Hope is not crazy

the-fault-in-our-stars

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Love, Life and Marriage After the Affair

The words in my head, the emotions I am feeling and the moments of my day-to-day life don’t always make it onto paper. Finding time and the right words has been a struggle lately. Finding the right words to express my experience is even harder.

I feel as though I am in a good place in my marriage right now. That does not mean I am always happy or that I don’t still feel the betrayal but it does mean that I am not consumed by it anymore. While thoughts of my husband’s affair may enter my mind or be passing thought, I no longer spend much of my day focused on his affair or Bat Shit. I’ve reached a milestone where I can even hear her name (not in reference to her) and be okay. My decision to keep her name off my blog was not to remain anonymous but to remove the emotion from her name and keep the blog neutral because I know some readers share her name. I realized I no longer felt a burning singe of pain when I sat at a table this summer drinking wine with a woman with her name. It didn’t bother me. It did mildly bother my husband and I watched him out of the corner of my eye, worried about me-which I didn’t mind at all. He should be aware of possible triggers and be my support. I’m not saying I want to be friends with any female that share’s Bat Shit’s name but I can be in the same room without getting angry or falling part.

I want to spend more days appreciating the good things in my life. I want to stop the mental focus on the negative and holes I still feel within me. Sometimes I struggle to find a balance between letting go of and repairing what is broken. There’s a strange guilt I feel in moving past the affair. I question whether I am healing or if I’ve just become numb to my own experience. I know it’s less of the latter but I do feel there is a hardening and separation from the emotional pain over time. Perhaps it’s part of the healing process. My brain protecting me from my own negative experiences and emotions or fears.

soulmate-eat, pray, loveThe last few months I’ve been thinking about love, soulmates and marriage. Every relationship scars or changes us for all the other relationships in our life. A boyfriend that tells a girl she looks beautiful in pink will likely wear the color pink throughout her life and feel pretty. A boyfriend that resists acts of romance and love could make a girl feel like flowers are overrated and random acts of kindness are unnecessary. Years ago when money was tight in our household I told my husband that buying me flowers was not important and not to waste money on them. Over the years I’ve seen women receive flowers from their husbands/boyfriends and realized that it’s not about the money. Sending flowers is part keeping the romance alive. But it doesn’t even need to be flowers—just tokens of affection. I watch my son beginning to navigate through his first real relationships with girls. I watched his heart break this year and I’ve seen his expectations change as he entered his next relationship. The second girlfriend filled the void the first girlfriend left behind. Is that fair? Or is that just how love works? We drift through life just trying to fill the gaps left from relationships from our past. I think we also learn from each relationship what we need and want in our lives but I don’t know if we ever heal completely from heartbreak. This makes me wonder if my acceptance of where I am at right now is me healing or accepting there are parts of me that may remain broken. I  wonder if we actually have multiple soulmates over a lifetime. People we connect with and need at different points in our life. A soulmate is supposed to make you feel whole and complete-something I lost in the affair. So what does that mean? Do I redefine my belief in a soulmate or accept that maybe my belief was based on the fiction that Disney movies are created from? I’m not sure how to reconcile all this yet. My love for my husband is true, deep and passionate but that doesn’t fill the hole inside me. 

Despite saying all this I feel content with where I am at right now. I realize love does not need to be perfect and having love does not mean your life will be perfect. I read this definition of love on Urban Dictionary and feel I cannot say it any better than “kb ss candy” (obviously a legitimate source for knowledge):

Truly loving someone means that you care deeply about another person. You care if they screw up their lives as you want them to learn to love themselves. Love doesn’t mean life is going to be perfect, it shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the word shouldn’t be misused, if it is used in a romantic way. There will be arguments and misunderstandings, but love will mean that you will try and get over any hurdles and issues together. True love isn’t selfish and can bring people together in a way nothing else can, it is a soul connection, a commitment of the heart. Life can tear people apart but love may bring them back together again. Love should never be taken for granted, although often it is. Love is more balanced than the highs and lows that passion and frustration bring. Love will conquer all, but only if work and effort from both sides is implemented in order to not destroy love. Love can be slowly destroyed piece by piece by violence, abuse, neglect, dishonor, and disrespect. So always make sure you honor true love. Understand that it is not perfect, then you won’t feel let down by love. Each time you fall, love should be there to pick you up again, but sometimes it takes effort to remember not to misuse love by taking it for granted. Love doesn’t happen as often as people think, but if you have lost love, you will find it again one day, – never lose hope.

 

Nothing ever goes away quote

Overcoming My Emotional Disconnection

Tyler Knott Gregson Typewriter Series #573When I was seventeen years old I would listen to this one U2 song on repeat with the volume maxed out in my car. My life was completely uncomplicated at seventeen. Yet there was something that drew me in to the soothing vibration from the car speakers. The blaring of the car stereo filled not just the car, but my mind. It was a way to abandon the thoughts, maybe even the doubts that fill a young woman’s mind at seventeen. Doubts that even a girl that seems to have the world in the palm of her hand. Sometimes it was easier to turn up the volume, let the noise fill my brain and just have five minutes where I didn’t have to think.

Immediately after D-Day I would have killed to reach that moment again. There is nothing I wanted more than to shut off the incessant chatter in my mind. I look back now and I realize how much I shut down. I pushed away emotional connections. I focused on what needed to be done: the kids, the household duties, work, commitments and trying to figure out my marriage. It actually seems like a long list now but at the time I was in survival mode. I pushed away friendships and anything that required authenticity. I didn’t want anyone to see beneath the surface, because I was broken. That same girl that once believed she had the world in the palm of her hand had been pushed down to the ground and the wind kicked out of her. I was gasping for air and there were times I questioned if I would survive the betrayal. I couldn’t allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable to anyone but myself, my husband and this blog. I erected walls around my life. I figured if everything in my life was susceptible to destruction then I would prevent myself from feeling pain.

Just like sitting in my car at seventeen with the volume turned so high I couldn’t hear my own thoughts, I was living my life without feeling anything except what emanated from the affair. Every moment since D-Day somehow related to my husband’s affair and our recovery. The good, the bad and the ugly were all connected to my husband cheating. Life was redefined: Pre-Affair and After-Affair. It’s unfortunate because betrayal does not destroy marriages as much as it destroys people.

There’s a struggle within a betrayed spouse after D-Day. We struggle with how long can we live like this; torn by the affair and feeling like life is now seen through betrayal goggles. For over eighteen months I would have given anything to eliminate, or even just dampen, the white noise in my brain. And then, it happened. A few weeks ago, I suddenly, without intention, broke out of the emotional prison that was keeping me captive. I didn’t realize it at first because I just noticed feeling lighter, freer and happier. I thought it was just a phase but after a few weeks I realized that I’ve exchanged destructive thoughts for more playful and carefree banter within my mind. I am not claiming to be free from the pain or even thoughts of the affair but I have a new outlook. Once I was able to open myself up emotionally again to my friends and family, I realized that they could fill those parts of me that were still aching.

I still have moments when I feel like there are shattered pieces of me that need to be found and glued back together. I am not “fixed” but I do feel like the cloud has lifted. I am opening myself up again to friendships, relationships and allowing myself to just live in the moment. Not everything in life needs to be defined by the betrayal. I exist with or without my marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I am an individual. I live and love independently of my marriage too. People and relationships are not responsible for my happiness; I am.  I must live fully from within always.

Sometimes it’s not about letting go of what happened to us–it’s letting go of our original belief of what defines a perfect, happy marriage.

The process of healing continues… but perhaps, this is a new chapter.

Change Quote

2014: The Year of Release from the Past

2013

The past month has flown by with the blink of an eye. It’s hard to believe that tonight I will be toasting in 2014 and letting go of 2013. I am surprised how much I am looking forward to putting 2013 behind me and moving on.

Over the past week I’ve been thinking about where I feel stuck and why I still find myself struggling with the affair at times. Looking at my life right now I am happy, content and there is a sense of appreciation that I’ve never experienced before. I appreciate and express my gratitude openly for my husband, my children and myself. Yet, there are still moments when I struggle and find my eyes filling with tears for the aspects of my life that I did not choose, the husband I never expected to betray me, the feeling that there is something lost or maybe it was missing all along. I’m not sure anymore. The struggles are rooted in pain but I know this pain is in my past. The affair is in the past. So why do I feel like the past defines the present? Why can’t I just let the past live where it belongs?

There are moments when my husband’s affair is like dark shadow that looms over my happiness. It makes me question him despite his actions today. He is doing almost everything right. Trust is just so difficult to earn back. Following the moments I am most vulnerable I fall apart. There is an element of fear that still dwells deep within me but I am beginning to see this fear is rooted in nothing.

I told my husband once that I never thought once he would cheat on me I always believed he was a better person than me. He was surprised to hear me say that. I’m not sure why but I really believed that he made me a better, stronger, more intelligent person. He was some form of inspiration for me. I never wanted to let him down because he believed in me. I believed he was the perfect man for me.

Now I doubt that last sentence. Could he possibly be the perfect man or husband for me if he cheated? I think my belief that he was my perfect match pushed me away from discovering the truth sooner than I did. I can look back at the time he was cheating and pinpoint dates that I questioned myself, our marriage and I was struggling… but I never questioned him until the affair was practically in front of my face. I couldn’t let go of my vision of him. This vision of a man who loved me with an affection only poets wrote about hundreds of years ago. The irony? I think he believed the same thing; he believed he loved me more than any man had ever loved another woman. Yet his love failed us both when it was challenged.

But we must move forward. I realize that so much of how we judge our lives and the people in it is by their past. When the pain resurfaces from the affair and I cannot help but see my husband for what he has done—betrayed our marriage, our friendship, and our family. It’s so hard in those moments of pain to be present.

To be right here in this moment.

Pain keeps me from being present in my own life and I am tired of it. I am looking at 2014 and I am hopeful that I can leave the pain from our past where it belongs. I want to shed the pain like a heavy coat and be the woman I am meant to be.

I want to live for today, not yesterday. I want to leave the demons in the past and release their control over me.

2014 will be a year of release. I am releasing myself from my past. I don’t need to go back to the beginning anymore. There is nothing in my past that can change my story today.

Happy New Year. Cheers!

Happy New Year

Lessons I Never Expected to Learn

There is a saying that goes something like: Out of darkness, magnificence grows. Sometimes I hold onto that thought like it’s my eternal flame, the source of my hope and the promise for the future. Lately, I realize more than ever how vulnerable I am. Immediately after D-Day I erected a wall around me—every part of me was protected in some way by this wall. But it also kept people I love out. Maybe the wall went up because there is only so much pain I could manage. Maybe it’s just my own defense mechanism. Regardless, the wall is crumbling and I feel exposed… vulnerable… scared. I also realize there are lessons I never expected to learn through this chapter in my life.

1. Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up your present.

The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about life before and after the affair. I realize that it’s almost as though I need to discard everything that happened during the affair in our relationship. My husband was not himself at that time and I was avoiding dealing with the changes I saw in him. If I think too much about the “during” part of the affair I will just end up in a cycle of pain.

I feel like the hardest thing is letting go of the marriage we had before the affair. Maybe it’s me being nostalgic but I loved that feeling I used to have deep within me. That feeling I keep trying to define. Sometimes I feel like it characterized our marriage and my love for him. I know that’s not true—that’s the pain speaking. Hindsight tells me that if this “feeling” was so special we would have protected it more. Perhaps it’s still there it’s just buried underneath the scar tissue.

Mourning the end of our pre-affair marriage has taken more time than I expected. I think I had thought I already had finished this stage. Yet here I am still trudging through it all. My therapist says it’s because my life is naturally busy with three kids and a full-time job. She says I haven’t had time to mourn yet but I am in it now. I’ll trust her on this one.

2. People you love and respect may disappoint you. Good people can fail.

Even the people that love you the most can break promises, inflict pain upon you and hurt you. Sometimes it’s hard to separate my own expectations of myself from the people I love. Sometimes good people do bad things. Sometimes good-intentions turn into the regret. Hate the action, not the person. Although, I am okay with hating Bat-Shit.

3. Stop thinking too much, it’s alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.

I spent months trying to understand how and why my husband cheated. I spent months asking questions and finding answers. My thirst to know everything was not easily quenched because there always seemed to be one more question lurking. The truth is I will never be able to justify what he did because it was wrong.

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid filling my head with thoughts about the affair. Every so often a light clicks on and I realize something new. But mostly, I hate spending time thinking about my husband’s affair.

Accepting that there are things I may never understand or answers I may never know is difficult. It goes against my own nature to not figure out the answers. I can rationally understand how it happened but emotionally? No, I don’t think I ever will.

4. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.

I invested my happiness in my husband and family. I was happy with my life but that happiness was wrapped up in them and the life we created. Who was in charge of my happiness? How was I pursuing my own happiness? I am the wife, the mother, the person who says: ‘when the kids are grown I’ll have time for that.’ You know my type. I put everyone else first. I take care of everyone else. I wanted my kids and husband to be happy even if it robbed me of my own happiness. I think this is also the reason it took me so long to figure out what was going on. I blamed myself when my husband was acting strangely. I could see there was something wrong within him but instead of asking him what was wrong, I stepped away. By the time I suspected anything was going on it was too late.

5. Good marriages can suffer colossal failure and it doesn’t it’s over.

I thought love (TRUE LOVE) was like an electric fence—it kept the intruders out and protected our valuable relationship. I was naïve. I was wrong. The only thing that can protect a relationship is honesty, communication, humility and courage.

For the most part, I love my life. While I’ve accepted the affair happened , I still haven’t forgiven my husband completely. I believe he has to forgive himself first before I will be able to forgive him. I am not sure when we will get to that point of resolution.

Sometimes my husband asks me if I have to convince myself to stay in our marriage. The answer is no, I have never had to talk myself into staying. I am here because I love him and feel he truly is remorseful and regrets his actions. I stay because I believe it’s possible to rebuild our marriage into something better than before (and that was a pretty f-ing amazing marriage). I stay because when I fall into bed each night, his arms wrap around me tightly and I’ve never felt anything better than that. I stay because we built this family of five. We promised these kids we would do this and I am not giving up because he did something stupid, really freaking stupid. I stay because I imagine someday I will be old and grey with my husband (older and greyer) by my side looking at our grandchildren and great-grandchildren in amazement. I stay because we do have a good marriage. I stay because my husband enhances my happiness. I stay because I believe in love and forgiveness.

Infidelity Trax | Passenger | Let Her Go

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her goOnly know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go

Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you’ll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies

But you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
‘Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
‘Cause you loved her too much
And you dived too deep

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go

And you let her go (oh, oh, ooh, oh no)
And you let her go (oh, oh, ooh, oh no)
Will you let her go?

‘Cause you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go

‘Cause you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go

And you let her go