The Language of Betrayal

We have all done it. We have all gotten to new places in life that bring a whole new language. Some are kind of mundane – like when I took my first accounting class in college. There was a whole host of new words like gross revenue and accounts receivable and cost of goods sold. Words like credit and debit took on new meaning.

Sometimes we learn a new vernacular at special times, like becoming a parent – a mom. Phrases and words like swaddling and breast feeding. Or bumper pads and touchpoints and pacifiers. We have to decide things that include a new language like cord-clamping and cord-banking…co-sleeping or crib sleeping…public or private or home…

And there are times of sadness or challenge that expand our vocabulary to words that may have lurked somewhere in our minds, but become routine. Times like medical challenges and death that make words like treatment or hospice or casket routine. Words that lived out there but not in here yet now they are uttered regularly right from our own lips.

Affairs, though, are different. I didn’t know the language of affairs, or the vernacular. I’d never perused Huffington Post for articles on affairs, or searched for the Other Woman. The words weren’t lurking somewhere in my mind. They just weren’t there in my conscious thinking. But the language is universal, and within literal days of discovery, the words were tumbling into my knowledge base almost like a download of a computer program.

Affair Partner.

Discovery.

Trickle Truth.

Hysterical Bonding.

Wayward Spouse.

Gaslighting.

Blameshifting.

Affair Fog.

The 180.

The acronyms: M. A. EA. PA. EMA. LTA. BS. OW. MOW. FWB. AP. WH. STBXH. MM. xMM. NPD. IC. CC. MIL. FIL. FOO. DDay. FWH. NC. SA.

Literally overnight these words became the language of my life. Any betrayed reading this right now gets it…they know these words…or if they are in the devastating newness of discovery, they are learning them. All of my being hated that I needed to know these words, yet some came absolutely instinctually, without even needing the betrayed-spouse-dictionary. No Contact. Please, please have no contact with HUSBAND anymore…and HUSBAND…have no contact with her. The Other Woman. The Other Woman that I discovered on that day – that Discovery Day. And now…I am betrayed. I didn’t need a dictionary.

language

There were options as this new language became my life language. I could have, and deeply considered, DIVORCE which would have launched me into another whole new vernacular. I danced at those words and that option, seeking advice on the process and laws in Florida and division of property. And then I did research on the impact of divorce on older children, on young adult children. I was astounded to see that these beautiful older children often take the divorce of their parents hard. So hard that 3 and 5 and even ten years later, they are posting on their blogs about the hurt they still carry. The questions they now harbor…was anything real in their childhood? Was there ever the family they thought they remembered, and if that family broke up and broke apart, what chance did they, or could they, possibly have at love themselves?

I hated these words. I hated these thoughts that were hidden away from public view, only found with intentional research and eyes. I hated that as much as HUSBAND’s unfaithfulness was ripping me apart, and casting pieces of my heart all over every part of what I thought my life was, now I had to make decisions. I hated him and force him to leave me and get all my just due in every feasible way. I wanted to think of just me and wanted that to be the best for me and for everyone I loved.

I did not – let me repeat that – DID NOT decide that I would stay married. No, I absolutely was not that altruistic, or able to consider the twenty-year-from-now impact on my kids over my own right-this-minute impact. But I did decided that I would not decide. That I would wait. That I would worry about me and what it would take for me to be able to breathe. And then think. And then maybe feel. And if, along the way, I wanted to look at my marriage, then I gave myself permission, but not a mandate.

forever

And then…slowly…there was another language that began to creep into the vestiges of my brain and soul. The language of healing. I pushed it away for awhile, wanting and needing to embrace the pain. But it was quietly persistent. This language is more complex, requiring me to grieve and learn transparency and become oddly more vulnerable in the face of fear and pain. I can’t say that I know the whole language yet. And that’s okay. One word at a time…

 

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31 thoughts on “The Language of Betrayal

  1. You described it so well! A new vernacular. A whole new world of understanding. I had no idea this world of infidelity existed so prominently in my universe until D-Day. But the language of healing . . . so soothing, full of growth, and another new world of understanding. It’s the tender mercy that awaits at the end of the painful journey.

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  2. Wow. This was great but I can’t help but think about the “WHY” this was great….the pain and suffering that preceded this great write and necessitated the new vernaculars.
    I have learned words and phrases and “conditions” in the last year that I had never heard before. I always referred to things as in “the before time.”
    My story, as you know, didn’t have a happy ending…ha…maybe that’s why the stories I write never have a happy ending.
    Now…off the beaten path….are you in Florida?

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    1. I’m learning that not all the happy endings mean reconciliation, and I am still holding out for you, sweet Laurel. I am actually currently sitting in the Little Rock, AK airport…headed back to my home in Florida! Are you in sunny FL??? (Or according to news reports this week, not-so-sunny FL???) HUGS!

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  3. Ah my friend…so well understood. Don’t you find it annoying that the language of betrayal is learned so quickly and abruptly and is retained–seemingly forever burned into our memories, while the language of recovery and healing is such a hard and grueling one to grasp and absorb? So ridiculously unfair! Thank you for yet another beautiful post. ❤️

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    1. I do. I do, I do, I DO! I still puzzle how incredibly fast and intuitive the learning curve is/was (betrayal). Before I read the first book or word on a blog, I was insisting on “no contact” and using that phrase, precisely. Etc etc. How did we know? And like you said…the healing/recovery language…not so intuitive…

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  4. Wow. Yes, this language…it’s overwhelming. I am learning it. And I hate it. I really appreciated hearing that you did not decide to stay married. I am in that place. I have not decided to be married or not married. I feel guilty about this sometimes. But I can’t decide that in this moment because I realized I don’t even know who I am anymore. This event for me has unfortunately triggered more past trauma to surface and so I need to go through that to understand this. I just appreciate that I’m ok working on me because you did too. The decisions can come later when or if I decide to think about those next. Thank you for sharing this.

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  5. So true and so well described/written. I had hoped to follow in your same path, I believe it is not meant to be. The growth is important so regardless of the outcome we become better in the end, and with a broader vocabulary–HA! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Oh yes…ultimately we must choose our own growth and that may, or may not, lead us into a new marriage with the same person. But to ignore our own healing? And WatchMe…you are amazing. It is an honor walking with you on this journey. HUGS.

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  6. I have also been learning this language and I hate that it is part of me now. The worst one that I am using a lot now is “disclosure” as I wait for the day when I get to hear the whole truth from my husband. And I am dreading it. Other words I am using daily now are trauma, pain, anxiety, sad and healing. I never dreamed I’d be using this language so regularly, especially 32 years into the marriage.

    Still I am here and also not deciding yet whether to stay or leave. Working on myself and taking things slowly. I know that God will show me the answer when it is time. For now I am grateful for the healing powers of all the incredibly smart and strong women I have come to know on this journey. Thank you as always for your insight and wisdom.

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    1. Oh Boomer…those painful days…disclosure for me bled out in fits and spirts – trickle truth. I was at once dreading knowing it all, but then grateful to know it all – Trauma? Absolutely. I’m so sorry you are here, and 32 years of deception sucks… Are you okay? You are safe here, and free to take your time, as much time as you need, for as long as you want. HUGS.

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      1. Thank you so much. I am doing ok. Finding lots of support for betrayed women like me. You all give me hope that there is light on the other side of this darkness. My H is working very hard on his recovery and we are doing ok. But it is only 4 months so I am taking One day at a time. Not easy but it’s all we really have.

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    1. Love your comment Annasnow. Made me laugh. We must be strong women if we can stare at this in the face and laugh at least every once in awhile! We all need to laugh!!
      SS – another post which reflects so clearly the truth of this situation. I remember finding a blog about a week after D-day and I was baffled by the abbreviations. I remember also thinking that is was so strange that everyone was using them like it was normal.
      After reading your post I started thinking about what else has changed or that I am more aware of and I thought of music. I used to love to listen to the radio. I never thought those songs of love and despair were anything more than someone else’s drama. Their meanings were for someone else. That damn Sam Smith song, ” I know I’m not the only one.” was one of my favorites. Dear God how could I have known that while I was singing that in the shower my husband was out doing exactly what the song was about?? And I think, when he heard me singing it didn’t it shock him? I supposed at the time he was too distant to even hear me sing let alone react.
      Take care all of you ladies. There is strength in numbers so we are all going to be ok.

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  7. Meghan Lindsey sang Sam Smith’s song “I’m Not the Only One” on the Voice and I have played it over and over again H has heard it many times but he doesn’t “get it” he is in complete denial that he did anything wrong and nothing pertains to him. He has led a secret life for 23 years of countless women-hookers, massage therapists, college coeds, desperate women advertising on Craigslist and dozens of dating sites. I was so naive and stupid. I had no idea that I wasn’t the only one. Now, I speak the language of betrayal along with so many other amazing women.

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    1. Oh Lyn. My H tells me that when he was deep in the bowel of the darkness, he couldn’t see that he was “that guy.” That he was somehow different, removed from the filth and deceit and ugliness of betrayal. I remember us grieving together over a friend who’s husband had cheated, shaking our heads and wondering how that could be. And here it was, in my own home with this same man. The deception is real and heavy. My H eventually had the overwhelming and breaking realization of his choices – and yours has not yet? I’m very sorry…please connect with us. These are strong, brave women in our community and we will walk alongside you no matter what. HUGS.

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      1. Thank you, It is true that they don’t recognize themselves. I don’t have any hopes of disclosure, it will never happen and I struggle to move forward! I love to read everyone’s posts! I’m not very good with words and I have found so many posts that speak to me. I’m grateful for the ever growing community of betrayed wives that are here for all of us.

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        1. Me too. My Ddays began 4/12/14 and were “complete” by 6/12/14. I read and read and read blogs, sites, books, etc…and in November of 2015 finally decided to share my story. It was incredibly important for me to have this community, even when I wasn’t writing. So please know you are always welcome…welcome to read, ask questions, etc. I hope your H will work to meet your needs and help you heal. Big hugs.

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        2. My Dday was 05/04/14 and the more I investigated the more I found! 23 years of a secret life that I was clueless about! I find myself saying “bastard” out loud at random times of the day! I have a lot of rage that I manage to control. I actually don’t know how I make it through each day knowing what I know. He refuses any kind of therapy or counseling. He says he hasn’t done anything since Dday and I need to get over it and not talk about it. He had zero consequences and if I bring it up he says I’m being nasty.

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        3. Oh sweet Lyn. That would be dreadful. I’m so sorry. Have you read any books – would he? Do you think he is being faithful now? What are you doing for your own healing? I’m thinking of you. HUGS.

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