|Not so much fear vs. intuition as my two favourite cats! :)|
And suddenly I knew that my husband was having an affair with his assistant.
It hit me such clarity. I picked up the phone and told my friend at the other end that I believed my husband was cheating. "Tell me what you know," she said. I laid out my "evidence" which, frankly, didn't amount to much. Some dinners out under the auspices of deadlines that needed to be met. The contempt the assistant had for me, which included making it clear to me that "you won't be seeing much of your husband for the next while because we have so much work". My husband's skyrocketing anxiety. Not enough to convict a man.
My friend responded with "it doesn't look good".
I tried calling my husband. Over and over, I keyed in his number only to hear his voicemail.
The next morning, I reached him and told him what I "knew". He denied, then minimized, then fell apart when I refused to back down. The usual panicked dance of the cheater.
And then he came home and told me the truth. Well, the truth about her. The truth about the many, many others would come six months later when, again, after a lovely day spent with his family I suddenly knew that there was more to the story. At that point, I calmly took off my wedding ring, placed it between us and said to him: "You are going to tell me everything."
My intuition is one hell of a guide. So is yours. The problem, of course, is that so few of us pay attention to it. We've had a lifetime of being told to ignore it, override it, shut it the hell up for the sake of keeping the peace.
Following D-Day, our fear is in high-gear. We're living post-trauma, terrified of every potentially missed text, suspicious phone call, strange catch in our husband's voice. Clearly we missed signs of infidelity already and we pour over our past like forensic experts, analyzing the "evidence" we might have overlooked.
Fear vs. intuition? God help us.
He swears there's no more contact. He promises it was only that one time. He's full of remorse, begging you to believe him.
That's where our intuition often disappears behind the blind terror of taking a chance on a known cheater.
As the weeks pass, we remain vigilant. Why did he put his phone away so quickly? It's 6:10 and he said he'd be home by 6 so where is he? My texts are unanswered so what is he doing? Fear keeps us hyper-alert. But it also keeps our intuition dormant.
The thing with fear is that it come with panic. It comes with confusion. It floods our senses. Intuition on the other hand, is a quiet voice. It comes in stillness. It's a...knowing. Its companion is calm. Fear's companion is chaos. Fear screams. Intuition whispers.
It might help to do some homework:
•When in your life have you had a strong intuition about something that was true. How did it feel? Where did it show up in your body?
•What does fear feel like for you? When have you felt afraid? Where does it show up in your body?
As you navigate this post-betrayal road and find yourself wondering whether your husband is still cheating, cheating again or thinking of cheating, start by carving out some silence. Journal your thoughts, including what he's doing or not doing that's making your spidey senses tingle. If you have someone you can talk to (who will remain calm and not magnify the drama), then speak with her. Or bring your questions here for the club. Find yourself a therapist who can do some post-trauma work with you.
And then...speak with your husband. The only way you are ever going to rebuild a marriage is to be able to speak honestly and respectfully with each other. Does his response to your pain give you comfort? Or does it fuel your suspicion?
One day, about six months after D-Day 2, I was driving home from out of town when I felt like I "knew" my husband was cheating again. The "evidence" that led me to that conclusion was just a feeling I had but I felt certain.
I walked into the house, calmly told my husband to follow me to the bedroom where I told him, in a hissed whisper, I knew exactly what he was doing and I would NOT be made a fool. He was baffled. He insisted that nothing NOTHING was going on. His bewilderment made it clear to me that I was wrong. I was flooded with relief. I hadn't been guided by my intuition but by my fear.
So...my system isn't foolproof. Sometimes fear does a brilliant job of masquerading as intuition. And sometimes we need to go to great lengths to create the quiet necessary to discern the two. I'm glad that, instead of packing my bags that day, I chose to share my suspicion with my husband. I'm glad that I trusted the relief I felt. I had desperately needed his reassurance and it felt authentic and comforting to me.
I've learned through all this to pay closer attention to my intuition in every area of my life, from how to respond to someone asking me to volunteer my time to whether to ask my 17-year-old to show me what's in the backpack she's taking to a party (a beer, incidentally). My intuition always steers me right. My fear? It's the backseat driver that I'm learning to tune out.