Just when I thought I had it figured out…
For the last 14 years I have kept a large part of my story quiet for the sake of my children. I never wanted my kids to suffer anymore than they had to being the collateral damage to their parent’s divorce. And I knew they needed their dad in their lives and I wanted that relationship for them to be one that they valued and respected. However, they’re now old enough to know the reality of our story as a way to understand what happened and why. And their respective relationships with their dad are as strong as they’re going to be.
Before I tell the story, I will preface it by saying I’m well aware that what happened was clearly a symptom of a larger issue and that I was part of that issue. No excuse… just an explanation.
When my children were ages 6 and under, I got a call that rocked my world. A male friend of ours called me at midnight one night to tell me my husband was having an affair with his wife. These were people we went on double dates with. I told this woman that I married my “soulmate”… while they were carrying on an affair. Imagine how that felt in hindsight! Then I did something I never thought I’d do… I stayed. I loved him and I had three babies to think about.
Long story short, a year later we moved 1000 miles away from everyone and everything I knew and loved. Part of me hoped for a fresh start… clean slate, etc. Well guess what folks… your problems cross state lines! I’m not telling my story as a way to lash out at my ex. My story is one that SO many people can relate to…the pain and devastation an affair causes highlights issues you might be able to overcome otherwise. But when the foundation of your marriage and the pure trust in your partner is gone, well, I just couldn’t live that way anymore. So 5 years after that call (can’t say I didn’t try!) we got divorced .. a long, painful and ugly process that pretty much destroyed any lingering respect between us.
Overwhelm? Yeah, that was pretty overwhelming. Therapy was vital for me during this time. I kept the affair a secret from my friends for over a year. I just didn’t want them judging him (and me) if we were going to stay together. I did have my family’s support and that helped but being a stay-at-home mom of three babies, processing an affair with no girlfriends to confide in was BRUTAL. Sitting in my car in a parking lot, bawling and sometimes raging, was not uncommon during this time. I’d be driving somewhere and a wave of intense hurt and anger would hit me hard. I can feel it now just recalling it… the betrayal was overwhelming.
If ever I struggled with the feeling of being “not enough” (as a female, who doesn’t?!), this episode in my life has been one that intensified that feeling 100x over. It’s something I still struggle with, though now I realize it’s absurdity and that I’m pretty awesome. I’ve taken my experience and now view it through the lens of gratitude. I’m so grateful to be independent and truly happy with who I am. Gratitude has the power to transform your life. Trust the process and know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger because girl, I’m here to tell you I’m like damn Hercules after all this crap.
You got this. And if you feel like you don’t, I’m here for you. I’ll cheer you on and remind you how absolutely awesome you are and how this too shall pass and add to the dynamic human you’ll be on the other side of it all.