I think I’m pretty good at giving people sound advice that is fairly impartial. I’ve been helping two co-workers with some personal things they are going through. I feel that I give appropriate advice on here. I actually talked to my therapist yesterday about how I give good advice. And that I need to follow my own advice. Its easy when your emotions aren’t the ones tied to the situation.
I follow Lessons From The End Of A Marriage. The other day she talked about how there are no shortcuts in life. One paragraph really stood out to me. She stated: “Set your intention. What are you trying to accomplish? Before you act, ask yourself if it helps you move towards your goal. If you misstep, don’t stop. Simply back up and try a new path.”
Simple. Yet powerful. I think a great lesson and reminder for us all. Not just in healing from betrayal. But life in general. When I get tempted to look up his AP online, I ask myself “What am I hoping to accomplish? How is this act helping me heal? Is it helping me or hurting me? Is it helping me heal or keeping me stuck?” When I’m tempted to ask questions about more specific details of the sex, I ask myself, “How will knowing help me? How will it hurt me?”.
We had a date night last night. It was pretty nice. We had a good dinner and good, open conversation. I told him my continued fears about not knowing the whole truth of his affair and how the one email I saw haunts me. I talked to my therapist about it too. While I haven’t accepted it all just yet, I am getting closer. I’m just starting to grasp that I’m trying to make sense of a situation that just doesn’t – and never will. I’m trying to take the very few concrete details I have and put them neatly into the puzzle so I can solve it. I’m trying to take the words that they typed and give them meaning. I’m trying to use logic in a situation that is illogical. He didn’t use his brain, obviously. So nothing he did or said makes sense. It was great to just let it out though. To talk about my emotions and fears and how I still have questions. And be met with honesty and openness and not defensiveness. No justification. He just listened. Validated my fears and was honest that he really doesn’t know what he was doing or who he became.
He told me that all he’s ever wanted and still wants is me. He said 9 out of 10 conversations were him asking her what he could do to get me to love him. I asked him why invite her to SFO then? He very honestly said he doesn’t know. He doesn’t have any good reason for it. I didn’t even ask why he had sex with her. I already know the answer. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t have any good reason for it. He told me before he wasn’t looking for sex or a relationship. Just a friend. Just someone he could talk to. And the lines got blurry. The lines got crossed. Its of no real consolation, but I suppose its something that they realized that what they were doing was wrong and “ended” things shortly after they had sex. It does support his story that he just wanted a friend. Of course, there is still a smidgen of doubt that what’s he told me is true. I have no way of truly knowing. I know that they were still friends on Facebook even when I found out about the affair. He did admit that they had contact for months after “ending” things. However, from what I understand the relationship was different, and the contact much less frequent.
I can see that my husband was in pain for many years. All he ever wanted was for me to let him in. And I didn’t. He acted out, he was crying for help. He definitely chose the worst possible way to act out. The worst possible way to cry for attention. I will give him credit for trying before giving up. He initiated marriage counseling for us. He tried to communicate with me. I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t ready to open up. It sucks that he chose to give up right when I was starting to gain momentum and started to allow myself to be more vulnerable. It sucks and really hurts that he slept with her shortly after me telling him about my abortion. It sucks and hurts that he chose to have an affair at all. That he didn’t just leave the marriage if he was that unhappy and felt that hopeless. I can understand empathize with him on what he felt after I told him about my abortion. I withheld information for 20 years. And while it happened before our marriage, it affected me and in turn our marriage. I’m sure he felt like our entire relationship was a lie. I’m sure he replayed our marriage and saw it differently. I know, because its what I’ve done since learning of his affair. I replay our lives from May 2013 when he met her until now. Over and over again. Words and actions took on new meaning. I look at pictures and wonder how he could be smiling with me when he was lying to me.
I saw a few quotes recently that have resonated with me. “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” I really focused on it. He didn’t attract her because he wanted her. He attracted her because he was lonely, broken and in serious need of attention. And so was she. Our therapist has said something similar. 1’s don’t attract 10’s. You have to be on a similar level in order to even notice each other in the first place. If she was a healthy person, she never would have responded to his contact. If he was in a healthy place, he never would have contacted her.
The other quote is “If I let you in, please don’t break anything.” This resonates with me because I’m so afraid to let him in. I was afraid and didn’t let him in before because of the abuse I experienced. Now I’m afraid because he’s the one who hurt me this time. More than I’ve ever been hurt before, including being beaten. I recently told him that I love him, but I’m afraid to love him. I know that we don’t have a chance at a happy future together if we aren’t vulnerable. If we don’t let each other in. If we don’t love each other and allow ourselves to be loved.
So where does this all lead? I know that in order to heal I need to move forward. I need to focus on today. Focus on what’s good right now. I need to “let go” of the past so that I can appreciate the here and now. So that I can feel loved.
It all takes time. Its a process of grief. There is no shortcut. You have to feel it. You have to take control of it. But you can make choices that help you attain your goal.
–Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you have ever been.