There are moments when I feel like Katniss standing on the metal circle before the [Hunger] Games begin. As if an invisible protective wall surrounds me but it does not control me. At any moment I could step off my metal circle and be blown to pieces. If I wait until the moment is right, I can step off but I still risk falling prey to my fears.
The other night I collapsed into my husband’s arms after we made love. He kissed my neck and whispered into my ear his love for me. His body relaxed as he sighed with sexual contentment, his arm increased in weight and I heard him breathe deeply and steadily until he fell asleep. I could feel his entire body embracing me, holding me tightly against his body. He holds me much closer these days. As I listened to my husband, somewhere between a deep breath and a light snore, my fears flooded into my mind.
I stepped off my metal circle and let my guard down completely when we made love. I exposed my raw needs and desires while giving myself to him completely. My invisible wall disappeared and I was standing in my version of Katniss’s Cornucopia. My hopes and dreams within my grasp, yet drowning in thoughts and the reality of my husband’s affair too.
Why must moments of intense pleasure and happiness be followed by extreme anxiety? Evil thoughts and memories of his affair flood my mind. It’s like I am being tormented and harassed. It’s ironic really. Following the moments I let my guard down and trust my husband I am tormented by the pain of his deception again.
I always find it amusing when an OW writes me a comment on my blog telling me I am naïve for trusting my husband after his affair. I was naïve before and during his affair. I believed that love prevented failure and disappointment. I believed that our love was so strong it created a bubble around us that was impenetrable. I am not naïve anymore. I spend every moment of my life (post D-Day) knowing that no marriage is immune from infidelity. I am more prepared now than ever before. I am armed with knowledge about my husband that no one else has—not his parents, siblings, friends and especially not his AP. I understand him on the most intimate level. That place where you fear to let even yourself inside. I not only know his failures but I also comprehend the profound depth of the damage done by his affair. He didn’t walk away unscathed and free from consequence.
The consequences are clear every day. We don’t walk around and ignore the affair or it’s aftermath. Paradoxically, when he was in the affair he believed his AP and the affair had no significance in his life. He consistently said after the affair that he believed his relationship with her would just run its course and end. I looked up what that meant because I hated the phrase: “Run its course.” According to the Free Dictionary online it means that something will continue its existence until it dies naturally, such as a disease. Yes, the affair was like a disease.
As I lay in my husband’s arms tonight, I start to wonder if this disease has a cure. In his arms I feel safe and secure. My memory has the ability to haunt me if I let it but his embrace reminds me that we have so many dreams together. As for the other night, when I was laying in bed and the nightmare began to replay in my mind… I whispered to my husband that I needed a distraction. He squeezed me and sleepily told me a story about his day until I fell asleep. Overcoming the disease of his affair is a fight we will have to conquer together. And if I am going to be Katniss, I choose to be the girl on fire. The girl that can overcome incredible hardships and survive.