Support Groups

I discovered, throughout my healing process, that there are no support groups in my city for affair recovery.   I really think there ought to be.  When I was first looking for support, I went online.  I read everything I could find on affairs, mistresses, motives for infidelity, healing, supports, stories that were similar to mine…..anything.  What I really was missing was the opportunity to sit face to face with other women and talk about our experiences, to share, to cry, to scream, to relate, to understand, to support.  Where are they?

There are meetup groups, through the service, but I guess I was looking for something a little more formal, something with a moderator who has experience helping people navigate through this.  It isn’t enough to think you know what this is like.  The truth is that unless you’ve been through this, you really have NO idea, and most people who think that they are being helpful, just don’t realize how crass and superficial their comments can seem sometimes.  I don’t need or want that from a group leader, who has merely volunteered for it.  I want someone with experience.  Someone who can give me hope.  Someone who can lead the discussion in a way that leaves us feeling renewed afterwards, or at least exhausted from the emotional process of release that we so desperately need.

I am tempted to start one.  I am sure I am not alone in feeling one is necessary.

Reopening old wounds in Paradise

This past week I had the opportunity to take a vacation with my family.  We haven’t been on vacation since the week before D-day . In fact, it was the first day after we had returned from vacation that my husband confessed to his affair.  Suddenly, all images from our vacation had a new meaning.  The smiling faces in our images, my husband holding my hand, cuddling with me – all of it was fake.  I’d arranged for a professional photographer to capture our family in photojournalistic images while we were there.  I’d researched who would capture our family, and where we would be photographed.  I’d planned the outfits, the timing, all of it.  Whereas normally I would be chomping at the bit to see the images from our photo session, I was suddenly less than enthusiastic.  I didn’t want to see a lie.  I didn’t want to look into an image and see something different from the magic that I’d felt in that moment – a moment that obviously meant more to me than it did to him.

Well, it has been two years since we’ve taken a vacation together, and we decided it was about time.  We are tired of living in the shadow of this hell-hole and wanted to recreate the magic we feel as a family when we are away.  We decide to revisit a location we’d been to previously.  It was an affordable place, great for kids, and warm during an otherwise cooler time of year.  I really thought nothing much of it until I arrived at the airport, and it suddenly hit me. “The last time we were here, he was having an affair with HER”.  All of a sudden, memories that I hadn’t been able to access, likely because they weren’t of any value or use, came flooding back to me.  Memories of the last vacation, what we’d done, where we’d gone, the dinners out, the family fun days, the road trips, I could see it all clearly as if it had JUST happened.  I remembered the room, the layout of our suite, the moments we had together as a family and as a couple.  It was as though I was seeing my vacation in detail from above, watching those moments unfold again, but this time with a perspective I didn’t have before – the perspective that the last time we’d shared these moments in this place, he was in the early phases of an affair that was, at that time, still exciting, new and fresh.  For all I know, the whole time we were away, he was thinking of her and their time together while he was supposed to be devoted to me and our family.  The sudden flashbacks were overwhelming, and I found myself crying on the shuttle to the hotel.

When we arrived at the hotel, I was shocked to discover that we had the exact same room layout as previously….and it made the flashbacks more intense.  I sat HERE when he and I discussed how sketchy the internet connection was. We sat HERE on a balcony JUST LIKE THIS one night after the kids were in bed.  The pool we were at looked like this, and I remember swimming and enjoying the company of a man I thought I knew,  but who was leading a secret life the whole time.  I remembered the meals, the moments, the evenings, the morning showers – all of it – exccept this time, I could see myself in those moments, deliriously unaware of what was unfolding right under my nose, and I felt sorry for the girl I saw.  What a complete loser.  What a trusting moron she is.  What an idiot that she can’t even see what is going on behind her back.  That same wife who busily folded the family laundry the night before we left to ensure clean clothes on our return, that same mom who swam with her kids and enjoyed family meals…that woman was being taken in favour of FREE pussy made available from a whore with an agenda.

I also couldn’t help but put the entire last trip into perspective, as I always tend to do with most events.  “The last time we were here, he hadn’t yet impregnated her, and he hadn’t fathered a baby with this woman”.  Had I found out about it at this point, he never would have…

I spent the entire vacation in flashbacks.  It caused me to mention her name over and over in casual conversation because she was now on my mind.  She was on vacation with me, and I couldn’t break free of her grip.  It was horrible.

I didn’t say anything to my husband about the feelings I was having.  Truthfully, I didn’t see the point.  I know our therapist would disagree, and say that I need to share my feelings of sadness and insecurity whenever they arise so that we can be together in the feelings.  However, I didn’t want to ruin HIS vacation by being a sappy, overly emotional, sad person who can’t seem to get over this, and who raises this topic at the most inopportune of times.  I didn’t want to be seen as a burden, and I didn’t want to compromise his only time of rest and relaxation by bringing HER back into focus.  I just held onto it, and it was hard.

It all leads me to wonder how long this will plague me.

My husband has told me that I need to revisit some of the places that are triggers for me so that I can overwrite the old memories with new ones.  In some small way, possibly a rational one, I could see the sense in that.  But emotionally, it really didn’t work out that way.  Revisiting places where we have been during times of his infidelity is not a simple re-writing of history.  It is a resurrection of moments that are now lies, and which no longer hold the special meaning they once did.  Having to sit at the same table, or visit the same restaurant – it doesn’t overwrite anything, it just brings back into consciousness moments that are painful to see from this new perspective.

Sometimes I just wish he could experience this pain….FEEL what it feels like so that he would truly KNOW the devastation he has caused me.

What I have been left with, after this week of vacation with my family, is a fear that I will never get over this.

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