I think I am a few days early with my annual reflection of where my life is seven years after discovery. The exact dday is a bit of blur now anyway, because so much has happened since then.
I’m a vastly different person now, as with any trauma, our experiences inform us and change us. I’m much stronger than I was before all of this, with a dash of new wisdom.
In my late 50’s, I can safely say infidelity is the most painful experience I have dealt with so far, and my life includes losses of loved ones, and my childhood trauma of a step-father who beat me like a drum for 3-years.
But we all know about the pain, the crippling sadness and the battles with depression after being blindsided by the person we loved.
The hope is that we all find a way back to some level of peace, regardless of the path we take to that peace. As always, I will never care which path any of us takes, be it D, or R or even those souls who stayed for kids or financial security only — as long as we recover from the trauma and find some peace.
I find that my observations are evolving as well.
I used to frame my choice to R around a ‘new deal’ or a ‘new M’ — but another member’s post in the positive R story section has permanently altered my perspective. While both my wife and I have changed a bunch, the truth is, this isn’t a new marriage or a new relationship. It’s a continuation of what we started nearly 36-years ago.
The relationship is dented, scarred and scorched in spots, but it’s all of ours. All of our bad choices, all of our poor decisions and every lesson we learned in the hardest way possible.
Infidelity is definitely damage we did NOT sign up for, and I sure as Hell didn’t vote for it.
My wife didn’t go from princess to horrible monster and back to princess again. There is no magic here. There are no rainbows or broken spells. She’s a flawed person, like me, and everyone else on the planet.
Human beings fail every single day. Sometimes the fail is epic.
Humans who don’t cope well with adversity often retreat from reality with alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, and yes, no one’s favorite, they escape into the arms of another person.
There is NO logic to it, and there is no legitimate reason to ever lie and cheat. Ever.
For me, it’s what humans do AFTER they fail that matters.
We can learn from it and change for the better or stay down in the muck.
I can focus on my wife’s worst days or her best days OR, I can see her as a complete soul, a good person, capable of bad things — who failed herself, her family and me — and then aimed for much better on the other side of it.
I will always, ALWAYS hate the A. I only have to accept the fact that it happened, that it’s part of my existence, but I don’t have to be OKAY with it. I’ll never wake up and be happy my wife chose poorly on her lowest days.
However, I can choose how I respond to this and every adversity in my life.
My wife’s lowest point doesn’t define me or reflect on me.
And to keep this old marriage rolling, I do not allow my wife’s lowest point to define her either. At some point, we do have to let the past BE the past.
Again, as anyone who has ever attempted R KNOWS, ain’t none of it easy.
We worked our asses off and we forged this M into something we both want. We love that we didn’t give up on each other. We love that we found a far better way to talk to each other, that we don’t hide our feelings, good or ill, and that we love each other, flaws and all.
The dents are still there. The damage doesn’t disappear.
We just aim for better every day. We give more to the other every day.
After seven years of finding a way back to vulnerable and taking one last leap of faith, I think we may yet get the hang of this marriage thing.