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.

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.