Hi friends! It is the third anniversary of my Freedom Day, today is the day that I broke free of lies and began to live life with my eyes fully open. On this day, it is my custom to review the past year and share it with you all.
In Year Three I:
Gave a gift that I gave my husband back after taking it back on DDay
Got back into regular volunteering after being sidetracked by work
Reclaimed girl trips with a couple of lovely ladies from my college days
Took back a favorite town
Grew my professional community through conferences and meetups
Strengthened my personal support systems
Was promoted and received a 10% raise
Had a beautiful Thanksgiving
Reclaimed hiking with another wonderful friend
Chopped off the last of my damaged hair (the year after Dday...I took it out on my hair)
Advocated for myself - personally and professionally
Celebrated the holidays in a truly joyous fashion
Let go of a nagging trigger- finally
Was offered a new job and accepted it
Increased my pay with my new job by 49.5% and I now make over double what I was making on DDay (Sept 2016)!
Able to work from home on a weekly basis
Started a new exercise regime and fell in love with it
Offered editing services for resumes and cover letters, helping several friends land new jobs!
Increased my friend time - brunches and coffees and outings
Gave gifts to my husband on Valentine’s day in pure love
Finally, FINALLY got the hang of exiting the Drama Triangle
Was asked to speak professionally on several occasions
Volunteered time teaching others
Celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and there was only joy
Found a new amazing doctor and started seeing vast improvements with my health by following their plan
Began writing again
Began mentoring people at work
Attended a conference in her (former) town and loved every minute of it
Amazing solo vacation visiting with friends
Started several really awesome personal projects that I love working on
Celebrated birthdays without feeling any triggers or sadness
Multiple super fun trips with the whole family together
Did not recognize ‘a season’ until it was 1 month from being over and then it was just a short dip in my day
Began studying for my NEXT big career move
Went on a trip with my bestie, claiming yet another trigger
The Rough Stuff:
There have been several tense discussions, but compared to year one and two they were minimal. Only two that felt like "blowups" in retrospect and each of them was immediately followed by immense growth. So the pain was worth something.
Lots of processing, sometimes it felt like I was going over the same ground over and over, but it does seem to get easier and further between every time
The OBS made the decision to harass me in an attempt to hurt my husband and was stalking my social media accounts (FYI, LinkedIn lets you know exactly WHO looks at your account). It makes me sad as we used to be friends. He thinks my husband has experienced no consequences or pain because we are still together (which is honestly laughable considering the standards to which I expect my husband to meet post-A). So I had to cut off his access. I am sad for him. He must be in a lot of pain to be lashing out this far from DDay at someone who did not harm him in any way (me).
My daily life looks like this now:
I wake up in the morning, greeted by kisses and gratitude. Then we hit snooze and snuggle a bit longer.
My husband and I round up the children, make sure everyone has eaten and packed lunch and get everyone moving and out the door on time.
We sing along to "family playlists" on the way to school
Post drop off we often have a coffee together while starting our day of work.
We listen a podcast together on our commute.
I leave him at his office and go to my own office.
Cute text messages are exchanged about how our days are going, asking how a meeting went, or planning something fun
Everyone is picked up post-work and after school activities and brought home.
A gorgeous meal is prepared for me as I finish up some of my work.
We eat dinner together
Spend time with the kids
Spend time with each other
Go to bed
I don't think about the affair every day.
When I think of it the pain is gone for the most part.
I would say I feel "down" about it maybe once every month or so.
When it does come to mind, it usually doesn't linger long
We are able to discuss difficult subjects including the affair without it being overly stressful or becoming an argument.
For the new people, here's what I believe made the most difference in reconciliation and my personal recovery so far:
- I was calm when I confronted and had papers ready to print out since he obviously loved her
- I gave him 6 months to earn the right to try and win me back (ie: get his shit together)
- No gaslighting or blameshifting from my husband, he owned his actions and the affair COMPLETELY
- All questions were answered
- NC established immediately and maintained
- IC's for both of us experienced in infidelity issues
- An MC who specialized in infidelity
- Non-Violent Communication (Year 2 and onward)
- Meditation and gratitude practices for us both
- lots of honesty and sharing our feelings even when they are not easy to hear
- The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu
- Rising Strong - Brene Brown
- Reading up on trauma response (both so we could understand the seemingly nonsensical responses)
- My partner actively working on empathy and dropping defensiveness
- being able to talk about the affair or triggers etc with no expectation that I am on a timeline to *get over it*
- regular exercise
- good nutrition
- a robust support system
I'm sure there's stuff I am forgetting but this is long as heck already. If you are interested in Year 1 and 2 retrospectives you can find those in my profile.
Onward into Year 4 I go, with a happy heart, curious as to what comes next.