Is Normal Overrated?

I feel a shift in me. The shift is both within me and in the world around me. Things have changed and once again I need to adjust and adapt or I’ll be left behind. I don’t think I struggle with change but I do think I have difficulty accepting that sometimes I just don’t have a say in what happens next.

Part of the shift is falling back into normalcy. I’m very uncomfortable with normal right now. Some days I feel the same way I did the month before I discovered my husband’s affair. I feel like something is wrong and I can’t put my finger on it. My guess is there is some form of PTSD attached to how I feel right now. So I can blame the PTSD for the doubts that creep into my mind when my husband gets caught up at work and comes home two hours late. When he comes home late there is always a legitimate reason but yet I can’t help but wonder if he’s lying. I can’t help but question my trust in him.

So the doubts creep in and there are moments I’m not sure I can trust myself. So I start to wonder, is this how I’ll feel for the rest of my life? Will I always struggle to trust my husband completely? Will I always wonder if he’s cheating? Why is it so hard to be normal again?

Kites rise highest against the windThe second part of the shift I feel in my life is in reflection of the friendships I’ve created in the past two years. New girlfriends, new work friends. Most of these new friends have unknowingly been my shelter from the storm. During the past two years I’ve detached myself from my closest friends and family. I’ve disengaged from my life because being in my life was breaking me down. So I found new friends. These new friends wouldn’t notice any changes because they didn’t know the pre-affair me.  They wouldn’t point out my silence when I couldn’t find words to speak. They wouldn’t bring up the past in stories late at night when we’ve all had too much to drink. I made new friends. I made friends that I felt I could create a future with because my past needed to be forgotten.

I never let go of my closest friendships but there was a shift. I stepped back. I let go. I tried to hide my pain and suffering from the people I love most. I lied. I avoided contact. I wore a smile when I was crying inside. Most of my closest friends don’t live near me so it was easy to hide the truth. My best friend had a baby during this time and her life changed dramatically. For the first time in her life she didn’t have as much time for me as she had in the past. She sensed my pain but she knew not to push for the truth. Most people sensed I was going through something but no one asked. No one called when I stopped calling them. Things just changed without much commentary.

Now things are shifting back and I’m uncomfortable with normal. I want nothing more than to feel content with my life and relationships. I don’t want to doubt, worry or question. I need to figure out that next step along my journey.

Normal

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28 thoughts on “Is Normal Overrated?

  1. Perhaps we are in the same timeframe, 23 months.
    Things are back to normal, the original life problems he has remain and escalate, he is trying to change his responses.
    I have changed a bit, more by explaining and co-operating better. I don’t own any blame but clearly see what we were misinterpreting in each other. So “normal” with lessons learned and many more, no doubt. I won’t rest with “OK”; this pain has to be worth something. So it’s “normal” with eyes opened.
    It has taken two years to get to the main problem. His problem. It’s been really hard to keep putting the ball back in his court and not except blame but own mis communication as our problem before the affair, not an excuse. His excuses and shame are still hard to get through, but it’s worth it. I’m learning how to be a more vulnerable and less hot tempered, reactionary person in order to progress.
    Some of my friends have been good, one or two say nothing and listen, some are very against him which both helps and hinders. His siblings lack of compassion towards me was interesting as a sample of his family’s attitudes. I had to tell some of my closer friends, and family, in order to survive. It also helps them understand my intensity, grouchyness and preoccupation.
    One really close friend was unwittingly very helpful when she explained her take on her husband’s infilidelity and I could very clearly see her mistaken premise and bolster my arguments within myself in search of the truth.
    there is so much underlying someone’s chioce to have an affair. I don’t mean in a blaming way, but in understanding personalities and intimacy. Professionals must see it all so clearly but down here in the trenches there is obscuring noxious reactionary fog, and graft in mere survival.
    So one vote for “Normal is Overrated”, I want more.

  2. I too am 23 months out and find myself fighting against the normalcy which has returned to our marriage. I want more from my marriage and am finding it difficult not to feel like I am selling myself short if I allow myself to become comfortable with the normalcy in my marriage. Perhaps it is my own fear of feeling secure and safe again with a man who I thought would cherish and protect my heart. No doubt…normal is overrated.

  3. Your story breaks my heart, I just want to hug you. My story is different, he left and is with the OW.
    But I just want to say to you, what was normal before will never be normal again. Things are different now, normal is different. If you are going to be with him, trust him. Give him enough rope to hang himself, if that’s what he wants to do. You will notice soon enough if he’s acting different, if someone else is on his mind.
    In the meantime, enjoy your life, do what excites you…what you like to do! I am by myself a year now, and I am finally feeling really happy, the most important person in my life is “me”! I think I’m happier now than I’ve ever been because I always gave too much to other people and not enough to myself!
    If he can be two hours late from work, you can be two hours late from an art class or shopping trip with your new friends. Don’t let him think you are sitting around waiting for him, go to a movie, do something!

    I am 66 now, we were together 26 years, and am recovering nicely, and looking forward to the rest of my life, and you would too.

    I repeat, if’s he’s gonna cheat again…he’s gonna cheat again, and you will know, and you need to know. Go out and enjoy your life and forget about what he’s doing every minute…give him enough rope to hang himself!
    Good Luck!
    Kathy
    PS: I am enjoying my new friends MUCH more than my past friends (except for a few that are gold).

    • Your response is something I needed to hear!!!! And you nailed it. I just commented about old ties, and what we do with them. I guess that change is inevitable and with that comes new strings. Ahhh I am happy you are happy!!!

      • Time Ella, give yourself time! I walked around the house crying out loud for the first 5 months.
        I lost alot of friends, 5 in one day. But, the friends I’m making now are MY friends, and I am very happy for them.
        Take the time to read, find yourself, and realize “you” are the most important person in the world.
        Yes, things change…for the better, you will see!

        “Love yourself for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become”

        Kathy

    • I love this reply, too. But what I struggle with is how to do just what you’ve said, but also be open to him in case he has no intentions of ever hanging himself again. I can’t figure out how much of my heart to give to both be open to our relationship being permanently healed and loving going forward, and how to be ready in case he does use his own rope to hang himself again. My focus is definitely squarely on me right now, but I don’t know how to put one foot in front of the other having no idea which direction my future will take. It was so much easier when we first got married and I was dumb enough to believe we were walking off hand in hand to a blissful happily ever after. Now that I know that doesn’t exist I feel rooted in place not knowing how to move forward.

  4. I am 4 years, 5 months after d day, and I feel the same as everyone here. It has been a hard struggle and I feel now my partner is similar to what he was before the affair in a lot of ways. Yes, he has stopped drinking most days but he had to and they only came recently, say two months ago. But he still has trouble with empathy, taking responsibility for things, and I feel he still treats me like a mother without the respect of his mother. I am not sure what will become of us, I feel,like he is more of a friend to me than a husband. And not a fantastic friend at that! Yes, his family, ie mother and brother treat me with contempt, but they always have. And my husband would never stand up for me. Just trying to get my youngest through high school and then I will decide what to do.

  5. I fear normal. Pre affair, I thought we were normal. I no longer know what normal is. I guess if normal is never changing- then I don’t want normal. I want us to keep changing, growing, learning how to be better spouses. I don’t know if I will ever “feel normal” again. There r days that seem so normal, where he seems normal and they scary me because I feel like if we return to normal, why can’t it happen again. I can’t do again..barely surviving this time….10 months out from d-day.

    • What really scares me is that I just heard more hope for the future from im#2 who is divorced than any of the replies that r still married. I don’t want to go thru years of pain and recovery and end up there anyway….

    • I think that’s what I fear… we feel comfortable again. I notice that we don’t need to be attached to each other as much as before. I want to remember to keep the connection while letting go of the post-D-Day fears and insecurities. I don’t want to be normal or average or “whatever”… I want to keep the excitement.

  6. i am only 3 months from D-Day but I have been feeling exactly like this. I knew nothing until he admitted to his infidelity which had been going on (off and on) for 8 years! we have been working on our marriage and having great success but i have been worried – recently- that we will just slip back to our previous normal which wasn’t good and led to him looking elsewhere. I “think” I believe him when he says there is no one else he wants to be with but me but there is always that little voice in the back of my mind that says if he did it once, he will do it again. Also, I am struggling to battle the feeling that is was my fault for not paying enough attention to our marriage. I know i am not to blame for his choices but keep falling back to feeling responsible. I am sure i will continue to battle these feelings for a long time. So… I don’t want “normal” anymore, i want better!

    • I spent too many hours and days thinking I could have done something differently to prevent my husband from cheating. I felt like I should have been a better wife… it’s hard to step back and realize that our spouses are complete individuals and not our other half. They are capable of making their own decisions all day long and they may not be good ones. While I am sure I could have been more attentive or honest about how I felt before the affair began, I know that I did the best I could at the time. I am sure you did the best you could too. You are not responsible for his actions… it’s so hard to accept that though. You will continue to fight the battle and you will conquer it all.

  7. I don’t want to confuse “normal” with comfortable. I want to be comfortable with who I am and where my marriage is headed. I want to be comfortable with his work hours. I want to be comfortable when we sit on the sofa and don’t talk but just enjoy each others company. But I never, ever, want to go back to “normal.” Normal for us was passionless, lack of communication, taking each other for granted. Normal for us was living like roommates instead of lovers. Normal for us led him to cheat. I want better than normal. I want fantastic.

    Is that too much to ask?

    • Yes Leah, I think “fantastic” is too much to ask! Fantastic is during the “honeymoon” stage, and we all know THAT doesn’t last forever.

      And to Strong Woman… My X had no empathy either, I goggled that and got alot of information about “narcissist”, read up on it, you may be surprised!

      Kathy

      • Hi I’m#2, thanks for your comments. My partner I discovered after all these years is a passive aggressive. Stunted emotions, procrastinates to the enth degree, takes no responsibility for things. Doesn’t like confrontation of a personal nature but happy to tell people they are wrong with facts, very negative. Has taken him years of therapy and me telling him that I am not to blame for his affair. Even now he still try’s to throw in something which he points to being my fault such as “there was never enough communication between us”. When he was drunk a lot or did not want to hear or validate any concerns I had. In the long run I am probably better off without him. I am trying to do less for him and more for me! It’s very hard.

      • Dear #2, I am so comforted to hear someone my age and married nearly as long as I has been able to move on and not just survive, but thrive! Yes, I am getting to the point of giving enough rope but the fear and insecurity can sometimes be overwhelming. I also think there may be a narcissistic disorder and a compulsive/addiction. No acknowledgement, no culpability, no remorse. There is anger, blame, defensiveness, lack of intimacy (and I don’t mean sex), lack of affection. If I don’t examine things too closely life is good. As soon as I question, all hell breaks lose.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. “Normal” is what got me into this mess (4 months since D Day). I want better than normal, too!

    • Leah, your normal sounds exactly like what our normal was. I want something that tells me he only thinks of me, only has eyes for me, only wants me to be the lady in his life for here forward. He took that from me at a time when “normal” sucked for us, but at least I thought I had that if nothing else. I want him to give it back with grand gestures that tell me I’ll never have to wonder about those things again.

  8. hmmmm its interesting you describe “the shift” in your life. I did not stay in my marriage, even though I tried to save it. It just wasn’t meant to be. So 3 months into being single again I am still finding myself with questions about many things. But the whole idea of friends and whats normal is something I wonder about all the time. Its so FRIGGN sad that I can say 3 of my closest friends are dealing with broken marriages and all have been affected by infidelity!!! And they are all moving on like I did but I find myself stuck in limbo right now. I still have raw feelings about my separation that goes back and forth between missing my old life and wanting so badly to move forward. Even though I know I will never turn around and move backwards. I got this far…. which brings me to the topic of friends. What is it that changes us, that we feel like friends who were like sisters are no longer people we confide in with as deeply as before? is it our shame and guilt or low self esteem? I think that is one of the effects of cheating a**holes that leaves us broken. We also break ties with ones who once meant so much to us? Am I wrong? If so I guess its just me… But it makes me feel sad that my life was turned upside down and im left picking up the pieces. But my friendships also suffered. You would think it would be opposite………. I guess your comment struck a cord so I thought I would share my thoughts. Thanks for letting me.

    • Ella, I feel this, too, and it breaks my heart. People I absolutely love and adore I just don’t have energy for, or can’t connect with right now (1 year and 3 months out from Day). I’ve thought about this, too, and the only conclusion I’ve come to is we go into kind of an emotional cocoon and become numb to a lot of feelings. This protects us from a lot of the emotional trauma that could be overwhelming us while dealing with infidelity. The problem is, to become numb to the bad stuff we end up also becoming numb to the good feelings and ultimately live for a long period of time dead center only feeling what absolutely can’t be blocked. I hope as time goes on I open up to my feelings more, and as a result open back up to the good people in my life more.

  9. I don’t think fantastic to too much to ask! But how do we define fantastic is up to each couple…perhaps it does not mean the heady “in love” feeling of hormones and teenagers…It is much more than that for me/us and it should be. I too worry about “normal” which is what “was before” the A. I will NEVER go back to that again nor that feeling again. So can I do something about it…even by myself? YES…she resoundingly said. I maybe have to take more initiative than I sometimes like, but WS always goes with me quite well when I initiate it…what does he go with? For one we do Gottman review almost every weekend…this definitely keeps the before A normal away as we connect in ways we DID not before the A. I also do other things, things we did not do before the A and that keeps normal away and I keep trying, yes, trying to mix it up. We put so much time and effort DAILY into our jobs, our hair, our other relationship, so I think I can channel that energy to my/or marriage.

    So it takes effort…effort until you DIE (I think) to keep normal away. Yes, I think it can and WILL (normal) return unless effort is made…it may mean that one or the other takes initiative (perhaps they should all the time, but let’s get real here), but that is life. Effort is the important word here I think to keep “normal” away. Some times people think that love should be easy and effortless…it is NOT…that is infatuation only with hormones holding the reigns. We all know that ends. The love we want, hope for in our marriages is much much deeper. We are trying with all our might to get to really know one other person on this earth so very well and to love them anyway. That is REAL LOVE. and it ain’t easy and it does take effort…that is LOVE.

    It is not easy to be strong enough, confident enough about myself to take this initiative, but every time I have it pays off 100000 fold.

    18 months out. still struggle. still cry. still try and try …..and try not to try. Growing and changing…it is all such a journey…such a journey. But i want to be able to say in the end I really loved and was loved…i think it will be worth it….

  10. Yes!! Oh YES!! … Ella, Anne, I’m#2, Leah, strong woman, Lisa, Robin … each one of you …. HOW so, so, sooooo raw and truthful you each are in your journey(s)….. BLESS YOU EACH! HUGS TO EACH!!
    It has been 2 YEARS!!! for me…..and still am dealing with … WHAT is MY NORMAL NOW???!!!! Infidelity…broken, heartbroken…EXCRUCIATING…UNBEARABLE….DAMAGE….GRIEVING…….worse than death because THAT REALLY IS FINAL!! Infidelity … LIVING …..TRUTH…… yet DEATH of SO MUCH… and THAT REALLY IS NOT FINAL!!! Very confusing! Very frustrating!! VERY, VERY SAD….SORROWFUL!!! yet….. Very clear! Very satisfying! VERY, VERY HAPPY….JOYFUL!!!
    So…….complicated…..so confusing! UP and DOWN…RIGHT SIDE…LEFT SIDE…DOWN SIDE… UP SIDE… FLIP SIDE … BESIDE … ALONG SIDE … SIDEWAYS … ALL WAYS …
    IS THIS MY NORMAL NOW?!!! My LIFE NOW!! Friendships lost…dear, wonderful friendships….familyships….
    And I have discovered that YES….THIS IS MY NORMAL…..NOW!!!
    BUT………….
    I BELIEVE, I TRUST …. ONLY … for NOW!!! And I no longer RESIST IT!! I just LET it HAPPEN!!! FEEL IT!!! SEPARATE IT!!! FEEL IT SOME MORE!!! VERBALLY REPEAT IT … OUT LOUD!!! PUT MY VOICE INTO EVERY WORD OF IT!!! REPEAT IT!!!! EXACTLY….WHAT I AM FEELING AT THE MOMENT….GIVING “IT” A VOICE!!! and repeat, Repeat, REpeat, REPeat, REPEat, REPEAt, REPEAT!!! over………..Over……..,OVer…….. OVEr….. OVER………. again, Again, AGain…..AGAin…..AGAIn….and……..AGAIN!!!
    In my giving ME a VOICE…PHYSICALLY SAYING OUT LOUD…. not just in my MIND … the RELEASE……,,..rELEASE………reLEASE……..relEASE……releASE……releaSE…..releasE…release..

  11. All I have to say to all of you hurting women…
    YOU did not lie, cheat, deceive, and break your marriage vows…so don’t take the blame!

    And anyone who thinks they would be better off without them, save up money, then leave! Hell yes it will be hard, but at least you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and start your new life.

    Anyone who is staying and working it out… Be proud, be strong, take care of yourself, be good to yourself, live your best life, do what you like to do.
    Above all…save money, maybe you won’t need it, maybe you will. You could always use it for for a nice vacation some day

    Stop worrying about how to make them happy, think about how to make you happy. They sure as hell weren’t trying to make you happy, or thinking about you when they cheated, they were only thinking about one person…themselves!

    And if for some reason they don’t like this wonderful, happy and liberated change in you, tell them…don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!!

    I’m am a strong woman now, and I will never take any shit from any man, I’d rather live by myself and enjoy my own life and my own company. Yes, it was very, very hard, I did the work, the reading, got support, but I made it.

    Good luck to all of you no matter which route you choose! And please con’t take the blame for someone else’s mistake! I was far from perfect, I did alot wrong, but I didn’t lie and cheat!

    Kathy

  12. I need help! I hope I can find someone who could help me.
    My husband and I are trying so hard to move forward and just leave his affair in the past and just be happy.
    But, the “other woman” is so angry and evil that she won’t leave me alone! She’s been using fake FB accounts to harras me- she post nasty stuff about me on my business FB page since she’s blocked from my private/ personal FB page. I keep blocking her but she keep opening new fake accounts to write more stuff. It’s been a year of me dealing with this crap and I just can’t handle it anymore. I called the police, tried to hire a private investigator and nothing! They said they could do anything because we don’t have prof that it’s her doing this. I’m desperate! I’m not a computer savvy but I know there has to be away to find from what computer this messages are coming from.
    I’m here trying to leave this horrible affair my husband had and the last thing I need is a constant reminder of what my husband did. I want to find proff that she’s the one doing this so I can take legal actions because she has already caused so much damage to me, my family and my business.
    Is anybody here that could help me with this please? Thank you!

    • It shouldn’t take long for someone with computer skills to get her IPO address and “prove” the fake accounts are all coming from the same place. Then once you have the proof just bypass the police and go straight to the courthouse and file a harassment order of protection against the bitch. If she continues to open fake accounts using the same IPO then she’s guilty of violating the order of protection and can get jail or at a bare minimum be in trouble. Both my husband and I have harassment orders of protection against his AP. Once we were awarded the orders her harassment finally stopped.

      Good luck

      • Forgot to say these protection orders include ALL electronic media, phones and coming within a certain distance.

        I hope you get her.

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