It hurts

Christmas was wonderful- one of the best. I’m grateful to have my whole family – so grateful. I’m looking forward to the New Year but at the same time I’m so aware of this sadness in me.  As much gratitude as I have for the present and as promising as the future is, I can’t deny that I still  feel so much hurt.

I feel so sad when I think about everything my husband did to hurt me, and of course there are no shortage of reminders, especially around this time of year. He knew better. He could have done better but he chose not to.  And that part can still mess with me- my head can start believing that he didn’t feel I was worth choosing. That I wasn’t worth doing more for. He’s doing a lot now but I know there’s never going to be a point where he will be able undo the hurt he caused me.

A good friend of mine is celebrating 15 years of marriage this weekend. She had posted some pictures and I admit that my heart breaks knowing I’ll never have again what she has now- The faithfulness, security, the belief that you’re enough. I didn’t even get 10 years of it.  

I know I need to keep focused on today. There’s a lot of pain in looking backwards and I’m really trying hard not to look but that pain still manages to carry its way forward and it sucks.

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1 Month✅

In two weeks it will be 23 months from Dday- 23 months!!! For a very long time after Dday I felt like I was losing my sanity.  There was  even a point where I became terrified that I was actually losing control over myself.

I was at home, waiting for the repairman one day. He didn’t come when he was supposed to and I had to wait longer.  During all that time all I could think about was the affair and I started looking at the ow’s fb. She had posted something vague and cryptic that immediately made me think that  the affair had started up again. I called my husband immediately, completely wrecked. He reassured me that it was definitely over and he had no desire to ever be unfaithful again.

Later he called to check up on me. I told him that I felt like she was doing this to purposely screw with me.  I questioned  how he could have ever been with someone so awful and how he could do this? He tried to explain- I kept asking what was so appealing?? About her and the affair. He said that the secrecy of it was exciting.

I lost it- I began screaming that denying his life with the kids and I  was appealing. I screamed and I yelled and then I hung up. When the repairman finally came I was sobbing uncontrollably. He thought someone had died. I told him everything was fine. When he was done and had to leave he told me he felt bad leaving me in such a awful state. Again I reassured him. When he was gone I felt like this man, who was basically a stranger, cared more about me than my husband did. After all, my husband was the one who had willingly brought all this pain upon me!

I found myself  getting worked up again. I wanted them both to hurt. I wanted them to pay but it seemed I was the only one suffering from their affair.  My husband came home early from work.  I  was so upset and I began doubting him. Maybe he was back with her and once again lying to me- I mean a secret, double life had been titilating to him, right?

I was sitting on the floor yelling at my husband, when my body started suddenly twitching and I couldn’t control it.  Also, at the same time, my voice had this strange quality to it.  I felt like someone else’s voice was coming out of my body.  A part of me thought I had become possessed. 

I would learn later that it was all psychosomatic. My body was trying to deal with the stress, and at that point, also the fear I felt as a result of the affair. It was awful and terrifying. It was also further evidence of how deeply damaging the affair was. How my husband could have ever convinced himself that his affair wouldn’t hurt me or cause destruction to our family I will never understand? Those are the only things an affair does.

So, in the midst of so many weeks of insanity, sadness, and rage-  a part of me would always perk up when I seemed to go without feeling any of these emotions for a prolonged time. It just felt so good to feel good and have it last for a week or so. 

  It felt good to talk to my husband every day.  It felt good when I could manage the hard emotions without retreating into a shell and hiding behind this wall I had created. A wall that felt like it was the only thing that could protect me from all the hurt.  It was good not to cut my husband down with my words and also not feel absolute loathing for him.  It was good to see my children happy- no insecurities present on their faces.

But I never could make it more than 2.5 weeks. There would be triggers. There would be thoughts of -this time last year he was doing this -and with those thoughts came images. It seemed my period was also often a time for me to emotionally lose it.

 I’m definitely not the most confident woman in the world but neither have I been the most insecure. But now, I was battling insecurities constantly and I was angry at my husband for that. His affair was robbing me of so much. So with all that, I never got very far with the good feelings.  As much as I wanted it and hoped for it –  it never seemed to last. I just wanted a month- one sweet month of sweet sanity and this past Thursday it finally came!

A month ago, on the 15, after another hard week of cold feelings towards my husband,  I sent him a text asking if we could be friends again.  He replied with , Yes please- and that’s what we’ve been for the last month.  I have had some hard moments in the past month and one particularly difficult night, but we would talk about it and together get through it. That sadness, while real, never built itself into the wall I normally hide behind, and that’s been really good.

Im so happy for this incredible month. I have hoped for it, and looked forward to it as it grew closer- and it has finally became realized and I’m so very grateful!

 

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.

 

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!

Doing Well 

I rarely write when things are going well between my husband and I, so I thought I would do that today. We’ve been good for about two weeks and it’s been really wonderful. We’ve been able to enjoy time with our children, families, thanksgiving and our anniversary.

I’ve mentioned before that I listen to audio books at night to help me sleep. Recently, I listened to The Life We Bury by Allen Esken. It’s an intelligently written thriller with characters that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I was falling asleep at the same chapter night after night and really wanted to know how the story progresssed. 

One day, while waiting for my children’s bus I decided to listen to the remainder of the chapter. I don’t want to give too much away in case any one else may want to read it in the future but one of the characters in the book, who was almost killed, manages to save his own life. The next day when he’s certain he’s out of danger he ventures out to look for help. He takes a moment to rest and take in the beauty of the day and reflects on how this was a day that was almost stolen from him. 

As I listened to that line it made me think about my own life. I was doing well. I was content and happy and enjoying my life with my husband and children. We would be spending Thanksgiving together,  visiting both of our families. We had plans to go away for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. These were all things that were almost stolen from me. 

It’s been so hard to get to this place. It’s  frustrating when a trigger or something else makes me lose my footing and I find myself crashing back down to a place full of hurt, anger, insecurities and confusion but I keep fighting and my husband keeps fighting. And because we have both chosen to fight and continue to do so, we have these beautiful moments where we look over at each other and smile with delight as we watch our daughter perform at a school function. We drive home after seeing both our families on Thanksgiving and comment on what a wonderful time we had with our families.  We watch our children’s joy as they take out ornaments that are special to them and created by them and watch as they’re hung up as we decorate the tree together. 

We celebrated 12 years together this past weekend. It has been hard. I know it will still be hard at times but these good moments show me how much this fight has been worth it!

Crossroads 

So on the evening that I wrote my post about my upcoming anniversary,  my husband and I talked about what to do for it. We’ve had a couple of ideas that we had been throwing around and wanted to finalize them. I wanted to spend time with my husband but I also knew that our children had a few days off from school and so I wanted to spend time with them as well. I also wanted to be available for my parents and help them.  

 So when my husband suggested we use the our time off by going away to a local Bed and Breakfast the Saturday after Thanksgiving through Monday (and also come back for church on Sunday since we would be local) to celebrate our anniversary, then go away again with our children the following Friday through Sunday – I should have been happy. I wasn’t, because unfortunately the affair can stills keep me completely emotional and irrational. 

Rather than being grateful that my husband was being considerate of my desires, my mind went instead  to the two trips he took with the ow and the one he had set up right before I found out about the affair. They were gone Thursday- Sunday. That was four days. He only wanted to spend 3 days away with me. We would be driving for two of the three days already, and now he wanted to come back on Sunday for church on the only day we had completely at the B&B. Every rational thought I had was quickly and angrily swallowed up in this comparison.

My husband saw the change in my face. He asked me what was wrong?  I didn’t know how to explain it. I knew he was taking into account my desire to spend time with my parents and our children.   I knew that church was important to him- I mean this church was a HUGE part of our marriage reconciling and him wanting to go to church is a good thing, but the only thing my mind could seem to attach itself to was the idea that he didn’t want to spend time with me like he did with her. That he was willing to interrupt our time together for church but nothing interrupted his time with her.

Sadness, insecurity, anger and hurt all started taking hold of me. My husband became frustrated and walked away- I just stayed on the couch until I had to get dinner together. He came out of his office then and apologized. I tried to explain how I was feeling but we ended up arguing more. That night before I went to bed I told him to sleep in the guest room. 

We spent the next 8 days sleeping apart. I cried a lot. I tried to talk myself out off the pit of sadness I was in but each time my hurt over his actions overwhelmed me and I gave into it. It felt safer to keep the distance between us. I am so tired of hurting, of going through these ups and downs over and over again. I remember them all- he doesn’t, and that only further upsets me. I know all of this is so unbalanced. I know I am bearing the brunt of his selfish willingness to eff up – and it sucks!

Then this past Tuesday, I sat down and wrote out all the trips we took together since Dday as a couple and as a family. Whether it was a quick overnight, weekend or a week away I wrote it down.  My husband and I have done a lot together since Dday. I realized that. I also realized that for many of our trips there was usually a low point because I would be triggered by the affair.  So many of the happy memories we were trying to create were still being highjacked by the affair.  

I recognize that I have gone from being naive and completely trusting to becoming completely closed off and suspicious at even the slightest reminder of  the affair or at the smallest question of wrong doing. I understand that I need to find some middle ground between these two extremes in order to have any lasting peace. But I’m also terrified to do that. I’m terrified to live solely in the present. I’m afraid of being lulled back into a false sense of hope and security only to have my heart ripped into shreds again. 

Over and over again in this recovery process I find myself at a crossroads where I have to stop and ask myself, what way am I going to go? And sometimes I have to stay there at that crossroad for a bit before I decide what the next right move. I need to stop and figure out what’s driving me?  For me, the majority of the time it’s fear- and then I have to decide if anything currently warrants that fear. Right now there’s nothing going on to make me afraid. It’s all past stuff and the truth is I can not compare his affair to my marriage. 

The affair involved two people who  only loved themselves. My husband and her were both disgusting sluts living in a fantasy world they created.  His trips with her ended awfully.  Why am I comparing my time with him to that? 

I thought about all this last Tuesday. I looked at the list I had written down, I read my Bible and I prayed and then I sent my husband a text asking if we could be friends again. He wrote back – yes please!  And that’s the road we’re continuing to walk on and I really hope and pray that we can walk along it for a long time before coming across any more crossroads.

Blog Anniversary 

I got a notification right now that it’s been one year since I started blogging. I can remember those first entities.  I wrote an about me and my first entry was about my husband.  It took me 10 months after Dday to write down my story.

In the early weeks and months when I would attemp to journal or write I would become overcome with anger and hurt. I remember one day my daughter asked me if I had a piece of paper she could use. I reached for a notebook I had nearby to pull out a piece of paper for her. I opened the notebook to a page I had written just days after Dday. I almost dropped the notebook when I saw the words I had written. There was so much anger and hatred in those words. It was so hard for me to put together a sentence that wasn’t laced with venom. I had never felt such rage or grief before. I could not believe my husband had done so many awful things. I felt like I didn’t even know this selfish monster that was revealed on Dday. He repelled me but at the same time I still loved the husband I remembered. It took me a long time to even accept the idea he had been both. It took me a long time to believe he truly didn’t want to be the monster version- some times I still struggle with that.

For months before my first post I would read a lot of posts by others. I couldn’t believe that I had found this little community whose words and heartbreak mirrored my own. They understood, they got it. They gave me hope, support, empathy, encouragement and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

I  remember thinking as I read that this was my safe place. I could leave it all here. Expose every bitter thought I had about my husband, the ow. I could share every awful thing that had been done to me and also share every awful thing I did as a result. I could allow myself to be vulnerable and write that I did still love my husband even though there was so much ugliness. I could mournover everything  my children had witnessed and experienced. I could write about all the stumbles I had and continue to have on this journey.?

I didn’t have to worry that I was burdening anyone. I didn’t need to wonder if I was being judged for staying in my marriage or for struggling for so long with getting through all this misery. I could write at night when I couldn’t sleep. I could cry at the hurt others was experiencing because I know it so well.

I found my people. I found my safe place and my heart will always be grateful.

Thank you to all of you- I honestly mean it when I say you helped anchor me. I hope and pray to God that each of us can heal, grow, and thrive despite all the trials and heartaches we experience in this life.