Rewards

I think all of us can agree that there are triggers all around us.  I have learned how to deal with those triggers very well.  At first the triggers made life very difficult and I thought that I would never be able to overcome them.  And they seemed to happen nearly every day.  I wasn’t sure how to handle them.  I wasn’t sure how to fight them off.  They seemed bigger than I ever could be.  This went on for quite a while.  I’m sure it seemed like an eternity while it was happening.

At some point I realized what I was doing wrong.  Just like everyone else I was delving into articles and blogs about affairs and reading other’s stories and the myriad of advice that came from columns written by experts and other people just like me.  Reading these articles and blogs wasn’t necessarily wrong, but applying other’s situations to my own definitely was.  What was working for others was not going to work for me.  I was determined to save my marriage and I eventually figured out that if I was going to save my relationship I had to approach the issue like I would anything else in my marriage, any other problem we might have.

We all want to have an understanding about what happened to us.  We want to know why it happened specifically.  We want to know the ins and outs, though we all know how bad that will hurt.  And what if those visions never leave our heads and make things worse?  But, inevitably the wanting to know overpowers any sense of reason that we might not want to know.

This is the part where I learned a valuable lesson.  Going against the grain will never yield successful results.  Fighting off the affair just wasn’t going to work for me.  I had to somehow find a way to bring it all in and embrace it, no matter what.  And I knew it was going to be hard.  I knew it would be harder than anything else I had ever done.  But, I also knew that it would be successful.  I knew I would be better, he would be better and we would be better.

My husband and I decided from the beginning to work on ourselves first, before we worked on us as a couple.  We both needed to be whole again.  This is where I began.  It was hard for me to admit that he had his own healing to deal with, but denying it would not bring about success.  For me, it was triggers.  I had to find a way to not be so affected by those triggers.  Music was a big trigger.  I went a few weeks not listening to any music at all.  And then many more weeks changing the station when a “song” came on.  And then one day, I put all of the songs on my phone that were triggers and created a playlist. I listened to that playlist over and over until I was sick of it and the only trigger left was that I was sick of those songs.   Next was places.  He had told me over time the places they had been together and what they had done.  We went to those places on purpose and made our own memories there.  (it wasn’t as hard as you would think).  Then, we discussed “what happened”.  (that was as hard as you think).  At first he was very uncomfortable telling me those stories, but honestly, today it’s pretty easy.  We can discuss the whole damn thing pretty well with no awkwardness.

All in all, this was the way to go, to delve in and embrace it for what it was.  I’ve said it before, Bobbie is just part of us now.  I could continue to be mad about that or I can just accept it and move on.  And I know for him, it feels much better and he can be much more open about everything knowing that I am not critiquing every word he says about her or being bitter about the whole thing.  Neither of us hold any animosity toward each other or her.

I think our instincts tells us to fight an affair, rebel against it, make it your lifelong mission to have revenge on the OW.  I chose to go against the norm and I honestly feel better and happier than I have in a very long time.  I still feel mad sometimes and I still feel sad sometimes.  But, overall, I am good.  Those moments of emotional feelings are normal and expected.  My husband is very understanding when those moments happen now.  Before he wanted to fight my feelings for the same reasons I was fighting his.  We are much more understanding of each other.  And I know it’s because we chose to tackle this in a different way.  I absolutely had to be understanding of him and what he went through.  I had to be patient.  And in return he had to be understanding of me and what I was going through.

I do believe that so many couples don’t make it because anger and resentment gets in the way of healing.  And I’m not saying it isn’t extremely hard to feel that anger and resentment.  But, if you can get a grip and see things from all sides, an affair can be overcome.  And it is a super slow process.  Whatever you think your timeline is in your head for each part of healing, multiply that by 10 at least.  I’m 5 years out from the end of the affair and 7 from the beginning.  It was all hard.  All of it, every second.  I won’t lie or sugar coat that fact.

But, in the end, I would call our healing rewarding.  We overcame the insurmountable.  And we came out of it stronger than we were.  We both feel happy and stable.  Life is good again.

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