This is just where I am and I feel like this will be my emotional state forever. Those questions are on a continuous loop. I talk to him in the car (he's not there) and invent answers, just so I can respond to them. I write letters from him to me, in my journal, with different answers and facts. I imagine finding his journal and reading what he wrote when he thought no one would ever see it, to ensure it was the truth. It consumes me to see into his mind so I can have one solid truth to hang on to. I don't know how to move on in any way
You’re in a tailspin of grief. I so recognize it. This was me too and why I caution you so much about not letting yourself stay in limbo over it forever. IT IS REALLY POSSIBLE TO DO THAT. It’s possible to cycle through disbelief, flashes of really getting what has happened and being crushed or furious or everything at once, and back again over and over and over. . .all in one day. Honestly, I still have it hit me out of the blue: that really happened.
It’s like you can live in both of those modes at once: the devastation and chaos of discovery and all of the emotions it brings alongside the part of your mind that keeps cycling back trying to undo it or outthink it or get away from it. It is just. Plain. Agony. And looking at your child and ACHING that you can’t fix this was for me a mix of rage like I’ve never felt directed at my WH and utter devastation that i never had a chance to try to stop it and protect them.
So I’ll go out on a limb and say that you’re a deep thinker and the family problem solver. Your brain probably immediately sets to work on a problem that presents itself. Mine does this anyway. It is a blessing and a curse because in this situation, it will eat you up. It may eat you up almost ENDLESSLY. And it will start to take a toll on your physical health. I never experienced panic or anxiety attacks before my WH decided to go off the rails. I became hyper vigilant (with reason because he never stopped lying and manipulating). It wreaks havoc on your ability to calm your mind and find any peace. . .and it can become a habit that is very, very hard to break.
It’s easier if the source of your fear and pain is not around. If you don’t have to look at him at your table or in your space. To this day, my WH walking into view clenches my gut. It puts me on edge because he is an unsafe person, and everyone else has to bear the effect of that. Not him. The longer you can break from seeing him and just take care of yourself and your son right now, the more likelihood that you’ll be able to get some equilibrium.
I know this might seem counter-intuitive because, at least for me, I NEEDED to try to get some satisfaction, some answers. What I’ll tell you, even if you will probably have to try anyway, is that it is possible to move on and start to heal without those answers. At a certain point you have to or you’ll just stay stuck. I’d like it not to take as long for you as it took for me.
To be very clear, it wasn’t that I stuck around hoping to save the marriage. Like you, I was pretty clear very quickly that every sacred thing in our marriage had been shat on almost deliberately, including me. He pretty much disgusted me (even while my entire brain and heart were still programmed and set to the default setting that he was my trusted husband and friend who had my back). My WH talked shit about me to lots of people, as I later found out. His resentment was palpable in those communications. I stuck around thinking that it would be better for my kids (it wasn’t) and that he OWED me to find the truth and give it to me. To own what he did instead of blaming everyone else. I think I also thought that he OWED me just a little bit of devastation and pain over having destroyed our decades long relationship and our family. At the very least, I hoped that having to face what he’d done might motivate him to become a really engaged dad who had some don’t-be-like-me wisdom to pass to his sons.
So I expected someone who had shown me clearly that he didn’t give a shit about me and our family and our life and our history to be something that he clearly wasn’t at all and never intended or particularly wanted to be. I expected and waited for that for a long time to HELP ME HEAL. It never happened. It never will. At some point, I had to accept that and let go of what I really desperately wanted and needed from the person who had hurt me worse than anyone else in my life.
All of those pipe dreams circled around and around in my head for such a long time though. I recognize what you are describing so very well. It may be what your brain, like mine, is just used to doing with a problem. And this is the biggest fucking problem ever. But it truly is the no win. That doesn’t mean you can necessarily stop yourself from doing this right now or even that you should. You are processing.
You should just keep your eye on the days and be aware of how much time you’re letting pass without progress. It’s why I say, set yourself or him or both an amount of time that seems acceptable to you to spend on the horrible ruminating you’re doing and then, reassess. Crawling out of this is a one tiny step at a time thing. There will be regressions. Start trying to choose one tiny thing that you can do to free yourself from the spiral every day. Take a walk and just breath. Get a massage and let yourself sleep through it. Throw rocks at a wall.
And maybe, when you’re ready, start thinking about some baby steps you might take down the road to begin to heal without getting what you need from him. You’re not there right now and THAT’S FINE. You have just discovered this. You are reeling. It’s "normal" for what you’re going through.
Give yourself grace and take as much care of your body and soul as you can considering the circumstances. This really may be all you can do right now beyond reading and processing and learning to accept what has happened to you and your son. A dog is a great addition to your healing journey too.
Leave your WH to his own devices with his precious secrets. He is not helpful or healing to you, so he has no purpose.
And once again, you are amazing and strong and fiercely intelligent. You’ve outwitted him at every turn. You have kept your composure in the midst of a cyclone or two. You can do this. It will suck so much, but you can do it for yourself and your son.
Fuck infidelity and your ass of a WH. You are a badass. Don’t forget that.