Here's the letter. She emailed it. I plan on telling her I haven't read it. I cut the first paragraph out because she shared something from her childhood she claims she's never shared with anyone. Nothing sexual, but it doesn't seem right to post it here. Here's the rest of it. In my mind it doesn't change anything for me, but I'm curious what you all think about it. I changed his name because I think I'm supposed to do that on this forum.
As we have discussed in the past, I have a hard time being vulnerable with those I care about and admitting my weaknesses. I believe being vulnerable has a lot to do with being wrong and discussing your faults. I think that is why it is so hard for me. I am not sure if this came from my mom, probably. It was easy to ask her questions or admit fault with her. And we both know she doesn’t admit any fault or take responsibility for anything! I didn’t realize this was such a problem for me. I kinda just figured I had trouble sharing stuff (being vulnerable) with people and I’d figure that out someday in therapy. And weirdly, the closer I was to someone and the more I cared about them, the harder it was to be vulnerable (you, my mom). Because they know me and they might judge me and they might not love me anymore. I have been working on this though, and I have realized how much has to do with my ability to admit I was wrong. I need to be able to be wrong and still realize that I will be loved—by you, by my family, by myself. This is hard for me. I like to think I have it all together but I don’t. I am a super-flawed human, but I am working on that….thus telling you about my car accident. (Please don’t use this against me in the future)
I have been thinking a lot about why I did what I did. I am not making excuses, but I think we both know that if we know why someone did something, it makes it easier to understand.
Back when I started talking to Barry all the time again (there was a span of a couple years where I just didn’t hear from him a lot), I was feeling very lost. I was feeling like I didn’t know who I was anymore beyond a stressed out housewife living in conservative West Michigan feeling like she didn’t fit in anywhere. I talked with you about this then too. You thought maybe it was you that I was sick of or didn’t like anymore, and it was never you. It was always me. Its like Esther Perel says: its not about the betrayed or the affair partner, it’s about the cheater. Its about them trying to recapture a part of themselves they have lost. Ever since I heard that on a podcast, that’s all I can think about. Its so true. It was me feeling lost and less-than and not in touch with who I was anymore. And so I reached out to someone who was there when I had a career I was proud of when I didn’t have kids to drag me down. (obviously, looking back I should have reached out to you more. I should have tried to talk to you more about how I was feeling and that was a mistake on my part)
I was scared that I would never feel like myself again. But I got there. and it wasn’t Barry who got me there, it was me! it was being proactive in my life and our life together: my therapy, our therapy and the nurturing of our relationship (and I know you don’t believe me, but this is the most important to me and the thing I have valued the most), me working oncall, you and I building our business together, work on myself and being honest with my mom about my feelings (not that it got me very far)……all of these things have renewed my confidence and my sense of self-worth. I don’t feel lost anymore and you are a huge part of that.
Why then would I start up messaging Barry again? I’ve also been thinking lots about this. Obviously, I have more work to do (its never-ending isn’t it?), but I have some preliminary thoughts that I wanted to share with you.
I truly owned up to the fact that it was an emotional affair when I came to that revelation in counseling with you. I really believe that I was wrong and felt (feel currently and for forever) remorse and shame, but it was still really hard for me to admit that I was wrong. It was ok to admit it to you but not myself for some reason. I’m not 100% sure what I was seeking by contacting him again….all I can think of is validation that I wasn’t wrong because even though I knew I was, I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be wrong about the agreements you and I had in place (it was easier to think you were controlling), I didn’t want to be wrong about Barry being a friend (turns out he was a scumbag, because no friend would act like that and I 1000% see that).
I know you have no reason to believe me and I don’t blame you, but the contact felt awful and terrible and it turns out I was WRONG. And now I am sitting in a giant pile of my wrongness and I have never felt so terrible. I know I made this steaming pile, and now I lie in it. Maybe this is a life-lesson that I really needed? Maybe this is the way I grow? But I didn’t want to grow by hurting you….
I realize now you are NOT trying to control me. I realized now that barry is NOT a good human being. I realize now just how much I hurt you. And most importantly, I realize now how WRONG I was/am. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal (and I knew it before, of course), but the fact that I am even putting all this stuff in writing is huge for me. It is me being totally vulnerable with you. That is what I need to do for you to trust me, at least it’s a step I hope. I have changed. I can be vulnerable with you like no one else. Please let us be vulnerable together and heal.
I know I don’t deserve it, but please please give me another chance! I have grown so much, I have realized so much and I have such excitement about our future together. You say I don’t want to talk about retirement, but I do!! Sometimes it feels overwhelming to me since we have so much going on in the present, but I try to share those feelings with you when you want to talk about it and I’m not feeing it. Doesn’t mean I don’t want it. I do! Especially after the other day when we talked all about living somewhere else for a couple months and traveling and hiking and all that stuff. I do see you in my future!! You and the kids are my future—I want us to be together with them, for them. They need us and I need you! I don’t have much other family. You are my family, and family fixes stuff and works on it. I will do anything!!! I will prove to you that I know I was wrong and that I want YOU and that you can trust me. You can on everything else and I know I’ve given you no reason to trust me on this, but you can. Let me show you…….PLEASE. I love you and I am so sorry that I hurt you. This is my biggest regret. All of this. Its all my fault. I need to fix it and I can. Love can fix it. Let me show you. We have been through so much, I don’t want to lose all that now. all the foundation, the work, the love, the time, we have something amazing that can rebound. I know it can. Just give me a chance. Give US a chance. Give our family a chance.
I LOVE YOU.