On Saturday night I climbed into bed with my husband and he folded his body around mine, embracing me. Spooning me. Since I found out about the affair, the comfort of lying in his arms and feeling his body alongside mine has been the security we both need at the end of each day. We were lying in bed talking when I said:
Do you want to know something funny? Well, not really funny but today is nine months since our D-Day. You have been faithful to me for nine months. [I chuckled to lighten the mood.] The funny thing is I didn’t even realize what day it was until around 2 p.m. today. In the past, it’s been like a countdown to the 22nd of each month like I was crossing off days counting down. Today wasn’t like that though. The day didn’t control me.
My husband fell silent and I listened to him breathing. I knew he wasn’t going to shut down but I could feel the thoughts beginning to stir in his mind. I began to prod him after some silence for his thoughts.
My husband is not good with processing his emotions. He can handle expressing his love and opening up to me—but with everything else in his life it can be more difficult. He represses his emotions when he feels stressed or overwhelmed. I guess I was somewhat aware of this side of him for our entire life but I didn’t realize he could be naive to his own emotional state. It’s as if he can see and feel how someone is treating him but his need to be liked, accepted and respected can force him to shut down his own thoughts and feelings for the other person’s demands. Before his affair I could see this behavior with co-workers and family members. Their needs always trumped his own, but with his AP I see it more clearly. Her needs trumped all of ours because he could not process his emotions, so he avoided them and pushed them aside.
After a few minutes I asked him to share his thoughts with me. He told me he was recalling that day, D-Day. We weren’t together when I discovered the affair. He was away for the weekend and I had been suspicious for a long time. I found his secret affair email account at 3 a.m. I told him I knew about his affair in a text message at around 3:30 a.m., but his cell phone battery had died earlier that night and he didn’t get my messages until he woke up the next day.
This may sound strange but I’ve never asked him how he felt in that moment when he read those messages. I asked him how he got through the rest of the weekend as a group leader for the event he was at—but I never asked him how he felt. What were his emotions on D-Day?
He was scared.
He thought he’d lost me.
He believed he’d lost the only person he ever loved and that he had destroyed everything that was sacred to him. He remembers very little about how he got through that weekend because he was an emotional mess. When he returned home to me I remember seeing a scared man sitting in front of me. I’ve never seen my husband as fearful as he was on that day. He’s always been confident, protective of me and calm but this man was broken and afraid.
We talked into the wee hours of the night about how far we have come since September 22nd.
As we began to get sleepy and tired my husband whispered:
I am sorry for giving you this day, this anniversary of sorts.
Before my D-Day the only anniversaries and dates that were of importance were the day we met, our first date and our wedding day. Now we have this day too. For my sake, I need to make our D-Day mean something else. I don’t want to be trapped by this day anymore and today showed me I don’t have to be. I can have a normal day.
Nine months ago I could have never imagined this journey and where it’s taking us. My D-Day was the worst day of my life. But I survived. I realize now that I have to control my destiny. I cannot control my husband and his life choices but I can control how I approach my marriage. I can choose to be vulnerable to my marriage or I can risk being vulnerable to the world.