Another Valentine’s Day to get through

I hurt.  My husband has been wonderful today, but there is an awful ache inside my heart and inside my head.  It’s not sharp like knives cutting me.  It’s a dull, relentless aching that bleeds over into everything.

It’s the second Valentine’s Day for us after D-day.  This one is easier because I’m not in that all-consuming pain anymore, but it’s still really hard.  I tried to find a nice card for my husband, but I couldn’t find any that still applied to us.  He’s not my faithful, loving husband.  We don’t share the love of a lifetime.  We cannot say that our love has only grown stronger with each passing year.  He forgot entirely that he loved me at all.  What romantic things can I say that would be truthful and meaningful?  I gave up looking for one and I made one myself.  I am pretty good at crafts and I had a bunch of supplies on hand, so it came out looking pretty good, if I say so myself.

It’s awkward for both of us.  My husband is so afraid of triggering me that he is afraid of saying or doing anything.  I am so afraid of being triggered that I avoid most romantic poems or books or movies or songs.  It’s a difficult day to get through.  So we’re doing things we can handle.  I made him heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.  He was so surprised.  He laughed halfway through them and said that it was funny, but they tasted better than regular pancakes for some reason.  He told me no restaurant anywhere could make better pancakes than me.  2 points for hubby.

He found a card for me which was sweet, but what he wrote in it was even better.  He said that he had done many foolish things in his life, but he now fully realizes that marrying me was NOT one of them.  He said he was absolutely sure that he had married the right woman, and he wished I could see into his heart to see how much he really loves me.  Make that one a 3-pointer.

He brought lunch to me.  I am a resource teacher and cannot leave campus for lunch, but my classroom is empty at lunchtime, so he bought me a beautiful spread for lunch.  2 more points.  I had some new prints framed for his office and gave them to him then.

He wants to eat at home tonight.  I don’t know what he’s cooking, but he wants to cook.  Wow.  He said he wants me to take care of getting the bath ready.  OK.  So I’ll light up the candles and put in the bath salts and afterwards I’ll give him a massage with some great new oils I found at a craft fair.  That’s pretty romantic without causing me any triggers.

I think we’re both doing pretty well with it this year.  Last year he bought me roses and a card and a beautiful necklace.  I didn’t do anything for him.  I just cried.  Yes, we’re doing much better.

But I still hurt.  I guess I’m grieving for what was and for the hurt of him falling in love with someone else.  How can he go from telling her that she was the one for the rest of his life, the one he would love forever, and that he couldn’t wait to start his life with her – to where we are now.  Now I am right one, the one he belongs with.  No, I guess it could be both ways… she is the love of his life that he will always long for, and I am the one that he has a family with and the ties that bind.  When push came to shove and he had to make a choice, he chose his family.  But he didn’t choose me.  He chose us.  I am just part of the package.

But anyway, here’s the poem I wrote in the card I made for the love of my life, my loving but unfaithful husband.  I am not a poet by any means, but it says what I want it to say without being false or misleading.

In our many years together

I always looked to you for comfort and security.

I still do.

In our many years together

I always looked to you for love and passion.

I still do.

In our many years together

I always looked to you as my partner in parenting and in life.

I still do.

A time came when I went hurtling down into Hell and still I looked to you

for comfort and security, for love and passion, for partnering in parenting and in life.

I never stopped.

And now, as I look ahead to the rest of my life, I want to continue to look to you for all these things.

I always will.

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16 thoughts on “Another Valentine’s Day to get through

  1. backonmyown says:

    That’s a beautiful poem. I’m sorry you’re going through such pain but am glad you can look back to last year and see the progress you’ve made. Time–the great healer. I still tell myself that regularly. Some things only time will heal. Sending you hugs from one teacher (retired) to another. xxx

    • Not Over It says:

      Thank you, Pat. Yes, it’s a difficult day, but my husband has been wonderful about the whole thing, and that has helped. I also had my granddaughter today, which helped even more.

      Teachers always seem to find one another, don’t we?

      Hugs to you, too… DJ

  2. Triggers are so hard.
    When X and I were healing after her first affair I was set off many times. Some I was able to work through. Others were more difficult. On some of those occasions, when she had no excuses but instead acted with remorse and sorrow and told me from the heart what she felt, the triggers often melted away.
    I know that I can look back on it now and say she was just lying to me. But that is also a part of my defense mechanism. My true belief is that at the time she meant those words of love. She forgot them before her first affair started. She forgot them again. It does not mean they were not true. She was vulnerable again and J took advantage of it again. Part of that blame falls to me, because I did not see. But…if I were to show you the words that she wrote me…then you would know they were true at the time too.

    One thing though DJ…he did choose you. AND he chose the family. They are separate and they are joined.
    Give him the faith and trust to be the man for you that you need him to be. Be open and demand open-ness. Triggers exposed and dealt with, albeit painful, are much less damaging than those buried ones that lead to resentment and historical revision.
    All you can do is trust and believe. When you hurt, tell him what you need. Tell the truth. Ask for the truth.
    If you both do this, then whatever comes of it will be the truth.
    Peace to you
    LFBA

  3. Not Over It says:

    As always, LFBA, here is wisdom from my wise old sage… thank you.

    DJ

  4. recover1day says:

    The poem written in your handmade card is beautiful! Healing is a long path. Please don’t under estimate how far you have come, nor question the hurt you still feel. There is no magic time frame to complete the journey, so long as we leave our hearts open to the process. I wish you the very best.

  5. Not Over It says:

    Recover1day,

    I like that – recover1day. Nice to meet you. Thank you for your kind words. It lifted me up today! I have been having some very deep and difficult correspondence with my coach about my marriage and needed a little cheering up.

    It sure is a long path to healing. I wish my husband understood that. He has come to some very good realizations, but this one still eludes him. I see you have a blog, too. I’ll come over and visit.

    Thank you!
    DJ

    • nmwf1 says:

      The poem was nice and meaningful. i myself did something ridiculous. I got an outfit from Frederic’s. yep high heels. thigh high hose, long black silk gloves, the works, his jaw dropped. I lost 40 lbs from stress. no consolation but it made me feel good to look better than the OW will ever look.(her pictures on face make me sick.) Then low and behold my husband got me a gigantic heart box of chocolate and instead of feeling good about it. I felt sick because he has never gotten me something for valentines day cause he really isn’t quite the mushy valentines kind of guy. (it makes me wonder though if he would have done something for valentines day for her if I hadn’t caught him.) One more thing to obsess about which is par for the course. All I could think about was he did that because of another woman. and guilt. really, how can I enjoy a gesture of love in that manner when it feels fake. just as fake as i felt dressing in the sexiest thing i could find.(Because YEP! jealousy i feel of another woman. I CANT WIN. God help me, Where the hells the Tylenol?

  6. Not Over It says:

    Hey NMWF1,

    This was your first Valentine’s Day after your D-day, so it was natural for both of you to not know how to deal with it. You both tried to do something nice for the other – that’s a positive thing. Good for you that you can wear sexy lingerie!

    Seems like your hubby just didn’t know what to do besides the traditonal heart box of chocolates. Not very original, and yes, guilt probably had something to do with it, but let’s give him points for trying. Your marriage has to be rebuilt from the foundation up, and that means that new traditions. Gifts on Valentine’s might be a good part of your new marriage!

    I know, I know – it seems fake. It did for me,too. The whole Valentine thing seemed contrived and awkward for both of us at different points in the day. But it was our second after D-day, and we knew we just had to do something. This time, he didn’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on gifts and I didn’t cry all day. We were both feeling our way through it, and we did it. Awkwardly, but we did it and we were both glad that we did. Next year will be better for you, too, if you decide to stay together.

    Infidelity is definitely a no-win situation and your husband probably never considered that when he put his sensibilities aside and did really stupid things. I struggle with that every day, too. I’m glad you wrote to tell me about your day so I know I’m not alone. My candle burns for all of us in our situation.

    Oh, and yes, I’ve never taken so much Exedrin in my whole life as I have in the last 16 months. Yep, Friday made 16 months. Another month away and a tiny little bit farther away from the trauma.

    DJ

  7. Your poem brought tears to my eyes. I am with you throughout everything you’re going through. As I lay in bed, in my in law’s home, jet lagged and couldn’t sleep, I think about some moments during that painful and rough times. It wasn’t easy but like you, things have lessened tremendously.

    Keep on writing my friend.

  8. Not Over It says:

    Hi Fighter!
    It means a lot to me that you still come here to read, even though you are moving on in your own life. I hope things are going well for you and your family. Thank you for writing!
    DJ

  9. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    Not Over It,
    I came across your blog last night (10/30/12) when I was reading the comments and responses to a post from “Rescuing My Marriage.” I’ve been reading your blog ever since and find it riveting!

    I am not a therapist or marriage “expert.” I’m just an African American grandma who wants to share something with you. Over the years I’ve observed that, in many (though certainly not all) cases, a cheating husband does not choose “us” (instead of only choosing his betrayed wife) unless “us” includes minor-aged children. Oftentimes, a cheating husband tells the OW that he will leave his marriage after his kids get a little older, graduate from high school, etc. He doesn’t want custody battles, being a part-time Daddy, a weekends-only “Disneyland Dad,” etc. On the other hand, when some (though not all) wayward husbands TRULY want to leave their wives, then having adult and nearly-adult children (as in your case) is often the perfect time that those husbands seize upon to leave. It is not only possible, but very PROBABLE that your husband chose “You,” as opposed to choosing “Us.” After everything you’ve read in his affair emails and everything you’ve learned since, this may be difficult for you to believe, Not Over It. However, you may discover, as your healing continues, that your husband—despite his having fallen in love with the OW during his affair—ultimately chose “You,” honestly and sincerely. Not “Us” but YOU!

    In 1981 my physically and mentally abusive cheating husband did not choose “me” OR “us.” After fathering an “other child” with one affair partner, he left me for yet another affair partner whom he later married. He left me pregnant with our third child (a girl), as well as our 2-years-old and 1-year-old sons. Having low self-esteem at that time in my life (and therefore not realizing that I was actually better off for him leaving), I was absolutely devastated and ASHAMED. (My parents were happily married for nearly forty years until my father died, and divorce made me feel like the “black sheep” of the family [no pun intended]).

    Despite all the negative things that had occurred in my marriage, I loved the ground my husband walked on, and I literally wanted to die after he abandoned us. I knew, however, that I had two baby sons and an unborn daughter to live for, and that fact was the ONLY thing at that time that kept me breathing. I worked full time as an administrative assistant and raised my kids. They are now 31, 33 and 34; all have attended college; my sons are married w/ children of their own; my daughter is an unmarried and childless businesswoman (“you go, girl!”); and all of them are successful. It wasn’t easy by a long shot, but with God’s grace those childrearing years were the very best times of my life! (BTW, my children’s father – my ex-husband – who left me for wife #2, is now with wife #4.)

    Keep on writing, Not Over It. Your blog is terrific!

    • Not Over It says:

      Hi Betrayal Survivor – my goodness, my story is a piece of cake compared to yours, and here you are now, living proof that we can make good things happen in our lives again. I feel indebted to you for sharing with me. I really needed it today. I was crying my eyes out just as my phone signaled a notification that I had received a comment. God’s perfect timing…

      I appreciate your perspective very much. Perhaps you are right. He chose me. But the other day when news about Superstorm Sandy took center stage, he was riveted to the screen. His OW lives in the path of the storm. His face tensed up and his breathing became shallow and he didn’t hear anything but the TV. Then he got a faraway look in his eyes and he turned away when he realized I was looking at him. He didn’t react so intensely when another hurricane threatened the place where his family lives. Am I overreacting? I don’t know.

      My coach often tells me that he is pulling for Daniel, my husband. He believes in Daniel; he just thinks that Daniel is carrying a lot of baggage from his childhood. Whatever the reason, the result is the same as far as our marriage is concerned. He cannot be consistent in showing me that he loves me, and he often acts like he doesn’t. But perhaps I am chasing after pie in the sky. I am thinking that perhaps I should stop looking for romance and true love. Maybe this is as good as it’s going to get, and maybe I’m too old and too gun-shy to ever try love again. He does intend to stay. I have always thought it was because he was just trying to make the best of things in doing the right thing.

      So I was crying at the loss of that dream… is it for the best? Is this the truth of the matter or am I off course? After two years I still struggle to figure out the truth.

      As you can see in my blog, I have sometimes been strong and sometimes been weak. I have sometimes floundered and lost my way. I have sometimes miraculously found the path and taken off like a road runner on it. I guess it’s all part of the process of healing.

      I will keep your words close to my heart as I continue walking this journey. Please continue to comment to me whenever you think I need to hear something. I know my coach thinks I’m darned stubborn sometimes…
      Lol.

      Love & prayers,
      DJ

      • betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

        Not Over It,
        Thank you for your reply. You’re a genuine sweetheart! I must, however, take exception to your “[Not Over It] story is a piece of cake compared to [Betrayal Survivor]” statement. There is no such thing as someone’s trauma being a “piece of cake” compared to someone else’s trauma! EVERYBODY’S life experiences are just as profound and life-altering as anyone else’s. Granted, compared to my nightmare of a former husband, your husband and you are people of quality (as I have gleaned from your blog), and you two have a marriage that is definitely worth fighting for and rebuilding!

        This doesn’t change the reality, however, that your husband committed the second most egregious betrayal of a spouse that is humanly possible. The first most egregious—the ULTIMATE—betrayal is when a cheating spouse physically murders (or orders the physical murder of) his/her betrayed spouse so that the cheating spouse can be with his/her affair partner without the “inconvenience” of a divorce. This may sound over-the-top but, tragically, this crime happens so ridiculously often that “Dateline,” “48 Hours,” “Investigation Discovery,” etc., can’t go a single week without reporting on yet another one of those “murder because of an affair” crimes! It makes me furious and sick to my stomach.

        The fact that your husband is not a cold-blooded physical murderer does NOT by any means minimize the egregiousness and devastating impact of his betrayal. Adultery is EMOTIONAL MURDER, and it kills the spirit and shatters the life of the betrayed spouse, whether PHYSICAL MURDER ever enters the equation or not. You have just as much right, Not Over It, to grieve the loss of your pre-affair marriage as any other betrayed spouse does, as your marriage is currently being rebuilt “one teardrop at a time.”

        I am sincerely glad that your husband “manned up” and didn’t abandon you and that he wants to remain in the marriage BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU. This, however, does NOT earn your husband a “blue ribbon,” as I’m sure you agree. The “blue ribbon award winners” are: husbands who NEVER cheat on their wives and wives who NEVER cheat on their husbands, and who choose instead to work with their spouses to correct any deficiencies within their marriages as opposed to choosing to find relief outside of their marriages. My father and mother (now both deceased) were among these “award winners,” and my love and respect for and admiration of them are limitless! It sometimes felt like “World War 2” in my childhood home when I was growing up, and sometimes it felt like “The Dead Zone.” Sometimes it felt like “Love Affair,” and sometimes it felt like “As Good As It Gets.” However, at ALL times it felt like my parents loved and believed in each other—even when they couldn’t stand the sight of each other sometimes. My parents taught my brother and me that adultery was unacceptable NO MATTER WHAT, and that “happy” marriages don’t just happen. They’re fought for and worked on every single day, year after year, for better AND for worse, in good times AND in bad, in health AND in sickness, FORSAKING ALL OTHERS! Faithful spouses (like you) know this already. Unfaithful spouses should learn this and not get snippy when someone tries to teach this to them. Preaching much? Well, my father was a church pastor. Go figure. ☺

        It sounds like you have a terrific online marriage coach in that Southern Gentleman from Tennessee. You deserve the very best, Not Over It. Keep on writing your blog, keep on fighting for your marriage (because your wayward husband sounds like an overall good guy despite his formerly being a cheating a**), and keep on allowing yourself to grieve and to heal in YOUR own way, and at YOUR pace, because that is YOUR right!

      • Not Over It says:

        You sound like Coach James! You really know about people and life. I very much appreciate the time you spend here with me. Hope all is well in your life right now…

        Love & prayers,
        DJ

  10. liberty830 says:

    DJ….just a ironic thought….The name of the storm is my H “friend”! I thought it was funny because she brought so much damage here too! I have not listened to the news because of it!

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