Juxtaposition

juxtaposition

A noun. A noun that is defined as “1) an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”

Two years ago today, I began to find out that my life was a juxtaposition. Two years ago today, I got an anonymous email from someone I consider a hero who began to pull the edges off the covering that would reveal that side-by-side to my life as I knew it there was another life.

Two years ago today, I began to have a glimpse of the (current) woman who had been placed together, side-by-side to my life and my marriage that I had no idea existed. A woman that HUSBAND used for comparison or contrast and she knew it but I didn’t.

I can remember that life before knowing, but the memory is fading. I can remember that my marriage wasn’t perfect, but that it was not bad either, and that I thought it was for the long run despite challenges and dark moments along the way – actually believing we had weathered the worst. I can remember that I thought there were lots of good things about HUSBAND – fabulous cook. Even keeled (okay, at that point he was completely detached and unemotional but I rationalized that it was even keeled). Hard worker. Always returns things in better condition than he found them. Adventurous and would always take care of the cars and cheer for the same college team that I did and was gracious to my family and friends. And we had 27 years of marriage history, four amazing children, a beautiful home, a life together. Yes, we were together for the long run and any yearnings my heart had I just stuffed away because obviously they were just the things of fairy tales and youth and dreams. We had life, together, and it was good.

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I can remember walking up that specific morning…my daughter was in town and she took me off to a barre class first thing in the morning – my first one…so that day already held special meaning for me, and is memorialized with an instagram post. Then a few simple hours later, I got another first when I read the email. I will never forget where I was standing or what I was wearing or what I was thinking when I handed HUSBAND the printed out copy of the absurd anonymous email from ‘Sid Breeze’ and he told me it was true. That split second, that instant began to reveal that my life was a juxtaposition and that there was someone close together that I knew nothing about.

These two years have been the journey of me extricating the two lives and looking at both of them with brutal honesty. Of dusting off memories and ideas and thoughts and understanding the comparison of what I thought and what also was. But there is also what he thought and what was. And I can see that our life together was a juxtaposition in itself…that we lived a life together, married, yet saw things differently and just assumed the other saw it the same. Our healing journey has required that we face these things individually, and then intentionally, together, write the story of our new marriage. The story in which there is no juxtaposition because we are one.

lovers

A challenge in the process is the other juxtaposition. The one of the wife and the Other Woman, who off and on during my marriage, also lived side-by-side. The juxtaposition of the wife and the other woman. Living side-by-side but oh, so different in nature and method. That one is moving slowly…and in fits and spurts…and is a story for another post.

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14 thoughts on “Juxtaposition

  1. ‘The juxtaposition of the wife and the other woman.’ well, that is a tough one. It’s one thing to KNOW about the other woman (had you been the wife of King Charles II you would hardly be surprised at his gallery of mistresses) and another to be unaware while the OW has all the information. Although she’s an idiot if she believes she isn’t being lied to as well. She is generally an idiot.

    An enemy you can see is at least an enemy you can challenge. You were blindfolded but now you can see, and as a person of enormous compassion and good heart you’re going to stop seeing red faster than most of us. Meanwhile, your anger is entirely justified.

    ‘our life together was a juxtaposition in itself…that we lived a life together, married, yet saw things differently and just assumed the other saw it the same.’ Everyone is like this. We all make assumptions. Every post of yours I read I think again how lucky your husband is to have a wise and determined mate asking him to shape up. Those in the honeymoon stage of marriage might like to reflect that they’ve only put their feet in the shallows, there’s a long way for us all to go, if we’re brave enough.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. So encouraging, Iris. Thank you for this response. I think one of the things that is so hard is we don’t know what we don’t know…and until the truth is ripped off, we think we know, and that is what we base all our actions and responses on. HUSBAND and I, going back, talking honestly about the early years…it is so different to hear his perspective and for him to hear mine – not what we assumed we thought the other thought/felt/etc, but what we really were experiencing. The tools we have now to explore and examine these concepts in safety have made it so different.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am pleased that you are managing to work on improving your marriage after the revelation of your husband’s affair. With 27 years together and four children it is definitely worth trying to save and resurrect your marriage. I have no experience of male infidelity as my longest relationship has been four and a half years and I do not know how I would react to it. But I think it is great that after such a long relationship you are both making concerted efforts to re-unite. I wish you luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Caroline. It has been an overwhelmingly difficult process…27 years and multiple affairs/porn/one night stand. At points along the way, I have not wanted to reconcile…but now I think I do. But believe me, my marriage is so different, and these things are not secrets any more – to our children, or close friends. I hope you come back to visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so admire both your openness and your tenderheartedness. (That’s a word, right?) Your posts always give me an introspective moment.

    Btw, love the picture of the hugging lovers ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hugs to you savingshards. I wish my husband would talk more. I wish he would say more than an “I’m sorry”. I wish he would dig deeper and talk honestly with me about our lives, our marriage and where it’s going.
    Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so different than it used to be. We have literally learned confiding tools and skills to teach us how to open up, safely, both as the speaker and the listener. Completely life changing. I hope your H will be able to also. HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reading this reiterated a juxtaposition I identified fairly early during my recovery journey. Those who didn’t have deeply fulfilling relationships with intimate, entwined attachment filled with passion and respect – and those who were kinda doing okay, living parallel lives that were not unpleasant, just not deeply connected either. And in observing each type of relationship that has been tested so severely by infidelity, I see time and time again that those who craved more have so often been able to at least attempt to create a new relationship that can be what they always wished for, but never thought they could achieve. Those of us who had it are almost always unable to stay together. Something terribly precious is forever lost. I don’t know which is hardest. I just know that I am grateful that some get a chance to build something better. And that I will be forever heartbroken and grief stricken at losing what we really did have, that I often question. If it was so fulfilling, how could he have given that away? A question he also asks. Life sure is a twisted bitch!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh horses…I never thought of it that way, but I see. So very insightful, and so deeply deeply painful. I’m really sorry, and I can honestly say that what we have now is so different than it was, so maybe that is one reason I’m (very cautiously) stepping into the future with H? You are so amazing, so strong. So real. And I really really hate what your heart has gone through.

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      1. I hate that society STILL doesn’t recognise how deeply scarring it is. Not enough to prevent it more. Cheating seems so easy. So common. So ordinary. So everyday. Until you peek behind the curtain at the human cost. I try to be grateful that I had it for 25 years. That I totally adored him. And that (apparently?) it was mutual. Some never achieve that. But, TBH, despite my attempts to be grateful, I just feel bereft mostly. I am not sure about that old chestnut, ” better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” I think in the case of death of a beloved partner, maybe? I said to him once that I wish one of us had died, prior to the cheating. But that didn’t happen! So you are left constantly learning to adjust your reality. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, ss x.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hate it too. I hate that there is this entirely huge sub-culture going on that apparently many know about and that is subversively supported with policies, laws, attitudes, norms, sitcoms, jokes, innuendos,websites, apps, etc etc etc and until your heart is ripped out of your chest, sliced & diced and strewn about the world you have no idea. NONE. I’ve been so incredibly humbled to have several posters mention that they have lost babies and even that pain, while horrific, is different than this…that they can honor the life and love of the lost, but in this…only pain… I recently looked up laws in the US, and 16 states have laws – LAWS against infidelity in which the perpetrator(s) can be fined, jailed or both. Some as insignificant as $10 (one state) and a few as much as years in jail and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Yet do you see that happening? Do you even see enforcement of existing laws? When I began to discover the hidden world of my life, I was ensconced in the series Mad Men. I had a love/hate with Don the ultimate cheater, because I was sympathetic to the pain he had endured as a child and his drive to overcome his self-hatred. I had watched nearly all the seasons, almost obsessively. When the truth came out…I could never, and have never been able to return to that show. It makes me sick that it wasn’t just a story of an outlier, instead, the story of my life and so many around me. That when I walk through the grocery store I now see brokenness and when I go to my car in a parking lot at night and see two people intimately talking, hugging, kissing I know they are cheaters and when I go on an early morning bike ride while it is still dark out and see a neighbor talking or texting on his phone at 6:00 am I know he is a cheater. Damn…it was all around me all the time and I was blind. Like the worst kept secret. Sorry…didn’t mean to rant…but I am so weary of knowing this is the devastation of so many of my soul-sisters and it doesn’t have to be. Blessings…peace…love…joy…I wish you all this, Horses.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Ranting when required is cleansing 😊. Rant away. Yes to Mad Men. It aired when things were pretty fresh here. I thought the discourse about Betty being a cold bitch was pretty convenient, too. She made him do it, too, right? Your ‘rant’ made a lot of sense.

    Liked by 1 person

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