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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.

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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!

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?

Securing your own life mask before assisting other passengers


We have all heard that in-flight message as we are preparing to take off on an airplane.  At first it sounds quite counter-intuitive and selfish to suggest that before we help another passenger, even our own child, that we take care of ourselves first.  After all, society always praises those that help others without consideration of their own safety or circumstances, and here they are asking us to do the opposite.   The fact is, however, that you are much more effective to others when you yourself are taken care of.  You are a better help to more people, and can save more lives if you take a moment to help yourself, and strengthen yourself.  That is what my blog post today is about, in part, as it connects to a big bold move my husband made this week.

I blogged last week about my feelings around my husband’s parents having no idea what happened in our marriage, and the fact that he had fathered a child with another woman.  

The truth is, I have ALWAYS felt a great deal of guilt about them not knowing.  I too, am a parent, and I would want to know if my son was going through a hard time, if his family was in peril, and if I had a secret grandchild.  Keeping this information from them seemed so selfish, but in the early phase of my recovery (the first year at least), I couldn’t invest the emotional energy in worrying about them, their needs, their feelings, or even what was “right”.   My marriage was faltering, and I needed to put on my own oxygen mask and take care of myself before I could consider helping others, or doing the right thing by them.  I had to come first.

As my healing journey has progressed, and I no longer need the spotlight focused on my own needs, I have started to give a lot of thought to those around us.  As my husband’s shame has also subsided over time, and as he has been forced to reveal the truth to others due to the OW’s vengeful behaviours, he has come to realize that his actions won’t necessarily be criticized, and that people do support him, and us.

I sat with my in-laws this week, as we were celebrating my husband’s birthday.  I watched them play with the grandkids, marvelling at the littlest thing that they do, asking questions, trying to be involved.  I saw how the small pleasures of just watching my youngest son in the bathtub brought great joy to my mother-in-law, and made her feel a part of something.  Watching this woman enjoying her only three grandkids, I also felt exceptionally guilty that she has a grandchild she doesn’t know about.  Now, I am not advocating that she needs a relationship with the child – far from it – but I was simply guilt-ridden that we were controlling a knowledge of her life that we have no right to control.  She has every right to know that she has kin.  Keeping that from her felt like I was playing G-d, and I felt guilty.

I have three sons.  I have never had, nor will I ever have a daughter.  My husband is an only child, and had no sisters.  His father often talked about how much he had wanted to have a girl, especially when were were growing our family, and I kept birthing boys 🙂  I think that being a male, and having a male son, he longed for the feminine, the delicate, that something sweet.  The OW had once emailed me antagonizing me over email about how unfortunate it was that I wasn’t able to give my husband the daughter that she was.   It’s funny now, in retrospect, that her tone implied something broken in me that wasn’t broken in her because she bore him a daughter.  Does she not know that the male sperm actually determine the gender of a baby, not the woman?  Anyway, since this isn’t a biology lesson, I digress… Knowing how much my FIL wanted a girl, it felt even more inappropriate for me to hold back the information that he actually HAD ONE in his lineage.  Once again, we were playing G-d with the information we withheld.

After my blog post about secrecy last week, my husband became upset.  He thought my post was ill-timed, as it was the day before his birthday, and for whatever reason, the post upset him, as if the material was new to him and came out of left field.  Rather, it was information we have discussed many times, and spending time with his mother the day prior had unearthed the feelings of guilt again.  I posted because the guilt was fresh and the topic relevant to what I was feeling at the time.  It wasn’t a way to lash out at my husband the day before his birthday…in fact I don’t think I lashed out at all.

When he read my blog, he angrily said that he would tell his father this week, and his mother the next.  I knew it was his anger talking, but I said “good”, because whether he was angry or not, it was the right thing to do.

He had a belated-birthday dinner with his father two days later, and I reminded him before he left the house of his intention to tell his father.  I wasn’t sure if he actually would, and truthfully, I assumed deep down that he would return home later that night with an excuse for why tonight wasn’t the right night, and a plan to delay this talk to a “better time”.  To my surprise, when I asked him about it the next morning, it turns out he had told him.  The two of them sat at dinner, and my husband revealed to his father that he had had an affair with a crazy woman, and that it has produced a child.  I was completely surprised that he had told him, and simultaneously completely proud of him.

I think it is always hard to own a mistake.  I think it is even harder when the mistake is of this magnitude, and harder still when you are telling someone whose relationship you value, and whose approval you bask in.  My husband is an only child of two divorced parents.  He is the golden child to both, and they hold him in very high esteem.  Now, it must be reiterated that my FIL was a serial adulterer.  He had several mistresses over the years of his marriage, and while his marriage ultimately disintegrated, he will tell  you to this day that his affairs were caused by his wife.  It was her lack of respect for him.  It was her lack of spontaneity.  It was her lack of sexual attention.  It was her lack of trust in him.  It was her lack of ___________.  Regardless of what it was, it was HER FAULT.  She was likely fed this information as well, when the affairs became known to her, and it likely stunted her healing.  In fact, she has never healed, and it has helped shape her.

My husband didn’t want to tell his father.  Perhaps he was afraid of falling from grace with his dad.   Perhaps, as he told me, he was worried about his father blaming me, as he had blamed his own wife over the years.  Perhaps he was worried that his father would now want a relationship with the child and the OW, and that it would open the door to a connection between our family and the OW.  Whatever his worry, he took the step in telling his dad, and from what little I know of what transpired and was said, it was positive.  Being a cheater himself, I don’t think he could ever find fault with his son, or see him as faulty.  If anything, he may blame me, or make assumptions that I am not a good wife, or that I don’t meet his son’s needs.  Truthfully, it doesn’t at all matter what he thinks.  His father hasn’t liked me since we were married almost 13 years ago, and I haven’t seen him in almost three years.  I could not care less what interpretation he holds, or what he thinks.  It doesn’t at all change what I know to be true.

I am proud of my husband for taking that step.  At first, I thought that the unburdening by telling his family was a step in the path of MY healing. I now think that it really is a step in the path of HIS.  He attended the “Man of Honour” weekend in May, and they talked about integrity and character.  How can you be a man of character and integrity while holding information from others that is their right to know, just to save yourself?  After all, on March 19th, 2010, he confessed his affair to me with the preface that he could no longer allow me to live my life not having the accurate truth about my own life.  He felt it was wrong to hold back information of this significance from me, and that he felt guilty watching me live my life blind to the information.  How was this different from his parents then?  Was he not holding a secret from these others who also had a right to know that they have a grandchild?  Was that not considered important information that they have a right to know?   It felt the same to me.

For now, he hasn’t told his mother, and I am still hopeful that he will be able to find a way to tell her that won’t compromise her health or cause her to suffer a mental decline.  It is one step at a time, but I think they are steps in the right direction, and for that I am proud of him.

 

Support from one's father

Support from one’s father

Burden of Responsibility: Is a mother to blame for her son’s infidelity?


I received an email from a reader of the blog today.  She is devastated because she just learned that her son has been unfaithful in his relationship, and she feels that she has failed as a mother.  As a betrayed spouse, she had a horrible experience, and wanted only the best for her children.  She shared the infidelity openly with them, in the hopes that they would see the pain their father had caused, and know the impact and devastation that an affair can bring.

She emailed me today to ask if I thought that she was a failure as a mother as a result of her son having strayed.

I picked up the email as I was stepping into the car to pick up my children from school, so I didn’t have the chance to send a detailed reply.  Since I was going to reply further, and since I know she reads the blog, I thought that others could also benefit from the post, and also chime in with their thoughts and support for her.

In my opinion, she is no more responsible for her son’s adulterous ways than she was for the affairs her husband had.  These are grown men, with free will, who should know better, and who chose to commit infidelity in their relationships…JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER MAN/WOMAN WHO DOES IT.  I told her in my reply that she is not responsible, and then I wanted to go into more detail and couldn’t.  What I would have added was:

My Mother in Law (MIL) was repeatedly cheated on by my FIL.  He took several mistresses, including my son’s nanny, and my MIL’s best friend.  Repeated infidelity over a long period of time, and infidelity that she came to know about.  Surely, she sought no help, and received no support.  I know this not only because this wouldn’t have been as commonplace (the support, not affairs), but also because she is not one who would know how to solve the issue, how to communicate effectively around it, how to seek support, and  is someone who would instead internalize it, thinking herself the cause, shifting the blame onto herself.  After many years, and a divorce, he abandoned her when she started to show signs of mental illness.  She was increasingly afraid to go out on her own, paranoid from time to time, and just not her old self.  She was damaged, and he moved on…married the best friend that he had once cheated with (needless to say that relationship didn’t last either).   She was, and still is, a broken woman.  She lives with her elderly mother, a woman who puts her down, makes her feel incapable and has essentially infantalized her into being completely dependent on her.

My husband had an affair knowing FULL WELL what the consequences of affairs can be.   He watched his mother disintegrate into a shell of a woman.  Is his mother to blame for not having “raised him right?”.  Absolutely not.  Should I blame her for not being proactive enough and educating him on how to prevent an affair?  No.  I can’t blame her anymore than I can blame myself for his affair.

So, dear reader, unless your son consulted with you, and asked you whether he should seek an affair and you helped him to have one, you have no responsibility for his actions.

Last night on the news, I sat transfixed on the story of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were kidnapped and help captive for ten years, repeatedly raped and beaten by Ariel Castro.  I watched as they interviewed his mother, sitting in the front seat of her car, overwhelmed with grief and shame for her son’s actions.  She wept, speaking in Spanish, telling the news crew how she is so sorry for what he has done, and how she feels so badly for those girls.

I think we would all agree that this mother can’t be blamed for her son’s wicked actions, and we can all be fairly assured that she did her best in raising him, and cannot be held responsible for his decisions, many years after she has completed “raising him”.

Ted Bundy’s mother, Paul Bernardo’s mother…pick any sociopathic individual who has commited the most heinous of crimes, and we can still say with certainty that their mothers didn’t influence their actions, or play a role.

Dear reader, I know it is hard to learn that someone you love has been so hurtful to someone else, especially when you feel he should have known better, seeing what you had gone through.  It is hard to look at him, and not be triggered once more, feeling like the devil is too close.  It is hard to see him as your son, and not as a man who is capable of such deceit and causing such anguish.  Remember, that if he is remorseful, and truly wants to learn from this and grow, that he will need your support.  You are in a great position to be a support to his partner, and to help her through this.  You will help bridge the gap between them, and offer them hope and solutions.  You are, however, in no way responsible for what he has chosen to do, any more than you would be responsible if he woke up tomorrow and robbed a bank.

Stay strong.

 

Sermons from Facebook


This came across my Facebook feed today.

I sometimes get flack on this blog for not being supportive of my husbands OC, as if I have responsibility for her, and how she came into this world.

Now, I know better than to believe anything these commenters say, because I know that I had nothing to do with her creation, or her existence. I didn’t suggest to my husband that he take a mistress and have meaningless, unprotected sex with her. I didn’t force her to consider abortion and I knew that the decision about whether this child would be born would entirely rest on her shoulders while she held its life in the balance, depending on whether my husband and I stayed together, and how well we played her game.

So today this came through my feed and it resonated. I’ve never blamed the child. We feel deep sadness for the life her mother has brought her into, but just like the decision whether or not she would be born, we also don’t have any decisions there either. The best my husband can do, given the mental fragility of this woman, is to ensure the child is taken care of, and he does that through lawfully paid child support payments that are far in excess of what it costs to raise her.

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Becoming a man of honor


I know I talk a lot about the seminars led by Anne and Brian Bercht, author of “My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”.

Anne Bercht Book on Infidelity

I do so because I believe strongly in what they do, both theoretically, but also practically, as I have participated in two of their weekends, and was asked to coach at upcoming seminars for betrayed wives.  They are the most compassionate couple, who sincerely want you to thrive, and find your way through this horrible experience.

There is a weekend designed exclusively for men, called “Man of Honor”.  This weekend, which takes place in a beautiful outdoor retreat in Colorado, allows men to come together and learn what it takes to be a man of honor, to build character worthy of respect, and to leave a legacy.  It welcomes unfaithful men, as well as men who have been betrayed.  This is the only seminar, other than the healing from affairs weekend for couples, where the betrayed and the unfaithful come together to learn, to share, and to grow.

I am pleased to say that my husband will be attending the upcoming weekend for men on May 3-5th, 2013.  Although he has come so far, and made great strides in repairing what he did through his affair, he still sees value in learning more, protecting more, and growing more.  I respect and admire that about him, and am pleased that he doesn’t ever consider himself “done”.  It is a lifelong growth curve that he feels he will always be on, and this issue and its ramifications will forever be in the wings of his mind, acting as a guiding force as he navigates boundaries with other women, co-workers, and friends.  This experience has shown him that this can happen to ANYONE, and that unless you are taking active steps to prevent an affair, thinking that you are immune is the greatest vulnerability your marriage will ever experience.

For anyone whose husband is struggling with how to support their betrayed spouse, for men who have healed but want to take it to the next level, for betrayed men who want answers to how to heal, and for any man who just wants to be BETTER, this seminar will get you there.  I respect and advocate for their work so much, I wanted to blog about it 🙂

It can be costly to attend these weekends…it’s true.  But, you also need to ask yourself how much it will cost emotionally and financially to lose your marriage?   It’s worth it.  Go.

Getting through Valentine’s day


Remember that Valentines day when you were the only one without a girlfriend/boyfriend, and it seemed everyone else was happy in a relationship? Yeah…this feels worse doesn’t it? Trying to get through a holiday hell bent on celebrating the saccharin syrupy sweetness of love, when you’ve just been stabbed in the heart. It hardly seems fair. It isn’t.

For many people who have experienced the pain of infidelity, Valentine’s Day represents a significant trigger. For some, even, it represents a major setback, causing them to lose ground on what they felt was a forward momentum in their healing journey. Hallmark cards lining the aisles, beckoning you to read stories of love, compassion, and caring, all the while knowing that the person to purported to love you decided to break your heart instead of buying you a chocolate one.

I’ve grown to dislike valentines day. I used to like it. That was also when I was naive and thought that my wedding vows meant something and that my husband was committed to me. For me, I am not sad because of what i went through. I am sad thinking of all the people who experience love shallowly, albeit blissfully unaware. Now, I watch as naive couples get wooed into the magical and love struck world of valentines day, as men rush out to buy roses, as couples scurry off to their dinner date…and I wonder if they are aware of the dangers that lurk. Gosh, they look so happy…I wouldn’t want to burst their bubble, but c’mon people…get a grip on reality. Love isn’t about one day of showing someone you care. It’s an ongoing commitment to doing the right thing. It can’t be encapsulated in one day, and a box of chocolates won’t right the wrong.

Instead of allowing Valentine’s Day to bring you down in the dumps, and giving you permission to dwell on how horrible your situation is, perhaps take this time to be your own Valentine, to show yourself some self-care. Treat yourself to something luxurious tomorrow, whether it’s a manicure, a massage, a walk in the woods, a coffee with a friend…a trip to the bookstore. Whatever your guilty pleasure is, gift it to yourself.

Then, as much as I hate to compare stories of infidelity and to consider any one person’s situation as more “traumatic” than another’s, I think there a value in adding perspective. There is always a way that your situation could have been worse. There is always one part of your story where you can say: “well at least ___________ didn’t happen. For me, that something is an STD or the my husband didn’t leave me to be with his affair partner. If he had, my story would feel so much worse, at least I think it would. Valentine’s day is approximately the day my husband would have found out that the OW was pregnant. He screwed her on her birthday, Feb 1, and ta-da she would have tested and found out….about now.

For some, you might read my story and say “oh my goodness, at least my husband didn’t father a child”, or if a man, “at least my wife didn’t get pregnant”. For some, my story is their ultimate blow. For others, their story went far beyond.

There is always one step beyond how bad your situation is to a place that you would have felt worse. Perhaps taking some time to be thankful that it wasn’t as bad as ____________ can be your gift to yourself.

These sappy romantic holidays make me feel sad now. Not for me, but for all of these love struck girls who are tickled to have a date this valentines day, who just don’t know the signs. She doesn’t know what to look for. She doesn’t know how to affair proof her relationship. The problem is, she doesn’t yet know that she has to. Therein lies the irony….no one ever takes the time to do this work, until it has happened to them.

You can’t thwart crazy


Those who know my story know that I will have the ow in our lives for the next 20 years while child support is payable. It’s quite a life sentence, no? I’m doing the best I can.

I read an email tonight which serves as a reminder that although I can change my perspective on the ow and her particular brand of crazy, I’ll never stop it. I can only change my reaction.

Her most recent email to our lawyer reads:

dear lawyer,

Below is a copy of an email received from __________ Daycare indicating man’s January cheque was returned NSF. Lawyer, not only only are his payments to both myself and the daycare consistently late they are now being returned insufficient funds. It appears your client wishes to have these matters handled by a collection agency or through additional court enforcement as he is blatantly disrespecting the Courts Orders. Further the February support payment to myself AND February payment to __________ Daycare has not been received.

Further I understand he continues his ongoing abusive and neglectful behavior towards his children. Kindly remind your client all documentation he provided to me prior to Jan 2012 was not confidential as was all information he has publicly provided since then. This includes but is not limited to documentation whereby he stated his wife’s negligent parenting was the cause of his eldest sons seizure at a theme park. allowing his youngest son to consume alcohol, intentionally neglecting his children’s needs to satisfy his sexual needs, documenting a very recent incident and more. He is aware of all of the information he has documented for at least four years now regarding his abusive and neglectful behavior toward his children. As you are aware the courts have already removed all of his rights to his youngest child, based on his abuse and violence.

Your cooperation in addressing these matters in a timely matter is appreciated.

Many thanks,

Ummm ok. Each year she is given monthly post dated cheques. She has them all in advance. How can they be late?

The courts removed his rights to the child he fathered with her? Ummm I think the technical term there that she is missing is that he “revoked” his rights and gave her full custody.

In the spirit of me embracing a new outlook on her, it is obvious she is suffering. She feels sad that her child doesn’t have a father and so she paints a picture that shows he was denied rights because the truth that he revoked them and hasn’t shown interest hurts too much. She still feels the need to lash out at me, referencing an once sent from 2005, four years before they met when my son suffered from heat stroke while at a theme park with my husband. Yup, I wasn’t even there. I was looking after his little 6 week old brother at the time. Interesting and creative spin, although quite inaccurate. Interesting to me how she always paints my husband as “abusive” in her emails. Claims that he abuses his children are completely false and out of character. I have to wonder if she needs to paint him this way to reduce her own pain about his being absent from her daughter’s life? It’s amazing what the mind can do. Don’t get me started on the comment that we let our baby drink. She’s living in a reality show crazier than Jersey Shore.

I can only offer her peace and healing, and the hope that she finds happiness. Maybe then, she won’t feel the need to spew these lies to protect herself from her pain. God help her.

Seek out like others


Being betrayed by an affair has to be the most devastating thing a person can go through.  It has been said that the pain that comes from someone betraying the most intimate part of your life is far worse than going through the loss and death of a loved one.   Seeking appropriate support is necessary.

What is appropriate support?

Well, that definition will be different for many, but for me, it was in finding people who would support me without judgement and equally importantly, would support me without putting my husband down.

I had made the decision to work on my marriage and to heal it after his betrayal.  I knew I needed people to talk to, but I didn’t think bad-mouthing my husband was enough.  That was surface shit, and I needed deeper.  I wanted people to hear ME, listen to ME, heal ME….tearing up my husband was just anger-management, not healing. It feels good in the moment, but long term…it’s crap.  Besides, I’d made the decision that he was worth fighting for…and if they didn’t stand by that choice, they weren’t good enough to let into the “circle of trust”.

Shirley Glass calls these friends, “friends of the marriage”.  They are friends who will stand by you and your partner, helping you navigate the journey without suggesting separation, bad-mouthing the other, or sabotaging your efforts at regaining intimacy.  They can play devil’s advocate – sure – but in the end you need to feel like they do so only to help you clarify, not to dissuade or influence you.

I lost friends as a result of my husband’s affair.  Now, I may have lost these friends anyway, but it was the beginning of the end.  In one friend, she was unable to see my husband positively, and I felt the tension every time we were together.  I knew it would never be the same.   In another friend, my husband’s affair and the resultant conversation from it took up too much space in our friendship.  I was in the heat of the pain and needed to talk, and I am sure I talked about it a lot.  The main problem here?  She is an unmarried friend who doesn’t have the same insights into marriage and commitment that I have.  That statement would no doubt be perceived as condescending by her if she read it, but the simple fact of the matter is that until I was married, I too thought I knew what it takes to make a marriage work.  I had no idea.

Finding “LIKE” others means finding those who are like you.  Find those who have gone through it, or who are going through it.  They will listen.  They will tolerate your rehashing of the same sticky point over and over, and help you move past it.  They will offer invaluable insights.  They will be patient.  They will not judge.  They will care.  Have more than one.

Attending support groups, like the ones offered through Beyond Affairs Network (BAN) are a great resource to find local people who are willing to meet and share their stories.  The support feels great.  You aren’t alone, and there are those living within your city going through the same stuff who want to hear you.

Attending seminars and talks, reading books about infidelity, or seeing a therapist TRAINED IN AFFAIR RECOVERY are crucial too.   I mention the latter in capital letters because a therapist isn’t enough.  You don’t want someone who just sits and nods their heads. You want someone who understands the devastation after an affair, and how to navigate your feelings with you.  The same goes for marital therapists….they need to be AFFAIR RECOVERY TRAINED.  Otherwise, you are getting marital therapy, and that isn’t what you need right now….right now you need crisis management around an affair. The marital work comes later.

No one can understand your pain who hasn’t been there.  Many times, often our spouses – the ones closest to us – don’t even understand it, so how can we expect a friend to?

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Finding “Like” others is helpful….I’d be so bold as to say it is crucial.  Surviving an affair is hard.  It is even harder alone.  Please reach out.

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