I have been reading a lot of other blogs lately and I am so surprised to see how similar all of our situations are. They are all very unique and different to each of us, but so many aspects are the same. I find a strange comfort in that. I find comfort in knowing that like my husband other good men have strayed and betrayed the woman they love most in the world. I find comfort in knowing that there are other strong women who have chosen to forgive and rebuild a life with the man they love. Here are some truths that I have learned during my recovery process.
Truth 1…An affair does not make a marriage better, period. I get so tired of hearing people say this could be the one thing that makes my marriage even stronger. I call bullshit…my marriage would have been even stronger if my husband would have had the courage to talk to me about his struggles and from there we could have worked things out. Affairs cause pain and distrust.
Truth 2…Trust your instincts no matter how solid you think your marriage is. Red flags don’t appear out of thin air. Once when I had returned home from a 5 day trip to NYC, JR surprised me by showing up at our house shortly after I had arrived. He very quickly threw me to the bed and made love to me. It was very passionate, during this he said out loud,”It’s always so good with you”. At the time I was quite stunned and didn’t say anything but I remember thinking to myself..as what, opposed to being bad with someone else? After we were done I asked him about what he said, he was shocked, he gave a nervous laugh and a quick explanation something to the effect that it’s just always really good. He didn’t realize he had said that out loud. The comfort I get is knowing that he truly thought that while having sex with me.
Truth 3…Men will do anything to protect the lie while it is going on, even after it has been discovered. Somehow they think they can make the sting less painful by easing you into the truth. Most women will agree I think, with just give it to me all at once so I can start processing it. Don’t drag me through it over and over.
Truth 4…The Other Woman will lie!!! Never forget that she is now being dumped by a man who she felt very connected to, who she may have planned a future with in her own fantasy world. Recently JR told me something new about the affair that he hadn’t shared before. He got a text one day from Nikki asking him did he want anymore children, to which he replied…No, No, hell No. I have 3 children and we don’t plan on having anymore(meaning he and I). He says that she was mad and ignored him for the rest of the day. This is a perfect example of how the affair meant very different things to each of them. She was young and wanted children and in some sick twisted way thought that she would eventually do this with my husband.
Truth 5…It is ok to do whatever you need to feel better. Scream, cry, break things. I chose to contact Nikki many times for the first few weeks post DDay. I was mean, hateful even, she deserved it. I made sure her husband found out, she was trying to keep it a secret. I did not protect my husband from any of this. I threw him out, more than once. I grilled him over and over again. I shopped a lot. I got a tattoo…something he never wanted me to do and I didn’t out of respect (I always wanted one). i made new rules for the marriage, either he could agree and stay or disagree and leave. He had disrespected me in so many ways I decided to put myself first for the first time in my life.
Truth 6…Men who are truly in love with their wives are not immune to affairs. Call it wrong place wrong time, who knows. I just know that I never had doubted JR’s love for me or his children. I was the most secure woman I knew. We were soul mates, destined to be together forever. Our bond was stronger than any of the couples we knew. We had a good life, believed in the same things, the sex was always frequent and good, sometimes really good! I never in a million years dreamed that JR would be vulnerable to an affair, but I was wrong.
Truth 7…Don’t stay if you can’t truly, completely forgive and trust your husband. Even though my thoughts get the better of me occasionally, I truly in my heart believe that JR will never stray from the marriage again. He has seen the pain and devastation it has caused me and our families and he sees what all he stands to lose. Even now he says he doesn’t deserve the life he has and I have to remind him that yes, he does. He is a good man. I love him as completely and honestly now as I did before all of this happened.
Truth 8…Staying with a betrayer does not mean you are a weak woman. In fact I believe it is quite the opposite. It would have been much easier to leave this marriage than to stay in it for the almost 2 years post DDay. It is much harder to stay and live with the reminders that pop up so often. To fight daily to gain a sense of self again. To help build up this man who has been stripped of so many things. To cry the buckets of tears that have been shed because of the immense pain that I have. To put on a happy face around people when I really just wanted to crawl in a hole and die.To be loving and caring towards your husband on days when you mostly just want to bash his face in. Remaining in your marriage is the hardest thing to do, and also the bravest.
Truth 9…It’s ok to not know what you want now. For months I told my husband that I didn’t know if I wanted to end the marriage or work on it..both I would say, depended on what time of day you asked me. I would tell him that I loved and I hated him and I did. There really is a very thin line between love and hate. The main thing I allowed myself was to feel whatever I was feeling without making apologies about it. I never told myself.. oh, you shouldn’t feel that way or, oh..you shouldn’t say that. I felt exactly what I felt when I felt it.
Truth 10…You will get through this. Even though you feel like there is no way back to being the person you once were, trust me you will. You will find new things to occupy your mind instead of obsessing about OW and the affair. You will trust yourself again. You will find a calm peace, and a sense of normalcy. There were many days that I never thought I could manage through the muck of the affair and the fallout afterwards. The thing that bothered me the most, and that I thought would never end, was that during every single sexual encounter that JR and I had over the past 2 years I always thought of her. Did he hold her like this, kiss her, touch her, etc. It was awful. However, yesterday, during a surprise lunch visit from JR, he decided he wanted me for dessert ;), it was fantastic as usual. It wasn’t until later that I realized that not once had I thought about Nikki, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it, I cried, this was huge for me. This is how I know that she is truly leaving my thoughts and soon will be gone!!!
So that’s all I can come up with for now, I’m sure there are more. I try to remember that though I have much healing to do, I am not the only one. My husband has suffered much through this and he beats himself up all the time about what he did. He is struggling to heal same as me. Sometimes I actually believe he has more healing to do than me.
I want to share a quick story before I close. I remember when The Vow came out in theatres and I decided that I wanted to read the book and then go see the movie. I bought the book and it sat on my nightstand forever. Last February I went to visit my mother and almost went to the movies to see it but decided to wait until I got home to see it with JR. So I’m home and I ask JR to take me and he agrees, over and over something happens and we never make it to the movies. Now it’s gone from theaters and I’m upset that we never made it, even though I still never read the book. So the summer passes and JR and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary and I decide that I’m going to read the book, which I did in one day. I cried and cried so much while reading it that I would have to take breaks just to calm myself before I could go on. It’s such an incredible story of true love and a must read for hopeless romantics. After reading the book I decide that we must watch the movie. JR is not a book reader and I want him to know this story of love. Off to redbox we go and late that night we climb into bed and get nice and comfy and pop it in. From the beginning the movie is quite different from the book. I don’t want to spoil anything so I wont go into any details. I just want to mention one part from the movie that spoke to me in such a way. Glen Close is talking to her daughter about her husband’s affair and how she was able to remain in the marriage and she says, “I chose to stay, I chose to forgive him for the one thing he had done wrong and to stay for all of the things he has done right, I chose to forgive.” Those are some of the most powerful words I have heard to this day. We both held each other tight and the tears streamed down our faces. It was a moment of healing for us. At that moment it made sense to me why we never made it to see that movie in theatres…it wasn’t the right time. God has a plan for our marriage, and that place and time was when we were meant to see that movie. Sometimes you really do have to surrender yourself to God and just go with the flow. Let your heart guide you, it knows better than your mind.