Its been awhile since I’ve posted. I wasn’t sure if I would ever post again, at least under this blog. I have made a commitment to myself to move forward. To stop reading about infidelity. To stop putting myself back there. Reading and blogging helped me for a long time. I needed it. It was my life line. I needed to bleed out all the pain. But, for me, it became time to do something else. His actions put me in pain. But I was making myself suffer. I needed to do something different, because what I was doing wasn’t getting me where I wanted to be. I have made some progress that I wanted to share. My hope is that it can help someone else on their path to healing.
I recently realized that most of my struggle is what his affair made me feel about myself. Yes, his actions were wrong. But ultimately its how I felt worthless, unloved, unattractive, disposable, stupid, weak, abandoned and a million other bad emotions that hurt so much. I also realized that I haven’t made peace with how I feel about myself for staying. I was the woman that was sure I’d leave if he ever cheated. I never thought I’d try and stay and work it out. I have learned that how you think you’d act and how you do aren’t always the same.
My biggest fear has been finding out more of the story. That I’ll learn they saw each other more than the two times he told me. That they had sex more than once. Or that they had contact after the email I saw that he says was their final contact. I do take some small comfort in them having sex only once, while drunk and high. I take some comfort in him making arrangements to see her only once after they met. I am not saying it was ok, but I know that it could have been a long term affair that was much more involved. I still have some fear that his affair was just that – more involved. Its not so much the details of the affair. The betrayal hurts no matter what. But if I find out more details, it means he’s still lying to me.
But here’s the revelation. It says nothing about me if he is lying. Or had sex with her 100 times. Or saw her 100 times. Or had more than one affair. Those are his actions to live with. Not mine. Yes, it would hurt like hell to discover any more betrayal. But his actions have nothing to do with my value. His actions actually have very little to do with me at all and everything to do with him. If he doesn’t value me, then I am capable of making the choice to leave.
My fear of finding out more details is really my fear of feeling stupid. Duped. Used. Naive. Weak. But in reality, I’m not any of those things. So what does staying say about me? I am a woman who chose grace, compassion and forgiveness. I am a woman who refuses to harbor anger and resentment. Doing so only hurts my soul. It poisons me. It doesn’t allow me to be my best. So I chose the freedom that forgiveness provides. Forgiveness doesn’t say what he did was acceptable. It says I am not going to allow his actions to control me or change me. Staying says alot about me. I am a woman who can see beyond her husband’s betrayal at all of the good within him.
I believe as humans we make mistakes. We make poor choices. We all have something in our lives that we wish we could go back and change. But its also painful experiences that allow us to learn, change and grow. As much as it hurts, his affair has had some positive changes. Changes that I honestly don’t know we would have made if something so life altering didn’t happen. I may have continued to live my life unsure of who I am, what I want and what I deserve. His affair forced me to look myself in the mirror and face some harsh truths about myself – and him. I became someone I didn’t know. Someone I didn’t like. I’m happier with myself than I was before his affair. I am more sure of my worth than before his affair. I’ve learned to be more vulnerable. Its also given me the strength to know that I can live without him. That even if I want him in my life I don’t need him to have a happy and fulfilled existence. I’ve learned to stop making him responsible for my happiness. I’ve learned to not take things personal and internalize other people’s behavior. Overall I have more realistic and healthy views of love and marriage. His affair still causes me great pain and will for some time to come. But his affair is just that – his. Its not my baggage or burden. The more I’ve realized this the more I’ve been able to let go.