage began. Everything that had felt so natural for the past 21 years suddenly felt taboo—I had to stop myself from reaching for his hand or his mouth to kiss. My sadness and anger had no target—our situation was blameless. So I made another vow to myself: A week later, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We lit some candles on the front porch, opened a bottle of champagne and toasted to new beginnings.

It was scary, and it was sad. Subscribe to our daily newsletter! It was no surprise, but painful nonetheless, when he told me that he had developed feelings for his Wednesday-night friend and that they were going to pursue a relationship. This was the hardest part for me. Their relationship represented everything I overcame in the past two years out of love for him. It was hard enough that our marriage was ending, but to know that he was in love with the man I had worked really, really hard to accept as his physical partner felt like my heart had been ripped out and stomped on.

And with my heart further behind in the acceptance process, I did what I knew had to be done: I stepped aside and let him go. When it was time to start spreading the news, we decided to tell close friends and family first. Not surprisingly, everyone was sad but supportive. Telling the kids was harder—there never is a perfect time. We told the younger two first and kept it really simple for them.

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She knew what it meant but admitted that she was confused. I mean, after all, we were happy and rarely fought. I grieved hard for the end of our marriage. It was hard to watch him start his new life while I surveyed the damage in mine. I allowed myself a short time to grieve. The two years we spent working it out helped me let go faster my heart did finally catch up! Life needed to go on, and I had three kids who needed me. I let my children see a window into my sadness but was also able to show them my strength and excitement around rebuilding me.

His discovery freed us—I see that now. Neither one of us could have continued on the path we were on, no matter how much love there was between us. When came to an end, I was ready to focus on me— was going to be my year. I saw an opportunity for my own fresh start, and it was empowering to start thinking about things that would make me happy.

I signed up for sailing classes and filled my social calendar with amazing people, often coming home from those evenings feeling energized and full. I feel grateful for the 21 years that Mike and I had together but especially those last two years. As challenging as that time was, we grew as individuals and as a family. I thought of the lessons we were able to pass on to our kids: In fact, it blows my mind. When I say we, I mean everyone —our family circle has grown. Mike and I found a way to redefine our family and make room for new members.

It was anything but easy, but we learned an important lesson: When love is your foundation, anything is possible. Read more: Me being with a woman in no way validates you cheating on me or us not working out.

This Is What You Learn In Your First Gay Relationship

Can you join what? Our deeply emotional, fully satisfying-on-all-levels relationship? No and no. Did you choose to be a straight? If you are in a committed relationship, hopefully the only person you imagine yourself being with is that person. Excuse me, sir. Are you implying that my worth is based on whether or not you have a chance of sleeping with me? Unless he can juggle or tap dance in bed, "versatile bottom" means only one thing, so be prepared to take charge if things go well.

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If you're lying when you call yourself a "versatile top," either call it quits now or start working on your oral communication skills. If he insists on taking "important calls" several times during your date, don't automatically think he's blowing you off. In today's complicated world, he might be calling work, his sitter, or his ex-wife to see if she can pick up the kids. Chill out, and use the time to call your sponsor for encouragement. In the old days, it was common, and common sense, to say that, if you sleep with someone, you are also sleeping with everyone he's slept with. Nowadays, it's common sense to remember that, if you sleep with someone who's in a Step program, you are also sleeping with everyone in his Home Group.

Be prepared to be judged by all the members of the orgy. If you've met the guy online and have never met in person, and if his entire chat so far has been about how amazingly hot you are and how amazingly much he's into you and how he's quite certain you're the guy for him, he will hate you within 20 minutes of your date and you will never hear from him again.

If you request an explanation, he will call you a stalker and block you from any social media sites you might share.

While it's nice to have a grasp of current events and knowledge of local culture, it's no longer a first-date pre-requisite. However, if you don't have an immediate answer for "Do you want to get married? Contrary to popular belief, opinions are not like assholes, because in today's gay world, assholes are glorious and sexy and displayed prominently in photos sent to you from potential suitors.

Opinions on a date are more like your lesbian best friend: We know she's important to you and we're glad you have her, but we have no idea why you'd want to introduce us to her on a first meeting and turn the evening into a serious downer. If you do opt to discuss current events, avoid anything so controversial it will destroy potential chemistry, like Crimea, Obama's job performance, or the relevance of HBO's "Looking. Fashions change, so know the basics: No flip-flops, no shaving, and, even if it is after Memorial Day, absolutely no white underwear.