Merry Christmas

My first Christmas after D-day I found new meaning in the song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The line that got me was:

From now on your troubles will be out of sight.

That line was a promise of hope that my struggles and problems would fade in the new year. That happiness could negate pain. I didn’t know what to believe anymore but I was holding on to this hope that a new beginning was possible.

It’s difficult to not know what to believe anymore after discovering a spouse’s affair, especially during the holidays. My husband’s affair was unsettling. I didn’t know if I believed in marriage, love, happily ever after, anything.

Two years later I have a new perspective. I do believe in marriage and love. The reason I got married and chose to stay in my marriage after D-day are the same. I love my husband. I believe we are a good team. I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. He loves me. He supports me and encourages me when I doubt myself. He laughs at me. He knows all my idiosyncrasies that make me quirky. He listens to me sing One Direction songs and smiles when I dance like a 12 year old in the kitchen. He embraces me. I want to grow old with him.

But marriage isn’t really about all the lovey-dovey stuff. It’s not about all the amazing things that made you fall in love with each other. Marriage is about staying together even when you want to throw in the towel. Marriage is seeing your partner at their lowest and holding on. Seeing it through.

I’ve watched both our parents age and realize that life and marriage is not always going to be “great”. It’s not always what we expected when we got married at 23 or 30. More often it’s about taking care of each other when we can’t take care of ourselves. A few years ago, I watched my husband’s uncle care for his wife during her last few months. She was in the hospital and he was there to feed her, sit with her while she slept, read to her when her eyes were weary and change her when she became too weak. Watching him made me understand that marriage is so much more than love. Marriage is a commitment. Marriage means sometimes being selfless.

I believe in marriage. I believe I am with the right person even when my husband drives me crazy and makes me want to scream. I know that I made the right choice to stay.

I hope that everyone struggling to understand their life and what has happened, can believe once again in love and marriage.

Merry Christmas.

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29 thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. Thank you so much for your Christmas post. You are an inspiration to me and your posts have helped me through some very tough times. My d day was 18 months ago and it has been a roller coaster since. We are in a tough spot right now and I needed to have something to help me see the forest through the trees. Thank you and a Merry Christmas to you. Wishing you the best for 2015!

  2. Thank you for posting this…it’s my first post d-day Christmas and I feel some anxiety but when it comes down to it I feel the same way about marriage. In good times and in bad, right? Merry Christmas!

    • Yup, good times and bad. We both said it without realizing what it all meant back then. Just last weekend I visited a relative who is slowly dying. His wife told me this is the hardest thing she has ever had to do. She’s his nurse, his wife and his friend. She’s helping him get out of bed, changing him and helping him go to the bathroom, shower, etc. I sat there listening and watching their love and realized that love takes great kindness and humility but it can be beautiful too.

  3. Thank you for your post… Timely as always. It’s been almost 5 months since D Day. I came into the holidays feeling good about things but seeing all that we have, how my husband has jeopardized it and not feeling solid about things has made it a difficult few days. Your words were good tonic for my soul. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • I found it very hard throughout the first year when we were happiest. When my family was celebrating big moments it was hard to accept that my husband risked it all. I remember about 9 months after D-Day my son made a video for a school project about how our family was the most important inspiration in his life. It was touching to begin with but then you add in the fact that things could have gone very differently… then the video would have never happened or worse he would have learned at a young age about deceit and destruction. The good news is those feelings go away. This Christmas I didn’t feel that way at all. In fact I felt the opposite. I realized that either the affair didn’t bother me anymore that I am more thankful for our family now. These moments to celebrate may have passed seemingly unnoticed before the affair. They would have been nice but possibly forgotten in the rush of “life”. Now I realize how fragile everything can be if we don’t nurture and invest in our marriages.
      Happy New Year to you and your family. I wish you all the best for 2015!

  4. Wow! Thank you! I have been trying hard to keep myself believing these things and to hear them from you helps me realize this is all worth fighting for. Marriage IS hard work no matter what you have or have not been through. I do love my husband and I know he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. It has been 18 months and it is getting a bit easier everyday. I Still find it very hard to believe it all happened but I can’t keep living in the pain and need to try to live in all the goods things around me. I have my children, family, friends, a good life and a husband who is here working hard to be the best husband he can be. I have many reasons to be happy today and into the new year and those are the things I need to keep focused on. Wow! I surprise myself today because this IS how I feel. I thank you again for your post and appreciate all the encouragement you have provided through your writings. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you.

  5. I have been following your post for a while now. Your words are a big encouragement for all of us. I wish I could be as strong as you are and know exactly what I want. Today I just feel hurt and alone, but I wish you and your family all the best.

    • There were many days I struggled to find hope. You aren’t alone – that is the one truth I’ve learned in all of this. That we are not alone. There are so many of us that I wish our voices were louder than this so that less affairs would happen. Or at least I would have realized how common it really is.

  6. I am also experiencing my 2nd Christmas when it all started with the TT. It is though to have a DD trickle that starts this time of year. But that is not what Christmas is, nor love nor marriage, as you said. WS and I talked and it helped, but of course accepting and “letting go” of the pain, putting it all in the perspective of our long 30+ marriage takes time, effort, choice, commitment, love and all of those “good” things that can one day make me hopefully feel very proud of me and us…It does not happen all at once but when I look back, YES, I have come a long way…want to go more and a bit stuck, but hopefully I will get there.

    It is hard not to let my mind drift this time of year and, it is hard not to get caught up in the “memories”….it is hard to be on alert and worry about “potential” triggers (not even the trigger themselves,but the potential for them…ahhh…) and it is hard to put it all away for a while, tell yourself it is okay not to think the same thought again…that is just my brain tricking me that i need to do this….and to put it away and to let myself be happy and whole. Some how I am struggling with believing it is really okay to be happy and let it go and put it in its place of our long marriage. How can I let something SO SIGNIFICANT,just be a memory, tough, but a memory nonetheless, and live happy today? Somehow it doesn’t seem like I am doing the significance of IT justice by being happy…does that make sense? It is funny when I really think of it because it does not make sense…but feelings are like that sometimes.

    I am trying to make new Christmas memories, and to remember the good memories of the past which there are many and not to let the A’S steal them away….I need to reduce, actually the significance of the A in our life because we are so much more than that, of course. We can remember our past anyway we like, and what we do now and think now and act now will help determine how we will think of our long marriage together…that is better…yes, as you say, we will not let it define our WHOLE marriage, why should it!

    In the bigger picture of marriage, it is all okay. Marriage is a real commitment…truly…through thick and thin and where there is infidelity or not EVERY marriage will have challenges and ups and downs…why should I be any different? Am I THAT special to the universe? Better to experience the human experience and be okay with that. It is okay. What is, is okay, and truly, put love and peace in my thoughts whenever anything else pops up…that is good and healthy and I WILL get there. I think we all will. We will.

  7. Oddly enough, we were at church on Christmas eve, and there was an old man pushing an old woman in a wheelchair, and I asked myself, if my husband would take care of me, when I needed help, and then a little voice whispered in my heart that I already knew the answer… Lies and betrayal do not come from a place of selflessness and compassion, so why would I hope to be treeated with love and tenderness down the road?

  8. I’m still singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas !
    I used to think it was sarcastic until I was informed of its popularity with WWII servicemen. The original D-Dayers. After your post it has an upbeat message for me, living in the present, being me, letting the affair exist separately from me. What a relief.
    I’m wishing all of us a better, stronger New Year.

  9. Merry Christmas, Robin.
    Right before Christmas, my husband and I decided to give ourselves the gift of each other…to live this holiday season as it is intended to be — full of hope and joy in anticipation of the birth of Christ. We chose to focus on the reality of our love and not focus on the surreal aftermath that plagues relationships post-affair. It meant that we had to put our pain in a box, tape it up securely, and put it on a shelf out of sight and out of mind. In doing so, we were able to focus on each other and our family. Figuratively speaking, we filled HUNDREDS of boxes with laughter, love, compassion, thoughtfulness, gentleness and peace. It felt good to relax and be content. It felt good and right to be married and celebrating the holiday with each other.
    As much as we hate the affair and what it did to us individually and as a couple, for the first time in our twelve-year marriage, we understand the commitment of really being married. It’s finding purpose in the every-day realities of working, chores, childrearing and life. I’m not perfect, he’s not perfect and our marriage isn’t perfect. But it’s ours and we are protecting it with a passion known only to those in this exclusive club who stood at the crossroad of marriage and divorce and chose to stay married.
    So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for the gifts of hope, love and restoration you share with us through your writing this holiday season.
    Here’s to the best New Year’s EVER!!!….
    Annie

  10. I actually cried reading this, I’m so happy to read your marriage is in a good place, I hope mine turns out the same. I want that bond, feel that security again. I long for him to look at me with those………. I can’t live without out you eyes,that he used to look at me with.
    It has been one year since finding out the truth what happened between the OW and my husband.
    I still have triggers everyday, and question why I am still here and still suffering in this way. Why can someone that you loved so much hurt you in the worst way possible with little respect and no feelings of guilt.?
    How do you honestly let go of the hurt? 5 years, 10 years from now, is the pain and triggers still going to haunt us?
    Special occasions come and go and still the hurt is here, sad we cant enjoy our christmas without having the dark empty hole contantly eating away at us. A feeling of that dark shadow covering the light that we once shinned with.
    I try so hard to let it go, but than I go quiet and just dont understand how he could hurt me so badly with no remorse in doing so at the time
    I hope and pray 2015 will be happier for us and things will start to look brighter. xx

    • The triggers are tough. There was a night I stabbed my husband’s jeans to death (lucky he wasn’t wearing them!). But the jeans were a trigger. She had given him an iPod and he carried it everywhere he went. So much so that it left an imprint in the pocket of his jeans. So every time he wore those jeans I was reminded of his affair, of the gift, of their way to secretly communicate, etc, etc. While stabbing his jeans didn’t resolve all my triggers it did get me through them and teach me to talk to my husband about how I was feeling. I found in the moment he handed me the knife to “slaughter” his old jeans that we were both on the same team, fighting the same battle and there to support one another.
      The light within can shine again. It takes time to feel and see it again but it’s there.

  11. I am coming up on one year since D-day on Jan. 9. Last Christmas (2013) I had an inkling but it wasn’t confirmed and I actually enjoyed the holiday. My husband was super loving and attentive and we were rebuilding after a rough year. It all came crashing down just two short weeks later. He has put all of the affair behind him and I have been struggling to deal with it all year long. It has gotten better but I still have triggers. I still have moments where I think “Why the f*** would you choose to hurt ME so bad?! We made vows!” or how much I want to contact her and tell her I know (although she worked with him, she became a good friend of mine). This Christmas, it seems tainted now that I know they were screwing around this time in 2012. It doesn’t hold as much joy for me like it used to. I am hoping as we work through this–he is totally committed to us and our marriage–Christmas will once again be wonderful. I am just struggling and I find so much comfort in all of your posts.I appreciate all of the rawness your pour into them. I too wonder about happlily ever after. I feel so jaded when it comes to love and happiness. My heart, it used to be so open and care free and full of love and now, it is guarded and hardened. I too wonder if I can heal through this. Soften my heart again. I pray to God so much. I know I would never even be where I am without Him. I decided my husband was worth staying for…I never thought that choice would be so difficult. I try to push away triggers, but they always seem to get the best of me. I struggle for sure. I pray on a daily basis to let go of the negative feelings, the hate, the pain….that robs me of joy and moving forward. I even got a tattoo that says “Let Go and Let God” to remind me of letting go of things that I can’t control and live happy. I struggle with letting all go and moving forward in happiness….that is what my husband wants,–me and our three girls and years of bliss. He is so sorry for all he did and he is so focused on us. Why can’t I do the same?

    • It’s harder for the betrayed spouse to let it go and move forward because we were wounded unexpectedly from the person we trust most. It changed me. There have been times when the affair has tried to rob me of my happiness on important days–Christmas, New Years, my anniversary, Valentine’s Day… there are normal days too that became “important” after D-Day. There are places that were sacred that became shadowed by the pain of the affair. But when these thoughts start to creep into my mind I push them away. I think you have to. I think you have to just kick them to the curb or they will rob your happiness.

      Your D-day is approaching. For me I made it a day that became significant for another reason (not that it made me forget why it’s a date etched in my brain). BUT, I wanted to be in a new place with my husband so that I wouldn’t focus on the past and the pain. Some women like to make the day as normal as possible so that it really does mean nothing. This past year it was insignificant and I tried not to acknowledge it emotionally. Not entirely successful, but an attempt. 😉

      Keep going. Keep moving forward. “Let go and let God” is a great motto for the new year.

  12. I think it takes a long time to get through the pain of it all. I think we have to “give ourselves the gift” of allowing ourselves to grieve as LONG as we need. Recently I have been telling myself that when I am ready to let it go….I will…and then I stop beating myself up for not “doing it fast enough”…that seemed to help…

    I and we BSes are only human too and we should be as kind and as gentle and loving on ourselves as we try to be with our WS. Holidays are tough as they are events that seem to focus us on other events…but when I reflect, in all our years married, it is insignificant what bad stuff he was doing at one time and I will not let HIS bad behavior rule my other many many good memories…Holidays are really just other days and they only mean what we DECIDE they mean. I decided Christmas was NOT about his affair…that is not Christmas…it is a religious event for us and for me and I will leave it as it should be…when I focused on that…it helped…and talking to him about this exact perspective also helped. I give myself permission to grieve and feel sad and bad, but also do what I can, even little things, to help move myself forward as well. It seems we all do get there…especially with a remorseful WS and BS have been doing this all through our long human history so I guess we can too.

    I am coming up on the end of the two year mark…will be going into the third year…I think it will be even better…I have hope.

  13. The holidays were horrible for me. Besides getting caught in a spiral of “Will this be our last Christmas together” and dealing with our aging parents, I was a mess. My husband was incredibly supportive but frustrated with me. He struggles to deal with seeing the emotional side of issues. Afterwards, I learned that he had been texting (excessively, IMHO) with a female friend. His affair was an emotional one only — mostly done through texting excessively. While I know in my core that there isn’t the same level of attachment between this friend and his affair, it’s a boundary I’m unwilling to accept. He says I’m trying to control him; I say I just want new boundaries in our relationships with members of the opposite sex. He quit texting her only when I said it needed to stop or he needed to leave. And now he won’t talk about it. He says it’s resolved, done. I say that unless we can get on the same page, the anger he feels towards me about “giving him an ultimatum” is never going to really be resolved. He says everything is tied up in my fear of losing him. I’m sure that’s part of it but certainly not all of it. I’m left with my stomach in knots and feeling like we’re at an impasse. I don’t want to lose him but I deserve to have my need for boundaries respected. Any advice, wise ones??

    • I’m not so wise but I believe there must be boundaries. He is obviously in denial. Have you looked at the two links on this blog? My husband and I are doing affair recovery. It’s been a huge blessing to us. And while your husband didn’t have a “traditional” affair he still gave something to another that should be exclusively yours. His time, his emotions, he feelings, his passion. Get on the two links and find something that might open his eyes to the pain he’s caused.

      Good luck

      • Thanks, Leah. I think he’s in denial too. I haven’t looked at the links but will. Nothing I’ve said or done — or that our therapist has said or done — has been able to convince him that what he was doing this time while not the same type of betrayal is hurtful to me and not healthy.

    • Just my opinion, but perhaps you two would benefit from counseling or a Gottman weekend as my WS and I did. It puts focus and a positive spin on all the good stuff both should be doing and this leaves no time or thought for the stuff they shouldn’t be doing. Gottman helped us a lot. That being said we still did some indvl. and couples counseling, but not a lot. BTW I am married 30 years if that helps. Keep the talking going with spouse, don’t stop, but pick and decide the times. We talk almost every weekend about our relationship and review Gottman and do the exersices…it helps keep the good changes going.

    • Hi Anne,
      After D-Day I analyzed my husband’s relationships with every friend in his life. Male and female. The thing is I could see that there was a pattern of unhealthy relationships in his life. He would often find himself in “friendships” with people that took advantage of him. His relationship with his AP began as a friendship and I don’t think he intended it to become what it did. But there’s a need or attachment these people fulfilled for him that has nothing to do with sex/affairs/betrayal.
      There came a point in my healing process when I told my husband that I needed him to always be supportive and willing to listen to me when I was struggling with the affair. I asked him to promise me that if I needed to talk about things in five, ten or thirty years that he wouldn’t ever get frustrated and say I should be over it by now. I told him I wanted nothing more than to move forward but I could never promise him that it wouldn’t still cause me to cry one day ten or so years in the future. I think knowing that we had an open door policy to talk about his affair or how we felt was crucial for me. I needed that security even if I never needed it.
      Yes, you deserve your need for boundaries respected. I think your husband isn’t intentionally trying to hurt or frustrate you but he’s trying to make sense and find his own comfort/support. Keep talking and supporting one another. You’ll figure out what to do.

      • Thank you. I agree with you – he’s not doing it to intentionally hurt me. It took several days but there seems to be a thaw from him and we have an appointment with our therapist tomorrow morning. Hoping for the best.

        You and your blog have been a lifeline for me. Thank you so much for your counsel and safe place to ask tough questions.

  14. BTW one thing counselor said to help him understand the why him looking at porno was not good was that it was a form of “bullying”…anything the other does that significantly bothers the other in a marriage should stop…it is BULLYING…and in loving relationship we put aside our own selfishness or desires and put more effort (0n both sides) as to how to make our spouse feel loved and cherished…what we might “give up” is so small compared to what will will gain by being loving, caring and giving to one special person in this life…I think that is what marriage is…otherwise why be married? I put my foot down but I phrased it as his choice and he did not feel “controlled”….it is a good way to speak with anyone but especially men …and then trust them to make the right choice..thisa is so hard after any type of affair (s)…they may grumble, but will do it, and then you THANK THEM …yes thank them, for considering your feelings and making you feel loved….it works because it moves a relationship forward and your needs are met and he feels (after grumbles perhaps) for having met them and being your hero….it seems strange to do it this way, but it works …by giving a bit…as HARD AS IT IS and it is HARD HARD HARD at times, it comes back to you very wonderfully and you can feel really good about the CONTROL YOU HAD, but getting him to do this and to grow as a person by your actions and by your love. Just my opinion and it worked for me thought I was NOT and STILL am not always very good at it…but I love him and this will help our relationship in the end and I feel one day he may (or may not) realize this and even if he doe’snt it is oky because by my actions I will feel loved and he will too. Oh, Check our Michele Weiner Davis as well…she is GOOD at helping one person change the relationship…it works. It is hard…so hard, but BS are so tough….sorry rambled and I may be putting my situation on you…all situations are different…good luck.

    • Thank you so much for your insight. We are in therapy for which I am extremely grateful. I feel like our therapist is struggling to hit upon the right way to get my husband to understand the crux of this issue.

      I especially appreciated your advice about picking the right time. That is a growth opportunity for me and I’m trying to work on it — I have trouble stepping back and letting us both mull it over.

      Thank you again so much for your wise words and your support. So grateful for this space.

      • You are so welcome. I am so pleased if just one thing might help someone move forward a bit more. I am feeling better now…it takes quite a while though, to get through it all…I wanted to just do a marathon and get though ALL the issues in two days after DDay……doesn’t work that way at all. I think one of the reasons it takes a few years is not just “letting it go” but also “working it through” together, and you just can’t do it all at once…mentally or physically either one…realizations don’t come all at once and we just have to be patient with ourselves and the WS and that is hard, I grant you!

        Healing takes time. I am sure your WS really loves you but is workng on how best to express that and be with you in a healthy way…you TWO against the world kind of way. How these buggers get so “lost” I don’t think I will ever really understand…coming to think now, that, that is okay if I don’t get it all. Know that you two will get through it, just know it and keep moving it forward, even just in little ways. It is hard, boy I know. But you two will. Good luck and the best to both of you.

  15. Hi I just want to thank u for your experience of D-day!!! I am in the same situation right now emails n pics were sent to me on 12th June of my husband and his idiot !!! We r married 11 years with 3 daughters !! You have helped me understand my emotions and our relationship has gotten much better since also our sex life but the emptiness the brokenness the big hole will not go away and I just want to say thank u for making realize I’m not alone
    Renee

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