I posted this a while ago in the Just Found Out forum. I wanted to write something for the many new people visiting this site and registering profiles and posting for the first time. I'm posting it here with a post script to cover some of my new relationship developments.
I had a particularly horrific experience after learning about my Soon-To-Be-Ex Wayward Husband's (STBXWH) infidelity. I wont go into the incredibly awful details of what he did, but to give you a general idea, he started screwing women who were customers of our jointly-owned sporting goods business, where I also worked. It required a tremendous amount of deceit, deception, hiding, trickery and other awful behaviors besides you know, the actual sex. And he kept it up through over a year and a half of false R.
I was devastated. I wanted desperately to fix it. I tried so hard. I found SI and started to read and occasionally post but my downward spiral was already spinning and pulling me into a deep dark hole.
It turns out, he didn't want to fix our marriage. In fact, he really just wanted to drive me out of his life. Out of my marriage, out of my home, out of my job, out of my business investment, out of my community of friends and acquaintances, out out out.
He took everything I had, every physical manifestation of a successful life and shredded it, bit by bit, little by little, over a period of years. I watched it happen in slow motion, powerless to make anything different happen.
I became suicidal and extremely, profoundly, depressed. Every new discovery of his treachery sent me reeling, full of red hot rage and black despair. I threw things at his head. I broke dishes and windows, I screamed into the night, into the street. Nothing helped me or our marriage, nothing changed him.
Finally my doctor intervened. He basically ordered me to leave. He said if I didn't I would end up in jail for assault or worse, murder, or if not jail, the morgue from killing myself, or worse, the hospital from a failed suicide attempt. Jail, morgue or hospital. That's where I was headed. I was driven literally to the edge of insanity.
So, I left. I really had no choice. I couldn't believe it, but that was the sad fact. I had no choice, I had to leave.
My doctor filed a form with our state agency that stated I was temporarily disabled and unable to work. This got me a little bit of income so I could buy food and eat.
And then, away from him, I started to heal, slowly, in fits and starts, three steps forward, two back. I started to get a grip on my emotions. I started eating again. I got the right medication to control my depression. I found a great therapist. I learned how my thoughts were seriously disordered. SI and its amazing family of supportive souls made a huge difference in my sanity. I started learning how to enforce "No-Contact" (NC) with STBXWH.
I found a place to live after couch surfing with friends. I got a part time "job" volunteering and found that my emotional/mental functioning was still really poor. STBXWH filed for divorce. I blew up at my "landlord" room-renter and got kicked out of my housing. I begged my dad to lend me his RV for a while so I could have a place to sleep. I put my few belongings in storage and became quasi-homeless. I cashed in my retirement savings. I sold a few things for some gas money.
I tried hard to do my job, and did well enough that I was able to develop a tiny new inkling of self esteem. I kept going to therapy. I kept taking my medication.
It took TWO YEARS to regain most of my mental health. But you know what, I was healing.
I bounced around with new part time job, this time for pay. I got triggered badly by a new boss with behaviors so similar to STBXWH that I could barely see straight. I got fired for refusing to take his bullshit. My unemployment ran out. At one point I had $15.13 to my name and over $10,000 in debt, (not including the $35k in student loans). I filed for spousal support and got a little, thanks to a fair judge. I borrowed some money from a friend to help keep my car from being repossessed.
I found a few old friends still loved me. One of them recommended I apply for a part-time job that seemed like a good fit. I worked on my resume and put all my determination into getting hired.
I got the job! Suddenly, I had income. I had co-workers who were good people. My bosses were nice. Company BS was mild, and got better as time went on. An old friend started flirting with me. We started a little romance, a Friends-With-Benefits (FWB) relationship that helped me feel attractive and desirable, and helped me realize I had something positive to offer and that the divorce wasn't my fault.
I did my job well! I still struggled with depression and something I called "functional paralysis" where I would have days where any work at all was a struggle, but I kept up with my therapy, did my homework, and really tried hard to improve my mental health. One day, I realized I was actually happy! But I was still living in an RV, parked in a grungy driveway off a loud highway, and barely making ends meet.
After court one day when I told the judge I wanted half the stock in the business, STBXWH asked me "How much is it going to cost me to make you go away?"
I dealt with that. I didn't spin back into a black hole. I found my center, changed my thoughts, calmed myself, and went back to working on my own life.
Later, I found out he had gotten one of his Affair Partners (APs) pregnant and she'd had his baby. I dealt with that. I didn't spin back into a black hole. I found my center, changed my thoughts, calmed myself, and went back to working on my own life.
I worked my butt off in therapy. I started pushing my employers to establish a new position in the organization, and eventually got hired to that position, along with a raise. I doubled my income over night. Full-time baby! Top position in the organization!
And then I rented a house. I cleared out my storage unit. I gave the RV back to my dad. I bought a few things for me, and planted some flowers around the house.
A few months ago, I earned more in one month than I had ever earned in a 30 day period in my life. I had recovered my capacity for supporting myself, and then some. I was rebuilding my life. I was happy.
I saw him in court last week and continued my quest to get some sort of fair settlement out of the business. I came home and watered my plants and had a beer and said "Fuck That Guy". FTG. Just fuck him.
I am healed. I still have growth I want to do but I'm better than I ever was. I'm content. I deal with adversity. I am overcoming my weaknesses. I am working in a job I like, I have a few pleasures, and I wake up in the morning without a thought about what happened over 5 years ago.
I lost everything. I nearly lost my life. And yet I rebuilt myself and my life and I've found I can be happy and I have a future. At some point my divorce will go through and I will sever all ties with that asshole, but in the meantime, I am me, I am free, and I have survived infidelity.
****Post script update:
At our next court hearing we agreed to a bifurcation to complete the legal elements of divorce even though we couldn't agree on the division of assets. So I'm now officially divorced. It was rather anti-climactic and more court is ahead of us. I'll be OK even if I get nothing.
The Friends-with-Benefits relationship ran its course. I started developing much stronger feelings and wanting more from the relationship. FWB was what we agreed to and I (yes, me) felt I was being unfair pushing him. I told him if he couldn't move our relationship to the next level I needed to end it, as I realized I wanted to pursue a committed relationship for my future. After some back and forth where he waffled and wouldn't commit, I broke up with him. Actually, I waffled too, went back, broke up again.
Then I went into a 180/NC mode to try to keep boundaries so I wouldn't be tempted to back to him for a third time. I set up online dating profiles and put my head down and worked to keep our relationship friends-and-colleagues only.
After about 3 months, he told me he'd made a huge mistake and wanted to know if there was any chance we could get back together to try to make a real relationship work. Since I never really wanted to end our relationship, I agreed to try. I set some conditions. He met them. It's been really interesting moving forward and we are working on trying to adjust our lives to incorporate each other in a more public, boyfriend/girlfriend kind of way.
My job may see another growth opportunity in the next 3-4 months, as I continue to take on more leadership roles and responsibilities.
One final note: I have lived my whole adult life with chronic depression. I've been in therapy for about 5 years now. I still need this support as my depression seems cyclical and I go gangbusters building my life up and then fall into paralysis and inability to function for weeks at a time. I'm working to beat back the depression, continue to develop my coping skills, and dig deeper into my childhood issues that seem to be driving what looks like self-sabotaging behavior.
Anyway, my life is normal. Basically I'm content, I'm imagining a positive future, living a present that is overall a good life when you step back and look at it from a distance, even though I sometimes get the blues. And every now and then I go through bouts of being ridiculously happy.