I don’t usually write more than twice a week, but I do try to log in for the first few days after posting a new blog. Today was busy, and after being gone all day I logged in to find notifications and quite a few views. As a blogger, this should make me happy, but it’s just further proof of what is going on out there. I had a new follower today and as I headed over to their blog, as I usually do, I started reading how all of our stories are so much alike. It’s true. I remember doing that initial research about affairs and realizing the same thing. Men typically say the exact same things after they’ve been caught. And their reasons for cheating are usually the same. And, more often than not, they never intended to leave their marriage. It’s like a broken record really. All of us in the same boat. For some of us the boat is rocking. For some of us the boat is sailing. For some of us the boat is sinking. And, sadly, for some the boat sank.
Marriage is a lot like a boat. If everybody isn’t helping to row the boat, it doesn’t go gently down the stream. And some people are weighing the boat down, while their partner is trying to row frantically. And rocking boats make us sick and weak. And sinking boats can kill us, if we can’t escape. I was also reading on my new follower’s blog about the decision to stay. Staying on a rocking boat that is making you ill is not a decision to be taken lightly. I never entertained any other option myself. Staying was always my decision. He says it was always his decision as well. It’s the one thing throughout the whole thing that never wavered with him.
I wish I could say that the affair ended, and we lived happily ever after. But, we all know it doesn’t work that way even when you have two willing parties who always intended to stay. And even after we found out that she was sleeping around on him as well, the seas were angry. In fact, finding out that she was not who he thought she was initially threw the entire healing process up to that point out the window. Now, not only was I overcoming his unfaithfulness, he was left trying to overcome her unfaithfulness, deal with the fact that he actually had an affair and hurt his family for no reason, and deal with me, who was on an emotional rollercoaster at best. Our boat was rocking like we were in a hurricane. We were in a hurricane. You could say that we were both dealing with so much emotional baggage at this point that the boat was ready to tip over. Neither of us had any oars. All of our survival instincts were in disarray from being thrust into a situation neither of us ever expected to be in. We were two lost souls. We were two lost souls with a family depending on us for smooth sailing.
You have to know each other well to know how to react in this situation. I had to stop myself numerous times from saying “I told you so!” I never said that. I, who felt like I had already given up so much, backed off. I knew him. I knew he needed space to move past that blow. I knew that because I was dealing with the same thing. Maybe most women would not have been quite so understanding, but again, I knew him. Mostly I stayed backed away to let him deal. And sometimes, I couldn’t control myself and would bring things up. I was still trying to work through my own trauma. Meanwhile little eyes were watching us. We made a pact to be happy and loving whenever we were with the kids and save our issues for when we were alone in our bedroom. They had been through enough and we knew that. That was hard. Faking happiness is beyond hard.
We got through it. And it wasn’t easy. And it required a huge amount of self-restraint on my part. Thank goodness for this blog for allowing me that outlet. These days, we are deep in the healing stage. But, there are still moments when things don’t go well. He is going through a phase of not wanting to be reminded of her or what happened at all. I find this irritating. I do understand, but I still find it irritating. But, we will work through that as well. Because that’s what we want to do. And that’s what it is all about. Both of you have to want healing more than anything else. And trust me, there will be days when only one of you want it or neither of you want it, and that’s normal.
Our boat is mostly on smooth seas. But we have a little way to go. He doesn’t like hearing that. He doesn’t always understand that I need more. He doesn’t always understand why I can’t just forget and move on like he has. It is extremely frustrating to feel like he’s already rowing, and I’m just not there yet. I know he thinks he’s strong enough to row for both of us, but that’s not what I want. I need that feeling of being a team back. While it’s noble that he wants to take care of me and this and brush it all under the rug, I would rather fight it out and cry and then be done with it forever.
Healing takes time and patience. If you think the healing process will be quick and easy, you’re wrong. And you don’t want it to be. Take your time and work through all of the details. Bring up the things you’re afraid to bring up. It’s the only way to get total healing and to keep that affair from coming up in a fight over loading the dishwasher.