Yesterday I posted a new bog entry, and it was my first in a long time. For a while, I was writing weekly. Some weeks, I was writing daily. Because writing is a great outlet for me, the degree to which I wrote was a clear indication of how much I was actively ‘processing’.
In the wake of the affair discovery, I was consumed with thoughts, fears, worries, self-deprecating beliefs, and struggling to make sense of my new reality. In the coming months, as I found greater healing, I was able to turn the blog from a place of pain to a place of encouragement and hope for betrayed spouses. While the comments section of any given post will often find its share of negative comments from OW’s or supporters of OW’s, the feedback has always been generally positive, so I continue to want to post, both to help others through, but also to keep an ongoing diary for myself. I am also aware that some day, my children are going to be aware of what happened, and may view the contents of this blog. I am also aware that as a means to understand affairs that produce OC’s (Other Chlidren), that the OW’s daughter may stumble upon this blog (and won’t she get an eyeful of much of the details of her mother’s behavior that has been creatively edited from the story she will have been told about her father, and the woman who is responsible for depriving her of a father – me.
I haven’t had any cause to update the blog in a while because things have become strangely quiet. It has been months since we’ve hurt anything major from the OW. By months, I may very well mean a year or more. The fact that I don’t actually remember, and can’t accurately tell you when the last time was I consider a credit to how healed I am. I don’t feel I need to keep copious notes of her troublesome behavior, and I no longer ruminate on her actions to the point where I simply don’t remember. It’s nice to not remember. Not remembering, however, doesn’t mean that I forget. I am reminded constantly of the infidelity of my husband. It is just a new reality for me that I am now used to. It has woven itself into the fabric of my life, but I can honestly say that it no longer causes me pain.
For those reading this, whether a new reader or someone who has read the story cover to cover so far, knowing that I am healed and still reminded of the affair may seem disheartening. If you are in the active chaos of discovery, or in the midst of the pain and sadness, the hurt, the grief or the hopelessness, this comment likely doesn’t bring feelings of hope. It is unrealistic to think that you will ever be in a time where you just don’t remember or when you aren’t reminded. The key in the healing, however, is that the reminders and the sudden back-to-conscious-awareness of your spouse’s infidelity don’t need to continue to cause the same hurt and suffering, the same put in your stomach, the same paralysis that they do now.
So how am I reminded still?
As part of my healing, I attended several workshops hosted by my friends Anne and Brian Bercht. Our friendship grew slowly out of a place of reliance on them to heal me and navigate the journey with me to a place where I am now actively involved on their coaching team, and as a leader for a local support group for betrayed spouses. Each time I fly across the country to attend a weekend “Take Your Life Back” seminar. I read the stories submitted by the women who are attending (we coaches like to acquaint ourselves with everyone’s story before the weekend starts), and I am given a view back into the place of pain from which they are coming. I hear the despair in their words, I read the rocky self-esteem, the self-blame, the desperate desire to want a magic bullet, and the desire to know whether they should stay or go. Each month at our monthly support group meetings in my city, I discuss infidelity, I listen to the stories of the men and women who attend, and I search for encouraging words to help them navigate the journey that I know so well. As a Pinterest pinner, I have an entire pin board related to inspirational quotes that deal with pain, betrayal and loss. Each time a new one pops up, I add it to the collection, and am reminded of the club to which I now and forever belong.
But, simply because I am reminded doesn’t mean that I am sad. It doesn’t mean that I actively hurt. It just means that I honor the memories of where we have been, and can speak of those events now without the pain attached to them. It is wonderfully freeing.
This past month, as the ladies who just attended the Phoenix “Take Your Life Back” weekend have been processing their grief and adding their experiences on our private chat room, I’ve come to see how different each person’s journey is, and how individual. Not everyone experiences hysterical bonding the way I did. It makes me wonder why some do, and some don’t. Some people, upon hearing the news of the affair, immediately position themselves for divorce, and the thought of reconciliation doesn’t cross their minds. For others, their first thought is how to fight for the marriage and get past the pain. Same crisis, different approaches. Some people get the truth given to them, others have to find it. Some have all of the details given when asked, others have to wait for the trickle-truth which is traumatic over and over again each time new details are revealed. We all have such different journeys, but they all carry the same burden – it hurts like hell…until it no longer does.
None of that to say that I don’t wish it had turned out differently. I wish my husband hadn’t made the choices he made. I wish he had found a more constructive outlet for dealing with the pressures he was under, and for filling the void that came as a result of multiple vulnerabilities.
What I wouldn’t change, however, is what I have learned about myself, my husband, and marriage in general. I just wish I had the ability to receive the gains without the pains.