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Fear vs. reality

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phmh posted 5/31/2013 18:29 PM

I've been thinking about doing a post like this for awhile -- ever since tryingagain did a fantasy vs. reality post for the WS. There's been a lot of talk about fear lately, so my hope is that some of us who are further along down the path can provide positive inspiration for those who are just starting, or who know they need to start but are too afraid to do so.

Fear: disappointing my family (we don't get divorced), friends distancing themselves from me because they didn't want me trying to steal their husbands, being lonely since I'd distanced myself from most of my friends due to XWH's social problems.

Reality: my family stepped up in amazing ways. I am closer to my parents and siblings than ever before. Friends are amazing -- they send their husbands to my house to help me move or lift things. I go out with several different couples -- just the 3 of us -- and it's not awkward or strange. I've reconnected with old friends and made many new friends.

Fear: money concerns. I found out I was losing my job right before D-Day. XWH and I had an agreement that I didn't have to work once that happened since I'd put him through med school and he was just about to make a doctor's salary. I visited a recruiter after D-Day and he told me I'd be lucky to make 50% of my then-current salary, given the job market. No kids, so no CS, and laws in my state are terrible -- I was basically a one-woman scholarship fund for XWH -- so no alimony, either.

Reality: I got an amazing job where I make more than triple what the recruiter said I'd make. I'll be out-earning XWH in a couple of years. I am buying my dream house in two weeks.

Fear: living alone. I went from my parents' house to college roommates to married. How would I do everything that XWS used to do, all on my own?

Reality: XWS didn't really do all that much. It's not so hard being an adult! I have become a much better cook, handylady, and manage my life really well.

Fear: dating. I'd never dated as an adult, as XWH and I got together when I was 20. How do I do it? Will men be interested in me? ARGH!!!

Reality: I'm currently taking a break from dating, but there is lots of interest out there. It's really not that tough, and the knowledge I've gained from reading about relationships has served me well -- allowing me to break things off when red flags appear and hold out for someone who truly is wonderful. Also, there is so much more out there to life than romantic relationships. I've been having so much fun!

Summary: I was a mess at D-Day. I seriously considered suicide. I found a great IC, read a lot, ran a lot, and worked on myself. I am now happier than I have been, probably ever in my life. XWH wanted to R. Of course, since he couldn't find a job in the city where he did his fellowship, that would have meant me giving up my fabulous new job as well as my support system. I asked him to sign a post-nup where he would cover the difference between whatever job I could find and the job I was giving up if I had to divorce him for future infidelity. If he didn't cheat, this wouldn't come into play. He refused, stating that it was punitive, and I should just trust him to be faithful. And so I divorced him, which was the best thing I could have done.

There is a wonderful life out there. There are people who are honest, faithful, nice, and kind. Surround yourself with them. Life is way too short to make decisions out of fear. As they always say, leap and the net will appear.

ButterflyGirl posted 5/31/2013 19:18 PM

Great post! A lot of this applies to me, so thanks for that..

I was scared to lose some of my friends, but come to find out they totally have my back, and that's a great feeling..

The money situation certainly sucks, especially since I do have kids and now we have to have two of basically everything, but I'm lucky to have always had a job I love.. Congrats on your flourishing career!!

I have never lived alone either, but WH was really like a third kid for me, so it's definitely tons easier

I've also never dated as an adult. I dated a guy for 5 years until I was 21 and started dating WH very soon after and had been with him for over 12 years.. My biggest thing right now is being happy with myself first, and then finding someone. Broken attracts broken, and I don't need a "savior" from my depression and sadness right now, and I certainly don't want to "save" anyone else, so I'm taking a break and waiting for something healthy to come along, hoping that I'm healthy enough to create something great out of it..

Thanks for the great post. Someone posted one time something that basically said, "Sometimes a door closes, and you look so longingly at the door and focus on it for so long, you don't realize the other doors that have opened." I'm certainly going to keep my eyes peeled for my new beginnings and everything that I can fill my life with now that I've dropped that huge anchor of crap that I carried for way too long

[This message edited by ButterflyGirl at 7:19 PM, May 31st (Friday)]

tryingagain74 posted 5/31/2013 20:11 PM

Love it! I think it really does help to see that others have experienced the same fears and that their realities totally kick those fears in the pants. I'll add a few:

Fear: Well, except for my family, who I knew would be on my side all the way, I was afraid of the shame when I told others what had happened.

Reality: EVERYONE I talked to thought that STBX was a first-class doosh and that I was absolutely right to leave him. That reality also gave me the extra impetus I needed to move forward since I was paralyzed with this next fear...

Fear: Making it on my own-- he took care of the bills. He did the outside work (well, whatever he didn't hire someone else to do). He did the investing.

Reality: Well, I did have a lot to learn about finances at first, but I marvel at how much more money I save on my piddly salary + CS and how I don't have to have an MBA in finance to invest my earnings. Although my dad and brother have certainly helped me with house projects, I have been able to do quite a bit on my own, which has been tremendously empowering.

Fear: I'm a pretty independent person, but I was also afraid of what life would be like on my own. Just like phmh, I went from my parents' home to being married, so except for the year that I was living by myself while getting my graduate degree, I had never really lived by myself.

Reality: I love being on my own! I love having total control over my social life, not worrying about rushing back to someone who expects me to be home by a certain time, taking the kids places that we enjoy without dealing with STBX being bored, whiny, annoyed, etc. While I'd love to meet someone wonderful and be in a relationship again, I have really enjoyed being single and wish that I hadn't been in such a rush to "couple up" when I was younger. When I see happy couples, I just remember that I wouldn't be like that if I were still with STBX and that even though my circumstances are different, I am happy-- just because I don't have a SO doesn't mean that I can't be happy.

Fear: My kids would buy into the present buying, special outings, and other superficial tactics employed by STBX and the OW.

Reality: It's early days yet, but so far, no matter what, they always want to be with me. It's not that they don't love their dad; it's just that I think they somehow know, deep down, that I'm the real deal who will be there for them no matter what. I'll have to check in again when they're teenagers and want nothing to do with me, though.

Keep on adding to the list, everyone!

tesla posted 6/1/2013 08:08 AM

**Waving hand and wiggling ecstatically**
My turn!!

Fear: I had been out of work for several years, first following ex-shat around being the good, supportive wife and then as a SAHM. I was worried it would take forever to get a job in an area that I'm not originally from and where I didn't know anyone.

Reality: I didn't get any calls for the 12 or so teacher appliations that I put in. But I did get a call for a teacher's aid position, which two months into the school year led to me replacing a fired teacher and so I got a teacher's salary and benefits! My principal is very happy with me and at my review, since she knew that I'm actually licensed in other areas, begged me to stay and if I wanted a job in one of those other areas that when a retirement came up that I could have a job in my content area!

Fear: I wouldn't be able to parent my son on my own.

Reality: I'm a better parent now than I've ever been. Losing the emotionally draining vampire that I like to call ex-shat has freed me to love myself again. I have not loved myself in years. YEARS! It took lots of IC to get there but now that I'm confident in myself and my abilities, I can be completely whole and present with my child. It makes a huge difference.

Fear: I wouldn't be able to keep up on the house. Ex-shat left me with a shit ton of half-baked remodeling projects. The yard is nearly an acre. It needs extensive landscaping. It needs to have several things 'undone' to it that ex-shat did.

Reality: I have an awesome family that even though they are spread across the country, have pulled together to spend 'vacations' at my place getting her fixed back up. I have learned and done a lot myself. I just tackle one project at a time, complete it and move on to the next...I know, not rocket science...but steadily trudging through that list and being willing to learn how to do shit has helped.

Fear: On a teacher's salary, I will never get ahead, never take vacations or do the cool things that ex-shat's huge ass salary can afford. I'd always feel financially insecure.

Reality: Ex-shat spends money like crazy...we never had much left over and I was forever trying to get him to save and not spend. On a teacher's salary, I've paid off my lawyer, bought a new car and have a couple little weekend get-aways planned. I've been able to save for myself and my son. After another year of being careful, I should have all my financial shit well in hand and be able to start saving for some dream vacations.

Fear: I would have no social life. I let msyelf get socially isolated with ex-shat. I adopted his family and his couple of friends. I defined myself completely through him and his goals and dreams and desires.

Reality: I've learned that I'm a pretty fucking awesome person. On these boards, I come across as a very different person than what I am in reality. In reality, I am exceedingly reserved, quiet, unengaged and shy. At least I used to be. I started working with my IC to try to let pieces of my online persona out in real life. I've discovered that people really like me and I've started to make a couple of good friends. I have the beginnings of a social life that is 100% unconnected to ex-shat...and that feels so wonderful.

I firmly believe that going through the infidelity and divorce has made me into a much better person. I think it forced me to address some of my issues that made me pick someone like ex-shat as a partner. I am stronger and more confident now. I am no longer hopeless and wishing for oblivion like I was in the month leading up to D-day. Divorcing that piece of shit was one of the best decisions that I've ever made.

[This message edited by tesla at 8:09 AM, June 1st (Saturday)]

Sad in AZ posted 6/1/2013 10:51 AM

This is so good for 'newbies' to see. Fear can be paralyzing; realizing that life goes on makes a world of difference.

CallMeRed1 posted 6/1/2013 11:29 AM

I still have a lot of those fears but I'm gradually coming around to realising the reality now is so much brighter and happier than it ever would have been before.

Well done you for not "trusting" him to be faithful at post-nup time.

This is such a positive post. Thanks for sharing it.

Athena1979 posted 6/1/2013 13:02 PM

Thank you for posting this. My husband has been purchasing prostitutes for awhile now. Just found out...
Im scared of divorce, but I know to stand my ground.
I don't have any realities yet. But I would like to post my fears and later, after divorce, see how silly my fears were.
Fear: having visitation be a torturous experience for myself and my kids
Plan: be cordial. Have grace. No name throwing. Don't drag kids through my emotional turmoil. They didn't have a choice in who there dad is.
Fear: money, money, money. I pay all of the bills except child care. Now having two kids, I don't know how I will afford it.
Plan: pay off car in march of next year. Start couponing!
Fear: husband won't be able to afford child support
Plan: he won't be able to afford child support. He'll end up in jail for it or something. When he's in jail, he will get the opportunity to be someone else's prostitute. See how he likes it! Anyway, I will have my car paid off and I will work hard at my job and save as much as possible. I'll deal.
Fear: lawyers! Lots of money to lawyers. Lawyers doing backhanded things to hurt me. Maybe take my kids? Maybe ask me to pay child support?
Plan: he is being divorced bc of many, many prostitutes. Starting less than a month after we were married. Probably some before. And as it turns out, he's also a registered sex offender. What kind of a judge would award him kids? It will be worth the money for a good lawyer.
Fear: him coming back and begging for me to forgive him.
Plan: purchase a big German Shepard named Jeff and teach him the command "get him, Jeff!"

Bebba1171 posted 6/2/2013 08:01 AM

PHMH - this is such an outstanding post. Just amazed by it. Your friendship has been so very important to me. Did not know the extent of what you had to deal with.

Tesla - really enjoyed reading yours as well.

Both of you are totally awesome women that are so wonderful in so many ways - smart, athletic, beautiful, personable, well spoken, etc. etc. etc.

These dipsticks you were married to did you a favor. Both of you are better off without them.

Your only problem is that for some strange reason, you don't find older, fatter, balding, dumber men attractive! lol

SBB posted 6/2/2013 08:06 AM

I firmly believe that going through the infidelity and divorce has made me into a much better person. I think it forced me to address some of my issues that made me pick someone like ex-shat as a partner. I am stronger and more confident now. I am no longer hopeless and wishing for oblivion like I was in the month leading up to D-day. Divorcing that piece of shit was one of the best decisions that I've ever made.

A-freking-men sister!

I'm pretty bloody awesome and I think you're awesome too.

ButterflyGirl posted 6/2/2013 08:23 AM

Fear: him coming back and begging for me to forgive him.
Plan: purchase a big German Shepard named Jeff and teach him the command "get him, Jeff!"

Can't help my vulgar mind here.. This totally makes me think of the movie "Stand By Me." Have you seen it? I'd be teaching that dog, "Chopper, sick balls."

Big hugs to you Athena. I think it's great the way you are taking all your fears and putting a plan in place for what will happen if they come true.. I get so much anxiety sometimes from worrying what will happen next, but if I just think of the worst possible thing and try to figure out how I will accept and deal with it, I can relax a little and focus on staying in the present. Great post. I really like your style

FieldsOfLavender posted 6/2/2013 18:04 PM

phmh, I was reading your post while waiting for my daughter's weekend class. I started crying while I was waiting.

I have many of the fears that you articulated. My DH and I are not officially separated (by notary), but he has checked out completely. He does not talk to me, does not say good morning, does not say good night. He will move out in less than one week. We have not told our small child, but she probably senses something based on her behavior. A couple days ago, she asked how old her grandfather (father's father) was when he married his 2nd wife.

phmh posted 6/7/2013 18:28 PM

Saw more mention of fear today, so wanted to bump this up. More submissions always welcomed :)

beforeandafter posted 6/8/2013 07:03 AM

As someone new to the whole D/S area in this nightmare, I would like to thank OP for this gem of a thread. The uncertainty in my life at present is heavy, for sure. I find myself looking at others' fears and closely identifying with them. Here are a few of my fears:

Fear: I too, isolated myself socially. My stbxw was incredibly antisocial. Because I centered my life around her and her son, I lost contact with many of them. Since she has moved out, I have reconnected with a few. One even told me that part of the reason he didn't ever visit anymore was because she was such a judgemental B. Friends are telling me they could never understand why someone as funny and outgoing would ever be associated with someone like her.

Unfortunately, that's the only fear that I have a positive reality to associate with. That's not to say other fears have negative realities, but uncertainty clouds over so much.

Thank you again for the awesome thread.

cmego posted 6/8/2013 07:41 AM

phmh, how did I miss this thread originally? It is amazing.

Fear can be paralyzing in the beginning.

Fear: After not working for 10 years, I will never find a job.

Reality: I am now back in school full time and creating a new career for myself. I worked it out with EX to pay for me to go to school and raise my kids a few more years.

Fear: I will never date again.

Reality: Totally not true. Dated. Several people. Just have to learn to date for the RIGHT reasons when you are health.

Fear: I will never have sex again.

Reality: There are really good BOB's you can purchase!

Fear: I will never stop crying.

Reality: 3 years post D-day. There are days now that EX doesn't even cross my mind.

Fear: I will not survive as a single parent.

Reality: Stay organized, let some things go, and I am kicking ass as a single mom in school full time.

Time heals. You grow and learn...if you are smart. If you stay in the fear, you won't experience the joy a new life can bring you.

phmh posted 7/5/2013 18:04 PM

Been about a month since this has been bumped and my reality has been so amazing lately that I wanted to bump up again -- feel free for others to contribute!

HurtsButImOK posted 7/5/2013 18:20 PM

Fear: I wouldn't be able to afford to support myself and my animals (2x dogs 2x horses).

Reality: I have more money now that I am not paying for his whores or alcohol.

Fear: He was my best friend I will be lonely.

Reality: He was a "traitor in my fox hole" (love that line) and being alone is sooooo much better than the lonely I felt trapped in the relationship.

Fear: I am worthless and don't deserve love.

Reality: I am starting to realise my value and worth. I am happier and more relaxed than I have ever been in my life (daily comments on my radiating peace, didn't realise what an unhappy biatch I seemed before )

Fear: I would be stuck in the misery that was the relationship forever. If I left it would be the biggest mistake of my life because, you know, he will grow up and be the person I thought he was or could be and I would lose out.

Reality: I was pushed out of the "normal" and the new life is so much better than I could ever have dreamed. He is not who I thought he was and as such could never be who I thought he would grow up into. I am no longer trapped in that misery generating cycle and my life is mine.

Its 'funny' to look back on what kept us trapped, now that the fears are faced they seem so small and pathetic.

SBB posted 7/5/2013 18:25 PM

Oh I had lots of these same fears. Fears for my children, fears for my financial security all of it.

The main one being I would regret leaving him.

Reality: I regret not doing it years earlier.

HurtsButImOK posted 7/5/2013 18:29 PM

The main one being I would regret leaving him.

Reality: I regret not doing it years earlier.

+10000 for this, its something I am working through.

I regret not leaving him 12 years ago when he first showed me who he really was.

But I guess you live and learn, all I can do from here is not repeat those same mistakes. Working on forgiving myself is a process every day.

Sad in AZ posted 7/5/2013 19:55 PM

I forgot to play

My only real fear was that I would not be able to afford to live on my own. Most of my life with the X (almost 40 years) we were always broke; he makes twice what I do, and I didn't want any support from him (didn't want to be tied to him for life.) Amazingly, I can and do live pretty well

It never occurred to me to worry about my friends; we've known each other since childhood. I suspect that if the X made any effort, they would still be friendly with him, but that doesn't bother me. And in all the years we've known each other, no one has poached anyone's mate; I don't see that ever happening

Williesmom posted 7/5/2013 20:34 PM

Phmh, I could have written your post word for word. My reality is so much more than I thought it would be.

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