“I fell apart, and I survived”

c703fee12ef1a6dbf67106408e55054aWe all have days that mark different moments in our lives. Some of those days are remembered for joy and others for devastation. Today is a marker for me.

Six years ago I felt my world implode. I was utterly devastated, confused, and broken when I discovered my husband’s affair. As I type these words, my memory surges and the pain I haven’t felt all day is now lingering in the back of my mind… the back of my throat… like a dark shadow that can flood my being at any moment. But I’m okay. I’m really okay.

Six years later and my emotional attachment to my D-day is no longer a weight. Today could have gone the other direction completely. For starters, the exact day of the week aligns with my D-day in 2012. The other strange piece is that my husband is, once again, away on a camping trip just like he was six years ago. I spent a lot of time alone today just like I did six years ago. But I was okay. I haven’t cried. I haven’t been sad or melancholy.

I worry that an emotional detachment from my D-day is signifying something is wrong. Lately, it feels as though my marriage has slipped into that comfortable place it was before he cheated. Sometimes I worry that I am sharing everything with him – but is he sharing everything with me? I notice how much I talk and how much I feel the need to fill the silence. I also notice how much he doesn’t share with me and that I have to probe to find out what is going on during his day. I try not to be suspicious, but I am. I try to trust, but I don’t think I can give trust completely. I live in this space of uncertainty – can I trust him? Is he faithful? Were there other women before Bat Shit? I try not to dwell in this dark space. I find myself asking if I should even care if there are other women because he’s here with me.

That. Is. Fucked. Up. Or is it my reality?

During the last six years I’ve experienced the most rickety emotional roller coaster ride. Surviving an affair is no small feat. Every day I think about all the women out there that are on this ride with me – whether we know we are on it together or not. I think about how hard that first month was after my D-day. I didn’t know if I wanted to live. I just kept waking up each day and focusing on getting through each day. Survival mode.

I was naive once. I believed love equaled faithfulness. I believed marriage was pure. I believed my husband loved me more than I loved him, which meant he could never hurt me and never, ever cheat. I had chosen him time and again. Now I know he didn’t always chose me.

This post is feeling really glum and I that wasn’t my intention when I opened my laptop and started to write. The reality is that on this day, six years ago in the wee hours of the night… my heart stopped and it’s never truly beat to the same rhythm again.

Yes, I am happy.

Yes, my life is blessed.

But my heart beats differently now.

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5 Years Later

Life keeps moving. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Five years ago, the life I thought I had was shattered by the discovery of my husband’s affair. His affair flattened me, it buried me, and it changed me.

I am not the same person I was five years ago, nor can I return to the person I was before my D-Day. I’ve accepted that last part even though I am still nostalgic for the old me that trusted, believed, and loved without fear. I’ve learned more about myself and grown into a stronger woman in the past five years. Here are some truths I’ve learned along this journey.

d99c7cd528f128497ec8993a540e77dd--ocean-quotes-beach-quotesFive years later so much has changed in my life. We sent our oldest child off to college this fall and our younger two boys are in high school. We live busy lives and our children are becoming increasingly independent.  It’s bittersweet to see your children become adults. In the same moment I am feeling love and pride, I am also feeling sad and alone. Love is not always brilliant. Sometimes love means letting go. Sometimes love means change. Relationships exist as waves. We need to learn how to ride them if we want them to grow, expand, and succeed. Sometimes we must simply ride the waves with the people we love, regardless of where they go. Because ultimately, none of these waves last.

There have been many days over the past five years where I felt lost and alone. It’s normal to have these days but I’ve learned it’s important not to fall down into rabbit holes. Being the victim of an affair can make you obsessive compulsive — or at least that has been my experience. I can find myself hyper-focused on an idea, a moment in history, or words that once meant nothing but now have meaning. I’ve learned to push away pain that serves no purpose but I still have moments that creep up on me and doubts that surface. There are days I question every decision I’ve made. I still have days where I crave to touch what is lost. Every so often I have a day that I’ve lost my capacity to trust. Those days are hard because I feel most alone and I am afraid that I’ll never get past it. I wish I could stop myself from feeling or thinking this way.

Five years later I can’t remember what life was like before D-Day. I think I know how it was but I question my memories all the time. Was I really as happy as I say I was? Or did I have plenty of lost and alone days then too? I don’t know. I’ve adjusted to life post-D-Day and all the permanent self-doubt that his affair introduced into my life. Sometimes I held my story so close it became airtight and began to suffocate. I have learned to take a step back and let the air in. I must learn to live with my past before I can live in the present.

Being vulnerable is tough. After my D-Day I built a wall around my heart. It felt like my heart retracted and a steel wall was erected around it. I’ve opened my heart again and it’s scary. I have found that I am more accepting of my own flaws, weaknesses, and to ask for what I need. I have found that when I am genuinely vulnerable that is when I feel most connected. I am gaining strength, love, and courage as I am learning to embrace and expose my vulnerabilities.

Resiliency and acceptance is key to moving forward. Affairs break marriages. Regardless of whether the couple decides to work it out and stay together, the marriage is forever changed. Five years ago, it felt as though my marriage had become a broken promised land. Letting go of what I believed defined my marriage was hard. And I don’t know that I am always moving forward but I must keep going.

Knowing that you can heal allows you to be open to the power of resiliency. I’ve faced my failures, setbacks, and pain with confidence and courage (and sometimes fear and tears too). This journey is hard but it’s not impossible. Affairs don’t have to be a dead end for marriages. It is okay to decide to stay or go. Love is not perfect. It is not always kind, but love can heal.

Raymond Carver

 

 

Three Years

Three years. As I was planning to set aside time to write this post last week I had to stop and think: “When is my D-Day? What’s the date?” Which is odd for me because I generally recall everything especially marker dates in my life. [Un]Fortunately, one of my friend’s was married on my D-Day and she reminded me her anniversary was Tuesday. Thanks, I thought, I was just getting to a point of possibly erasing that date from my mind. BUT, reaching a milestone is an opportunity to reflect, take inventory on the journey I’ve been on, and look forward and into the future. This process has taught me a lot about who I am.

So much of the beginning of my journey was wrapped up in the magnitude of the pain I felt. I directed my disappointment, anger, and sadness at Bat Shit. I named her Bat Shit and I hated everything about her and I needed to be nothing like her. She became the representation not just of my pain, but my failure. Three years later I can honestly say I do not obsess over Bat Shit at all. I do not compare myself or fear she’s lingering in the background waiting to reemerge. I will confess that I do not want to bump into her at all and I am starting to wonder how long I can dodge that bullet. I guess that chapter is yet to be written (but let’s hope not).

One of the biggest struggles was dealing with the death of my expectations. I was disappointed in my husband for cheating and lying, I was disappointed in myself for not being a “better” wife, and I was disappointed in my marriage because it wasn’t strong enough to prevent an affair. I was facing a roadblock of shame. I was ashamed of myself, my marriage, and how my husband’s affair reflected on me. What I valued most in life had been tarnished and damaged, and I wasn’t sure that I would ever recover what was lost. I wanted to go back – back to how I felt pre-affair because then I was whole.

During the last few months I’ve begun to accept that what was lost is gone. I cannot regain whatever it is you want to label that feeling – maybe it’s innocence, or naivety, or purity. It’s hard to let go of that yearning because there is a wholeness connected to whatever that feeling is. Instead, I desire to live wholeheartedly. This journey has taught me not only who I am but also how strong I can be. My failures can be just as meaningful as my triumphs.

I wish I could say three years later that my life and marriage are better than ever. The truth is that we are two imperfect people in a lifelong partnership and there will inevitably be highs and lows. Our goal is for the lows to never be as low as they were during the affair and post-D-Day. The highs should always be contenders in the grand view of our marriage and lives. Our sex life is still amazing but we’ve fallen off the wagon lately as work and children’s schedules have become an obstacle. What is amazing is that once a week now seems like not enough. We’ve managed to align intimacy and desire (for the most part).

This year more than last, I recognize this is my D-Day and I am carrying this burden alone. What I mean is that my husband has no memory of what today is. My instinct is to not say anything with the hope of giving this day a new definition but I think that may be the wrong reaction. My healing stems from understanding my emotions, being honest about my story so that I can get to a place of genuine truth. Ignoring the emotions and memories stirred by this day would not be authentic.

I’ve spent the last three years rebuilding myself and learning to accept this affair and the failures in my marriage as a part of my story. I’ve learned that I can never go back to who I was or how I felt before the affair. I’ve let go of the fear that I am broken. I am writing a new story and I am all in.

healing-after-my-husbands-affair-three-years

Trying to find the right words.

I hate my last post. I won’t delete it because I think this is all part of the process.

The truth is being at the two-year mark means the honeymoon is over. Strange to think of the first two years as anything special or celebratory but there was a renewal in my marriage during those first two years. Immediately on my D-day I had to make the decision: fight or flight. I chose to stay and that means that mixed in all the pain, sadness and anger, that were clearly present, there was also hope. There was a revitalization of our love. We had to remember what was at the core of our relationship and take solace in a belief that we were still special and our love was worth the fight. The first two years may have been a nightmare (that I would never want to relive-ever) but there was also a tremendous amount of love, honesty and support.

Letting go-Healing-After-Husband's-AffairTwo years later we fall back into our old habits again. We don’t always tell each other our needs because we fall into the trap of not wanting to hurt the other person’s feelings. I don’t bring up my doubts or fears any longer because I feel like I need to push forward. So when I fall apart, I keep it to myself. Don’t get me wrong, most days are good and I don’t harbor any resentment or sadness. But how is this different from our relationship before his affair? We were happy then. We spent time together. The only difference is our sex life was “normal” then and now it’s more than healthy. Keeping intimacy at the forefront of our marriage is one of the best results from this mess. I realize how much I need to feel desired, wanted and feel that closeness to my husband.

The biggest struggle with entering into this new phase of our relationship is realizing the riptide of sadness and depression can still pull me in. I know how easy it could be to drown in the pain. There’s a hole in my life. For two years, I’ve searched for the missing pieces or a way to fill the cracks. I wanted to believe that I could fix my brokenness. In the first year it was a search for information. If I could understand and figure out exactly what happened then I would feel whole again. During the second year, I accepted that what was missing may be gone forever and I tried to fill those empty spaces with other people, other activities, ignite a new passion. I’m just starting out into year three and I have spent that past month looking back at my life. I’ve analyzed my marriage and how our relationship began. I’ve pinpointed warning signs and recognized that I chose my husband in spite of those red flags. I chose him. I wanted our relationship and I fought for him. Our relationship did not come easily. There were obstacles but I was young, in love and I believed we were invincible. I loved him.

I love him. I define love differently now.

I’ve spent my entire adult life with my husband. He’s been with me as I grew from a teenager into a young woman into a mother. He’s nurtured me and I still believe he is the love of my life. I do not think I will or could ever love anyone more than him. Yet, I am beginning to believe the strength of our love is a result of time, children and family. We choose our spouse. We choose to continue to love even when we feel empty. And I am beginning to wonder if that’s what makes a marriage last, a trust that no matter what shit is thrown in your face you will come home, eat dinner together, clink wine glasses, and kiss lips before falling asleep at the end of each day.

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Questions I Asked After Discovering My Husband’s Affair

A few weeks ago I wrote a post and mentioned some questions I found right after discovering my husband’s affair. I was searching for answers. I was completely unprepared for what happened to me and I wanted someone to just tell me what to do next. The truth is no one could ever tell me how to navigate my life or make decisions about my marriage but I just wanted to hand my life over to someone else. I wanted to escape my life.

I’ve mentioned this before but the first question I asked my husband when I discovered his affair was:

Did you cheat on me because you wanted our relationship to end?

Truth Healing After My Husband's AffairThe reason I asked that question was because I needed to understand if he had already decided that our marriage was over. The media, Hollywood and everything we are ever taught teaches us that people have affairs to escape their marriages and begin new relationships. I find it interesting that now I’ve lived through an affair I see that affairs are generally not about the betraying spouse wanting out of the marriage. My husband never considered leaving our marriage while he was cheating. When I discovered the affair he had the opportunity to leave. I didn’t beg him to stay. I didn’t ask him to take care of me. He chose me and he chose to work on our marriage and himself. 

Some of my readers asked me to post the questions. I don’t know if I can find them all but while I was cleaning my bedroom today I found a notebook that I used after D-Day. It’s a little funny that I took notes on articles and books that I read since there wasn’t going to be an exam or a test on this crap. I guess I wanted to make sure I was paying attention. Here is what I wrote:

Gain Control

What are my emotions really telling me? 

What needs to change and what can I do to take those necessary steps? You cannot change what has happened to you but you do need to take responsibility for how you are handling the situation. 

Should I trust my feelings?

How can I tell if my partner is right for me?

Free yourself from the betrayal, the blame game, live in the present and move forward with positive thoughts. 

Trust-> Rebuild

Actions speak louder than words. Feeling safe becomes paramount. 
“I’m committed to you. You are safe.” You need to feel valued. 

Forgiveness

You are not pardoning the betrayers actions, forgiveness is an emotional release. You are not condoning. You do not need to accept the behavior.

Forgiveness is not a reconciliation. Forgiveness is about lessening our emotional burdens and healing the pain of your heart.

People harm us from weaknesses that compel them to act. 

Forgiveness is inner healing not behavioral change.

We are responsible for what we do with our hurt. 

Courage Healing After My Husband's AffairBetrayer -> Solely responsible for their deception. Holding onto guilt is a choice. Self-forgiveness doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility for words or actions, but it releases you from self-contempt. With self-forgiveness brings compassion and understanding of who you are and why you acted the way you did. Reclaim what you must value in yourself. 

What is required for us to stay the course?

That’s all I wrote. I can tell you that after I asked my husband the first question about his affair we spent two hours sitting on a grassy hill near our house. I cried, I yelled, I felt hatred, anger and pain. I don’t really remember the questions I asked on that grassy hill but I do remember my husband kept saying Bat Shit was his friend and things spiraled out of control. I remember questioning if I would ever be able to forgive him. I wasn’t sure if an affair was something I could get over. He was terrified that I was going to leave him. I didn’t make any immediate decisions because I didn’t want to disrupt our children’s lives. I felt strongly this was our issue as a couple and we would only involve the kids if there was no other choice.

The questions I asked my husband continued from these notes for months. Almost the entire first year was spent asking everything and anything I could about my husband’s affair. He answered everything. I asked some pretty crazy questions too. I found that if something was bothering me or stuck in my head it was always best to just ask my husband. Usually, whatever was paralyzing my thoughts was much worse than the truth. I found that in asking questions that were so intimate and difficult my husband and I became closer. We started talking about topics that couples don’t generally discuss openly. Sex, emotional insecurities… everything. Looking back now I realize I wasn’t just asking my husband the tough questions, I was asking myself too, 

Strength Healing After My Husband's Affair

 

Nineteen Months and Counting

Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

Oprah Quote ForgivenessI’ve been trying to compose this post for three days. I type and then delete all the letters with one long press of the backspace button.

I wish I could say that moving forward is always easy and always driven by the right motivations. In the immediate aftermath of D-Day I trusted no one but myself. Self-reliance became my mantra. I began to believe I would give more love to the world than I would ever receive back in return. I felt like a mouse trapped in a maze with endless tunnels and walls and no real escape. There were some days I just sat down at a dead end and stared endlessly at the walls. Other days when I could keep running through the maze regardless of how many walls I hit. I wasn’t going to stop. There were many moments were I felt there was no escape from my new reality. I was stuck in a maze I never wanted to be in and this was my life. Year one was the maze.

Recently I heard a Boston Marathon survivor say that the days, weeks and months following the bombing felt surreal. On the one year anniversary is when they absorbed the reality of what happened. It must be the same for all traumatic events. The first year after D-Day I was not only in that mouse maze but I was in a haze. I wanted to wake up and find out my husband’s affair was just a horrible nightmare. I am not going to lie, if I woke up tomorrow and found out none of this ever happened I would be ecstatic. A year after D-Day is when you realize the nightmare is real life.

 

So what changes in year two?

I’m a little more than halfway into year two of healing from the affair and I mentioned before that I feel a shift within me. There are elements of the affair that I just don’t care about anymore. I can no longer spend my energy hating Bat Shit. I do hate her (and I always will) but I spend very little time thinking about her. Every time I try to feel sorry for her I don’t. She’s guilty for targeting my husband and feeding him lies to manipulate him. I don’t need to spend my days wishing bad will upon her because I know she invites it in all by herself. When I think about her now I am apathetic.

It took me nineteen months to figure out that my husband didn’t cheat to hurt me or because I was a failing as his wife. He had an affair because it became an option that he didn’t have an answer for at the time. Throughout our marriage we never prepared for infidelity. We never thought it would affect us and that affairs only happen in bad marriages. It bothered me for a long time that he never considered how his affair would affect me. I felt like an afterthought and I probably was an afterthought. Being involved with Bat Shit gave him a high that he didn’t want to admit he needed. I understand what my husband needs now to feel valued, appreciated, adored and desired. I am starting to wonder if just about anyone could become the wayward spouse in the right circumstances. We all have insecurities and desire attention. It feels good to think we are special. It feels good when someone is thinking about you late at night or first thing in the morning. There’s a part of me that understands the appeal my husband felt. He felt important because she needed him and she wrote to him constantly. There’s a part of me that understands. It doesn’t necessarily excuse what happened but it wasn’t about me, it was about him.

I spent so much time grieving for my pre-affair marriage. All the books and therapists told me that my pre-affair marriage was over, accept it and then start new. I went through the grieving process. I blogged about it and I really felt like my marriage had died. After all the pain, tears and struggles I am starting to doubt this theory. My marriage did not end or go on hiatus because of my husband’s affair. Our marriage was not the best it had ever been but it wasn’t terrible either. Obviously, there were cracks in the walls we had built to protect our marriage, but we weren’t in complete ruins. I often look at our lives and wonder how different we were from any other marriage after three children and over ten years.  If you really look at my marriage, it didn’t die or end, it endured.

Letting go. Becoming strong.

The Gratitude Experiment

gratitudeOne of the first pieces of advice I received from another betrayed spouse was to start a gratitude journal. She told me to write down three things at the end of each day that I am thankful for in my life. I didn’t start the journal but valued the advice. Months later when I went to my first support group meeting I was advised, once again, to journal this experience and write down three things to be grateful for every day. I wonder why the number three? Is it not enough to be grateful for one or two things each day? Is four too many?

I had a “friend” post her gratitude list one by one on Facebook every day during the month of November. While I saw the value in her life of expressing thanks, I was annoyed at how happy she was with her life. I was about six weeks from my D-Day and couldn’t see much to be grateful for in my life—and sure as hell, I didn’t want to read about her bountiful life each day. I avoided Facebook for the month of November.

As far as I was concerned, it was obvious what I was thankful for in my life. My kids, my family, our health… I could add to the list but you’ll probably stop reading. I look back at the first few months after D-Day and imagine my list at the end of each day would be a record of each of my children’s names. I was grateful for my children. They saved me from drowning in the quicksand of hate, self-pity and fear. My D-Day was in September—which may have been a blessing in disguise. School had just begun and the flurry of a new school year kept me going when all I wanted to do was die. I discovered the affair around 3 a.m. and at 7:00 a.m. I had to drive my son to his soccer game. On top of that, it was my turn to bring oranges for the team. There I stood in my kitchen that morning with an 8” chef’s knife slicing oranges into wedges. I couldn’t let the soccer team down. I wasn’t going to miss his game. Ironically, it was a miserable game and his team lost for the first time in a year. My kids gave me a reason to keep living.

Sometimes I get caught up in a thought that has no significance or meaning. I was in the car last week, feeling sorry for myself and allowing the pain to cascade down in a barrage of thoughts. One of those stupid thoughts:

She took that from me. The purity of my marriage, the totality of my love, a part of my husband I cannot get back.

I call it a stupid thought because it’s not true. I had to stop the thought and remind myself she stole nothing from me. My husband never stopped loving me—in fact, our love is stronger now than ever before. My love for him has been proven to be stronger than I ever knew. And the part of my husband she had—she can keep because it wasn’t him. She asked him to be someone he wasn’t and she only got him to do it through lies, manipulation and deceit. If their relationship had been based on mutual attraction, true friendship and respect then I would have to accept and validate what they shared. This is not the case for us—and I am grateful. [Crap. Sorry, I promised I wouldn’t make you read a list.]

EnergyLesson learned. The power of our thoughts is more controlling than we know. The further I get on the calendar from my D-Day, the more I recognize how his affair didn’t take anything from me. Sometimes I slyly grin and revel in our love now. Isn’t it so much better to love someone in spite of their mistakes and faults? Isn’t it so much richer to feel love from someone who understands the value of you, life and love? Last week I read an article about how to have a happy marriage. [Btw, there was no mention in the article that infidelity negates a happy marriage.] A contributor to the article wrote about accepting that the average human life spans 77 years. That translates to 77 summers, 77 Christmas mornings, 77 winters, etc… And if you are lucky enough to be married for 50 years… you can do the math. At the end of my life I don’t want to regret lost time. I want to be grateful for the years and moments we spent together. I don’t want to waste a moment.

I am not sure I would have done this soul-searching at this point in my life if it wasn’t for my husband’s [stupid] affair. Life is so busy when you work, have three kids and are involved in the community. Before the affair and while it was going on, it was too easy for both of us to ignore what we were grateful for in life. We probably should have been making these “gratitude” lists since day one of our marriage. I realize that when I identify what I am thankful for in my life, those facets prosper and blossom.

I haven’t yet started my gratitude journal but I am consciously aware of what is good in my life. Not only am I aware of it but I am sharing this happiness with the people I love. The path isn’t always perfect but I am happier now than before. I am listening to the whispers within my heart and living more authentically.

You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.  

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Nine Months and Counting…

spooningOn Saturday night I climbed into bed with my husband and he folded his body around mine, embracing me. Spooning me. Since I found out about the affair, the comfort of lying in his arms and feeling his body alongside mine has been the security we both need at the end of each day. We were lying in bed talking when I said:

Do you want to know something funny? Well, not really funny but today is nine months since our D-Day. You have been faithful to me for nine months. [I chuckled to lighten the mood.] The funny thing is I didn’t even realize what day it was until around 2 p.m. today. In the past, it’s been like a countdown to the 22nd of each month like I was crossing off days counting down. Today wasn’t like that though. The day didn’t control me.

My husband fell silent and I listened to him breathing. I knew he wasn’t going to shut down but I could feel the thoughts beginning to stir in his mind. I began to prod him after some silence for his thoughts.

My husband is not good with processing his emotions. He can handle expressing his love and opening up to me—but with everything else in his life it can be more difficult. He represses his emotions when he feels stressed or overwhelmed. I guess I was somewhat aware of this side of him for our entire life but I didn’t realize he could be naive to his own emotional state. It’s as if he can see and feel how someone is treating him but his need to be liked, accepted and respected can force him to shut down his own thoughts and feelings for the other person’s demands. Before his affair I could see this behavior with co-workers and family members. Their needs always trumped his own, but with his AP I see it more clearly. Her needs trumped all of ours because he could not process his emotions, so he avoided them and pushed them aside.

After a few minutes I asked him to share his thoughts with me. He told me he was recalling that day, D-Day. We weren’t together when I discovered the affair. He was away for the weekend and I had been suspicious for a long time. I found his secret affair email account at 3 a.m.  I told him I knew about his affair in a text message at around 3:30 a.m., but his cell phone battery had died earlier that night and he didn’t get my messages until he woke up the next day.

This may sound strange but I’ve never asked him how he felt in that moment when he read those messages. I asked him how he got through the rest of the weekend as a group leader for the event he was at—but I never asked him how he felt. What were his emotions on D-Day?

He was scared.

He thought he’d lost me.

He believed he’d lost the only person he ever loved and that he had destroyed everything that was sacred to him. He remembers very little about how he got through that weekend because he was an emotional mess. When he returned home to me I remember seeing a scared man sitting in front of me. I’ve never seen my husband as fearful as he was on that day. He’s always been confident, protective of me and calm but this man was broken and afraid.

We talked into the wee hours of the night about how far we have come since September 22nd.

As we began to get sleepy and tired my husband whispered:

I am sorry for giving you this day, this anniversary of sorts.

I responded:

Before my D-Day the only anniversaries and dates that were of importance were the day we met, our first date and our wedding day. Now we have this day too. For my sake, I need to make our D-Day mean something else. I don’t want to be trapped by this day anymore and today showed me I don’t have to be. I can have a normal day.

One step

Nine months ago I could have never imagined this journey and where it’s taking us. My D-Day was the worst day of my life. But I survived. I realize now that I have to control my destiny. I cannot control my husband and his life choices but I can control how I approach my marriage. I can choose to be vulnerable to my marriage or I can risk being vulnerable to the world.