Advertisements

Where there’s a will, there’s a way


It seems infidelity is everywhere you look, when you are willing to look for it.  I will admit, I was much happier in my blissful place of ignorace….or was I?  Some days I think I was, but I think I know better.  I much prefer being enlightened by the knowledge of tragedy than to be in the dark and clueless.

I was clueless for a long time about affairs.  I knew they happened, but they were rare, and they happened to other people.   Now, it seems, I know as many people who have been unfaithful as those who haven’t. And, since most don’t talk about it, I am sure there are many, who I think haven’t, who HAVE or who ARE engaging in extramarital relationships.  My father was one of them.  My father in law was one of them.  My husband.  My husband’s best friend.  My husband’s work colleague.  It’s everywhere. and it is disgusting.

What’s worse than the natural tendency nowadays to throw away our marriages, and the vows we committed to, is the fact that society seems to make it so easy to cheat.  There are agencies designed specifically to arrange hookups between married individuals (Ashley Madison, for example).   There are television shows that glorify the existence of mistresses and their conquests (Mistresses), songs that talk about competing for another woman’s partner (Girlfriend, by Avril Lavigne, You make me wanna, by Usher,  I like it, by Enrique Iglesias (video).   There are countless others, and I’ve blogged about them previously.

Throw into the mix, now, apps that allow you to hide secret images on your phone, a hidden black book, etc. all disguised as the calculator that comes standard on the iPhone.   So now, if you have any reasons to be suspicious that something is going on,  and you happen to check your partner’s phone, you may wish to look for apps that look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.13.19 AM

On the outside at quick glance, these look like your standard calculator, but clicking on them reveals things underneath that open an entire secret stash of goodies you were never meant to see.

How do you know if it’s the real thing?  Try deleting the app.  Hold it down and if that little white jiggling x appears, you’ve found gold.   iPhone doesn’t allow the standard apps that come with the phone to be deleted; things like stocks, ibooks, calendar, calculator, etc).  If it doesn’t jiggle, and can’t be deleted, it’s the real thing.

Here are some to look at:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/fake-calculator-secret-photo/id693143389?mt=8

http://techpp.com/2012/06/05/apps-to-lock-and-hide-files-on-iphone-selection-of-5/

http://appshopper.com/utilities/secret-calculator

Don’t want to rely on the OW or the OM to get rid of the evidence, or worried that they may one day tell your spouse?   Get rid of the evidence:  http://www.tigertext.com/features/

These apps won’t always be disguised as a calculator.  They can also be disguised as a Stocks app.

Technology makes life easier in so many ways, and is our friend in so many ways.  It is also our foe and contributes to tremendous damage, when we let it.

Now, some may slam me for even pointing these out, suggesting that by posting them, I’ve given some reader the tools to commit infidelity, and by posting these, I’ve somehow contributed to their actions.  To that I say “where there is a will, there is a way”, and if they are looking online for ways to cheat and hide their tracks, this blog has far fewer resources than a simple google search for “apps for infidelity” bring up.  If anyone is looking to cheat badly enough, they will come to those resources all on their own.   I post this to help share the knowledge of whats out there, for those who blindly trust, or for those who suspect something is amiss, but have no proof.

Advertisements

If you knew someone was being cheated on…would you tell?


This came up as a side conversation with some women I know. The idea came about that friends should have ground rules around whether they would, or would not want to know if their spouse was cheating, and if they would want their friends to tell them. I learned that some friends have pacts around this very thing, while some are angered at the thought of a friend telling them. What would you want?

Personally, if a friend knew my husband was cheating, I would want to know. That was the case for me even before he cheated, back when I never thought it was possible. I would want to know because I want to be in control of where I am and why in my life and if someone is cheating, I either need to exit or figure it out. I don’t ever want to be in the dark.

So tonight as I am browsing Facebook, this video comes across my feed. It’s a “just for laughs” gag that involved a cheating boss. The secretaries are being pranked into thinking their boss is committing adultery in his office and then his wife shows up. Will they tell her, or protect the boss? Watch what they all do, and then I would love to hear your comments on what you think you would have done…and as the spouse, what you would have wanted the secretary to do…

Getting it off my chest


I started this blog as a means of reaching out to other betrayed spouses, in the midst of my own pain and healing journey.  I’ve always found that helping others is a great way to also help yourself.

As my story was unfolding, bit by bit, I would blog in order to obtain support, but also to show others going through the same thing that they weren’t alone.  As I reached a place of healing, I didn’t want to simply stop blogging, because I realized that blogging wasn’t simply about *ME* getting support, but also the giving of support to others.  I can’t tell you how many emails I receive, or comments left here on the blog from random strangers, telling me how helpful this blog has been to them.  I can’t tell you how much those comments mean to me, even today, after my marriage has healed.

The focus of the blog has shifted in recent years towards more of a place of healing and support for others.  I hope that it is that for you, if you have been betrayed.

I am also aware that this blog is also a place for OW’s and OM’s to get a glimpse into the mind of the betrayed spouse, and I suppose I should be grateful that they are interested enough in our experience to be looking up and reading a blog like this one, but my experience has shown me that usually, they are interested only in seeing the pain and devastation, in the rubbernecking into the misery of others in order to feel better about their own lives.   While not as numerous as the comments of support, I do from time to time, receive comments that attempt to belittle me, to belittle or invalidate my choices, to make me second-guess the happiness I have worked so hard to reclaim.  I can tell you without one shred of a doubt that these comments come from:

1. OW’s

2. Children born out of an affair

3. Those who have never been betrayed and who stand in their glass  houses throwing stones, having absolutely no clue about what they are contributing commentary on.

The reason I say the above is because no person who has ever experienced the devastation of a betrayal like this would ever dream of making un-supportive comments towards a betrayed spouse.  It would be like plunging a knife deeper into your own chest, because you fee her pain as she does.  You’ve walked in those shoes, and you know how they feel.  No one who has been through this would dream of inflicting further trauma.

 

OW’s: OW’s by the very nature of their actions have shown that they don’t care about the betrayed wife, and are in it for themselves, at whatever cost. It is the ultimate in selfishness, and then in later cowardly comments like “I didn’t owe the wife anything” (Read: I don’t have to atone for my poor choices to sleep with a man I knew had a family, and I can get off scot-free if I just point out that we didn’t have the contract).   That is so simplistic and a cheap way out.  In what other scenario can a person contribute to a wrong-doing, having had full knowledge that it was wrong, and when caught not have to bear any responsibility?   There isn’t one.

Children born of an affair:  These responders I understand completely.  Their anger is understandable, yet I don’t think it is constructive for them to take their anger out on me simply because my husband’s affair bore a child also.  Those who do comment who are children of affairs are likely carrying a great burden of anger and feelings of being unwanted, unplanned, not having a “real family”.   These aren’t even children from broken homes, they are children from a home that never existed, a family that never was.  Some hold anger because their fathers denied paternity for them.  Some are angry because their father’s never contributed to their upbringing, and they watched their single mother struggle to raise them without his contribution.   Others are angry because they’ve never met their father, and perhaps has chosen his children from his legitimate union over them, adding to their feelings of being unwanted, unloved, not-counting, and “not real”.   I feel a great deal of empathy for these children because affairs are never the choice of the child whose life is the result of the acts of two selfish others who were transiently involved.  They are also not the choice of the betrayed wife, so truly the OC and the betrayed spouse are the only true victims here.

People who have never experienced infidelity:  We all have opinions about many things in this world, some of which we have yet to actually experience, so our views are limited and possibly also incorrect.    This is the case for the readers who come to this blog and comment about how “if it were me, I would have ______”, and “I can’t believe you are so weak that you ________. If it were me, I would have ________”.   Look, every betrayed wife will tell you the SAME THING, and I know because I’ve spoken with and counseled many of them and that is that until they went through this, they thought they knew exactly what they would have done, and yet when the shit hit the fan, they reacted in a way they never would have expected.  I am a great example.  I blogged a long time ago about a friend who confessed her affair to me 6 months before my husband confessed his.  Speaking frankly with my husband about the situation, I told him if that ever happened to us, he could pack up and leave.  That didn’t play out that way because although you THINK you know what you would do, and how you would feel, you really don’t have a clue.  There is nothing in life that can prepare you enough emotionally for the devastation of an affair that you could accurately use your past life experiences to inform your choices post-disclosure.  You just won’t know until you get there.   So, while I understand the non-valid comments that some of these people make, I also like to encourage them to do a little reading into affairs before they post malicious comments on a blog of someone who has fallen, lived to tell the story, and gotten back up.  Mine is a success story, and it belongs to me.  What you think of it doesn’t matter.  Whether you agree with my choices doesn’t matter.  I live with my victory every day.  If you are on this blog, chances are you have an interest in infidelity or affairs or whether a relationship can survive one.  With that in mind, do some reading, do a lot of listening, and perhaps less judging, and see what you can actually learn from those who have been there, instead of what you suppose it might be like.

This past weekend, I was notified of three separate comments from the same reader within an hour.  She was obviously reading through the blog, and choosing to spew negative comments about my situation wherever she could.  At first, my response was very reactive.  I felt attacked.  I felt my story, the work I’d done, the pain I’d endured, that my husband had endured were being invalidated, and I desperately wanted to reply reactively.  But I was not in a place where I could quietly sit and ponder a reply, and so I sat on it while I went away with the family.   I discovered a few things: If you sit on things, they do get smaller.  A few days later, I didn’t have the same need to “put her in her place with her poorly informed comments”, and so I decided simply not to reply at all.  After all, the affair recovery for ME took a lot of time and energy.  I am always willing to give more to help others who are struggling with the same thing, but I refuse to spend my energy on readers’ comments which are clearly uninformed, cruel and show a sincere lack of support.  It isn’t my job to educate you on affairs, why they happen, and what the right and wrong outcomes are.   After all, the comments show already a closed-minded individual, and I am simply not prepared to forcibly pry it open in order to “reach you”.

That being said, I also discovered something interesting.  I am much less bothered by the comments that attack me than I am at the ones that attack my husband.  Those ones really get me going.  Let’s face it, there isn’t any substance in attacking a betrayed wife.  After all, I didn’t have the affair, and I didn’t make the choices.  I am simply being involved in the clean-up.   So those roll off my back pretty easily.  The ones that attack my husband…those are harder to take.

Let me be very clear.  I am not a weak, sad, pathetic, little wife who has ALLOWED her husband to walk all over her, who has ALLOWED herself to be taken advantage of, and who accepts her husband back into her life because she doesn’t think she deserves any better.   I am not a broken woman with low self esteem. I know full well that what happened had NOTHING to do with me, so my self worth isn’t suffering. I also know that if I were single, I would have no trouble reconnecting. I’m not with my husband out of desperation. I’m with him out of a genuine love for him, an understanding of his weaknesses and his immense lack of judgment, but moreso because he proves to me every day that he is deserving of the trust I have put back into him and I know he is worth the risk that once felt like. It doesn’t feel risky anymore, it feels secure. We worked hard for that. I worked hard for that. Those who claim he was let off the hook or got away with it, or that he wasn’t given the same heat and hatred given to the OW is simply incorrect. My husband and I went through a lot. Therapy, marriage retreats, suicidal ideation, immense sadness, complete marital breakdown…and we did it together and came out the other side. What you see as more anger towards her than him is simply the result of him having “made right what he did wrong” while she continues to do wrong. So yes….he has risen above her in my eyes, but they were at one time the same two scumbags who deserved to be together in hell. He’s just made all efforts to heal, while she continues to destroy. Therein lies the difference and what you see as being “let of the hook” is simply a man who has re-earned my respect. The OW you see as “bearing all the heat”, is simply a woman who hasn’t borne any responsibility.

I suggest readers go and read the in uninsightful replies both on this entry and others. It certainly helps me understand the kind of trolls that get wrapped up in garbage like this. These scumbag mistresses and bottom feeders all think the same way. Justify the behavior…see themselves as faultless…blame and hate the wife. Grow up people, and pick up some empathy on your way up. Instead of putting your energy into hating someone who has turned a trauma into a victory, go direct your energies to something positive. Hug a puppy.

a

Toronto Affair Recovery Seminar


I am often asked “if you could pick one thing that propelled you forward in your healing, what would that one thing be?” Hands down, it was attending the “healing from affairs” weekend with Anne and Brian Bercht.

Anne and Brian are affair recovery specialists. They have helped hundreds and hundreds of couples heal their marriages. They have also helped hundreds and hundreds more who were interested in reconciling come to terms with the affair and forgive, allowing the betrayed spouse to no longer be at the mercy of the affair.

I have been asked by Anne and Brian Bercht to put out feelers to see if there are any readers near Toronto, Canada who would be interested in one of their seminars in April 2014?

In order to commit to offering it, they would require at least ten participants. In order to show your commitment only a $500 deposit would be required instead of full payment.

If you want to find out more about what they do, visit http://www.beyondaffairs.com
and check out “seminars”. It truly is life-changing and I can’t recommend their programs enough.

You need to know that these seminars rarely if ever come to that area, and rarely to Canada. If you live there, or can get there, take advantage of this opportunity. It won’t happen again for many years. Find change now.

Comment below if you would be interested in placing a deposit towards an April 2014 date so that they can make this happen for you!

Jumping on the betrayed-wife-bashing bandwagon


I get it…when people are from different sides of an argument, it is hard to see and accept the other side’s views.  With infidelity, like any other highly emotional and charged topic, it becomes even harder.  I struggled a great deal and did a lot of work in order to be able to see and understand my husband’s affair through the eyes of his mistress.   And, although I have made the efforts to see her point of view and appreciate her struggles in the outcome of disclosure, I still nonetheless see her as a crazy, mentally-ill individual who isn’t deserving of any of my pity or time.  Seeing the other side doesn’t mean joining the other side, and abandoning your views.  It is simply about OPENING YOUR MIND TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT ANOTHER SIDE EXISTS.

As a betrayed wife I can completely understand the anger that a betrayed wife feels in the wake of an affair discovery.  I can understand the trash-talking that happens when you find out that another woman slept with your husband, was impregnated by your husband, kissed your husband, gave free blowjobs to your husband, stroked your husbands ego and all other parts that needed stroking, flirted with your husband, made plans with your husband, etc.  While this trash-talking can get a little intense and sometimes over the top, what I don’t understand is the trash-talking that comes from the other side.   Now this blog’s readership is comprised mainly of betrayed spouses who go online looking for someone who can relate. But, there are also readers who have themselves been mistresses and who un-apologetically admit to seeking out and taking pleasure in coaxing a man into the bedroom and out of a marriage.  They have their own forums, and their own blogs like this one where they ask for and receive support for the pain they go through when an affair is revealed (especially if the husband returns to the wife, leaving her and all the promises he made behind).  I get it, there are many people hurt in an affair, but that is for another post, so I digress…

Where was I?  Oh right…I understand the trash talk from betrayed wives to mistresses, after all, they engaged willingly with a man they knew were married (and for sake of argument I am not referring to those who perhaps had no idea the man they were sleeping with was married with kids, a dog and a picket fence).  What I don’t understand is the trash talk that comes in the other direction; the mistresses who trash on the wives, and blame us for their situation.  The mistresses, upset at how things didn’t go according to “plan” and then hate us for fighting for our marriage and our family.   That makes no sense to me, and yet sites abound with women who were the “OW” in a relationship and who lash out at the wife, putting her down, telling her she wasn’t enough to keep her man, capitalizing on her low self-esteem in the aftermath of the affair and taking the cheap shots when she is down.  Who does that?  Better yet, who does that when the situation was started by them, and they are the ones in the wrong?  It’s like cutting someone off in traffic and then flipping THEM the bird…

A further "Fuck you" to the betrayed wife

A further “Fuck you” to the betrayed wife

 

While “most” mistresses expect married women to become angered when the affair is discovered, strangely they don’t allow us this reaction when it does happen. It’s like we are expected to just shutup and take it.  And, when we call other women out on their behavior, we are called “bitches” and “overly emotional” and “hysterical” (the ow in my husband’s affair called me this many a time) and “overreactive”.  The irony is that if the tables were turned, they would behave in EXACTLY the same way.  But, in order to understand and appreciate that, these women would have to put themselves in our shoes, something that exhibits EMPATHY, and is something that I feel many of these women lack, which is exactly why they participate in these things in the first place.

Last night, while perusing my CNN app on my phone before bed, I came upon an article by Peggy Drexler, writing an opinion piece about Arianna’s blog “She’s a homewrecker”, where betrayed wives post lurid details and sometimes call out and name the women who were involved in affairs with their husbands.  This journalist essentially called this retaliation “bullying”, and claimed that women tearing down other women is horrid when the husbands are getting off scot-free.  I’m sorry?  My husband got off scot-free?  I don’t think so.

To say that this journalist doesn’t get it is an understatement.  Where on “She’s a homewrecker” does it say that betrayed wives have absolved their husband’s of their responsibility for the affair and opted to place sole blame on the mistress?  It doesn’t, yet this is what the author has implied.  Funny, because she says “it takes two”, so if she follows her own argument, she sees fault lying on both sides, but yet fails to see that betrayed wives, while choosing to out the mistress in public, is likely lashing out at her husband as well.  The difference is that the husbands return home, while the mistresses run deep into the woods, back into obscurity, pointing fingers at the wife, returning to the rocks from under whence they came.

Once an affair is disclosed, the mistresses scurry like rats abandoning a sinking ship.    Husbands come home to face the music.  Mistresses escape down a fire escape.  How are betrayed wives to express their anger and disappointment when one of the parties recedes into the darkness?  Yes it takes two, but the husband’s payback is something most don’t see, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.  Wives out their husbands, embarrass them, pay them back for the shame and hurt in many ways.  The difference here is that they have ACCESS.  With mistresses, many betrayed wives don’t even get a name, let alone an address, workplace or cell number.

Peggy write:

Although sleeping with a married man is of questionable morality — and that’s, of course, assuming the woman is even aware the man’s attached — the job of staying faithful belongs to the man who took the vow. And yet on “She’s a Homewrecker,” the men get off largely scot-free.

OMG if I have to hear this argument again, I will spit.  The vow argument?   Yes, he took the vow, but when a woman knowingly sleeps with a man she knows is married, why is she off the hook?  Why is Drexler so keen on letting her be?   Has she herself been the OW in an affair.  One must wonder.   So the breaking of the marital vow falls on the husband, yes, but marriages are contractual agreements, if you will, between a man and a woman.  In business, when a third party violates or interferes with an existing contract, they are said to be committing Tortious Interference.   Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff‘s contractual or other business relationships.  An example of tortious interference  is when “false claims and accusations are made against a business or an individual’s reputation in order to…[break a contract].  Funny, I seem to remember stories of the OW telling my husband how much I must not love him because I don’t dote on him like she would.  I also recall her mentioning, after having stalked me at my car, mentioning how pathetic women are who have my hair style and drive the kind of car that I do.  She found any angle to put me down in his eyes, trying to compete with me by trashing me to him.  Based on the example above, if this were a business, she would be guilty of tortious interference.

So why is it that business contracts are better protected against trolls than marriages are, when they are the foundation of our family lives?

Drexler also writes:

Despite this, the “homewrecker” still must pay, and does, in the form of having her name, details of her life and no fewer than six photos of herself splashed all over the site.

This is payback?  Really?  It doesn’t come close, in my opinion.  OK, so her name and reputation are compromised.  So are mine.  But is her family compromised?  Is her deepest and most intimate relationship violated?  Are the lives of her most vulnerable and cherished family members (paralleled with the children of a marriage) destroyed?  Are her foundations of trust shattered?   No.  I would EASILY take the shame of having someone post about me than what I’ve been through.  Seems like a cake-walk Peggy, and to compare the two is ridiculous.  It is the LEAST of what they deserve.   And don’t say that the husbands get off scot-free because, my dear, they don’t.  My husband has paid dearly, both emotionally at almost losing his family, financially at being sued on false charges for the purposes of extorting money and the child support he is willingly paying.   On the other hand, the OW has been successful in coaxing my husband into bed,  getting pregnant on purpose, and choosing to have the baby she wouldn’t otherwise have had, and having that child MORE THAN COMPLETELY PAID FOR.  She doesn’t pay for A SINGLE THING RELATED TO THAT CHILD because her child support check is enormous.  Sounds like she is basking in it…no?  I haven’t posted to “She’s a homewrecker” but I don’t admonish those who have.  In some cases, with mistresses running for the hills and leaving the husbands to absorb the damage, they leave the betrayed wives no other choice because they simply don’t take the honorable route: apologize, express remorse and beg for forgiveness for the damages you have caused to an innocent party.  It’s what we teach our children in grade school.   I guess these women missed that class.

I will be penning a response to Ms. Drexler on this article.  I hope you will too.

 

Lifting the veil of taboo


Why is infidelity such a taboo topic?

Why are we all so keen to portray marriage as perfect bliss, with no problems?

Why are we so ashamed to admit that there are issues like this exist in a marriage?

Why does no one EVER want to talk about it?Why is there such judgment about it?The taboo of infidelity

Because I consider myself to be completely healed, I can say that I no longer feel the need to obtain support from others by telling them my story.   I don’t seek out others to tell in the hopes that they can offer me suggestiions, a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen…I just don’t *need* that anymore.   And, although some of my friends know of our situation, most don’t.   I can say that in my desire to seek support, I feel that I did tell the wrong people.  Most of the ones I told aren’t in my life anymore, mostly because we weren’t such good friends, I suppose.  In some cases, learning of the affair pushed some away, either because they couldn’t handle the fallout, my constant need to talk about it, the way it monopolized the conversation, or all of the above.   Once I started to notice that those that knew were dropping off, I started to become more prudent in who I told…until I just didn’t need to tell anyone anymore.  I can now keep it to myself, but should I have to?
It’s interesting to me.  Over the last couple of years, my husband and I have befriended a couple through our children who were once at the same school.   We started to hang out with them socially, and really enjoy their company.  From time to time, the topic of infidelity has come up, as they have shared stories of work colleagues and other friends whose marriages have fallen victim to an affair.  In talking with them, not having once shared our story, I detect judgment from them about the topic. I can see quite clearly that they both are very quick to support the betrayed, and vilify the unfaithful spouse.  They both seem to be of the same opinion that an unhappy marriage should be exited before a new relationship started (I agree), but they also both seem to think that an unhappy marriage is what leads to affairs, and if you have been following my blog, or doing any reading on the subject, you will know that it’s not that simple.  While I appreciate the fact that their feelings on the matter support ME in MY position as the betrayed spouse, I also know that we could never tell them because it would jeopardize our relationship.  They would likely harbour very  negative feelings towards my husband, and if we told them now, they might feel betrayed themselves, knowing that we’ve discussed the topic together and never once told them that we have intimate knowledge about infidelity, having been there ourselves.  I have to say, though, that I do feel like a fraud not being able to share such a significant story of WHO WE ARE as a couple, with another couple that we are becoming close friends with.
I made a comment on Facebook the other day, about a mistresses as I watched the trial of Dr. Martin McNeill unfold, on trial for allegedly killing his wife Michelle in order to start a new life with his mistress Gypsy Willis.   My sister in law chimed in that married men who have affairs are the absolute scum of the earth.  I can’t help but wonder what that dinner conversation would look like if we told her that her brother in law, who both appear to hold in high regard, was guilty of that very thing?   Not only that, he fathered a child with his mistress and is paying child support for the next 19 years?  I think they might have coronaries right then and there, and given her comments, I can imagine it might cause a rift, so we remain quiet.It makes me sad when I think of how many of us are forced to stay quiet about these issues because we feel threatened to lose others around us if we tell?  It’s like a shameful secret that no one wants to talk about.  But, it is also a catch 22: The less we talk about it, the more secret and taboo it becomes, so the less we talk about it.  As someone who has been through it, who walked through to the other side, and who understands affairs so much better, I don’t feel shame in my story.  I feel pride.  My prior feelings of shame came from the belief that my husband’s affair was a refection of me as a bad wife, a bad lover, an incompetent partner, a lesser woman.  I now know that to not be true, so I do not feel shameful.  I would also venture to guess that my husband no longer feels as much shame as he once did because he now knows that his affair doesn’t reflect on him as a globally bad man.  He has taken the steps to make the proper amends and done the work.  Shouldn’t he feel proud?  Shouldn’t we both?   So why can’t we talk about it? Because we will lose friends and family…and that makes me very sad.

I try to live with authenticity.  I thrive when I have fewer more intimate connections with others.  Part of that intimacy is openly sharing the deepest parts of oneself with those you trust and care about, and I can’t have that with some that I would like to.  I have to wonder how the taboo of infidelity could ever be lifted?  I often feel like I am living a lie.  And, considering how prevalent infidelity has become, and that MOST of us will experience it at some point…shouldn’t we be talking about it?

 

A return to me


This process has been torturous for all involved.  Who knew that one split second decision to give a woman flirty attention, perhaps a kiss, or respond to a flirtatious gesture could turn a whole series of lives upside down?   I know my husband didn’t.  If he had, he would have walked away.  He should have walked away.

D-day was so long ago.  Looking back, I couldn’t wait for the time to pass, so I could be where I am now.   Now that I am here, I can’t believe how long ago that was.  So much has happened since then.  My kids have celebrated three Christmases, three birthdays…we’ve moved, they’ve changed schools, etc.  Not much is the same as it was then, and I am thankful that no remnants exist. I wanted to pack that life away, and never open the box again.

I mentioned this in another entry, but the day after D-day, I was scheduled to work with a family with two young children.  I had to watch him put his arm around her, snuggle her after they laughed about a mutually understood inside-joke, watch the dad scruff the hair of his son, and coddle his daughter.  I had to watch a family BE a family.  It was the hardest thing you could have asked me to do in the wake of finding out.  I wanted to die.  I tried as hard as I could to put a smile on my face, to pretend that all was ok with me.  I wondered whether my eyes showed signs of the beating I’d put them through the night before, crying, and holding back screams as I muffled my mouth with a towel.   I hoped they wouldn’t suspect.   I was likely overcompensating for their benefit and my own, forcing smiles and cracking jokes.   It was horribly fake.

In the days and weeks that passed, I continued to work, as I had pre-scheduled appointments that I had to keep.  I couldn’t take any leave.  I am self-employed and my company doesn’t run without me.  I am the life-force of the company, the manager, the worker, the advertiser, the salesman, the technician, the everything.   Desperately trying to keep my head afloat, work provided me with a distraction from my pain, but it was also a barrier to giving myself the gift of healing time.  I was so preoccupied with work, I dove into it.  I took on more of it.  Moments of quiet were dangerous.  Keeping my mind busy and my plate full was a good thing…most of the time.   The down-side was that I wasn’t giving myself time to grieve, and was allowing myself this time only in between.  Punctuated moments now and then, and only for limited time, as I had work to do, clients to please, a community to engage with, kids to raise.

When my mother died, I did the same thing.  Not having anticipated these losses, I wasn’t ready when the time came, and had no way of giving myself any time off.  I continued on, plugging away.

What I feel most sad about, when I reflect on the last few years, was the effect my emotional condition had on my children.  I became a bad parent some of the time.  I had no patience.  I was quick to anger, and yelled a lot.  I lashed out at my kids for seemingly minor infractions because inside I was at the end of my rope, and I didn’t have enough reserve.  I was hanging on by a thread, and while my kids had no idea, I am sure they noticed that mommy just wasn’t so nice anymore.   Between my inner grief, and my work schedule, I didn’t sign them up for many activities after school.  In as much as I attended school functions and contributed as much as I could to their school life, I wasn’t doing much for their extra-curricular life, and I am sure life at home wasn’t very fun.   I didn’t smile much, rarely joked, and my husband and I were probably not very affectionate in front of them.  How could I be?  I wasn’t sure I wasn’t opening myself up to further heartbreak.

One of the reasons I became a mom was to make a difference.  I wanted to raise beautiful children.  I wanted to create human beings that would go forward in their lives and make meaningful contributions.  I wanted to create generous, kind, compassionate people who would do something good with their lives.  I wanted to mother them.  I wanted to bake for them, cook for them, teach them, love them, hold them, read with them, guide them.   As much as any working mother could, I tried to make those things happen.  But the years from 2009-2012 were fraught with insecurity and pain.  I didn’t even know if we would survive as a family.  I gave the bare minimum a lot of the time, and I feel bad about that looking back.   My kids deserved more, and I wasn’t giving them what they needed.   Thankfully, kids are resilient, and we did a good job despite our situation.  They still don’t know, but I am sure they notice that mom is more fun, more prepared to give them her time and attention, and less quick to anger.  \

The OW was hell bent on taking my family from me, and while she wasn’t winning in the way she had planned, I feel as though she did cause damage, and took ME from MY family emotionally.

I made a decision this summer that will benefit my children.   I am closing my business next month, and taking the time to focus entirely on them.  I want to cook, I want to bake, I want to fold laundry, I want to drive them to school, I want to attend rehearsals, and be the lunchroom monitor on special days.  I want to be involved in their school life, and active in their personal lives.  I want to be fully available to them.  It’s not that I hate my job, it is more that I no longer want to allow my job to pull me away from what is important, and I am wanting to make up for lost time.  I am fulfilled just loving my kids, and I want to spend some time repairing the damage I feel was caused.

As I reflected on my decision to stop working the other day, I realized that a part of my happiness over taking this step is also another clean break from something that carries remnants from the affair days.  I want to purge all things that were a part of my world then, and start anew.  Like I said, I have a new home, we drive different cars now, our kids attend a different school, and my husband has relocated his office since the affair.  Almost nothing remains that once was during the affair.  It is all new, different, and clean.   My business is one of the last constants that has been there through it all, and while this isn’t the reason I am giving it up, it does feel good to let go of something that also felt tarnished from the affair.  She knew where I worked, she’d offered to have a rendez-vous in my office space once.   Taking this out of my life, leaves me room to fill it with something new that wasn’t there during the affair.

I don’t know what the next years have in store for me.   I know that I will miss my job a little, but I will cherish the memories made with my kids more.  I may go back to school.  I may not.  For now, I will just wait and see, and am grateful that I have the option to not work while I figure it out.  I feel like I am finally taking the time for me that I denied myself before.

 

Victim blaming or blog stalking?


I find in interesting to read the comments that are left on the blog. Some are meant for me, some are in response to other readers and their comments. Regardless, I’ve always taken an interest in how people relate to one another, how they respond, and how they perceive events.

It’s always been amazing to me how two people can witness the same event and walk away with very different interpretations of the events. How two people can witness a woman attacked, and one will see her as a helpless victim and try to help her up, while others will see her as having deserved it, and contribute to keeping her down. Interesting indeed.

I received this comment on the blog last weekend from a reader named “Kate” who says, in response to my “sermons from Facebook” post:

You are kidding yourself. No, you’re not responsible for the chivld coming into this world. But your husband is. Period. End of story. And it’s obvious you’re relishing the fact that he chose your kids over this poor little girl. Congratulations! You won. And the man you won is a miserable coward. You are responsible for depriving this innocent child of her father because you are selfish and insecure and won’t let go of his balls. Grow up! The fact that the OW is unstable does not justify your husband’s shirking histories parental duty. Rather, his involvement is all the more important. Your blog is a disgusting manifestation of ego and rage. I hope I never run across it again. Take it down. Get over yourself. Get a life. And encourage your husband to man up and be a father to this poor child You repulse me!

Wow. Amazing how her interpretation is that I somehow have ANY influence over my husband’s decision to see or know the child they created. Does she actually think that I prohibit him? Does she think that he wants a relationship and the only thing preventing it is me? Really? Where on this entire blog does it read that I wish for him to remain outside of her life and that I will steadfastly refuse him to have a relationship with his “daughter”? How did she come to THAT twisted interpretation?

Am I “relishing the fact that my husband chose my children over hers”? I’d be lying to say I am not pleased that he is honoring his commitment to the children he created in matrimony. Of course I am pleased he didn’t leave thm and chose to remain the same loyal and devoted dad to them. Of course I am pleased that I didn’t lose my family. Of course I am pleased that he chose to honor his family over a life with a whore. But I am pleased that my children have the father that their father at the expense of her loss? No. I don’t think a child should be fatherless. But, I also don’t think that women should target and sleep with married men and then stop their pill and suggest unsafe sex in order to get pregnant in the hope that it will win her the prize either. I don’t think a child should grow up without her father in her life, but I also don’t think that a grown, mature woman should stalk the wife of the man she is looking to steal, make snide comments about her, make up lies and false lawsuits to gain money and extort funds from an innocent family and call the police on a wife whose only “crime” is trusting her husband.

See, there are a lot of things that I think shouldn’t happen…but they do, and I have no more influence over HIS decision to not see this child than I do over world poverty.

My husband told his whore long ago, before I was even made aware, that he had no intentions of being present in the child’s life. He didn’t want the whore to have a delusional fantasy that they would start a new life together. He wanted it to be quite clear to her what the picture would look like if she chose to have his child out of spite. He made this decision independent of me, and voiced it to her long before I even knew.
So how exactly did I influence it if he told her himself that this was his intention?

“The man you won is a miserable coward”. This is a three parter, so lets tackle it that way:

Firstly, he isn’t something I won. I already had him. I wasn’t in a contest to win a prize. I am MARRIED to him and “won” his heart a long time ago. He wasn’t up for auction, or something I had to sway to be with me. He always was. You can’t win what is already yours to begin with.

Secondly, he isn’t miserable. He was in the beginning when the news first broke to me because he feared losing our family. Our family is the world to him, and we are his home. He has fought to reclaim us entirely and to prove himself worthy of us. He is far from miserable today. We are thriving, our children are growing and healthy, our marriage is strong and we are back to trust again. I’ve forgiven him, which was a long process, but he hasn’t forgiven himself. It is a scar he will always bear, but sweetheart, he isn’t miserable.

Thirdly, he is the furthest thing from a coward. He chose to tell me. That took strength and honesty. That took risk and integrity. He attended therapy, told my parents, apologized to my family, took it on the chin in shame for years, never once blaming me. He was my hero through the pain I felt. Coward? Hardly. The coward is the woman who continues to try and extort money from our family, who sends ridiculous and uninsightful emails to our lawyer using terms she scarcely understands, about concepts she is too stupid to wrap her feeble mind around. Cowardly is the woman who has to stalk and lurk in shadows. Cowardly is the woman who needs to try and steal another woman’s husband. Cowardly is creating false lawsuits and police claims to cause harm to someone out of jealousy. Cowardly is not having the strength to do the honorable thing and apologize to the woman whose life you turned upside down and ask for forgiveness. THAT is the coward.

“You are selfish, insecure, and won’t let go of his balls”

I’m selfish how? Because I want my family? Because I want my husband? Fighting for my family makes me selfish? How am I insecure? I’ve stood up and fought the fight of my life. I’ve defended my marriage. I’ve risked everything and claimed it back. I’ve seen the deepest and darkest places of pain and come out the other side. I am confident, self assured and deserving of every happiness that comes to me because I have fought for it and earned it. Insecure? Hardly. Insecure is the woman who steals a man because she doesn’t think she can be loved honestly or have the confidence to obtain a partner in an way free of lies, deceit and manipulation.

How is my blog a manifestation of ego and rage? If by ego, you mean that it’s “all about me”, you’re right…it is. It’s my blog and it tells my story. As for the rage…have someone come and do to you what has been done to me, and see how rage-filled you become. Thankfully my angry days are behind me. Instead I choose to forgive and wish happiness on those who wrong me. Their behavior speaks to a desperate need for more due to emptiness. Anger won’t solve their issues. All I can do is focus on me and wish her well. Rage? Once, yes. Rage no longer serves me. In fact, it never did…it just held me back.

As for “encouraging my husband to man up and be a father to his child”, I play no role in his choice. There are men who avoid child support. They refuse to pay or underpay. They disregard the children as their own and watch their kids fed with food stamps and dressed in secondhand clothes and do nothing about it. They watch their children deprived of food, clothes, a decent living, knowing that they could contribute. THEY need to man-up. My husband pays $4k PER MONTH for a child who doesn’t cost 1/4 of that. With his payment, that child can wear the best clothes, live in the best area and home, and have access to resources these deadbeat dads deprive their children of. Aside from meeting her, my husband makes sure she has more than enough. He’s meeting his obligation and beyond. He just hasn’t met her. It’s ok…the OW only wants his money, she doesn’t want him in her life and demanded sole custody.

I “repulse” this reader. Like telling a rape victim that she “deserved it”, or a mother whose child died of cancer that “she had it coming to her, this reader reads my story of victimization, betrayal, strength, perseverance, hope, work, support and strength and somehow feels repulsed by me? Interesting indeed….something tells me her name isn’t “Kate” if you know what I mean 😉

Anyone who says that has to be personally angry with me. I can only wonder why….nah, don’t care.

So, what are your thoughts on this laughable comment?

Secrecy


In the wake of my husband’s disclosure, I felt a great deal of shame.  I felt as though *I* was the reason he had an affair.  Like many do, I worried that there was something wrong with *me* that made him stray.  I thought that maybe I wasn’t good enough, hadn’t been enough, etc.  I felt ashamed for having failed at being a wife.  I didn’t want anyone to know that my husband had had an affair because I didn’t want them to think the same things I was thinking.  I didn’t want people to wonder if I was bad in bed, too fat, not enough, a bad wife, etc.  My fragile ego simply couldn’t bear being judged by others, any more than I was judging myself already.

At first, I wanted to hide my husband’s affair for my sake.  Soon, I wanted to hide it for his sake.  He felt a great deal of shame and embarrassment.  He was trying to pick up the pieces of our marriage, pieces that lay strewn across the landscape like shrapnel after a bomb has gone off.  He felt intense shame, and had the mistress not told all of the people she knew in his inner circle, he likely wouldn’t have told anyone.

She started by telling my family.  She emailed my parents and my brother. She then emailed his best friend.  She later emailed his clerical staff and the head of his IT unit.  She threatened to tell a group of individuals on an email-list for his profession, linked through their job titles and roles, but strewn across the city.  Suddenly, people were finding out left, right and centre, with no way to shut her down, when even lawyers were asking her to cease and desist, lest she be subjected to legal repercussions.  She didn’t care.  A few months later, she texted another friend of his, to let him know that she had given birth to his daughter two months earlier, a text which came in the midst of a Christmas party that she knew we were hosting (she stalked by facebook and twitter accounts where I had posted images of the prep work before the big night).  All in all, two friends, two co-workers and the in-laws were made aware.  Aside from these people, he would tell no one else…until she called his work, and made a false complaint to the Chief of Staff at his hospital.  In order to indicate that the allegations were false, he had to confess to this man, an elder and a superior on the hospital food-chain.   Interestingly, the Chief of Staff had experienced a similar problem when a woman had become irate with him, and had attempted to have him fired, so he knew all too well what had happened.  This same incident had been reported to the ombudsperson, so she found out as well.

Once the leak had been contained (i.e. she was subjected to a confidentiality order by the courts protecting the details of the affair from third parties), he told no other persons about his affair. Ever.

Three years into an affair, the affair itself almost becomes a new “normal”. It no longer seems shocking.  Like the desensitization to violence that happens to those in war, the details of the affair, and discussions about it no longer bring with it the same shame, sadness, or hurt.  It has just become…part of our life.

Despite this new normalcy, my husband still has not revealed the affair to those around him, specifically to his parents.  Lately, this has been making me feel bad.  I feel like we are holding onto this huge secret, and frankly, I feel like I am complicit in this act of betrayal against his own family.  His parents divorced many years ago, and both live on their own now.  He is their only connection to the family they once had together, and he shoulders the burden of being the “one and only”.  He is held up on a pedestal as the only child, the one who found success, the one who always does the right thing.  If only they knew.

What is sad for me, is that these two people have a grandchild that they don’t know about.  They have a granddaughter that they will likely never know.  This information, being kept from them on purpose.  I feel, some days, like a cheat and like a rat for keeping this information hidden from them.  It just doesn’t feel right.

As we go about our lives, trying to clean the slate, and start again, I am reminded that we can’t ever truly start again fresh and new, when there are people so close in our lives that have no idea.  If this affair hadn’t produced a child, I probably wouldn’t care, but it did, and I am sensitive to the fact that if it were me, I would want to know that I have “kin”, no matter what the circumstances.  I would want to know that my son has a child, illegitimately or not.  I would want to know. I imagine that they would want to know also.

My husband tells me that he can’t tell his family.  He claims that his misogynistic father would blame me for his affair, and see me in a dimmer light.  His father repeatedly cheated on his own wife (husband’s mother) and to this day doesn’t take an ounce of responsibility for his actions, claiming that she led him to it with her lack of attention, lack of respect, yada yada yada.  So, it is highly likely that he would blame me.   His mother, on the other hand, suffers from mental illness, depression and low self esteem.  It is no wonder, given the life she has had, and the people who have continuously pummelled her emotionally all these years. His fear is that telling her would throw her over the edge, and that she would likely sink into a deep episode for which hospitalization would be required.  Not at all unlikely, as she has been hospitalized in the past from the trauma experienced by watching a thriller-style movie with us more than a decade ago.  She is simply too fragile to take on such traumatic news, and he claims he wants to protect her.

So, he wants to protect ME from his father’s judgment, and he wants to protect HER from a downward spiral of mental anguish and decline.  Part of me has always wondered, and always will, to what extent the ‘golden child’ simply doesn’t want his pedestal rocked.

In getting a fresh start at our marriage, I feel like a fraud when our close friends don’t know, and his family is unaware.  I wonder when I will stop feeling like a fraud for something I didn’t do, but am now complicit in hiding.

Patching the life-raft


Making the conscious decision to cheat

Making the conscious decision to cheat

 

When you find yourself in the turbulent waters of an affair, and its disclosure, you find you will cling to anything that passes by in the hopes that it will carry you out of the mess.  That was the case for me.  Whether it was a gentle person willing to lend an ear, or a belief I held about WHY he had done what he had done, it didn’t matter.  I needed to cling to it.   In the case of the former, I would find myself almost desperate to talk to someone who understood and anytime someone would give *my* problem any time or attention, I was so grateful.  I never wanted them to stop listening.  I needed to talk, and I needed to be heard.  I think sometimes, I pushed people away who had offered to help, who perhaps just got tired of listening.

The thing most of us betrayed spouses are desperate to know is the WHY of what happened.  Knowing WHY it happened somehow gives us a sense of control that we feel we have lost.  If we know WHY, then we know HOW and we also feel more equipped to put things into place to prevent it from happening again.

When my husband laid out the timeline for me, he tried to help me understand the process.  I struggled with understanding how he could allow his affair to continue, especially after he started feeling guilty and knowing that what he was doing was wrong.  I had somehow convinced myself that he *fell into* the affair, however that may have happened, and that from that moment on, he was struggling to get out, stuck, strategically pinned by her threats and coercions.  I wanted to see my husband as a victim of hers.  It helped to see her as the only perpetrator against my marriage, and him as the victim who got swept away, and into something bad.

I then started to learn about what makes a man (or woman) vulnerable to an affair.  There are so many things.   I found myself looking at a list of real reasons for why he had done what he had done.  Stress at work, increased family stress (new baby), parental obligations and caregiver stress (father was in trouble with the law and as an only child was relied upon intensely to help a man who has never been able to help himself), etc.  Our list was long, when we reviewed how many of the vulnerabilities applied to him/us.   The list, once again, allowed me to see my husband as a victim of his circumstances.  He was, once again, a “nice guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, dragged into a situation unwillingly and then prevented from ending it due to ongoing coercion and threats to his livelihood and our family”.  At times, I felt bad for him, even though I hated what had happened.

Last week, the day before Mother’s Day, my husband wrote me a blog post for this blog.  I have been asking him to do so since May 2012.   I wanted readers to hear his side, his experience, instead of relying on stereotypes and false imaginations.  I hoped that his words would help others understand what happened to their spouses, and would outline the slippery slope that he found himself on, since so many men have the same pattern.   I waited patiently for a year, and then last week he wrote me something, and sent it to me the day before Mother’s Day.  I read it and cried.  I cried not because I was thankful.  I cried not because I was relieved.  I cried because the bubble I had built for myself in trying to get through the day to day of living with an adulterous husband and trying to rebuild my marriage, had popped.

In his first paragraph, he writes:

So when an attractive co-worker propositioned me to consider an extramarital relationship with her, my mind instantly raised every reason to do it.  It had brought to mind every tabloid that I had ever seen or read about infidelity and it’s seemingly benign outcome.  With that “well researched” information in mind, I proceeded to take that first step of my journey.  After all, I worked hard, my wife was busy with the kids, and I owed it to myself to have a change of pace, a treat, a break from my regular hectic, grueling, and stressful life.

My heart sank once again.  An old, familiar feeling.  The pit of ones stomach opening wide and swallowing them whole from the inside out.

His words showed me that he knew it was wrong before he started.  That he had consciously made the decision to engage in an affair, and that he sought out ways to give himself permission.  He thought of all of the times people had “gotten away with it”, or that it “hadn’t caused that big of an issue”, and hoped that would be the case for us.  After all, as he put it, he deserved it, and I was so busy with the kids.  Yes, busy with kids that we had decided to have together, for which I share 80-90% of the parenting responsibility.  I was busy.  I had a 18 month old, a toddler and a young child in my care while I worked full time.  But I guess because I was “so busy”, he felt he deserved what he calls “a treat”.  And here all this time, I have relied on the fact that he was in a fog, and unaware.  Relied on the idea that he was confused, and swayed.  Relied on the idea that he wasn’t in his right mind at the time, and unable to have seen clearly his path.  Reading this made me realize that he saw perfectly clearly his path.  He wanted a treat, a little heaven on the side…and hoped it wouldn’t cost him his marriage.

It made me sick to my stomach.  Happy Mother’s Day to me.

It goes to show, that even after one considers themselves “recovered”, they can still get caught up in old feelings, in sad realities, and be re-triggered.  I am only fresh on this healing path, and only recently consider myself “healed”.  I am sure I will have more of these, and should never have expected that the grey skies were behind me and only clear skies ahead.  I can still be spun backwards at times, and it no longer knocks me over and takes the breath out of me, but it sure does still hurt to hear/see those words, written by my husband to describe his feelings at the time.  Feelings which I guess I had re-written to suit my own abilities to cope with the truth.

I didn’t post the letter.  I simply can’t.  It doesn’t in any way reflect what I had hoped he would write about how he found himself in an affair.  It was analytical, unemotional, and jumps from discussions of meaningless sex as a teenager to the night we put our cat to sleep, neither of which had anything to do with me.  But hey, the letter does end with him saying how incredible I am.  Thanks. I’d kind of have to be in order to have stayed.

The life raft I had used to stay afloat suddenly had a hole and I felt like I was taking on water.  Needless to say, I am once again patching the holes to stay above water.

 

%d bloggers like this: