For an entire year it was a continual roller coaster. One day he’d be loving and sensitive to my pain; the next he would lash out at me and withdraw into the darkness of his personal torment. One day I’d be loving and sensitive to his pain; the next I would cry and cry and blog all day. Ha!
For that entire year, he couldn’t bring himself to help me in my pain. He talked about it and answered my questions initially, after reading a few articles and passages of books remarking on the importance of allowing the betrayed spouse to know as much as they needed to know. But after a couple of months, he said I should be “over it.” That infamous phrase! And I was so NOT OVER IT. That’s when I started this blog. It was February 2011.
I turned to an online marriage coach who was a lifeline for me through those dark times, and I made friends in our blogging world. What would I have done without you all? I am grateful.
My husband and I went through phases. At some points we were able to focus on our relationship. We are really so good together. We both love spending hours in bed, enjoying each other in wonderful ways. Whether it’s cuddling or massaging or making love, we love it. The first two will usually end up turning into the last one at some point. We took a massage class together a number of years ago and use the techniques we learned with each other. Great stuff. We are both athletic and enjoy working out. I love to watch him move. He has a style that looks both commanding and graceful, powerful and gentle. We love music and documentaries and home improvement projects. We are foodies and have a great system for cooking together and for entertaining. We love theater and movies and going out for frozen yogurt. We love hiking and bike riding and long walks at sunset. We love our children and always put time with them before any other leisure activity.
But it would never be long before somebody had a meltdown of some kind and we were back to square one. And then there was the problem of lies coming to the surface, untold truths that popped out of moving boxes and old receipts and contact lists… their song blaring in the neighbor’s garage… Each one sent me hurtling back to Day 1. I started thinking of it as a Go Back to Jail card. Oh, how many times I wanted to just lay down and die…
And then there were the little triggers… reminders in the form of alumni newsletters and forwarded emails from their mutual friends with both their names listed… love songs on the radio, plots of TV shows and even commercials… news stories about politicians…
He couldn’t call me Sweetheart or Darling or tell me he would love me always. Heck, he couldn’t even say he loved me at all without me thinking of how he said it to her every single damned day.
At these times, he always looked so resolute, like he was living out a life sentence by choosing me. He always denied it, but I often felt it. But then, around Christmas, he seemed different. He was really here with me, looking into my eyes to see me, not just to show he was paying attention. He was ardent and passionate and said he loved me with such a conviction that I felt it all the way down into my soul.
And then it was gone again.
We hit 15 months recently. Things were going along rather smoothly. Not without the emotional snags and flare-ups, but not a whirling cyclone, either. Neither of us was in constant pain anymore. We were lighter and freer than we had been in years. That passion, however, had not returned. He was again finding fault with every move I make, just like when he was in his affair.
That’s where we were when he left on his trip. Now he is writing and calling and posting so often I can’t believe it. When we Skyped yesterday, he looked into the camera and said he missed me. I felt it. He did. He does.
What does it all mean? I don’t know. Withdrawal from an addiction to his OW? To the feelings he had in the affair? For her? Guilt? Remorse? Shame? All of the above? Or was she really the love of his life, with whom he wishes he could spend the rest of his life? And then there are my own myriad emotions traipsing through my life – or maybe I should say stampeding through my life like a herd of elephants, destroying everything in their path.
No easy fix. No simple solution. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Trying not to fall backward, but often doing so anyway.
When does it all go away? It doesn’t. It is now a part of our history. A terrible black mark on a beautiful marriage. I’ve read that the average is 2-3 years before any kind of real lasting normalcy is achieved. Normal – but a new normal. There’s no turning back. Wow. It’s a long time away.