At 15 months out

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.

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6 thoughts on “At 15 months out

  1. Morgan says:

    There are times when the new “normal” just isn’t what you hope it should be. Everything is skewed after an affair. Your mind will play tricks on you…one minute you’ll embrace the new normal and the next you’ll resent it. It’s just moving ahead…knowing there is garbage left in the wake when you do. The garbage needs to be dealt with and cleaned up, not left behind cause all it does is pile up. My hubby and I still struggled a lot 15 months out. It’ll be 2 years next week…and although the rip-roaring agony isn’t at the forefront of our minds, the dull ache remains, still.
    Our stories are so alike…except, you are living through what my husband has and I did what your husband did. I keep wondering when the triggers will go away for either one of us. Like you said–songs, a stupid commercial, even a magazine that has any of our names on it brings a sting to the heart.
    I’m hoping your husband gains some compassion for you–because “getting over it” just isn’t something that just happens after someone damages your soul and marriage. I’m witness to what I did to my husband and emotions are things that we tread lightly on these days. He can’t expect things to go smoothly if they’re addressed with a jab like telling you to get over it. Hoping for better days for you….

  2. DJ says:

    Thank you, Morgan. I appreciate your taking the time to write. I have been reading through your blog from the beginning, a few posts at a time. You’re so right – our stories are so similar. You and I are just in opposite roles.

    I know that it will be a long time before we can say it’s all in the past. It’s good to know that there are waywards like you who truly are committed to making it work.

  3. changedforever says:

    I always thought your story was the most like ‘mine’ i’d ever read. Now, after reading 15 months out…I can only tell you…its uncanny. Your likes as a couple are as we are or were…because what he can’t say to you my H cannot say to me. Its his trigger you could say…I am so much like you…glad you are still blogging…glad you are there.

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi CF,
      I am glad to be back. I have also noticed the similarities in our stories when reading your comments on EAJ. It’s good to have someone who understands. Thank you for taking the time to visit and to comment!

  4. Not over it either says:

    I’m at 4 years and am having more and more “normal” times. And the searing pain seems to be gone- more of a dull ache, and sometimes not even that. I don’t know if my timeline will make you feel better or worse, because at 15 months (and 18 months, 2 yrs. etc.) I kept hoping that I was almost done with the pain and I don’t know that I would have found it very comforting to hear that someone else was not completely healed after 4 years. But in the last year or so I went through a very dark time when I was convinced the pain would never end, and during that time I would have been encouraged to hear from someone else that the fact that it is taking a very, very long time to heal does not mean that it will never happen. For the first 2-3 years I continually hoped I was “just around the corner” from being free of the pain, but now I’ve accepted that the healing process is never going to become a linear path, and may never be completely finished. Now after 4 years I generally am waaaay better . . . but certain days still feel pretty damn bad. It took a long time for my husband to really own up to what he had done and stop minimizing or dismissing it, and I think that exponentially increased the time it has taken me to heal. Because every time he minimized what he had done, it was a new wound. But in the last few months, I really feel like a whole, sane, hopeful person most of the time, and that feels like a small miracle because for a while I thought I was irreparably broken.

    I’m sorry to ramble. I have talked to almost no one about my husband’s emotional affair during these four years, and it is a huge relief to share a few thoughts.

    Thank you for your blog. I only found it recently, but reading it has made me feel less alone.

    • Not Over It says:

      I love your blogging name – Not Over It Either! It’s good to “meet” you!

      I can hear the experience in your writing. It does sound daunting to hear that you still have bad days after 4 years. But I am totally convinced that the attitude and actions of the cheating spouse play a huge role in the recovery of the betrayed spouse, and yours took a long time to come to terms with what he did. I’m smiling as I write this, thinking of how you are not irreparably broken. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me.

      I am glad to have blogging friends to share with because I do not share with anyone else in my life. I would go crazy if not for my marriage coach and for my friends here.

      And now you are a friend, too. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

      DJ

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