Advertisements

Jumping on the betrayed-wife-bashing bandwagon


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

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

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

A further "Fuck you" to the betrayed wife

A further “Fuck you” to the betrayed wife

 

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

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

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

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

Peggy write:

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

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

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

Drexler also writes:

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

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

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

 

Advertisements

Free tele seminar tonight on healing the betrayed spouse


If you have just found out that your partner had an affair, welcome to the club.  It is the club that no one wants a membership in, and one in which many of us have been thrust, unprepared.

There has been no greater pain in my life than the discovery of my husband’s affair.  I’ve since lost my mother, and the pain of that didn’t even touch the pain that was caused by the humiliation and betrayal exacted on me by someone who professed to love me so deeply.  I can close my eyes, and go right back to what that felt like.  Some days, I still feel it.  I don’t think that will ever go away.

For those of you who struggle with how to move on, whether to move on, how to heal, and what your spouse’s role is, I invite you to attend this free tele seminar, offered by Anne and Brian Bercht, the former is the author of “My husband’s affair became the best thing that happened to me”.   From their site:

COMPLIMENTARY TELESEMINAR: TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012

Topic: How to Take Your Life Back after you’ve been betrayed
Date: TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012
Time: 6:30 PM PACIFIC/ 8:30 PM CENTRAL/ 9:30 PM EASTERN
Dial: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 688685#
Hosts: Passionate Life Coaches Guy & Tammie

Guy & Tammie will also be discussing how the unfaithful spouse,
if pursuing reconciliation, can help the betrayed spouse heal.
They will discuss dealing with low self-esteem, blame, shame,
obsessing about the past and how to really learn from the pain and
have the best life you can…what does that journey look like and
is it even possible.

To listen to the tele seminar all you have to do is call the number
listed above at the scheduled time, and enter the access code
provided when prompted. You can choose to sit back and just listen,
or you can ask a question when the opportunity is presented. You
can remain anonymous by using a first name and your state only …
and we don’t care if you make it up, it’s just nice to have a
way to identify you if you do choose to speak during the seminar.

If you can make the time, these teleseminars are a great place to realize that you aren’t alone.  They give you ideas to start out, and even if you are well on your journey, I just find the company of others in the same boat comforting.

Marriage is easy…it just takes love. Right?


I never understood what people meant when they said “marriage takes work”.  What were they talking about?

“If their marriage needs ‘work’, I would think to myself, “then clearly they shouldn’t be together”. 

Marriage doesn’t take work, it takes love.  Or so I USED to think.

My husband and I had the perfect marriage.  We were in love, we adored one another, we were physically and sexually attracted to one another, we enjoyed each other’s company, and more than that, we admired one another.  We each saw in the other, things that we admired and appreciated.  We saw each other as capable and recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  We had perfected the dance of marriage, with each of us compensating for the other, stepping up in the areas where the other was weak, and hanging back, when necessary to let the other shine.   It was a dance perfected over time.  If you had asked either of us, in a candid moment, whether we were happily married, we would have said YES unquestionably.  My husband and I would often comment to each other about how lucky we felt to be together.  While friends and acquaintances appeared to be struggling with their partner, we really weren’t.  We would sit and listen to friends complain, “My wife is so controlling”, or “My husband puts me down”, or “My husband never tells me that he listens to me”.  We would remark how unhappy they seemed, and basked in the thought that we were above them, that our marriage was better.  We were, in essence, impermeable to problems.

Sure, our marriage had its problems like all marriages.  We would fight, and I will admit, I am NOT a good fighter.  Fights send me into “Fight or Flight” mode, and I am a expert at the latter.  I flee.  I run.  I hide.  I then pretend like it’s all better, and plead that we not talk about it anymore.  It passes, and we get back on track. Until next time…

Despite the occasional dispute, we really had no complaints.  We didn’t have money problems, he has always been a good provider, a wonderful father, and an exceptional example in his career.  We would sometimes hear of affairs, and it would further reinforce for us our impermeability.  “Well of course he had an affair”, we would think, “they fight all the time and she is all over him like a wet shirt…he needed his breathing room”, or “I just knew she would find someone else to give her the attention he never gave her”.  We would then make the natural comparison to ourselves, and feel reaffirmed that we were better, stronger, impermeable.   My husband has always told me that he loves me.  He tells me often that I am beautiful, sexy, or ‘hot’.  He complements me on my abilities.  He takes me out for nice dinners, and buys me thoughtful gifts without me having to drop hints.  He knows me very well.   How could a marriage like that suffer an affair?  We were, after all, impermeable.

It was that very belief, that very statement that brought us comfort and security that would later to prove to be our greatest downfall.  We thought we were perfect.  We thought our marriage was better than others.  While we may have been right on that last one, it didn’t mean it was perfect, and that it didn’t require work.  But, what does WORK mean in a marriage?  Counselling?  Learning to fight fair?

The very fact that we thought that we were in a great place and impermeable to this problem is the very reason I never looked for the signs.  It was the very reason I had never educated myself on infidelity, even though both my father, and my husband’s father had both cheated in their respective marriages.  It was the reason that when my husband found himself becoming “friends” with his work colleague, that he didn’t put boundaries in place, talk to me, communicate about his feelings, or even second-guess them,  because we were both living under the assumption that it would NEVER HAPPEN TO US.

It was the mistake of our lives.

25 months into my journey to healing from my husband’s affair, I now know many things:

  • Talking does not mean that ‘communication’ took place
  • I have to learn to be a better listener
  • Men and women need to be aware of what makes them vulnerable to an affair, and to put into place safeguards, the largest of which is to communicate with your spouse
  • Couples need to share complete honesty about their past hurts, their childhood scars, and learn more about each other and what has happened to form them the way that they are
  • No matter how long you have been married, and how many times you have said it in the past, every partner needs to know that they are valued and loved, attractive and invigorating, captivating and irresistible.
  • Couples need to schedule time specifically for the purpose of discussing their marriage.
  • Couples need to use this above mentioned time to discuss the ways in which they will continually try and improve it
  • Couples need to build trust with one another, by meeting and sometimes exceeding the needs of their partner.
  • They need to learn to anticipate these needs, and fulfill them before ever being asked, simply because they know one another well enough.
  • Couples need to be  honest with one another about their feelings INSIDE and OUTSIDE the marriage, including their physical attractions to others
  • Couples need to learn to communicate in a way that ensures that their partner feels 500% convinced that they have been heard, and in a way that validates their feelings.
  • Couples need to learn that sometimes, communication is a one way street, and all you need to do on this particular episode is listen and make your partner feel heard.
  • Couples need to have fun together, and to remember that their partner is a fun person, not just the father/mother of their children, and their spouse, but a person with value as well.

Doing the above takes a lot of work.  It takes time, dedication and a willingness to put it together.  It requires scheduling the time together, setting aside other plans, having uncomfortable discussions, facing their own hangups from childhood which impede them from being the spouse that they need to be in order to create a fully functional ‘whole’.

Marriage is HARD.  It isn’t enough to just love one another.  It takes WORK, and I now know what that work is.  It is a constant checking in, a constant re-evaluation of where you stand, and where you wish to be.  It is a work in progress, with each day offering you a new opportunity to overwrite and re-write the formula for your marriage.  That kind of thing doesn’t just happen, and it won’t just magically fall into your lap.  Couples who have great marriages have them because they put the work in, and they recognize when work is needed.  They didn’t just happen.  They aren’t just “the lucky ones”, because luck has little to do with it. They don’t blindly assume that they are impermeable and they take the steps to protect themselves.  They recognize their faults, and that they aren’t perfect spouses.  But they also take the time to try and grow for one another in ways that help their relationship.

In a sense, I guess for me, the word “partner” has taken on a whole new level of meaning.

“Would the white elephant please stand up”


If I’ve learned one thing from this journey, it is that I am not  great communicator.  I like to talk, that is true, but I do not communicate well.  I am intensely sensitive, and I think I often recoil from saying what I really feel, or expressing what I need if I think it is going to upset another person, make them think less of me, or question their affiliation with me.  I guess I just have a lot of open wounds about having relationships be conditional upon me being perfect, doing and saying the right things.  Thanks mom for that crutch.

My husband and I are very sensitive people.  We listen, we care, we want to help.  We genuinely enjoy talking about our feelings.  We just don’t do it well with each other in a marital context.  We have great intentions, but we need tools.

What we have come to learn from marital therapy is that there is a way to communicate, and while it is so simple, it eluded us for the longest time, and is something that doesn’t come easily.  Even though I know the formula now, I still revert back to those old patterns that get me and us stuck.

My a-ha moment in therapy happened many months ago.  We were discussing how I hadn’t mentioned my feelings of sadness that week to my husband, and had chosen instead to keep them to myself.   They festered, they grew, and I found myself feeling excessively sad.  As the days went by, my sadness grew, turned into despair and on some days, turned into a desire to end my life.  When our therapist asked me why I chose not to talk about the pain of my week, I mentioned that I felt as though all I was ever talking about lately was how depressed I am, how sad I feel, how lonely I am, how fragile I feel….”what a downer I am”, I thought.

When you are wounded from your spouse having turned to another, your self esteem plummets.  Suddenly, you want to show him that you are the best thing in the world, and hope that he realizes his error in judgment.  Determined to show myself in the best light possible, I didn’t want to constantly be a mess of despair and tears.  I didn’t want him to associate me with pathos.  I felt pathetic, but I didn’t want him to think I was pathetic, so I chose to keep my pathetic feelings to myself.

Our therapist has taught us that seeking and offering clarification is key to communicating.  Getting your point across and knowing that you have been heard, and your message interpreted as intended are important.  To this end, he often has us turn our chairs toward each other and ask one another for clarification, or seek information to help us better understand the other.  If we find ourselves taking action or building a case based on assumptions, we are to ask the other person to clarify so that we don’t have a misunderstanding.

Being in therapy is like having a marital referee for an hour; someone who analyzes and evaluates what you say, how you say it, and the subtle undertones that underlie communication, in order to help you navigate a conversation at a deeper level.

So, back to the therapy a-ha moment…as the therapist asks me why I haven’t been sharing my feelings.  “I don’t want to be pathetic.  I feel like a loser and it is ALL I ever talk about anymore”.  Some more probing questions revealed that I had been withholding because I didn’t want him to see me in a pathetic light.  To see me as anything less than perfect makes me vulnerable to him leaving me (remember that relationships are conditional in my upbringing), so I didn’t want to always be projecting negative feelings and being a downer.  He had us turn our chairs together, and the conversation went something like this:

Me: “He is going to think I am pathetic”
Therapist: “You think he will see you as pathetic if you share your feelings of sadness?
Me: “Yes”
Therapist: “Have you asked him whether this is the case?
Me: “No”
(We turn our chairs to face each other)
Therapist: “Perhaps you can share with him why you haven’t been sharing”
Me: “I am afraid that if I continuously share sad thoughts, look sad, act sad, talk about the affair, ask questions, cry, etc., that you are going to think I am needy and pathetic and I worry that you won’t find me attractive”
Spouse: “I would never think you are needy for expressing your sadness.  It is understandable that you are sad.  I’ve done a horrible thing to you, and I expect you to be sad and to talk about it.  I don’t want you to hold things back from me”
Me: “But it is all I ever talk about, and I am afraid it comes across as needy and pathetic”
Spouse: “Of course you think about it all the time.  So do I. This is a hard time for both of us, but I would rather you share your feelings, good and bad, rather than keep them to yourself. I want to hear your feelings, and I want to help.  I don’t find you needy, nor would I.  I am prepared to listen to whatever you have to say for as long as you need to talk about it. I did this to us, and this is my cross to bear too.  I will do whatever it takes to make this better”
Me: “So  you don’t find it pathetic and unattractive?”
Spouse: “No, I don’t.  I find it understandable”

That conversation was an a-ha moment for me because I realized that a lot of what *I* do is make assumptions about what I think others will think or feel.  I then change my behaviour to suit my paradigm, and much to my surprise, I guess I am not often right.  Shocker!  At key moments when I feel myself pull away, recoil, distance myself emotionally, it is because I have a fear.  A fear of what the other will think, do, feel about me.  So the trick, as I have learned it, is to call out the white elephant in the room, and label it for all to see.

It would look something like this:

“I have some feelings that I would like to be able to talk to you about, but I am scared to share them with you because I fear that you will find me needy and unattractive for continuously harping on my sadness, so I am finding myself pulling away”

As you can see, the above follows the pattern:

a) what I need
b) what I am scared of / what is holding me back
c) what that fear is doing

Putting your fear right out in the open, allows the other person access to it, and an opportunity to address it and alleviate it.  Telling him that I was fearful of his evaluation of me and what it was causing me to do (withdraw), allowed him an opportunity to educate me on how HE feels and how my actions are TRULY interpreted by him.  Only when you call out that white elephant, and ask it to stand up, can you truly find out how someone else is interpreting you.

We make a lot of assumptions.  I know that I do.  My assumptions are probably wrong most of the time, and yet I allow them to navigate my decisions.  I am trying not to do this, but it is so hard.

This, of course, works in all relationships, and is something that I want to practice more with my friends also, to avoid those disagreements that come from silly misunderstandings.

Therapy has truly been a gift in so many ways.  I find myself excited for Fridays when my husband and I have a chance to reset our batteries, recharge our emotional connection and spend an hour focussing solely on us.  Oh, and leaving that office feeling extra connected, emotionally cared for and heard does something for my libido.  Good thing therapy is on Friday and I have the entire weekend to express my appreciation 🙂

Haunted


I’ve been told that I am suffering with a variant of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Given the flashbacks, the physical reactions that I feel to the memories, or the images that run through my head, I believe it.

Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful and that you have been purposefully deceived by the person you trusted most in this world is traumatic, to say the least.  It shakes you to your core, and causes you to reevaluate all of your beliefs, and to question your own judgements.  Your confidence in your relationship, your family, and yourself are all questioned.

Learning the details of what happened serve the immediate “need to know”, and prevents you from imagining scenarios and circumstances that simply never took place, and replacing those self-created “fantasies” with factual data.  While useful in one sense, it is also excrutiatingly painful to hear your spouse described what he did with his mistress, when, and how.  It allows you to create a mental movie in your mind of the events, and gives your mind ammunition with which to flash back to these movies at seemingly random moments throughout your day.

Seemingly innocent things can act as a trigger, reminding you in a split second of your suffering, the affair, the loss.  Looking at the couch that I sat on when he told me.  Where I sat.  Where he sat.  That does it for me.  I can’t sit on that sofa now without thinking of it.  As such, I’ve tucked it into the living room that we rarely use.

Pulling out the journal that I kept for the first few months brings me right back just by looking at the cover.  I will reread the entries now and again, not to remind myself of the pain, but to see how far I’ve come.

One of my greatest triggers is music.  It is sad for me, because music is something that I love.  I consider myself quite musical, having studied music as a child and adolescent, it has a very emotional connection for me.  Music can lift my mood, make me sad, etc.  It has a powerful force for me.  I listen to music for a great part of my day.  Whether I am in the car (I never drive without music playing), or at my computer doing work (also have iTunes playing in the background), music is always with me in some way.  My musical memory for songs is also vast.  I can remember lyrics and elements to songs from my childhood and adolescence like they were yesterday, even if I haven’t heard the song for a decade or more.  It brings me right back to the days when it was a hit on the radio, and in a flash I am that teenage girl sitting on the steps of her highschool watching the boy she pined over throw a football with his friends, wondering what she could do to be noticed.  The feelings flood back immediately, and I am transported right back there.

In the wake of the affair, I spent a great deal of time in profound sadness.  I would drive to and from work, songs playing on the radio, so desperately sad.  I now connect those songs on the radio to the way I was feeling, and hearing them now puts me right back in that place.   Songs I used to enjoy, not carry with them a deep feeling of sadness and despair. I remember vividly the feelings I had, the thoughts running through my mind, or even which intersection I was at the last time I heard it.  Hit songs that dominate the airwaves wax and wane, and soon enough, a hit song goes into a remission.  It disappears for a while.  And then it resurfaces.  When songs from that time come back on the radio, it is immensely painful.

It isn’t only the songs that were current after the affair was disclosed, but also songs that I enjoyed that were popular while he was having his affair.  I can remember sitting in my car, singing along to a song, doing my infamous seat-dancing that I am prone to do when a good song comes on.  I now look back at those moments, and realize that at the time that this particular song was popular, and I was sitting in my car bopping to the tune, my husband was lying to me, deceiving me, and sleeping with another woman.   I can no longer listen to songs from that YEAR without saying to myself “He was having an affair when I used to enjoy this song”, and it strips the shine off of the enjoyment of the song.  I will still sing along to it, and enjoy it, but it will always be there, imprinted and attached forever to it, like a tag.

The worst part about songs, I find, is the lyrics.  I am a romantic at heart, and often relate the lyrics in a song to my own life.  Love songs with their professions of deep caring or turmoil when there is a fight strike a chord with me.  I often find myself thinking: “I know how that feels!”.  I think this happens to a lot of people, and songwriters want their listeners to relate to, and appreciate what they are writing about.  It is kind of like this blog, and how I want my readers to connect with what I am writing, and if a betrayed woman finds this blog, I want her to be able to relate to it, and find comfort in it.   Songs of a broken heart now have a whole new meaning.  Songs of loss and despair ring true in a way I’d never been familiar with before.

Songs about infidelity almost kill me.  3 months into the affair discovery, the song “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri  was released onto iTunes, following its debut as a song on “So you think you can dance”.  It used to take the breath out of me. Now that it is being played many months later on the radio, puts it right in my face.   But, the good thing is that I no longer relate  the lyrics in the same way….I don’t want my husband out of my life.  I now attach these lyrics to her.  She is the one with the heart of stone

Jar of Hearts Video

I know i can’t take one more step towards you
cause all thats waiting is regret
don’t you know i’m not your ghost anymore
you lost the love i loved the most

i learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

i hear you’re asking all around
if i am anywhere to be found
but i have grown too strong
to ever fall back in your arms

ive learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

it took so long just to feel alright
remember how to put back the light in my eyes
i wish i had missed the first time that we kissed
cause you broke all your promises
and now you’re back
you don’t get to get me back

who do you think you are?
running around leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
so don’t come back for me
dont come back at all

x2

who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?

As I struggled with the decision with whether to stay in my marriage, I was torn in a way that I’d never experienced.  Staying felt like I was weak. Like I would allow myself to be humiliated, deceived, taken for a ride, and would come back for more.  It seemed like a reward allowing him to stay, allowing him to have his children, his wife, and his life.  I wanted him to hurt.  I wanted him to lose like I had.  I wanted him to be desperate for me.  Asking him to leave meant losing the best friend I’ve ever had.  It meant my children losing access to their father.  It meant losing my partner. I wasn’t prepared for more loss.  I worried that my friends would consider me weak for staying, or judge me.  But I knew where my heart belonged, and made a commitment to do my best to make it work, regardless of what others would say.

I’ve always loved the song “Heaven helps the man (I’m Free)” by Kenny Loggins.  It is the song that plays while the credits roll in Footloose.  Not only do I still love the song, but the lyrics to the song have special meaning for me now.

Heaven Helps the Man (I’m Free) Video

Looking into your eyes I know I’m right
If there’s anything worth my love it’s worth a fight

We only get one chance
But nothing ties our hands
You’re what I want
Listen to me
Nothing I want
Is out of my reach

Chorus
(I’M FREE)
HEAVEN HELPS THE MAN who fights his fear
Love’s the only thing that keeps me here
You’re the reason that I’m hanging on
My heart’s staying where my heart belongs
(I’M FREE)

Running away will never make me free
And nothing we sign is any kind of guarantee
But I wanna hold you now
And I won’t hold you down

I’m shaking the past
Making my breaks
Taking control
If that’s what it takes

Chorus

I long for a time when a simple ride in the car, a hug with my husband, a show on TV won’t transport me into emotional hell.  For now, it is my reality.  I know in time it will let up.   I just can’t wish any more than I do that it comes soon.

Living in silence


In the wake of the affair discovery, we retained a lawyer to help us draft a cease and desist order against the mistress who continued to contact our family, set on causing as much collateral damage as possible.  One of the things our lawyer advised us of was to not engage in the same behaviour in retaliation.  We needed to be the better people, walk on higher ground.  In the event that we were ever to pursue anything criminal, we needed to be able to show that we hadn’t responded to, or initiated any vindictive behaviour towards her.  We were to moderate our behaviour thinking of the bigger picture – that this may one day end up in court, and we needed to remain innocent.

When someone walks into your life, your marriage, your family, and attempts to steal from you all that you consider sacred, your first reaction is that of anger and retaliation.  I wanted to choke her with my bare hands.  I wanted to see her suffer.  I wanted to send her emails to defend my family, my marriage, my self.  She’d painted me as a shallow, self-obsessed and pitiful person whose husband was no longer interested.  I needed her to know that she was wrong. I needed her to know that he didn’t love her, that he loved me.  I needed her to see that her beliefs were crazy, and that he was never going to want her – he never had wanted her.  I wanted her to see the picture for what it really was – a sad set of circumstances that led to a man succumbing to her advances in a moment of weakness and then becoming trapped in her manipulative games and blackmail.   I needed her to know that he hadn’t been there willingly, that she’d trapped him, and I hoped that she’d realize how sad and pitiful it was that the only way that she felt she could get a man was through game-playing and, and the only way that she could keep a man was through manipulation.  I needed her to see how sorry and sad she looked to us, and how much my husband regretted ever having met her.  I needed her to know that he didn’t find her pretty, that he thought her fake breasts were unappealing, that he hadn’t SELECTED her, and that it was only sex…nothing more, nothing deeper, nothing forever.  I needed her to know all of these things, and I had no way to do so.  Legally bound from making any contact with her, I had to sit silently and stew about it, desperately wishing there was a way she could be told how he feels, how we feel….but my hands were tied.  I was silenced.

In the coming weeks when we were receiving ultrasound images, nasty emails, requests for money, and paying exorbitant legal fees to protect ourselves, I felt like I’d been placed in the middle of a boxing ring with her, blindfolded with my hands bound.  She could hit me, pummel me, abuse me – and I wasn’t allowed to fight back.  I was silenced.

I know that we were being protected legally, and that in the long run it would pay off.  I also know that it forced my husband and I to take the focus off of HER and put it back onto US.  For that I am grateful.  But. in the immediate aftermath, when I was reeling with emotion, it was one of the hardest things to do.  It was stifling, and all I wanted to do was to choke her with my bare hands. It was torture.

The rational side of me knew that dwelling on her, and thinking about her was going to do me more harm than good. I wish I could say she doesn’t come to mind…she does several times a day as emotional triggers take hold. I spend more time thinking of her than I do thinking about myself, and it is unhealthy. I just don’t know how to stop.  I am sure it pleases her to know that she has a stronghold on my mind, but at least she no longer does on my husband, and that is one step in the right direction.

Stalking, Slander, and Surreptitiousness


There.  I said it.  I have a stalker.  It is my husband’s ex-mistress.  I kid you not, she actually does stalk me.  Perhaps I should be flattered that someone has taken such a long-standing interest in what I do, where I go, what my family is up to, how my business is operating, and whether there is “trouble in paradise”, but I don’t.  Frankly, I just wish she would grow up and move on.

Now, when pressed, of course, she will feign ignorance (it is part of her passive aggressive nature), and claim instead that her “friends” are checking up on me, my business, what is going on in my life, all because they “care” about her.  Now I should be frank and say that I am not sure these “friends” actually exist.  I am not saying that to be mean, it is simply a contemplative thought because as a woman, us women tend not to gravitate towards those who manipulate, coerce, guilt, tantrum, rope-in and abuse the people they have relationships with.  Wonen like that are hard to get along with.  They are hard to be at ease around.  They put you on edge, make you walk on eggshells and are generally unpleasant.  A person who responds to situations with this kind of hatred, animosity, selfishness, ignorance and entitlement can’t possible have many people around them.

Long before the affair was admitted, she was interested in me.  Perhaps it is part of the mistress agenda to get to know as much about the wife (the competition) as possible, in the same way that the betrayed wife ends up wanting to know as much about the mistress as she can.  From a tactical perspective, it certainly makes sense, but it doesn’t make it any more acceptable to me.

It started when she saved joke emails sent by my husband  which had also been sent to my family members in unison.  Therefore, their email addresses were visible, and I guess she thought they would come in handy.  She would later use these emails when she created a fake email account  in order to divulge the details of the affair to my family members.  She started watching my twitter feed to see what I was posting and what we were up to.  Were we going away on vacation, were we having a good time, were we happy?  She needed to know, and twitter was the fastest way to gain that information.  While she never formally followed me on twitter (i.e. didn’t link our accounts to get auto-updates), she would check the feed manually, and often. Via twitter she was able to learn what I was up to, my state of mind…you get the idea.

Over the course of several months, while the affair relationship was ongoing, she visited my twitter feed often, learning little details about my thoughts, feelings, whereabouts, happiness in my marriage.  She probably felt like she was spying on us virtually.  I guess it’s a good thing I don’t post everything to twitter 🙂  I had once tweeted that I found it interesting that the Tiffany’s jewelry store has a wish list which you can create and then email to your husband/boyfriend so that he knows what you like.  “How convenient!”, I thought, even though I am not a big jewelry wearer.  My husband had indicated a desire to buy me a Tiffany’s key, which had led me to the site in the first place, and my observation of there being a wish list was simply my being impressed that such a thing was possible.  During the texting marathon that she and my husband engaged in in the wake of the affair disclosure, she commented: “Oh I am sure this isn’t bother [your wife] one little bit.  All it takes is some Tiffany’s jewelry, and she is satisfied” and some further comments about how shallow I am that jewelry will make this all better.  For the record, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry.  I have worn the same diamond solitaire earrings in my ears since 2001 when my first son was born.  They were a gift from my husband on the birth of our first child.  We called them my “push present”.  I thought it was adorable.  They’ve remained in my ears ever since, and it has now been 10 years. My watch was purchased for me on my 5th wedding anniversary and is the only one I own.  My wedding band and engagement ring adorn my ring finger, and the 4th finger of my opposite hand has a family ring that my husband bought as the ‘push present’ for our last child.  I never take any of it off.  I am not one of those who rotates her jewelry, or showcases various pieces from her collection.  I am far too low maintenance to “accessorize” – just one more thing to think about, so I don’t bother.  I never have.  Her comment about me being shallow could not be further from the truth, but what can I expect from a woman who has already painted me with her brush, and who will refuse to see any information that contradicts her fixed false belief.   To do so would be a waste of my time.  If she should ever read this, perhaps this will let her know that she was horribly inaccurate.

She then visited the blog that I maintain for my business, and attempted to leave a cloaked comment about her relationship with my husband because she thought my consumers might want to “support me”.  Her comment was never published. I moderate my blog for this reason.

Two days after the affair was disclosed, my husband and I decided we needed a night out to ourselves.  We’d just been through the ringer, and really craved some alone time, a place where we could talk – uninterrupted.  I tweeted that day that we were going on a date, and she later referenced that in a text, saying “You’re going on a DATE?  What, are you using me and this situation to IMPROVE your marriage?”.  The answer to that, a resounding YES.  We had a family friend come to watch the kids, and she called our home 27 times that evening, hanging up each time she reached voicemail.  Our sitter doesn’t answer the phone, and allows each call to go to voicemail, but after the 28th attempt, she picked up the phone in order to ask “what the heck is wrong with you that you are calling here so often?”, and our sitter was then treated to a monologue detailing the affair, what a bitch I must be, and how my husband LOVES her.  Interesting take on it sweetie.

Over the next few months, she was legally prohibited from contacting us directly or via email, text messages, because we obtained legal counsel.  She was asked to cease and desist, and threatened with court action if her behaviour wasn’t amended.  Being the sneaky conniving person she is, and believing that she outsmarts other people, she tried to find other ways of accidentally conveying information she wanted us to know, and ways to harm our family.  She emailed us the ultrasound images for her baby, and mentioned that she was keeping the baby now, based on some comments she’d heard me say about how “important family is”.  Whatever.  My husband never bothered to open the email, he isn’t interested.

A few quiet months went by with several cloaked attempts to contact us.  She emailed my husband a couple of times, trying to make it appear as though he was simply on her ‘distribution list’, and that his inclusion was merely an oversight.

She would later send another email, this time directly, telling him that she thought she was in the hospital for early labour and was going to put into effect protective orders for her and her baby into place, preventing him from accessing them, and protecting the baby from “his abuse”.   Along with our lawyer, we all got some pretty intense belly-aching laughs out of that one because, as our lawyer so gingerly pointed out, most women who are genuinely afraid of a potential attacker don’t typically send them an email telling them where they can be found.  These same people who are terrified of their aggressor don’t often also give the baby his surname.  She really thinks other people don’t see through her lame-ass behaviour.  It was merely an excuse to mention the baby, gain contact with him, and test whether he cares for her or not.  Newsflash: he doesn’t.

She decides to see how this whole Twitter thing works, and creates an account for herself.  Every tweet she makes is about the baby, how excited she is, how this is such a gift, how friends and family are chomping at the bit to babysit, yada yada yada.  She went on in later tweets to name him as the father of the child (when this had not yet even been confirmed), made mention of how everyone knew about the affair except me, and hoped that her daughter didn’t end up being an “idiot-savante” like her father.   We were actually impressed that she was able to use that word in a sentence.  Triple point score!  (She won’t get that reference either, so I will save her the trouble and mention it has to do with scrabble).  Words aren’t her strong suit.

Not satisfied that her twitter feed isn’t being read by ANYONE, and that I may never stumble across it, she decided to mention the usernames of some of my friends in one of her tweets.  I should mention, for those not well versed in twitter, that if you mention someone’s twitter username in a tweet, they will be notified that they were mentioned, and directed to the tweet.  So, she baited some of the people I have listed as friends on twitter (she looks at my account, remember), by mentioning them, and hoping they would come see her page.  They did, and I was immediately sent 5 emails asking what the heck was going on.  I simply told them it’s my crazy stalker causing trouble, and nothing was ever said about it again.  Obviously she thinks outsiders care much more about this situation than they actually do.  Truthfully, people are far too consumed with themselves to give due attention to anyone else’s shit.

Given that her behaviour in creating her twitter account was to slander my husband and I, and to cause us psychological harm, she was asked to disable her account and take down her tweets.  She feigned ignorance about how to do that, attempting to buy herself more time for the information to be publicly available.  I was asked to send her written instructions on how to disable a twitter account.  I was happy to provide the help, as I am always about helping those less fortunate than I.

She discovers, via Twitter, that my husband and I are throwing a holiday party in our home.  I tweet some images of the decor and preparations.  Within a couple of hours, she sends a text message to a friend of ours she suspects will be at the party to inform him that she and my husband had sex, and that she had recently given birth to a baby girl.  He received the text message, shook his head, and refused to reply.  He, like many others, simply didn’t find her worth his time.  He had worked with her and my husband, so she had obtained his cell phone by said means.  Given that she desperately hopes for her behaviour to have immediate impact, his apathy to the situation and lack of reply pushed her to try a little harder…she called and left a message at his home.  His wife, also our friend, heard the message, and not aware of who this was, or what this was about, called back in order to make sense of the ridiculousness of her assertions and winds up in a 10 minute conversation with her, where once again, she felt the need to divulge all of the details.  What she probably didn’t know was that our friend, and the woman on the other end of the phone, is a psychiatrist.   It certainly was interesting to hear, from a psychiatric perspective, what she thought about this woman.

Upset that her recent request to receive $3000.00 per month above the regular child support payment to cover the cost of a private nanny was denied, she decided to lash out.  She called my husband’s workplace and lodged a formal complaint about him.  She did so anonymously, but does she really think we wouldn’t know that it was her?   He doesn’t have any other crazy stalker mistresses out there with the same backstory…She mentioned in her complaint, that she had been employed by him, outside of this current job, that he fathered her child, and that he was defaulting on child support payments.  I should mention that her past point, about him defaulting on child support is completely false.  He pays each payment on time, by post dated cheques, and is completely fulfilling his financial obligation.  To say that he was not constitutes slander.  I am sure she has no idea she broke the law when she mentioned untruths in an attempt to tarnish his reputation. Her desire was to paint him as irresponsible and morally corrupt , and not deserving of a position of influence within the organization.  Her attempt failed miserably, as the complaint was directed to his colleague who extended my husband a great deal of sympathy, and admitted that he too had once had a crazy woman involved in his life, attempting to destroy his marriage.  He was familiar with the “type”, and would ensure that he would be personally  handling any further dealings with the complainant.

So here we are, in March of 2011, so what comes next?  Stay tuned to find out if the craziness continues.  This image so fits with her personality:

Loss


The devastation of an affair brings about a sense of loss like none I have ever experienced.  In that one moment, when I’d realized that my husband had been with another woman, I felt like I’d lost everything that was important to me.  I lost our intimacy, the trust, the sense of ‘knowing’ the man I thought I’d married and started a family with, the loss of my identity as a loved and cherished wife.  It was all gone.

In many ways, I think death would have been an easier loss to handle.  When you lose a loved one, you have the comfort of knowing that their life was full, and hopefully they lived it well.  You miss them, and it is a daily struggle.  With death, you hopefully have many happy reminders of the one you lost which help fill the void.  With infidelity, you have flashbacks to the disclosure of the affair, images burned into your mind of their bodies intertwined while you were at home tending to the children, songs on the radio whose lyrics speak so completely to how you feel, or once felt when you were whole.  It is like being slapped in the face on a daily basis, the losses accumulating as you learn more details of the deception, the sequence of events, the lies you were told to cover up their actions, and the ways in which the mistress humiliated you, belittled you, and attempted to steal all that is dear to you.  It is an ongoing loss that stretches out so far ahead of you that you have no idea if there is an end to it – you just have blind faith that there might be.  Hopefully this blog will show others reading this who are going through the same thing, that there IS an end, and it WILL be found.  You will be whole again, and you WILL recover.  It takes time, there is no roadmap, you can’t compare your progress to others – everyone’s journey is unique.

I knew going into this that I was experiencing loss.   What I didn’t realize was that my loss wouldn’t be restricted to my relationship with my husband.  As a result of the disclosure of my husband’s affair, I’ve also lost the support of friends, and the enclosure of family.  It sounds weird, I know…how do you LOSE friends when your husband cheats on YOU?   Shouldn’t friends gather around you, support you, and love you?  Shouldn’t they try, in their own ways, to ease the pain for you?  You would think so, but this process has taught me that people react to crisis in varied ways, and the coping mechanisms that people have, whether healthy or unhealthy will either draw them towards you, or away from you.  You will only be as supported, as your friend’s/family’s minimal coping strategies will allow.

The first friend to learn of the affair was a family friend.  This woman has been a part of my family since before I was born.  She’d babysat me as a child when my parents needed relief, attended major holidays at my home, and was married in my childhood home. I was her flower girl.  We’ve always been close, but it was once I’d married and started to have children that our relationship bloomed.  We’d started having lunches together, celebrating Christmas with her and her son, dinners at our place, overnight visits for my kids at her place.  How beautiful, I thought it was, that she used to babysit me, and is now babysitting my children.  It was a neat cycle-of-life thing, and I enjoyed her company.   She was the first to learn of the affair because my husband assumed I would kick him out, and called upon her to come and spend the night with me.  I didn’t kick him out, so that was never needed, but in making the request of her time, he had to explain what had happened.  Within a week, the phone calls stopped, the visits slowed, and the emails (even the ones that were just jokes) vanished.  She was gone.

The second friend I told of the affair was the day after the disclosure. She was a relatively new friend of mine, whom I’d met in an exercise class.  We both loved fine dining, running, and drinking wine.  Really only one of our vices was healthy so we did it as often as possible to counteract the other two.  She has marital issues of her own.  For reasons unknown to her (or perhaps that she is not ready to share with me), she hasn’t had any sexual contact with her husband for 6 years.  Her husband moved into the guest room many years ago and while they are friendly, flirty, laugh together and co-exist under the same roof as parents, they haven’t slept together in a  long time, and neither one of them feels comfortable talking about the WHY, or the HOW to get back on track.  Her initial response in the first month after learning of the affair was that of support, caring and compassion.  She felt badly for me, and she made herself available, sometimes dropping everything to come by and check up on me.  That was mostly in the first week.  Beyond that, the calls started becoming less frequent, our runs more sporadic, and the interactions more widely spaced.  It will soon be a year since we’ve run together.  I miss that. She is drifting away, and I am not sure why.  Now, it is entirely possible that she would have drifted anyway.  New friendships need some time to settle in, and sometimes one or both parties discover that the relationship isn’t working for them.  It is entirely possible that it is all coincidental timing, but I am not convinced of that.  My therapy brain tells me that for her, talking to me about MY relationship issues, makes her think about her own, and she doesn’t want to – it hurts.  So, she is keeping her distance, and it hurts.

Long before friends were even made aware of the details of what had happened, my parents found out.  The mistress has taken it upon herself to email them the details, under the completely transparent guise of suggesting that I may need support.  My parents, with whom I have never been terribly close with emotionally, were now aware of a reality that I wasn’t prepared to share.  In fact, had it been entirely up to me, they would still not know.  We just don’t have that kind of relationship.  My mother suffers with a chronic disease which will eventually take her life.   I knew that this news was a stressor that would have far-reaching implications for her overall health and well-being.  Learning that her daughter was going through something so painful, she immediately started exhibiting signs of declining health, was hospitalized several times over the course of that year, and the therapeutic dose of what she is taking to stay alive increased three-fold.  The disease which is slow and progressive was suddenly kicked into hyperdrive, and she plummeted more in 6 months than she had in the last 5 years. It was a full blown crisis of epic proportions on a far reaching scale, and my mother was swept up into its vortex, against my will.  If my mother is to succumb to her illness within the next short while, I will be able to add to the mistress’ list of accomplishments that she also killed my mother.  I don’t think that will faze her in the least.  The heartless cannot feel.

Within weeks of the discovery of the affair, the checking-in that had been so pervasive in the beginning started to slow.  People started to resume their every day lives, and yet mine was still in shambles.  Where had they gone?

I am not one who asks for help easily.  Raised by two parents who were emotionally unavailable to me, and who taught me from an early age that you can’t rely on anyone but yourself, I am not one to come out and ask for help.  Watching my friends and family slowly recede was like the end of days for me.  Afraid to ask them why they were doing this, I just sit back and watch it happen.   At the encouragement of my individual therapist (yes, I have two; a marital therapist and an individual therapist), I will be asking them what is going on, and asking for an explanation.  My fear in asking why they’ve abandoned me is that I may hear things that hurt me further.  On the other hand, it is also possible that the reasons I am ascribing in my own head are far worse than what is actually going on, and I may be causing myself more undue harm by saying nothing.  It is something I aim to do…just not sure when.

This post would be incomplete without mentioning the friends who HAVE stood by me.  Two friends who were made aware of the circumstances never left.  They’ve listened, they’ve dropped by unannounced with wine, they’ve asked with genuine concern how I am, and I am forever appreciative.  My eyes are tearful as I type this because it feels good to have their support, and I am thankful for them.  If anything ever happens to them that rocks their world in the way that this has rocked mine, they need to know that I have their back and will share the load, not simply because of what they have done for me, but because it is WHO I AM. In the sea of loss, they have been my beacons, and I am thankful.

The first day of the rest of my life


The title of this post sounds overly dramatic.  It doesn’t make the statement any less true.  I honestly felt, upon waking on the first morning after the discovery of my husband’s affair, that it was the first day of the rest of a new life.  Life as I had previously known it was over.  The man I had married no longer existed.  Had he ever?  Was this the man I had married, and just hadn’t known this potential in him, or was this someone new?  It was terrifying.  Everything I thought I knew was now in question.  Reality didn’t seem real, and I no longer trusted my judgement.  And yet, despite all of this pain and anguish, I had small children who needed breakfast.  It was a school day, and I had to take them to school, and then head to work.

When I woke up and realized it was no longer a dream, there was no chance of falling back to sleep.  I was living the nightmare. I walked downstairs and found him sleeping on the couch.  I suppose the noise woke him, and he transferred himself upstairs to grab an hour of sleep before the work day began.  In the midst of getting the kids ready for school, I snuck upstairs to grab something from my room and saw him sleeping.  It was the first time since he’d confessed his affair that I was able to look him at his face.  I stared at him while he slept.  I examined every single part of his face -every curve, every line, every detail.  I looked at his lips and was suddenly swept up in a wave of enormous sadness.  “Those lips used to be mine”.  I now imagined them kissing another woman’s lips.  I looked at his hands, and thought “those hands used to be mine”.  I know saw them caressing another woman’s naked body.  Every part of him to which I’d had an intimate connection was no longer mine.  It was shared with someone else, and I was no longer special.

My husband called me mid-day and asked if he could see me.  He was going to leave work to come and see me at work.  We spent the afternoon talking, and I couldn’t look him in the face.  I wasn’t ashamed, nor embarrassed…at least I don’t think I was.  But, maybe on some level I did feel embarrassed.  I felt picked over.  I felt not good enough.  I felt like the rotten fruit you turn over at the grocery store and then put back because you’ve found a better specimen.  I was picked over in favour of this other woman, this woman who was nothing special….she isn’t pretty, she isn’t smart…what does that say about me if he’d chosen to be with her?

We talked for hours, and then returned home.  The kids arrived home from school, dinner was made, homework completed, bedtime rituals performed.  The kids were all tucked away in their beds, and we were once again alone.  We stood together in the living room in complete darkness.  It seemed appropriate.  He asked me if I wanted him to leave.  I didn’t.  He told me how sorry he was.  I stood there without saying a word, and then muttered “I feel so alone”.  He turned to me and said “I wish I could hold you.  I’d like to hold you, if you would let me”.  I didn’t move.  I just stared at the floor, feeling more empty and terrified than I have ever been in my life.  He asked me if he could hold me, and I nodded.  When he put his arms around me, the familiarity was so comforting, so secure, and yet the reality of what he’d done was impossible to deny.  I didn’t want him to touch me, and yet I wanted to be wrapped up in him at the same time.  We stood there with our arms around each other for what must have been 10 minutes.  I recall my feet becoming sore from standing.  We didn’t say a word, we just held each other.  He asked me again if I wanted him to leave.  I didn’t.  He asked me if I wanted him to sleep on the couch.  I didn’t.  He asked me if I wanted to stay in the marriage and work on it.  I did.  We went upstairs and got ready for bed.  It was the closest, and yet the furthest that I had ever felt from him.

We climbed into bed together, as we always do.   The light switch is on my side, so he had to reach over me to flip the switch.  We spooned together not wanting to let each other go, and soon I soon found myself desperate for him.  I turned my face to see him, and he kissed me.  What followed was the most emotional intense lovemaking I had ever experienced.  I felt protected and close, and simultaneously dirty, pathetic and weak.  I couldn’t believe I’d just sexually offered myself to the man who’d betrayed me.  How little self respect did I have?   How can something feel wrong and right at the same time?   I was confused, but all I knew was that I never wanted to let go.

%d bloggers like this: