Betrayal is like a death, requiring the same amount of grief and pain and loss and work to recover from. Or maybe itís worse. Itís like a whole series of deaths, all at once. And each loss requires its own grief. So I started tallying up what I have lost:
My husband. My rock. My lover and my friend. That great guy I was so in love with, who I was going to grow old with. He was not perfect by any means, but he was funny and smart and stable and at the end of the day, he loved me and would always have my back. That guy, it turns out, was only a figment of my imagination. I miss him so much.
My marriage. Again, it was not perfect. It had flaws. But it was a warm, solid foundation for my life. Twenty three years of laughter and tears and work and companionship and lust and joy and sorrow and family and shared experience, all turned to ashes, burned to the ground because my selfish WH felt entitled to a sleazy A. Even if we stay together, that marriage is gone forever.
My home. My house used to be a safe haven, a place to retreat from the world. I had confidence that every person in it loved me and would protect me as fiercely as I protected them. Now it is haunted by the ghost of the OW I found my bed. I threw out the rug and the beds that they f*ed on. I reclaimed my bedroom with new paint and furniture and linens, things I love that WH doesnít. It helps a lot, but I still feel the loss of my safe place.
Trust. I miss being able to let my guard down sometimes. I miss the certainty of knowing that some people in my life were good and true and would never, ever hurt me. I will never feel that way again, about anyone. Semper vigilans.
Sex. It used to be effortless and fun, freeing and enjoyable. An expression of true love given and received. Now itís fraught with the baggage of the As: uncertainly about what it means and if itís real. Triggers and mind movies. Having to talk myself into it, or feeling used and sad afterward. And wondering Ė if I D and start over Ė will I ever find another partner, or will it be gone forever, like trust.
Myself. I am not the same person I used to be. Where is the funny, confident woman who made my friends laugh? The energetic, involved mom with the super-fun summer plans? The organized, conscientious counselor who went above and beyond for my needy students? The devoted daughter who called and visited regularly? Gone. JustÖgone. I despise who I am now: suspicious, vindictive, uncertain, defeated, weepy and angry. Always angry. I want that other me back again. I can only hope she has not abandoned me altogether.
What have you lost? Peace to all of us as we navigate this sorrow.
[This message edited by krsplat at 3:58 PM, July 28th (Monday)]
About me other things that I think were lost and cannot be recovered are:
Peace of mind - the clutter of the brain has spoiled the room for creative thinking, planning and dealing with complex issues, politics, etc.
Sancity - in ashes.
Honor - soiled.
Reputation - aborted.
Want to cherish - (cherish what? No thanks)
Desire to deep connection - afraid of what I will find.
End of life speach - forget it, the kids will get my full blessing and crowned in honor they deserve.
basically, these affairs short-circut my want and willingness to do or say or react to my wife in any way that otherwise is the reason couples stay together. Love notes, why? Little gifts (what gifts did they give?). The cute "I love you's", what did they say to each other, whatever she told him, I don't want to hear her say to me. The peace and joy of the LTR, seems for not....
Honestly, the post-affair life cannot be much more than trying to fall in love with someone you'd likely would never have given a chance if you knew what the potential was, i know I wouldn't have bothered.
F...K! I was SO IN LOVE WITH THAT WOMAN, now what?!?!?!?
"Cheating is so rampant it has become a sign of how mentally unwell and immature our society is".
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is all you have left"
Another one I'd add: My security.
My husband was supposed to be my biggest supporter and protector, building a life as a family. He's shattered that feeling of security that I had in my family, life, love, finances... And myself. I don't feel secure in my own skin, or head, anymore. Most of all, in my (rare) moments of happiness, I have the realization that it can be stolen at any given moment. There is no longer security in my happiness.
It's just not that simple.
Its like so much in my life that I enjoyed was a lie, built on false "truths" I was so sure of.
The biggest loss to me is that now I don't look at ANYTHING the same... nothing in life is free of the painful clouds of betrayal that never leave my mind. I'm not the same person and don't act the same.
Going from being blissfully newlywed and thinking my life was finally exactly where I wanted it to be to facing D and realizing the man I married never existed is so hard.
I wonder if the grieving will ever make anything better, if I will ever be able to look at anything in the world as I used to.
Met - early 2006
Started dating - 12/06/06
Moved in together - 02/2007
Engaged - 2/14/13
Married - 10/26/13
DDay - 4/24/14
(EA with, IMHO, an attempt to turn it into a PA. OW wasn't interested and told me)
It does. The one thing I learned from the death of my son is that if you do the work, and hang on long enough, the huge horrible thing you thought you could never live through becomes just one more chapter in your life, albeit a sad one.
I remember so clearly those months after the baby died, how much I wanted to die myself, how sure I was that I could not survive that much pain. 19 years later -- though it still pains me on the anniversary -- I can talk about it matter of factly. I have to trust that this betrayal will be the same, that I'll grieve and live and someday I will be OK again. You will too.