"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."
It's Been a Minute....
I don't know if anyone on this forum will remember me. And that's ok. But I remember so much from this place, and am grateful for the interactions with you all. My recent birthday has gotten me thinking and remembering about the ups/downs of life and my decisions. Dday is approximately 3.5 years ago. The divorce thereafter. Still going to therapy. Still looking inward and outward.
I can tell you what doesn't change. There is regret, and there is pain. But the pain is focused and its origin can be isolated (versus before it felt more chaotic). I find myself revisiting those choices and playing with 'what if' scenarios. I regret destroying her life. I'll never forget the moment she fell to the floor, weeping, realizing her marriage was over. Post-dday, I think this is what sticks with me the most: memory of the pain I caused. The pain she didn't deserve. She felt it viscerally.
I also regret how I acted the first year (or two?) or so past dday. I was a child. An irritating, unaware, selfish child. This is so obvious in retrospect.
Well, those are the harder things to contemplate. The positive news: she and I have a really good co-parenting relationship. Although we never really walked and talked through every detail of her pain or just shared feelings after the first year of my selfishness, there is a forgiveness there. I'll tell you, when you feel like you've poisoned your soul AND literally destroyed someone, and the woman you hurt forgives you, sheesh, that is a life-changing moment. I don't deserve it. But, I know that I also shouldn't continue to punish myself and hope to still be a good example to my boys.
Why am I writing? Maybe I just want those who are early in this process to know that it changes. Better/easier? Not sure I'd say that. More like, in focus. The trauma and pain will always be there for her. I know this. But, you get to a place where you can see the how/why so clearly. You can associate the terrible choices to the other choices and any number of "why's" you can find. And then it's just there. The moment, in your mind, it's just there like a memory or an old photograph, a certain kinda sober clarity. And then you have a choice. What kind of narrative do you want in your life? The "cheater the victim", or the cheater who faces his ugly choices and selfishness and exposes that ignominious underbelly for what it is? To accept this: cheating is a blight, and integrity is not an accident. It is a series of choices that one must take responsibility for. And if you (I) don't, it gets uglier. It is cancer.
So yea, I'm pontificating, embracing the microscopic grain in the moment passed. I secretly hope she continues to find happiness and healing in her life. Maybe in the hope that if healing can occur, maybe there's some kind of redemption in all of this this. And the other redemption is simply continuing to make choices that reflect the kind of character I want my boys to see.
Hoping you all are on a path that brings healing.
5 comments posted: Monday, January 31st, 2022
It's been 2 years and 4 months since Dday and probably a half-year since I last posted or looks at SI. I got busy in the routine of life and haven't checked in. As it stands, there is calm with my ex-BW. We are co-parenting successfully and get along well. I still have lingering thoughts of regret and remorse. I see these as healthy reminders to always strive toward my better self and maintain my promise to not betray the new personal vows I have written for myself. As my therapist would say, I betrayed myself before I betrayed her. My ex has been dating someone for about a year now, and she has shared some details. I'll admit that I still have a connection with her. After all, we've known each other since middle school. But I'm also happy that she is moving on with her life, finding happiness.
I still go to therapy, and I continue to unpack this life that was created and destroyed, but now re-born. I celebrate successful co-parenting. And I'll continue to say this: even though I have taken great efforts to recover and become a better man, my ex-wife was so courageous. She made harder decisions when I was fumbling and stepping on my own feet. I was so blinded by my own selfishness. We have both learned so much. And our kids are benefitting from this.
Last note to myself (and maybe some of the newer confessors): don't ever avoid the truth of what you did and who you became. Your ugliest actions can still be converted into lessons that will make you a good person now and in the future. Don't ever rugsweep. Don't be a victim. Don't lie to yourself or others. Face all of the ugliness, taking one small step at a time.
5 comments posted: Monday, December 7th, 2020