Infidelity Trax | Little Do You Know | Alex & Siera

I am sitting at my desk and this song just began playing on my Pandora. And even luckier for me, the lyrics were right there on the screen for me. How could this song be about anything else besides infidelity?

Little Do You Know by Alex & Siera

Little do you know
How I’m breaking while you fall asleep
Little do you know
I’m still haunted by the memories
Little do you know
I’m trying to pick myself up piece by piece

Little do you know
I need a little more time

Underneath it all I’m held captive by the hole inside
I’ve been holding back for the fear that you might change your mind
I’m ready to forgive you but forgetting is a harder fight

Little do you know
I need a little more time

I’ll wait, I’ll wait
I love you like you’ve never felt the pain,
I’ll wait
I promise you don’t have to be afraid,
I’ll wait
The love is here and here to stay
So lay your head on me

Little do you know
I know you’re hurting while I’m sound asleep
Little do you know
All my mistakes are slowly drowning me
Little do you know
I’m trying to make it better piece by piece

Little do you know
I, I love you ’til the sun dies

Oh wait, just wait
I love you like I’ve never felt the pain,
Just wait
I love you like I’ve never been afraid,
Just wait
Our love is here and here to stay
So lay your head on me

I’ll wait (I’ll wait), I’ll wait (I’ll wait)
I love you like you’ve never felt the pain,
I’ll wait (I’ll wait)
I promise you don’t have to be afraid,
I’ll wait
The love is here and here to stay
So lay your head on me
Lay your head on me
So lay your head on me

‘Cause little do you know
I, I love you ’til the sun dies

Revising Infidelity Beliefs and Theories

Infidelity Does Not Have to Mean the End of Your Marriage or Relationship but it Will Change You

I’ve been struggling with this idea that if most marriages will encounter infidelity in their lifetime then why is open discussion of infidelity taboo? Why are we not more prepared? And why do we continue to teach that affairs are unacceptable and represent the end of marriage?

I realize now that my entire life has been relatively easy. I grew up in a normal upper-middle class home, my parents are still married, my siblings are highly functional, and I was married to my husband a year after graduating from college. There were “struggles” along the way but nothing that changed my way of thinking. My family dealt with my sister going through teenage-angst and defiance which meant drug experimentation, sex, and risky behavior but she came out of it unscathed. In fact, she has become the embodiment of everything she was rebelling against. I was always the good girl and never broke the rules. I’ve never smoked a cigarette or been high. When I met my husband I bent the rules. I was completely infatuated with him. He was perfect and for the first time, a man loved me and I loved him in return. I’m certain our love story is probably more romantic in my head then on paper but because it was ours it was special.

A little over a year into our relationship I found out I was pregnant. I was twenty years old and pregnant. Prior to the affair this was what I would point to as the most difficult time in my life. I finished college, had our first child, and we were eventually married. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows before we were married either. I was scared that I might end up raising our child alone. It’s not until recently I realize that as difficult as that period in my life was and as much as I fought for our relationship and our baby – it wasn’t traumatic. It didn’t change my way of thinking or my belief system.

chaos-in-your-soul-infidelityMore importantly, my romantic idealism was never challenged by the struggles we faced at the beginning of our relationship because he chose me. He was “the one” and I was his other half, his greatest love, best friend, and lifetime companion. We were made for each other – soulmates, lovers, whatever you want to call it. I believed all of it.

My husband’s affair shattered that belief system. If he wanted, desired, craved, and (gulp) loved another woman it was not just a betrayal of our marriage but a betrayal of a sacred belief that we were special. It shattered my sense of self because my identity was so wrapped up in my marriage – how my husband felt about me was my anchor. I felt our life was like some cheesy romance song or movie where the couple can live off ramen and barely scrape by but their love is what makes it all worthwhile. But betrayal? That signified I was no different than anyone else and our marriage was no different either – maybe even less.

Yet, in the wake of D-day I didn’t want to end my marriage. In fact, my husband and I slept in the same bed every single night after D-day. Even when I was crying and upset I didn’t kick him to the couch or ask him to leave. I needed him. Maybe I needed him to see the pain he had caused or maybe I didn’t want him to go to Bat Shit. I don’t know but I knew this was not the end of us. I may have been the end of our first marriage but not us as a couple.

I keep asking myself how you can enter a marriage understanding that infidelity is probably going to be encountered. Is it possible to marry someone and accept that one or both of you may cheat in the lifetime of your marriage but it does not need to be the end? Or does the affair need to be revealed in order to salvage the marriage? For a long time I questioned whether my discovery of my husband’s affair saved our marriage. There is an intimacy we discovered in hitting rock bottom in our marriage. There’s honesty different than anything I’ve ever known revealed by his affair. And, as much as I would never want to go through that pain again – I wonder if I needed to be shaken to my core. I needed to discover my own sense of self and self-love. I needed to learn that there are things that even a good and happy relationship cannot provide.

There’s an amazing Ted Talk on infidelity that I recently watched that touches on all of this and I recommend it highly. But if you don’t have time to watch the entire video just read the closing from the video:

I look at affairs from a dual perspective: hurt and betrayal on one side, growth and self-discovery on the other — what it did to you, and what it meant for me. And so when a couple comes to me in the aftermath of an affair that has been revealed, I will often tell them this: Today in the West, most of us are going to have two or three relationships or marriages, and some of us are going to do it with the same person. Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?

What if he really did love her?

This post may not be what you want to read if you recently discovered your husband’s affair or are within the first six months after D-day.

Immediately after my D-day I hated Bat Shit and I wanted my husband to hate her too. I’ve never hated anyone like I hated her. I wanted to destroy her life. I wanted her to suffer and hurt the same way I was in pain. It seemed like the easiest way for me to hurt her was to be absolutely positive that my husband no longer was attracted to her, no longer cared about her, and he didn’t want to be around her. When I wrote the letter to Bat Shit (that I never sent), my main focus was to invalidate every emotional connection she thought she had with my husband. I tore apart their relationship in my letter and I used words that I knew would cut like a knife if she ever read them. I wanted her to know that my husband had revealed intimate details of their sexual affair to me. I wanted her to know that I knew her insecurities and the secrets she had shared behind closed doors with my husband were exposed to me. I wanted her to know that I was the one holding all the cards going forward. She was powerless and meant nothing to me and my husband.

then it hits youAs I dissected my husband’s affair I never wasted an opportunity to point out when Bat Shit was manipulating him. It was more important that my husband hate Bat Shit than it was for me to hate her. I needed him to feel nothing and sever whatever emotional bonds that remained of their relationship. My husband needed to hate her. And honestly, I think I was successful in reaching that goal.

My husband told me he knew he never “loved” Bat Shit yet, I read emails that not only said “I love you” but were also gentle, affectionate, and sounded sincere. There were words in those emails that I still haven’t forgotten. They sting. They hurt. They still have the power to bring me to tears if I let them. He shared with her intimate thoughts and emotions. He shared with her things he couldn’t tell me. Now, two and a half years later, I am realizing that some of what my husband might have told me was not whole truths. I don’t think my husband lied to hurt me, I think he lied to save our marriage. I think he told me what I needed to hear, and perhaps, what he needed to believe too. I wanted him to tell me she meant nothing. I needed to believe she meant nothing to him. I wanted to believe there was no passion, no real relationship.reality

I have a different perspective now and I think he did care about her. He probably did love her in some way. Some people may minimize these feelings to infatuation, but I think there was an element of love. Their relationship was invented out of fiction and the lies they told each other were to avoid the truth. Fiction or not, they still felt something.

I guess it wouldn’t make sense to risk our marriage for someone that he didn’t care about. It wouldn’t make sense for a man who’s never even had a one night stand to cheat on his wife with a woman that he didn’t feel connected to intimately. I’m not saying what he felt for her rivaled our marriage, love, or passion, but I am recognizing that she meant something to him during the year they were involved.

This recognition doesn’t make it any easier or harder to move forward.

Infidelity Trax | Prayer in C | Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz

Prayer in C by Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz

This song has been on my iPod for about six months but just a month ago I became obsessed with it. I click through my iPod some days until I find it and then leave it on repeat. Out of curiosity I looked up the meaning of the lyrics because they seemed to speak to me. The song (according to my sources) is a prayer to an absent God that allowed evil to happen.

It’s an angry, bitter prayer and it’s in my head constantly these days.

Jah, you never said a word
You didn’t send me no letter
Don’t think I could forgive you

See our world is slowly dying
I’m not wasting no more time
Don’t think I could believe you

Jah, our hands will get more wrinkled
And our hair will be grey
Don’t think I could forgive you

And see the children are starving
And their houses were destroyed
Don’t think they could forgive you

Hey, when seas will cover lands
And when men will be no more
Don’t think you can forgive you

Jah when there’ll just be silence
And when life will be over
Don’t think you will forgive you

Merry Christmas

My first Christmas after D-day I found new meaning in the song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The line that got me was:

From now on your troubles will be out of sight.

That line was a promise of hope that my struggles and problems would fade in the new year. That happiness could negate pain. I didn’t know what to believe anymore but I was holding on to this hope that a new beginning was possible.

It’s difficult to not know what to believe anymore after discovering a spouse’s affair, especially during the holidays. My husband’s affair was unsettling. I didn’t know if I believed in marriage, love, happily ever after, anything.

Two years later I have a new perspective. I do believe in marriage and love. The reason I got married and chose to stay in my marriage after D-day are the same. I love my husband. I believe we are a good team. I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. He loves me. He supports me and encourages me when I doubt myself. He laughs at me. He knows all my idiosyncrasies that make me quirky. He listens to me sing One Direction songs and smiles when I dance like a 12 year old in the kitchen. He embraces me. I want to grow old with him.

But marriage isn’t really about all the lovey-dovey stuff. It’s not about all the amazing things that made you fall in love with each other. Marriage is about staying together even when you want to throw in the towel. Marriage is seeing your partner at their lowest and holding on. Seeing it through.

I’ve watched both our parents age and realize that life and marriage is not always going to be “great”. It’s not always what we expected when we got married at 23 or 30. More often it’s about taking care of each other when we can’t take care of ourselves. A few years ago, I watched my husband’s uncle care for his wife during her last few months. She was in the hospital and he was there to feed her, sit with her while she slept, read to her when her eyes were weary and change her when she became too weak. Watching him made me understand that marriage is so much more than love. Marriage is a commitment. Marriage means sometimes being selfless.

I believe in marriage. I believe I am with the right person even when my husband drives me crazy and makes me want to scream. I know that I made the right choice to stay.

I hope that everyone struggling to understand their life and what has happened, can believe once again in love and marriage.

Merry Christmas.

Triggers (again)

My husband and I were at Target last weekend doing some holiday shopping. It was late in the evening and we had just gotten in line to pay. My husband pulled his phone out of his pocket and saw he had two new text messages. It’s a new phone and he didn’t transfer his contacts properly so both text messages were from unidentified numbers. I glanced over to watch him open both messages. The first one said:

Thank you for making Thanksgiving special. I love you. ❤

My heart immediately swelled and sunk like an anchor in my chest. I stared at the number and found my voice in time to ask:

Who’s that text from?

It was from his sister but before I realized it was her cellphone number I panicked. As we waited in line I thought about my reaction. I trust my husband. I am as positive as I can be that he’s not screwing around behind my back. But there I was, over two years since D-Day triggered by a text message. The triggers are different now than they used to be. Immediately after D-Day a trigger would send me into an emotional downward spiral. Once I was spiraling my thoughts would become daggers, stabbing me repeatedly until I was emotionally numb.

It’s different now. Now, it’s just a sinking feeling in my heart. The fear that this feeling will never completely go away. Fear that in spite of the affair losing its significance in my day-to-day thoughts, there is still an element of distrust that creeps in and has the power to steal my breath and stop my heart. After that, there is only one thought left:

Is this the rest of my life?

There is an episode of Sex and the City I recently saw that is all about triggers and the loss of security. Once Samantha decides to take Richard back after discovering he’s been cheating on her, they go away with the rest of the girls to Atlantic City. One night Richard cancels on tickets to boxing match because he needs to work. Samantha’s immediate fear is that he is cheating on her up in their hotel room and she races to the room in an attempt to catch him in the act. When she storms in the room she finds him sitting on the couch, laptop open – working. It’s in that moment she realizes that she can’t live her life second-guessing Richard’s every move. She breaks up with him to save her sanity and because she knows the trust they once shared is gone. I think Samantha’s reaction is common: leave the relationship because the triggers will never go away.

I see things differently. I know that breathless, heart stopping moment is fleeting. Triggers don’t have to be life defining. I can understand why betrayed spouses sometimes end their marriages/relationships because of that feeling and fear that you will never regain that security you had before the affair. I get it. But I believe my anxiety will continue to subside with time. I also recognize that the closeness and bond I share with my husband is something special. The way we fit together emotionally, mentally and physically is unparalleled and I don’t think I’ll ever share a connection like this with anyone else. So I carry on. I’m confronting my triggers. Mostly I continue to have faith that someday I will let go of all these insecurities.

this too shall pass

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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