Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Place to Share Your Story

I'm a firm believer in the power of sharing our stories as a path toward healing. As long as that sharing takes place in an environment of mutual compassion. No matter our circumstances. No matter our choices.
So...I believe that environment exists on this site. I'm enormously proud of the community we've created and it fills me with a mother's joy when you comment on each other's posts and offer up empathy and, often, humor. There's HUGE power in that connection. Suddenly we're not alone in our pain. Suddenly there's someone who knows exactly how we feel. A virtual hand to hold. A virtual hug.
I've long wanted to find a way that each of you can connect with each other. I'm not quite there, mostly because my ability to navigate technology is more of a dis-ability. And partly because blogger, the platform I've used for this site, doesn't offer up much of an option. However, I've created a second page, which you can find by looking at the top of the Home page. There you'll see a tab marked "Join the Club...and Share Your Story." It's you invitation to do exactly that.
I hope you will. It'll take a while for people to find your story so don't take the initial lack of response personally. You've put it out there. And someone, somewhere is grateful to you for that. Including me.


10 comments:

  1. Dear Elle and girls of the club, it has been a long time since I've posted and for that I apologise but I know that just as an old friend is always at the end of the phone with loyal support, you gals and this wonderful resource will be there for me. Just a quick recap (forgive me in advance for meandering!) I'm Lucy, I'm 8 months post D-Day, my baby is 9 months old, my husband had a four month affair with a colleague in the police department which started when I was 25 weeks pregnant...I found out when my baby was 3 weeks old. Husband admitted affair and was utterly transparent and honest and sorry and devastated and wanted immediately to start MC. We did and spent 6 months trying to save our marriage.

    8 weeks ago I suggested a trial separation...my husband felt he genuinely did try to get us back on track throughout the counselling but I could "feel" he didn't love me anymore-it was palpable. I felt he was staying and trying to make it work for the sake of our girls and for our history. I surmised that his staying and keeping to the "for better or worse" would be his punishment for unleashing this trauma on us all. He never fought for me-he just seemed to accept whatever I wanted.

    One fraught, devastating conversation led to another and every conceivable emotion was experienced...I tried to ascertain whether the "trial" separation was just that and if so, how long would it last. I asked him to tell me exactly what he thought and felt...very tearful, he told me "I love you but I'm not in love with you...." my inner voice screamed "I knew it!" and I felt vindicated...then horrified, scared, sad, unsure of the next step and hopeful. Hopeful that maybe we could still make it work-that given time he could fall in love with me again, that our little family wouldn't be ruined. So there he was-all the power in his hands. He suggested a trial period of 6 months-I said j didn't think that would be helpful....no amount of counselling could help him not loving me. Crazily enough he never asked me if I loved him, he never seemed insecure about me and certainly didn't beg for another chance/forgiveness/a little time alone to sort out his head.

    I just knew it.

    The small shred of dignity I had left told me I couldn't compromise myself any further-I couldn't be with someone who didn't love me and who didnt pour every ounce of energy into helping himself, me and our little family overcome the affair and immense damage it caused.

    I wish I had a different story to tell-people are only learning now of the situation and are horrified and shocked-they cannot believe my husband became "that person"-me neither. Being completely honest, despite everything, I haven't totally given up on us. I'm just wondering if any of you can share stories of separation. I know not every story of separation will be negative and spell the end of the marriage and I guess in a way I'm looking for inspiration.

    I can honestly say I have worked really hard the last six months on trying to fix this-despite having a new baby and taking extra time off work and being prescribed anti depressants. I'm into my tenth week living in our family home with my girls but without my husband-it's an immensely sad situation....especially when my four year old says "I just miss my daddy". I have been the consummate happy and cool mom-spending lots of time baking, playing on swings and enjoying my little girls. My husband is a great dad and is so sad that he is not here every night for stories and bedtime.

    Im sorry for the very long post-I hope you are all doing well, keeping positive and finding joy in small things-I still do :-)

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    1. Lucy,
      You're such an amazing soul. And I'm so sorry that it hasn't worked out as you had hoped. Separation/divorce is never easy...but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. Hopefully the time will allow each of you to get clearer on what you really want for your future. Divorce is hard on kids...but two parents who always put the kids before any negative feelings toward each other will be the better for it. By that I don't mean staying together but having an amicable divorce if it comes to that.
      You sound incredibly strong and wise and, yes, sad. I think sadness is inevitable. So let yourself feel it. Let your kids feel it too. You don't always need to "play" them out of their negative feelings.
      I hope others with more experience will also weigh in.
      Keep us posted. We're rooting for you.

      Elle

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  2. Thank you Elle-that means so much to me, I have always found such support and good counsel from you and the other wives and the help has been immeasurable.

    I absolutely agree that children from (a so called) "broken home" but who have endless love and support from their parents will fare off way better then kids in a seemingly "normal" mom, dad and kids situation but whose parents unleash misery and hurt on each other every day. I know which home I'd rather be in. My family were blessed to have been brought up by a mom and dad who were, and still are to this day, best friends and madly in love. Were there challenging times? Absolutely! But they rode out the storms and we as adults realise now what a happy and unique relationship my parents share. I told my dad a long time ago that I wanted a marriage like his and my mom's....it was not to be but they have astounded me by offering the hand of friendship to my husband and forgave him for brutally breaking their only daughters heart. I doubt if I could be so understanding if the same was visited on either of my girls.

    Gonna try and ride out as many storms as I can, the coming months will be hard and of course there'll be anti-versaries to get through but time heals and as Winston Churchill once quoted "when you're going through hell, keep going"

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  3. I need help. Idont think I can do this. Nothing as ever hurt so much. I think about just not living this life every day but I have a beautiful 3 year old daughter who I can't imagine having to grow up with her mommy. I just can't do this. I love him I want to be with him but I can't. I can't live with him for the rest of my knowing he's capable of such a thing. Please I don't know what to do. I need help

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    1. Please know that we've all been there. I know that feeling of not believing that I'm up to handling the level of deep, deep pain. Of thinking that I simply can't feel it for another minute, hour, day, week.
      And, please, get yourself to a doctor and get some help (in the form of pharmaceuticals) to get you through the short term. I took anti-depressants for about a year and a half (despite the fact that I did NOT want to be on them) and I had a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication that I clung to like a security blanket.
      Betrayal is trauma. So it's no surprise that it affects us so deeply.
      Your daughter needs you to show her what it means to be a woman in this world. That when people knock you down, you find a way to get back up. That you (and she) are wonderful, deserving, loving people to whom bad things will occasionally happen. But those bad things don't define you. How you respond to them is what defines you.
      You CAN do this. You WILL do this. And when you're further through the pain, you'll reach out to others in pain and guide them along.
      Please don't hesitate to share your story here or find a friend or family member who can listen to you as you go through this. You need support and compassion, and you need to also give those things to yourself.
      Betrayal is described by many of us as the worst thing that's ever happened to us (and that includes some among us who've been raped). But we've learned from the experience that we're stronger than we thought we were. That we're smarter than we thought we were. You're all that too.

      Elle

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  4. My husband of 40 years had an sexual affair with his secretary of 17 years for almost one year. I worked in this office for many years and considered her a friend. She is also 12 year younger that he is. I found out quite by accident on our 40th anniversary about some kind of relationship they were having when I picked up his phone to bring up some pictures for him. There was an email from her!! I checked his phone constantly and he continue to send her emails. I didn't let him know that I knew anything until about 2 months later. This was devastating to me totally. He is not the person that would do this I thought. He is kind and considerate (or at least that is what I had always thought) Anyway, he admitted to an emotional affair with her, and I said that if he wants to be with her to go now...He said that he doesn't want to be with her, but she had left his office to work elsewhere and that after working with her for so many years that he really missed her... I believed what he said and did check his phone for several months and saw nothing to indicate that this relationship was continuing. He wanted to bring her back to his office 5 months later and I asked him if he was nuts!! I trusted him because I felt that I had to show some faith in him. I was constantly at the office. One day I came in and he didn't know that I was coming and there were other people with him, but there seemed to be some connection between the two of them that I felt. That was when I looked at everything I could find. Phone bills, phone emails etc. This emotional affair had become sexual only six weeks after I told him what I knew. I refused to let him know anything that I knew, as I wanted to be sure. I waited 3 months and knew everything that I need to know. I was devastated that someone I had loved for so long could do this do me. He said that he was sorry and ashamed and that he would tell her that it was over, but that he only wanted her sexually. I told him that she could no longer work with him or it would never end. I gave him a timeline and said that if she wasn't gone by then that we were done. I continued to monitor his phone and everything was fine for about 10 days and then they resumed their affair. I gave him many opportunites to be honest with me and tell me the truth but that never happened. I decided that when I told him that I knew it was still going on that I wanted a divorce. I did tell him that. After a short period of time I decided to try to save our marriage but didn't really think that it was possible. He said he really didn't think that he would get caught. I told him that if there problems with our relationship, the he should have told me. It has been six months since this last time he was with her. I cannot stop thinking about her and him together, whether only sexual or not does not matter to me. Actually, the lies hurted me more than his physical relationship with her. She continues to work with him and I know you are all saying IS SHE NUTS?? Probably. I never told anyone except our children at the very end. They were devastated as he was not the kind of person you would ever suspect to do this. I no longer go to his office or call there like I used to. I am still with him and we get along ok, more like siblings I think. I really feel nothing for him emotional. He is a good person in general and has always been well liked by everyone. I have told him this and I feel that we are both together for convenience sake only. We are both in our early sixties and enjoy our lifestyle. More and more though I think that I am crazy for not walking out the door. I know that if I were younger with young kids that I would not have tolerated his behavior. Somethings do change when you get older. I have told none of my friends because they would only judge him and since we are together that would be hard for everyone involved. Not sure what else to say. Just venting as I have never done that with anyone but my kids. Thanks for listening.

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    1. Anonymous,

      I'm so sorry for what you've been going through. Of course you need to vent. Betrayal can be so incredibly lonely. And I don't think it serves us that we keep our feelings so hidden.
      It sounds as if you'd like your marriage to be…well…a marriage. A true partnership. That simply isn't possible until this woman is well and truly out of your lives. I'm sorry that he "missed" her. But she poses a threat to his marriage. If he's interested in protecting that marriage, then she has to go. As long as she's there, providing distraction, then he's not fully in your marriage.
      What you decide you can live with is, of course, up to you. But just because you're not newlyweds, doesn't mean you have to settle for the relationship you have. Early sixties means you potentially have two or three decades in which to create a life that's fulfilling and interesting, and in which you feel valued and respected.
      Have you sought any counselling to help you deal with the fallout of his affair and his lying? I hope you will…and that you'll continue to explore where you go from here.

      Elle

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  5. Thank you Elle for your comments. I really appreciate your opinion. I am still struggling everyday with the thoughts of his affair with his secretary. He knows that I think about this all of the time, and that I am upset that Ican no longer go and work at his office. What I did not tell you is that my daughter works at his office also and has continued to work there with great difficulty. She asked him to get rid of her, as did my son. His reply is always the same "there are no good jobs out there for her". That may be true, but it is really just an excuse in my mind to keep her on. The daily contact with her is killing me. I think that I may be obsessing even more now about the whole situation. I am finding it very hard just to pull myself out of bed now. Before I was just angry!! I am fairly certain that he is not seeing her outside of the office and that he is not calling and texting her, but he spends more time with her at the office in a week than he does with me!. I truly, at the moment have very little feelings for him and have told him that I don't love him anymore. I feel that we are just going through the motions of living a very unhappy and boring life! I think that I am more afraid of being alone without him than alone with him!!!! He spends a lot of time alone with our grandchildren and they would be devastated if they knew any of this. They adore him and he always goes the extra mile with each and every one of them. Anyway my dilemma continues and life for me is quite sad because I don't have the courage to do what I really should do. He says he loves me and has no interest in her or anyone else, but it is very hard to believe after everything has happened.

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    1. If he loves you then he will do the difficult thing of letting her go. I'm assuming he can legally let her go (ie. he won't get sued for wrongful dismissal or anything). I can't believe he's chosen this OW over you, your son and your daughter. You've told him how painful it is to have her in your lives in this way. And yet, he refuses to do what he needs to do.
      Whether or not there are "good jobs" out there is total bullshit. She should have thought of that when she was considering cheating with her boss. That's the price of dishonesty.
      I'm really sorry about this. You obviously can't make him dismiss her. But, as you said, you can certainly move forward in your own life without someone who disrespects you this much trying to convince you that he "loves" you. He's being a coward.

      Elle

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    2. Elle: Just wanted to update you on how things are going in my life. Nothing has changed as far as my husband still keeping on his secretary. My daughter has since left her job with him and is working for him at her home with the things she is still able to do. He does not feel one bit bad, in my opinion that his own daughter has to leave a job that she really needs because of his selfishness. I said that I wanted him to get rid of her again, and he said that the only way he would do that is if retired from his job!!! I told him that he really must be nuts. I said what would happen if she quit her job. His reply was that he would have to hire someone else. So he would only retire if he had to do the hard job of firling her. Makes a lot of sense (not). I asked him for some kind of logical answer for his remark! He obviously cannot get rid of her because of his feelings for her. He also fears retribution on her part if he fires her and he feels she is an amazing worker( I don't really care) As of this past weekend I am fairly certain that she was with him again sexually. I think that I must really hate him or that I am certifiable to let him keep playing these games. He is always nice to and goes out of his way to be nice!!! I really do believe he would like to keep both of us. He lies to both of us I am sure!! Would you say that enough is enough and move on?? How do I do this?

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