My journey after D-day has made me examine my life through a different lens. At times, that new image is difficult to accept. I used to find myself asking: how did infidelity find its way inside my marriage? And now that it’s part of my story – will it ever recede to the background or disappear altogether? Or is it just going to lurk in our midst forever?
I would be a liar if I said that I never had any doubts or worries about infidelity before D-day. My guess is that just about every married woman considers the idea that their spouse may or could cheat on them. My way of dealing with this fear before D-day was to make it into a joke. I would find a sock on the floor that I didn’t recognize and say, “Tell your girlfriend not to leave her socks here. I’m not doing her laundry too.” [Before anyone says: “Wtf? A sock you don’t recognize?!” You should know that we have family stay at our home often enough not for it to be alarming.] Or if I was traveling, I would tell him that his girlfriend wasn’t allowed to sleepover. Maybe I was being passive-aggressive but it was my way of managing my insecurities. Until September of 2012 when these jokes became no longer funny.
Two and a half years later I still have anxiety that I don’t know everything (which I recognize is impossible). Some days I don’t care. I look at my life, my children, and the husband and I am happy and can’t imagine a better life. Then there are moments when I wonder if there were other affairs, other women, and how many lies I believed before I got the truth. I start to wonder if my marriage was ever what I thought it was or if it was always an illusion. I also start to wonder if I even care – which I’m not certain is the right reaction either.
I know that I need to accept and relinquish my control and attachment to what I believed was the “right” path for my marriage and accept it was not. . The perfect marriage and the notion of the perfect wife and husband are gone. When I say perfect, I don’t necessarily mean flawless or believe in some idealistic, unachievable concept. My former definition of a perfect marriage would be an unadulterated relationship with mutual respect. It’s unrealistic to believe or expect that I can control my future. Life makes no promises or guarantees.
Control is rooted in fear and I am tired of being afraid of what could be or has been. I want to move towards a more peaceful, focused attention and learn to accept my life’s flaws. I was watching the new Avengers movie with my children and the character the Vision says:
Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and try to control what won’t be. But there is grace in their failings.
I know advice from a Marvel movie? But I tried to commit that quote to memory because it struck a chord within me. I need to accept that I cannot control what will or won’t be. I need to accept my failures and leave the past in the past. I need to trust that life will play out the way it is meant to be. Disappointment, failure, and pain are opportunities for growth.