I can remember laying in bed next to my husband thinking things would never be the same again. I remember that feeling of hopelessness and how my chest felt heavy. He had turned into somebody that I did not recognize. And I remember laying there and thinking about our kids and wondering how in the world I was going to shield them from all of this. And even when the affair was over, I had my doubts that things would ever be as wonderful as they were. And then…..
I talked to my husband on the phone yesterday. He called to tell me he was on his way home from work. Five minutes later he called back. He called back to tell me he loved me. And then proceeded to tell me that he thought our life was beyond perfect and that we were more than fine. I tried desperately to hide the tears that were welling up in my eyes. And I could tell he was choking back the tears as well. I was blindsided by that phone call. And all I could think about was the time I was laying next to him thinking that nothing would ever be the same again, that the fairy tale was over. And somehow, someway, the fairy tale is beginning again, and even better.
Celebrating your anniversary and Valentine’s Day within a week of each other is a lot of pressure, love, and expectations. My husband and I have never been big celebrators of much, even anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. We had never really felt like there was a need to go above and beyond for something we lived every single day. But, after the affair, I think he felt an obligation to do more than usual and I had a need to expect more than I really desired. So for a few years we both ended up frustrated and disappointed during this week. He would be frustrated for not knowing how to do enough and I would be disappointed that he didn’t know what I needed and wanted.
Last year, during one of the conversations I had with the friend of the OW, she told me that the OW would never be satisfied, that she was disappointed in the way that her boyfriend had said Happy VDay instead of something different and more romantic. It was then I realized that I was acting just like her, always expecting something more. It’s really the the root of the ongoing problem with the OW, unrealistic expectations….maybe it’s the root of the ongoing problem with everyone who cheats. It’s as simple as wanting more than what we actually have.
This year, we celebrated our “love” holidays like we always have. I told him to pick one of the two and we would “celebrate” that one and we would make no plans for the other. So, on our anniversary we went out for a great dinner and he bought me an unexpected gift of Frye boots. We spent our dinner not being so romantic, but talking about the future and things we were planning to do with our kids. And we both loved it, because it was the real us, the old us. We took the whole family out for Valentine’s Day and, even though he did get me a heart-shaped box of chocolates, he didn’t need to.
Today our expectations are at a minimum. We just live our lives like we always have pre-affair. And it seems like we can often come up with a lesson learned from the whole thing. But, the absolute biggest lesson is to let things be and stop expecting the unrealistic and start embracing the truly unexpected as gifts, and realizing that our normal, everyday life is also a gift.