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.
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.