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Dear Me,

My greatest hope is that you find peace. Happiness. Love. Within yourself. My hope is that you never attach your self worth to another human being again. That you know how amazing you are. That, even though it feels like you failed, you didn’t. That you know and remember that your husband’s actions don’t define you; his actions weren’t even about you. That his (or anyone else’s) inability to appreciate you doesn’t depreciate your value. I hope that no matter how you are treated by others, you know how amazing you are. You are beautiful, inside and out. You have a kind, loving heart. You get hurt and yet still find strength and grace to forgive. You pick yourself up and keep moving. You keep living. You provide humor to those around you despite feeling broken. You provide support to those around you, even though you can barely stand up yourself. You find courage to love others, while your heart is in a million pieces. You have morals, integrity and character. You have not lowered your standards or become a victim. You have stood up, in the face of the most devastating pain in your life, and accepted your shortcomings. You’ve taken responsibility for how you’ve done others wrong. Rather than crucify your husband for having an affair, you’ve tried to learn from the experience. You’ve tried to understand and empathize with his pain. You’ve tried to learn the root causes of why he made such ugly choices. You’ve tried to understand how he became so broken; how he became a stranger to you. You do all this while feeling devastated and broken yourself.

Some days feel impossible to move past the pain. The betrayal. The loss. You feel numb. You may even wish you were dead. You really don’t want to die, you just want the pain to stop. You want the impossible. You want for your husband to have made better choices. You want for your husband to have loved and respected you enough to have remained faithful. You wonder when you will look at him again and only see the man you love. Not the cheater. Not the liar. Not having all the uncertainty. Not having questions swirling in your mind all the time. Not wondering what else you don’t know. Not wondering what else he’s lied about or is still lying about.

In addition to the intense pain, his affair has caused you many doubts. You question who YOU are. What you stand for. You wonder if you are weak for considering reconciliation. You wonder if you are allowing him to disrespect you by staying. You wonder if he truly understands, or even cares, how close he came to losing you. That he still could lose you.  You wonder if he realizes that you are prepared to walk away if he chooses poorly again. You know you deserved better than you got. You even sometimes wonder if he’s worthy of you and your love. You wonder if he has what it takes to see this through. If your love has what it takes to truly heal and have the marriage you both hope for.

You found out about your husband’s affair not quite 8 months ago. For 8 months, you have gotten out of bed and lived your life every day with the heartbreaking knowledge that your husband was unfaithful. That your husband lied. Led a secret life for a year and a half. That your husband turned to another woman and had sex with her. That knowledge is enough to break someone. And while you feel broken, you are not. You have not given up on life. You continue to work and care for your daughter. You continue to grow as an individual. You continue to work on your marriage. You have conducted yourself in an admirable manner. While you’ve had many fantasies of hurting him and her the way they hurt you, you haven’t. You’ve not let them destroy who you are. You remain true to yourself. You are guarded, understandably,  but not completely closed off. You’ve remained vulnerable to a certain point. You’ve put your pride aside. You’ve looked for ways to make your life and this marriage better. You work to live in the present. You look for ways to grow from this experience. You  have changed from this experience. Mostly in good ways. You are more open and communicate better. You listen to understand.

Just know, the day of peace will come. You’ve faced pain and adversity in the past. And while that took a long time to get through – you finally did. You are no longer a teenager with no help. You are a grown, strong woman with the right help and tools to not only survive but thrive. You know its your choice. Its not easy or fair. But it is up to you. You get to choose how you live the rest of your life. You’ve already chosen to not be a victim. You’ve already chosen to not be bitter and resentful. You aren’t there yet. And that’s ok. You need time. You need to grieve. You need to learn to trust again. Believe in yourself and others again. Its ok that you have good days and bad. Its ok that you cry every now and then. Its ok that you still feel pain. Its ok that you “aren’t over it yet”. You are taking steps every single day. You are trying to balance a million different emotions at once. You are trying to accept that your life hasn’t turned out how you wanted. You are trying to accept that your husband didn’t turn out to be exactly who you thought he was, or at the very least is capable of things you didn’t think he was capable of. You are trying to accept that your husband had an affair. He chose himself over your marriage. You are trying to manage that pain and grieve the loss while simultaneously working on living more in the present. You are trying to allow him in your heart, when he’s the one who broke it. You are trying to allow intimacy in your relationship when you are in pain and think about him touching her while he’s touching you. You are working through alot of questions and doubts. You are afraid to open your heart. You are afraid of losing yourself again. Its understandable that you are moving slowly, cautiously, purposefully. You will make it. Just keep taking one small step every day.  You will get there. You can do this. You are worth it. You deserve this peace. This happiness. This love.

Know that you are a survivor and so much stronger than you think. Know that you are enough. You are not tarnished. You are not lacking in any way. You are unique. You are special. You are amazing. And you don’t need anyone else’s approval to be that way. You don’t even need their recognition. Know that no matter what happens to and in your marriage, you will find peace and  happiness. You will feel whole again. You will find these in yourself. There will come a day where you look back on this time without pain. You will think, wow I can’t believe I made it through. Hopefully you will see the lessons that needed learned. Hopefully you will have changed for the better. Hopefully your life will be so rich and fulfilling that you won’t give much thought at all to his affair. That you will be so busy living in the present that your past is just that. The past. Something that happened, you learned and moved on from. Something that no longer haunts you and brings pain.

I hope you see what an incredible mother you are. Your daughter is amazing. She is loved and valued. She feels safe and secure in her home. And that is a credit to you. The love you show her makes her feel safe to be herself. You not only tell her you love her, but you also show her. You prove it to her on a consistent basis. She tells you such sweet things at such a tender, young age.  She tells you she loves you, that you are very special to her. She’s said she loves you more than her blankie. And that is alot! She is affectionate and articulate about her feelings. She’s strong and independent. She’s learned that from you and the example you set for her. She’s watching you. You are her role model. You feel that you are failing her sometimes. In those times, just look at her and see how amazing she is. Know that you are a big part of who she is and why. You are not failing her!

Remember to surround yourself with people who love you. Who want the best for you. Who bring out the best in you. Remember to make time for yourself. To nurture yourself. Remember to have the courage to live the life you dream of. Remember to make time for fun and excitement in your life. Travel. See new things. Experience new things. Remember to look for the good in life and situations. Remember to laugh. Remember to live. Above all, remember to love yourself.