3 years

Dark day is here. November 16. It has been three years since I confronted my husband about the Facebook message and text that I found, and, caught red-handed, he admitted the affair.

It feels like a lifetime ago. It feels like a month ago. I don’t know what it feels like.

I’m in therapy again. The stress, disappointment and sadness I’m feeling over my miscarriages have brought me back to that pained feeling and for whatever reason, my mind has found a way to connect pretty much any pain that I feel in life back to the affair. My miscarriages are just another example that the worst case scenario is the most likely scenario My brain thinks this and then validates the thought by saying, “obviously its true! Just like the affair!”

Therapy has been a huge help so far. The therapist I’m working with is a great match for me, probably better than the therapist I saw in the weeks/months after my husband’s affair. I’m grateful for her and she’s been a great sounding board for my fears and is giving me tools to stop the circular way of thinking that always brings things back to cheating betrayal infidelity. When she first asked me what brought me to therapy, I explained about the miscarriages, but as we talked I found myself discussing the affair more and more, and realizing that of course there are residual issues there. So we’re tackling that too.

I still stand by what I’ve said here before, my marriage today is better than its ever been. My husband is faithful to me today, I have no doubt about that. But I had no idea how deep the hurt from the damage of his affair would go. Betrayal absolutely destroyed me and the rebuilding process is long and difficult.

The past three years have shown me that November is a hard month for me. Triggers and memories abound. I’m looking forward to getting through the next few days, past these ugly anniversaries and moving forward. Reconciliation has not been a linear process for me; forgiving has not been easy, forgetting is proving to be impossible. Honestly, that part is okay — I don’t need to forget what happened to move on. I just want to stay above it. To remember that his actions were not about me, they were about HIM. His inadequacies, his insecurities, his dishonesty.

But I look at him today and I’m really incredibly proud that he doesn’t resemble that asshole anymore. He’s kinder, he’s engaged, he’s involved and he’s present. He’s faithful — faithful, perhaps my favorite word in the English language.

All this rambling to say, I want to mark the day. Today. Three years ago today the marriage I knew ended. Three years ago tomorrow, the marriage I live in now began. Same husband and wife, entirely different relationship. Reconciliation has been the most difficult thing I’ve been through; worth it? Absolutely.

Thinking of all of those I’ve “met” through this blog that will read this and know exactly what I’m trying to say, regardless of how difficult it is to communicate.

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Life is Still Hard

Wow, I haven’t posted since January! The reason is good. When I started this blog, it was because the minute-by-minute pain of discovering my husband’s affair, deciding to pursue reconciliation, and of course the days/weeks/months of rebuilding trust and deciding to love my husband again required constant attention. This blog let me scream when I needed to scream, cry when I needed to cry, and question how the hell my marriage — my life! — ended up in ruin.

I got through that time.

My husband and I dedicated ourselves to our marriage, to loving each other and rebuilding trust. Day by day it worked. And we got to the point where not only were we no longer in crisis mode, but we were ready to have another child. A new baby to mark the new family that we are now. A husband and wife, father and mother, dedicated to each other and to our son. We wanted to experience the joy of having a child together, again — this time with my husband truthful, honest, dedicated and fully involved.

So we started trying to have a baby.

Four months later, I found out I was pregnant. The joy was short lived though, when I miscarried just a week later. It was devastating, but we were in this together. He and I grieved together for that very wanted pregnancy and baby, and pressed forward. Four more months, and I found out I was pregnant again. And now I’m told that I’m going to miscarry.

Again.

This is my fourth pregnancy. My beautiful five year old son was my first pregnancy. It was relatively easy and absolutely enjoyable. I loved being pregnant. Two years later, I found out I was pregnant and was in complete shock. Terrified. At that point (June 2014), I was beginning to realize that something was going on with my husband and I was feeling the effect on our marriage, but of course I didn’t realize how far gone he was or the evil he was involved in.

When I loss that pregnancy at 6 weeks, I was sad but not heartbroken. I somehow knew the timing was off — and sure enough it was just 5 months later that I discovered the affair. I can’t imagine walking through that nightmare while pregnant. I would have felt trapped and stuck. Though I ended up staying with my husband, I knew that I didn’t have to. I could have left — would I have felt that way if I had been 6 months pregnant at the time of discovery?

But the two losses we’ve experienced this year? They’ve been devastating. Painful. Heartbreaking. I stupidly thought that I had already had my share of bad luck — the affair. The affair was the trial I had to deal with. That was the pain that I had to encounter. I’ve done my share. Now this? This too? First the pain of betrayal and then, when we finally have the marriage we want and want to honor that by having another child, now we have pregnancy loss?

Life has no promises. No promises that there is a cap to the amount of pain you’ll experience. I look at my two best friends, both with three children each and no miscarriages. Both with husbands who have never been unfaithful, and I play the game that I get so angry when I hear other people do it — I ask “why me?” Why am I the one whose husband spent years being an idiot cheater? Why am living a 75% miscarriage rate, 4 pregnancies but only one living child?

I know that my life is still full of happiness, opportunity and privilege. My son — seriously. He is five years old, with more imagination and creativity than I ever knew could possibly be housed in his little body. He is sweet and funny, kind and sensitive, energetic and excited. How many times over the last three years, have I looked at him and thought, both to myself and out loud, what would I do without him? Even more so now, as I feel the pain from a desire to have another child, I look at him and know that I am already so fortunate to be his mother. My favorite role of my life, and for that I am grateful.

So that’s where I am today. My marriage is happy, my relationship with my husband close and secure. The persistence of the self doubt, fear and pain that accompanied my discovery of the affair has waned. Do I still think about it? Of course — but where it used to be at the forefront of my mind at any given moment of every day, it has been pushed aside. It still comes out on occasions of self doubt, fear or triggers, but certainly not daily anymore. My husband’s affair holds no secrets for me anymore. I know the details, the ugly, painful details of who he was with, where, why and what they did together. I’ve cried over those details, been sick over them. I’ve also forgiven them — something I wasn’t sure I could really do, but — I suppose love finds a way.

And that’s what gives me hope as we face the disappointment of a third miscarriage. Experience has taught me that love finds a way. So whether its through pregnancy, surrogacy, fertility treatments, or adoption — love will find a way.

We will find a way to add to our family.

 

Moving On

I’ve been meaning to write here lately, but as I’ve noticed happens with the blogs I follow written by fellow betrayed, when things are going well the blog stays quiet. Suffice it to say, life is going really well for me right now. So well that when a reader left a comment on an older post of mine, and I went back to see what she was referencing, I almost felt like I was reading about some one else’s life.

I’m not “over the affair” but I am over it — if that makes sense. I’ll always feel pain, anger, anxiety, fear, disappointment, and an utter heartache when I think back to my life immediately post affair. I was not prepared for how difficult it was going to be to find out that my husband cheated on me. I’m convinced that you can’t be prepared for that kind of betrayal. Nothing would make that feel anything less than devastating. The discovery split my life — and if that sounds like hyperbole, let me assure that it is not. I mentally block my life into three segments now: before the affair, during the affair, and after the affair. My memories from the affair years have all shifted — movies I saw, books I read, trips we took — they’re all tainted with the knowledge of how hard my husband was working to deceive me.

For the most part, life is so much better now. I don’t spend all day, everyday thinking about the affair. Him together with her. About all the lies and effort that went into hiding the affair from me for three and a half years. There are certain hot spots that I still can’t let myself think about for too long without spiraling — the length of the affair, the fact that it went on during my pregnancy, that I worked with both of them during the entire fucking thing, and, of course, the person with whom he cheated. That awful, awful woman.

I have to purposefully control my mind and stop it from going down the rabbit hole. It’s not that I am choosing to ignore any of this pain; I don’t.

I’ve thought about ALL OF IT.

AD NAUSEAUM.

I’ve felt the pain to the point that my vision blurs and my stomach knots. I’ve faced it, but at some point I realized that I had to decide whether I was going to walk away from it or let it swallow me alive — those really felt like the only two choices I had.

And so I walked.

There are still moments when I look at my husband and think, “You fucking idiot.” He had no idea (no fucking idea!) how lucky he was. How good he had it. I still blame that partly on his parents, people who continue to perpetuate the golden boy attitude that I believe contributed to their son giving into an affair with the justification of selfish whims rather than systematically and thoughtfully making decisions for his life.

He’s grown up a lot over the last two years. You’d think having a fast paced career, marriage and a child would do that for a man, but no, not for this one — what made this idiot grow up was being caught doing one of the absolute worse things you can do to another human being.

It’s funny — being caught in the affair made both of us realize how much we loved the other. For him, it became how can I keep her/fix this but for me it was how can I manage how much I love him so that I can minimize this pain? He’s had to do a lot of work to prove to me he’s trusthworthy and not a complete asshole. Though, he owns the fact that he was in fact a complete asshole during the affair.

There are things that I clung to in the early days after discovering the affair that I’m amazed have fallen by the wayside as I’ve gotten further away from it. I don’t compulsively check his email/facebook/texts like I used to. I mean, it used to be a guarantee that I’d look multiple times a day; logging in remotely when he was at work, running checks on his internet history. Any and everything I could do to prove to myself that he was being honest. That he wasn’t contacting her. That she wasn’t contacting him. Speaking of her — I no longer keep tabs on her, beyond knowing via mutual friends/work colleauges that she does remain at our old work place. I hope that she leaves that job/company, that the last link between us is severed and that by leaving I will no longer have to hear, even in the most anecdotal sense, where she is or what she is up to.

I am incredibly grateful to have discovered that somewhere along the line I stopped spending my waking hours with the affair constantly on my mind. What a relief this has been! It still will pop in from time to time, whether triggered by something I see or hear, and still sometimes for no aparent reason at all. Unfortunately, I still do have the occasional affair themed nightmare, suggesting to me that my subconscious has not yet reached full relief, but this is still massive progress from where I was two years ago.

Probably most importantly is my comfort in planning for the future. When I first discovered the affair, I was uncomfortable booking flights more than a few months in advance, unsure of whether we’d be together or separated by the time the departure date came along. Now? WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY. I honestly could not have imagined that even a year ago. Actually, I wouldn’t have been able to picture it three years ago — even before I found out, while the affair was going on, when I knew that there was something wrong with my husband, even if I didn’t know what.

A new baby means I see the rest of my life with him. It means I think he is a worthy parent. A partner. That I am choosing to link myself, my family, to him for the rest of my life. Doesn’t that say it all? The affair is in the past. Our family is the future.

I couldn’t have pictured this life two years ago. But here I am. At this point, I’m not sure how often I will post moving forward. The story of the affair feels over — he cheated, I found out, we decided to try to reconcile, I cried/screamed/raged, he cried/apologized/was shamed, we kept going, we fought some more, we fell in love.

We fell in love.

Eyes open. Knowing exactly how bad things can get in that whole for better for worse vow that has run through my mind over and over again since I discovered my husband’s affair.

And we moved on.

It sounds simplistic, written out like that. Omitting the details, the gnashing of teeth, the wailing, the depression, and the most fervent anger I’ve ever felt in my entire life. And it is simplistic. That doesn’t begin to tell the true story of what happened, to me (to us!), but it’s further proof of my own mind healing that I can frame our story in that way. That I can utter the words we moved on without a hint of sarcasm.

Affairs fucking suck. I will stand by that statement for the remainder of my life. It’s the truth. I hope I never have to be so intimately aware of that truth ever, ever again. But I do know it’s the truth. Affairs fucking suck. But what’s more important it what you do after. After you discover you’ve been cheated on. Or after you cheat. Or after you sleep with a married/committed partner. It’s what you do next that matters, that determines whether you fucked up or lack character.

Don’t be an asshole.

Thief of Joy

 

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I will not forget, this Christmas season, that comparison in the their of joy.

I will remember that, just like me, everyone has a secret. A challenge that they deal with in private. When my very heart hurts as I look at other couples and wonder why some men can stay faithful while mine didn’t, I will stop myself.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

If someone else has something, that doesn’t negate what I have. My value doesn’t go up or down based on someone around me. Just like my life may appear perfect to some, IT IS NOT.

No one’s life is perfect, and even if it was that doesn’t have any affect on mine.

Concentrate on me. My progress and happiness exist without outside influence. Unless I choose otherwise. Unless I choose to compare. Unless I choose to make assumptions about lives that I don’t fully know.

Christmas is hard for me. The holiday season, in general is different now. But I can focus on the present, the future, or the past. How is my energy best used?

Closing out 2016 is important to me, because from where I’m sitting 2017 looks so full of promise! And so I focus on now. I daydream about the future. When memories of the past bring that familiar feeling of pain and disappointment, I will remember that everyone, EVERY ONE, has challenges to overcome. The affair is mine for the moment.

 

2 Years of Blogging

WordPress just notified me that I have been blogging here at lifepostaffair for 2 years.

2 years.

When I think back to my life two years ago, I can still get that feeling of unease and fear. A tightening of my throat and a unsettling in my gut. My world had been shifted — the ground beneath my feet no longer solid. The person I loved and planned a life with was no longer to be trusted. His betrayal affected every facet of my life. Discovering his affair and ultimately deciding to pursue reconciliation has meant examining who I am, what it is a I want.

It’s also meant an opportunity to course correct.

Two years later. We’re planning to try to have a second baby in 2017. A future I could not have comprehended two years ago. How could I ever reach a place of forgiveness and trust to allow me to have another child with a man who had hurt me so terribly?

This reconciliation has required so much change from him. He’s done so well. The justified anger that consumed me for the first year of our reconciliation eventually gave way to something more — not necessarily an understanding as to why he did what he did (I don’t know that I’ll ever understand) but a recognition that although he did this terrible thing, he wasn’t only a cheater.

Anger still makes up a part of my life. I’ll never be okay with the affair. I’ll never accept it. But I have moved on from it. It’s not the first thing I think about when I wake, or the last thing on my mind as I fall asleep. Occasionally my dreams reveal that, at least subconsciously, the affair is still on my mind. But it doesn’t haunt me the way it used — it’s there, but it’s no longer the only thing there.

Recovery is real. Reconciliation is possible. My marriage remains difficult and rewarding and exhausting and loving. While nothing is the same as it was before the affair, it’s still familiar, in a way that allows me to think fondly on memories without first having to calculate whether or not said memory occurred during the tainted years.

For me, that’s major MAJOR progress.

Powerless

I feel so frustrated — why does every little insecurity or moment of self consciousness bring me back to the feelings of betrayal, fear and pain that I felt in the immediate swell of devastation when I discovered the affair?

I got my hair cut. Its shorter than I wanted and my thoughts immediately go to, “Husband likes long hair. He’s told me he doesn’t like my hair short. Is this too short? Is he going to like it? Will he still think I’m pretty?”

What. The. Fuck.

It’s a haircut. A dumb haircut. I went from hair that rested just above my bra strap to hair that hits at that all too trendy at the moment clavicle length. For heavens sake. This should not be a big deal. It most certainly should not make me question my husband’s love.

It is so fucking annoying. I am annoying myself. Honestly. I am rolling my eyes at myself beacause those insecurities are not me. I’m not the most confident woman in the world, but COME ON. And my husband hasn’t done anything to make me feel less than (I mean anything lately; obviously he was an asshole cheater for a ridiculously long time).

I’ve done the work on coming out of the worst moments of the trauma. I’ve made the effort to see love and change when I look at my husband instead of deceit and betrayal. I’ve made forgiveness something palpable and real in my life and relationship.

I’VE DONE ALL OF THESE THINGS.

I’ve done all of this really hard work; things that have been painful and that I never would have chosen to write in to my life. Never. But I’ve done it. I’ve gotten through. So if I’ve done that, then I would think that its possible I can shift focus and build some confidence. Some self esteem.

Here’s the fucking ridiculous part — I have even less knowledge of how to go about that process than I did how to heal from a fucking affair.

I don’t know what I need to do to change my mindset from seeking faults to celebrating attributes. I honestly don’t. I want to figure it out though. Logically, I know that I am beautiful, smart, caring, nurturing, trustworthy and so many other qualities that I recognize in others and admire. And even though I recognize these parts of my personality, I still don’t feel like enough. Because if I was really all that great, my husband wouldn’t have cheated, right?

These ridiculous thoughts go through my head even as I scream to myself, “The affair says nothing about you, it was about his inadequacies!” And in true reporting of my stream of consciousness, my thoughts usually go to, So if it was about his failures, why am I the only one still so hurt and seeking an explanation to how the hell this happened?

Part of the answer is that I am a problem solver, a researcher by nature. Once a problem has piqued my interest, I have to understand it. The WHY means everything to me. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

It’s driving me crazy.

The bottom line is this: I need confidence. I need security. I want to stop feeling powerless in this life that I’ve chosen — because I could have left. I chose to stay and what happens in my own mind from that moment on is my responsibility.

I hate feeling like this.

Powerless.

Dark Day

It’s here. D Day. To many betrayed spouses, D Day means Discovery Day. For me though, that’s not what it means. D Day is the Dark Day. The day the ground beneath my feet crumbled…disintegrated…disappeared.

It’s no exaggeration that two years ago today my heart was broken. I felt it. I felt it break. Remembering that feeling brings a familiar ache to my chest. A tightness, a feeling of implosion. Largely unnecessary to explain to the readers here, because so many of you have lived it.

I’m still stunned when I look back and think of the secrets and lies that were woven in to my marriage without my awareness. Without my consent. I’m sad when I think of how disrespectful my husband was to me and to our marriage. His immaturity and selfishness still make me shudder. He was cruel. To treat me with such little regard. To not love me. To not know me.

I don’t want to linger here. Its painful and scary and if I’m not careful I’ll stay here, in this mindse, for too long. I’ll stagnate. I have to keep moving forward. I have to keep pursuing the life, marriage and family that I want. Even when I sometimes think that it would be easier if I could stop loving my husband, I can’t turn it off. I love him differently from the way I loved him two years ago, but the same goes for him — I know his love for me bares no resemblance to what he felt and displayed pre Dark Day.

So yes, today is the anniversary of the darkest day of my life.

But tomorrow? Tomorrow is the anniversary of when things began to improve.