One of the things I hate most about healing from my husband’s betrayal is my desire for this period of time to pass quickly. The first moment I read the average woman takes about two years to heal from an affair I began to look forward to September 2014. I would pray: Just get me there and I’ll be okay. As I went through the first year I began to think I had the system beat—I was going to conquer this well before the two year mark. It was like I believed that I was in an AP course and I could accelerate the healing process. Now, a little more than a year later and I realize that I can’t rush anything.
I hate wishing time would pass while my kids are young and my days with them are limited. I feel bad when I just want to lock myself in my bedroom and ignore the world around me. I wonder how many hours… days have been lost crying, feeling sad and lonely. I’ve missed opportunities to spend precious time with my children because of this damn affair. I believe I could have been a better mother to my children over the last year or so if my husband didn’t betray me. He obviously would have been a better father if he hadn’t cheated on us. We have amazing kids and they deserve amazing parents. Things have gotten better in the last few months but I’m not always happy. I’m committed to not letting this affair suck any more of my life away.
I hate the time period in my life that my husband cheated on me. The other night my husband mentioned that a certain band was his favorite in 2012. I told him to never mention the word favorite and the year 2012 in a sentence again. I hate that year and time and wish to have no memories of it. It’s funny how even if there is a good memory from the time he was cheating it has now become painful. Mostly, I look back at that time and remember only the bad moments between us. As much as we had a great marriage before the affair, my husband changed when he was cheating and became a stranger to me and my kids. His behavior wasn’t normal and I let him get away with being an asshole. I didn’t hold him accountable because I didn’t understand what was going on. Maybe it’s good that things were off during his affair—it shows he was affected by what he was doing and not in a good way. But still, don’t bring up the time period he was cheating on me because my mood will instantly turn sour.
I also hate that I’ve distanced myself from my friends in the last year. I needed to deal with some of what happened on a personal level and I didn’t want every friend and family member in my life involved and worried about me/him/us. I have never doubted my decision to keep things private but I doubt I have been a good friend. I am beginning to invest more time in my friendships again. I am realizing that sometimes friends do need room to grow and revitalize their spirit and it has no reflection on the relationship when you need space.
I hate that I still attach pain to the affair. I have this fear that I will never fully recover from this pain. There is a song on my iPod with the lyrics: Bullets don’t make dents // they make holes. I think that lyric just about sums up what an affair does to a betrayed spouse. It leaves a hole somewhere. I am skeptical that it ever heals completely. I remain hopeful but the doubt lingers.
I don’t hate everything about the last fourteen months. I’ve learned to speak even in great fear. I rediscovered a relationship with my husband that is richer, deeper and more loving than the one we had when we first married. I am not afraid to tell him anything now. I am not afraid to tell him what I need from him. I am not offended if he tells me he needs more from me either. In the past I would feel criticized if he said he needed more affection or time with me. Now I realize he’s telling me because he wants me not because I’m not good enough. I’ve let my husband inside the most sacred and private parts of my being this past year. I have entrusted him with my heart and life again. I am not afraid to be vulnerable anymore. In fact, I’ve learned there is a certain strength that comes from vulnerability. Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand in a marriage. I wish someone had told me this fourteen years ago.
I realize now how I will help my children have better marriages. I can’t promise my children won’t fail, after all they are human. But I can teach them how to be good men, good husbands. I can teach them how to be honest and trust their spouse with their fears and dreams, the good and the bad. I can’t go back in time and change the course of my marriage but I can put what I learned into action.
This post may be a bit all over the place but that’s a reflection of where I am right now on this journey. A bit scattered but forever hopeful.