As requested, this post is about how my marriage and life are, now 11 months out.
First and foremost, I would say that as far as my life is concerned, I am completely different, yet some things are still the same. I share my feelings and emotions now versus the wall I had built before, the ironic wall that was to protect me from any hurt. My “I can handle anything on my own” attitude lay in pieces in the rubble from the wall. I need people. I need people to listen and understand when I’ve had a horrible day and nothing seems to be going right. I’ve come a long way in this respect, and yet I still have a ways to go. I’m still awful at expressing myself, over pretty much anything, and not getting emotional. Last night I had to speak at a school board meeting, and the minute the eyes were on me my voice was squeaky and cracking and red blotches were all over my neck. This always happens, I come across as an emotional wreck I’m sure. Came home and had 2 glasses of wine to shake my embarassment at how I’m sure I came across. I thought I was stronger now and could say anything to anyone, but I’ve still got to work on this one. Until then, perhaps wine before the speech and definitely a turtleneck – who cares if it’s 90 degrees right?
As far as my marriage is, well it is not the same marriage I had before. I think we have both healed a great deal. I was lucky in that I did not have to deal with the other woman still being alive and all, so in that respect it was much easier for me to have trust very quickly. I wasn’t worried that they were still communicating and didn’t feel that I needed to check up on him. I have the utmost respect for people that do have to deal with this, as I’m not sure I could have. But then again, you do things in this situation that you never thought you would, I never dreamed I would stay with someone who betrayed me either, yet here I am. In the beginning, I can honestly say that I was staying for the sake of my kids. I thought I owed them that and my intention was to stay in this marriage until they left for college. Perhaps I stayed in the comfort of all I had ever known because the uncertainty of the future scared the hell out of me – I was a coward. Now I stay because this is where I want to be. This is who I see myself growing old with and remembering the bittersweet memories of time when our marriage was struggling and appreciating the fact that we were able to make it back from the edge. There are still times when in my heart I get filled with anger, but more and more I am working on not letting the pain from the past manifest itself in the present. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m learning that forgiveness is freeing myself, not telling my husband or the other woman that I am ok with what they did. I will always feel wronged and betrayed but I have to chose to love in spite of those things. And, that is the biggest challenge in staying in a marriage after betrayal. I now chose to love my husband, in spite of his faults, and chose to love myself again, to be the person I want my kids to see and not the shell of person I was for so long. I smile more and laugh more and do things that bring me joy. And I think it’s easier to love a person that feels that way. And when the pain and depression rear their ugly head, I take a few moments to close my eyes and take some deep breaths and think about which way do I want to feel, happy or sad. Happiness is a choice, and some days it’s not the choice I make, but tomorrow is a new day.
As I come to the one year mark, if I had to pick one word to summarize this last year, I would pick “growth”. I feel that we both have grown and healed so much. Open wounds are now scars and though they sometimes itch, they don’t hurt nearly as bad. And mostly, I feel blest that we both saw clearly after the fog had lifted. We both wanted to have the marriage that we had hoped for, we were both willing to put forth the efforts to achieve that and we both clearly saw what we stood to lose . Doesn’t work very well when one person doesn’t see that. I don’t know how that happened for us, how we were able to make our way back to each other. I honestly don’t think we can claim too much credit for it, it’s one of those things in life that defies all reasonable explanations – perhaps a miracle.