Our life since the affair has always been ‘As good as I can pretend it is’. I play the part he needs me to play for as long as I can stand it. I fake an acceptance I do not feel, bury my pain and hurt, act the happy and loving couple. After every low point, I feel a sense of renewed resolve to try again, I’m propelled to work harder than the last time, and it starts off fairly easy; I push it all away so far and so deep that for a little while even I start to believe and buy into this sham.
This energy level is (shocker!), unsustainable. The thoughts and emotions creep in with increasing frequency. The accepting, easygoing happy attitude is becoming noticeably strained to both of us, until I feel about as hollow as the smile on my face. I would begin to feel sad, then numb, empty and just so tired. This would go on for days, broken by small, short bursts of hope. Disillusionment would of course lead to renewed anger. Anger at him for not working to make any of this better. Anger at him for even asking me to play this disgusting game to begin with, for using me against myself. And a whole lot of anger at myself for playing along, taking and accepting this treatment and sticking around for more. Wash, rise, repeat…for 5 long years.
Now? Now I’m not even capable of this dysfunctional crazy coaster. I’ve been going straight from Good Wife to Pissed Wife. And while each cycle used to last months, I’ve been lucky if the new one lasts weeks or even days. This dramatic shift in emotions makes me feel bipolar. I am just so tired.
About 2 months ago, I invited FWH to join me on this crazy coaster, (although I’m sure he’s more likely to say I dragged him on). I decided he’s had the luxury of being a bystander long enough. We’ll either ride it together, learn to be a team, work on this marriage and get off as loving partners – Or we’ll finally crash and burn and get off alone. I was at the point I no longer cared what the outcome was. I’m going to be real, true to myself 24 hours a day, and I was going to let him see it. Push harder when I’d usually retreat, tell him exactly what I needed, what I required; no more beating around the bush, no more hoping and praying he’d ‘Get It’ and get with the program. No more making things simple and easy, accommodating and comfortable. I put it all out there, and kept it all out there, and gave him no where to hide. His affair and everything remotely related to it had become our Boogeyman, it was time to drag it out of the shadows, reveal it for the ugly monster it was and kick it’s ass or let it win. Either way, we’d face what happened, who we are, what we want, and where we’re going.
Where are we now, what have I learned?
- It did not kill me to confront my husband with the truth. Yes, he knew he had an affair, yes he knew it was wrong, yes he knew it hurt me. But by playing his game, I had shielded him from the truth of the total destruction he’d caused, to me and to us; allowing him to minimalism his actions And in doing so, I just hurt myself so much more. While his affair was obviously not a deal breaker, his treatment of me every day since is, and I’ve been too scared to really face that.
- We have a very different view of what consequences are. To him, consequences for having an affair would have been me leaving, our family breaking up, and ultimately divorce. Since those things never happened, there has been no need for change and only worked to validate his belief that every action and thought was acceptable, so long as he didn’t have another affair. To me there have been grave consequences. He lost my trust and my respect. I am forever changed and so are we. With out his help or his desire to obtain it, we will never have a chance at true love, true friendship or a real partnership, and the marriage those things would make possible.
: What is a true love and a real marriage? Great link that helped me determine what that means to me: How to Create a Conscious Relationship: 7 Principles, 7 Practices
- We want very different things out of life and marriage and family. I need a partner. Someone I feel safe to share my fears and desires with, as well as my hopes and dreams. I need someone beside me that truly knows me, knows me at my weakest, darkest moments, then accepts me and loves me in spite of them and because of them. Someone I feel safe to be honest and true with; someone that gently nudges me to grow and loving me while I’m on that journey. I need a partner, friend and lover that wants to take that journey together. Someone who wants to share themselves with me, open their heart and soul. Someone willing to work together through the hard times, on themselves and on us, so that we can rejoice together, enjoying the good times.
- I believed for a very long time that he either: A) Wanted those things as well, and was too scared to let go. Too afraid that if he opened himself up and put it out there, that I would judge him or reject or abandon him. B) Maybe he just didn’t know how. He sure wouldn’t have learned about this kind of love from his FOO. That as time went on, he’d learn. He’d see that I was trusting him with my love, showing him over time that I would not only stay, but accept and love him as well.
- Well, my husband has grown up a lot in the last 5 years and he’s not a stupid man. There is no where else to go for an explanation as to why he won’t accept the gift I’ve offered and offer his in return. I have finally come to terms with the fact that my husband does not need those things to be feel complete. A shallow, superficial, surface happy marriage and life is acceptable. He would feel content and happy with a simple and agreeable wife. A carefree wife at his side to share fun experiences with, sit next to at business dinners or a quiet wife to spend a peaceful and calm afternoon with, at home with the kids. He has no desire for deep, because deep is messy, so he’s content with a shallow life.
: The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and The Joy of Being Loved, quite an amazing book that greatly helped me in understanding my emotional needs; I highly recommend it!
- I no longer take any of this personally. My husband doesn’t know because he doesn’t want to know me. I am no longer trying to change myself for him, or trying to change him for me. I am now able to accept that this is who we are. I am now able to not only accept me, but embrace it and will no longer attempt to hide it. I do not know my husband because he does not want me to know him. I accept that his need to run from a true and complicated, sometimes uncomfortable life, his need for simple, uncomplicated and comfortable, was the driving force behind his having an affair. I no longer take that personally, for to do so would mean that he knew me and rejected me, but he doesn’t know me at all. I will no longer attempt to change him, but feel sorry for him; for he will never know what he has given up. He will forever trade true love and acceptance, for easy affection and false flattery. He will never understand that the honestly I asked for, would have been the most amazing gift to himself; to open yourself to another person and have them truly accept and embrace you.
- So now what? I will stop saying and start believing that, ‘We have no control over anyone but ourselves.’ I will take back, and start owning the control of myself and my life. I will work to heal myself, and find my own identity outside of my marriage. I will stop being defined by my husband, his affair, his choices, his beliefs, and his needs. I will no longer use his actions or words as an excuse be unhealthy. I will learn what Boundaries are (Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No), where I have made mistakes in setting them, and how I can alter and implement them.
I am responsible for my own destiny and the path I choose to get there.
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