From the NY Times…

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MIA

I’ve retreated from the world. I’ve been contemplating it for a while. The urge to run has been consuming me.

Part of what has kept me from “running” was that my mother left me (father and brother) when I was 14.

I remember the day vividly, like video playing out in my mind.. It was a sunny warm afternoon. My brother and I were “arguing” about him resetting the Atari game, again!  (dating myself?) My mom walked in the door from work and up the stairs, we lived in a split level. Yelled for us to stop. She then called my dad, from the wall phone, and said, “I’m leaving, I cannot take the kids fighting anymore.”  I don’t recall her packing anything… Or her saying “good-bye” or I love you.” What I vividly remember is she walked out the door and drove away. She left us. We didn’t see her for nearly 6 months. She had happily moved on with Al, whom she’d been having an affair with. My parents divorced that year.

To say that left a mark, in light of my present life such the mess that it is, would be an understatement.

Truly, I know, understand and accept that my mother left my father. But the words were spoken and I heard them. Those words forever scarred me. But it is just a scar.

So the urge to run, led to guilt and shame  as that’s “what my mother” did to me. (I know this is now Betrayal Trauma.

The intensity and frequency and urgency was unrelenting.. And then a series of events, that just seemed to weigh me down. Nothing I would normally be able to manage…

The ongoing household obligations, cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, trash and recycling, etc, etc… All so daunting.

My husbands new, demanding job that takes him from the home for 10-11 hours a day. And I’m still adjusting to the tailspin that put me in. I’m trying to be realistic about all the new devises, and  mail, and phone. All the new people, that I cannot keep straight.  That he’s geographically closer to her, OW, and  her husband (who doesn’t know) works right around the corner from my husbands new office.. I’m trembling as I type this… I know in my mind that this job was the best thing for him, for us. But this new betrayed mind of mine, struggles to process it still. It doesn’t feel safe.

The pets; a dog, 4 cats (and cats can totally suck sometimes) and a Guinea pig (mostly cared by my 14 yo daughter and rightful owner.) but still the butt-load of responsibility  is bestowed upon me.

The kids and coordinating all their schedules; 2 work, dance, lacrosse, social activities, friends, a girlfriend, and a boyfriend (both relationships over a year now😳,)  school functions and activities…and I’m by no means a hover-parent.

Trying to put on a graduation party for my son… 6 months ago I was excited. Now it seems overwhelming

My full-time job… Easy really for RN. I do triage call 4 nights a week Sun-Wed, 5p-8a. I work from home. Occasionally a call will require me to make a visit. But essentially my work goes along with the daily functions of our household. I just answer a phone. But I’m terribly unhappy with it. It’s not fulfilling in any professional manner. (My previous job was in a level 1 Trauma room. Drastic change!!!!) I’ve forgotten to pass on messages and even slept thru my phone one night a few months back. So as Simple, as my job is, I’ve found ways to muck it up. My professional license is due to expire in May. I jokingly said a few weeks ago that “maybe I’ll let it expire.” I’ve actually been considering it…

There is a big postcard that says “your license is due to expire” posted on my freezer door, eye level. I’m reminded multiple timed a day.

Very Recently a young man, DJ, went missing from a party. He’s still not been found. I knew him, I know the parent. I know his younger brother and sister who are friends with my kids. It’s believed he fell into a river. His body has still not been recovered. My heart is heavy for this family and the loss to our community.

Then the last few straws.. My son lied to me, after already being caught. Still said, “Nope, wasn’t me.” 😏 Ok, kids lie to us… It really pissed me off. It was suck a dumb thing to lie about… Moving on…

Scrolling thru FB for my social media and getting my news fix (did I ever tell you I’m a news junkie?) Monday morning. Drinking my coffee, minding my business and there’s OW’s husband on the front page of the local paper. I’m  pretty sure the biggest paper in the state.

I had a physical reaction to his picture.. Like my heart was racing and I was dizzy and light-headed.. Awful few minutes. I read thru the article. Had my own harsh and judgemental opinion of its topic, stream thru my mind. Then I tagged my husband in it.

i really hoped to get a reaction or a response from him after he read it, which he did, in front of me soon after getting home from work that evening. His only comment was an exaggerated “Wow.” He then commented something about the size of the bonus OW’s bonus was. I will only equate it to well-over a quarter-million dollars.

So my mind had already blown thru my email correspondence with her.. She told me she had so much more than me to lose  if her husband ever found out about the affair.

(… I’d say she did… Lots and lots of money!)

And I’m the only one in this mess, out of the 4 involved that is carrying this vile indiscretion. My husbands mistake. Her need for something “just for her.”

My husband had no awareness what so ever of my reaction and feelings upon seeing that article. Ok, in fairness I didn’t tell him either, but he didn’t even ask just an exaggerated “wow.”

I’ve been waiting for a reaction from him since dday. There’s been a few angry outbursts between us, maybe 4-5. None in close to a year. He wiped his hands of the affair discussions last September. It came down to “its just going to take time to heal,” he didn’t think he could really help me. (And he hasn’t.) that the affair was a mistake, just that. The he was a good person and liked himself. He didn’t see any need for change.

And so time has passed. And I’ve been waiting to heal, and trying to heal, and honestly am doing ok when I need to, but over all I’ve done a reallllly crapppy job of just getting by overall. I’ve done a poor job of taking care of myself until more recently, but even that’s been only marginal.

So Tuesday morning I started a video course on betrayal trauma. I was a puddle of tears thru out, a sobbing mess by the time I stopped. I was a case study in what I’d learned to that point. I decided then to commit to the course.

I stopped watching because I needed to get ready for a meeting with my supervisor. My annual review. My eyes were quite puffy and nose red and shiny, sinuses congested.., it was going to take a while. I was a mess.

Instead I called and asked to speak to her out of earshot, so that she could speak freely. I explained what I was experiencing., the grief, betrayal, anxiety and requested the remainder of the week off. She was awesome and so understanding and supportive. Provided me with a few resources.

I called My husband and go his voicemail. Again. Simply left a message asking him to call me when he got the message.

I’d decided that I was going away. Packed up things I needed and wanted. Comfy cloths, necessities, comforting healthy foods, electronics etc…

He called as I was ready to pack up the car. I told him I’d called out of work for the remainder  of the week. And I was headed to the cabin. I told him I wasn’t happy and I hate the way I’m feeling and that I need to take care of me, with out the chaos of anything.

And that’s what I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff for Crazy-making, part one

Unless I’m already there. Maybe that’s really what is happening, but I’ve not accepted. That I’m crazy. I do question my sanity regularly.

And because it is likely that I am at least a little-bit crazy…here goes..

I don’t even know how to start….

October 2014, (the 3rd, to be exact; also my 16th wedding anniversary.. Because I still don’t know how to separate these 2 life changing and altering events…) I found out my husband was cheating.

I knew from the moment I found out that I wanted nobody to know. The shame and humiliation..yuck.. Wanting nobody to know proved difficult. I was a mess for weeks.

My cheating husband, was in agreement of course.. Because.. Score for him. Everybody still thinks he’s a fucking rock star.

The only persons he’s confessed the affair to other than myself, are our 2 oldest. After  weeks of me trying to persuade him to tell the kids something, because it was obvious that I was a mess. I’m a work from home mom. My kids and I spend a lot of time together. We’re pretty close. So, like the intelligent and empathetic kids that they are, they figured it out and confronted me. And I confessed. I told my husband they knew and so we sat down, the 4 of us (without our youngest, who still doesn’t know.. And I still struggle with this…) and told them he had an affair. (This happened just before thanksgiving 2014)

He hasn’t told a single person since.

Mid October 2014, I told my sister-in-law C***, my husband’s sister about his affair. Ironically, her partner Al, a self-confessed and former-cheater in his first marriage, suspected for nearly a year-and-a-fucking-half, that my husband was cheating!!! Go figure…..

I adore Al. He’s a great guy and he loves C***, and treats her the way she has deserved for many years…

She’s had several disasterous relationships because of a cheating husband. Then second husband. Yes, twice.. Can you fucking imagine??? She’s carried a mother-load of hurt.

She and I are very close. I’d pick her for a sister ❤️ … I have none, only one biological brother and a step brother. Then there’s my half-brother, But that’s wayyy too complicated to explain… For now.

So C***, was a highly likely person for me to talk about the affair.. in real life face to face.. That knows us… I told my husband before I told her, that I likely would. I still wasn’t sure, you know, the shame and humiliation… But I was truly a mess and needed to talk with someone. And so, she came over, mid-October 2014, and I did tell her.  (She told me that very day that Al had mentioned his suspicions of him cheating on 2 occasions.)

She has been my biggest supporter thru this whole disaster since. And I’m so thankful for her love and understanding thru it all. But she knows ❤️

So that night I went to her house and proceeded to drink too much wine. A highly therapeutic evening for me, the first of just letting it all out.. What an asshole my husband was.. And they agreed. But they didn’t bash him, they just listened to me do it, for hours, then drove me home… Too much wine! 

These are 2 of my most favorite people. I love them both and know they love me (it’s not thier fault her brother is a cheating asshole!)

So if your keeping track (and I am.. ) We are now in mid-October 2014. Just myself, my husband C*** and Al knows.

And oh yeah the (insert your own adjective here) other woman knows. But she is at this point, and to the best of my knowledge STILL has maintained no contact. But I don’t trust either of them.. Their “track record” sucks. They’ve been together on and off since they were in early high school.

I think if I was truly honest with myself (and I might be on to something here…) I’m waiting for either of them to break no contact. And by no contact, I mean I don’t ever want him or her to ever connect. In any way. For fucking ever.

I do not truly believe that either of them will maintain my NC expectation. It might be years, but eventually I think one of them will cave. (She’ll have nothing to loose if her 3rd husband who still doesn’t know that she had an affair with my husband) ever finds out. Her track record clearly sucks…

So I’m waiting.. For her to break no contact… It’s bound to happen… And his new job has really thrown me into a crazy place and I’m struggling for breath sometimes.. because it’s just overwhelming with his commute and new electronics and new staff and commitments to work, the longer hours.

So there’s the >25% salary increase to an already comfortable income. And it’s a job he aspired for. A double win for him. And for us really. But WOW, how crazy it’s making me. I’m trying desperately to be rational. But it’s so fucking hard. All new coworkers and names, titles, who’s who… multiple new electronics, emails, texts, phone calls, numbers and on an on.. Long commute, longer days. And he doesn’t help much.

I know I’m keeping way to much inside, and mostly because it’s all irrational.. But then I always ask myself…

Is it?

So back to mid October and those who knew about the affair…

late October or early November, I told my parents (dad and step mother.. Whom I treasure ❤️) I unintentionally told them while on the phone. I don’t even remember which one it was.. But they where praising my husband for th great guy that he is (except he’s a cheater…) and I just couldn’t take it one second longer … And I just told them what he did. That he had an affair.

So Thanksgiving 2014 roles around. My parents, my Brother and his partner, I call Sis (I adore her. And on my list of most favorites!) and my 5, share in my first post dday family holiday.. What a painful day.. 

So if your still keeping track.. I’ve told my parents. But at this point, my husband is unaware that they know.

(C*** and Al know too, but they away in MN and CO. We all have crazy big spread out families! And they are irrelevant to the point I hope to ultimately get too.)

Here’s a kick in the gut.. Unbeknownst to me, on this first post dday event, my brother also knew. My father had told him… I truly understand, they are pretty close and all. But it wasn’t my dads place to tell my brother. I asked them to tell no one.

So fast forward to fall 2015 (also when My husband submitted his resume, to his now attained position.) after multiple family occasions over the previous year…

I’ve told a few more incidental (to the point I’m trying to make)  people along the way.

And then I told Sis about the affair. Remember, she’s my brothers girlfriend and at this point. I’m still unaware that my brother knows…

It was around our 17th anniversary and one year dday. Also, about then he was offered his position with the awesome pay increase. I guess maybe I feeling a little vulnerable and needing a sympathetic ear.  I just sort of started telling sis, not a lot.. I asked her not to tell my brother. She assured me she wouldn’t, because it wasn’t hers to tell. I thought she understood. She says super sympathetic. I felt good to trust someone.

But regardless.. Cat’s out of the bag so they say..

As my grandmother always said, “a secret isn’t a secret, if you tell anyone.”

So come 12/23/15, about 4:15 in the afternoon.

Let me set the scene.. Furniture delivery arrives early (we got the kids all new mattresses and box springs .. And full sized bed for my son.. Christmas presents) But because they are early, my youngest is home!!! Foiled my well planned out surprise.. I scream for her to the go family room as the deliver guy knocks at the door.

Because I yelled, she thinks I am mad. And I am sort of, but not at her. But she’s 14 she takes it personal… She storms off to the family room.

I sort out the details of what goes where.. In 3 very messy bedrooms.. (I’d be embarrassed if I lived in the mess.. But it’s theirs and they know better.)

I come down stairs to find my brother waiting in my kitchen. Pleasant, as I was hoping for him to stop by and pick up a Christmas present I wanted my niece to have for Santa on Christmas Eve.

We talked and had a very nice intimate short visit, maybe 45 minutes. We talked about our mother, dad, memories and such. It’s always good to see and spend time with him. I do truly love my brother, much more than he realizes. I’ve always known him ❤️. We both share the same broken childhood with different memories.

After my youngest was swayed quickly out the door (the planned departure for said child.. In my pre-planning of this surprise gift… Foiled by the early arrival.) and after the delivery guys efficiently took care of things…

As my brother was leaving.. He said to me,”I’m really sorry Sis, for what you guys are going thru.. Blah blah” We talked about it for a few minutes in generalities, but weirdly like “it was old news between us.”

then he said, “I knew long before Sis (his girlfriend) knew. Then proceeded to tell me when dad told him, over a year ago…

It was getting late and I was on call.. Had to get the beds together.. With new linens and burlap bows… Before the kids got home.  Plan salvaged.

Oh yeah, husband was running late… But grabs take out on his way. Another point for greatest guy award.

 

Wait.

Say what?

My brother said, that he knew “long before” Sis knew….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Random Act of “I am Sorry”

I received the following response in an email notification this morning. Truly, with exception of the “minor details” of this affair and this Affair partner, I could hear it coming from my husband’s AP as I read it…

It crushed me…

Here it is…. (I will protect her identity)

I am not going to begin to say I understand or know what it is like to be the wife who finds out her husband is a cheater in all of this. Nor, do I begin to say that what I went through is justification for the OW’s behavior in this.

But I am other woman. And I echo a lot of other people’s experiences, when I say I never thought I would be that person. I even directly asked the person who I had the affair with if he was single before we ever met. And each time he answered no.


Even after I put two-and-two together, I still played the part for another couple of months, and meeting him recently on a business trip. I have no justification other than I had developed feelings for him, and that I loved him. The lonely part of me wanted to be the exception, rather than the norm.


And to anyone who has been the victim in this, please know that it is not easy to live as the OW. I do not sleep, I have lost appetite, and I have tearfully pleaded, begged, and sobbed asking him to do the right thing and confess to his wife. To be a better husband and father, and to either seek counseling to fix the marriage or do the right thing and walk away.


The truth is the cheater, while not always a bad person, is selfish. He started this affair because he was bored in his married life, and wanted the adventure of a new love. I am almost 35 years old, and I have given up on love. I told him he was so blessed and lucky to have a wife and kids. That he had no right to throw that away.


But I am also no better than him, because I didn’t run away. I continued the secrets despite the pain. I did it for no other reason than I loved him, and couldn’t bear to know a life without him. But in the end, I still ended it. The sleepless nights, the guilt, the jealousy, and the hurt. See being the OW means you will always be the last choice and that you have to be content with everything being on his timeline. You can only call, text, e-mail when it works for him. You lay awake at night feeling suffocated by the loneliness, while knowing he can turn around and wrap his arms around the woman he put a ring on it.


He says is not happy. But lacks the courage to make changes to find happiness. Why stay in a marriage if you are not happy? He says it was for the kids, but what is worse: having children be raised with a lie that destroys families or know that their parents loved each other but couldn’t make it work? I cannot answer that because I don’t know.


I am single. I have no one. I am alone and unsupported. And I am dying inside. From the guilt, from the pain, and from feeling like I am always the loser. Please know that not every person who becomes the OW is okay with the title of OW. That some of us have consciences and integrity. That it destroys us as much as you. He selfishly threw his marriage away and wants to keep it hidden, but he also selfishly wanted me to suffer in silence.


I wanted to find love. To feel beautiful and wanted again. He said all the right things. He kept saying “stop over thinking things”, and to have “faith”. All the while knowing he lied to me too, he could never love me the way I deserved.


I am sorry that your husband has refused to hold himself accountable. But as the OW, you deserve better than a spouse who will not acknowledge the pain he has caused, nor work on improving the relationship. You can stop a sinking ship, if not everyone is willing to help bail.


Again, I am sorry to you and any spouse who sits in this position. Please know that affairs hurt the OP as much as the spouse. We are not proud of ourselves, and many of us do not want to hurt you. We are hurting and confused ourselves. We are trying to find a glimmer of love ourselves, and yes we had no right to take it from someone who doesn’t belong to us. That is something I will live with everyday for the rest of my life. Knowing that I caused someone else pain, because I was so desperate to feel love…even if it was brief and temporary.


I am sorry.


Creating new Memories

The holiday season, from Halloween thru mid Janruary, has always been a favorite time of year. It’s so magical and people are more kind and gentle. More patient and generous. The world around always seems more hopeful and merry, even in light of recent world events.

When the kids were little, we spent much time picking and creating the perfect costume, filling treat bags for all the trick-or-treaters, decorating the house and yard.

Thanksgiving roles around and I host a typically large guest list of family, typically upwards of 20. I go all out and spend days preparing our Thanksgiving feast, and delight at spending the time with our families..

Then Christmas… We’ve always put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it typically stays up thru the first week of Janruary. Our tradition, with a few exceptions, has been to go chop our own tree with my Dad and step-mother. We tromp thru the tree fields until we all agree on the perfect tree, cut it down and then we sit and have cocoa and donuts before hauling it home. In past years we polish off  any Thanksgiving leftovers once we get home, and then it’s full blown decorating mode! I’ve fondly referred to day as our Christmas  Tree Day. 

December always seems to rush by with all the Christmas festivities; family gatherings, open houses, decorating, baking, shopping and wrapping…toss in a few Dance competitions and hockey tournaments and it makes for a crazy busy month… all leading up to the actual holiday, Christmas, and the vacation that follows.

Last year, at this time I was still reeling from the chaos and destruction from finding out about my husband’s affair. I was a complete and utter mess. I wasn’t prepared for the holiday season, and mostly faked, fumbled and cried my way thru.

Halloween, less than 4 weeks post-dday. I’m sure I gave out candy. I don’t remember what my kids did. I’m sure I can look back at pictures and posts and figure it out, but mostly it’s a big blank.

Thanksgiving, just 7 weeks post-dday, I had my parents and brothers’ family. Very small and mostly bearable. My parents knew and I was able to pull thru the day.

I was feeling a bit more ease, safer; I’d just finished a series of emails with the other woman, and for the time felt less threatened by her. I was, and sometimes still am, overwhelmed to realize that she had always been in our life, MY life. But I was and still am confidant that she’s not a threat currently. I do have my doubts as our kids get older. The last email she sent my husband, and one of the very few that I actually read, said something to the effect of just that.. Putting old flames on the “back-burner” until the kids are grown... husband has tried to assure me that he has no idea why she sent that email, that she was never a threat and it was just sex, that she meant nothing, and he has never had any intention of leaving me. Sometimes I believe him, but that email haunts me. And then there’s the fact that he betrayed me, had a affair that spans his life since Junior high, spans our entire marriage, with large gaps of time, years even, without any contact, they both insist… but I have my doubts. 

Since those emails, I do believe there’s been no contact between them. There are days when I have my doubts, but I’ve long since given up on checking (it’s just too fucking exhausting; if he’s going to cheat again, he’ll find a way… No amount of me searching and spying can prevent him from cheating.) Again.

I’ve been in a totally new trigger field the past few weeks, and doing mostly okay navigating them. But I’ll leave that for another post. This post is NOT about her.

Christmas. December 2014. Mostly went by in a blur. I cried my way thru the month and wanted nothing to do with it. Honestly, I wanted to crawl into a hole and lick my wounds, disappear from the surreal and hellish life that had taken over the content life I had been living. However, with 3 busy kids and big extended families, this mom continued to fake my way thru…

But the daily emotional turmoil was exhausting. It was December 2013 that the intensity of thier affair became sexual (again); it was from then until dday, 10/3/14,  that I could see the thousands of texts and dozens of emails. And I was hauling myself thru hell looking the number of texts they exchanged on a particular day and looking back to see I was doing that same time and date (besides being made fucking fool.) generally I was contentedly going about my days.

… as he was having his affair…

So we skipped Christmas tree day last year. We bought our tree a a local greenhouse, but had I had to be reminded. Again, last year was such a blur with a lot of blanks. The tree got decorated. And the house got decorated some. But not my typical fair. Most of my shopping was online. For the most part I stuck with the lists to Santa, that I still request of my kids!  It was safe, easy (I didn’t have to leave my house) and they were delighted on Christmas morning, but there were few surprises last year.

Christmas Eve, I was on call. It allowed an easy excuse to not go to my Sister-in-law L***’s open house. It was all my husband’s family (he’s one of 8) and only his sister C*** and her long term boyfriend know. Inknewni wouldn’t be able to get thru an afternoon of hearing how wonderful my husband is and how lucky I am. He is still their golden child.

Christmas morning, again  a blur.. I kept tissues close at hand and didn’t take many pictures.My parents were with us, for presents and followed by a festive brunch. Then they move on to my 2 brothers families and more Christmas festivities.

Traditionally, I  host a Christmas open house and buffet with my husband’s family. It’s also open for our friends and neighbors. I make dozens of cookies, in 10-12 varieties and pounds candies, fudges and confections to gift and share.

I don’t remember most of what I did last year. I baked some, and made fudge. After my parents left we got ready to go to C***’s house for Christmas dinner with my husband’s family. I had told her about the affair. I asked her to host, as I just couldn’t get it together enough to do it.

The holiday season of 2014 will mostly remain a blur. I dont feel the need to remember it.

This holiday season, I’ve made it a point to be mindful. Honestly, I’d be happy if it were spring already, but I don’t want to rush time. I just haven’t found much holiday spirit yet. I am finding moments of joy. I’m even purposely creating them…

I’ve found my thoughts and mindset are very much focused on the fact that my son is a senior. That this time next year he will be away at college and how my role as a mother is rapidly changing. How our family dynamics are going to change. I want to be present with my son and daughters and remember this Christmas season warmly and fondl. When I reflect next year.

So, in the best holiday spirit I could muster,  my husband and I along with all 3 kids and my parents went to find our Christmas tree yesterday. It was a feat to just get all of us together, but I made it happen, just a week later than our normal Christmas tree day. We found our tree, cut it down, shared cocoa and donuts. And now it’s well on its way to being beautifully decorated. I have all my holiday decorations waiting to deck the halls and I’m determined to find some joy.

The hardest part is over, the tree ornaments. Each of mine tell a story. There’s a weary and fragile glass ornament that was on my grandmothers’ tree when she was a young girl.. It’s over 70 years old. All the baby’s first, second, third etc. ornaments, the mom and dad, son and daughter dated yearly ornaments. The Disney and vacation ornaments. Ornaments from my travels when in the Air Force. My most cherished ones, those sweet little cinnamon-glue and glitter gingerbread and popsicle stick ornaments, with their picture glued on,  hand-made with the tender loving hearts of my children. They still adorn my tree and they are my favorites. The mile-stone ornaments , character ornaments, the initial and personalized ornaments. Each and every one of them has a memory attached. I didn’t mention the all ornaments that represent my love for my husband thru the our 18 years, the Ten-year “old tin bell” ornament,  nor will I mention the memory each one evokes. Like all my ornaments. This year, just like last I’ve left them in their boxes. Maybe next year…

I’ve organized my sons’ senior portraits and my daughters’ school pictures for traditional grandparent and aunt/uncle gifts, and have some of the frames purchased. I’m not even sure I gave pictures out last year. I also arranged a professional photographer to have pictures done of my 3 kids together. Last year I will have all 3 in my nest… I’m still very anxiously waiting to see how they come out! And bonus for me, my husband doesn’t know. So I have a loving, heartfelt gift for him. Last year I filled his stocking last minute, and mostly from a well-known drug store and local chocolatier. Nothing personal. Otherwise,  I don’t think I got him anything. There were no ornaments purchased. Not even for my kids, as I discovered and my youngest reminded me, as we decorated the tree last evening. I’ve already purchase a few for this year…

I’m trying to be mindful and enjoying the little moments of real joy, or something that feels like joy used to feel. I’m feeling longer periods of “mostly comfortable with intermittent, mild to moderate triggers, and rarely one more serious. Occasional sadness but not depression, frequent mild anxiety and still often, just emotionally numb”

But when I stay mindful…

So now,  I’m off to search for holiday spirit. I’m hosting our traditional family gatherings for Christmas Day. Mostly for my son, and my girls. I will cherish all the time with him and them as I’m so aware my days are too few. I’ve got decorating to do (several day project) and a cookie-candy-fudge list to make.

I hope you are all able to find some peace, comfort and joy or something like it, this Christmas holiday season.

This my son cutting down our tree. It was nearly 50 degrees and still no snow. Very unusual for this time of year in these here parts!

❤️

 

Accountability

It’s been weeks since I posted…

But I’ve been wallowing in Suckville (I stole that from someone’s blog!)

I finally decided it was time to stop wallowing… That Suckville sucks. That it was time to do something active… Because we have both been so passive in out affair recovery. I tried to be active in the beginning, but with little participation from my husband. I started mentally shredding our life together.. We avoided talking about his affair. We’ve shared short bitter lashing arguments, followed by hours, sometimes days of near silence. In the silence I drew nearer to the concept of divorce being a reality. I started wanting out.. More and more daily…

While wallowing, I’ve leaned toward read blogs from the cheaters perspective, to try and gain insight and empathy. Most of the cheater blogs I read appear to be from unremorseful cheaters staying married, but mostly sounds like it’s failing and they are miserable. The cheater is still at least in blogging, sound as though they long for their affair partner… All these blogs seem to do for me is add fuel to my mentally shredding…and uncoupling..

My favorite cheater blog is https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/87364197/ Surviving the affair…. A cheater’s perspective. I think this guy really gets it. He’s given me some clarity in my husband. I think he loves his wife and family. Things got crazy in their life and he got attention from someone else. It felt good. It was seemingly harmless. There was no malicious intent. But he slipped further and further down the slippery slop. And now a bunch of people are hurt. Shit happens. Bad things happen to good people. Good people make stupid mistakes, like having an affair…but it doesn’t make them a bad person.

I told my husband a little bit about his blog, but haven’t connected him yet. Why? Because honestly if he’d take the time to read it he’d probably break down in tears out of relief… That someone gets it and can relate on such a level… Because I’m a lot like this guys wife…. But I haven’t shown him his blog because then he’d easily find mine. He known I have one, I just haven’t shared it with him. I don’t go to any great lengths to hide it. It’s easy to find on my iPad… He knows I prefer him not to read it and I don’t believe he has. But someday, probably soon… Maybe… But for now, I’d prefer him not to… Not that I’m hiding anything, because I’m not…

So, I relate so well to this guys blog. Because I went down that slippery slope that landed him on his ass. And it could have easily been my story too.

The short story is..(because this is a blog post my drafts) Ten years ago, I had a mostly online emotional affair. This went on for a few months and then the guy drove 18 hrs to see me, uninvited and mostly unannounced. I had seriously misled him but that was my intent. He lived 18 hours away. He was safe. But he arrived and my husband had taken the kids away for the weekend.

I felt guilty that this guy drove all the way to see me. Crazy, right? But, Wow, what a rush, a compliment… This guy drove here all that way, to see me. Rationale is a crazy thing.. Sometimes it goes out the window… I can mostly describe it as feeling obligated to meet him. That seems weak. Probably because it is.. But I felt it. Sure curiosity was there, what an emotional high! Chemistry was there thru mostly chats and a few emails and calls… Anyways, forego rationale and off I went to meet him.

He called from his hotel and invited me over. I agreed to meet him in public. We met at a nearby Borders. He knew I loved to read and write… Anyways, this is supposed to be short… I met him. He was upset that I wouldn’t spend the night with him. He frightened me. I went home.  He called me several times and I ignored him. He called and left a voicemail that my husband heard. I would have deleted it and never told him. It was such a miserable mistake. He didn’t need to know.

My husband was blindsided. By all the same doubt and betrayal that I am feeling now.

So as far as relating, that’s how ACP’s blog has helped me.. And maybe my husband… I’ve  reevaluated what I did and the pain it caused him. My husband and I can relate on that level.

I’m not letting him off the hook..

We had some tough conversations this past weekend. I finally came clean with where my thoughts have been… That we should seriously talk about divorce. I told him I’m not in love with him, that I haven’t been for a while. That I love him. And I do. I’m crazy for this man who has totally broken my heart. But before I totally destroy us in my mind… Because truly that’s what I’ve been doing… We should get out as friends. I know my life with him hasn’t been a total Suckville… Just a few visits, and some longer…

I’m ready to move out of Suckville, with or without him…

So divorce is out there…

He came back with an invitation to boot camp on Affair Recovery. I showed him the site, as a good place to find something active to do toward recovery. Even if it was just reading..

Because doing nothing isn’t working for me anymore…

So I grabbed that invite and committed to the boot camp. Asked him to print us out the PDF’s and created workbooks for us… We are still on Day 1, but I’m hopeful. I’m going to hold him accountable. We figure it will take us longer than 7 days because of our crazy life, but agree to work it.

So last night by a beautiful fire I asked him… “What made me stop that night 10 years ago and go home before my affair became anything more than it was. And why did his affair?

He’s trying to figure that out…

I think he might be getting it….

Seeking Council ..

So I finally did it. I made an appointment with a councilor “Jstew” for 3/17 at noon. It seems like no big deal, but it is for me. I’ve put it off far too long. I seem to be stuck at a place of being afraid to feel most anything. Except sadness, pain and grief. I’m not the “clinically depressed, that you can treat with Paxil.” and it goes away. I just can’t move forward. Or when I do, I creep along and only gain inches. I’m afraid of moving. Mostly because of all the things I don’t know. Somehow I’ve decided that I’m protecting myself by not asking the questions. Because I’m afraid of the answers. I keep telling myself that those answers are just “details” that “don’t matter” anyhow… I struggle to get past this… I’m also afraid that any answers and information will make this all more unbearable.

We had a lovely evening last night. I made one of my family’s favorite meals. It has no name, it’s really just “my own” dish. (I am a chef-wanna-be and food-prep junkie; cooking is one of “my favorite things.”) The dish quite simple; chicken cutlets sautéed in EVOO, fresh garlic and Italian herbs, just until it blackens and then de-glazed with a bit of water. (Last evening I used wine, as I poured myself a refill.) I added a side of Parmesan cheese angel-hair pasta, fresh-steamed Brocollini and roasted Brussels sprouts. It was a delicious meal and I had fun making it. Even better, I knew that everyone would enjoy the food I’d prepared. We also had a guest. My DD#2’s boyfriend was here. He’s a kind young man and he adores my daughter. There was activity, easy conversation and casual laughter about the house throughout the evening. My son got home with our youngest and the banter became more animated. All of us around the dinner table…My husband and I sipping wine and playing a trivia game and the kids all helping us, while doing homework.  It was all so pleasant and comfortable. It felt like what “normal” used to feel like.

I woke up feeling cheated again. Still sad, afraid. Lonely. I let down my shield and allowed my self to “just be” so that it doesn’t hurt. I dared to remember how silly, carefree and simply happy I could be with such mundane things, and at the same time feeling like I was going thru the motions “trying” to feel all those things. I know, it doesn’t make sense.

That’s what I mean. Stuck. And then I get angry. At my husband. And her. Because he cheated on me. They cheated me. I’m stuck, feel stuck, because of him. Because of them (spit.gag.puke.) She, Mouse, squeaked her feeble excuse and weak apology. Then blocked, erased and deleted the affair away and retreated back into her fucking hole of a life. Then there’s my husband, who has just moved on past the whole “Oops I tripped over my fucking self. Sure hope nobody saw me *blush* *blush* , *shrug* *Oh, and BTW, sorry I broke “you” when I fell on my fucking face.”

He “doesn’t recall” and “doesn’t remember.” He insists the whole affair was “Nothing.” And that it’s me, ME making it a big deal. “Well, excuse me? Isn’t having a fucking affair and cheating on your wife, lying to your wife for YEARS a big fucking deal??? He’s so fucking passive!!! He’s cheating his way “out” of his affair. Not taking a hard fucking look at himself to see why and how he could do this to me. To us. To Himself. He’s not doing a fucking thing. So, really it’s because of him I feel stuck. But, I can’t change or fix him. I can’t control his actions or choices. The only place I can start is with me. See if I can get “unstuck” and find some way to move forward… or somewhere. Anywhere but stuck. Here sucks.

My mind is all over the place about”where I should start” with Jstew next week. I’m putting in the work to mend my bruised, battered and broken heart. I want to go all in, lay all my shit out there so she knows where I am and we can get me unstuck as soon as possible. I don’t want to waste weeks rehashing my life and what got me here, where I am.. Under what feels like a shit pile the size of Kilimanjaro. I don’t want to waste time getting to a point where I can start to feel better. I want to feel better now. I hope to soon. So I think I can write it all out. Here in my blog.

I’m thinking that I’m going to use my blog as a way for her to understand me. If I end up not sharing it I’ll at least chronicle about “My life as told by me.”

So today I feel like I’m taking a step forward, toward me. Simple really but a bigger one that I’ve taken and one that I’ve been afraid to take…

The Elephant in the Room

Cheaters suck.

Discovering my husband’s yet-to-be-defined affair (emotional, physical “just sex,” old friends, ex-lovers…) that has gone on for an undetermined number of years has been the most painful event in my life. I’m sure most betrayed spouses agree.

Before October, I had read very little about infidelity, beyond the mainstream media. It wasn’t something I ever expected to need a better understanding for. Why would I?

Since October, I have scoured the internet. My iPad has become my refuge. It’s one of the very few places that I’ve found support and validation as one who’s been betrayed.  I don’t believe anyone can understand the overwhelming emotional shit-storm that infidelity and betrayal unleash, unless it’s something we’ve  have personally experienced. Only then can you truly identify with it’s madness.

I started my initial reading and searching after Dday on a message board that I never joined.. Just lurked for hours. Then I found personal blogs. I’ve since read hundreds, searching for someone that has affair story similar to mine.   I’ve read blogs of betrayed wives and husbands. I’ve read from the perspective of the cheater and the other woman. I’ve read support blogs of professionals, experienced in infidelity and affair recovery. I have compared my experience with each of your personal experiences that I now follow. So far, mine is different, but only the details and background. We’ve all been handed a scripted affair, and here we are. Sharing our scripts. Here’s more of mine…

I believe that for the majority of married, committed or “exclusive” relationships, homo or heterosexual, that monogamy is a choice. A choice made by cultural, societal and histororical and familial influences.. It’s engrained in our subconscious and so we seek exclusivity with our sexual partners. I don’t believe that we, as Mammals, Homo-Sapiens, are monogamous creatures. There are certainly exceptions, but I really don’t want to write about my theory and belief in this post. I’ll save that for another blog post “Monogamy vs Polyamory!” But stating that gets me to where I need to be in this script…

My husband and I had monogamous marriage by choice. The short story goes like this… He and I met and quickly entered into an exclusive relationship (by exclusive I mean my theory as tated above.) I was 28, had recently  experienced a major crossroad in my life and was ready to settle down and start a family. I really wanted to be married. To this point in my adult life, I had been in an immature and  premature marriage, doomed from the start.  We had both cheated on each other within weeks of getting married… Craziness. Separated in less than 2 years and divorced at 3.5 years. After we separated I moved around frequently  for Military training, the 1st Gulf War, and eventually returned to my home state.  I had an amazing dating life!  My heart was broken a couple of times but I always moved on. Rarely were any of my relationships “exclusive.” They each provided something. Some had more depth and emotional connection. Others were just mind-blowing sex. But for whatever reason, none manifested into the subconscious “exclusive” monogamous husband. Until I met M.

We met (18 years ago this past Monday…) and 8 months later our son, a 10 week preemie was born. We bought a house, suffered a miscarriage, got married and found out were expecting our daughter #1 the following year.  By our first wedding anniversary, I had a toddler and demanding 3 month old. (remember this is the short script…) By our second anniversary I was pregnant with our daughter # 2. Yep… We where living the socially, culturally and historically defined “politically correct” monogamous relationship and the American dream.

I started to question monogamy after 5-6 years of marriage and at about 7 years together, I proposed the idea of open marriage to my husband. After months of reading, research and discussion, we agreed to try an open marriage. In hindsight, I was probably more persuasive than he was in accepting of  the concept. But we tried. I really tried. I really wanted it to work, but M morphed into a giant green eyed-monster.  It got to the point that as much as I wanted the open marriage to work and believed that it could, I had to accept that it wasn’t going to work with M. His jealousy was making us both miserable and me crazy. I decided (and together we agreed) that we needed to return to a monogamous relationship, and  a “closed-marriage.”

He had a really hard time accepting the whole concept. He tried and as miserable as it made him, he was unwilling to quit trying. He’s competitive that way. He was fine with his outside partners, not so much so about mine. He was always suspicious that I was seeking to replace him.  I was unable to make him understand and believe that he was the man who I wanted to be married to and grow old with. That he was my dream come true and my happily ever after.  And he was… I wanted to grow old along with him, raise our family and share our life. I also wanted  for us to be able to enjoy the attention and companionship of other partners. I wanted this for both of us. And it would have essentially eliminate the opportunity for either of us to “cheat” or have an “affair.”

For the past 6 years our marriage has been closed, or so I believed… Now here I am, trying to find someone who has an experience like mine. See my asshole husband could have avoided and spared me this shit storm, mind-fucked, post Dday hell. He could have spared himself whatever shit he’s going thru because he did this to us, because he couldn’t manage an open-marriage and cheating on me seemed like a better option than communicating his wants and needs.

Enter the elephant…

We made a choice, a very conscious and deliberate decision to be exclusive  and monogamous to and with one another. We made that decision together. Not just vows and promises.  We were vested in what we were committing to.

And he had a full-blown-fucking-affair. I don’t think it will ever be less mind-blowing.

December 1st…

I need someone to tell me there’s something better. This 8 weeks since Dday has been hell. If it isn’t, I can’t imagine how much worse Hell could be.

I feel like I’m setting myself up to watch a slow motion picture show of what the next year of my life will be like, looking back each day. The betrayal and lies started months before but it was a “long lunch” last December, with conversations around consequences of me and LKL’s husband finding out, and her “needing something just for her” and my husband’s chance at having a “friend with benefits” because that’s why he kept his friendly coffees and lunches over the years secret… In case he got the chance to have sex with her again… This actually makes sense to me in this after affair hell and knowing my husband.  Last December is when the frequency of texts starter and a few suggestive and provocative emails were exchanged.

My husband and I went for a long ride yesterday. I think he’s starting to get how deeply he’s hurt me. I think there’s a reason I heard this song while were being quiet and just were listening to the radio. I cried and told him how truly broken my heart is. Taylor Swift started it with “Back to December.” 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QUwxKWT6m7U.”

i feel compelled to go back thru the phone bill and chart out how many texts were sent each day, and the times. what dates the emails were exchanged. The lunch and coffee dates. The hotel dates when he “worked late.” These are the puzzle pieces I can put together and maybe see a fuller picture in a year. That’s what I hope to gain.. A mostly completed puzzle.

Mondays

I think it’s safe to say that in general, Monday is the least popular day of the week. We see the memes, and hear the newscasters and  DJ’s make jokes about it as we head into our busy week. It’s weekly headlines and office jokes. “Mondays suck” messages plaster our Facebook wall.

I drove my kids to school this morning. It’s cold, wet and snowing. Big, fluffy snowflakes are falling and coating the earth here in New England. The roads are icy. The Polar Vortex is back. We are creeping into out long cold winter. Reluctantly welcomed by many, as it stays far too long. My summer tan lines are fading. Bathing suits, sun dresses and cami’s have been packed away. Wool, fleece and flannel have come out from their short summer reprieve in the hope chest. The furnace hums and unfolded blankets litter the chairs and sofas. My mud room floor is wet from foot traffic of the cats, dog and us as we’ve already started this Monday.

I’m home alone now. I welcome the solitude. I’ve always looked forward to my kids and husband leaving on Monday morning. Listening to the Today show, sometimes watching a segment that catches my interest; Scrolling thru Facebook to look at the pictures and read the stories and experiences that my friends and family share. Often, I would find a recipe or many, and neatly file them away on my Pintrest. I’d make a list, sometimes written, most times mental, of all the things on my to-do list for the coming week. I stay in my jammies and drink coffee, cuddle a cat. Sometimes I’d go back to sleep. I allowed myself to enjoy the peaceful Mondays, to not feel pressured to do something or guilty because I’m not. I have a 3 story house with 6 cats, 5 people and a dog as habitants… There is always something that needs to be done! Guess the point is, I never hated Mondays. I’d wait for them and I welcomed them. Mondays recharge me. I would prepare myself for the next 6 days of chaotic schedules and unstructured routines. It worked imperfectly,  but Monday would soon arrive again soon.

Six weeks ago, my Monday mornings changed. That particular Monday, my husband let our son take his car to school and then work and he planned to take the bus. This all so I didn’t have to drive my son to work after school. Because it was raining, I felt guilty, to not offer to drive him. I did and he accepted. I drove in my jammies. I returned home and was greeted by my dog and the Today show.

I’d planned for this particular Monday morning for 3 days. Since finding the “I miss you too, baby xoxoxox” text to LKL. As I’m sitting here writing this I can’t tell you why I didn’t further investigate that very day, after finding that message. But I didn’t. My parents had stopped over for coffee. They brought banana bread with chocolate chips, an indulgent favorite of mine. They brought an anniversary card for us. I was nauseous and later vomited.  I don’t remember much more about the visit. My ears were ringing and I had this weird heavy sensation. I was trying to make sense of the text he sent to someone who was so personal. “He calls me baby.” I was hurt, but mostly able to rationalize it, at least enough to get thru the busy weekend we had ahead of us.  “I know my husband…” He’s charming and charismatic. He’s a flirt. He would never cheat on me. He came home with 16 long-stemmed red roses, his traditional anniversary gift. One for each year we’ve been married. Also, a lovely card that I found  just this past weekend and reread. Now it ends with “but I’m having an affair and I’m lying to you.” All the cards, memories and moments, holidays and months. Years. Now those all end that way… So many fucking lies

We sat by a fire out back that night, after I found that message. Smoked some pot, had a beer. We talked about the day. He decided that he wasn’t going to go to D.C. for a planned business trip the following Wednesday thru Friday. I’ve since learned this trip was arranged by LKL, and that she would have been with him. I found an email, that Monday, he sent, stating he had to cancel because our youngest needed him and I had work obligations. Yeah, he blamed it on me… He said he would be in touch with her Monday. We went thru the weekend as casually as our weekends typically are. But I waited for Monday.

I don’t remember the specific details of how I began my search, or where even. I did figure out who she was, where she worked and realized she was someone I have known by name, for years. They had connected on Facebook years ago, childhood friends. She was friends with his sister, since childhood as well. Friends with my father-in-law. I knew he had sex with her when they were in high school. I knew enough to know that my husband was having an affair. I don’t know how much I searched that day. It all blurs with all the searching I did over the next few days. But I knew enough. My landslide started. I didn’t have a plan to confront him. But he called and asked if I would pick him up. It was still raining. I did. It was grey and dreary and I just asked you, to tell me more about LKL. I think I was still hoping that he could explain it, that I was wrong. But I knew enough. I’ve come to know so much more. I still have so much to learn.

We had some good moments this weekend. We went to Starbucks. I wanted to try one of the new holiday drinks. I’m not sure why, but is was irritable on entering. I was short with him trying to decide what baked treat to share. I told him to just pick something, that I didn’t care. We ordered our drinks and he paid for them, along with the pastry. We waited while the barista made our brew. Still irritated, he sweetly tried to feed me a bite. I didn’t want it, but took it .. A mouthful of banana bread. It made me nauseous. I’ve since decided the Caramel Brûlée Latte sucked. That may be unfair. His phone rang and he answered, further irritating me. I walked out to the car. He followed, a few feet behind. We went off to do our shopping. I later asked if he took her to that Starbucks. He did. So there were some shitty moments…We got home to an empty house. Had some wine and mind-blowing sex. Watched something. I mostly enjoyed being around him. I always have. The rest of the weekend went like that good moments and not so good moments. Some really shitty ones.

So that sets the stage for my new Monday morning. I get to here and just want to melt into a grief-stricken, frightened, confused, overwhelmed puddle of tears. On Mondays I don’t have to keep his affair a secret, protecting it, as our kids don’t know what he’s done to me. I just want to shut the world off and deal with this crisis in my life. Without any distraction. Don’t we all? But no, I’m sitting here making my mental list and recharging as best I can to be ready for the next week.

It’s the starts “Hockey Season.” My son and 15 yo daughter both play. So does my husband. There’s some excitement about the season this year, as my son, who’s played for 12 years missed last season. He missed lacrosse and soccer season as well. He had the misfortune of needing both his ACL’s repaired, 9 months apart. Completely separate incidents.

I also need to make a call to my youngest’s dance school. Her competitive dance season is ending short, abrupt. I talked with the surgeon this morning. I need to discuss her contract and try to return about $800.00 worth of costumes that have arrived over the past few weeks. Hopefully recoup some of the fees we’ve invested for competition. I need to talk with her private instructor and cancel her solo lessons. I need to check the status of her $2500.00 back brace, to treat her back injury.

It’s the holiday season. I’m hosting Thanksgiving. I have for years. This year has a small guest list, just my parents. I’m need to invite my brother, his girlfriend and their daughter, my 4-year-old niece. The rest of our family have plans to travel elsewhere, much to my relief. I need to make my menu and shopping list. I need to bake some and get my jelly roll pan back from my sister-in-law.  I’m dreading this  holiday season. I host Christmas too, but I’ll deal with that after Thanksgiving.

Right now,  all I can manage is this moment, This Monday moment. The rest is just too overwhelming.