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Stop this rollercoaster, I want to get off


Rollercoasters are wildly exciting, taking you on a high speed tumultuous journey of ups and downs where you feel completely disoriented and hang on by a thread of hope that you will survive. The rollercoaster that you ride in the wake of infidelity is anything but exciting, and while the ups and downs are the same, and you are also hanging by a thread of hope that you will survive, this was not a ride that you had ever willingly agreed to take.

In the weeks after the discovery of his affair, we sat in the therapist’s office, and I said that I felt as though I was in a speeding car, recklessly headed to a place I didn’t know, and holding on for dear life, hopeful that my family would survive this unscathed. When you are thrust into that car, that rollercoaster, that speeding train without having willingly placed yourself there, the mix of emotions that washes over you is like something I’ve never experienced.

Have you ever been sad and angry at the same time? Absolutely – we all have. But to look at your husband’s face, and to simultaneously hate him, wish hurt and pain upon him, love him, blame him, intensely crave him, despise every ounce of him, feel protected by him, feel abandoned by him, cherish every ounce of him….it is an incongruence I never knew was possible. How could these conflicting feelings all happen at the same time, towards the same person, in this one moment? Believe me, it is possible.

I liken it to a corkscrew. A corkscrew spirals around in a circular pattern, and if you follow the path of a corkscrew, you’ll notice it comes back around full circle, but when it comes back, it is in a slightly different place. Depending on whether you are following that corkscrew down or up, you will either be higher or lower than where you started. It’s familiar…but slightly different. Your perspective on that place is shifting.

This is how the emotional rollercoaster feels when you are on it. One day you hate his guts and wish him out of your life forever, and the next day you crave his closeness so badly that it physically hurts. An hour, a day or a week later, you are back to the same place of hating him, except this time, the hate is different. Maybe today the hate is mixed with sadness instead of anger, and instead of wishing him dead, you long to be held and comforted. The hate is still there, but what accompanies the hate has shifted. It’s kind of like ‘same entree, different side dish’.

For someone who lives for consistency, this back and forth unpredictable mood-swing-to-the-extreme experience is unsettling. I like predictable things, and I like to be predictable for others. This was as far from predictable as I’ve ever been.

A year later, my feelings are still inconsistent to a degree – I have good days, and I have bad days. The one thing that remains the same is my level of commitment to my marriage. I won’t give up on this marriage without a fight, and I am fighting hard – we both are.

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Comments

  1. how are you doing now?

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