Reclaiming.

Tears. Anger. Counseling. Questions. Self-blame. Counseling. Fear. Disgust. Counseling. Leave. Stay. Counseling.

spirograph

These next weeks were a Spirograph of emotions. As all of this was unfolding, my dad was slowly dying, living in our home so we could help my mom out. It is a black time…a period shrouded in such an ominous covering of shadowy pain. To get through all of this, I allowed myself a couple freedoms:

  • Make NO DECISIONS until…
  • Get through the next minute, the next moment. Don’t even look forward to an hour or two, just the next moment.
  • Allow myself to feel honestly, and don’t apologize for those feelings.

As I struggled to fill the gap between the reality that I’d lived for 27 years and the reality that I now knew my life really was for 27 years, I frantically reread diaries and cards and looked at pictures. I pieced these things together trying, trying, trying to see where I had gone so wrong, how I had been so STUPID and searching for the WHY WHY WHY.

My city, the city we had met in, married in, had our babies in, lived in now was tainted from one end to the other with marks of his deceit. No matter where I went in the city, I experienced triggers and questions and sadness and disgust. In a crazy moment, I asked HUSBAND to take me to one of the places that he regularly met his second affair partner so we could look at it together. He agreed. We drove there, him glancing at me with a pained look on his face, and when we arrived, we sat in front of the place and I asked him to describe to me how he arrived, where they parked, what happened. Then we got out of the car, held each other, cried, prayed against the lies and filth that had existed there and begged for that to be replaced with love and beauty and covenant. It was a painfully healing moment.

I realized that we had somehow reclaimed that place. Reclaimed it for the truth and dignity of our marriage from the clutches of secrecy and degradation.

It became my goal to do this everywhere that we could. So, place by place, we traveled around our city, first, then the region. We went to the restaurants, to the “spots,” to the hotels and stood in front of doors or by the river or near the turn off and rid the place of the LIES and ushered in TRUTH. It was crazy bad and incredibly good. Unbelievably, dear friends who were walking alongside us in this journey who had also experienced infidelity, owned a home in the mountains of North Carolina…gave us their house for a week…the same precise week that one year before HUSBAND had been in that same town with SW in a little cabin fucking her and cooking for her and taking her to a restaurant. So on the SAME DAYS one year later, we went to that restaurant, sat in the same seats, tears streaming down my face. We went to the cabin together, sat outside it listening to the rushing creek and grieved together, holding each other, crying and praying. And then the anger started.

My anger escalated during that trip…alcohol may have also been a factor…and nothing HUSBAND did or said could soothe my feelings. He finally, very calmly, got up and started to walk out. WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I screamed. His look of sadness covered him from his face to his posture to his toes and he said quietly, I’m just hurting you, I can’t help, I’ll just go on a walk.

NO! NO! NO! YOU CAUSED THIS! YOU CAN’T WALK OUT! YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT!

And he came back in, picked up one of the many articles we had with us, pulled me next to him and began to read and tears poured out eyes, down my face and onto my chest. At first, I was stiff and resisted, but he just kept reading. The article was written to betrayers, telling them how the betrayed felt and how to deal with their emotions. It was spot on…SPOT ON…EIGHT PAGES and he quietly read, and kept reading, and I got more and more calm and he kept holding me close and reading and telling me how terribly sorry he was.

And then we just held each other and cried and cleansed. Exposed, bare, raw.

He fixed me dinner that night. A beautiful dinner of all things good and we sat on the porch of our healing house, looking at magnificent stars. We reclaimed the place, and there was a small place of hope in me that maybe, we could reclaim us.

North Carolina

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19 thoughts on “Reclaiming.

    1. Oh sweet Laurel…I have no idea either. It is literally just fumbling and bumbling through. I do know that I could not think beyond the specific moment. Just that moment. But unlike Loser, Husband was deeply committed to my healing and recovery which dramatically changes the options. Hugs to you.

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  1. There are a few places that I will need to reclaim, and H is pushing for it to happen sooner rather than later, especially Las Vegas and New Orleans. I hate to spend the money on the trips, afraid I’ll spend the entire time in the fetal position, crying. The time we spent together in those places meant so much to me, and I’m having trouble accepting that he would taint the memories of those places by going there with her. Maybe one day. I admire your strength in facing it head on.
    ☀️

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    1. We have New Orleans still to go, too. Like you, this will be a really tough one. His trip there with the whore was sandwiched between two trips we made together so we will have lots to deal with. By the way, this reclaiming stuff is NOT for everyone…our counselor initially discouraged it at first, and told us to move VERY CAREFULLY into it if I NEEDED IT. There are so many different paths to healing, so please don’t think you must do this. Do what is best for YOU. HUGS.

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      1. It’s going to have to happen eventually, and when it does, I will know I’ve truly moved forward. We were married in Las Vegas and have been there together dozens of times over the years. H was last there with her, and I can’t let her have the last word, so to speak. It’s mine, I just need to gather the strength to take it back.

        New Orleans is another place we’ve travelled to so many times I can’t even count them all – and the last time we were there, H booked us in the same hotel that he and OW had stayed in earlier the same year. Why? Because when he stayed there with her, he knew I’d really love the hotel, so he wanted to take me there, too.

        It’s hard to accept that he would do these things that seem to me to be so callous and uncaring. H doesn’t see it that way. His explanation is that he’s so familiar with both cities, and likes to show his friends around places he enjoys. He didn’t see this as any being different as showing any other friend around town. This is where I just have to shake my head because I can’t believe Nature intended men and women to be compatible when our thoughts about things are often so far apart. : /

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        1. But isn’t that the point? Just like his special private parts weren’t just yours, this place wasn’t yours. If he doesn’t understand the geography reclamation I would have trouble buying the reconciliation in general.

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        2. After lots and lots of talking, and now marriage counseling, I think his emotional immaturity is one huge issue, and conflict avoidance is the other. We just had a conversation about this tonight. I hope/believe now that he’s looking inward, probably for the first time in his life, he will realize that this reasoning, while it made sense to him at the time, won’t stand the test of time as his attitudes about adultery evolve. He’s beginning to see the motivation for most of his decisions as an adult has been to avoid conflict. I’m unsure where the decision to marry me fits in.

          Reconciliation is a process. Learning about ourselves and growing as a result is a process. None of this happened overnight, and I don’t expect a resolution by morning. I’m going to keep going regardless.

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  2. Men do not fully mature emotionally until after age 25. If their environment retards that it may take years for them to be fully formed adults. So many bs write about their husbands’ foo. I know someone who does foster care and she found quickly not to buy many new clothes. Children who live in chaos don’t thrive in any area. They lag behind mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. We forget that we are warm blooded animals and under stress we respond as all animals do. We freeze, flee or fight. Children can make no sense of the senseless. Their coping mechanisms might save their lives but they are seldom right for adulthood. If your husband was cheating in the beginning of your marriage he was certainly not mature enough for it. From what I have read in your blog he kept her on the back burner in case……. I imagine you are only now seeing a man finally grow up.
    For many years I have taught a class to adults about how to process many issues in their lives. In one session I will list things they are to talk about as being able to manage or not manage. Theft, adultery, job loss, abuse, criminal behavior, and lying. It does not matter what list, or how long, everyone says that lying is the one thing they cannot tolerate. From what I read on all the blogs from betrayed spouses it is the lying that is hardest to overcome. I would imagine after you get over the actual sexual affair it is the lying that will be the hardest for you to swallow. You have given your trust and your faith in someone and expect them to be honest with you. Once you have forgiven him, and I expect you will, you will probably always wonder how he could so easily lie to someone he professes to love. I hope you and your husband heal your marriage.

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Lying is so incredibly devastating. Through our counseling, we have learned some of what you talk about (development halting at emotional childhood or adolescence, etc) and it has helped to understand our path to pain…and our journey to healing.

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  3. So impressed with your strength in rebuilding your life…….So sorry that through no choice of your own you have to do that…….So saddened by the fact that a man has a problem opening his heart to the hurt his betrayal will cause, but no problem opening his zipper for a whore…..YOU ROCK.

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    1. Oh Anna…don’t be impressed with my strength. I was, I am, so BROKEN. But rebuilding. You NAILED IT…the pain of realizing my husband was afraid to open his heart to me who had stood by him, cared for him, loved him yet his zipper for the whore. That is a core place of pain.

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  4. I am truly glad that both of you have prayed for each other. Keep praying for each other as James 5:16 commands “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

    Stay steadfast and focus on Lord.

    @Husband, you did the right thing.

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    1. Once HUSBAND moved to sorrow, he began to (slowly) understand the pain specifically caused by the BETRAYAL. He did the right thing, step-by-step, at that point. I am very grateful. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  5. My heart is hurting for you when I read what you have written. Even though it is painful to read, I’m glad your husband is supporting you to heal and realised the hurt that his mistake has caused. I really wish you all the happiness you deserve

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  6. So brave to revisit all those places and face the pain and hurt head on. It is like a cleansing but it is not that easy to do. I admire your strength and I admire him as well for just doing the right thing….keep on reading.
    It is all just a step by step process…it is just the steps backward that are hard. Take care and keep healing. Xxxxx

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  7. I understand the anger and also that you still need it. Husband needs to do a lot of work. I admire what you are capable of. Triggers…they are everywhere, music, movies, food, hotels, airports, work office, sayings, jokes, sex…To be able to claim it back is the answer, just bloody hard.

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  8. You mentioned an article to help betrayers help betrayed heal… this may be a long shot since it was a year ago but do you happen to know where I can find that? I would love any resources you have. As I’ve been reading through I’ve wished I could read some of the articles and such you have read. I’ve had trouble finding a lot of helpful resources. My husband is often clueless how to help me, but he is willing.

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