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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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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?

Man of honor: words from a husband


My husband wrote me the following last night, after reading the previous blog entry. It speaks to his experience of the “man of honor” weekend, what he pulled from it, and how he sees his future.

I am sharing it in the hopes that it can help give some insights into his thinking on his affair.

With respect to the blog post that I prepared for you…I was disappointed that it did not speak to you in the way that I had developed it in my mind. I can see how you would receive it to be a disturbing, insensitive, and emotionless post. I was surprised that it came out to be that way – but I understand how it came to be, and I would like to share with you my thoughts.

I had spent a year developing various ways of expressing myself with regards to this very important post. One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to sit down and spend a few hours writing. All I achieved was a chronology of the events of the year, and the recovery following. It was very unfulfilling, and added nothing new to the situation at hand. When I learned about the Man of Honour weekend, it gave me the hope that I would spend a weekend with men focussing on the affair, dissecting it, and rising to a revelation about the situation. In the end, I think that I did that. I regret that it’s not palatable to you. If there’s one thing that I learned from the weekend, it’s that men and women approach the affair situation in very different ways. It leaves me to wonder if the critical elements that are required for men to understand, digest, and recover from the affair are not, and perhaps never could be, the same kind of elements that are necessary for women to recovery irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator of the infidelity.

As the weekend progressed, I became acutely aware of a need to develop a vision of myself as the man who I want to be in the future. Clearly the man who I was in the past was not suitable. This vision is important not only because it of the way I want to see myself, but because it will engulf the man who I intend to be as a husband to you, a father for our children, and the career man who I want to be remembered as. People often use the idea of writing one’s own eulogy as a way of identifying the key means of direction for their moral compass. Bryan Bercht and the Man of Honour weekend helped me transcend that overused eulogy creating exercise. It was from that weekend that came my blog contribution.

There are three key elements that came out of the Man of Honour weekend that changed my vision of who I aim to be. The first is the notion of the Man of Honour, the second comes from the words of Victor Frankl, and the third is just me putting it all together into a vision of the future.

On Friday night, our group of approximately 20 men ate our dinner, we were engaging in polite conversation, and cautious of broaching the delicate issues of infidelity. We then assembled in a meeting room and upon the request of our leader, we assembled a list of qualities that we unanimously agreed would reflect a man of honour. I find it ironic that a group of men, disgraced by their infidelity, would have any right to develop a definition of the man of honour – it’s like asking a group of criminals to re-write the criminal code (with the anticipation that it would be a better document than the original). However, from the broken rubble of our lives, we developed the following list of characteristics that would represent a Man of Honour:

The qualities of a man of honour are:

· Honesty
· Integrity
· Trustworthiness
· Accountability
· Reliability
· Loyalty
· Courage
· Loving
· Committed
· Friendly
· Humble
· Compassionate
· Empathic
· Sincere
· Role model
· Patient
· A good listener
· Willing
· Transparent
· Victorious
· Enthusiastic
· Understanding
· Dependable
· Hard working
· Genuine
· Resilient
· Consistent
· A leader
· Forgiving
· Generous
· Strong sense of conviction (spiritual, hope, core values)
· Optimistic
· Perseverance
· Unselfish
· Cooperative
· Servant
· Team player
· Looking out for others

On the Saturday, our group hiked through the mountains of Colorado, 9000 feet above sea level with stones in our nap sacks, short of breath and tired. While we did that, we reflected on our lives, the damage that we caused, and tried to find ways to support one another in our journey (both to face the physical demands of the hike, and to help repair the emotional damage that we brought into our lives). Our course leader reminded brought our attention to Victor Frankl. Dr. Frankl was a Psychiatrist who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. All members of his family, including his wife and brother were killed. Dr. Frankl survived and during his ordeal, he developed a philosophy and treatment methods that helped many people. The one point that struck me as most relevant to my situation was the Dr. Frankl stated “One cannot always control the circumstances that lead up to events that happen to them, but one always has control over their response to those circumstances.”.

Out of the rubble of my mistakes, I am actively building a vision of the person that I want to become. I want to be a man of honour. In fact, it’s sometimes a trigger for me that guides my values. It can be as simple as paying for street parking. It’s no longer about a desire to avoid a ticket, paying for a ticket to park on the street becomes a brick in the foundation that I am building to be a man of honour. It guides everything that I do. I sometimes fall short, but I continue to work at it regularly. The second part of that vision involves the words of Victor Frankl – I may not be able to always choose my circumstance, but I can always choose my response to those circumstances.

When I think back to my acts of adultery right now, I am in disbelief about my actions. Regret is an understatement. I have an incredible wife, wonderful children, and an enviable life, how could I have done what I did???? The act destroyed the lives of so many people-it’s truly unbelievable. To truly be a man of honour, I have to take accountability for MY actions. Naturally there were circumstances that were very difficult, but in the end, I chose the wrong actions! Dishonorable actions. Yes there were extreme circumstances, yes I was cornered, and yes I was isolated from anyone who could help me, but my personal recovery, my first step towards a more honourable life requires me to accept accountability for my actions –fully! Why? Am I being too hard on myself? No, because a man of honour must act with honour, dignity, and fortitude. The price for being a man of honour may be a high one, but the price for being a man of dishonour is even greater.

As I move into my mid forty’s I begin to see my mortality on the horizon. I don’t mean to evoke feelings of sadness or pity. In order to live a fulfilling life, one must be aware of their mortality. Recognizing that there is an ultimate finality, one’s actions are guided differently than that of a person who has no appreciation of the short time that we have on this planet. The way we experience the world, the decisions that we make, and the way we spend our days changes when the days become numbered. To that end, I bring the first part of my life to an end – I close that book altogether. It was formative, and I will never forget it, but I feel that it no longer represents the person who I am today. With the many lessons that I have learned, the experiences that I have had, the mistakes that I have made, and the triumphs that I have achieved, I begin to develop a map for the way I intend to live the second part of my life. Most importantly, I intend to live my life with honour.

I am sorry that I hurt your feelings with the blog post that I wrote for you. Perhaps I was too brash, bold, analytical. Too much time spent looking at the situation from above rather than experiencing the importance of the moment from within. I love you deeply and I find it hard to live with myself every day that I think about what I had done to you, to our family, and frankly to this world (albeit, very small part of the world). I am hopeful that by becoming a better man, a better person, a better husband I can make an impact and make it right.

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.

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.

Drip…drip…drip…The danger of the “trickle-truth”


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Trickle-truth: A phenomenon whereby an individual who has betrayed their partner reveals the complete truth s little at a time, as opposed to all at once.

You either have a denier, a gusher or a trickler. A denier will deny the affair is happening, and make you feel like you are going crazy, filling you with self-doubt. A gusher will explode with all of the truth right away, whether they were caught or whether they willingly disclosed. A trickler, on the other hand, reveals information slowly, over time, possibly telling lies to conceal certain aspects of the truth until they are ready to let them out in a slow and controlled way, thereby delaying the betrayed partner from having the “complete truth” for some time.

Do you have a denier, a gusher or a trickler?

I had a gusher, and I am thankful.

First of all, I should back up one step. Before the truth can come out or be received, the betrayed partner needs to decide at what pace they wish to receive the truth, and how much detail they want/need. Not everyone needs or wants the details. I am NOT one of those people. I wanted to know as much about the affair as my husband did. I didn’t like knowing that another woman knew more into that window of his life than I did, and so I set out to see the affair through his eyes, to share in the details and not feel as though I was left out. So, for me, having a gusher was a good thing.

Aside from complete denial of the events, trickle-truths have to be the most damaging thing to the healing process, second only to finding out that your affair never ended, after being told it had (but that is another blog post for another day). And so I write this blog post for the spouse who betrayed. Yes, you…I am talking to YOU this time.

Being betrayed hurts. It hurts like hell. There is no greater hurt imaginable. Whether you were discovered accidentally, or whether you came clean and told your partner you had an affair, the simple fact is that you committed a crime against your marriage, and have changed your spouse forever. The hurt that comes from the betrayal of the most intimate part of your life is intense. But what carries more weight than the details of your behaviour during your affair are the details of the behaviours you exhibit AFTER disclosure. Whether you are aiming to reconcile or whether you are headed towards separation or divorce, your partner is going to want to know what happened. BEing cut out of someone else’s life, and having a secret life outside of them is hard to wrap your head around. When your whole world comes crashing down, and you are given the devastating news, you really do start to question what was ever “real” in your life. In order to make sense of the information, many betrayed spouses find themselves asking a ton of questions designed to pieve together the puzzle, create a timeline of events, and make sense of what happened. It isn’t enough to know that you cheated. We want to know where, when, how often, with whom, in what way, what you did, and most of all WHY you did it. We want to know if she was prettier than us, if she was smarter, if she was better in bed, if she was thinner, if she made you laugh more, if she was….better. Whether you are uncovered or disclosed, your opportunity for some sort of redemption is NOW. You are already found-out, you really have nothing else to lose. So, why do the trickle-truth way of concealing certain details, only to reveal them later? Don’t you know that is more hurtful to us? All you are doing when you do that is protecting yourself, and once she realizes you aren’t being forthcoming, she will see that you are once again thinking only of NUMERO UNO, and not putting her needs first.

I know that you feel ashamed. Maybe you feel angry because your secret has been uncovered, and you feel like you can no longer partake in your extra-marital activity. Regardless, all you want is for it all to go away. If you could snap your fingers and make her “reset”, whereby she is aware of the affair, but never raises it, doesn’t cry, doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t hold it over you, and doesn’t threaten to leave…I bet you’d snap those fingers. I know that anytime I’ve felt shame, I’ve just wanted to hide and come out when it is safe, has blown over, and people have forgotten about it. I get it. But, let’s face it, you did something pretty vile, and you need to take responsibility for your actions and the hurt they have caused. Telling the truth is only part of what is necessary, so I start there.

When your hurt partner asks you for the truth, they want it. They NEED it. You hold the key to their healing, and if you deny them the truth, you deny them healing, or at best, you delay their healing. Neither are good options. I firmly believe that people ask questions at the time when they are ready to receive them. In the case of infidelity, I think this is an exception to that rule. Sometimes a partner asks for the truth, demanding it immediately, only to discover that they aren’t emotionally ready to process what has been offered. The betrayed spouse has a responsibility in asking ONLY THOSE QUESTIONS THAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO HEAR THE ANSWERS TO. You will need to talk together about how fast and how much, but just knowing that you are giving it ALL to her/him at the speed at which S/HE needs to hear it is so comforting.

I look at it this way: The affair was a wall between you and your spouse. Your activities were completely hidden behind the wall. When the affair was blown open, it threw open a window between you and your spouse. She can see you, and you can see her. She might even be able to climb through the window to meet you on the other side. But, each time you tell the truth in a way that shows her that you concealed it previously, the window closes by an inch. With each concealed lie slowly making its way to truth, the window openings gets smaller and smaller until you find yourselves on two opposite sides of the window, unable to cross through to the other person. Your window, right after the affair is the widest it will ever be. Keep it that way by telling the truth as you are asked. Each time you do, the truth helps prop the window open, making it more likely that you can 1. See each other better, and 2. One of you will make the overture to join the other on their side.

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It sounds silly, but in the wake of my husband’s affair, while I was reeling in pain, the one thing I could feel comforted by was knowing that although it felt I had momentarily lost him to the other team, knowing that the truth was given freely each time I asked felt like he was coming back to mine. Knowing that I could access the information that I needed whenever I needed it, allowed me to feel as though I was strangely in control of something. When you learn of your partner’s affair, suddenly you are strapped into a roller coaster ride that you never intended to board, and you feel as though your life has run away with you, and you aren’t in control of anything. Your partner cheated, perhaps the other party is making demands or acting like a nuisance…either way, you feel out of control. Having the information as I needed it allowed me to feel some small semblance of being in control of my self.

For me, I wanted the information right away. I told my husband to give it all to me at once. When he disclosed, I felt as though my world was pulled out from under my feet. I had fallen down, and getting up felt like an insurmountable task. The last thing I wanted was to stand up, knowing the truth I had, bearing weight on my legs again, only to have them swept out from under me again with some new unexpected information. I wanted it all at once – quick – like a bandaid. I figured: “knock me down, beat me up, kick me while I am down here. But, so help me God, if I have to get up and be knocked down again….I don’t think I will get up the next time”.

My husband was forthcoming with the information I needed. It was one of the factors that allowed him to restore my trust in him. Had he withheld, told me slowly, or concealed further, it would have added insult to injury. It would have left me feeling as though he didn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth. It is one thing to conceal an affair when it is a secret. It is entirely another to be given a chance to come clean by someone who is begging you for the truth, and then deny it knowing how much it means to them. When you are in the affair, you can rationalize why s/he doesn’t need to know. You can justify your actions and secrecy by saying that she wouldn’t want to know. But when s/he stands in front of you, a broken person, and begs you to tell the truth, and you don’t….on purpose…you are simply someone holding onto a large cold glass of water, and depriving the parched and dehydrated person in front of you from taking a sip.

Now, if you are the betrayed spouse, there is a way to minimize trickle-truth. Remember, that trickle-truth tends to happen because the unfaithful partner feels scared and ashamed. They are less apt to tell you the complete truth if they think it will harm them (you will walk out, you will threaten to take the kids, you will divorce them), or if they think you will use whatever information they provide as ammunition against them later. Remember that you too have a role here, and that is that if you are going to ask for the information, you have to promise to use it internally only, for your own knowledge, and that you won’t turn it around and use it as poison. No one will offer you a vial of poison if they think you are going to turn around and pour it down their throat. Reassure your partner of why you want to know, and that you won’t hurt them with the information. Reassure them that although it might hurt YOU like hell, that you will do your best to process the information that comes in a way that is healthy and helpful to both of you.

Being betrayed hurts. Being deceived after the betrayal is uncovered is just further disrespect. You don’t have to spill it all in one episode, but the simple act of reassuring the betrayed spouse that you will do your best to give her the information as you remember it, when asked, is a huge step forward and earns big points.

Betrayed spouses: Be prepared for some of the answers that you do get to be “I don’t remember”. This is especially true if the unfaithful spouse is male. Men simply don’t remember the details the way us women do. We remember what he was wearing, what cologne he had on, whether it was breezy out…he simply doesn’t look for, appreciate, or need that detail in order to live his life, so he may not have made that mental note. But, don’t fret, those memories can come back, if they are given time to percolate. The important thing is that the unfaithful spouse doesn’t start creating details that weren’t accurate simply for the purpose of ‘having an answer’. That helps no one, and can do more harm than good. If you don’t know – say so. If you spontaneously remember in a few days, gently remind your partner that you’ve had a breakthrough memory of the events s/he was asking about, and ask when it would be a good time to share it.

Healing can only begin once the truth is known. Finding out weeks or months later that the “truth” you thought you had wasn’t the truth at all can cause significant setbacks in healing. If you want to move forward to a place where forgiveness is possible, a place where she doesn’t “bring it up anymore”, where she doesn’t “ask anymore questions”, and where the affair no longer dominates discussion, remember that truth now brings healing later. Truth later, brings healing even later. In a nutshell: You need to sit in the shit before you can get out and towel off. Be willing to jump in.

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Happy Birthday to my husband’s mistress


Yes, today is the birthday of my husband’s mistress.  “Why on earth”, you ask, “would you remember THAT??”

First and foremost, I don’t try to.  I have a tendency to remember dates and numbers.  Call it a curse.

But, before you get all annoyed at the fact that this date is emblazoned into my memory, it does bring about a funny story, so I will tell it.

I became aware of her birthday, likely because my husband was employing her at the time, and likely asked my opinion on what to buy her as a gift.  Or perhaps she had asked for the day off, and I became aware of it that way.  Whatever the reason, I can no longer remember the circumstances around HOW I became aware of her birthday, I just know that it is February 1, 1976.  Today she turns a ripe old 37.

A few months after D-day, probably 3-4 months, my husband drove me to the local market so I could pick up some items for dinner. With the kids in the car, I went into the store alone, leaving him to entertain the little ones.  I figured it was easier to get in and get what I needed unencumbered, without children in tow.  I stood at the checkout, my husband’s wallet in hand. I hadn’t brought my purse for whatever reason, so I was using his credit card.  It wasn’t the first time we’d done that, and I was well aware of his PIN.  I entered the PIN when I was instructed, and it told me the PIN was incorrect. “How could that be?”, I thought to myself.  I tried again, this time being very careful, as I assumed I had pressed an incorrect key.  Failing again, and the clerk staring at me like I had two heads, I quickly called my husband on his cell while he sat in the car.  “What is the PIN number on your credit card?”, I asked.  And firstly, I should mention, that his PIN number has always been known to me, and is the same as many of his passwords, so it was quite shocking to think that it had even been changed. “2176” he said.  “OK thanks”, I said quickly and hung up, so that I could be rung through and get out.  As I am waiting for the transaction to approve, I am thinking to myself “2176….what does that even represent?  Why would he select that set of numbers.  It isn’t our ages, it isn’t a child’s birthday….oh my GOD it is HERS!!” and I freaked out.  2-1-76….February 1 1976….her birthday.  Had he really changed his PIN number to her birth date?  Why would he go to such effort to change a PIN on an existing card if not to give himself a little reminder of her during the day when he would have to key it in.  Sickened and disgusted would be an understatement.  It was before I had started this blog, and that would mean that we were 3-5 months out – nowhere near healed but on the right path.  To say that I was re-triggered was an understatement.

I wanted to raise it, but I was afraid.  I wanted to confront him, but I felt stupid.  Why did I feel afraid and stupid?   I didn’t want to sit there across from him and have to watch him tell me that he had changed it on purpose, that the most memorable date that he could think of to program his PIN was her birthday…not mine.

I stuffed it down for as long as I could but as we drove home, I asked: “Why did you change your PIN?”.  He explained that he hadn’t changed the pin. The bank had issued him a new card, and that was the default pin he was given.  He simply hadn’t changed it.  I didn’t buy it for a second.  Me, the betrayed spouse, on hyperalert wasn’t having the woool pulled over my eyes again.  “Bullshit”.  I called him out on it because there was just no way.  We talked once the kids were no longer in the car, safely out of earshot.  He simply couldn’t understand why I was so upset about a new PIN.  He chalked it up to my pain…I am sure I was doing a lot of things out of character at the time, but he really wanted to know why this was such an issue.  I drew it out for him clearly:  2-1-76…..February 1, 1976 – “HER BIRTHDAY!!??!?!?!!”, and my husband’s face went quickly from a look of confusion, to a look of shock, to a look of confusion….he was dumbfounded.  He went rifling through some bank envelopes to show me the one where they created his default PIN….but alas he had thrown it out.  He wanted me to see he wasn’t lying.  He wanted to prove it to me, but couldn’t – the evidence was gone.  The look on his face, however, was enough.  He was as shocked as I was.  In fact, he didn’t even remember that her birthday was February 1st…only *I* had remembered that, and I remembered it because it had recently been included in the old emails he had given me access to.  He hadn’t changed the PIN, and he hadn’t selected the numbers.  It was sheer coincidence, but it was far from funny.

Now, of course, the nay-sayers who sometimes pop up on this blog in comments will say that he was lying.  That is OK.  You can think anything you like.   What matters is what I saw, and what we did with that information.  My husband was remorseful that such a random event had triggered me, and he understood the reason.  He promptly went to the bank and changed it.

This morning, as I drove to work, I was reminded of the date, and because I don’t forget details like these, I remembered it was her birthday.  For some reason, dates and numbers stick in my head.  I can tell you the birthdate of every past boyfriend, the date we got together, the date we broke up….I can’t NOT remember it, as much as I try. I think that having a negative association to a date just makes it stick around, and not wanting to have a negative association to her birthday, I offered her this birthday wish as I drove:

“I sincerely wish _______ a very happy birthday today.  I hope her day is filled with happiness and love, and that those who choose to celebrate with her remind her that she is loved, and that she has every reason to focus on the good things in her life.  I hope that she has a good day with her daughter, and that being surrounded by those who care about her raises her self esteem, fulfills her, and lets her know that she is loved, today and always”.

I smiled as a drove after that, partly because I had buried the negative association but mostly because I knew she would never do the same for me, and let’s face it, I enjoy being the bigger person 😉

**If this posting date confused you, yes I did back-date the post.  I started writing it on her birthday, and stopped writing halfway through as family matters took precedence, so I finished and posted it today**

The key to my heart: A tale of forgiveness


It is a New Year, a new beginning, a fresh start. How will you write this chapter of your life? You have 365 pages, and today is day 1. What have you done to move your story forward, to propel yourself toward happiness? Are you stuck? Do you feel lost? Or are you in a place of contentment? Do you feel you are settling for what you have, and if so, do you have the courage to reach out and grab that thing that eludes you? Is this your year? Is this the year it finally comes together? Are you ready for the wonderful things that are coming your way? I hope so 🙂

As 2012 drew to a close, and with the golden rays of 2013 on the horizon, I offered my husband a gift. Not only was it a gift I had never given him, it was a gift I have never given anyone. I forgave him. I’d made the choice to forgive him some time ago, but wanted to tell him in a way that was meaningful to me. At first I thought I wanted fanfare and streamers, fireworks and hoopla. But as it drew closer, I just wanted something quiet, something personal, something warm.

I sat down to write my husband a letter this week. I wanted the letter to represent the emotional journey that I have been on over these past 2 years and 9 months (and let’s not forget the extra 15 days tacked on there either, it has been a long road). I wanted to take him on the journey with me, or at least the Coles Notes version, transport him briefly through the experiences that I have had in healing, and the ways in which he has helped me to heal. I wanted to thank him for all that he has done, for being a good man and for always putting my need for support above his need for shelter, for listening, for answering, for sitting in the shit with me (and this blog documents that there has been a lot of shit). I wanted to share my appreciation for all that he has done in this journey, and to convey to him that he has been my hero. I sat down, and slowly started to write, and when I was done, I had the following letter, which I am publishing for you all to read, which was presented to him last night.

One thousand and twenty days ago, you held my heart in your hands and crushed it, slowly suffocating the life out of me. As I sat there across from you on the sofa, trying to comfort you because you were crying, you pushed me away, and told me that you needed to tell me something. You told me that I deserve to live my life with full knowledge and awareness, and that I hadn’t been doing that. You then proceeded to tell me that my deepest fears were true, and that you were in a relationship with another woman, and had been for some time. As my stomach hit the floor and the room started to spin, you told me that she was pregnant with your baby. The floor fell from beneath my feet, and I stood paralyzed on what was left of the small bit of earth that I was perched upon.

The man I thought I knew stood before me, but he was gone. His familiar gaze now gave way to empty eyes that stood emotionless in front of me. I allowed the words to penetrate, but I could not respond. I felt completely paralyzed. I just sat there and listened to you, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure whether I was real or not, whether I was in a dream, or whether I had just died. The truth is, a huge part of me died that day, and that part was the part I call “us”. “We” were no more. We were just “you” and “me”, because the safety and sanctuary that was “us” had just been violated and torn apart. It lay there, broken, hardly recognizable, and the only thing I wanted was to put it back together again. The only thing I wanted was for you to tell me that you were kidding, that it was some prank, to shake me awake. I wasn’t asleep, and you weren’t kidding, and this was to become my new reality.

When I awoke the next morning, for a fraction of a moment, I was certain I had dreamt it, and felt a lightness I can’t explain. It was like nirvana, but then I remembered that you were not with me in bed, and it had not been a dream, and that moment of serenity imploded. I woke up to the broken reality that would become my new “normal”. “My husband cheated on me with another woman, and she is having his baby”. The words tasted bitter in my mouth, but they would become my new mantra, repeated daily in my head for months and months and months, and years. I heard it in songs, I saw it on TV, reminders were everywhere. It was a new reality I had not invited, but which I was now forced to contend with. The phrase “life isn’t fair” suddenly had a personal meaning. I wasn’t sure what I had done in my life to deserve it. Was it karma paying me back for some horrible misdeed? Was I simply a cosmic collateral damage in the universe? Was I a bad wife? Had I gained to much weight? Was I no longer attractive? Had I “lost it”, and by “it”, I mean everything you used to find of value in me? Why was she chosen? Why was she better than me? Why did you pick her? Why had you done this to me? Why was I now having to pay the price for your bad decisions? Was I unlovable? Was I unworthy of being loved the way I needed to be?

As I spent my days dragging along the floor behind me a drawstring bag, carrying what was left of my self-esteem, I was inundated with hurtful emails from the woman who claimed to be so caring and understanding, so warm and personable. She took what remained of my self esteem, and held it tightly in a vice grip, dipping each piece of what remained into the acid that came through her words. Her words confirming my deepest fears: “I am ugly to him, I am fat to him, he laughs at me, he chose her, he is only staying for the kids, he never loved me…” She hand-plucked each one with deft precision. It’s as if she had lived inside my head, and knew exactly which buttons to push, and she pushed them with a satisfying and demonic enjoyment, her every move designed to wedge the knife deeper into the still bleeding wound. And when it would seem that she hadn’t done enough, she went in for the kill: She told me that due to words that I had spoken, due to action I had taken, that she had made the decision to keep the baby. She took the worst possible outcome (having the baby), and made it the result of something *I* had done, as if it was decided by me. No, instead it was to be my punishment for having fought for my marriage. I either lose my husband to her, or I keep my husband, whose love I don’t even trust anymore, he gains a daughter, and I gain a 22-year child support sentence. It was the ultimate lose-lose, and I felt like she held all the cards. I was broken, and death seemed more palatable.

Although I had my suspicions that something was wrong, I trusted you, and felt you would tell me if anything was really wrong. When you assured me everything was fine, I allowed your words to quench the fears I had, and the slate was wiped clean each time. The trust I had in you far overcame any fears, and I knew I could just trust, and I did just that.

I never snooped in your emails, and I never checked on your phone calls. I didn’t monitor your texts, and I didn’t have you followed. I had no reason to doubt what you were telling me. I didn’t have to investigate anything on my own, because you summoned the courage to tell me, and for that I am thankful. Although you do say that you were pressured to tell me, and had no intention of ever telling me, and were only doing so out of duress, I can tell you that I would have fared far worse had I learned it from her, so I thank you for telling me quietly, in the privacy of our own home, far away from her evil. Thank you for not letting me find out any other way. Thank you for being a man, and telling me to my face, despite the shame that such a moment brought to you. It is a shame that I can’t even imagine, and something that I would not have had the strength to do, had the situation been reversed. Thank you for being strong enough to do the right thing.

In the weeks that followed, you attended marital counseling with me. You attended regular weekly sessions, and faced head-on the shameful situation of having your mistakes placed on the table for open commentary and evaluation. You watched me cry and break down, witnessing firsthand the carnage that you created in the one you professed to love and protect. But you kept coming, and didn’t complain. You didn’t back down, you didn’t refuse, and you didn’t stop.

You took the time to look deep inside of yourself and your situation at the time, with the guidance of our counselor with a desire to learn what had led you there. Thank you for seeing the possibility of there having been a lack of something within you, something broken, something that needed mending. Although I do own my share of any marital breakdown that resulted in your inability to feel that you could come to me with your feelings, I also understand that your decision to have an affair was yours alone, and wasn’t something you did as a result of me, or our marriage. You had plenty of healthier alternatives to deal with your situation, but made a bad choice. I don’t think it makes you a bad person, and I don’t define you by it. Thank you for trying to find what it was within you that enabled this situation, no matter how painful, and for having the strength to examine it. Thank you for being strong enough.

You listened to me gripe and complain incessantly. You watched me hurt, and you listened to me ask the same questions over and over again. You answered them honestly, whenever there was an answer, and struggled to give me comfort, even in times when there wasn’t an answer to give. You placed all of your cards face up on the table, and gave me the truth at the speed at which I needed to hear it, not at the speed at which you were willing to face it. You followed my lead and proceeded at my pace, even when it was uncomfortable. Thank you.

You allowed me to start writing a blog to express my feelings, in the hopes that publically sharing it, that I might gain support from objective others, and also possibly help others in the process. You didn’t stop me from making public our struggle, and I agreed to protect our anonymity. Writing the blog has been a great triumph for me, is something that I enjoy, and which has brought me a great deal of support. It has also helped others. Thank you for giving it your support, and for being a faithful reader, and my first subscriber.

You never made it my fault. You didn’t blame me, or equate any of my inadequacies with your choice. You didn’t deprive me of support, and never denied me the opportunity to talk about it when I needed to. The door was always open, and you always made room for me, and you didn’t shut the door on me, or tell me I was raising “the affair” too often, was asking too many questions, or was being “unreasonable”. You tolerated my teasing and rubbing your nose in it, when I felt I needed some “payback”, and you took it without anger or disdain. Thank you for not retaliating and allowing me this momentary feeling of satisfaction. I sometimes needed it.

You allowed me to tell certain friends about the affair, and gain support from them, even though them knowing was embarrassing to you, and shone a light on your shame. You put my need for support above your need for secrecy, and I thank you.

You willingly attended the “Healing from Affairs” weekend with Anne and Brian, and never once questioned the purpose or need, nor the cost. You made the arrangements, attended, were a full and willing participant, and enjoyed a weekend that brought us closer together and for which I will be forever grateful.

You allowed me to attend the “Take your life back” seminar with Anne and Brian last month in November, taking charge of the kids to allow me to experience a weekend with other betrayed spouses, and the healing that comes from that. You didn’t stop me, you didn’t suggest against it, and you made it easy for me to attend without guilt. Thank you for that support, and for that gift. It, combined with the previous seminar, the learning and the introspection has helped to bring me to the place I am today in my healing, coupled with your support and care. Thank you.

Thank you for helping me to heal, and for acting as my healer in this journey, taking on the weight of my load when I didn’t think I could do it anymore, despite also having your own load to carry. Thank your for your patience, and for never asking me to “move on”, or “get over it already”. You accepted the repercussions of your actions as a burden you were willing to bear as a result of your actions, and you allowed me to do, say, or feel whatever was necessary, as a result, without making me feel stifled, or stupid, or judged. Thank you.

Throughout this journey, you have proven to be my hero. You have tackled situations that I don’t feel that I would have had the opportunity to tackle if I had been the one who had the affair. You have graciously stepped into the shameful places you needed to go. I know that I would not have had the ability to tolerate the constant nose-rubbing, the shame, the embarrassment and the constant exposure of my errors. You did, and for that, I recognize you as the pivotal reason for my healing, and the biggest force, outside of myself, that allowed me to heal in the way that I have.

I now have greater insight into how your affair came to be, and I no longer wish to hold it over your head, or to make you feel remorseful, or guilty. I know that you are remorseful, and I know that this has been your life’s biggest tragedy. It has been mine as well. Instead, I want to help heal you also, and move forward from this tragedy together.

When we first sat with our marital therapist, at our first marital therapy appointment, he told me that the end goal of affair recovery was to seek and grant forgiveness, and that forgiveness could only ever be considered once I felt as though you had stood in my shoes. I remember feeling such torment at the idea that I was to be expected to forgive you. “Forgiveness” was not the F-word that I had in mind, and wasn’t something I was prepared to consider. Last spring, at the end of the seminar with Anne and Brian, you were asked to write a letter, asking for forgiveness. I appreciated the letter, its heartfelt contents, and your genuine request for forgiveness, but I simply couldn’t grant it. I felt badly, like I was expected to. I wanted to, but simply couldn’t. I loved that weekend, and the feeling of togetherness that it helped to reinforce, and I did not want to forgive you simply because you had asked me to, or to comply with the programming of a seminar.

In the weeks that followed, I didn’t want to forgive you simply because I was running on a “post-seminar high” or trapped within the memories of that weekend. Instead, I hoped that the moment that I offered you forgiveness would be more genuine, and coming more from inside of me, not because you were asking, and not because you were programmed to request it. It needed to be real, and it needed to be heartfelt and pure, and it needed to come from me.

I was never ready to forgive you because of what I thought “forgiveness” meant. I always thought that forgiveness was the act of ‘excusing’ someone for what they had done. I thought that it meant ‘condoning’ someone’s actions, and finding something ‘acceptable’ in those actions. I thought that it meant ‘pardoning’ them from their responsibility, and telling them that what they had done was “alright”. I could never come to a place where I believed any of that to be true, and I felt that to ask me to forgive was to deny me my right to be angry, to feel betrayed and to claim that someone had wronged me. I thought that forgiving meant that I could no longer claim to have been betrayed, or own that, and that it took the value of what I was feeling away. I owned those feelings and I didn’t want to lose them. They were the expression of my broken heart, and they weren’t ‘wrong”, they weren’t ‘pardonable’, and they certainly weren’t ‘acceptable’. In speaking with other betrayed spouses, and those who have been hurt in other ways, I learned to define my own meaning of forgiveness, and this one felt better. It was to be the definition that I would then strive towards.

Forgiveness, as I now see it, is the act of letting go of the “better than” attitude that I was able to hold over your head because you had had the affair, and I had not. It was the decision to not see myself as a “better spouse” and to let go of the comparison. Being a spouse isn’t a contest to be won, and we aren’t on opposing teams. Forgiveness is the conscious choice to no longer hold your actions over your head, and to no longer engage in behavior that accentuates your shame, or which holds your actions under a microscope with the intention of helping me to feel better at your expense. Forgiveness is the choice to let go of the victim mentality, and to no longer be defined by it. Forgiveness is making the choice to see that you were a man who made a series of bad decisions, but not to see you as a “bad man”.

1020 days ago you broke my heart when you disclosed that you’d been having an affair. 2 years and 9 months, and 14 days ago, my life changed completely, and my reality was irreparably altered. These 145 weeks, these 24,480 hours, these 1,468,000 minutes, these 88,128,000 seconds have been the most painful, but also the most transformative of my life.

I do not condone what you did. I do not accept what you did. I do not pardon what you did. We both know that if you should find yourself on this path in the future, that the outcome will look very different from this. But, I trust with every fiber in my being that we won’t find ourselves in this place again. I trust that you will talk with me about issues which render us vulnerable, and that we will work towards fortifying our relationship and making the necessary steps towards keeping our union safe from any outside threats. I trust that we will actively work at strengthening our marriage, and no longer fall to the path of least resistance, the easy-way, the “comfortable way”, and I agree to work outside of my comfort zone and work at the ways that I can be a better spouse to you, going forward.

And so this New Years, 1020 days after you broke my heart, I find it mended. It will always hold the scars, but you have helped me heal in a way I didn’t think would be possible 1020 days ago. I thank you for being my hero in this, and I would like to offer you my forgiveness.

To honour this step, I wanted to offer you something as a symbol of forgiveness, so that you could carry something with you as a reminder of our story, and where we are. I tried for weeks to determine what that would be, but then realized that it was too personal a choice, and you needed to be the one to make it. I will let you decide what you would like that to be, if anything at all. For me, I purchased a Pandora charm for my bracelet: a heart shaped lock with a small golden key. This is highly personal for me, and symbolic of where we stand because 1020 days after our tragedy began, you once again hold the key to my heart. I love you.

Welcome to my new beginning.

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