Belonging 

When I found out about the affair I wanted to get far away from everything that reminded me about it- my husband, our home, his job and the town that we lived in. I was a complete and absolute mess,especially when it came to dealing with triggers.  The anger was always there- bubbling inside of me and the triggers caused my anger to spill over. It would consume me entirely. I wanted to destroy my husband and everything about his affair with that anger! But the flip side of that is that I also loved my husband and I wanted our marriage to still work.

A few weeks after Dday, I had asked my husband to come back home. We were at his parents house and I missed him. My feelings were all over the place- but on that day I was feeling hopeful and he wanted to be back with us so we all agreed that we would go home together.

Our kids were with us and my in laws had given my son a birthday card with some money in it. His birthday was just a week after Dday. They hadn’t really seen him since and with all the craziness of post Dday they hadn’t been able to get a present or card for him yet. They told him to go to the store and pick out a toy he liked. My son really wanted to get a toy that night and my husband asked if that would be okay. I said yes without thinking about anything more than that my son wanted to get a toy and also about how hard the past few weeks had been for both my kids.

The thing that I hadn’t considered though, and really should have,  was that driving to the toy store meant having to drive down Commercial Drive. Commercial Drive is this long stretch of stores, hotels, and restaurants in our town. There were restaurants and hotels that he had frequented with the ow. We passed by a few on our way to the toy store and with each one  I could feel myself becoming more and more angry . Then we passed by one more place. The  images, details and all this other junk associated with his time with her there hit me hard and I lost it. Right there in the car, I went crazy,-  screaming, yelling and cursing at my husband. My children were terrified. I would learn later that my son thought I was upset with him for wanting a toy. I remember coming home and sitting in my pantry because I wanted to be some place in my home that  I knew she hadn’t been in. I hated my life. I hated this person I had now become, a person who was so filled with rage, that I couldn’t even control.

I remember talking to my children about moving. My daughter became upset. Despite all the craziness of our home life she loved her school. That was her safe place. She had made a really sweet friend in her class and those were things she didn’t want to lose. And that’s all I needed to hear – I wasn’t gonna to take her or my son’s safety of school or the joy of my daughter’s special friendship away from her. I wasn’t going to add more havoc into my children’s lives by adding a move into it.

It was hard.  It still is at times. But I stuck it out, and a few weeks ago I was washing dishes by the sink admiring the view of the mountains I had from that little spot in my kitchen and thinking about how much I love it. 

I also thought about the night before-  my daughter had an event at school. I had gone early and was saving seats for the family of one of my daughter’s friends, who would get there late because of work.  My neighbor and her family took up the other end of the row and we chatted and laughed a bit. A couple of rows  behind me was the mom of my daughter’s sweet friend and we talked about our girls and family. One of my other neighbors had to work that night and so I had offered to take her daughter and then videotaped her class so I could send it to my neighbor.  A few weeks prior I had gotten together with several of the women in my neighborhood for a night of food and drinks.

Despite all the pain and all the hard emotions I have felt, somehow I have carved out a happy life in this home and community.  Was it hard? Oh my God,  YES!!!  I remember all the days sitting downstairs just weeping. I remember how unsafe I felt. How relentless the images were. I remember crying in every room in this house. Crying in my car while I was driving. I mean I couldn’t even get to our marriage counselor’s office without passing a hotel and restaurant my husband had been to with the ow. I remember screaming at my husband in that office – telling him how ashamed I was that he was my husband. I remember our counselor giving us the number for the local suicide hotline. I remember cutting my arms, beating my husband. Ripping his clothes. Ripping family pictures, breaking his things. We’d lose it so often in the car. I’m so grateful we never got hurt or hurt anyone else. It has been hard and ugly.

After all that and so, so much more – I’m here, my babies are here and my husband is here.  We are making a life together. I really thank God for that- for me this is a miracle and I believe in God for miracles.

I had a hard trigger last night after a really good day. I shut down and went to bed crying. I had some bad dreams. A small cold I had became worse during the night. I barely slept. My husband slept with our son. This morning he came up to see how I was doing. He has taken care of me all day. I haven’t gotten up from my bed. I hear my kids laughing with him.

One day, this year, after a really long stretch spent either icing out my husband or ripping him apart I was driving to my parent’s home listening to a playlist of Christian songs I had made. The words really got to me.  It made me think about my husband. It had been a few hard weeks because all the things my husband did- violating our home, his willingness to take the ow to restaurants and other places, creating so many triggers . These thoughts were circling endlessly in my head during those weeks.  It made me feel nothing but hate and disgust for him. But as I sat driving and listening to the songs the strongest thought in my head was yes- those things suck, they matter and he shouldn’t have done any of it but they don’t mean more to me than he does. Our home, the other triggers- they don’t outweigh him. I love him more than any of those things. He is more and he matters more.

This wasn’t an easy place to come to but really I got here because of him and the work he is doing. Today I’m able to rest, while being sick, listening to my children’s laughter because he is working hard to be a good husband and father. He is where we belong. He is once again becoming our safe place.

 

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I’m in Vegas for a very quick trip. My mom and I flew out early this morning to see my brother receive an award in his field. I knew this trip would be difficult- the last time I was in Vegas,  my husband had already started the affair. He had already kissed the other woman. He had called her from the airport before we boarded our plane breaking it off with her, but he’d go back to her – like a dog to its vomit.  I wouldn’t know any of this until months later.  All of that lay heavily on my mind as my mom and I drove to our hotel from the airport 

I thought about a family picture we took at the aquarium at Mandalay Bay- for a long time after Dday I would look at that picture, and think about how broken my family was then and I had no clue. My children are so young. And my husband, I would look at that picture and think- he was living a lie. He had started a double life and I couldn’t tell. I didn’t know. I still wish there was some way I could have know- even though I know there was no way. I trusted him and he manipulated that trust with lies and deceit. He broke my heart.  

So I struggled. I felt the sadness. I mourned. But this trip isn’t about my husband. I’m here for my mom and my brother. We had a great dinner together and then my mom and I went to see KA. It was amazing. 

This is the first Cirque du Soleil show I’ve ever seen but in terms of set design, special affects, and overall production- it blows any other show I’ve seen out of the water completely. I loved it and I loved that I could share something so spectacular with my mom.  

There was one part of the show that really moved me and as I sat there watching it, I thought about how when everything was falling apart that I could never have imagined that I would be in Vegas again and that I would have a moment like this. For so long it was this place that I associated with the beginning of my family unraveling, with the ugliness and duplicity of my husband – and it WAS those things,  but because I refuse to let it have any power over me still I was able to create new memories and I’m grateful for that. I’m going to bed now in Vegas and my heart is happy- I couldn’t have imagined that just a few hours earlier!