There is this “thing” about being a betrayed spouse that I wish I could articulate and I just can’t find the words, it's so frustrating! It’s something I can’t describe and in a way it’s the most deeply painful part of the whole thing. I sometimes feel that if I could just get my head around it and find the words to actually express it, it would really help me in my healing. But I can't, I'm going to try to explain it as best I can here, because I NEED to get this out!
In a way it’s a sense of almost being divorced from my family. I feel like fWH and our daughters are all still a unit, and I am now somehow on the outside. It’s weird because HE should be on the outside, but he’s still the daughters' Dad, their relationship with him is still as it was. He wants us to be “normal” the girls want everything to be back-to-normal… I’m the one who can’t feel normal.
But it goes deeper than that: For me everything has changed, nothing can ever be normal again, there’s no going back.
The closest I can come to describing it is, it’s like I imagine it would feel to be told you’re adopted when you’re 27 years old. Only it's far worse because adoption was likely done with your best interests at heart, this wasn't!
All of a sudden this person who is the closest person in the world to you is not the person you thought they were. You can never look at your most hugely important relationship in the same way again, your entire relationship has done a great big “shift”, you feel alien, insecure and traumatised. You thought you had “this relationship”, when in fact you had “that relationship”. And worse still they knew about it all those years and you didn’t. So not only has your entire relationship changed forever, but your trust is gone with it. It’s mind-bending and profoundly disturbing.
So many of the books and well-meaning friends etc are inclined to not focus on this aspect of infidelity. They focus on the “surface stuff”… yes the betrayal, the humiliation, the actual act of infidelity, the lies to sneak around etc etc are deeply wounding, but I think over time I can get my head around all of that. It’s THIS part of it I am struggling with far more deeply.
My husband is not who I thought he was. My marriage is not what I thought it was. And because I have knit so much of myself into the fabric of this relationship over the last 28 years (since I was just 17 years old!) I have to also ask myself if I am who I thought I was? It is so scary. It's like the foundation of my life has cracked wide open.
People keep on saying to me "the affair has been over for 9 years, he's so sorry, it was a huge mistake, he has been a good husband for the last 8 years etc etc" Those people don't get THIS. They don't understand how DEEP infidelity goes. They just don't get it!