There are five stages of grief.  And let’s be honest, an affair throws you into grief.  Even if you manage to save your marriage, you still have to mourn the loss of what was.

DENIAL:     I’ll be honest here, I don’t know if I will ever really not be in denial of a some sort.  It still doesn’t seem possible.  The facts all say it happened, but even my mind is confused by this one.  But, I do know that it happened, despite my utter confusion to this day.

ANGER:      It took me a very, very long time to feel anger regarding the affair.  And even after the anger part kicked in, it was sporadic.  I think Bobbie even mentioned once my lack of anger.  I have never once thought I reacted normally to any of this.  However, I do still feel anger every once in a great while.  For the most part though, I never really went there.

BARGAINING:   I never once bargained with him.  All of my bargaining was with myself.  Don’t do anything.  If he wants to leave, he does it, not you.  Put your kids first and think about what their life would be like if he was with her.  Think about dual holidays and shared weekends.  Think.  This one was tough.  I mean, we all know everything inside of us wants to flee….I didn’t.  It was the best decision I could have ever made.

DEPRESSION:     I admit I’m having a hard time escaping the depression part.  I mean, it’s not serious depression.  It doesn’t dwell.  It comes and goes.  But, it’s there and I know it’s there.  My husband knows it’s there too.  It is just one of those things that is working itself out.  If there’s one thing I would tell anyone else going through this…..don’t rush it.  This takes time, like years amount of time.  It’s fading.  It’s all good.

ACCEPTANCE:     If there’s any other piece of advice I would give someone going through an affair, it’s this-you have to learn to accept things you might not want to accept.  And you have to accept them one hundred percent.  There’s a reason why this is the last step.  If you ever hope to have healing, you have to take it all on head on.  You have to accept that an affair happened to you and, if you stay with your spouse, you have to accept them, mistakes and all.

It all seems so simple laid out in steps like this.   But, it is not simple.  It’s a hard, lengthy process that you will inevitably fail at many times.  And that’s the other thing you have to accept, that the first time and probably many subsequent times later, you will fail at the whole healing process.  You have to accept that your mind will be working in overtime, causing you to miss out on other life events, and many, many times it will not work out.  And then one day it will.  One day things will be better.

You may have to accept that good is good enough.  That the speed of play is fast enough.  That eventually will be soon enough.

And you have to accept your vulnerability.  It’s hard and scary to be vulnerable.  And after an affair, revealing what is in your heart is extremely daunting.  It’s that feeling that stops me from the one last thing I would hope to accomplish.  But, I also know how liberating and freeing it is to reveal what is in your heart.  This is still a work in progress for me.

Almost everything will be okay in time, but not everything.  You might even put up a good fight and still lose.  You might hold onto to something so tight until you realize there’s no choice but to just let it go.  And it will still be okay.  Acceptance is quiet and calm.  And I’ve accepted so many things and let go of so many things.  And the last thing for me to accept or let go is Bobbie.  If I’m honest, I will say that this has been my biggest challenge for reasons most people would never understand.

Honestly, I don’t think everything needs to be understood though.  Maybe some things we shouldn’t even try to understand.  Maybe, just maybe, the things we think we need to understand the most are just things that need our acceptance without the understanding part at all.




19 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. It’s also hard because it’s not linear. I bounce between all those stages like a superball. Acceptance us hard. Accepting the unacceptable is so hard. This wasn’t a genetic flaw, out of anyone’s control, it was a series of choices made with the knowledge that lying was crucial and pain was always a possibility.

    Fuck Bobbie and rhymes with schmolleen. While I don’t embrace the karma idea, I do believe that you get as good as you give. In my case, I think her kids will grow up and leave and have families without her involvement. And they’ll know who she really is. I’ve seen this happen with old cheaters. The kids move on and away. Then old people problems arise and cheaters are stunned and incredulous that there’s no one to coddle them. You know, after all they sacrificed and everything.

    I have two hurdles still, 2 years after dday. First, being able to embrace the sexual aspect of my marriage fully. I lost so much self confidence in my sexuality and desirability. She was a swallower and led with that move at every encounter. Much like a whore. I can’t imagine ever performing oral sex on my wh again. I will forever feel judged. Let’s be honest, she probably wasn’t doing this with her bh, and my wh seems to think she always had orgasms. Probably just by him looking at her across a conference table. But I doubt that. Second, I have an unhealthy obsession with her. A trailer park mouth breathing catfish who’s borderline illiterate and looks like a dirty pillowcase. It’s not healthy for me. It’s so hard to wrap my head around a third person in my marriage while I was CLUELESS. That a sewer rat knew more about my marriage than I did. That stings.

    I think I’m triggering today because we are about to get on a plane for a weekend trip and I practically hyperventilate when checking into hotels now. Because checking into a hotel with me will never give him the butterflies and titllation that the affair did. He would text her the room numbers to meet him. How can I compete with that level of sexy and naughty? Ack.

    1. I feel the same way lemondrop. After 2 1/2 years I still have a hard time accepting that this happened. I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that the OW knew more either or the fact that my husband chose a trashy whore over his wife and kids. Hotels still cause me a ton of anxiety and I have trouble still relaxing while on vacations with him. She’s constantly in the back of my mind wondering if he kissed her like this or that or held her hand a certain way. Pathetic that I can’t let go of these visions of them after so long. I can’t compete with the excitement she brought. Ugh.

      1. My husband and I have something called “friend hat”. We had this before the affair. Basically, with “friend hat”, you get to talk without retribution. So, friend hat went on and I asked him all the sordid details. He told me everything with all the gory details. I know where every single blow job was given and every lewd act occurred. As much as I hated it and didn’t want to hear it, now that it’s over there’s no more wondering about any of that. I already know it. And honestly, my husband’s fascination with her went beyond the pornographic sex. She convinced him that she “changed her ways” just for him. She stroked his ego in a way sex never could.

  2. My husband’s ego was stroked big time. I think he was feeling old even though neither of us look our age and here walks in a young 27 year old who is practically telling him he hung the freaking moon. The sex was what took him over the edge and made him think he wanted her and not me. I do know that the sex with her was very vanilla and that her signature move was blow jobs. I feel I know everything now even though it took months of trickle truth. Still hurts like hell when I think of it.

    1. I think every OW’s signature move is the blow job. At least based on all of these blogs and other internet info. The blow job can be performed almost anywhere. She would take my husband down to the storage room of their office to give him his daily dose. And from what I can garner from my husband she was quite proficient at the whole thing. She clearly perfected it over the years and likely studied closely what really did “it” for men. I mean, what man doesn’t like porno sex? But, no matter who much they love it, they all know these women didn’t get this way by only doing them. And that’s the bottom line, the deal-breaker. They all “know”…..whether they choose to stay or go, they all know they aren’t the only ones. My husband told me he “knew” all along.

  3. I believe as does the OW’s fiancé that she was sleeping with someone else then set her sights on my husband. The fiancé he even told me that she loved giving blow jobs and he even asked me if my husband liked to come on my ass. This was a move she came home wanting from him. When I asked my husband about the sexual positions and asked him if he did this he said no. He actually came inside her since he had a vasectomy and according to her she was infertile. It then clicked with my husband that he wasn’t the only one she was with when they were in training. Idiot. It still pisses me off that he didn’t use a condom and that he had the vasectomy for us, not to give him a pass to go have sex with someone else.

  4. Mine had a 15 month long affair. With just one BJ. WTF??? It seemed bizarre. But the only time she got him in her mouth was when he said it was over. He could be lying. But I don’t think so. He gave her oral every time. He likes that. And she was dry. (TMI?) I also decided early on that I needed all the details. Because the wondering was killing me. I am fairly sure he was honest as he sometimes spontaneously shared things he remembered. Without prompting.

    Grief is a difficult monster. Rarely linear, or neat. Nearly 7 1/2 years later I still experience all of the stages at times. But I was diagnosed as suffering from complicated grief in the first 18 months. It is better. But not healed completely. I now accept I never will be. The scar is large and tight. Thank you for this post x.

    1. Who knows why these things really happen? My husband says “it just happened”. While he says he told her he didn’t love me and that it was different with her, he fully admits he was under her spell at the time and would have said almost anything to keep it all going. I think what makes me more upset than anything is that she used him. I probably should be happy about that, that she was exactly who I thought she was, but it really just pisses me off. I will never understand why she did this for absolutely no reason other than to win, and maybe to hurt me.

      1. As time has gone on, 2bc, I care a lot less about her and her motives (very little really. But it is still ‘there.’) I understood early on that she was highly dysfunctional, but presented as fairly functional. Your comment about the frustration at not understanding any motive other than to win/destroy – OH YES! Just truly awful lumps of humanity. I see the ‘reasons’ he had for starting it, and he told her he loved me deeply, but was confused and lost. (Poor sausage.) And yeah, of course they tell them bullshit that keeps their ego stoked, and the excitement of illicit sex on tap. Pretty sick, very disappointing. I’m glad you are doing well.

      2. My husband told me that she told him that inside she was a different person than she showed on the outside. My husband had been through a few great losses prior to the affair. I think she sensed his weaknesses and preyed on them. I do think she loved him in her way, but she just doesn’t have it in her to for a one guy/one girl type relationship. But, he did sense that beforehand. His gut told him to run, but he was in very deep. And I think he truly “wanted” to believe that she had changed for him. I mean, who wouldn’t want to believe that. It’s the ultimate ego stroke to believe that somebody loved you so much that they would give up their usual ways just for you. I am at peace with the OW. There are things I wish, but I am content, and it will just have to be enough.

      3. Wow, I think you’re right. There must be a manual. I believe the exact same thing about my husband’s OW. It was a game to her and nothing more.

  5. It is uncanny…there must be a manual. Even down to the lines they say to each other (yes, our H, too…). In the interest of not being redundant, I’ll just agree with all you have each said. And add that I, too, craved to know every detail, and HUSBAND did give me that (eventually). For me it was devastating, and a complete barrier to my personal healing, to think that there were people that knew things about me and my marriage and his feelings about things and his dreams or hopes or fantasies or positions or all of the above that I didn’t know…like if we were going to work toward being on the same team, he had to give me all the plays? Now, if I run into OW, I feel confident that there are no little secrets that she has that I don’t know – from the color and style of her underwear to the position she sleeps in bed to how she touched my H to what she professed her feelings were. is that strange?
    And the stages of grief…oh my. I love how 2bc considered each one (I may do that too) but ultimately it has not been linear at all…I describe the grief process like a spirograph (remember those?) I’m still surprised when I find myself filtering through one of the stages again, and I have come to accept that it will not ever end, although it doesn’t debilitate me like the first couple years. That denial thing, 2bc? I still have moments when I’m walking through a store, or driving down the road, or sitting across from H at a restaurant and all the sudden the realization that he was a cheater, and I am a betrayed, falls heavy over me like a cloak and it still takes my breath away for a moment. Is that denial?
    I’m so grateful for you all. So incredibly grateful for your hearts, your honesty, your vulnerability, your insight.
    That…that is a beautiful thing that has come out of all this pain.
    Hugs to you amazing and brave women, 2bc, foreverchanged, horses…

    1. So many people think it is weird that I needed to know the details. But, like you SS, I also could NOT bear that someone had more information about the man I loved than I did. I needed to reconstruct 15 months of my life in the right order, not the cover story I had been sold. I am aware that I do not have all the information, because that is truly impossible. I can’t know every look, every scrap of conversation, every millisecond of their time together, their time communicating via text. But I needed to know to see if there was something she honestly did differently/better/that he preferred, but mostly, it was about rebuilding trust. He had to trust me to tell me those ‘secrets’ – to betray her trust to me, if you will. And he did so. It didn’t come easily, as he was embarrassed, and it is scary – it might hurt more than it heals, at least that is what he was scared of. I thought about it a lot, and so many suggested it was not a good idea, as once known, I could not unknow. But I was sure. I desperately needed to know the whens, hows, etc. I don’t know it all, because there is some stuff he did not take note of, and therefore can’t recall fully, but he shared a heck of a lot of what I asked for. Even some spontaneous shares that were not coerced. And yeah, it’s painful, but some of it is also empowering, silly things. Sometimes quite gross things, but things that have helped me, things that I am not proud of being somewhat gleeful about – like knowing that she was very, very hairy, including him discovering nipple hair – that she and has enormous, ginormous, the largest he has ever seen, even in pictures, labia majora. I know, I am a very small person, but knowing these things has been a ridiculous source of perverted glee for me!

      1. I am so thankful you shared this!! I had exactly the same intense confidence that I needed to know. I got all the same advice about not being able to “unknow” and it would haunt me later, but I was certain that it was essential for me. For my healing. And as you so aptly point out, for my ability to trust again. The other thing that I found myself needing to do was reclaim places and spaces. Again, both other betrayeds and our therapist weren’t sure this would help, but for me…it has been paramount. We went to one of the out-of-town locations they’d traveled to. We went to the lodging. We sat outside the cabin they fucked in. He described how it was laid out. Where she put her suitcase. What they did and how many times. We sat outside that cabin and held each other and cried together. And declared the filth and lies GONE, and our love present. We went to the restaurant where they had dinner, sat in the same seats at the bar, ordered drinks. He answered all the questions he could remember about what they talked about, how they touched, etc. I know it sounds bizarre, but we have done this everywhere they went (one final trip to take) and it has helped me so much. I had the same paralysis and physical response when we went to our first hotel together. It was horrible, it was complete trauma response. After reclaiming each of these spots for us, I’ve found that to have gotten much better.
        Bottom line…infidelity is dreadful and encompassing and shocking and more words than I could ever come up with. It is complex and requires complex and diverse responses for healing. And the wound…never completely closes up. But it does get manageable…

      2. Yeah, I also needed to ‘reclaim’ spaces, SS. So did he, he said it saddened him no end that spaces and places were ruined for me, and he felt such guilt being in them. We also went through a lot of cleansing, a lot of shagging in the spaces they had, a lot of tears, recriminations, vomiting, and utter frustration and misery in doing so. I still swing wildly in my moods in some spaces more than others, and I am aware of it, and try to anticipate and moderate. I have coping strategies for when things start to go south. Because their affair was very secret, they never went out in public, so I didn’t have to reclaim bars, hotels, etc (cheapskate!!!) The spaces I had to reclaim (sexual spaces) were all ours, as he only drove to her place a handful of times. I still feel nauseous when I go past her exit on the motorway in her city, and I have accepted that I cannot claim any of those spaces, they were always hers anyway. But the home spaces have been tricky. Even the cafes in the local towns and villages, that they rarely went to, for fear of being seen, but did a couple of times (after all, we were all friends, and it wasn’t weird for him to be seen VERY occasionally with her, as we were all seen together regularly, and I was seen with just her at times, such a cosy little bunch!) The not knowing, and the wondering were FAR harder for me than the knowing is xxx.

    2. I think getting past the denial part is virtually impossible. I know he cheated, but it still does not seem possible under any circumstance. HE would never do that. It concerns me deeply that he became someone else so easily, and gave up his values and ideals. It’s almost like finding out you’ve been living with a stranger that you know well, your own personal Jekyll and Hyde. For us, he shared the information a little at a time. I still ask a question every now and then. And there are things she told me that he never did….doesn’t mean anything to me though, women tend to remember more of the details.

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