Gifts 1 and 2

friendshipsharingheart

This week, I am going to share gifts of those early weeks. Things or people or support that, looking back, I see were such gifts to me, my heart, my journey. I am deeply grateful for each of them and realize how important they were in mending the unraveling tapestry.

Overbearing SHAME was a crushing emotion I experienced early on. Those first weeks…I walked around in regular life feeling like everyone could see that I WAS A BETRAYED SPOUSE. I checked out of the grocery store and felt like the cashier was looking at me with pity. I took my cat to the vet and felt like the tech was sadly shaking her head…Oh…That Poor Woman…Her Husband Messed Around On Her…That somehow I hadn’t been pretty enough or good enough or supportive enough or cooked enough. That I hadn’t been enough. Bearing the weight of the shame was crushing me, and while sharing in counseling was helpful, I see now that I needed someone – NOT MY BETRAYER – to give me care and validation. Me, for me, and me for the choices I was making at that point.

So one day, when a friend asked to meet for breakfast, I said yes. I had breakfast with this old, dear friend  who had been woven in and through my marriage-kids-life for nearly the whole of it. Before going, I asked HUSBAND if he wanted me to tell Ann or not tell Ann or do anything in particular, and he told me he wanted me to do what would move me toward healing (Gift 1). I went in to the breakfast with no plans to tell Ann. The first 30 minutes, I had no plan to tell Ann. But at the same time, it was like this literal present cloud hanging over our conversation and our presence. It was almost like I could not talk, could not concentrate, could not really focus on anything because this HUGE LIE was looming up between us. This thing that had, in the time it took to read one 3 page letter, forever changed every-single-aspect-of-every-single-moment-of-every-single-day for the rest of my life. And she did not know it. So how could I be sitting in a booth having a conversation about every-day life and our college kids and the service in the restaurant? Eventually she talked of her sadness about some of the pain she was part of…a person close to her saying “so I can’t pay my mortgage and my house is being foreclosed on…do you still love me?” and the next person saying, “I am drinking. And drinking. And drinking. And I can’t stop. Do you still love me? And the next person saying, “I don’t love my wife and I’m seeing someone else. Do you still love me?”

And that’s when I had to tell her.

I softly said, “Ann. Ann.” She looked at me. I said, “HUSBAND had an affair.” She just looked right into my eyes. She asked the caring questions…is it over…how do you feel…what are you going to do… So I told her VERY simply & quickly about the discovery process. And the pain and hurt and fear and recrimination and sickness and all else that goes with it. And I told her that I did not KNOW what I was going to do, but that I was shocked to say I still loved HUSBAND. And that I wanted us to have the chance to work through this situation. HUSBAND was picking me up from this breakfast. I’d texted him to let him know I’d be right out…and then he came in. Slid in the booth next to me. I told HUSBAND that I’d shared our story with her, and then Ann told HUSBAND she loved him, and that we could recover from this. She had amazing words of healing, sharing that it had taken her seven (7) years to get to the point of truly forgiving and forgetting her husband’s affair. She was supportive and wise and loving (Gift 2).

Gift 1, Gift 2. Beautiful things.

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23 thoughts on “Gifts 1 and 2

  1. So heart-wrenching. I don’t understand why you would keep it to yourself. I HAD to tell everybody. We had been married too long for things to be “over” with no reasonable explanation. Loser, of course, was willing to keep silent and let everybody blame me. It cost me the relationship with my children and all of our “friends” but bearing the pain of the betrayal coupled with the “protection” of Loser would have been insurmountable. I weigh the cost of the losses versus the decision to refuse to protect Loser and it is incredibly unbalanced…but I just wasn’t going to keep silent. Loser HAD to own up to destroying our marriage…pure and simple.
    If you want your marriage to work, I truly, truly am pulling for you…and kudos to your friend for encouraging you.
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much, Laurel.
    I have come to believe that part of the reason this SHIT exists (affairs) is because of the culture of secrecy surrounding the offense. I have learned I had nothing to be ashamed of, yet I felt that way. What a CROCK.
    Christmas will be tough…I’m sure you know.
    HUGS.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember the shame too. Thinking I had a neon sign on me that screamed “my husband cheated”. I didn’t want to see any of our “couple” friends because I was afraid they would just know by looking at me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the faking in social situations sucks…
      But many do.

      People see what they want to see and often it is easier not to see the pain in the others’ eyes.

      To all who read this…be careful who you share your story with. Some people are not genuinely caring and will not keep your story confidential. That is another group of nasty people…I wished we could tape their mouth shut with the famous Canadian duct tape. It even comes in Christmas colours!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That is why I started my blog. I was sick of reading that both partners were to blame for the disconnection that caused the affair! This is NOT TRUE The person who starts the affair is the deal breaker. That is the person who violates boundaries and the person who seeks solutions outside the relationship! No marriage is perfect…but when there are issues, a couple can sort them out together. As soon as one starts to complain to someone else about their marriage…they already go in the wrong. If the willing listener is a potential “love” interest, it is a double violation!
      That is often how “emotional affairs” start erroneously referred to as “friendships”.

      No. you are not at fault. It is like blaming a rape victim for the assault. You did not break the marriage vows…

      The only thing couples often leave too late is talking about how they feel, their expectations and whether needs are met in the marriage….and this is a couple thing…both need to talk often and honestly and uninterrupted!

      Sorry for the “lecture”…I mean to say “it is not your fault”…….

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  4. The shame is unbearable. Even when we are logical enough to KNOW it is not ours to bear. I have not felt “……enough” ever since Dday 6 and a half years ago. Despite knowing it was never the case in reality. Self esteem destroyer. And yes to the secrecy. Society is full of this. But it still doesn’t handle any of it at all well.

    I told my oldest and dearest friends immediately. She and I have known each other nearly 40 years. And her reaction was like Ann’s. Are you okay? What will you do? Take care of yourself. And him. And God help me, hope he takes care of you. I think she had deep sympathy for him immediately, knowing he was a good guy, and that something drastic must have happened to him to decide to fuck our “friend” for fifteen months. It still hurts. It always will. Whilst there is a form of “forgiveness” – a word I don’t really use – there will never be forget. Never. This has scarred me (and us) like nothing else I have lived through. From what I have gleaned it appears that only death of a child causes this degree of pain. I’ve coped with a lot of painful events over the decades. And nothing compares to this. Both in the intensity of the agony and the length of the period of grieving.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m glad you had a friend who stood by you. But you’re right – self-esteem KILLER, doubt-inducer. The pain is beyond anything I could have ever considered, and the grief…just when I think it is at bay, here comes another round. But I have grown, I have changed. I have to hang on to those things. I hope you find some kindness, joy and peace this holiday season. HUGS.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks ss. She tried to help. But never really got it. We are not as close now as we once were. I realised after a while that you cannot fathom any of this if you haven’t felt the agony. And she started making “just get over it” noises just a couple of months in. So I pulled back.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am finding it is a lonely club. I am grateful to this blogging community where I find real empathy, lots of support and less passive-aggressive it really is your fault, or “get over it” shit. Very grateful. More collateral damage, I suppose…those people in our worlds who just feel a bit foreign now, a bit removed. Makes my heart sad.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Yes, that is how it feels….The reason it is so hard is that the person you trusted and with whom you shared all betrayed you. Betrayal is the hardest to deal with, in particular when it is done by someone you love and trust.

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  5. Often we just need a shelter in the storm and that can take many different forms. Wishing you and your family many moments of peace during the holidays. Wish that it didn’t have to be measured in moments, but that is the aftermath of betrayal.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never told anybody either. And then one evening in his own despair my husband told my sister. It was at that moment that I knew he was struggling and was crying for help. The affair lasted another year after that, but his struggle was more and more apparent. She likely never saw that part as she was full-on convinced that she was going to get what she wanted. She had no idea he was making amends with me while planning his exit-strategy with her.

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  7. I just felt so shocked in the initial phase. How could I have not known? How could I miss it? And I felt scared to share, since I didn’t know if people would support my decision to stay with him. Luckily his parents and sister were totally there for me, but I finally shared with a friend after about 2 months. It was amazing to have that support, and it brought us much closer and allowed me to really open up in a way I couldn’t with his family. My husband also started sharing with a friend of his and that helped too, since he was keeping a lot in as well. I’m amazed at how once it happens to you, you realize how many other people have gone through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Alli…me too. So shocked, so stupid. i felt like I had a huge IDIOT written across my forehead, and a more huge BETRAYED across my chest that everyone could see. And many people don’t support a decision to work toward reconciliation…I learned there are safe and unsafe people, and I’m sure you have too. It is amazing, and so very sad, how large this fraternity of infidelity really is… HUGS.

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