Update

It’s been nearly a year since I last updated this blog.

After writing last February, I don’t even think I logged into this site. As unfathomable as it was 4 years ago, I just don’t think about the affair much anymore. Our lives have moved on. Our marriage has moved on. Our family has moved on.

In late August, we welcomed a second son. He is gorgeous, healthy, and a terrible sleeper. Husband, big brother and I are very much in love with this little baby who we so wanted. We also moved — back to the USA which was unexpected and stressful at the time but has worked out okay in the end. My husband has a new job that he loves — one that gives him a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction but also requires long hours.

 

Its been a hard adjustment for me. I miss having him around and I carry the burden of all of the home life. I also had to confront the fear of him returning to work in an office with many women (in the Middle East, he worked with all men). Trust is not the issue now — its just fear. Irrational, illogical fear. He has done nothing to make me worry — well, nothing other than the nearly 4 year affair that is in his past.

But none of that is what drove me to find my WordPress log-in and post today while my baby naps. No, what brings me here is the news I heard third-hand from a mutual acquaintance that the affair partner recently got engaged.

This news has bothered me more than I expected. And I’m having some trouble figuring out why. There is of course the desire in me that she pay for what she has done, and not find relationship success and happiness when she so maliciously played such a large role in the attempted destruction of mine. But more than that — how can someone who so clearly had ZERO respect for the institution of marriage now want to enter it?

I am really curious. I can’t stop thinking that if she got it, if she really understand the magnitude of what she had done, then she would have been compelled to apologize for her role at some point. I never expected her to take full responsibility for the mess, my husband owns more than half of that as he was the one who had promised me faithfulness. But she was (is?) far from an innocent. She knew me. We worked together. She saw me nearly everyday of my older son’s pregnancy. She was invited to my work baby shower, for heaven’s sake! All the while she was doing her damndest to break up my marriage, to convince my husband and my son’s father to leave us. She had zero respect or understanding for the commitment of marriage — and now she wants to enter it?

It baffles me. It bothers me. If I’m honest, its put that familiar deep pit of pain right back in to my gut for today.

I want to warn her fiance. To tell him to watch out. To ask him whether he is aware of his fiancee’s history — that she cares so little for the promise made between a man and a wife that she was more than happy to step in and be a man’s mistress for 3 years and 7 months. Does he know? Does he know that despite what she may say about me as an excuse, that I am kind, loving, and gentle? That despite the damage to my marriage, I found the fortitude to keep trying? To pursue love through the pain of betrayal and mend what she helped to break?

I want to ask her. What does it feel like now, to remember her role in my marriage now that she is close to pursuing her own.

Likely irrationally, I want to hold my sons even closer. To work even harder to raise them to understand that the relationships we cultivate with those closest to us — that’s it. That’s what life is about. That is what is most important. You don’t sacrifice them for the sake of temptation. Ever.

I have worked really hard not to give her more power than she deserves in all of this. I firmly believe that she was a placeholder, and nothing more. The affair was about my husband and his failings and not her. She could have been anyone. The key was she was willing to be secret and hidden, to have sex without promise of anything more. Any woman willing to stroke his ego at that moment would have worked. It was not about her.

I find myself hopeful not that her marriage fails or that she is unendingly, unfailingly unhappy, but rather that she finally GETS IT. That entering marriage and making vows to her husband makes her finally, finally, understand the weight of what she did. The pain she caused. The life changing ugliness she helped bring in to my life and that she sees that she could have ruined the childhood of a little boy who’s only fault was his father’s decisions.

I hope she understands. I hope this makes her really, truly understand.

It’s not “just sex.” It’s not a wrong that lies solely with the married party. If you accept that there is right and wrong in the world, then you understand that every action can be classified as right and wrong. What she did was wrong. It was wrong on every level. It caused pain to me that literally changed the trajectory of my life. The fact that I was able to rebound and make it through does not lessen the pain or mitigate the evil of the situation.

I hope she understands what she’s done and that she sees my kindness throughout it. I could have gotten her fired. Through the wonders of social media, I could have humiliated her and made certain that everyone she is in contact with knew her secret. I didn’t. I often wanted to, but I didn’t. Because I understood that despite how good it would feel, those actions would be wrong.

Catch that. Despite how good it would feel, it would be wrong.

Just like their affair.

Maybe life would be easier without a strong sense of right and wrong. If I simply followed what it was that I wanted, damn who gets hurt in the process. But no, that’s not me. I do care. I do want to do right.

All this to say, I hope she changed. I hope she changed. I hope she’s changed.

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Good News

Visiting this neglected blog to share happy news, I’m pregnant again.

This time appears to be going better. I am nearing 12 weeks. I’ve seen the baby via ultrasound 3x now — first as a tiny little bean, then as a slightly larger bean, and last week as a wiggling, baby shaped baby!

I’m not out of the danger zone yet, but I’m trying to stay positive. This is a very wanted pregnancy, and already feels so different from my first. My husband and is engaged and excited — we both are.

The stresses of early pregnancy (namely exhaustion and nausea) are not easy on a marriage. But it is so wonderful to know that our relationship is solid and can weather these weeks until I’m feeling better. It’s the confidence and calm that I was lacking during my first pregnancy — when I felt that I had to apologize over and over to my husband for the inconvenience of me suffering with horrible “all day sickness”.

I apologize a lot less now. Instead of “I’m sorry for…” there are a lot more “Thank you”s. Thank you for putting our son to bed so that I could rest. Thank you for taking over as the family chef. Thank you for understanding that I can’t stomach anything more than saltines and bananas.

I’m excited for this next chapter in our family life.

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.

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.