Dear Elle, I. Am. So. Sorry. You've dealt with a lot of pain in your life...but nothing like this. You thought you'd found your safe place in the world. And I ache for you that you believe it's lost. It's not. But your world has changed. You're right about that part. Years from now you still won't believe absolutely that you can trust another person. But I've got good news for you. You will learn through this how to trust yourself. And that's a gift that I'm not sure you could have received any other way. The thing is you've spent your entire marriage trying to make him happy. To create a home that he wants to return to. To create a family that nourishes me. To be pretty. To be smart. To be fun and interesting and a perfect hostess and wife and friend and mother. And... And... And. And it didn't work, did it? All that work, all those compromises you were making even though he didn't know you were making them. All the words you swallowed. All the dreams you put aside. None of it made a bit of difference, did it? And do you want to know why? Cause you were fine all along without having to try so damn hard. You were enough. You still are. He didn't cheat because you haven't lost that last 10 pounds of baby weight. He didn't cheat because you aren't a gourmet cook. He didn't cheat because you prefer to read over watching his favorite shows. Or because you prefer jeans over tailored suits. He cheated because he was looking for something in himself that's been missing for a long time. And you couldn't give it to him. And she couldn't give it to him. And the other "she" couldn't either. And that's because none of us have it to give to him. It's something only he can give to himself. And it's approval. And it only ever really fills that hole when it comes from within. And that's the same lesson you need to learn. You don't need his approval. You never did. And even if he'd given it to you unequivocally (impossible for him because he couldn't even give it to himself), it wouldn't have mattered. Because you've never believed you were enough. Not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Not smart enough, or interesting enough, or anything enough. Just. Not. Enough. And so he sought that feeling in other women. And you sought it in him and in work and in toxic friendships and, too often, in alcohol. So while this betrayal by him might seem like yet another kick when you've had so many. It might feel as though your heart is shattered beyond repair. But when you begin to re-piece your life, you'll understand that this time it's truly going to be your life. On your terms. A life that's full with or without him in it. A life that's full because you're full. You. Alone. Are enough. Perhaps there are easier ways to learn that lesson. But this is the lesson you've been given. You are your own safe place in the world. Learn it well and you'll never have to learn it again. Enough.