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My husband and I went to Detroit for the weekend. We went to see the Raiders play. Although disappointed with their loss, we had a great time.

We stayed at a casino and arrived on Saturday. We gambled a bit but were losing so didn’t play long. We had an amazing dinner at the casino that we got dressed up for. We went to a bar before the game and met a guy from Brazil, which was a fun experience. We taught him how to tail-gate and play flip cup. We also had some of the greatest sex we’ve ever had. He took a 4 hour nap in the middle of the day. He NEVER naps! He’s still talking about how tired he is. He commented that the sex we had this weekend is what he’s always imagined it would be like. We’ve had some great sex in our time, especially last year during hysterical bonding. So I asked what was different. He said he felt that we were both uninhibited and vulnerable.

During the weekend I had triggers. I felt pain. But I stayed in the moment. I enjoyed what was happening right then and there. Its hard to balance the pain of what he did vs. what he’s doing today. I hate him of 2012-2014. I happen to find him of today very sexy. Appealing. Thoughtful. Caring. A more involved husband and father. Its hard not to compare him to his past self. To not think, why didn’t you do this before? But, in fairness, he could do the same to me. And that won’t get us anywhere. We are both in this marriage because we love each other. Because we both have said there is just something neither of us can walk away from. Because we believe we have what it takes to make it. We have learned SO much in this past year. I hate that he had an affair. I hate that she exists in my life and existed in his. I hate it with every fiber of my being. BUT I love myself more.

On the drive home, we stopped about half way and watched The Hunger Games. In the movie, Peeta struggles with the trauma of the abuse he suffered from Snow. He states he doesn’t know what’s real anymore. He starts to ask what’s real and what’s fake. In many ways, I’ve felt the same. Betrayal makes you question everything. You don’t know what to believe. Perhaps that’s the biggest tragedy of infidelity. The lasting feeling of not knowing what’s real. What to trust. Who to trust. The person you trusted most and vowed to never hurt you did. And they did it knowingly. The entered it voluntarily. They continued to hurt you and deceive you on a daily basis for however long their affair lasted. In most cases the only reason you know is because they got caught. They didn’t confess. This shit could still be going on if you didn’t stumble upon it. And now you’re supposed to take their word that they’ve told you the truth about their affair. Even when the details don’t add up? What do you believe? Who do you trust?

Its like my head, my heart and my gut are in conflict. My head sees the logic. My head understands how my husband got so low that he could make such horrible choices. My head can comprehend how she was nothing but a filler. Had they both not been so damaged, his affair wouldn’t have happened. Or at least not with her. It would have been with some other sad, pathetic girl that has no self worth. No sense of respect for herself or others. A girl that is ok with being a married man’s ego boost. But as much as he used her, she used him. They both got some need filled. My head gets it. I do believe if he was happy in our marriage -and more importantly with himself – his affair would not have happened. My  head knows that while she filled a need temporarily, he ultimately wants me. And always has.

My heart is shattered. It physically aches. My hearts says he destroyed everything. Its afraid to love again. Its afraid that we can’t be repaired. My  heart is sad. My heart is struggling to get over this pain. The betrayal. The lies. The choice to hurt me. The fact he cared so little about me that he could cheat on me. He was the one person who was supposed to protect me. Keep me safe. He promised on 9/2/00 to love, honor and cherish me. To forsake all others til death do us part.

My gut told me he was cheating. I confronted him and he denied it. So my heart, not wanting to break, allowed my head to believe it. When I found out about her, initially he told me they spoke on the phone and never saw each other again. So my heart, not wanting to break, tried to convince my head to accept this. I was not so willing to just believe him this time. After finding the email and confronting him, he “confessed” to seeing her in SFO and having sex. My heart wants my head to believe. To accept and move on. My gut says, hold on. My gut says, I was right before. You didn’t listen to me and what happened? My gut says there are so many other details that don’t add up. Don’t ignore those. There’s “evidence” of more betrayal and lies. My gut says he’s still lying about how involved he became with her. That he saw her more than just two times. That their relationship was more meaningful to him than what he’s said. Or is that my heart being afraid and sending a warning? Or my head seeing details and facts? Or truly my instinct kicking in?

The truly tragic part is that I don’t know what to listen to. I suppose peace and healing is finding a place that I can listen to all three. Find balance and harmony. All three are correct in many ways.

I know that’s its possible that he is still lying about the details of his affair. I know that he could be doing so because he wants our marriage to move forward. He wants us to heal. And if he tells me more, it will stall our healing. Or I may leave. I also know its possible that he’s been honest. I know that my hesitation to not trust him and his account of his affair is a proper response to betrayal. What’s real and what’s fake?

So I take it one day at a time. Sometimes, one breath at a time. What I know for sure to be real is healing is a conscious choice. One that I make repeatedly. Its not easy. Its painful. Its unfair. But its necessary. Its necessary because I love myself more than I hate his affair. And that is definitely real.