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Man Tells Wife He Was Joking When He Proposed 20 Years Ago

David is a husband, father and former pastor who has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, for 20 years.

Together, they have two sons and, as it would appear on the outside, an ordinary relationship. But David has been living a double life for years.

Secretly, he has been cheating, hiding a pornography addiction and visiting online chat rooms to meet sex partners.

Though she’s aware of the betrayals and lies within her marriage, Jennifer is desperate to keep the relationship going and writes to Iyanla Vanzant seeking her advice and counsel in how to move forward as a couple.

When Iyanla arrives, she learns more about the situation. David has moved into his own apartment, but can’t seem to fully let go, still coming home for weekly dinners. Jennifer still wears her wedding ring — and wears David’s, which he took off two years ago.

Both David and Jennifer had difficult childhoods, but found comfort in each other. So, when David playfully asked Jennifer to marry him, she said yes. David says that the day the two got engaged was the day his marriage ended, because it was something he never seriously wanted.

Iyanla tells David that he must be honest with himself and his wife. In the above video from “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” she has the estranged couple sit down together so David can tell Jennifer the truth about the proposal that began their complicated lives together.

“So, Mr. David,” Iyanla begins. “What is it you need to communicate to Ms. Jennifer for moving forward?”

For a moment, David is quiet as his wife stares at him. Then he speaks.

“I didn’t want to be married,” he tells Jennifer. “At the time that I asked…”

David’s voice trails off and Iyanla prepares Jennifer for what’s to come. “Take a breath, Ms. Jenn,” she says. “Take a breath.”

David continues. “You know the manner in which I asked [you to marry me]? You’re taking it seriously. I didn’t mean it jokingly, but I was joking. I was lying,” he says. “I accepted your ‘yes’ as a means of feeling normal.”

Jennifer does not speak. David tries to convey his feelings. “My choices to remain in a marriage that I knew I didn’t want, it does not diminish that I care. It doesn’t diminish that I love you. Because I do,” he says. “I do want you to be my friend.”

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