Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No safe place: Where to turn when dealing with his affair

My husband was my "safe place" – the person I thought I could most count on when the world knocked me down. I thought he'd be my soft place to land.
When I discovered his infidelity, that sense of safety evaporated and I was left frantically looking around for somewhere – anywhere – I could retreat to lick my wounds.
The world felt very unsafe to me. I found myself wondering who I could trust. Clearly, I figured, my judgement was flawed. 
So, until I thought I could make smart choices about who to trust, I trusted no-one. Least of all myself.
This decision, to keep everyone around me in the dark about what I was dealing with, forced me to wear a variety of masks. Particularly difficult for someone like me who tends to live life honestly and, as my mother often remarked, wear my heart on my sleeve.
I had my "mommy" mask, which I put on with my three children, aged at that time 3, 5 and 8. They knew something was up and I did admit that "Mommy and Daddy were working on making our marriage better and it was nothing they needed to worry about." Ha!
I had my work mask. When I found out, I was in the final stages of writing a book, which my publisher expected the following week. They received their manuscript, none the wiser for what was going on in my personal life.
I had my "parenting" mask, which I put on to get kids from school, attend my children's activities and when I was around other parents.
I also had my "daughter-in-law" mask for visiting my husband's mother, my "sister" mask for when I saw my brother and so on. 
To say I felt schizophrenic is an understatement. What's more, I felt like a total fraud.
Which is what makes this site such a sanity saver for me. Here, the mask comes off. I speak candidly and freely. I don't censor myself. 
But what's really amazing to me is that, with this outlet, I'm feeling less fractured and more whole than I have in years. The world doesn't need to know all about my private life...but I do need to have various outlets where I can express all the parts of me. Trying to silence one part simply leaves me screaming on the inside.
I hope you, too, can find solace and a voice here. Let yourself be heard.


  1. i too wear masks. I am 6 months in to this. i think i hate the masks worst of all, because one of my core values is authenticity

    1. Yes, yes, YES. That was also one of the hardest parts for me. It still is, frankly, and over time I've disclosed what happened to people I trust. I wonder if the day will come when I'm totally "out".

  2. Sounds silly but I wish no one knew. I wish I could hide behind masks. My husband's "mistake" was also illegal. And published in the town paper, as well as all of the neighborin town papers. So we had to tell our families and friends the truth before it got to them.. Because while yes it was illegal, it isn't as bad as the papers made it. Which puts my whole marriage issues on blast. Yay! Now every time I see or talk to some one they look at me with pity. Or they tell me I'm being so brave. And so strong. And I'm one of a kind for not leaving. And I want to tell them all that this is not bravery what I'm doing. It's what I promised to do. Just because he broke promises doesn't mean I will. Maybe it's stubbornness. I don't know. It's all so fresh.



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