Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Stuck Between "Now" and "Not Yet"

I had never heard of Jen Hatmaker and remain somewhat mystified how she came to my attention but I think it was around the time her marriage was falling apart. I didn't recognize the name but I recognized the story. A couple everyone seemed to love – a public couple – was announcing divorce, shocking those who knew of them. Hatmaker herself issued a statement along the lines of being blindsided, not wanting this, pleading for privacy, and so on.

Ah, I thought to myself. He cheated. 

And though Hatmaker's language remains somewhat cagey, you, my dear readers, know as well as I do how to read between the lines. He cheated. Of course, he did.

But though I still don't know a lot about Jen Hatmaker and am not part of her cool Christian girl club (no disparagement – just not my scene), I've become quite fond of her as a public figure. For one thing, she's funny. She's honest about who she is. She's eloquent. And recently, she was on Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things podcast at which point she made reference to that stage – one we're all familiar with – of being caught between "now" and "not yet". 

"Now" is what's happening. It's the gut punch of D-Day. It's the sleeplessness, the churning anxiety of "what if he's still cheating? How will I know?", it's the mask we wear to work. It's the "how long will I feel like this?". 

"Not yet" is that water hole up ahead, the one that promises to quench our thirst, the one that keeps being just a few steps (a thousand steps!) beyond where we are right now. 

You'll reach "not yet", I promise you will. And I know how agonizing it is to feel stuck somewhere in between. Maybe the pain isn't quite so acute. Maybe you've decided to stay and it seems to be working. Maybe you've decided to leave and you're settling into this new reality. Maybe you're still figuring out your next right step. But you don't feel there yet. You don't feel like this is in the rear-view mirror. You haven't made it to "not yet". Not yet, anyway. 

Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your shattered heart. Stop periodically and check in with yourself. Am I where I want to be? Or, if that's impossible, am I where I can find a way to be my best self? Sometimes we can make the choice and sometimes that choice is forced onto us. But we can still honor ourselves. Jen Hatmaker makes that clear too. That we can make healing our focus and that, no matter how much we may have not chosen our new reality, we can center ourselves and keep our hearts soft and find joy in the world

Let those of us further ahead beckon you forward. Let us be the light that helps you see your way through. Though I'm not as active on this site as I was (when we get to "Not yet", infidelity becomes something that happened long ago), I do still read your comments. And I do hope this site remains a safe space for all of you to find community and the reassurance that though you might feel stuck right now, "not yet" is possible, indeed a promise, for all of us.

7 comments:

  1. My DDay was one week before my birthday and all in this month. I am glad I decided to "Google" when your husband cheats. At the time I thought am I seriously looking it up on the internet? What for? You already know what you need to know. But I did it anyway and found this site and your work and even ordered and read your encyclopedia for betrayed wives. This is his 3rd time! The first and 2nd happened within 2 months of each other so I chose (it was NOT EASY) to lump the 2 into one grand ole thing and tried my best to meet him halfway and salvage our then 7 year marriage. This was both of our 2nd marriage and I couldn't bare the shame of failing twice and I really really loved my husband...still do even as I type this. But even after some therapy lots of talking crying apologizing and promises to be a better man here we are just months prior to our 10th anniversary and I get the dreaded text from a woman saying "I just found out you are married to the man I've been seeing..." followed by screenshots of their conversations and photos of them traveling etc. We had just bought our first home- the affair actually began 10 days after closing. I honestly thought we had overcome so much and that this home was evidence of our hard work and sacrifice. For the next 5 months he would live this double life and literally bragged to our friends and family about our upcoming 10 year anniversary. While we don't have kids...we each brought bonus kids into this marriage. He is really close with both of mine. I am grateful they are now young adults but I am so sad over how this is going to impact them. I really feel stuck and lost and humiliated for believing he would never want to see that look of pain or hurt in my eyes again. I was wrong. His individual needs and stupid rationale have superceded all that hurt we went thru the first time. I am so disgusted. I had to type this out because I feel lonely and like I'm holding on to a dirty secret I cannot bring myself to share with anyone. All this to say, thank you for your presence here. I'm so sad to have to know this resource exists and at the same time it makes me feel the validation I needed. So thank you.

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    1. Unknown, Your letter is heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your pain. But please know this: The failure is not yours. The shame is not yours. The humiliation is not yours. You were a loyal, loving wife and chose to give a man a second chance to show you that he could be better. That he squandered, that he chose to take that second chance and betray you again is HIS failure – to be a decent man. His failure to deserve your love. If you haven't already, please get yourself a therapist to help you process this pain and get some perspective around HIS cheating. You did nothing wrong. As you heard (if you read my book!!), he didn't cheat because there's something wrong with you, he cheated because there's something wrong with him. But I know it hurts. And I know it's hard to see your children hurt. So...get help. Find a great therapist who can help you work through the shame and the all that yucky stuff so that you can hold your head high, proud of how you've conducted yourself through the worst pain.

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  2. I found this site the same way, googling late at night in pain feeling incredibly alone. The posts on this site were a lifeline for me so I post to say, you are not alone.

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  3. When I experienced betrayal, I was way too young and I wish I had this little piece of wise advice.
    Spend 15 mins every day to feel sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated and cry if needed. Then tell yourself to love yourself and promise to treat yourself better for the rest of 24 hours, even with your broken heart.
    Stay away from pop songs, it's easy to relate the lyrics to your feeling and situation when you are cheated. However, those words doesn't help you moving on to see a better picture, but only put you in the trap of sadness and helplessness. If you really need pop songs, listen to it in those 15 minutes only.
    At the end, I gave up on pop songs, listening to pure music has given me space to calm down, heal and move on. Over time, you will move from now to feel better, this is something I can promise despite the person you love cheated on you. I love this blog, let's find more solutions to help each other!

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    Replies
    1. This is such great advice. The 15 minutes. I feel like I think about it all day. When I’m driving, when I’m cooking. When I’m folding laundry. I need to limit it as much as I can because it’s been ruining every day for me. I want it to stop.

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  4. My husband cheated on me one time with a stripper he met at a strip club the DAY (not night) before. He met her at a hotel room while I was with his mother and children. I am a stepmom and love these kids so much. If I leave, I would not be what they need me to me. This pain is so unbearable though

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  5. It’s 5am in the morning and I’m desperately searching the internet to make sense of all of this. I stumbled across this site and this post was exactly what I needed to read right now. This is where I am.. stuck in the “not yet”. I lie here wondering when do the emotions settle and stop overtaking my mind so I can truly know how I feel about it all. My partner and I have already agreed to seek help and try and work through it because we love each other. But how do I get to a point where I trust him again, will I ever trust him again? That’s ultimately the most hurtful, most heartbreaking part of it all - that this man who I loved so much, who I thought incapable of such thing would do this to me. I lie here beside my ten month old son and he’s the one shining light pulling me out of the despair and getting me through this.

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