Well, here I am just about 9 weeks from the anniversary of D-day. Technically it might better be called C-day. Confrontation Day, since I’d known there was affair activity going on for quite some time and that it was one of many times we have faced this problem. For me it was the day I had finally caught him in a position he couldn’t back out of, couldn’t play me off as crazy and paranoid or himself as the victim being wrongly accused. The day that no matter how much he tried to lie his way out of it, I knew I’d amassed enough information and enough trail that he simply could not run from it. Having him proposition me on line without knowing it was me, was painful and a bit sickening to experience. But was necessary to finally blow the lid on the lie we were calling our life.
10 months into recovery So, at nearly a year in the recovery process I think that I need to take a look at how I feel at this point and how healing is coming along. First I should note that writing this blog has become much more complicated in the past few months as my wayward partner now knows it exists, and I have on occasion shared some postings with him. Now I try to find a way to process my feelings and work through my emotions while also being keenly aware that he can and may read what I write.
My reasoning for choosing to share has many sides.
He became aware of my blog page by clicking on one of the history items when using my computer.
I wanted to share a post with him by another blogger and while I had been honest about my blogging I wasn’t aware yet that he knew my blogging name so I assumed sharing the link was relatively safe to do.
I really have no desire to hide things. I’d have preferred a longer period of privacy to express my emotions and fight through the pain without feeling the need to always protect his feelings but at the same time I somehow felt that if I were sharing all the things he has done and all the pain he has created that it might be unfair to do so without allowing him to know what was being shared. I think he’s a bit shocked about the degree to which I have shared his activities and yet possibly relieved I haven’t gone into every detail that would reveal who he is. Reading it in black and white and knowing strangers might shake their heads in disbelief that a woman stays with a man who’s done so many deceitful things has got to be unsettling for the simple reason that it’s out there in its rawest most naked form. I’ve simply stated what happened and in doing so he doesn’t have a chance to plead his side of the story to the readers. For someone who for years has made manipulation a fine art, it has to be difficult to accept that people can read and pass judgment on what he’s done based only on the knowledge of what he’s done and without the benefit of the excuses that justified his actions or his many double lives. I don’t think he wants to defend it. I think even for him, the excuses have crumbled and he sees it for what it really is. But that can’t make it any easier, even under the cloak of anonymity to know that others are reading such intimate details of your mistakes. Just as I struggle over revealing my weaknesses here I can imagine he might struggle with my revealing his heartlessness. I guess to continue writing about it, I felt I owed him the right to know that it’s been shared. Even though no one will ever remember it or know who we are years from now. I also felt that somehow it keeps me honest. It makes me avoid the temptation to present him as the worlds cruelest most selfish psychopath and to present myself as holier than thou. If he can read it, I am conscious of the importance of both sides and of communicating our story as accurately as possible.
And lastly, I share it with him out of desperation. He rarely reads it. He doesn’t like to and I can understand that. It makes him uncomfortable and it confuses him. He has a hard time processing my anger and my hurt which I rarely express from day to day as I maintain my typical “hold it all together” persona. He’s not use to these emotions. Not sure how to console or help someone who is normally the consoler and comforter. And perhaps not privy to the complexity of me since I’ve always tried to keep it simple and uncomplicated. For him it’s always a brick wall to read my blog. He says “I thought we were doing great and then I read your blog and we are nowhere near where I thought we were.” He often misinterprets what I write and is still unable to wear my shoes or try to experience this chaos from my heart instead of through his mind. He refuses to bring up the whole affair recovery. Our agreement to touch base at least once a week, lasted well…..one week. lol The only time we discuss it is when I bring it up. So, because I want him to understand, want him to learn who I am and how this has affected me and want him to own his role in healing, sharing the blog or at least giving him my permission to read it is a last desperate attempt for him to know the things I’m experiencing and feeling since we seem incapable of addressing it head on.
In some ways it’s helped. It allows him to distance himself from the emotions a bit and read my thoughts as though he’s reading a book or an article. He can then try to imagine what the characters feel instead of focusing on how I, his real life partner feels. He can be more objective, up to a point. He comments that sometimes it is surreal for him to read and know these are my thoughts and to see that I am both so emotionally saturated in this and yet also so detached from it as I research and process information about infidelity.
But objectivity often gives way to his frustration or disappointment as he goes back to his tendency to focus on himself and how he is affected and finds ways to turn my hurt and my struggle into being less important than his own discomfort or about my lack of progress. I suppose in that regard it’s a good thing that he avoids the blog most of the time and yet there is part of me that wishes he could find a way to process it. That he was actually learning something about me and others who are going through this process and actually reading the links I post in an effort to expand his awareness, grow his empathy, and accept that he has far more work to do than he is ready to admit.
So, with all that said, it’s definitely awkward and a lot more vulnerable now to open my soul wide open and talk about the things going on in my mind and the emotions I experience. Especially since the angry side of me is determined not to show him my weakness or vulnerability. While ironically my blog reveals nothing more so than it does my weaknesses. As another blogger (a wayward male) reveals through his comments from time to time, the process of recovery is one that waywards are often not comfortable watching or hearing. They prefer for us to keep it inside. They need to feel our determination toward healing and they need to believe that we’re still in one piece rather than damaged or cracked and that our forgiveness, however much they may appreciate it, comes at no visibly ugly price. I don’t condemn him or my own wayward for those feelings. It’s human nature to want things to be smooth and easy and uncomplicated. I get it. But the real truth is that healing isn’t pretty all the time and if I or any other betrayed spouse has to be pretty to make it more comfortable for our partners……. Well, that’s just a whole lot of extra baggage slowing down the healing and a possible train wreck waiting for derailment somewhere down the line. I know this because I’ve been there before. I’ve traveled the pretty route. The swallow hard and smile, reach out and forgive and never ever bring it up. The I understand and I don’t blame you for your mistakes approach. The only thing that got me was rounds two, three, four, and so on. Now granted, I’m not doing a hell of a lot better this time around if I won’t even force the issue enough that we have to talk about it in person and have to hope that he might learn something on my blog. There is only one difference between those times and this time. This time I am determined to work through the emotions rather than bury them for his convenience and also to face the reality of who he is whether he shares it with me honestly or I have to continue to dig it out bone by bone myself. This time I am determined that whatever the outcome of this process or his willingness to step up, that I will not go back again. We either find our way forward through this or we find our separate ways but I can’t settle for this limbo forever. I won’t accept a lateral move and I sure as hell will not go backward to living with lies again. It’s forward or nothing and so to date, nearly one year along, I’m treading water while I still wait for him to understand that.
Benchmarking against the 2 year average
Statistically researchers say it takes approximately two years to heal from betrayal and move forward. When I look at that I feel relief. Hey, I’m only half way there. It’s ok that I’m not fully healed, that I still have pain and doubt and questions and anger. I still have time. I’m not a total failure at healing. At least not yet!
I also feel discouraged. Do I want to face another year of this? Will it take another full year? Will it take longer? Have I come far enough in a year to justify another one? I don’t know the answers. My partner likes to ask me if I am having such a hard time with this then why do I stay and put myself through it? He doesn’t understand why we still proceed normally with our lives, still make purchases, investments etc. if I’m still uncertain of the future. It’s just one of the many things he doesn’t get. About recovery, about what he’s done, about who I am.
Forgiveness as a choice
Forgiveness, like Love, is a choice you make. Just because you choose to work toward forgiveness and rebuilding doesn’t mean that the pain or the questions are going to evaporate over night. There’s no guarantee that love will turn out the way you hope or endure the highs and lows of life, and yet if you don’t make a conscious commitment to love then you might as well accept that it’s over before it begins. You have to love with the mindset that you’ll make it through. Otherwise you leave yourself vulnerable to the very human tendency to bail as soon as things get rough. Forgiveness is the same way. You have to try to live each day as though the future your working for will come. It’s the commitment to that future, that successful outcome that opens the door for forgiveness to enter inch by inch, day by day, until it takes up residence in your heart full time. While we will never forget what has happened we have to live with the presumption that our partners will prove themselves and that healing will come with time. We are aware that it could fail. That we could be hurt again, That there may be more lies both told and untold . We are keenly conscious of whether our spouses and lovers are helping us or impeding us in this challenge of releasing the past and reinventing our future. But, if we dwell on the possibility of failure, then it is certain to materialize.
Our different approaches
He’s never had to make that kind of commitment to forgiving someone else. In his mind it seems to be either black or white. You have forgiven or you haven’t. You either accept something or you just walk away from something. Committing to something uncertain, to a future that you know you might not ever reach is a strange concept for him. Just as the concept of making a conscious commitment to love me was. For him it was all or nothing. Either it’s perfect or bad. The concept of making sacrifices, enduring tough relationship phases, giving all of yourself to another person out of sheer commitment to building something together was one he couldn’t grasp. He wanted it to just be there. Just appear in perfect form. Every bump in the road was an excuse for more selfish behavior. Proof in his mind that commitment was worthless. An easy reason to pursue total self indulgence and the needy entitlement of perfection. It never occurred to him that instead of finding every flaw and every obstacle possible, to simply make a commitment to love me and create our future. He had to be certain of a perfect end result first and in living his life that way he sabotaged everything we had and everything we could be. There is nothing currently that is untainted between us. In some ways he is still very unaware of this aspect of commitment. It’s as though he waits for me to fully forgive him and be healed and THEN we will get to proceed with our lives. He waits for that day. He’s 100% passive in the fight for our survival. Leaving it to me. He doesn’t realize that he needs to rise to the challenges of repairing his damage and demonstratively live his life through a commitment to something uncertain. The concept that we can build our tomorrows, today, without having any guarantees or that we can heal even while black with soot while sifting in the ashes, just hasn’t sunk in yet. Healing is messy. It’s ugly. He still wants for it to be pretty.
The skeleton named Julie
A year into the process I still search for the truth. Still try to understand what happened so I can begin to reconcile it, purge it. Since we don’t talk about our recovery and he won’t share the details of his past I continue to un-earth the hidden history. My most recent skeleton goes by the name of Julie. Once again the irony burns deep as one of his mystery women match a name already in my life of friends or family. In this case I have no idea who Julie is yet. Only that there has been activity between them in the past and that she is associated with Robin, another past affair partner. Was this some kind of threesome? Where they discovered by someone else thus bringing their group activities to a halt? Did it get too complicated for him? Was it a one night fling? I doubt it. Were they separate chance affairs? The fact that she is associated with another supposed one night stand and has been since at least 2009 tells me that the likely hood he stumbled on each of them separately and just happened to sleep with them both without knowing they even knew each other… is about as likely as ice in hell. Why has he failed to name her when he swears he has given the names of all the sexual partners? Likely because this kind of activity was more common than he wants to admit to. Bad enough to admit multiple one night and short term affairs. Even worse to have to reveal that in a lot of cases it was even more than that. Which may explain his preoccupation with denying that he’s ever fantasized about being with two women and his claim that it would be more distracting than fulfilling. Apparently he has been there, done that and perhaps feels the need to divert me away from that trail!! Needless to say the accidental discovery that these two are connected in real life has sent me reeling again. The very fact that he obviously still hides secrets is enough to make me want to give up . Waiting for his time to run out, hoping he’s eventually going to come clean is starting to wear on me. Little things like needing to shut down his Facebook page, keeping his phone on silence, (small progress that he at least brings it in the house occasionally instead of leaving it in his vehicle) or renewing via download his antivirus program when he has so far led me to believe he has no internet access at all when one or two nights per week he’s at his apartment. I’m not saying he is doing anything wrong on Facebook, or on his phone or even on line. I’m saying that if he feels he has to sensor information and maintain privacy then he has the POTENTIAL for doing the wrong thing again. It has historically been two things that have led him astray in life, his sense of entitlement for whatever he wants in the moment and his overwhelming need to lie to the people around him. The bottom line here is not that I think he’s doing something, it’s that I have absolutely no basis on which to trust that he will not do something again. In this regard, it seems more and more like a continued need for secrecy and filtering, privacy and manipulating the image of himself he is willing to share . I’m left to wonder if he learned anything. It makes me feel as though nothing has changed. I think he intended for change but I also think that part of him is waiting me out. Too afraid to face the whole scope of it. Waiting for it to dull down and pass over so that the pain and discomfort go away. His main focus is on getting through it and my biggest fear is that his insistence of being through it and moving on is doing nothing but setting the stage for him to repeat it all again and finally destroy the last chance we had left.
If not me, then who?
At the very least, even if all of this is part of his elaborate efforts to not have to reveal how wrong he’s been or what all he’s done by trying to prevent me from finding anything that would reveal more of that past, then I have to wonder how it must feel to go through life never knowing if someone can truly love him. If everything he presents to the world is a cover up for who he’s been and the only person left that he can reveal it to is me, yet he still refuses….. what does he have? It seems his only option is to leave and try to start over with someone he can hide all of his past from and hope to never be found out. But even then, how would he ever know what it feels like to be loved when the person he is selling her is never revealed? If he can’t risk letting me love him after everything I’ve stayed through….. who can he ever risk? You can’t live a lie forever.