Still in the woods

It’s funny I wrote my last post on Oct 5th about it becoming easier and then I kind of fell. It started out slowly- just this sadness. I thought I could work my way out of it, but no. My husband was staying up late to watch playoff games on tv, we weren’t really connecting, sad thoughts were stirring around in my head and while over the course of the last few months I seemed to be able to move past them quicker, now suddenly I couldn’t.

Thoughts were lingering, they felt heavier and one thought would lead to another and suddenly that slow decline became a quick plummet. My mind was pulling up old hurts, lies and humiliations- things I hadn’t thought about in a while were now front and center in my head. I thought about how much I needed my husband this time four years ago but he used my dad being in the hospital to bring her here. Weekends when he would meet me at the hospital- had he been with her first? Nights alone waiting for him to come home. Weekends with just the kids and I. Lies I believed so easily because of blind trust. I felt so broken again, I closed up inside myself, cried in the car, in my room.

I went deeper within myself when he was around. I only talked to him if I needed to. I avoided looking at him. Remembering it all disgusted me and the triggers which are always present- hello, I’m still living in the home he used to fuck her in twice- were soul crushing.

I tried to lean on my friends, my faith but nothing seemed to break the heavy gloom that had settled itself around me. I’m tired and spent. When an endless slideshow of horror is playing in my head, with my husband in the role as the one intentionally choosing to inflict all the pain- I can’t help but NOT feel safe. This is not the first time he devastated me and I have no assurance that it will be his last.

His word is nothing- he has proved himself to be a master manipulator and liar. He has proven that he’s capable of deception, of caring only for his needs with no thought or concern given to our children or me.

So why am I still here? Still hoping? Still trying?

Because I know my husband. I fell in love with a good man. I know now that I chose to minimize somethings that should have concerned me more, and had I had more knowledge, self awareness and understanding I would have tolerated far less and demanded far more.

I am doing that now. I have told my husband that I will not shy away from things that cause me pause or concern. I will not ignore things simply to keep things status quo or maintain an illusion of harmony. I will not keep quiet because that is easier- I have learned that either i deal with issues now or I will I deal with far greater heartache later. My husband is here trying- is it always perfect? No he isn’t and neither am I. We stumble, we fall but we are committed.

I know the man he wants to be. I have seen him at his absolute worst and I deserve to see him at his absolute best and despite all the ugliness I know I will. He wants to be a changed man, so different than the man he was while he had his affair.

I have faith in him, in myself and in our faith. There is a light in both of us that will never go out- it’s been dark, it’s been heavy. We have felt hopeless and in despair and yet that light is still there.

I’m not out of the woods and maybe I never fully will be but I know each time I think I’ve been broken by it I have only become stronger.

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Easier

I just logged in to Facebook and saw I had memories. They’re all from the year my husband had his affair. Probably a few weeks before my dad had the stroke that left him paralyzed. A month after I had just turned 36. I remember feeling so lost then. I was just a shell- stretched thin – trying to support my parents while also at the same time trying to hide from them the wreck I was inside.

For the longest time looking at pictures from that time period of his affair would devastate me. I eventually got to a point where I would still avoid them but if I came across it I would feel more pity for my husband because he was the one who missed out, who wasn’t fully present or engaged. I was in the moment- not caught up in lies, deceit and a double life. I was whole and real.

Now I look at the pictures and although it still aches a little, I don’t avoid them. The ache has dulled. Now I’m able to enjoy looking back at the pictures I captured then, recalling the things and moments I found interesting and wonderful enough to photograph.

It gets easier. I’m 40 now. My dad has survived for 4 years mostly due to my amazing mom- the woman my siblings and I have been honored to support as she cares for my dad. Back then all of it seemed like a mountain I couldn’t scale but I did. I may have crawled more than climbed to the top but it’s still the top. In some ways I was equipped for this mountain my faith, my family, my friends and in other ways I had to become equipped- therapy, support groups, reading about affairs journaling- all these things were the tools I used to get myself through.

I know when you’re in the thick of it it seems impossible and unending but it will get better. You are stronger than you know and capable of so much more that you may believe. Keep climbing- even when climbing is just crawling.

3.3

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written in this space. It’s much longer than I even realized. I wish I could say it’s because everything has been okay but most of you who read here do so because you’ve been made to walk through betrayal also, so you know this is a pain that lingers. I have found that the hurt and pain does get easier with time but it also still tends to rear itself at times that you’re not even anticipating it and those unexpected blows strike hard! They suck!

Overall my husband and I are doing well. I still think about the affair daily and often but I will say that it’s on the periphery of my thoughts now rather than raging front and center as it was for the first couple of years. I’m now 3 years and 3 months from D-Day and I’m grateful that the hurt is manageable. I still have days where I just need to cry. I still have days when the anger comes hot and fast. I still resent how much I have to
pay for my husband’s affair.

I hate that he can look at a picture from when the affair was going on and just comment on how cute our children look, while I can look at the same picture and my head thinks he was 1 month into the affair when we took this picture. Or why wasn’t he with us that day? Was he with her? Did he lie about having to work so he could take her on a date rather than be with us? It breaks my heart still when I have those moments. And I wish the hurt could just fall away but it doesn’t. It will hook itself into me and last a few days before I can get through it.

I know it might not sound like I’ve made a lot of progress but I have. I’m so grateful for the relief I have from the absolute agony of those early months and years. I’m grateful that on D-Day this year my mind wasn’t consumed by thoughts of my husband being a whore but by the new friends we had spent time with the night before.

I’m grateful for our new friends because they love us both and they help me see my husband as my husband. I’m grateful for all the good things and good people God has brought into our lives to bolster us individually, as a couple and as a family. At the end of the day, I have God and I honestly know He’s breathing new life into me and my husband, my marriage and our family. And because of that I’m still here. I’m standing. I’m strong. I’m grateful. It’s still harder than I expected it would be this far into the journey but I took out the fire that tried to burn me alive!

Today

I’m still stuck in this dowanward cycle. Despite a strong desire to communicate with my husband I still remain closed off, never engaging more than necessary.

I still feel this pressing sadness and cry when I’m alone. I feel anger that despite a  strong warning years earlier that showed him how hurtful and costly his addiction to porn, Craigslist and chat rooms were he didn’t stay the course but instead took the actions to initiate an affair that has caused me more pain than I ever knew existed.

I’m angry at the lies during the affair and the lies after. That even though I told him he was to tell me if  the ow contacted him again. He didn’t- first choosing to listen to a family member over what I stated. Then months later, when she confronted him again- he hid that from everyone and then decided the best way to handle the matter was to iniate friendly contact with her  again. I hate his actions and his stupidity. His easy ability to be duplicitous even months after the affair was discovered, despite seeing the agony of hurt and destruction he has caused. 

This is where I am today

Pit

It doesn’t feel right when you care for someone- when their emotions matter to you- and you know that your actions are hurting them. Even if you’re only engaging in those actions to protect yourself. It still doesn’t sit well and it shouldn’t. When you care for someone it still gnaws at you, that in protecting yourself, you’re hurting someone that you care about.  

I see the weariness in my husband’s face. I know he’s wondering how long this latest cold front against him is going to last and I want to reach out, but I can’t. I know everything outwardly about me shows indifference towards him but inside I feel waves of emotions- I love him. I want to comfort him, but I’m afraid to.  I want to cross over this massive gulf and believe that it’s safe on the other side with him but I’m terrified to do that.  I want to create and live in these new moments but it’s very rare that I can experience anything new with him without feeling the taint of his old, sordid life. 

I know this pit that I’ve curled up in to so well by now. I’ve spent so much time in it. It’s on my side of the massive gulf, and behind the large, thick wall. It’s here that I go running every time the offensive trigger is too much. When the mind movies of him and her are so clear.  It’s where I go to ensure that the distance between him and I is safe enough for me. 

After the affair- this is where I feel the most safe now. This is the one place I know I won’t get hurt. It’s sad and lonely but it’s safe. It’s my place. He can never come here. He can never taint this place. I know I can’t stay here forever and I won’t,  but in this pit I can heal once again. I can recover and build myself up. I can cycle through my grief again.

 I  know he’s sorry. I know he’s hurting. I’ll get back to him. His sadness weighs on me but for now – in my pit- the only person that matters is me.

Reconcile

It’s been 28 months since Dday. I have been struggling for the past week since the last trigger.  I feel like sometimes they just pile on. My family and my siblings and their families traveled out of state for a wedding this weekend. We did some fun things but there are still things that cause me to struggle. We went to a waterpark last Friday and there was a woman in a bikini whose body reminded me so much of the ow. Her bikini accentuated the part of her body that my husband was so attracted to on the ow that he just had to iniate a relationship with her. 

The woman at the water park was there with her family. Her husband and her were packing on the pda. Every time I would see them I would think about how my husband went away with the ow on a beach trip and would imagine them all over each other.  And I hate it. I’m so tired of all these thoughts and weary of fighting through these triggers. I feel like every time I make some progress, something comes up and I’m pulled back to all the pain, hurt, and anger. 

Then there’s my husband, who I’ve been communicating with on as a needed basis only for the past week. My son made a comment yesterday that I wasn’t really talking as much as I used to. I just told him that sometimes I don’t feel much like talking. But at the water park,  my daughter wasn’t feeling well so I sat with her at the wading pool area. My husband helped my brother and sister in law with their 3 young kids. He paid for a cabana for all of us as well as dinner. At the wedding he took my sister’s daughter for a little bit and danced with her – which means a lot to me -because my brother in law isn’t really the best dad and I like when my husband steps in and shows her and my other niece a good model of what a dad is.

In so many ways he shows me how different he is than the man who cheated on me. That he is the man I believed him to be. He’s trying to be considerate of the things that matter to me. He’s trying to be consistent in showing me that he cares even as I pull away. I want to be better and do better for him too. But I find it so hard to reconcile this man with the man who purposely hurt me for 10 months. Who didn’t think about me or my children for 10 months.  Who brought the ow to our home and bed. Who made an awful comment about my dad while he was in the hospital because his hospitalization meant we had to cancel our anniversary trip. Who lavishly spoiled the ow. I hate, loathe and despise that man.  That awful, disgusting man makes it so hard for me to love this man.  That man has filled me with pain so deep that 28 months later it still hasn’t run dry.

I want to love my husband. He deserves it. I have not gone easy on him. I have not been gracious. He has felt my full fury. He has spent nights sleeping on the floor of  his tiny office at work. He has been humiliated in front of his family.  I know he still has so many issues to deal with and work through but my God he has been fighting hard for me. I just need to forgive him for ever forgetting about me and our children.  I just don’t know how.

Stupid Triggers

I hate them! Had a pretty bad one yesterday- it was at a celebration and in a conversation with friends but it was awful. It hit me pretty hard and I had to hide in the bathroom for a bit because the tears just couldn’t be held back.

I hate that they can hit anytime and catch me completely unprepared and how deeply they still affect me. How unsafe they can make me feel!

It’s sucks- I ended up texting the friend who I was talking to when the trigger happened.  She apologized but I told her there was no way she could have know – it was one of those “isn’t it such a small world? ” conversations.  I asked some questions to clarify that the person mentioned wasn’t the ow and it’s not!  I feel better but I hate the yucky, sick to my stomach feeling it causes!