7 years Post-Dday - It does get easier, you can heal
Thank you for stopping in to read my update. I'm kinda an oldtimer around here now, but I'm not posting as much in recent years. My story started out like many of yours. My H had built a secret life that I might have discovered sooner had I been motivated to take the signs seriously. But by that point we had both checked out of the marriage that I referred to as "the marriage coma." But it never occurred to me that he would cheat. There was never any question in my mind. I now feel very naive to have believed that, but at the time, when I discovered the extent of his secret life, which included 3 OW over a 3 or so year period, I was completely blindsided and devastated. That was in September of 2014. I didn't find this site until April of 2015, but I had a kickass girlfriend who had gone through something similar years earlier, so she was with me to keep me from completely self-destructing before I found this support group.
There was a smallish group of us starting here around the same time. They became my lifeline, my source of comfort and support when the really bad waves of anxiety, self-loathing, anger, doubts about set in. I raged and fought myself (and Mr Psych) for years. The pain was unbelievable and at times I didn't think I'd make it through. No one can prepare for the level of devastation that many of us experience when our world is torn apart by infidelity. It reaches into every bit our being. So I really need to give thanks to SI and the wonderful people who take their time to offer support and tough love to those just starting out on this difficult journey.
Seven years later, I feel healed. I don't have bad days related to my H's shitty choices any longer. While I am still almost constantly aware that this happened, the thoughts don't lead me down the rabbit hole as they once did. I'm back in control, and I have found the peace of mind that I yearned for so badly in the first couple of years when I really felt my mind was not my own. What's changed is that after all of the work he and I did alone and together, we've created new patterns in our marriage that makes it better than the "coma" one we had prior to his cheating. I learned a lot about what makes my H tick, and not all of it is good, and not all of it can be entirely changed. I've also learned that I am as strong as I've always thought myself to be. When I was taken down by the reality of his infidelity and betrayal in the first year, I started to doubt myself and my ability to bounce back from adversity. I thought I should be able to move more easily beyond it. Either to cut and run (divorce and start new) or adjust to the new situation and settle into my post-affair marriage. I wasn't prepared for the racing thoughts, obsessions, terror, anger, inability to kick myself in the ass and just get on with life. It's taken years, and not much IC, just a lot of working things out in my head. And today I have put all of that behind me.
I don't have much wisdom to share. And I've always believed that each situation has its unique differences. But I have learned a few things over the past 7 years, and maybe one of the most important is this: It is possible to keep a marriage going after it's been destroyed by infidelity. You can find a way to get through it. It's not a path for everyone, and some cheaters aren't worthy of the opportunity, because they want to continue to cheat and live that type of life. You can't fix them if they don't want fixing. But if they do, they need to set to work on themself and find out why cheating was the answer to their problems.
And another gem that I've stolen from the wise folks here before me, their cheating was not about you. Like me, you could have been a crappy wife or husband. You could have grown to view your partner with contempt and worked to avoid him for a multitude of reasons. In my case, I found my H to be negative and moody, and I didn't like the way he treated our daughters. My response was similar to what I'd watched my own mother do, I carved out a life for myself and my children that made my H a minimal player. Yes, we should have sought help, but we didn't. And I sorta had in the back of my mind that things would just magically get better one day. No real thoughts other than that. And while I was doing my thing, my H made the decision to start doing his. But his was in the dark. He was masterful in compartmentalizing and in hiding his deceit. And because of all this I blamed myself A LOT early on for pushing him to do what he did. Some of those with me back then likely remember how focused I was on fixing him, and accepting some blame for his choices because of how I was treating him. But the truth is, he had choices. And the choices he made say a hell of a lot about him, and have little to do with me. Although he did blame me at times and his early excuses often started with "I felt alone" or "I felt you didn't love me". All valid beliefs and feelings, but that is not what makes someone cheat. Someone cheats because (a) they want to, and (b) because in many cases they have shit for healthy coping skills. They are often people who feel the world owes them something. That they deserve more than they have. That their happiness comes from outside themself, by how others treat them, how others make them feel. They fail to recognize their own agency in being a healthy and whole human being.
If you stick around this site long enough, you'll learn a lot of cool things too! Lots of smart and compassionate people here. I owe a debt of gratitude to many of them. Seven years later, I have a really good life. And yes, that life includes the man who nearly destroyed me. Weird, huh? But one thing I know now is that he no longer has the power to destroy me; no one's going to sneak another bomb into my world and cause the devastation that he did before. Because I know that life will go on and life will be good whether he's at my side or not. I think we really need to get to this place and believe it. I'd miss him and mourn the loss of the dream that started nearly 30 years ago when we got together. But he is never allowed to hurt me again.
I wish you happy days and peace of mind.
7 comments posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021
The Wonder of Nature -- I have monarch chrysalises!
Good Morning, Everyone. First off, I'm not yet too keen on this new interface at SI. I can hardly view it from my phone but the computer version is better. I'm old and don't always take change well
Its been a rough few weeks with my youngest DD moving out of our home after a year to begin law school in Miami (yay!!); she and I drove down there together so she would have her car, so we had a great mom-daughter trip that included a stop at our first family home in Nashville. There's been some work drama I've had to deal with, and as a school board member I'm in the middle of several political controversies regarding masks (Covid) and Critical Race Theory.
Sooooo, when I found several monarch catepillars in my somewhat neglected gardens this week, I decided to do something I've never done - try to raise them into butterflies! Some of you have likely done this at some point in your life, but I've not and it's always fascinated me. So I took time to use stuff I have around the house and shed to build them an enclosure and within a week, I have 3 chrysalises! Two happened yesterday, the other overnight. I'm so excited!
And it has provided me a brief respite from the more serious stuff that I'm dealing with in my adult life right now. I find solace in nature and am reminded that we all need to find ways to stay grounded and true to ourselves even when things around us are topsy-turvy. Here's hoping that I can report that I have at least 3 monarch butterflies to release in the next couple of weeks!
5 comments posted: Friday, August 20th, 2021
27 year anniversary
7 years ago this week my H was deep into an A with OW3, planning to leave me at some point but without the balls to actually do it. So for the preceding 3 years he’d started a series of EA and PA. And I was clueless until I stumbled upon his secrets in the early Fall of 2014. We had taken a romantic vacation to Mexico in June as an early celebration of our 20th anniversary that year; 2 days after our actual anniversary date he fucked OW3 for the first time.
It’s been quite a long and difficult journey since then. The usual ups and downs and all-arounds of the R rollercoaster for the first year or 2. Many days convinced D was my only option. Too many hours spent trying to make sense of it all, trying to understand how he was able to do what he did.
7 years of my life spent in this new reality called R. I learned a completely new language over these years, discovered a world that I hadn’t known existed until I was thrust into it. I also discovered SI and learned how strong and resilient people can be, how many good people are out here giving freely of their time and wisdom to help others. I wish I could be one to offer wisdom after all I’ve been through, but I still feel that I really don’t understand a lot of it.
What I do know is that life and M is messy and doesn’t always work out as you’d planned. Mr Psych booked a table at a restaurant overlooking a lake and told me to be ready by 6 for our date to begin. I didn’t know what he’d planned until we arrived at the restaurant. I can’t recall him making plans and surprising me this way before. I know he is trying. I know he has worked to be a better man than the one who accompanied me to Mexico 7 years ago and bought jewelry for another woman.
It’s a lot to get through. Given my personality and convictions, I’ve struggled greatly in allowing my relationship with him to go on. The betrayal cut deep. But I’ve worked on my side to understand the significance to me, and to allow him the space to show me who he is today. I don’t like everything I see in him, which sets me back at times, but what I see is a man who knows he fucked up in one of the worst ways possible and who has worked for years to live a life he can be proud of. I gotta give him that. He also now realizes we both were naive when we started this R journey, thinking we could nail it with a perfect 10-point landing. Uh, no. It’s been hard. It continues today in some ways. But we keep coming together to try to work things out.
The past 7 years have changed me. Some for the good, but some for the worst. I’m still figuring out who I am at this stage of my life and what I want my future to look like. One thing I’ve noted is that prior to Dday I lived without giving the future much thought. I lived a relatively charmed life and good things seemed to be the norm. Then I was hit hard by the reality that my H had lived a secret life right under my nose. That shook me up and I’ve not yet fully recovered from that blow.
But awareness has allowed me to be more present, spend more time thinking about my next steps and my future. I’ve learned some really hard lessons, as anyone whose experienced infidelity snd betrayal knows. Life doesn’t return to normal. There is no normal to return to. Instead we are forced to create new paths and reset much of our thinking about ourself and our M.
I do believe Mr Psych and I will grow old together. But it won’t be without some more bumps in our road together. We both have some growing pains going on, getting older and dealing with all that comes with aging. So life is still a bit complicated. But we continue to work together, as best as we can, to create a shared life that works for both of us. The past is never too far behind for me, but it’s lost its sting, and now us more like a shadowy annoyance. But it’s still there for me.
I don’t know if I gave wisdom to share, other than to offer that R is possible and you can stay together while getting out of infidelity. But it’s a hell of a lot of work, more than I expected. For someone like me who apparently has some abandonment issues, betrayal of this sort is particularly devastating and life changing. But you can still find a way through it. I’ve also accepted the wisdom from the kind snd wise people here that the only person I can fully trust is myself. I have to be good with myself to the point that if something did change in my situation, I’ll be okay. Peace comes with that level of acceptance.
So happy 27th anniversary to Mr Psych and I! I give him an A for his efforts, which do help me believe I’m still on the right path with him.
12 comments posted: Friday, July 2nd, 2021
"How to Change Your Mind" - Psychedelics
Just finished reading this fascinating book by Michael Pollan. His discussion of the dissolution of the ego, the snow globe analogy of shaking up our neural pathways and getting out of mental ruts. . . some useful ideas for thinking about some of the effects of trauma myself and other BS may be experiencing.
And it's not only psychedelics (under guided, controlled conditions; he's not advocating dropping acid and heading off to a Phish concert) but also meditation when practiced correctly. Breaking out of mental habits of thinking, including the rumination about the past that sometimes still gets me down.
Anyone else read this book and have comments to share?
21 comments posted: Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
I Don't Want to Talk About It
....Overcoming the secret legacy of male depression. But its not just about depression but more about how men are socialized to deny feelings, act like feral beasts, etc.
Mr Psych said hes gotten more from this book than 2 years in IC. The ideas spoke to him in a way he was willing to hear and accept.
Recommended by my IC for both myself and Mr Psych to read. Very glad we did.
Author is Terrence Real
4 comments posted: Tuesday, February 6th, 2018