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The first day of the rest of my life


The title of this post sounds overly dramatic.  It doesn’t make the statement any less true.  I honestly felt, upon waking on the first morning after the discovery of my husband’s affair, that it was the first day of the rest of a new life.  Life as I had previously known it was over.  The man I had married no longer existed.  Had he ever?  Was this the man I had married, and just hadn’t known this potential in him, or was this someone new?  It was terrifying.  Everything I thought I knew was now in question.  Reality didn’t seem real, and I no longer trusted my judgement.  And yet, despite all of this pain and anguish, I had small children who needed breakfast.  It was a school day, and I had to take them to school, and then head to work.

When I woke up and realized it was no longer a dream, there was no chance of falling back to sleep.  I was living the nightmare. I walked downstairs and found him sleeping on the couch.  I suppose the noise woke him, and he transferred himself upstairs to grab an hour of sleep before the work day began.  In the midst of getting the kids ready for school, I snuck upstairs to grab something from my room and saw him sleeping.  It was the first time since he’d confessed his affair that I was able to look him at his face.  I stared at him while he slept.  I examined every single part of his face -every curve, every line, every detail.  I looked at his lips and was suddenly swept up in a wave of enormous sadness.  “Those lips used to be mine”.  I now imagined them kissing another woman’s lips.  I looked at his hands, and thought “those hands used to be mine”.  I know saw them caressing another woman’s naked body.  Every part of him to which I’d had an intimate connection was no longer mine.  It was shared with someone else, and I was no longer special.

My husband called me mid-day and asked if he could see me.  He was going to leave work to come and see me at work.  We spent the afternoon talking, and I couldn’t look him in the face.  I wasn’t ashamed, nor embarrassed…at least I don’t think I was.  But, maybe on some level I did feel embarrassed.  I felt picked over.  I felt not good enough.  I felt like the rotten fruit you turn over at the grocery store and then put back because you’ve found a better specimen.  I was picked over in favour of this other woman, this woman who was nothing special….she isn’t pretty, she isn’t smart…what does that say about me if he’d chosen to be with her?

We talked for hours, and then returned home.  The kids arrived home from school, dinner was made, homework completed, bedtime rituals performed.  The kids were all tucked away in their beds, and we were once again alone.  We stood together in the living room in complete darkness.  It seemed appropriate.  He asked me if I wanted him to leave.  I didn’t.  He told me how sorry he was.  I stood there without saying a word, and then muttered “I feel so alone”.  He turned to me and said “I wish I could hold you.  I’d like to hold you, if you would let me”.  I didn’t move.  I just stared at the floor, feeling more empty and terrified than I have ever been in my life.  He asked me if he could hold me, and I nodded.  When he put his arms around me, the familiarity was so comforting, so secure, and yet the reality of what he’d done was impossible to deny.  I didn’t want him to touch me, and yet I wanted to be wrapped up in him at the same time.  We stood there with our arms around each other for what must have been 10 minutes.  I recall my feet becoming sore from standing.  We didn’t say a word, we just held each other.  He asked me again if I wanted him to leave.  I didn’t.  He asked me if I wanted him to sleep on the couch.  I didn’t.  He asked me if I wanted to stay in the marriage and work on it.  I did.  We went upstairs and got ready for bed.  It was the closest, and yet the furthest that I had ever felt from him.

We climbed into bed together, as we always do.   The light switch is on my side, so he had to reach over me to flip the switch.  We spooned together not wanting to let each other go, and soon I soon found myself desperate for him.  I turned my face to see him, and he kissed me.  What followed was the most emotional intense lovemaking I had ever experienced.  I felt protected and close, and simultaneously dirty, pathetic and weak.  I couldn’t believe I’d just sexually offered myself to the man who’d betrayed me.  How little self respect did I have?   How can something feel wrong and right at the same time?   I was confused, but all I knew was that I never wanted to let go.

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Comments

  1. I too am going through the 1 year anniversary of the affair discovery. I thought I would be stronger than this but I’m having the worst and saddest times right now. I cry every moment I think about what happened. The worst is discovering a new information regarding the affair that knocked me off my feet yet again. I know he was in a different place back then and so was I, but being with this loving person now makes it even harder not to think, “How could you have done this to me??” Was I so horrible that you were able to treat someone you supposedly love like that? Was he a monster? Can he be the same monster again?
    I know I need to focus on the now, which is what I’ve been doing prior to this month, but I guess this time affects me more than I thought. Good luck to you and your healing, and thank you for sharing your stories.

    • fighterandsurvivor i have so many days when your words could honestly be mine. So many times I look at him and wonder how it was possible. Therapy with him has taught us both so much, and the one thing I have taken from this entire experience is that men truly do operate in a completely different sphere of reality than we do. They see things so drastically differently. The person you see now ISN’T the person who did this to you. My hope for you is that he has grown, has taken responsibility, has vowed to be there for you and act as healer for you. If he truly listens, doesn’t become defensive and realizes that you WILL have questions, you WILL have sad times, you WILL need him, my hope is that he steps up. Every time that he does, he shows you that nothing is off-limits, and that he is truly there for you. If he does, and he truly compassionate and regretful, then he ISN’T the same man. he is a better one. So many men approach this differently…they walk away, they justify, they blame, they avoid….it’s the ones that listen, take action, show remorse and prove to you every day how they regret their actions that make a difference. And, it isn’t just giving you the “there there honey” back-pats. He needs to PUT HIMSELF IN YOUR SHOES AND FEEL IT. I will have a post about this in a little while….about the day my husband had the breakthrough and actually FELT it. In that monent, I knew I’d heal eventually because he was never going to do this again knowing how it feels – and no, I didn’t have to give him a taste of his own medicine to achieve it. More on that later 🙂

      I hope you’ll sign up to get updates so I can keep you in the loop with how that went 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      • I’m the other side of this story. I’m the husband that realises how stupid he has been and takes 100% responsibility for what I’ve done. I’m now trying to rebuild my marriage and it is tough but I remind myself it’s only been 11 weeks and I’ve hurt my wife for much longer than that. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • I commend you for wanting to do the right thing. I think the journey is a long one. So long as you show remorse, patience with her process and understand that it doesn’t proceed in a straight line forward, you will be ok. For me, the deal breakers were: break all contact with the ow, express remorse, attend counseling, be willing to answer ALL questions whenever, not get impatient with me when I asked the same thing over and over (repetitive affirmation and exposure advances healing, be tolerant of what I need to heal (this blog) and understand my feelings of revenge and anger. He’s been an amazing support to me through this, and it’s the reason we’ve worked.

      • Thank you for the advice. I will print this out and keep it with me at all times. As I’ve said on my blog, every day I wonder if this is the day that she tells me that she wants a divorce. Until that day, I will keep doing as I’ve been doing until now and what you’ve suggested.

      • My husband has said the same thing. Wondered if today is the day. He used to say that it didn’t feel like a matter of “if”, but “when”, and he would just get through one day at a time.

  2. Greg Halpin says:

    I’m writing a short story on this very issue and stumbled across your blog. I’m curious as to why your husband admitted to the affair. The first rule of having an affair is never tell your spouse about it if you don’t get caught as it does more damage to the marriage even if it clears the guilty conscience. Sounds like a lot of additional damage has been done by the mistress notifying friends and family. That kind of humiliation is almost unbearable.

    In the back of your mind, did you suspect all along or do you now look back and wonder how you couldn’t have known? It seems some people subconsciously choose not to see the evidence before their very eyes.

    You wrote that you had sex soon after your husband copped to the affair. Are you not worried about STDs and AIDS? Did you have your husband tested? I know a couple where the man cheated and the wife would not have sex with him until he passed an HIV test six months later.
    Hope it works out.
    Greg.
    http://www.welcometoscranton.com

    • Greg, Thank you for your comment 🙂

      To answer your questions:

      My husband admitted the affair because he had never intended on it continuing as long as it had, and he’d wanted it to stop. 2 months into the 10 month affair, he told her he no longer wanted to continue their “arrangement”, and she started threatening him with telling me. He had always intended to one day tell me, but hadn’t intended to do it immediately. He wanted to create space between the affair and the disclosure. When she started putting the pressure on, and threatened to tell me, he knew he was cooked either way and was going to lose his family. I’d just mentioned to him in that timeframe that a friend had cheated on her husband, and told him I was disgusted. I said if that ever happened to me, it would be over (that’s truly what I thought I would do, but then again I wasn’t placed in the situation, and you just never know until you are knee deep in it what you will truly do). Afraid to lose me, he tried to make the affair stop without me finding out – yet. When she threatened to tell me, and gave him an ultimatum to do so, he decided it would be better coming from him than from her, so he confessed.

      When I look back, I can’t help but wonder how I didn’t see it. I mean, there were, as my first post here indicated, red flags, but when you trust someone so implicitly, all signs could point to the obvious, and your trust would override them. I should have been more forceful in my questioning….perhaps I didn’t want to hear what I subconsciously feared? I really don’t know. All I know is that it blindsided me, but when he did tell me – I knew it was her.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever personally been through infidelity and its recovery, but I will say that I don’t agree with your comment that telling the spouse does more damage to the relationship. I believe that a husband or wife that is forever holding a secret, and holding something back from their spouse is never 100% fully committed back into the marriage. They have a secret that prevents them from being fully present and connected. I think that does far more damage over the long term than revealing an affair does. In fact, those who have been through the hell and back of recovering from an affair, some will tell you that it actually IMPROVED their marriage. I think I am on the road to that being the case for us. We are closer and more connected than we ever were, more loving, more patient and understand each other at a deeper level than before. We are a far better couple now than we ever were. I just wish it hadn’t taken an affair to get us here.

      Yes we had been concerned about it initially, but with her having had a pregnancy test, they automatically do an STD screening, and she was clear. We had considered not being together sexually until we knew for sure, but truthfully, I already felt so terribly that adding an STD to my list of problems seemed a far smaller risk than the benefit of reconnecting in that moment. I knew the chances were slim, and I would take my chances if it meant being connected physically and emotionally. Perhaps not the most rational decision, but it was an irrational time. As for the woman who waited 6 months, she may also have not been prepared to be sexual with him regardless of his STD status. For some women, the idea of being intimate with someone who has betrayed you so deeply is impossible, disgusting, out of the question. Whether he had been tested immediately, and the results returned in their favour, she may still have waited 6 months for a whole host of emotional reasons.

      Thank you for your comments on my blog, and I wish you good luck with your book!

      • This was the part I wished to ask.
        after 2 months when he realized he didn’t want her you mean he dragged an unwanted affair for 8 months? shouldn’t he have told you then and there? that would have avoided the pregnancy and the 10 month long betrayal.
        this forced affair for 8 MONTHS seems very unreal to me maybe because I don’t know the details. It would be good if you write more about it. how do you try to stop the affair while you continue to have sex after work? for continuous 7 months? I may understand he did not have the courage to tell you but I did not understand this part.

      • He tried to end it after two. She cried that she had been used for sex so he kept her in the workplace even though he felt it was best they no longer associate. She said she could handle that and he felt he could too. He wasn’t going to tell me, at least not right away. She threatened to tell me anytime she would get upset at work. She would threaten his job, his licence, his family. He thought he would lose his family and his income, meaning his home also. It was a big potential loss. So he acquiesced to her somewhat. She got a raise I think as a result of her antics. She threatened to scream sexual assault, to tell me, to tell his friends. He just figured he could make it go away. He tried to gradually extricate himself. He managed from
        October-January and fell back in January. The affair didnt last 10 months. It started in June and ended in march but it wasn’t ongoing throughout. There was a 4 month break in there and attempts to end.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m so glad I’ve stumbled across your blog. I can barely type for the tears. A few weeks ago I also discovered my husband was having an affair. Your feelings mirror mine so much. The knowledge that his lips & arms were actually being shared with someone else. The overwhelming need to be held and loved by the one who has hurt me more than anyone ever could, and then the feeling of being pathetic for needing this so badly.
    And of course, as you fall into the pit, the world around you keeps revolving and you have to go with it.

    • Sadly this is a road many of us take. I put this blog together hoping to Crete a sense of community and sharing around these feelings. I wanted others going through this to know they aren’t alone.

  4. I’m so glad to have found your website and that you have freely shared your experience. I just discovered (or rather my suspicions were confirmed) on Monday that my husband has been involved with another woman since March. I had what I felt was an inappropriate reaction at the time…I asked my husband to call the other woman while I was present to break it off if he truly wanted to repair our relationship and then to make love to me afterwards. He was taken aback since it had only been 24 hours since the discovery. I felt disgusted with myself, but I just wanted to be intimate with him and to have someone hold me because I felt so alone. I now know that it’s called “hysterical bonding” and some women have this reaction. I am concerned about STDs and am getting tested tomorrow – but the truth is my husband was having sex with both of us all along so the damage is already done or not. I told him that the sex didn’t mean I was forgiving him or committing to reconciliation, but was rather something I needed from him at the moment. It hasn’t happened since, but I do want to be held. Again, thank you.

  5. Chatty Chicky and I have been emailing back and forth and she had recommended reading about your story,

    I have read a few of your post and I so glad to have found your blog. I am about a year into discovery day of my husbands affair. He too fathered a child, and also says he wants nothing to do with the child (I question if this is the right decision). I also did the hysterical bonding with my husband. I know everything I have read about affairs, says that it take time to heal, but I really thought I would be in a better place this far into it.

    The OW has left us alone, she too worked with my husband, but after my husband ended it and told her he wanted nothing to do with it, she quite the job and stayed silent, that is until we got the child support papers in the mail (all she wanted was for him to be apart of the childs life, when I said no, then she said “they he will pay for it”). Now however since the child has been born, and I have seen pictures, I cant help but think that maybe we arent doing the right thing and we should be in that little girls life. So many emotions. Its always nice to know that there are other people out there.

    • I think that when it comes down to being involved in his child’s life, that choice can only be his. Obviously he will consider you, and how it will impact you, but in the end, he needs to do what will allow him to sleep at night, to respect himself etc. We can’t dictate the relationship for them, as I am sure you will agree. I get a lot of heat from readers who assume my husband isn’t in his daughter’s life because of me, as if made it an ultimatum. As long as he is honest with himself and with me about what he wants, I will support him. We chose to remain out, due to safety concerns for our existing children and my exposure to her antics and hatred for me. He had been assured that she has a large and supportive family, with lots of members, people clamoring to babysit, etc., and he provides for her financially. For now, it’s the best option for everyone.

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