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“I never stopped loving you”


This post comes on the heels of an earlier post, where I discussed how a husband can have an affair, and claim to still love his spouse.  It’s crazy making, right?

As I mentioned in the above-linked post, this was something my husband used to say to me all the time when I was hurting.  He knew I felt unloved in his actions, so he reassured me that he had never stopped loving me during his affair.  It made me sick to my stomach, and almost hurt more.  Was this his twisted idea of what LOVE is?  Is showing love to me going out and creating false email addresses designed to sneak around behind my back?  That isn’t love to me.  Is showing me love going out and finding pleasure in the arms of another woman?  That isn’t love to me.  Is showing ME love, buying a hotel room in order to penetrate another woman, while I struggle at home to get the kids home from piano lessons, get dinner made, homework checked and kids washed and ready for bed?  That isn’t love to me.  But for him, it meant something different.  It meant that he had merely compartmentalized her, and kept her and their relationship in a separate box from the one in which the rest of his life resided.  He was able to open that box and visit it, and then when he was done, he could close the lid, and open his usual box.  They were never open at the same time, so when he was in one box, the other was out of mind.  Although, I would wager a guess that while I may not have come to mind while he was with her, she certainly came to mind when he was with me, and that is because she posed  continuous threat on our relationship, something I could never have done to them, as I was in the dark, kept in a box, with the lid on tight.

Nothing would infuriate me more than my husband saying the words “But I never stopped loving you”.  It was like a kick to the midsection.  Left me breathless and confused.

One day, as we drove back from therapy, on the way to picking up our children, he said it again.  I screamed at him in the car, trying to help him understand that those words are empty and hurtful, not helpful as he had hoped they would be.  He wanted me to say “Oh!  I understand you did this, but you still LOVED me throughout, so I should actually be happier about this than I am!”  That wasn’t my reaction.

At the end of my rope, as we drove, I tried to help him see it from my perspective.  I had to find a way for him to see my position on this.  Seeing my position meant standing in my shoes, and since I hadn’t cheated on him, I had to take him on a mental journey through part of my experience.

Now, he was driving at the time, otherwise I would have asked him to close his eyes.  Instead, I asked him to vividly picture the words I was going to convey. It needs to be said that in my line of work, I work alone.  I do not have employees or colleagues, and I work for myself.  And so I began:

“There is a man I work with.  He is tall, muscular, athletic and fit.  He makes me laugh, and has a great sense of humour.  He and I have been working together for about 6 months, just he and I, in my small office space.  He and I, spending so much time together lately, have been sharing more and more details of our lives with one another.  I have learned about his family.  I have learned about his likes and dislikes, and he has learned about mine.   Our friendship has grown stronger over the past few months, and we have taken to grabbing lunch together on most days, instead of splitting up and resuming work at the end of our lunch.  He has opened up to me a great deal, and shared some very personal details of his life.  I too have shared details about mine.  I think he appreciates the reciprocation, and it helps us as colleagues to open up to one another, as it makes us better work partners, not just strangers who have to be there, but want to.  A few weeks ago, while we were having lunch, his hand brushed mine, and I didn’t pull it away.  He turned to me, to gauge my response, and we looked at each other and knew.  The attraction that had been building between us over the past months was unavoidable.  As he looked into my eyes, we both felt it.  Moments later, I felt our lips touch, and we were kissing.  It was the passionate first kiss that everyone remembers.  My head was spinning with the excitement, as it had been years since I’d had that experience…” I looked over at my husband as he drove, and his brow was furrowed in either intense concentration on the words, or he was angry at being put through the exercise, or the content was bothersome.  I couldn’t tell, so I continued.  “Before long, I found myself wishing we were somewhere more private, where I could fully and completely express myself and my affection for him.  I asked him if he wanted to get a hotel, and he agreed.  We agreed to meet there, and take separate cars so that we were less obvious, in case we ran into someone we knew, and I needed to be available at 3:30 to pick up the kids from school.  I wouldn’t have had time to return him to his car back at work, and vice versa.  I fantasized throughout the entire drive about what was about to happen.  Would he find me attractive naked?  What did he look like naked?  Is he a good lover?  ‘Of course, he must be’, I thought, considering his sexual energy.  The traffic could not move fast enough to satisfy my hunger, and soon I had parked the car, and was running into the lobby.  He was already at the desk, making the arrangements.  He had obviously driven faster than me.  He must have been as excited as I was.  We hurried through the check-in process, giving fake names, and a credit card number.  As soon as the plastic key card entered his hand, his eyes met mine and he smiled.  This was really going to happen.  We rushed for the first available elevator. Truthfully, I would have taken the stairs to the 21st floor, it didn’t matter, but thankfully, it only took seconds for the elevator car to open.  Speed walking through the hallway, he held my hand tightly.  His hand was sweating, and I could feel his rushing pulse.  It matched mine.  We fumbled clumsily with the key card in the lock, and finally the door opened.  We crossed the threshold and the door slammed shut behind us.  The next moments are a blur as we peeled off one another’s clothes with an excitement that I had long since forgotten.  Revealing his body to me, and mine to him, we became ever more excited, and he kissed me.  Before I knew it, we were on the bed, his gentle caresses on my neck.  What followed was the most amazing and extraordinary sexual experience I’d ever had…”  I looked over at my husband driving, and his knuckles were white on the steering wheel, his jaw clenched, and I continued. “He gave me the most intense and body-consuming orgasms I’d ever had, over and over again, until we both fell onto the bed together, in a breathless and sweaty pile, our hearts racing, and our bodies satisfied.”

“So, tell me”, I asked of my husband while he drove, “where exactly in that situation was I loving you?”.  My husband’s eyes filled with tears, and he finally understood.  “I wasn’t”, was his reply.  “I was never loving you or showing you love in those moments, if I was doing something so selfish with someone else like that.  I wasn’t loving you at all”.

My husband got it.  He never again told me “I never stopped loving you”, because he realized that while he may have never stopped FEELING love for me, for those moments that he was deceiving me, he wasn’t LIVING his love for me.  For the first time in our recovery, my husband stood in my place, and felt the horror of what I was feeling.  Knowing that the pain and anguish he was feeling as a result of a made-up imaginary exercise had caused him such hurt, he knew that mine must be so much greater, and at that moment, he felt what it felt like to stand in my shoes, and the ugly view I had from where I stood.  From that moment, he invested himself in SHOWING me he loved me, and it has made all the difference.

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Snacking in the closet: a new setback


2 1/2 years into my healing, and I have come upon a new setback. Sometimes I feel as though I am my own worst enemy. I

n the early days of the affair discovery, one of the questions that I had for my husband was “what kinds of things did you say to her?”, “Did you ever say anything to her that expressed arousal, interest?”, “Did you ever compliment her, did you tell her she was good in bed, did you compliment her on her appearance?” These are things I had wanted to know, because they indicate to me a closeness, and an intimacy that wouldn’t exist if the relationship was “just for sex”. I guess I reasoned that if my husband was having sex with his mistress, “just for sex”, that their communications would be pretty benign, simply requests for hookups, no emotion, no attachment, no compliments, no emotional sustaining of the other person. I guess that finding out if there was any sort of emotional connection was important to me, as indicated a deeper affair, and I want to know how deep this had run.

Asking my husband those questions in the early days was fruitless, because he claimed he could not remember. I know that men and women are different, that women seek details, and that men rarely recall them. This is truly frustrating for the betrayed spouse who desperately wants to know details, and accuracies, you simply can’t get her answers. In an attempt to hide the relationship, my husband never maintained any of his old emails. Sure, there were a few here and there, mostly benign, mostly relating to work questions, nothing that was sultry, sexy, or a red flag. I’ve seen those, I’d read those, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. My husband, however, was unable to produce the emails that were sent that indicated something more. He had been very good at hiding those, even going so far as to create a fake email, and an alias. She, on the other hand, kept everything. Possibly because she wanted to use it as retaliation later, or simply because, as a woman, she kept things for sentimental reasons. Regardless of the reason, she had everything in her possession that I needed.

Last year, around this time, we were getting ready to meet the other woman in court. She had accused my husband of wrongful dismissal, and he had countered her claim with proof that she had been inappropriate in her work, had been warned, and had violated policies of their workplace which made her termination not only necessary, But justified. In attempts to make herself look valuable As an employee, and as a person in my husband’s life, she chose to print all of the emails where he had expressed affection for her, admiration for her work, genuine concern for her well-being, etc. In parallel, she also printed all of those emails which made my husband looks like the bad guy. The sex starved, horny, wayward husband, seeking out cheap thrills, and a good time with and “innocent” woman. She picked her emails carefully, not attaching many emails that were from her, directed to my husband, but rather mostly emails that were composed by him, directed towards her. Now, I am a smart person, and I realize that this is a biased and skewed representation of the emails that were exchanged. I am sure there are many emails where she expressed horniness, desire, flirtation, but she would not have attached those as they would have compromised the picture she was trying to paint of herself. I know that, I get that, I understand. However, when I came across this binder of emails one year ago, desperate for more information because my Husband was unable to provide it for me, I looked. I skimmed the pages, I flipped through them quickly, afraid of getting caught. It’s funny, my husband breaks his marriage vows, cheats another woman, sleeps with her in hotel rooms, goes behind my back, creates fake emails, creates fake meetings disguised as a work event, and I felt like the one sneaking around. Afraid of being caught, I spent no more than one minute flipping through the emails, looking for buzzwords, my eyes picking up random sentences here and there. I read some things I wasn’t prepared to see. I read some things that hurt me deeply. I didn’t, however, read them all.

Over the last year, I’ve had many instances where I have wondered what else was said. My husband, of course, unable to tell me, and possibly tired of the questions, let me to wonder if I should reopen the binder. Each time I wanted to, I reminded myself that it wasn’t a good idea, and decided not to go searching. Until yesterday.

In the process of filling out an application for my eldest child, I went looking for his birth certificate in order to provide proof of his age. My husband keeps all these important documents and filing cabinet in our home, which is not locked, which we share. Unintentionally, I came across the binder. At that moment, I became like those food addicts that come across a stash of no – no foods, And scroll themselves away in a closet to stuff their faces with something they know is doing them harm, but basically can’t help themselves. I became that person. I set my husband’s desk for close to an hour, and read every single page of the binders in detail. Every text message, every email. Every. Single. One. Some of them were familiar, having read them a year ago. I knew already what my eyes would see, but I couldn’t help myself. I figure that the pain that I’ve been through is so intense, that adding a few more details here and there won’t really matter. What I didn’t expect, with the resurrection of the pain, the humiliation, and the feelings of inadequacy that reading those emails brought to me. It’s one thing to know that your husband has been with another woman. It’s entirely another thing to read the transcript.

I became privy to some of my husband’s deepest darkest thoughts, that he had relayed only to this other woman. Some of the sentences which are burned, and etched into my mind include:

“I can’t wait to be inside you”

“I feel satisfied with you in so many ways, socially, and sexually. You do all the right things, knowing exactly what to do with me to make me feel good. I feel so relaxed when I’m with you”

“I told my wife that she has nothing to worry about. She had read some of our emails, and is on high alert for the possibility of infidelity. I did my best to reassure her that she has nothing to worry about.”

“I’m thinking about you as I work. I’m having a hard time walking around, if you know what I mean”

“I wish I could wake up beside you in the morning, and have a little dose of you first thing in the morning. That would be a little hard to explain”

“I would love to watch you sleep. You are so rarely still, it would be a rare treat”

“I like my women blonde, blue-eyed, and hot. Know anyone like that?”

“I am open to trying new things also. I’m willing to try anything that interests you. Just name it”

“You and I will go on another vacation, and have a lot more fun”

“I just feel so relaxed when I’m with you. You bring me a piece that I can’t put into words. I just feel so good when we’re together”

“I feel like this relationship is becoming more serious. It’s like we have both navigated away from the shore, and into treacherous waters. Personally, I welcome that, and look forward to where this may lead us. I don’t know where this relationship is going, and I understand the consequences, and I want to go there with you”.

There is a sharp knife blade wedged deep in my heart. Those words came from my husband. Those were forgive into another woman. At some point during my husband’s affair, he contemplated leaving me. At one point during my husband’s affair, he was willing to risk throwing away his life with me and his children, for this woman who made him feel so “comfortable”

My husband is a subscriber to this blog, and is going to read this post. My fears that he will become very upset with me for having read these emails. Not because I was snooping, or because I didn’t have the right to read them. But because I did something that caused me great emotional turmoil, that he will have seen is unnecessary. Why do something that causes yourself pain? Why do something that causes you harm? Well, when you’ve already experienced the depths of pain that I’ve experienced, and you live in the world that he has created for you out of this pain and harm, it really isn’t much of a stretch.

On a positive note, I no longer have the curiosity looming over my head. I can lay that to rest. It’s now simply a matter of working through the resurrected feelings come as a result of reading this content. I think what I need, is to go to the binder with my husband, and select the passages that break my heart into 1 million pieces. I need him to see what he has said, and the impact it has on me. He has avoided reading these emails, not wanting to go back to that place, possibly not wanting to face what you had said and done. I’m sure the last thing he wants to do Is resurrect those emails with me present. However, as part of our complete honesty, and his complete empathy for where I stand, I feel it is necessary for him to read those passages aloud, and see the great despair that they bring.

So, even after all this time, even after so many months of happiness, and calamity, setbacks can and do happen. It doesn’t mean we’re headed down a slippery slope. It doesn’t mean we’re going backwards. It’s just another bump in the road on the way to a hopefully brighter future. Now, if only I could stop the nausea and desire to vomit.

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Feeling sorry for myself


There are some days that I just feel sorry for myself.  I am sure it’s normal, but I just wish I could make the memories go away.  I sometimes wish I had the ability to induce amnesia so that I could make the memories go away.

I sit here with my laptop across from my husband and I look at him.  He is so handsome.  He is so kind.  He is so everything I love and adore.  I watch him across the room and I am so proud of him in so many ways.  I am filled with happiness and contentedness, and then it hits me like an 18-wheeler: He cheated on me.  The glossy finish fades, and I am dragged my hair back to the shithole I am trying to hard to climb out of.  It is so unfair.

Why does everything need to be tarnished?  Why can’t I just enjoy a nice day together and not have invading thoughts or memories?

We sit here watching Saturday Night Live, and the animated skit “Ace & Gary, the ambiguously gay duo” just came on.  I used to find that skit funny, and it used to make us laugh.  We would double over laughing until it hurt.  I watch it tonight, not having seen it in YEARS, and I can’t even bring myself to watch because my husband had an ongoing joke with his mistress that referenced this skit, and now I associate it with her.  I can’t help but wonder if he is thinking of her as we watch it.  Here she is again, invading my private life and time.

I’m just feeling sorry for myself, and can’t help wondering how much longer I will have this affliction.  I want my life back.

Reprieve


I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks.  Usually I blog when I feel the need to express something because I am angry, sad or happy.  Right now, I am just….BEING.

Things have been good lately, and I am pleased to say that I am spending considerably less of my day thinking about the affair or the mistress, and the reprieve feels wonderful.

It’s interesting, I don’t mind so much having the affair pop into my mind, but I do mind the mistress invading my thoughts.  I think that is because where the affair is concerned, I have reasons, explanations and repair work that has been done. so when I think of the affair, I also think of the work that is being done, the commitment my husband and I have to working through this, and I try to refocus my thoughts on the positive.  Where the mistress is concerned, that wound is still very much open, raw, and inflamed.

The other day, while looking through my tax folders for income tax submission, I came across a file folder called “Legal” and peeked inside.  Low and behold it is all of the communications between lawyers and my husband about the details of the affair and the fallout as a result of same.  We have had three lawyers working this case, at different times, across three different firms. An employment lawyer handling the paternity and child support claims, an employment lawyer dealing with the wrongful dismissal suit she has launched because she was fired, and a criminal attorney we retained to assist us when we were considering criminal charges against her for the ongoing harassment.  Wow.  Three lawyers, two consenting adults, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Where do I fit into all of this?

So, there I sat on the floor of the home office looking through this file folder at the volumes of letters, lawyer fee statements and official documents.  One document in particular stood out for me, and I read it.  I really wish I hadn’t because the content disturbed me.  It was a dictated account of an exchange between the mistress and our family lawyer when she came to his office insisting to speak with him about why my husband and I were “bullying” her.  Is she serious?  We are bullying her?  Because we stand united, and refuse to allow her to break up our family, we are bullies?  Because he fired her after the shit hit the fan, and she no longer had any power over him, that makes him a bully?  Because we won’t stand idly by and allow her to douse us in her poison, and request legal protection, we are bullies?   She really is fucked up.  Pardon my language…

The lawyer, upon meeting with her, had asked his law clerk to sit in on the meeting and take notes.  Those notes informed the document I was reading.  In the document it stated that the relationship was romantic in nature, and that it was consensual.  She stated that she loved him, and he loved her.  It also stated that the only reason that they aren’t together is because of me.  Somehow *I* messed things up for him.  Did she really expect me to step aside?  Was I supposed to bend over and take it up the ass from her?  I don’t think so.  Where does this sense of entitlement to what is mine come from that she thinks that it is wrong of me to interfere?   So it’s wrong of me to interfere in their relationship, but it is OK for her to interfere in a 10 year marriage?

I can’t express how beyond angry and sickened I am by her, and when I read these things, or hear of her latest actions, I am livid in a way I can’t explain….and that is a big deal since I like to use words, and when I can’t…you know its BIG.

I continued reading the account of that meeting.  Towards the end it stated “She maintains that their relations were quite frequent. i.e. 5-6 times per week . Was I reading that right?  She claims to have been sleeping with my husband 5-6 times a week?  That is like everyday except Sunday – what the hell?

This upset me for two reasons:

1. He has never had sex that frequently with me
2. He told me it was infrequent so this sent up red flags that he was lying

I told him immediately about what I had read.  Therapy has taught me not to keep these things inside.  He reassured me that her statement was false.   They were not together that often, and he chalked it up to her making more of this than it really was.  He mentioned that the lawyer had joked to him that as a result of that statement, he was considered among his office staff, to be quite the stud.  My husband later quipped that for a 42 year old man that would be quite the feat – 5-6 times per week.

The whole thing left me with a sour taste in my mouth, but since that day almost 2 weeks ago, I haven’t really given the affair much thought.   My husband and I are communicating better than ever, and I no longer feel as apprehensive about raising my fears and feelings about it to him.  I know he is there for me, and wants to help.  I trust that.

I look forward to the day when I can go a whole day without it invading my thoughts.  I can’t wait to feel free again.  This burden is so heavy.

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.

Over the hump and happy once more


I was going to call this post “A state of affairs” to talk about the state of my marriage today, but then realized it was a play on the word ‘affair’ and while funny, perhaps not appropriate.  So I erased it, and tried to come up with a post title that would illuminate feeling like we are over the worst part and on the other side – over the hump.  Then I realized that was also a play on words, being over the hump.  Whose hump?  His hump with the mistress?  No.  I will never be over that.  I will never be OVER the fact that he willingly made a choice to sleep with another woman for the greater part of a year, but what I will do is change the way I look at it, and how I look at myself because of it.

I realize that up until now, the blog has been pretty dramatic.  Posts about how I found out, the red flags leading up to it, how she seduced my husband, how she is a stalking psychopath, etc.  I realize that a lot of anger comes out, and can appear as though I am stuck in a very angry place. I want to correct that.  I wanted to write this blog in an orderly fashion, starting at the beginning and making my way through that first year.  But, that is because I am a type A personality, and everything has to make sense, be perfect, laid out in order, etc…. I don’t want this to be that way.  I want this to be a place where I can let that go, and just express myself in whatever order makes me feel better.

I am happy.  I am the happiest I have been for an entire year.  I have been through some very turbulent ups and downs, and it has been pretty rocky at times.  This past winter was probably the hardest point for both of us.  Last spring, when this whole affair came to light, I was in a great state of denial.   It was really hard to believe that the affair happened, considering I am married to a good man. We went through the hysterical bonding that caused us to connect sexually very frequently for a long period of time.  We were connecting sexually which had the side effect of making me feel more connected to my husband, and that I was claiming him back.  Soon, it was summer, and I had family fun to look forward to with vacations, kids out of school, day trips, weekend getaways, etc.  We decided to sell our house and buy a new home in August.  Part of the reason we wanted to move was because we were outgrowing our previous home.  We’d bought it when we had only one child, and now had three, so it was getting tight.  The other reason we wanted to move is because the mistress knew where we lived.  We’d seen a car like hers circling the neighbourhood, and we wouldn’t put it past her to drive by and see what we are up to.  We saw a new house as a fresh start.  The sadness started in late August, right after we moved in.  I had nothing else to “look forward to”.   Summer was coming to a close, the kids were gearing up to go back to school, and the novelty of moving was now behind us.   Deep sadness set in, and it was the start of a very bleak 4 month period that I hope I never revisit.

With ongoing counselling, we are learning a lot about ourselves as individuals, and as a couple, how we throw each other off, how our interrelation and  how we manage our own feelings sets the other person into their own tailspin.  We are learning how to ask for what we need, and how to lovingly provide it to our partner.  It has been a very beneficial undertaking, and one we both look forward to every week.  When we have weeks where someone misunderstands the other, or we find ourselves angry to the point where we simply don’t know how to fix it, we use our appointment as an open forum to pick apart what happened, and learn how to do that for ourselves.

What we’ve come to realize is that we weren’t the “perfect couple” that we thought we were.  Perhaps every couple believes they are the perfect couple, or impermeable to this kind of thing.  We did.  We would go out with other couples, and later remark at how disconnected they appeared to be from one another.  No physical contact, no playful compliments passed back and forth, no flirting, no thoughtful gestures – just co-existence.  We used to talk about how lucky we were to be together, to have found the one true person who made US perfect.  We were disillusioned.  Although we very much love one another, and genuinely LIKE one another, we really didn’t communicate well, and we are learning now how to do that.  It is a hard habit to break, and we fall in often, but we are learning how to get out, and grab onto the other person when things get rocky – something we both are not accustomed to doing.

I think most of my happiness of late comes from the fact that the mistress hasn’t been causing any trouble for us lately.  Yes, she did strike around Valentine’s day, and yes it did cause me to gain back the 8 pounds I had just lost, but since then, nothing remarkable to report.  Perhaps she has settled into mommy-hood and we are no longer her focus, perhaps she has come to realize that all of this fighting, and pushing, and debate saps the energy right out of you.  Maybe she has realized that she has no legal footing to demand more child support, and needs to simply accept that things are the way they are.  It is what it is.  Maybe she has gotten over my husband, or the very idea of being with him.  Although I am sure she still thinks we are unhappy, and that he strayed  because we are not solid, I no longer care as much what she thinks.  I am no longer desperate for her to know.  It is enough for US to know.  I don’t need her approval.  I don’t need her blessing.  I no longer want her head.  I just want US, and I have that.

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.

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