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Divorce/Separation :
Photos - trigger, trigger, trigger

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 josiep (original poster member #58593) posted at 3:16 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I was married to the Rat Bastard for 45 years. I met him when I'd just turned 18 so was with him my entire adult life until DDay. Short version of long explanation: I have photos on flickr, icloud, amazon photos, one drive and on countless flash drives, CD's, 2 external hard drives and 3 computers because I was so afraid of losing them and didn't really understand how to store them in a logical way so I just kept piling up storage upon storage. Some photos are backed up 6 or 7 times). For a few years now, I've tried to go through them and delete pics of and with him and black out his face if it's a photo I want to keep but don't want him in it. But then I realized I'd only deleted it from the device I was on. I'm preparing to dump them all onto the large external hard drive and run the duplicate file program so the end of the confusion/chaos is in sight but in the meantime, I still find photos of him here and there.

Anyway, yesterday, my DD, her mother-in-law, a friend and I were pulling up old photos and talking about out cute kids. This A.M. I went into my Google photos to find the picture of DD's first day of 6th grade (1986!) because she wants to see it and came across a whole slew of pictures of our family from the '70s & '80s. Birthdays, Disney World, first days of school, Christmases, etc. And I look at them and I want to feel nostalgic and warm about my life but I just can't because all I can see are his lying, soulless, self-centered eyes with the fake smile and how did I never notice it for 49 years? Or am I seeing something that isn't there because of how betrayed I feel? Maybe he was a good guy who went bad? How do we figure this shit out and decide whether we should enjoy our memories or avoid them?

And this is something people who haven't suffered infidelity can't grasp. The reach of it into our very souls is so crushing and saddening and infuriating and we can't escape it. We can't even look at old photos without realizing that our memories are now tainted and we don't know what to feel about our past: Was I happy or was I deluded? Oh, crap, did he actually hate being at the Graduation dinner? Here's a nice photo of us at the company picnic-oh, shit, was he having an affair then and was she there that day? Here's a picture of us on a cruise - did he love me at all then or did he just tolerate me?

I'm - holy cow, I was going to write that I'm about 5 years out now and realized it 5 years and 6 days to be exact. May 3 came and went without me remembering the anniversary. Now if I can just forget that the 50th anniversary of May 27, 1972 is right around the corner. Not sure what to do with myself that day - might just drink myself into oblivion. Which won't be hard - 2 drinks will do it but how long will that oblivion last? Will I have to have Alexa "remind me" to have another drink every 6 hours or so? What's the formula for staying drunk? So am I sad or am I angry with myself for wasting my life? But maybe I didn't waste my life - his life was definitely better for me having been in it even if he doesn't realize it and I was a great help to his parents and my kids are fantastic, wonderful human beings and so it goes and I don't think the wondering will ever end, at least not for someone like me who had it happen so late in life. People say to create new memories but at my age, even 2 or 3 years of new memories are a drop in the proverbial bucket. I'm pretty sure I'll be alone for whatever time I have left and I am sad about that because I wish I had someone to cook for and to talk to about the news and tv shows (I finished Ozark last night - oh my!!!) and sports and to travel with and, well, you get what I'm saying. I miss being connected to another human.

(And I'm ADHD and I have no routine and I REALLY need to live with someone so I stay centered, getting up within a 4 hour time frame everyday, showering at regular intervals (I DO shower but sometimes at night, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoons), fixing meals and eating at normal times, not making a sandwich at 10:30 for dinner cuz then I can't fall asleep and then I don't get up until 11 AM and by then it's hotter than Hades out there and I don't want to even open the door, let alone go anywhere. And why am I rambling so much? I need an increase in my meds. And I'd put a smiley face there but it's not really funny now that I think about it.)

Ah, Hell - sometimes we make progress and some days we regress, eh?

[This message edited by josiep at 3:21 PM, Monday, May 9th]

BW, 70 YO; M 45 yrs., T 49 yrs.
DDay#1, 1982; DDay#2, May, 2017. Divorced.

posts: 3095   ·   registered: May. 5th, 2017
id 8734353
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Lalagirl ( member #14576) posted at 3:41 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

You've been heard, sweetie. No advice, just big ((((HUGS)))) for you - I am so sorry you're in pain today.

Me-56 FWH-58 Married 38 years 9/2/2021 grown daughters-38&34 12yo GS,9yo GD & 7yo.GD (DD38) and 10yo GD & 5yo GD(DD34). D-day #1-1/06; D-day #2-3/07 Reconciled! Construction Complete. Astra inclinant, sed non obligant

posts: 8834   ·   registered: May. 10th, 2007
id 8734361
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LonelyHolidays ( member #79775) posted at 4:16 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I’m very sorry. Photos and memories have been hard for me too. I can relate to the loneliness as well. Very sorry.

Tired of her games. BH. Married 20 years. 2 sons 16 and 20. Going through divorce since September, 2021.

posts: 85   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Santa Rosa
id 8734372
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hcsv ( member #51813) posted at 5:10 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I'm getting ready to sell the family home and going through stuff has been tough. Came across pictures and cards the kids made for their dad when they were in elementary school. Do I keep or toss? mail to him or the kids?

I understand what you are feeling, it's horrible wondering "was he happy then?" My ex told me he had been unhappy for last 15 of the 40 years we were together. Really? He just shit on all those happy family memories.

After 40 years, ex turned into someone I didnt know and couldnt trust anymore. Divorced. 1/17

posts: 695   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2016
id 8734384
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 3:26 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Josiep, I have the same issue, just replace google photos for amazon photos. I am the memory keeper for my family and have spent decades digitizing all the family pics and it used to be one of my greatest joys to do a memory CD for the kids at life milestones. Who knew CD's would become obsolete? But I share your photo obsession and backup digital hoard and I completely understand and sympathize with the continued shock and pain of looking back at all those moments through the lens of new truth. It is as if our W's created a Matrix reality to keep us where the wanted us while they did whatever they wanted.

My photos are a constant source of stress for me, because they blindside me sometimes, and they need organizing in the worst way. Photography was a hobby I took up in earnest at my WH's suggestion, and he encouraged that plus my flickr and photo blog, which at the time I thought was sweet. I know now that he was beginning his cheating adventure and needed to keep me happy and distracted.

I took some time last year and made a photo album of me, my life, my kids and left any image of my WH out and it really helped me to appreciate those memories and to recognize the great life I had, despite his disloyalty and disrespect. I hope you do the same.

I am still in R limbo and keep waffling on staying or leaving so I have not yet purged my photo hoard of his image. But I sure look at him through a very different lens than I used to. I too can't decide if he was always a bad guy or a good guy who went bad, but I decided he didn't get to rob me of my happy memories so I have worked hard to reframe them without considering him, just appreciating the authentic, loving full life I was leading. I have made him into a bit player in my photo reel. That helps a little.

Good luck with the photos. I have found the CDs and external hard drives to just quit working and it has cost me a few years of photos which I still miss. Good luck also finding someone to share those life moments with. I texted with my son for an hour about the darn Ozark finale! I'm sure you can find your new tribe, and you won't feel lonely forever if you believe that it is never too late. I've decided whatever time I have left at 62 I'm going to do whatever I want to, and that includes showering or not showering whenever I feel like it, not on the strict schedule my WH keeps. I always thought he balanced me out, but in many ways now I see he was just holding me back from being my authentic, wonderful and unpredictable self. I hope you reframe and see it the same way. I keep a framed Mary Oliver quote "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" to remind me do just that - make plans, even if that plan is to not go outside because it is too damn hot!

Best to you. And thanks for letting me feel more normal about my photo pile!

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 371   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8734520
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annanew ( member #43693) posted at 12:36 AM on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

You are hilarious!

And I'm ADD too - I'm the same way about needing a schedule anchor. A volunteer gig maybe?

Re photos. If you are imaginative, as many ADDers are, try just reframing his entire presence in your life. Or pretend he died. Or was taken over by body snatchers. Or has multiple personalities. Give his post DDAY persona a name, maybe Doyle or Ajax, and tell yourself "good old Ted, there were some good times until Ajax came along". Anyway you get the idea, anything to make you smile or at least smirk when you see his mug looking out at you from the photographs.

As for being alone.... yeah. It's sort of the way things are going, in society. A whole big plague of loneliness. I'm not alone yet and right now have too many people in my life so I rather like the idea of being alone. But once I'm there I won't like it so much.

Single mom to a sweet girl.

posts: 2470   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: California
id 8734606
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 10:31 PM on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

Give his post DDAY persona a name, maybe Doyle or Ajax, and tell yourself "good old Ted, there were some good times until Ajax came along".

Oh this is so funny laugh It helped me. I will think this going forward with photos.

fBS/fWS(me):48 Mad-hattered after DD1
XWS:51 Serial Cheater, NPD tendencies
Together 25 years, Married 19
DD(18) DS(15)
DD1 (2008) COW, DD2 (2012) MOW, False R (2014) Same MOW. DD3 (2019) Webcam girl

posts: 8211   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8734757
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 josiep (original poster member #58593) posted at 11:10 PM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Thanks for all the nice comments and things that made me smile.

Something else interesting happened the other day but I didn't realize it for a couple of days. My son lives in another country and I haven't seen him in nearly 3 years now and we're not the chatty type so we sort of fall out of touch every now and then. It's not like there's any kind of wedge between us - it's just how it is. Anyway, he Facetimed me and I didn't realize it at the time but when I thought about it afterward, I realized that I'm beginning to see the world around me through my own eyes with my own lens. Because when I answered the call, I was struck by how good looking he is and he looks young and healthy and happy and I just loved seeing his face and smile. Not that I haven't always loved him but in the "good old days" I'd have noticed he hadn't shaved in a couple of days or maybe that his hair wasn't combed or maybe I saw a mess in the background or somesuch. But you see, I never cared about those things but somehow I always noticed them and felt a little bit like it was my fault that they weren't perfect. XWH was always critical of everyone and I guess if I felt they were a reflection of my parenting, I ended up always sort of "judging" my kids, wanting to make sure their Dad wouldn't get upset or not like how they looked or how they did something.

It's one of those things I never realized until it started to go away. But I hope this means that it's fading away and I have to say I like it. I feel cleaner somehow.

(The above is all about codependency and not living my own life but instead living it through the X's lens. It's been a long, hard slog and I'm not at the end of the journey yet but this feels like I'm finally seeing some results for all the counseling and introspection and reading and of course, the biggest support system in the world: S.I.

Anyway, for those of you who are watching this season of Survivor, I read my original post before I wrote this and all I can say is, MaryAnn and I might be twins who were separated at birth.....................

BW, 70 YO; M 45 yrs., T 49 yrs.
DDay#1, 1982; DDay#2, May, 2017. Divorced.

posts: 3095   ·   registered: May. 5th, 2017
id 8734924
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pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 4:34 AM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

If you have some really special ones, you can use photoshop to remove anyone you like. Everybody gets cut out and new or repaired background. You can take a class or look at free videos online. It's not hard once you practice. You can fix bad hair days and little clothes wrinkles and whatnot. It's fun. If you don't want to do it yourself then most photographers can suggest someone or look at your local community College. Even if you just learn the blur tool you can go to town with the blur brush and you don't have to see the face anymore.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

posts: 2325   ·   registered: Jan. 19th, 2018
id 8735389
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Shehawk ( member #68741) posted at 4:32 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

"now I see he was just holding me back from being my authentic, wonderful and unpredictable self"

You have been heard Josiep. And I wanted to say that there is room in the world for people who don't get up and take a shower at 6 or follow a rigid schedule.

The lovely thing now is that for the most part wh is "out of the picture" at least in the present.

I do relate to your picture pain.

The past photos I gave digital and physical copies to people who might want them. I left any pics that would be relevant to wh in place where he has access. Pictures of me I took.


About the schedule stuff....wh judged me but I can't say he valued me for the good in me.

Funny thing.

I honestly don't think the world stops if I take a shower at 3 pm or 7am. I am as clean or cleaner that. Most people.

In fact, I am a lot of good things. But I am more an 11a to 7p shift worker than a 6am to 2pm, and you know what?
The world does not stop on account of that either.

So my best antidote currently is living what time I have left with the same decency I showed wh. Only now I am showing it to myself.

posts: 938   ·   registered: Nov. 5th, 2018   ·   location: VA
id 8735426
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