Thanksgiving: Reflecting on the Journey

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. About this time last year I wrote a post about all the things I was thankful for after discovering my husband’s affair. The intent of that post was to vent and to disgrace Bat Shit even though her eyes will likely never read a word I’ve written. This year, I find myself reflecting on the past twelve plus months with different eyes, a different heart and as a different person.

Yesterday I saw this question on a pin on Pinterest:

are you

I am so thankful that I am not who I was a year ago on this journey. To acknowledge my gratitude is huge. It’s hard to see growth every day. It’s hard to know if the changes we go through when healing from infidelity are positive or negative. It takes time to see how we have each changed.

Recently, I found myself feeling vulnerable again. The walls that were erected from my husband’s affair are coming down. I didn’t really see this coming and I am not always okay with it. I want to repair my marriage and continue to rebuild the trust that was lost but who knew that becoming vulnerable would leave me sleepless at night? I guess it’s the awareness of being vulnerable that scares me.

Falling back in love with my husband has been a journey. I never really fell out of love with him but our pre-affair marriage ended without my consent or knowledge. I am still mourning the end of our pre-affair marriage and it’s difficult. I know there is something gone from what we first shared and it saddens me. I’ve been trying to attach a word to that loss but all I can come up with is: purity, innocence or perfection. I don’t know if any of those are quite right but how do you accurately label feelings and emotions in love? I guess my sadness comes from knowing how incredible the love we share(d) is but we didn’t protect our love, relationship or marriage from invasion. So what we cherished was devastated because of our own naivety. Our belief that we were soul-mates and destined to spend the rest of our lives together prevented us from understanding our own vulnerabilities.

So this year, I am thankful that we appreciate and recognize our marriage in a deeper, more profound way than we could have before the affair. I will never be thankful for his affair because it did destroy something special within both of us. There is damage from my husband’s affair that cannot be fully remedied or undone but there can still be progress. We can still grow, change and evolve. I still believe we can be better than before.

I am grateful for all of my readers who have been here for me… you each write words of inspiration, fear, and hope. I feel like all of you keep me moving forward even when I just want to sit in a ditch and feel sorry for myself. Thank you.

I hope that everyone can distract their minds tomorrow and sit with family and enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner. I hope that when I look around my dining room tomorrow all I see and feel is love. Enjoy the moments that feel good and let go of the ones that cause you pain.

Let’s keep moving forward together.

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42 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: Reflecting on the Journey

  1. I learned of my husbands affair just 2 weeks ago. We are staying together and I have seen changes for the good. It seems we have started over and are trying to work things out. As you know it is devastating and my heart was broken but I believe in family and a family is worth saving. I look at him sometimes and think “He is acting as if nothing happened while I sit and try to comprehend what just happened.” Every once in awhile he will say something stupid like “You owe me” and I’ll flip. I will never owe him anything..He owes me a lifetime of hurt that he caused and the gratitude that I let him stay. See, I try not to rub that in his face. I guess its still so fresh that I need the give myself time to work out the wrinkles . I am thankful for these women’s words of wisdom as I go through this. I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving..Happy to know you believe in family too.

  2. It was 2 years ago around this time (11-23) that I learned of my husband’s affair, as you may know. It’s still tough. There is a lot that can’t be undone and remedied like you said and I am learning to grieve the loss of my pre-affair marriage. I could have said nearly everything that you wrote.

    It’s always going to be a struggle this time of year, but I am thankful that *I* am not the same person I was a year ago.

  3. Hello Dear,
    I have been following your posts since August. I fell in love with your username. I found you through Wendy’s blog “Our Journey” -a comment you left, it stood out from the rest. It was exactly where I wanted to be. Your softness is so strong! The only blog I follow.
    Your post was so unexpected, and so needed. I am in NYC with children for parade.
    Before I left a new piece told. Ten months in. This is how its been. I was having a hard time shaking it off tonight. Maybe because early on I had spent a weekend here at my sister’s apt- memories.
    Be very grateful that your husband understands your needs.
    I am thankful for you.

    • Hi… Thank you for your words. Sometimes it’s hard to be completely present when we are struggling with making peace with the pain. I hope you enjoyed your weekend and made it through the memory triggers….
      Thank you.

  4. My D-day was Nov 25, 2011, what that year was black Friday. It feels as if it’s 2 D-days, the actual date and black Friday. He ruined my favorite holiday. What a day to tell your wife you’d had an affair. I had another D-day on Jan 13, 2012 and another on March 14, 2012, thankfully that was the last one. The holidays are very hard for me. I’m thankful my family is still intact. I also feel like my husband can carry on like nothing happened meanwhile I suffer in grave emotional pain over his actions. He’s taking all the steps to mend the marriage but it seems not to affect him on the same emotional level as it does me. I suppose that’s the difference between the victim and the person who commits the crime. I hope your Thanksgiving is lovely. I hope we all have lovely holiday’s, Lord knows we all need it.

    • I did have a good Thanksgiving but last week I had some bumps. I am not sure what triggered it or why I felt so vulernable to the pain. The holidays are difficult….
      Why did he tell you on Black Friday? Did he come to his senses on Thanksgiving? Interesting. Since I was the one to uncover my husband’s affair, I always wonder if he did tell me the truth how or when would he have done it. No sense in wondering because that’s not how it happened.
      I hope you have a wonderful holiday… may all your troubles be out of sight.

  5. I have a hard time reading “we” and “our”, as in “we didn’t protect our love” and “our own naïveté”. I can’t use these words in this way yet. There wasn’t an “us” or a “we” in his affair. It was him. Going forward, thankfully there is starting to be an “us” again. But the actions of the affair were all on him.

  6. Thank you for the wish of distraction. This will be our 1st major holiday after DDay, noemally we spend it with his family, this year we will be spending it just us and our children. It is all I think I can manage for now, It will also be my 1st time ever making a holiday dinner and I am hoping
    for smooth sailing. I don’t want to cry. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

    • I hope your Thanksgiving dinner went wonderfully and just as planned. I know the first year can be hard–sometimes because you look around at all you have and think of how close you came to losing it all. Sometimes it hurts to just think that he wasn’t seeing the same value in family and love a year ago or whenever the affair was. It’s hard to imagine how my husband made it through the holidays when he was cheating… I would think that would be the worst feeling in the world. Anyhow, I did have a great Thanksgiving with my family. Now, it’s on to Christmas…. Here we go!

  7. My wife has been sharing this blog with me. I had a phone affair, she met with someone a few times, NO sex? I’ve had a really hard time giving her the pieces she needs to complete her puzzle, I would love to know how your husband shares, does he have a blog! Thanks, blessed holiday.

    • Hi,
      Thank you for reading and writing to me. My husband does not have a blog and I’ve tried to get him to write something for my blog. He’s written a few things but they are incomplete… he’s not really a “writer” and it’s very personal when he does get his thoughts down on paper. At some point I will share his writing.
      As far as sharing–most of it is in those late night conversations that I am sure you have with your wife too. My husband has been an open book. In June, our therapist asked me what I would do if I never found those missing puzzle pieces. That really threw me because I thought if I knew everything that I could understand… It took me time to realize I was searching for something that didn’t exist. I could know every detail of his affair but it would never give me an acceptable answer to “why?” or “how could you?” So I started to let go of that endless searching… on my own and on my own terms.
      If you can help your wife in any way I would say talk, don’t shut down, help ease her mind when she becomes consumed with the pain and be patient. Also, just because she may have a bad day with things doesn’t mean it’s a setback… she just needs reassurance.
      I hope that helps… Those are things I tell my husband I need from time to time. I wish you both the best.

  8. Thanks for your post. I wish everyone the same… Some peace this holiday from the pain and grief. I resolve this year to take back some joy and peace into my life. It’s taking practice but the days are better than a year ago for sure. Blessings to you too.

  9. Glad for your growth but I cannot say that I am better today that I was 12 months ago.  Actually today I am worse off, because 7 months ago I found out I was living with a hypocritial liar.  At least 1 year ago, I just thought he was a miserable idiot now I know differently and my life is more unhappy and I am devasted.  I wish I had the means to leave, I would so be gone, I need time and space for myself but I continue on this struggle and I am grateful for all the persons who contribute here and who make my life a little more bearable.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  10. Glad for your growth but I cannot say that I am better today that I was 12 months ago. Actually today I am worse off, because 7 months ago I found out I was living with a hypocritial liar. At least 1 year ago, I just thought he was a miserable idiot now I know differently and my life is more unhappy and I am devasted. I wish I had the means to leave, I would so be gone, I need time and space for myself but I continue on this struggle and I am grateful for all the persons who contribute here and who make my life a little more bearable. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  11. I would like to copy and paste this on my page. This is accurate for me right now and though distance, perhaps oceans separate us, we are in the same place right now.
    I have 3 children and 27 years of marriage is the only difference and those extra 17 years on top of yours painful because I trusted our marriage was also pure, trusting and perfect for the full 27 years. He too some 2 1/2 yrs earlier had dipped out of our pure marriage for his own selfish and lustful needs to be filled much to the destruction of what our marriage meant to me.
    I felt strength,honoured and even worthy of being jealous of, for having what I thought was a wonderful husband and perfect marriage. I had heard many times from my friends and colleagues of these very statements and it made me feel good and special.

    Well, now I am special in another way. I have joined the cheated wifes club and that is not one to be envious of. Those cheated will share my view here.
    However, like you and your husband, we have had a chance to rebuild and discover each other all over again. On the surface, I am happier and more fulfilled than I have ever been. He is more attentive, loving, addresses my needs and communicates far more than he ever did. In fact, we could not be in this place if not for the affair, the pain it caused me and our joint decision to rebuild and work on our needs and marriage.
    I only wish there were other ways to get here, but nothing else would have made him work so hard to win me back.

    However, like you, something is destroyed in me. Something has been taken and lost forever. My naivety and total trust in him has left. I now listen to his explanation of his movements for the day and often question his day later of what he did, where he went, who was there for clues of anything I should be concerned about. In the past, these conversations held my interest barely, but now intently. I don’t do this in an investigative way, but rather by way of interest in his day, but I listen with all my attention.

    I now protect what is mine and like you, protect myself too.
    Bring in 2014. 2013 has taken its toll on me. Hope it’s better for you as well my friend.

    • I can completely relate to every word you wrote here. It’s all very true… difficult to believe that the purity and goodness in our marriages had to be destroyed for us to be stronger, more loving and connected. I hang on every word too…. listening. Wondering if I am missing something once again. Then I realize something is broken inside him too… and I don’t think he is capable of another affair. He watches me when I am crying and still in pain and I can see him–shattered inside, knowing he caused it. I can’t take that away from him… I am ready for 2014 too… As much as I am happy we spent 2013 being faithful to one another, I am tired and need to know we are moving further away from this horror.

      • I found out about my husbands affairs over the past year 2 weeks before Christmas. We have been married for 15 years and have two boys, one of which has special needs which for me makes divorce a non option. Dragging myself through the holidays was torture. Pretending everything was fine for friends and family was exhausting. I too had been with a caring and loving man who it seems turned 40 and lost his mind. To say this is out of character for him is the understatement of the year! I understand what you are saying about the loss of purity. I could not wear my wedding rings. It symbolized the perfectness that was our marriage. I bought a new ring for myself so that there would be no questions. Now he looks fabulous as he ‘bought’ such a wonderful Christmas gift. I read from a woman online who compared the loss of innocence caused from the affair to flying after 911. The safety we all felt in the world and when flying was changed forever by that day. I thought that explained it so well.

      • There was another person who wrote that what we lost is that feeling of safety. I realized that was it. There have been moments in the last year + where I have told my husband I need him to hold me because I need to feel safe. Safe from what happened, safe from my own thoughts in my head. I crave that feeling of safety I once had. I never realized it was there until it disappeared.

      • Can someone please, please answer me this question. So many many women who have been cheated on like myself, and have written about their hurt, disappointment and emotional breakup, still unbelievably say that they love their husbands….. how the hell? Maybe there is something wrong with me, but almost 13 years ago when I first found out, his was an emotional affair, but the hurt is probably even more because of the sharing and connection of heart, but I stopped loving him, I am still married to him unhappily so, but my children were young then, but I didn’t love him and I still don’t. A change in finances may make me divorce him but I am still unemployed so I am stuck, but I have never loved him from I knew, how can you love your spouse? I just don’t get it. I think mine is a self preservation tatic, I think my God makes it so that he will not have the ability to hurt me like this again, I found out about other stuff, porn and masturbation, it makes me angry but not hurt, I am so over that. I look forward to leaving but that will take time, but pls. explain this “love” thing. I don’t think I will ever get there again, even though he is changing his whole perspective, is sorry, and is becoming a better person. I am happy for him but it doesn’t matter to me. Can you help pls.

      • I don’t know if I can explain why or how I still love my husband. All I can say is that my love never disappeared. My trust and sense of security were lost when I discovered the affair but I still loved him. Now, I didn’t want to sleep with him right away and I didn’t even know if I wanted to stay married to him either. At first I thought I hated my husband but then I realized I hated what he had done–not him. I was able to separate what he had done from him. Loving him didn’t remove the pain. But he was also there to shoulder my pain. He didn’t make me carry this pain and burden alone–he’s been here for me and been my support. Maybe that’s it? Despite the pain and everything we’ve been through in the past year or two, I still consider us happily married. Idk… does that help?

  12. I think the words that you may be looking for are by cheating, your husband took that FOREVER away. You as well as I now realize everything we trusted as far as our solid marriages is in the past and that desperate, heart sinking feeling that all we have can just disappear no matter what we do, or do not do is always just beneath the surface. I love my husband but he definitely took our FOREVER away the day he decided to cheat on me.

    • Sadly, this is so true. I love my husband with 90% of my heart and hate him with 10% and both are just as powerful. The past week, the 10% has been shaping my mood, so I must not let this continue. Not good for anyone, but it will always be there, under the surface.

      • We are still grieving and each of us grieves at our own pace. I too at 11 months still have very dark times, but I believe I will heal in time. I compare my pain to the pain I felt when I lost my mom. I remember thinking I would never feel whole again. It took a year plus to walk through the pain. Grief has to felt and it cannot be rushed or hidden. I refuse to let my husbands sickness take away our joy. We will be whole again. It might not be the forever I wanted or dreamed of, but it can be a new forever. A new beginning.

    • That is very true. I remember one of the first thoughts I had upon discovering his affair was wondering if our marriage was over. I remember thinking I never thought “we” would end… but in many ways, we did.

  13. I have been tagging along with you- each entry is so spot on- Thank you for making me feel I am not alone. I too have been struggling with the loss of innocence in my marriage. I truly believe that I was 100% present in my marriage, an awesome wife… it doesn’t matter because what my husband did has very little to do with me. It was a selfish, stupid thing and he was not even thinking or knowing what it would do to me, or to our marriage. I bet this is very common.
    The difference between now and then is that the MYTH of a pure, perfect love, without failings, is shattered. The myth is just that- no one has a perfect marriage- everyone has struggles, it is just that this particular failing is so easy to take personally. I keep telling myself – Don’t take it personally. He is the idiot who f*^ed up… I am the person who loves him. We go on. Perfect love, perfect marriage is just a MYTH. Loving someone through everything is real.

    • I never expected a perfect marriage, but I sure as hell expected fidelity. I was perfectly aware of my and my husband’s shortcomings and our struggles. But even though we fell short of each other’s expectations at times, that was OK because I was sure in his love for me. At times I felt that he loved me more than I loved him. But the one thing I believed he would never do was betray me and and that made all the other “faults” bearable. But once I found out about his deception that changed everything. I know that betrayal is more than just a f&%^ up. It is a critical breach of trust that displays more than selfishness, but a real character flaw and lack of integrity that needs to be addressed lest it happen again. Thankfully, my husband realized this immediately and worked hard not only to atone and redeem himself and assuage the hurt he inflicted on me, but also to understand why and how he could do what he did. He struggles openly with his shame and guilt over not only betraying me, but also betraying himself, his principles and values. And I think that was one of the hardest things for him (probably most men) to do– face their failures. We both recognize and appreciate the courage it took for him to face something so painful. I’m truly grateful that he was not like many men who seek to blame their wives for their failings by blameshifting. And because of that we’re in such a better place than we were a year ago. Isn’t that what marriage is about– true honesty and struggling openly with issues from a place of love and compassion instead of fear and defensiveness and detachment?

  14. Thank you for each and every one of your posts. You are really brave to put yourself out there the way that you do, and, in doing so give others hope and inspiration. Thank you for that. I read your posts and nod my head at the many similarities to my own life. I too believe that one day, I will feel back to my old self. God bless & keep writing.

  15. You blog is so honest and heartfelt and also full of hope. This is why I love to come here more than anywhere…support sites sometimes are only “downers”…please know that you and your husband and children will be in my prayers….your sharing is is helping so positively..thank you!!!

  16. I love the posts here, and am really grateful for you trying to explain why you still love your husbands. While I agree most wholeheartedly, it still is a mind thing and my heart is stone closed. My husband said he was doing better but he lied, and I believed a lie, the “truth” finally came out March 2013, so I continue to live through all the years of lying and hypocrisy. I can’t do that. I hate him and feel good doing so. I have told him that my worst is too good for him and his best is not good enough. He says he wants to make the marriage work but I don’t believe there is such a thing, when you tear out someone’s heart what is left there to love? I appreciate all you ladies who have stood up and loved through good and bad. I am not there, I wish I could but I can’t. I create another husband in my head, one that loves me wholeheartedly and desires me fully. He is more real to me than the man I am currently married to, I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and even suffered a stroke last September but I am doing well.

    Does he deserve my love? hell no, will he ever get it. I think you know the answer

    Blessings

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