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??

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