Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Share what this means to you...

"Don't let your struggle become your identity."


  1. It is easy, after dday, to label oneself as a victim. I work hard every day to find the pony in the pile of horse shit that has been dumped before me. The gift that I try to give myself daily, is the recognition that the affair does not define me, nor will I let it define us, as a couple. My husband is done with that way of life. He is sorry beyond words. He loves me. I love him. We are starting over with a new appreciation for each other.

    Do I struggle at times? Yes. But my goal is to focus on the positive, to give any passing thoughts about the affair only the tiniest amount of time and energy possible. In a way, it is my "fuck you" to the other woman, and as time goes on, I realize that it is also the healthiest path for me.

    1. I love your "pony" metaphor – made me laugh.

      I think you're absolutely right that by not giving the affair your attention, you're disempowering the Other Woman, while empowering yourself to move forward. It's that old adage: living well is the best revenge.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  2. If I delve too deeply into the injuries of adultery forums and places--despite how supportive they are, and the help, real help, they do offer, I find that I suddenly am wallowing in the Bad Things.

    Trying to have an open heart, for my self and my own healing (not just to forgive for forgiveness' sake) is so much healthier. On the days when I can think of my husband's dirty business and not burn with shame--why should *I* feel shame?? --it is a good day. Despite learning about the inevitable (it seems) more dirty business (just hat I call the whole sordid mess.)

    I realize that he really had what can charitably be described as a slow-motion nervous breakdown--it's as if I lived with a schizophrenic, and from friends with schizophrenic siblings i know that peeoe with serious mental illness do do things that are very hurtful to those who love and care for them. It just is.

    So while I don't absolve him of any of the moral or ethical weight of his choices--he knew he was solving his problems in a deeply harmful way--for him, for me, and our daughter too--I am learning not to feel like it defines who I am.

    He, in the end, will be the one who must spend his life knowing he brought a particular destructive evil into may life, and, moreover, into our beloved daughter's life. That is quite a burden. But it is most certainly not my burden, and for that I am grateful

    All of this begs the question of whether or not we will or can finally rebuild a life together. It's early days yet--we want to, but don't know if, basically, he can heal enough.

    A metaphor: the first house where we lived together, always a touchstone of memory for the good times, when our life was whole, 25 years ago...we drove past last nigh...and the entire back was ripped off and there were bulldozers in the yard. Apparently it is being rebuilt, bigger and fancier, but the facade will remain. Emblematic? Perhaps.

    All I could think was, "Oh, no wonder our life fell apart, 40 naples got torn halfway down...."

    But that's not me, it's a building.

    Strangely, he was crying but i was just curious.

  3. I don't know, it seems that I or my perception of who I and my husband are is forever changed. I know our relationship will never be the same. I will never be the same. But I think I am getting stronger for the struggle. So the struggle has to in a sense redefine me-- not all of me but at the least a small part of me. That's just fact.

    1. Hi Maddie,
      I think you've hit on a really key point. There's no question that any struggle, especially one so profound, changes us. It can make us stronger or weaker, more compassionate or more bitter and so on. The challenge of course is acknowledging the changes without living our lives as if we're no more than the sum of what's happened to us.
      We sometimes do this to other people. A friend, for example, lost his daughter to suicide. Some people can't allow him to be anything other than "that man whose daughter killed herself". They look at him with pity. And yet, he's living a full, rich life. He's woven that pain into his life, without letting it define him. He's so much more than someone who survived his daughter's suicide.
      So that, I think, is what we must aspire to. To allow the struggle's changes in us to exist...without the struggle itself defining us. We're not simply betrayed wives – we're mothers, sisters, friends, etc. able to bring our newfound strength and compassion (rather than, I hope, weakness and bitterness) to these other parts of our lives.


  4. Yes, Thank you. I couldn't 't agree more. while the struggle presently is a large part of my life right now, I remind myself only 3 mos post D day-it is not my entire life (though it may feel like that at times.) I understand it is a process I need to go through, and while the impact is indelible, it won't obliterate me or the better self who I aspire to be.

  5. Maddie...for 3 months post dday, you have a remarkable attitude. While it is hard to imagine that anything good could possibly come out of such a horrific and painful experience, it can bring out a strength and resilience that we never realized we possessed. I am so sorry that you are going through the hell that is infidelity. This I know for sure; it hurts like no other hurt that I have ever experienced and it takes time and lots of tender loving care to properly heal. But it is possible, and I truly believe we can come out of it with a new level of empathy and compassion. Much love to you.

    On a separate note, Elle, I would love for you to weigh in on the Petraeus affair scandal. Are there other betrayed wives out their like me that are sickened every time another one of these sordid situations is exposed? It seems that infidelity has become the rule instead of the exception. I would love to see a post on this subject if you think others would be interested...

  6. I would like that, too. Between the news and nearly every tv show or movie I watch, there is just no escape. Or else, I'm forced to hear a character say they would NEVER do that to their spouse and mean it, which hurts just as much. Although, of course, they're not real.... I was getting too obsessed with the Petraeus case so I have backed off. I was just surprised when the OW was married with children. Nothing really should surprise me anymore.

  7. i am late to the conversation but i am struggling to make this my credo. i am 1 year to DDay and i struggle just being nice to him. but i tell myself he picked me and not her when he ended it. however, my mind runs back to - well, he did pick her OVER you (and our daughters) for a time. that thought i need to work on eliminating. its the humiliation that i am trying to conquer. i am so embarrassed by the things he said about me, us and our marriage. i feel like i am an actor on a stage. but that i have no script and i make it up as i go along. so i think i look like a fool. my other credo is what you mentioned, "living well is the best revenge" i booked a week trip to Mexico for New Years. last New Years he went out without me and was fornicating with her while i fell asleep on the couch - dying inside because i knew what he was doing and feeling like shit about myself. i cant seem to win at silencing those voices. he says, to put it behind me and work on being normal. i think i am normal - if i wasn't normal i'd be in jail right now.

    1. Welcome blueseptember,
      It's not uncommong (nor abnormal) to be stuck in that horrible place where you can't quite believe this is your new reality.
      Getting into the "picked me" type of argument doesn't take into account that affairs, for the cheater, are rarely about choosing one over another. They're more like parallel realities, and most cheaters don't expect those realities will ever collide. At least that's their thinking when they start.You can drive yourself crazy going back to what life was like during the affair -- and re-evaluating every moment. In the end, you won't gain anything.
      It sounds as though your husband chose to end the affair. If you've chosen to stay with him and rebuild your marriage, you need to start from that point. But he needs to meet you there as well. It doesn't mean that you don't talk about what happened and, both of you, try to gain insight into why/how he let someone else into your marriage. But it does mean that you don't punish him repeatedly for what he did.
      But more than that, you don't punish yourself. You're not a fool. You're a woman worthy of love and loyalty. That he let you down doesn't change that. Sadly, people disappoint us in many ways. But you need to support yourself. And you don't support yourself by beating yourself up. What he said and did during his affair was the work of a madman. Don't let his insanity define you. It's incredibly painful when someone shares our private moments (good and bad) with someone else. But she's out of the picture. And hopefully your husband has learned some powerful lessons from his mistake. If he hasn't, then it's time to figure out why he deserves a second chance.
      If you believe him worthy of your love and loyalty, start from there and rebuild. If you don't, then as the Buddhists say the way out is through the door.
      In the meantime, the trip to Mexico sounds like a great idea. Have a margarita or two and make new memories. Don't create such huge expectations that you'll be disappointed. Just remind yourself each day, "I might not be where I want to be yet...but I'm also not where I was." You're moving forward into a new future with each day, each choice.
      One final thought: I know 1 year seems like an eternity but in the land of healing from betrayal, it's a mere blink. At one year, I was still an absolute mess. Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself time...and plenty of love and kindness.


  8. thanks Elle! I appreciate your kind words and advice! i really appreciate your blog!



Related Posts with Thumbnails