I recently spotted a contest in a magazine. All I had to do was tell the story of when I knew my husband loved me...and I could win a trip to the Cayman Islands. It's January. In Canada. Cold. Grey. I could really use a trip to the Cayman Islands.
Problem is...I can't quite come up with a story of when I knew my husband loved me. I always thought he did...but in the cold light of betrayal, it's really, really hard to believe it. Harder still to expect others to believe it.
Reconciling our past, with our present and future is tricky after betrayal. While it may have been a one-night-stand or a long protracted affair complete with I-Love-Yous, we can never quite recall our history the same way.
For someone like me – who always saw the world in black and white – the tendency to rewrite my past, with my husband as villain and me as unsuspecting martyr, was strong. But did little to propel me forward toward healing.
The truth was always somewhere in the middle. Though my husband did love me, he was also resentful of me – and responded in pretty crappy ways. Which – no surprise! – is why I'm here.
For awhile, I couldn't even look at any photos taken before D-Day. They represented a fiction. Driving past the church where we were married was unthinkable. It only reminded me of pain, not promise.
And you won't find me looking through my wedding album. As far as I'm concerned, those photos belong to someone else. My wedding ring remains in a drawer and won't grace my ring finger again.
But I accept that was my past, as imperfect as it turned out to be. And I try hard to ensure it doesn't color my present. Today I'm building a future with my husband based on honesty. Today I'm mom to my three awesome kids who wouldn't exist if not for my imperfect past. Today I'm still not sure enough about "the moment" I knew my husband loved me enough to win a contest. What I am sure is that love is made up of many, many moments...
And that I won't be vacationing in the Cayman Islands anytime soon.