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….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scattered Thoughts

I want to write, but I don’t know where to start. Here I am. Not sure where this will go. My thoughts are too scattered and jumbled. Everything is running together and I feel like I’m forgetting things. I have moments where I’ve forgotten what he’s done to me, to us… And when remember it hits me like it did 5 weeks ago. I’ve stopped wearing mascara because it just ends up a mess. I cry too often, too easily. I am still overwhelmed with questions and doubt. Everyday I find myself angrier, as he gains still more self-confidence and righteousness. Time is giving him strength and weakening me. He’s falling into the daily pattern of our life as if nothing has happened, or that everything is okay now. After all, one of the many ridiculous reasons he gave for cheating is because he told me years ago he didn’t want a sexless marriage.

Our sex life had dwindled the last 2-3 years. Months would go by sometimes. He did tell me he didn’t want a sexless marriage. That’s all he said, it was in the context of us discussing our sex life. It used to be very good, great even. He is the best lover I’ve ever had. There is something amazing that happens over time with one lover. Intimacy. And we had that. That is what we lost. The intimacy. I value intimacy. He values sex. You can fuck anyone. It can even be mind-blowing. But intimacy.. That is the substance that turns me on and gets me high. Not just the physical aspect. The daily intimacies that husbands and wives share, that we shared. He used to text me sweet messages, and make daily “I love you” calls. He’d call when he was on his way home to see if he could help in some way. It evolved into a daily cut-and-paste text “on my way.”  I hated that message. I stopped responding to it. He stopped sending it. I stopped initiating sex. He stopped trying because he was afraid I would say “no.” He never asked me what was going on with me, or why I lost interest in sex. He stopped listening to my evening banter. I loved to share things I’d learned or gossip or whatever.. Just the bullshit conversations that you have after a crazy day. He would be reading email or looking at his phone. I told him things that he later insists I never told him. I stopped the banter. He didn’t notice. He stopped noticing things done around the house. He stopped noticing me. I told him just a few weeks before discovering his affair, that I had put on about 20 pounds in a little over a year. He didn’t notice. I dyed my hair mid September to my natural color. It was pretty washed out from summer sun and more than a few grays… He didn’t notice. He stopped noticing so many things, so long ago… And along with it went the intimacy.

Now here’s where I’m having a hard time. See, all this time, these years we’ve lacked intimacy, the years he’s been having an affair, I’ve been happy, content. I’d accepted that we’re in a rut, that we would get out of someday. But it was a good rut.  We were together. We are busy getting ourselves financially unfucked. We have 3 teens with very busy social lives, that we’ve given a privileged life and spoiled. We both work full-time plus, with often  unpredictable schedules. We’re a few years older and we get tired! But we hang together and laugh, we watched the whole “Downton Abby” series. Twice. In 4 months! We’ve played cribbage and backgammon dozens of times. Watched many movies. Seen some great documentaries. Gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom. We’ve enjoyed a few beers and bottles of wine, or maybe a cocoa by fires out back on countless nights. We’ve talked about the future, things we want to do after the kids are on their own. We shared our dreams. We enjoyed being together. I’ve enjoyed being with him. I’ve been comfortable. I’ve been happy enough.  I’ve been were I needed to be and that was good. Sometimes it sucked, but we always laughed afterwards. I was content, mindful even. I thought we both were. I was so complacent that I didn’t notice the subtle and not so subtle  signs that he was having an affair. So fucking obvious in hindsight!  I totally fell for him. Totally trusted him. Totally committed to him. Totally loving him. Unconditionally. We were growing old together.  I kept giving and he kept accepting, taking even and now he’s done this to me. This, I don’t even know what it is. After affair hell.

I’ve wished I could go back and not discovered that text message 6 weeks ago. I want to feel the way I felt until I found that first message. If I never discovered it, I wouldn’t feel this. This. After affair hell.  Which feels almost pathetic, to want to feel something that wasn’t even real to begin with. An illusion really. And that’s what I want now. The illusion of what I thought we had, while he was having a fucking affair. Before I found out about it.

I’ve even found myself pissed at him for being careless and letting me find the message. But he hid it for at least 2 years, so he cares about something.

So, regrouping…sexless marriage. Past tense. It’s not sexless anymore. We’ve had sex more in the last 5 weeks than I can now count. A lot of great sex. Hysterical bonding so I read. So were having all this sex, which is great, but it’s only reinforcing him. If I decide to stop fucking him for the next 6 months is he going to go find someone else to fuck again?

So everything in my house looks just the same. And my husband smiles more because he’s getting laid. But if someone can help me figure out who I am, and what I’m supposed to do, I sure could use the advice. I’m the one experiencing something so awful I can’t describe, and he doesn’t notice.

Everything Happens for a Reason

My friend Jo

I have reflected on and reviewed my entire life almost all my waking hours since Dday, trying to find or make sense of his affair. Of everything. I’m very analytical. I’m scientifically minded and a concrete thinker. I like to rationalize. I love statistics, because those numbers mean something... But, I’m nearing the conclusion that there just is simply “no sense” to find or make of it. If for no other reason, than to regain clarity and sanity in my life… “So many hoursdaysmonthsyears…”

I am philosophical. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I always have. I also believe that we don’t always know the reasons why. I believe that we are all connected, somehow. We are all living the same human struggle. I believe that we strive for balance and equilibrium, and while doing so cause the pendulum slowly swing us off-balance again. Then we regain it and sometimes get closer to equilibrium. Sometimes father away.  Like this after affair hell.  I believe that, if we did reach absolute equilibrium,  then there would truly be nothing left. Nothingness…  So, that pendulum slows down, but never enough to stop. Humanity keeps it moving. We keep life moving.  I believe this is why we have to feel bad to know what good is, that we need to experience sadness to know joy and anger to know happiness. It’s why the world struggles with war, disease, politics, religion, climate change. It’s the reason for everything.  The pendulum keeps swinging. We seek equilibrium and balance. We are all connected.

My Dday changed me. I’ve read thru many blogs of betrayed wives and this seems to be a common thread. It changes us. I’ve changed to my very core and learned to trust in myself again. My fundamental philosophical belief, of this human struggle that we are all living, is the same. Everything. Even the slightest of things, happens for a reason. Period. It’s not fair. It can’t be justified or reasoned.  It just is.

I’m a registered nurse. It’s part of who I am. My career spans 25+ years, from combat trauma flight medic, to Cardiology and ICU, and then Emergency Room. It was my dream job. I was RN, with a BSN and lots of “abc” fancy acronym certifications at a Level 1 Trauma Center, in a major Northeast city. I loved THAT job. I was professionally who and where I wanted to be.

I believe any good nurse will tell you that to be “good nurse” (not just effective and functional,) you have to love people. We would tell you that we are deeply compassionate and empathetic. If you ask us, “Where or what do you do for work?” We reply “I’m a Nurse,” It’s part of our identity.

We know the professional boundaries around pt care and we know about HIPPA and Confidentiality. We all know how shitty the job really gets. We all have a “worse story” to tell. We don’t remember all the details around the daily 12 hour shifts and chaos that frequents the Emergency room. We learn to expect the unexpected, to silently judge but never discriminate. We are tolerant and loyal. We don’t always practice what we preach. We are living the same human struggle. We make mistakes and we bleed. We get stressed and angry, and have lashed out at a pt for “interrupting” or “adding to” an already overwhelming workload. But we’ve also cried because we couldn’t save your baby or your mother or the X-ray shows a stage 4 inoperable tumor that is untreatable.

We’ve invaded every orifice on your body with tubes and needles and instruments. We’ve created surgical openings and invaded those too. We’ve cut you open your chest to keep to restore a rhythm. Any rhythm, because asystoli sucks. We’ve continued CPR far too long, because you didn’t want us to stop. We’ve injected you with chemicals to treat your cancer. Then we give you drugs; more Chemicals to treat the side effects. We treat you when we know the humane option is death, but you want to live. We want to keep you alive. We help. We don’t lose hope.

We’ve bathed you after being elbow deep in shit, because you are so sick and weak from whatever infection or disease you are suffering with and couldn’t make it to the bathroom. We feel your shame. We don’t mind. We’ve been puked on trying to protect your airway because you were too intoxicated to do it yourselves. We’ve stopped you from dying when you were trying to. We cry when you’re  too broken to fix, because in spite of everything we can do, we know the statistics. We still try.  Our work environment is unpredictable, dynamic and hazardous. Most of the time, it sucks. Day in and out. The same. It’s alive, and we are alive in it. It’s part of who we are.

We had a clinical staff of roughly 60-80 per shift. Mostly type A’s. More on weekends and Monday evenings. Less on midnight to morning shift, so even our coworkers were sometimes strangers. I could go weeks without working with the same nurse, and as long without meeting newly hired staff. There’s a constant flow of rotating residents, ancillary staff and a directory full of specialists. Add to that, the multicultural community that we support and 100’s of patients seen daily in our overcrowded ER. We were virtually strangers, but still all connected.

We accept everyone that comes thru our door; fevers and rashes, medical emergencies, multi-traumas, toothaches, loneliness, infections, anxiety, and intoxication. We dress your wounds, repair the broken pieces, ease your pain and see you die. We dry your tears and hold your hand. Nourish you with turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and ginger-ale. We go home at the end of the day, shower IT off, and kiss love our families. We go to bed and work in our dreams. Have nightmares sometimes.  We don’t remember every patient we see. Honestly, we forget most of them. We process and internalize and then go back for more, but we all have ghosts that never go away.

One of my ghosts is a 14-year-old boy; he was hit by a car and left to die. He came into the trauma room with multiple injuries, worst being massive head trauma. He wasn’t going to survive. After I transferred him to SCU, I returned to the trauma room to prep for the next broken patient to roll thru the door. I found his jacket. A military BDU field coat. In one pocket was his rescue inhaler. In the other pocket was a flimsy aluminum can of FANTA grape soda. Completely intact. Unbroken. This is hardly my worst story. Just didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t.

I believe everything happens for a reason.

One shift I spent some time with Jo, RN. We were in triage together. We talked that night about deeper personal struggles, talked about our kids and our lives. We connected. I liked being around her. She is compassionate, spiritual. She’s generous and kind. She’s real. She doesn’t bullshit you or blow smoke up your ass. She’s non-judgmental, loyal and trustworthy. With her, it is just what it is. With her, I can be me.

I finally escaped from the Emergency Room in 2010. I say escaped, because most ER nurses never leave. It’s a love – hate relationship with our job, but most of us can’t get away from it.

Jo and I are friends on Facebook. Over the years I’ve read her witty posts and looked at pictures. We didn’t  personally connected again until the end July of this year. We chatted on messenger. She told me that she finally escaped from the ER, but not in those words. She’s a divorced mom of 2. Her daughter and youngest is 17, a senior in high school. Our chat was short, but meaningful and heartfelt. She was at a crossroad, with no job. A scary place in today’s economy and job market. She wasn’t overly concerned at the moment but certainly aware that she needed to find a job. I wasn’t worried for her. She’s one of the good nurses.

I reached out to her on October 9, an emotional disaster. Destroyed. I had just found out about the affair 3 days prior. Those days all run together and it’s hard to distinguish one day from next. I’m thankful for time stamps and calendars these days… “Why did I reach out to Jo?”  I’ll try to explain. All of me, was telling me to reach out to her and tell her about this awful thing that was happening to me, the Hell I am  going thru. My mind was just screaming, “tell Jo!” My ears wouldn’t stop ringing. I was really scared those early days, still is most of the time. I didn’t trust anything. Not even what my gut was telling me. Jo and I were not close; it didn’t make sense to me, to tell her this disgusting and shameful secret. At that point, I had told no one.

But metaphorically, I jumped. I sent her a message on Facebook asking, “Are you here?”  “Why did I reach her?” There was no response. I proceeded to type, to try to explain why I was reaching out to her. I told her about my fucking asshole husband and his affair. I left her hours worth of messages. I held nothing back. Nothing. And she reached back. For days, I sent message after message, on Facebook and texts to her phone. Probably hundreds… She is always there. She is always here.

I have been working as a hospice nurse from home for over 3 years. I love being a nurse, and I love hospice care. I don’t love my current job, but my patients and their families would never know. I love people. “I hate that my husband destroyed me.”  I am a good nurse. I still believe this.

Jo has started a new job and we have yet to connect outside of messages. We really haven’t tried to. I hope we do. She keeps me grounded and sane. She is my safe place. I trust her, and because of her, I trust me again.