What the Future holds

Affair

I think America woke up and realized that her husband was having an affair the whole time. She will make it through the aftermath and slowly be healed. She feels confused and broken. Disillusioned and shocked.

I’ve been there. I know things will get better…though they will probably get worse first.

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1 year later.

Affair, Life

1 year ago my marriage almost broke.

Somehow we are still here. We survived.

We survived despite the affair. What happened was about him and him alone, but what happened after was about both of us.

I look around, and I see our family. Our happy family. Some things are exactly the same as before. We were a happy family before this whole mess, and we are still a happy family.

That’s the thing with this sort of blindsided devastation, you want a definitive answer to “Why?”, but you probably will never get that question answered to your own satisfaction.

Look at the happy couple sitting in a restaurant. Look how they hold hands. Look at their kids coloring next to them. Look at the love between them. It is a real love. A true love.

Love without blinders.

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When the stars go blue

Affair

Tears clouded my vision as I drove my husband’s truck to the meeting. I never expected to attend a meeting like this one. No one does, but yet here I am in the parking lot. Now I am one of them, and it was time to find support. I wiped my tears, took a deep breath, absently rubbed my pregnant belly, and walked into the building.


Looking back, I still don’t know how it all started. There isn’t a date or time that I can mark on my calendar and know it was all downhill from there. The truth is we had ups and downs like most couples. I suppose it was a gradual process. We had the life — a house, kids, pets — and that came with all the responsibilities — bills to pay and bottoms to wipes and mouths to feed. We went from talking and sharing each night after our days to sitting two feet apart on the couch walking television shows and then going to bed. Maybe we were stuck in a rut. Though none of that really matters.

Back in 2003, we were like all young couples drunk in love. Full of confidence that teetered on arrogance. Brimming with unfiltered happiness that caused us to forget our friends and family for a time. Eventually that feeling dissipated, but we were still left with a sense of connection.

We knew that we would get married and have kids one day. His puppy became our puppy. We moved in together. We got a kitten. We talked about the future. We moved across the country together and moved back. We had this relationship thing down. Six years later, we were married. We had our first baby a little over a year later. We bought a house. Baby #2 came two years after the first.

And then two more years passed, and I was pregnant again. This pregnancy was different. We were planning to have another baby, but this pregnancy was a surprise. We found out on Christmas Eve. We were excited, but a little shocked too.  Life went on. I survived my first trimester and started to feel good. We found out we would have a third girl.

I look at pictures from this time hoping to grasp on to something that would further explain what happened. I see nothing. I see my girls playing at the beach. I see us revealing that another baby will be joining our family. I see laughter and giggles. I see date nights and a weekend out of town. That’s the hardest thing to grasp. The gap between what I thought was happiness and what was truly happening with my husband and someone else.


I sat in the meeting and listened. There were only four of us there. All betrayed spouses. All with a story to tell. I went last. I started to tell my story. I realized how much I had been holding in the last two months. I was broken.

 

A Letter to You (Newly Betrayed Spouse)

Affair

Dear You,

When you look at me out and about, you see a happy mom to three girls. Three adorable, giggly, sweet little girls.  If I’m with my husband too, you see a happy family.  A family that supports each other. A family that has things figured out. The funny thing is that I see that too. I always have seen that in us. (You know a “but” is coming or a “things aren’t always has they seem”, and you would be right.)

Maybe I’m naive. Maybe it has always been a thing. Maybe I had on rose-covered glasses. I thought happy couples were safe from affairs. I thought happy couples stayed happy couples. I thought marriage and babies and work and life happens, but I didn’t think affairs happened. Not to couples like us. Not in my world. Not in my life.

I was wrong.

I was also 6 months pregnant with my 3rd child.

Shit.

Now what?

It wasn’t me, if you are wondering.  It was him.  He did it (and by “it” I do mean all of the multiple things you are thinking of in your head).  He did it all, and I’m still here almost 9 months after finding out the truth.  The truth that she decided to tell me all about once night with a knock on the door. The truth that she felt compelled to get off her chest to get back at him.  The truth that woke my 4 year old daughter up from the screaming downstairs.  The truth that turned us from a happy family into something else entirely. (Of course I did need to know the truth, but not like that.)

I’m not here to crucify her or my husband. I’m just here to say that I was wrong about affairs.  Affairs do happen to couples like us.  Surviving affairs also happen to couples like us.  I’m not going to say that I was wrong in thinking that we were a happy couple.  This affair doesn’t change that fact.

Of course, the affair changes a lot of details in between, but I want you to know (and I’m talking to you – bleary-eyed, tissue-wielding, fake smile wearing wife/husband that has just been thrown into the depths of this horrible place where your reality is destroyed and you start to question all aspects of your life) that I hope you can read these words and know that you will survive. I know that all of your stories won’t end with an intact marriage. Some will likely end with a divorce.  Some will stay together but never fully recover. But some will come out of this mess stronger and more connected than in the past.

The thing is I only know us. I know we can make it and will make it. We will let this part of our lives be a small bump and move forward. I don’t know you or your marriage.  You will have to make some big decisions down the road, but I hope you take time with those decisions. Don’t just turn and run because of what other might think.  I don’t know your story, but I do know that this recovery thing is a long process and won’t happen as fast as you think. You both may lose yourself (or maybe already have), but I hope you will stick around and not make anything final until you have really examined all angles of your relationships.

I’m just trying to provide some positivity because that’s what I wanted when I first learned about what was happening in my marriage.  Even if my story doesn’t remain happy forever, at least the semblance of happiness is still going strong right now.

We are still here. We are still surviving. We are still a family. The scars and pain are still here, but joy and happiness are here too.

Sincerely,

Me

Life, Today.

Affair

Things are good.  Life goes on. I feel like we are a family again. We are whole again. It’s not the same as before, but it’s good. It’s different. The memories of them are starting to fade away. I feel trust returning. We laugh together, we have fun together, and I do feel like we have found our way back to each other. We had a weekend away from the kids. My Christmas present from him. It was great to just be alone together.

I never thought of myself as a negative person, but I wasn’t an optimist either. Something about this whole experience has helped me find joy around me.  When he said that he would come home to me seeming sad or down each day, something clicked in me. I realized how true it is that my attitude can impact how I feel, and I make an effort to be happy each day.  I let a lot more slide off my back now. It’s strange really this change, since in some ways I should be more negative after this hit. (And I by no means feel like any of my attitude gave him right to do anything that he did; however, I’ve always felt that we both had to make changes to get to a better place.)

I’m also focusing on me. I took a course this weekend, as a glimpse into a possible career change once my girls are older.  I took a pole/chair dancing class.  It was out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it.

I’m hesitant to look too far in the future, but I am content in the present.  The tricky thing is that the affair started at the end of this month. I’m a little scared as we start passing all those dates again.  The trip we took during that time, the time I was out of town, etc. I do still look at pictures of those times and wonder how he could do those things when we seemed so happy. He can’t really believe he did what he did and feels like it wasn’t even him.  I found this passage that was read at our wedding.  Way too much truth in it now.

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