I owe a lot to this community and to this hopeful thread in particular. After all, I didn’t even know reconciliation was possible until I found this exact string of messages a couple weeks after discovery.
I’m fairly sure the duality of recovery from infidelity will be fascinating to explore sometime in the far flung future, but for the time being it can be rather maddening. To clarify, the aforementioned duality being the process of pain and anger on one hand, while trying to rekindle a marriage burned down to its veritable barebones foundation on the other.
Or more succinctly, how do we love the person who hurt us most of all? Can we ever truly love someone again, who had to ignore and dehumanize us in order to carry out willful deceit while crawling into the bed of another?
It takes a while to be able to answer those questions.
Ultimately, our new foundation is holding up, despite the standard misery associated with the second year observations in a vain attempt to comprehend the reality of it all. That aside, I didn’t anticipate several months of a deep depression spiral right after completing the first year of discovery.
Doubt still grabs some momentum at the start of each new day. The mornings continue to be a locked in reminder — as with the dread that accompanied the same Sonny & Cher song playing over and over again in the movie Groundhog Day. It is weird being haunted so veraciously by the past that I still find myself stuck there on occasion.
It is never easy trying to imagine reasons why regarding what I never thought possible, and yet the infidelity turned out to be very real. I realized I best commence to accepting it at some point or my mind will willingly repeat the same series of horrible mind movies until the end of time. It appeared my preference was to feel anything, rather than nothing, even if it was an endless loop of pain and anger.
That had been the pattern, until the last several weeks.
Sort of like the sun breaking through the clouds after a very dark storm. I sense the depression losing its vise-like grip on my soul. I’m finally allowing myself to see all the work I’ve done on myself, and all of the work my wife has done. I’ve gone so far as to take a glimpse of a future with this flawed human I exchanged vows with just over three decades ago.
Ironically, it is very tempting to ignore and dehumanize someone who hurt you that same, exact way during their affair. I think all betrayed do it to some extent, until we understand that no amount of building walls or punishing our spouse will ever exact any kind of justice. It is very hard to accept injustice to move on, but seems necessary at some level in order to remain together.
It far easier sad than done to talk about focusing on the now, but I am beginning to understand what it means. The now is about today — existing in a relationship that finally values me, values us, with actual honesty, safety, and care that are the hallmarks of a healthy couple. And it is nice when the good days start piling back up, filled with hope of something more.
Originally, fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm were replete with dark corners and tragedies, before they were cleaned up for animated happy ending movies. Life truly has those dark turns found in those archaic tales about good and evil, poor morals and tragic decisions. No one will ever ask for the tragedy of infidelity to happen to them or anyone they care about. But here is the trick, it is what we do with this crisis that cannot be undone that matters most.
Among those choices is offering grace, and allowing the person who hurt you back into your heart. It is a different kind of special to endure this amount of anger, pain, and sorrow leading to a unique miracle of binding again with your spouse.
Such a miracle requires unprecedented understanding and empathy by both partners. The person who destroyed the original vows and bonds has to completely own all of their horrible, selfish behavior and learn how to a safe, caring partner and a far better version of themselves. And the wounded partner has to recover their own esteem, their own value and then somehow find a way to let new love back in.
The new foundation may because of patience, or a true sense of unconditional love extending one last lifeline of hope. Perhaps it included a sense of desperation by two flawed souls who are finally prepared to save and serve each other. So much of modern love is cynical, filled with unrealistic expectations, demands and a constant taking from the other. Personally, I hate that it took a tragedy for my wife and I to learn at last how to be giving and forgiving.
Again, it’s very different kind of miracle to find such love after such sorrow, but I’ll not take this final opportunity for granted. To me, life is far too short to stay stuck in misery for a day longer than necessary.
[This message edited by Oldwounds at 10:53 AM, December 19th (Tuesday)]