I cringe as I admit I heard that statement on a recent episode of the Real Housewives of New York. Yet, as the woman said those words they struck a chord with me. Secrets have enveloped my life for more than four years. Secrets crafted behind my back, secrets that I uncovered, secrets I chose to keep private, and secrets I have conceived on my own too. Secrets are ultimately destructive and, yet, the excitement that embodies the pure psychology of a secret is so damn tempting.
This blog started out as a catharsis for me. A place to purge all my emotions, fears, and secrets. As much as I write and divulge it’s never a complete story, never enough to fully purge my fears or heal every emotion.
My marriage is different now. The truth is my marriage will never be the same. I don’t think I will ever be able to completely breathe a sigh of relief or go to bed and not feel this weigh down on me. It’s hard to admit but I know I am responsible for so much of this.
When my husband and I first met our relationship wasn’t by any definition “normal.” The foundation of our relationship may have not been constructed on the sturdiest of soil and with the best pieces us. We were both involved with other people when we met and those relationships and their issues bled into our relationship. My insecurities were compounded by his request to not discuss the former relationships.
We tried to bury those secrets and paint over them with our life together. We painted this beautiful story together on a really crappy canvas. The “us” part of our picture or story was solid, good, beautiful, and wonderful. It was the bits and pieces of us as individuals that were cracked. All of my insecurities kept me from being the best version of me and being a good partner. If I couldn’t discuss my husband’s failed relationships then how could I fully understand him? His needs? His insecurities? We buried layers of ourselves and pretended like it was unimportant. I learned the questions I never asked were the most destructive. They created triggers, defense mechanisms, and insecurities that I never should have harbored.
I chose my blogging username, ThisWillNotDefineUs, because I truly believed that my husband’s affair should not and would not define our marriage. While it doesn’t define our marriage, it did end up being a definitive part of my life and our life together. Secrets have a riptide effect on relationships. The emotions, fears, and moments I didn’t talk about ended up impacting my decisions and the people around me. I often filled in the empty spaces with answers that complete the sentences.
Three years later it’s hard not to fall back into the same relationship patterns from our past. Sometimes I have to stop myself when I feel recognize myself slipping inside myself, building walls, because it will only lead to me pulling away from my marriage. I also fear repeating the same mistakes that pushed my husband into the arms of another woman. I am not saying that it’s my fault, but I am saying that how I treated him and how I was living was a factor in his affair. Post-affair, as life settles back into normalcy, I fear that it’s not enough to keep him here. As the words flow through my fingertips I realize that I have this fear and it’s a secret harbored within me. The cycle continues… I need to be brave enough to end this pattern of secrets.