Conflict and Confusion

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, but something has happened and I am conflicted about it, so I need to get it all out & try to make sense of it.

I should start by saying this is not related to my husband or his affair.

I heard some really upsetting news a few days ago and I’m struggling with my feelings.

I learned that my old best friend from school has advanced breast cancer. Let’s call her Jane.

She is 40 years old. She is 6 months pregnant.

We aren’t close anymore, we drifted apart after school & I haven’t actually seen her for about 10 years, although we are FB friends and occasionally reminisce a little when memories come up.

This will be Jane’s first, and likely only child. I was only saying a few months ago to another mutual friend that I felt sad for Jane because it didn’t seem likely that she was going to settle down and have any children. I was delighted to find out that she was pregnant. So happy for her.

Then this. It should be the happiest time in her life and now she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The pregnancy is both speeding up its advance & delaying her treatment. I don’t know what will happen, but it doesn’t look good for her.

There is more.

A couple of years ago a different friend told me that she had fallen out with Jane because Jane had been seeing a married man. To be clear, I don’t know anything about this relationship. We don’t really have any contact and she certainly hasn’t broadcast it on Facebook. So I don’t know what happened, or if the man she is with now is that same man.

So here is where my feelings get complicated. I used to love this girl between the ages of 11-15. We were the best of friends. She had a slight deformity which made her the butt of many kids’ jokes. She never had a boyfriend- teenage boys can be cruel and they used to recoil at her mention. I learned that as she got older after we had gone out separate ways she slept around, had a lot of one night stands etc. She basically learned that crumbs were all she was ever worthy of, because she felt she was not pretty/good enough and started to confuse sex with love. She took it wherever she could get it. So it doesn’t surprise me that she got involved with a married man, I suspect there were probably others too. Also her dad was a notorious philanderer, and her parents had a very ugly breakup because of it.

Now I feel like I am defending her, or justifying her actions, which I’m not. But I can see how she ended up where she did, and it just makes me sad.

And hearing the latest news, just breaks my heart. Yet I know, that out there somewhere, there is a betrayed wife like me, battered and bruised, and probably delighted to hear that Jane has cancer & is unlikely to see her unborn child grow up. I can’t say I blame her.

If I heard that my OW had cancer, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I would say it was Karma, finally. Her husband left her for another woman. So what did she do? She tried to destroy my family to take it for herself, she wasn’t the least bit sorry, and she deserves every bad thing that happens to her. Is this Karma for my old friend? Maybe. It doesn’t make me feel good though.

I feel sad, and scared. Although we are no longer close, I have a boatload of great memories of our childhood friendship. I feel sad for her mother, whom I also knew well, who is now going to have to watch her only daughter go through this. I feel sad for a child that may have to grow up without a mother. I feel scared that I have reached an age where people the same age as me that I know and care about may get sick, and even die.

I just feel so, so sad.

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The Absence of Karma

Warning: This is not going to be pretty.

I am filled with…I’m not quite sure what? Feels a bit like anger, but not the way I usually feel it. A cross between anger, grief and desperation could be right. Perhaps I have just become numb to it now; after all this time feeling empty and hollow is my normal. When I do feel, it is almost always the negative emotions of anger, sadness and fear. It’s ugly, and I hate the joyless monster I have become.

I’m getting real sick of being right all the time. My intuition is so finely tuned that I’m actually beginning to wonder if I’m psychic! The Other Woman and her ‘new man’ (they got together a few months after my husband dropped her) are away on holiday this week. I had a thought a couple of days ago that maybe he would propose to her on this trip. Lo and behold! A picture of a shiny ring has appeared and she is sooooooo happy! And I am sat here, not shocked or suprised, but kind of…bereft.

“The Devil looks after his own”

That’s what my mother used to say. And I’m really beginning to believe that. Ever since this woman was cast aside by my husband, I have watched her rejoice as she found love with a new man, travelled to exotic places, welcomed three grandchildren, plan her daughters wedding (which is scheduled to take place this year on the 16th anniversary of my daughters death by the way), and now she has been proposed to and is going to live happily ever after in a relationship not tainted by betrayal. While I have had to painfully sift through the wreckage of 20yrs of destroyed marriage, try to stop myself from falling apart every single day, watched my beloved mother deteriorate and eventually die, sold my childhood home now my mother no longer needs it, I’ve lost friends because I have isolated myself and they don’t understand, lost my job, lost my dog, lost MYSELF, lost contact with my siblings, put 2 of my children in therapy- the same 2 children who are leaving to go to University this year, and I could go on. So many losses. It feels like the universe is actively rewarding her for trying to steal my husband from under my nose and take away my children’s father while I continue to be punished. For the way she spat venom at me, lied, cursed and blamed me for my husband’s choice to stray. For showing no remorse whatsoever for the damage she helped to cause to my marriage, my children, or to me. If she loved my husband, as she claimed at the time, how did she move on so easily? If it was so easy to let go of him then why didnt she just leave him be in the first place? I wanted her to pine for him forever, to suffer as I did, and to spend the rest of my life knowing that she tried her best to get him to leave me and it still wasnt good enough. To know that she lost the game to her competitor (me) who didn’t even know she was playing. I’m really struggling to accept that she has got everything she wanted after everything she’s done. I feel like I will forever be living in the shadow of what’s happened, and she has just washed her hands of any responsibility, with her reputation intact and her secret unknown and waltzed off into the sunset to live happily ever after.

I don’t want to become a bitter person, and I don’t want to wish ill on people, but I see no justice here. My husband and I are both paying the price while she has just gotten clean away with it. It’s killing me. I NEED to see justice.

The amount of times I have fantasised about destroying their relationship…it would be so easy to mail him a pair of panties so she would think he is cheating just so she would suffer, but that’s not fair on him. And that’s not ME! But I’m so tired of being the bigger person! I don’t want to deliver Karma, but it’s been 4 years now and I could cry tears of frustration. I just want to see her fall. I’m not proud to say that, I’m not proud of how I feel. It’s just another layer of shame to add to the pile for me.

The Tiredness

The other morning I woke early (something I NEVER do), my husband was still asleep beside me. I watched him sleeping peacefully for a while before I felt a familiar pang of jealousy followed by the sharp stab of resentment. I have never slept well since our children were born (our eldest is 21). My ears are always open listening out incase one of them needs me. They are long grown out of needing me in the night now and I am in bed before they are these days but my brain just won’t have it. I need a fan going all night to provide me with enough white noise to block out the little noises that rouse me from slumber. I struggle to fall asleep and often lie there for 2-3 hours before I get there, and sleep best in the morning when I need to be up. I have slept worse than ever in the four years since D-day and the sleep I do get is often plagued with nightmares.

Some nights, as I’m lying there awake, alone apart from my husband’s snoring at the side of me, I can really hate him. How easily he sleeps, like he doesn’t have a care in the world. How can he do that? Even in the midst of his affair, he fell asleep easily and slept well all night-how? How could he say goodnight to me on the phone and then lie in bed next to her 50+ times and go to sleep like it was fine and normal? How could he wake up the following day next to her and then text me good morning? After D-day, while I was awake most of the night being haunted by images of them together and trying to keep myself alive and sane when my world had imploded- what was he doing? Sleeping.

I struggle to understand it. How he can just switch everything off. I guess he’s extremely good at compartmentalising his life and that is not a comforting thought.

Even today, it’s still the first thing on my mind in the morning, and the last thing on my mind at night. It’s no longer crippling, and the time in between is much easier although I still have triggers. We’re doing great overall. I love this man so much. He is still doing the work, he still treats me like a Queen, and I believe he would do anything I needed him to. Often I don’t know what I need, but he is always on hand to help me figure it out. I am so proud of who he has become, but the fact that he had to destroy me in order to reach his rock bottom and turn himself around leaves a bitter aftertaste. I still struggle to forgive myself for staying with him, and it would be easier if betrayal wasn’t glorified all over the media, film & TV and if those who stayed with their unfaithful partners were not portrayed as weak or ‘less than’. Staying has been the hardest thing I have ever done, and it has definitely prolonged my agony. If I had left, I could have gotten over it by now and moved on. Staying has forced me to face up to it every single day, because HE is the biggest trigger of all.

The triggers still come thick and fast, they could be anything- a word, a name, a place, a TV show, a song. Any innocent conversation could set of a chain of connections in my mind that end up being a trigger. It can often be obscure, and while the triggers don’t floor me the way they used to…I’m just so…tired. I am tired of it always being there, lurking in the background and attacking me, often without warning. Exhausted in fact. I am so worn out from fighting these battles every single day. I don’t bother mentioning most of these triggers any more although I know he often notices me flinch. The realisation that this is not going away any time soon and that I may be dealing with this forever leaves me very heavy hearted. I am resentful for everything that has been taken from me; time, energy, peace of mind, self-esteem, confidence, trust. I am resentful for the things that have been left in their place; hate, bitterness, suspicion, cynicism, insecurity, anxiety, depression.

Maybe I just need more time. I can’t bear the thought of carrying this forever. Just the thought of it makes me want to lie down, go to sleep and never wake up. In the meantime, I guess I will have to keep on fighting.

Living the dream? Nightmares are dreams too you know…

This feels like a crisis post. I am struggling today and need to purge. I should start by saying that ‘our’ recovery is going well. I was finally in possession of the whole truth (as far as I can ever be certain) at 12 months post discovery. The first year was spent digging, digging, digging…working harder than the FBI as I tried to make sense of what had happened and I left no stone unturned. Admissions and confessions came slowly over that time, there were hundreds of lies, minimisations, half truths and omissions given over the course of the affair and in the aftermath of discovery. I was not willing to take any of them at face value and I painstakingly trawled through all of our bank statements, credit card statements, diaries, emails, and social media piecing together his every movement during the year of the affair. We spent most every night talking/crying/screaming as the details were slowly revealed. He was reluctant to tell the truth at first and would only tell it when I confronted him with the undisputable evidence I had uncovered. After a bit of counselling and encouragement, he began to open up. Once he stopped lying to himself and faced up to the truth of who he had become, he stopped lying to me. I made it quite clear that the only way I was going to stay around was if we dug out every little detail and cleansed the wound thoroughly. He needed to figure out what his underlying issues were and fix them so that this never happened again because I was not going to deal with anymore of his bullshit. The realisation that he was going to lose me if he didn’t sort himself out was his wakeup call. I had worshipped this man for so long, loved him far more than he deserved, put up with far more than I deserved and at the point of discovery I decided I’d had enough. We do this properly or not at all. He was scared he would lose me if he told me the truth. I told him he was definitely going to lose me if he DIDN’T tell me the truth, so make your choice. Despite his initial reluctance to come completely clean, credit where credit his due, he changed his behaviour overnight, mostly of his own accord and with no prompting from me. He gave me access to his emails, linking them up to my phone, installed a tracker so I could see where he was, checked in with me frequently every day, no more overnight trips and if he did have to be away overnight, he would take me with him. He comes to bed at the same time as me instead of staying up. He has looked after me every single day over the last 4 years. He cooks, cleans, helps out with the kids. I don’t ask him to, he just does it. I wake up every morning to a cup of tea in bed. He has worked so hard to be the man he wants to be, a better man. He is now engaged in our life in a way he wasn’t before, he has dealt with his issues and continues to do so, and has grown so much. He says he is not that man anymore, and never wants to be again. In many ways I feel incredibly lucky, I am proud of how far he has come, he is wonderful….now. I keep waiting for the mask to slip, because I don’t trust anyone or anything anymore, but so far so good. I love him, I adore him, but not blindly like I did before. I keep something back. He has noticed that I am more reserved in showing him love (we have always been very touchy/feely and affectionate- even during the affair!) , but is consistently patient with me and continues to hope that one day I will feel safe enough to return to him completely. I am not sure that will ever happen, I have been deeply traumatised by the whole thing. The scars run deep and even now I still struggle to accept it all. He knows the damage he has done to me, and I know it hurts him to see me struggle. Sometimes I still need to talk about it, and he is always supportive, has never once told me to ‘get over it’ or rolled his eyes or lost his patience with me. I never throw it in his face but if I am struggling or being triggered I am not going to hide my pain to make him more comfortable.

Today I am struggling because a) I am physically and mentally exhausted after a manic couple of days and b) I had bad dreams last night. I dreamed about HER. In my dream, I was good friends with her sister (which I am not in real life) and was round at her house visiting. A car pulled up and it was HER. I stood at the door as she got out of the car. I remember thinking her hair looked great (in real life she has really thin, limp hair with a massive forehead!). Her face contorted with hate when she realised that I was in her sisters house. I turned to her sister who was about to introduce us and said ‘Oh I know (HER), she had an affair with my husband!’ Her sister looked horrified and glared at (HER) who remained silent, not knowing what to say. ‘Oh yes,’  I continued. ‘It went on for almost a year didn’t it?’ I said to (HER). She smirked at me. ‘It was 2 actually’. I felt the rage building. ‘What??’ I asked. ‘It was 2 years!’ she retorted. At that point I lost it. ‘Are you fucking kidding me????’ I screamed, and lunged at her and started attacking her. At this point the anger I felt actually woke me up!! He was already gone to work by this point.

And I have been upset ever since. My first thought was that I was going to have to get all the evidence out again and see if I have missed something. What if it is true? I have told him that if I ever discover at any point in the future that he has lied to me about any of this, we are finished. End of, no arguments. There is always a lingering fear inside that something like this will happen. I am so scared of investing more of my precious life into another lie of a life.

He has texted me several times already to let me know he arrived, asking if I was okay and sent me some love hearts, but so far I have not responded. I guess we will have to talk about it tonight. I know it is not fair to punish him for what happened in a dream but I am so angry and hurt that this is something I am going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. Bad dreams are just part and parcel. He brought this into our lives through his selfish, thoughtless behaviour. Because he felt crap about himself and constantly needed everybody’s praise and he was flattered by the compliments and attention of a desperate divorcee. No thoughts for the damage he was doing to me, our children, our family, or even himself. Thinking only of his next ego boost. It still makes me sick that I am paying the price for his behaviour, that he was willing to sacrifice me to temporarily feel better about himself. I know he is not that man anymore but none of his efforts can erase or undo the damage. And besides, what if that man comes back one day??

Where to begin? My Husband cheated on me.

Let’s start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start!

When you read you begin with… ‘A, B, C’

When you cheat you begin with… ‘Me, Me, Me’

But seriously…

I don’t know where to begin telling this story. The beginning of the event is rarely the real beginning, as the seeds are usually sown many years before, as hindsight would reveal. I would need to go way, way back in order for any of it to make sense, although sense is not really a word that can be applied to much of the story.

I am reluctant to reveal too much, and I will explain why. My life, when looked at as a whole, has been rather eventful to say the least. So much so that you would probably raise your eyebrows and doubt the credibility of my story. It has been a struggle, littered with traumas and tragedies but at the same time I would hate to give the impression that there have never been any good points. There have been many and I am truly grateful. It’s just that sometimes, I look at my life, and I look at the lives of others, and I can’t help but ask ‘Why? Why me?’. I know it is futile to wonder, and harmful to compare, but that’s just human nature. The uniqueness of my story would make it very easy for someone to identify me, even if they only knew of me. I live in a small village, where everybody knows your business and while I am not particularly interested in village gossip, I really don’t want my kids to become the victim of it.

I want to share my story, I NEED to. But…I am unsure how to do so authentically in an anonymous way. I could omit some details, but that would obscure the bigger picture. I’ve even thought of writing it as fiction, but that would reach a bigger audience and almost certainly give me away!

Infidelity is a lonely, isolated place filled with anxiety and paranoia. While I’m sat here worrying about whether that mum with the two girls from down the street is going to stumble upon my blog and find out my secrets, I have to remind myself that if she is searching for infidelity blogs on the internet, she is likely going through the same thing herself. We assume we are alone, and that fills us with shame. What did we do wrong? What is wrong with us? Of course we are not alone, but people don’t talk about it. The mums at the school gates can seem like a den of vipers sometimes, as I have learned the hard way, and I have found bullying much more prevalent among the mums than the children. Fortunately my children have outgrown the village school and I don’t have to deal with the school gates anymore, but we still live among these people. While I figure out how best to tell the story I will just say this…

Four years ago, I discovered my husband was having an affair with a woman he worked with. You know, just typing that out has made my stomach flip and I can feel butterflies. I feel despondency creeping in again as I face the prospect that I just might never heal from it. But I digress…the affair had been going on for about 9-10 months but had probably been an emotional affair for 6 months longer.

TBC…