Love. Marriage. Affair. Survival. Love.

Last week I was invited to join a group of psychiatrists for dinner. The topic for the evening was bipolar disorder. There was a doctor presenting that night and he was discussing symptoms and medications to treat bipolar disorder. He acknowledged that he had been diagnosed as bipolar at the beginning of his career, giving him both a personal and professional understanding of not just what it means to be bipolar but how it feels. At some point during the night he said that 10% of people diagnosed as bipolar will take their lives. What he said next struck me. He said that when a bipolar person taking medication commits suicide they do it when they feel better but not as good as before. They feel like they are living their lives at 90% and that missing 10% is vital to feel truly alive and happy.That high the bipolar person once felt in their mania stage seems unattainable and that feeling of never being able to be completely ecstatic drives them over the edge.

Hearing this was my a-ha moment.

cs lewisIf only I could count how many times I’ve read on blogs (my own and others) about a similar phenomenon after an affair. I know this feeling. I’ve spent almost two and a half years healing, rebuilding my marriage, reconnecting with my husband. Yet still, I don’t think many days pass where I don’t think about the affair. His affair doesn’t upset me anymore. I don’t harbor anger or resentment for Bat Shit anymore. My husband and I really don’t talk about his affair anymore either. Not because we are avoiding the topic but because there isn’t much more that needs to be said. So twenty-nine months later I am in good place but there are times that I am aware that I will never feel that “high” I felt before his affair again. That feeling seems unattainable. It’s strange to feel this way when my marriage is probably stronger than it was before the affair.  We’ve done the work, we are better, we are happy, but we can’t make the scars permanently disappear. I think this is the place where some wives decide to walk away. Divorce becomes the answer when we feel like we will live the rest of our lives at 90%.

Luckily, I had two a-ha moments during the past week or two.

My second a-ha moment came while I was watching the series finally of Parenthood. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the episode if you haven’t watched it yet). There’s a scene in the episode when Camille and Zeek stand together and are looking at their family; their children with their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. As they look at their family, how it’s grown and the love they see before them they say:

Zeek: Boy, we did good, didn’t we, Camille?
Camille: We sure did.

It’s so simple, maybe even silly. But it was in that scene of Parenthood that I thought, I want that with my husband. I want to someday be surrounded by our children, their spouses, and grandchildren. I want to share that moment with my husband. I want to spend my life with him.

So when the doubts surge, even in happiness, I need to remember this is the story of my life. Love, marriage, affair, survival, love. I need to remember to let the happiness flow.

maya angelou

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21 thoughts on “Love. Marriage. Affair. Survival. Love.

  1. This is a nice post, and timely for me. I teeter back and forth between contentment and not being sure I want to live forever at 90% (though until tonight it was dubbed “just ok”). Thanks for posting this. :o)

  2. This was a trigger post for me because Argyrodes claims she has bipolar and at least initially she got her husband to buy that as her excuse. Not your fault but I hate bipolar because it is so overdiagnosed and used as an excuse for cheating (most bipolar people end up cheating according to some statistics). So I naturally look for ways to distinguish us from them. We live in reality, our pain is not in our minds, it is like a physical wound we can trace the cause of and the perpetrators. We don’t seek to live in a fantasy. I certainly never expected life to be a dopamine high nor do I feel entitled to that. She did. And chasing that is why she cheats.

  3. So interesting. And just what I am thinking about at 26 months…do I want a marriage with someone that can never again offer that heady exclusivity? Being pragmatic I would say that I actually never had it; he’s was just not that kind of fish.! So I have lost nothing but gained a lot; the chance to persue that 10% and grasp it for real. I refuse to agree the passion dies after two years as well. I crave something real. I feel we were lucky amateurs till the insane event; it may have been a necessary crisis to appreciate growth.
    Thank you for the post. You always help me jog the thinking process.

  4. A very timely post for me. We are at eight months and just finishing the affair recovery EMS online course. It has been a marriage saver along with your blog, the only one I follow. My biggest hurdle right now is getting over the fear of relapse. Only time will tell but I do know that we are communicating on a level unheard of in the past, we are more intimate, and not just sexually, he really wants to make amends and has become the man I thought I married, but with flaws.

    As you so eloquently stated, “So when the doubts surge, even in happiness, I need to remember this is the story of my life. Love, marriage, affair, survival, love. I need to remember to let the happiness flow.”

    Absolutely. I will not only have a better marriage, I will have a fantastic one. I will be happy.

    Thank you for your wisdom.

    Leah

  5. I forgot to say why I needed this post right now! Tomorrow my husband and I go to court to defend him against a false accusation made by his bitch. It has been rescheduled over and over and over and I pray tomorrow will be the end. But it will also be the first time I’ve seen her since getting a harassment order of protection against her to keep her away from my home, me and our daughter. Once my husband moved back home he also had to get his own protection order against his bitch because of stalking.

    I’m terrified of seeing this bitch. She really is pure evil. She has lost children to the state because of violence. Her husband left her because he was afraid of her. She is a welfare queen with her remaining two children. She is the polar opposite of what I stand for including values and morals. My husband was looking for something, found her online, and was sucked into her deceit. He has definitely paid for his selfish stupidity. As have I. Not to mention our daughter.

    Once we are past this court date then we can truly move on and put this nightmare, and this bitch, behind us forever.

    Your post reminded me that I also want to stand in a room full of our family some day in the future and be proud of our legacy. My husband has shamed himself, but he is also redeeming himself. We will be happy.

    Thank you for giving betrayed women a voice.

    Leah

    • Good luck! I hope all goes well in court tomorrow. I hope you can get some resolution so that you can put part of this in the past. I know how it feels to just need to turn the page, start a new chapter, and leave the past in the past. Best wishes!

  6. I’ve been quiet fully following your blog since about a year ago when my he had an affair. It didn’t even get fully consummated but there was an emotional affair, many lies about whereabouts and many betrayals (lies I still can’t believe he could let pass his lips). My “Batshit” is fondly named “Trashbag” and she pursued him for attention after getting Crohns Disease and coming near death. She used a stealthy combo of guilt and sad story and adorning him with affection to get him to snap. It took all but one month to derail us and cause so much emotional damage. Trauma can be loosely defined as when what you deeply believe about people and the world falls apart. And you’re left feeling lost and devastated and unraveled. Even though he didn’t sleep with her (the only time I may be guilefully thankful that she had the disease), everything I believed about him fell apart. He’d always been so mesmerized and in love with me. I guess I always had the upper hand and deep down, I thought if either of us had an affair someday, it would be more likely to be me. Anyway, the books by Janis Abrahms Springs called After the Affair… And How Can I Forgive You? Saved our lives. We read those and it started to make sense of our experiences and give him insight into what I needed to ever reconcile. And he did. And he made a lot of mistakes. And he started getting wiser and less defensive. And I started slowly (SLOWLY) letting go of my obsession with my pain and letting him become more vigilant in making amends. It’s only been a year but I would say the strength of our devotion, the integrity of our relationship, and our overall satisfaction and happiness with the marriage is higher than it ever was. I wouldnt ever recommend it, but I too am hoping at the end, we’ll be able to be like Zeek and Camille (in Iowa rather than California) and look back and know we lived and saw every part of it, and are thankful and stronger and wiser due to it. Your blog has been quietly helping me along. Sometimes your posts seem to come at the right time. I’m proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story and giving honest breaths of hope to others.

    • I haven’t read the books by Janis Abrahms Springs but I want to check them out.
      Like you said, I would wish that no one else have to go through this but because I’ve survived it along with so many others, I know that it is possible to be happy again. Somehow I lived in a world where I never believed my husband would lie or deceive me. I believed he was not only honest but lacking any interest in other women… I forgot he’s human. He’s a man and that women are not all playing by the same rules. Thanks for reading my blog. Sometimes I don’t know if what I am writing makes sense until someone tells me they get it or could have written it themselves. I am grateful to know that I am not alone on this journey.

  7. All of your posts I could have written also, except this one. I haven’t had that a-ha moment yet. I go from being “through” the rough patch and things will be going well, then something will hit me and I’ll be in a puddle on the floor. Not literally, but you know. I never confronted bat shit in person. I did send emails and such, but I never got my say to her and I wonder sometimes if I should have. All my girlfriends say NO, leave it alone, but damn, I so want to and I want to out her to all her coworkers and family who think she hung the moon. I didn’t do anything when it all came out because I didn’t want to hurt my husband…. how stupid was that?!?!?! well, and so not the whole town would know. If my parents EVER found out, things would never be the same. I do still harbor hate for her, I want her to suffer like I have for the last 4 years. Yes, it will be 4 years in April. It gets easier but it never goes away….thanks for your blog, and maybe one day it’ll all seem like a bad nightmare.

    • Sometimes it’s harder to let go of what’s causing us pain than it should be. Or at least that’s how I feel at times. I’ve had this a-ha moment but I still have moments of doubt, anger, fear… all of it. I spent time hoping that Bat Shit feels some of the pain and suffering that I’ve gone through. But then I think she’s f-ing crazy and delusional so I doubt she’ll ever really feel anything. I also wished that just the fact that my husband and I stayed together might cause her pain but I doubt my husband even meant anything to her. I think he was a pawn and she moved on to someone else after he was done with her. Try not to get caught in the circle (so much easier said than done, right?). Focus on what you have, what you need, what you are doing.

  8. Wonderful post, and one that was timely for me. Thank you for writing it. That was a powerful moment in the finale. I believe both my husband and I had watery eyes. When I’m feeling that melancholy of 90%, I’ll try to remember that. Glad you are well.

  9. Beautiful post. I know that I will never feel that 100%. But truth is I’ve been so deeply wounded that I don’t know If I will ever be able to feel 100% with any other man. So I hold on to the 90% that I know of even though I want to let go at times when I think about how much he put at risk when he decided to have an affair. Our marriage, our children’s well-being and safety, my health, his career, his integrity……….everything. For what? Bat Shit. He often talks about how he cant believe what he got himself into and what he was risking, says it’s like he was under a spell. Anyway….I have learned to look to Higher powers and within myself for my healing. I haven’t entrusted him with that. Its been 15 months.

    • I feel very much the same way. I know that I could never share or reach the level of emotional intimacy I have with my husband with another man. I may feel like I’m at 90% but if I was with another man it would be much less. And the further I move along the more resolute I am that I don’t want to share my life, my children, my dreams with anyone else but my husband.

  10. Hello all,
    I love this blog and read it constantly. It gives me great insight and some hope that my marriage may not be over. But I have to ask how? how do you stay positive? I am about 1 1/2 years after I have found out about his affair. After much denial on his part and blaming me for it happening, I made a decision to move on from it and try to save my marriage. But I don’t know how anymore. He made promises about how he would change and better himself, become a better husband, make it up to me etc. Well, it’s been 1 1/2 years and I have not seen anything. We have 3 children and I work full time. I get the kids up and off to school, go to work, run the errands, cook the dinner, clean up, and do everything else. He does nothing…sleeps all day! I try to stay positive and hopeful that maybe one day, just one day, he will wake up and appreciate all he has. But he hasn’t…am I just dreaming? Will it ever happen? And when he acts like this, I know I’ll never reach 100% happiness let alone 90%. And that’s when I want to throw in the towel. I feel like I have nothing left. I don’t argue, I don’t discuss my feelings because he just turns it all back to him and how it’s my fault and I never treated him like the man he should be treated like and how “EM” did.
    I would love any advice! Any ray of hope…
    Thanks

    • Hi. I know exactly how you feel. He screws around, blames you for his actions, makes promises to change and nothing much changes. Strange thing is I have found myself doing all the research, making the changes. But I decided to stay in my marriage and give it 100%. So if the marriage doesn’t I know that I would’ve done my part…..I but it does take two to make it work. Just do the best you can while self preservING. Im beginning to think that some men don’t have a clue. I know everyone might not agree. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can.

  11. This really got me. That little bit of not-quite-awesome that always hides in the background that can’t be recovered sucks! In tender moments, without warning, it sometimes just hits — this is the man that was willing to throw it all away. I really don’t try to dwell on it — it just pops up in my head, and I have to struggle to quiet that voice.

    • I am still struggling with that voice too. One of the things I hate about “healing” is that I feel like I turn the page and I’ve figured something out, when BAM! It hits me again. The same voice, whispering my insecurities. I wish there was a way to take a step forward without having to worry about falling backwards again.

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