I run.

I run when things get to be too much. I start to feel the little twinge start in my back, that moves into anxiety, which eventually swings low and drops me into depression. The pain in my chest, my aching heart, the sadness is too much, so I run.  I yank on a t-shirt and some leggings, scramble for my running shoes, find headphones, fill my water bottle, find some gum to chew and head out. Depending on how much it hurts is where I run. If I catch the anxiety before it feels like I can’t breathe then I can run on the treadmill, music blaring in my ears to block out the destructive thoughts trying to enter my mind. I run to feel a different pain and release the energy that is building. I run until my body is crying with sweat, until my chest is heaving trying to catch its breath and my knee is telling me please no more. I run to feel something other than this crushing sadness or to just feel something at all when I don’t feel anything. My therapist says I feel things too deeply and am constantly concerned about others when I need to concentrate on myself. 

If I don’t catch it soon enough because I don’t have time to just drop out for a couple of hours then I have to run outside on the trails, rain or shine, and I hate it the whole time. It becomes an anger release run. I feel angry that I didn’t just take the time I needed when I first felt that little twinge, I feel angry that I don’t have the same choices to just drop out of our relationship whenever I feel like I need a break, so much anger. My body hates the outdoor run as much as my mind does. 

The end result it the same though, I’m stiff for a day or two, my mind is clearer, my heart still hurts but it isn’t as heavy and I feel something else. Something that only the adrenaline rush makes me feel,  the rush so that I don’t just give up, lay down and let the sadness wash over me, like I have in the past. The run makes me feel stronger, like I just fought for myself and won. 

I want the hurt and sadness to go away and stay away, and just run because I feel like I want to not that I need to. I’d like to run outside with the sun on my face and just enjoy it instead of feeling angry that I need to run harder to control the spiral that’s getting too far gone for me to stop it. I never used to feel weak or out of control but I do now. My therapist, Ann, tells me “Lady, you are the strongest woman, to have been through so much and you still keep going, that is strength not weakness.” I have learned that I can’t control what’s going to happen and I can’t change or fix what has happened in the past but to cope with everything, I can run. 

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Christmas with Marjorie 

If you have read any of my previous posts you’ll know who Marjorie is and where she falls in place in my life. If you haven’t well, she’s my husbands on line girlfriend from Georgia who moved here to live with him. After she moved here and he lived with her for two months he decided that he wouldn’t be happy without his family and moved home. Yes, my life has an obscene amount of unbelievable craziness in it. I’m not sure how exactly I got here but I have. 

Christmas this year was a tough one for me. It was the first year in 25 years that I have not woken up beside my husband and 18 years to babies and excitement over Santa coming to our house while everyone slept. My husbands mother was diagnosed with cancer this year and although I don’t feel that either of my inlaws deserve an ounce of love from my children for the things they have done, I let them go and spend Christmas with them. I couldn’t live with the thought of having them with me if this was her very last Christmas. 

So mid morning Christmas Eve starts out with an incoming text from Marjorie.

Marj: How are you? 

Me: Still getting over my sinus infection. How are you?

Marj: I’m good. I found some very unexpected Hispanic products today. I’m quite excited about that 😀 

Me: Cool and the weather has warmed up to flip flop short wearing weather so you can breathe when you go outside.

Marj: Llol! You know I can actually appreciate that concept now. -4 being a treat!   

Then I drop out of the conversation and carry on with whatever it was that I was doing, I think I was cleaning and packing for our trip. 

Then in the afternoon she starts texting me again.

Marj: I got you a gift. Happy Christmas. ( and she sends me a picture of a bottle of wine, a card and chocolates)

I was very stunned at first. I was like does she think we are going to meet at some point? Why does she want to give me a gift? That’s weird right? What does she want from me? A friendship? Ten minutes pass before I respond because I’m freaked out at the thought of finally meeting her.

Me: You shouldn’t have done that. I think there is some rule that as my husbands girlfriend you don’t give gifts to the wife. Wouldn’t he shit tho if we did get together and sent him a Christmas selfie of us…lol! I’m dismantling Christmas today, I can’t stand to look at it anymore.

Marj: Duck rules. I felt I needed to say thank you for being so awesome and kind. (I’m thinking duck was an auto correct of fuck).   I found a shop that sells really nice chocolates. I was excited about those. 

Me: You don’t need to thank me for anything. (Changing the subject) You must have found Chocolates and Candlelight’s and other Delights?

Marj: Yesssssss. I love everything in that shop! It’s awesome. Have you watched I am legend? 

Me: I think so. Will Smith?

Marj: Yes. So everyday I feel like I’m will smith in I am legend tryin’ to get stuff done before dark at 3pm. 

Me:Daylight hours should be getting better again now. 

We continue to chat about the Salvadorian food she is going to make for her Christmas Eve dinner and that she has to run out to the store to pick up a few ingredients that she doesn’t have. She tells me about her cat Walter, sends me a video of him doing tricks for treats and then takes off for a bit. Which is okay by me because I want to take down my Christmas tree. 

Marj: Back! It’s buffoonery out there. 

I don’t respond. I’m thinking to myself this is crazy, what am I doing. I don’t know her, we are not friends, so I carry on with what I am doing and maybe that will be all. 

Nope, an hour later…

Marj: Did you kill Christmas? 

I give in.

Me: The tree is down and put away but I left all the snowmen alone. I hate putting the tree away it’s so much work. I bet the store was nuts. I need to go get cat food but I feel the pet store will be less busy. 

Marjorie goes into full on talking about healthy cat treats, because clearly Sassy is a fatty. I head out to the Pet Smart to pick up what the cat sitter will need while I’m away, buy the treats and set them out for Sassy. She gives me a very “I’m disappointed in you.” look and walks away. I text Marjorie a video of the whole thing and she laughs when I say “Most of us prefer McDonalds to salads”

Later that evening I get a text and a picture of the Salvadorian dish that she was making and I tell her it looks better than the Chinese food I ate and now I was onto wine, onesie pj’s and cheesy Christmas movies staring Hugh Grant.

Marj:Oooo that sounds fun! :p English men are great ;D 

Me: I got drunk at a resort once and ended up with a British boyfriend. Needless to say D wasn’t very happy to be interrupted by this guy who wanted to do shots with me…lol

Marj: Ahhhhhhhh!!! 

Me: But this poor guy was labeled as my British boyfriend for the rest of the week.

Marj:  😀 that’s awesome 

Me: Colin Firth is another fave, from Bridget Jones. (3 glasses of wine in) I would invite you to join me but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. 

Marj: Why on earth would that be a bad idea??

Me: (starting glass 4, 1/2 big ass bottle finished)                                  It’s craziness but it’s also Christmas and I’m not sure why either of us is alone. My kids are spending my favourite day of the year with complete assholes who do not deserve an ounce of their love. It’s just a day though and the last one I am willing to give them. See I’m not such a great person. 

Marj: Sorry I’m drunk. Having trouble functioning 😀 

Me: Well that makes two of us. My wine buzz is starting to affect me. If you don’t want to be alone come over. 

Marj: I didn’t know it was your favorite day. I’m sorry… I don’t know or understand what’s happened with that relationship. And how do you mean that’s the last day. 

Me: The history doesn’t matter, it’s over but not forgotten or forgiven. I just mean it’s the last time that I will not be with my kids at Christmas so his parents can be with them. 

Marj: Do you have anything harder than wine or should I BYOB 

(Whoa…shit could go sideways)

Me: I have vodka, rye, moonshine…not much for mix but there’s Pepsi

So I give her the address, drink some more wine, start watching Elf because it is such a funny movie and awhile later the doorbell rings. 

Before this we have never met. We have exchanged emails and snarky texts back and forth when my husband first came back but that was it. I open the door and I can tell she is a little nervous by her laugh. I tell her to come in, I go to the kitchen, take out a glass for her to mix a drink in  and pour another glass of wine. We move back to the living room and continue to watch Elf, laughing at all the stupid things Will Farrel does in this movie. Marjorie asks me if I have any siblings and I tell her about my sisters but that we are not close (that’s a whole other blog in itself). I know she has a brother, with a wife and few kids. I say to her “Your parents must be worried about you being here.” She says they were concerned when she decided to move here but that she hadn’t been home for Christmas in four years so they were used to that. We stop talking for a bit, when again she asks me about why I’m not with D and the kids. I tell her why and she is like “WOW!” but I don’t really want to talk about my problems with my inlaws. 

It wasn’t even awkward, I didn’t feel anger towards her, I felt sad that this young girl moved to this god forsaken frozen hell to be with my husband and he decided that wasn’t what he wanted. She thought he was going to leave his wife and start a new life with her. A life she had been working towards for the last four years. She asked me why I stayed with him. It’s such a hard question to answer because no matter what I say I feel stupid for continuing to love this man who has hurt me time and time again. I can’t give up on him when he’s telling me he is done with that life, that he wants to be the man I married, that it’s me he loves and wants to be with. How do I walk away after building this life for 25 years? Where do we begin trying to dismantle it all? She says “So both of you are afraid to end it.” I tell her no that I was ending it, that I wanted nothing to do with him and that I was cutting off from him but he wouldn’t let me, that he kept insisting our marriage is what he truly wants. She tries to come at me from a different angle “It sounds to me like you have one foot out the door.” I tell her I do have one foot out the door because I’m waiting for the next time he drops out on me to be with her. I say that considering she lives here now and that he’s still talking/texting with her so I feel it will eventually happen, and she nods. 

It’s 3am and a few hours ago I moved from wine to Apple Pie Moonshine. I need some fresh air to clear my head so I say “Let’s go for a walk” and she is not sure what to think but we bundle up, put our drinks in travel mugs and out we go in -20 degree weather for a walk. She asks about Linda. Linda is the first affair. I tell her a little about my relationship with Linda and what I am dealing with now but I don’t talk about D’s relationship with her. I tell her I don’t understand how I got to this place in my life where I’m doing crazy shit like spending Christmas with my husbands girlfriend. I ask her what her plan is. She tells me she doesn’t have one and that her staying largely depends on D. Well… his staying with me largely depends on him discontinuing paying her rent and giving her money. We get back to the house, mix another drink and just sit and talk. She is sizing me up, she wants to be able to pin the cracks in my marriage on me but I think she’s finally seeing the big picture. I ask her though if D and I should end our marriage at this point would she still take him back and she tells me that yes she would. Madness. What is wrong with us? By now it is 7 am and I can no longer keep from yawning, and tell she she is welcome to crash here but she calls a cab anyway and prepares to leave. She gives me a hug, wishes me a Merry Christmas and leaves. I lock up, turn out lights and prepare to get into bed when D texts me a Good morning, Merry Christmas! Are you awake? I respond…Well I haven’t been to bed yet, been up drinking all night, headed to bed now. He was like what??? I say,  I’m too tired I’ll tell you what I was doing later and went to sleep.

Noon…

Marj: Good morning! How are you feeling??

Me: I feel disgusting. I woke at 10 put stuff in the dryer had a piece of toast and went back to bed but I still feel gross. How about you?

Marj: I feel great. Slept great. Walter (her cat) wasn’t upset, so I guess I wasn’t too drunk. (Not likely she killed 28oz of Apple Whiskey and a few glasses of Apple pie moonshine)

Me: I’m so happy for you 😒

Marj: 😀

Me: I’m still laying in bed. It was the moonshine that did me in.

Marj: It was so good.

Me: It was but it was deadly on my head.

At some point the previous night I mentioned that I needed to remember to put my underwear in the dryer and pack it, so she asks me if I remembered to pack my undies and I had, at 4:30 in the afternoon I tell her that I think I’m finally starting to sober up she laughs. 

Marj: :,D lmao It was a good night. 

Me: It was. Thank you for keeping me company.

Marj: Thank you so much for inviting me. Have a good flight and an awesome trip! 

And it’s at this point where I feel like a complete asshole. She’s staying here in this freezing hell while I head off to warm sunshine, drinks on the beach and time with my family. Should I feel like an asshole? No, D should. He brought her here. 

I hope I did a decent thing and spent time with her so she wouldn’t be alone. Nobody should be alone over the holidays…not even the woman who has attempted to pull my marriage apart. 

We’ve been back a few days now and I have not contacted her. She hasn’t reached out to me either, so maybe meeting me didn’t work out in her favour. Maybe she thought she wouldn’t like me and she could justify continuing to be available for D. I think I was just genuine and honest with her about our life, about how broken I’ve been over all of this and that now it needs to stop. 

Now it’s January and this is typically the time he drops out on me and the kids to make it up to her for ignoring her through December. 

2017 has to be a better year, the last two have been batshit crazy, and I know I cannot do this anymore. This year is for me and I’m determined I will either be happy in my marriage or I will walk away from it but I will be happy wherever I end up.

Her Stats vs Mine

My husbands girlfriend has worked out some statistics regarding my husband and when he chooses to be in their relationship and when he doesn’t. Now it’s December and she has prepared to sit back and wait for January to roll around, when he will have felt bad for ignoring her through the holidays and he will reconnect with her. I wrote her an email laying out my own set of statistics, outlining things I have learned about him since this all started. He tells me that he’s done that this won’t happen anymore, that he wants our marriage more than he wants to be with her. I can’t bring myself to send the email though. I feel like I’m being too harsh with her, but I just want her to go away. I don’t feel my contact with her will make her go away though. She figures her youth is on her side and she can patiently wait as long as she needs to, because according to her statistics, he will be back. Seeing as he is still talking to her and hasn’t been forceful or direct enough in communicating to her what he wants, she could be right.

Marjorie, this is what I know.
D told me about your statistics for his interaction with you during this time of year. Statistically he drops out on you to focus on his family during the holidays. Only he hasn’t really been with us for many of our holidays, because you were always in the background with some crisis or another. 
“Statistically” this is what I know about infidelity. I’ve read just about everything I can trying to find answers because I want to know that I’m doing the right thing for our family. I find it is somewhat helpful to know that there are other people in similar situations and they are also trying to make their marriages work.
I know that he has dropped out on me about every six months, for the last two years, to be with you for a week. I know that even though he does drop out, he always comes home and attempts to repair the hurt that he has caused. 
I know that the propensity for men/women to cheat is genetically predetermined. D grew up knowing his father continually cheated on his mother and to this day continues to do so. I have nothing to do with him. D’s dad told our son that D’s affair was okay, he just shouldn’t have gotten caught. He also covered for D numerous times so that he could go and be with you, basically telling me that it was okay his son had no respect for me or our marriage. His mother continues to maintain a close relationship with his first affair leaving me to believe she would have preferred to see our marriage end as well.
I also know that once you crossed over into the reality side of his life, his desire to be with you drastically lessened. Same thing happened with the first affair. They made a deal that it was purely sexual but she changed it up and when she wanted more, he wanted less. He didn’t want another wife or someone to take care of him, he wanted an escape here and there a couple of times a year, to go away from his real life and be someone else. Is that healthy? No, I don’t believe that it is. 
80% of married men do not leave their wives for the woman they are cheating on them with and if they do that relationship doesn’t generally last. Their wives end up leaving them because they get tired of being lied to and the bullshit that is constantly being brought into their lives.
78% of married couples who encounter infidelity remain married. They remain married either because the husband/wife honestly makes the effort to repair the marriage because he/she loves their spouse, or he/she stays with their spouse because of a feeling of attachment. He/she cannot see their life without the spouse, and feels he/she needs them.
58% of men who cheat are happily married. I believed we were happily married until D listened to another woman tell him how unhappy she was in her marriage and how could he possibly be happy with me? He asked her for advice regarding my relationship with his parents, and she used it to her own advantage. He let someone inside our bubble. I’ve always believed that you do not talk about your husband or wife to anyone. We were happily married until I found out what was really going on.
I am constantly waiting for the next time that D will drop out on me, this time he assures me he will not. The longer he continues to talk, text and have any interaction with you, he is one step closer to that drop out. It doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship with you is what he wants, it’s just his mean of an escape. An escape that I’m no longer willing to forgive.
 I knew about you. Last June, when D asked me if he could have a week, to go to Georgia and break up with you face to face, I let him. He promised after that, all communication would end. I believed he would end it. He let it continue and he is still letting it continue. One of the conditions for coming home was that he was to end all contact with you and thus far he has not. I have told him in January if he cannot start the new year fresh, and have no contact at all then he will have to leave. He has said to me, he needs to end things in his own time, and I’ve said no, because I’ve had enough of this bullshit, and given him so much more time and patience than he deserves. I need to move forward in my life and stop living with the last two years dragging me down.

I used to believe that if this was to ever happen to us that I would not stay with him. Unfortunately, you have no idea what you will do until you are actually face to face and having to live with your husband cheating on you, do you know what you will actually do. I always thought I was stronger than this, I hate that I am conveying to our daughter that it’s okay for your husband to cheat on you and as well allowing D to convey to our son that it’s okay to cheat on your wife. Neither is okay. I compromised my morals/beliefs and stayed because I cannot quit loving him or even begin to start dismantling 25 years of a life together. If he allowed me space and time, eventually I would move on but right now he tells me, our marriage is what he wants, I want to believe in him. 
Do you realize what it is you are trying to do? You are trying to put an end to a family. You said you would never have participated in such a relationship before, so what has changed? He’s still married, and trying to make things right. He is trying to repair our relationship. I kind of get the impression that you feel that the cracks in our marriage are my fault, which is why you are continuing to push him to leave me. They are not my fault. I did not go outside of our marriage for any reason. Had I met someone else, I would have told D. All I wanted was honesty at all cost. If he met someone else that he wanted to be with, then all he had to do was say so and we could work out the details. Why didn’t D just tell me you were living here now and that our relationship was over? I think his hiding his relationships tells me that he was never going to permanently leave because he could never be happy, knowing that the kids and I would eventually start over with someone new. 

I am sad for you, and have been since I first found out about him lying to you. I know how that feels. I regret not reaching out to you in when I found your phone number, after I found out about his true relationship with you. Maybe I could have saved you and me from this situation. I think no matter what I said in my text to you though, you would have still believed anything he told you. I was sad that you spent Thanksgiving alone, and now will be spending Christmas alone, instead of with your family. I hope that you’ve made some friends here that will invite you to join in their Christmas Eve or day so that you are not alone. Holidays are meant for family.
This email was just to let you know, I have my own set of statistics when it comes to D and I’m just hoping that I can believe him when he says, he’s done being someone else and with someone else. It was also not intended to hurt or upset you, but maybe help you to see the bigger “statistical” picture. 

S

Maybe she’ll see that my 25 years of trying to work through the hard stuff isn’t shadowed at all by the four years he’s spent talking, texting and a week of sex every six months or so and maybe she won’t.

Playing in the Sand

My last afternoon with Ann, I played in the sand. She asked if I would like to try something new. Sure. Right now, I feel pretty open to trying anything if it will make me feel better. 

She brought out the tray filled with sand and opened a chest full of figures, animals and other things. She asked me to describe the feeling of the sand, told me to take some time and chose characters or things out of the chest that represented people or things in my life. It felt like a test. What should I chose? I had no idea where to begin until I spotted the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz. From there I found Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Glenda the Good Witch and the Bad Witch. 

The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland was an all time favourite movie when I was young. It still is. I always thought it would be such a great thing to be able to click your beautiful red ruby slippers and they would take you back to the place and people you loved the most. A place where you felt safe, and loved. 

Once I had chosen the characters, Ann asked me to place them wherever I thought they should be in the sand. So I placed the two witches on their own on one side of the tray, the Cowardly Lion on his own in the middle and then Dorothy, the Tin Man and Scarecrow on the other side. Then she asked me what each character represented. I was Dorothy, my teens were the Tin Man and Scarecrow, my husband was the Cowardly Lion and the witches were the Other Women he has brought into our relationship. 

The Wizard of Oz is very fitting because it deals with a young girl fighting  fantasy to get back to reality. I’m trying to live in the real world but my husband likes to escape to fantasy when reality gets to be too much. He gets to be the Cowardly Lion because I feel like he is a coward sometimes when he can’t tell people to mind their own business, leave us alone and not let anyone into our couple bubble. That’s what Ann calls it. It’s a bubble for only us but he’s let two other women into it. He’s cowardly not telling his girlfriend that he chose to come home and try to make our marriage work because he loves his wife. She believes I pressured him with our children and how his relationship with them would turn out. She’s fighting to keep him in the fantasy side of his life right now. She keeps telling him that a life with her is what he really wants. Time and time again he’s proved it. She tells him he wouldn’t have done the things he’s done if he wasn’t desperate to get out of our relationship. She thinks that four years of talking, texting, and screwing around with a married man wipes out 25 years of family, friends and hard work. She feels he didn’t really give them a chance. What she doesn’t know is, that she crossed the line from fantasy into reality. He had a wife, who took care of him and his family, he didn’t need another one. He just wanted her to be an escape for a week here and there. The same thing happened with his first affair. She wanted more and he wanted his family. I’ve read that married men do not leave their wives, their wives end the marriage when they’ve had enough with the lies and other bullshit their husbands keep bringing home. 

Back to the sand box…

Ann asked me why the witches were on one side and Dorothy was on the other? Well, I’m Dorothy and I don’t want either of those women near me or my family. Ann asked how I would feel if she moved them to the side with Dorothy? I told her that wasn’t an option, they don’t get to be in my life, and continue to hurt my family.  She asks what I would like to do with them? Ultimately, I would like to burry them in the sand and not ever have to think about or deal with them again. She says “So do it.” and I proceed to burry them in the sand so I cannot see them anymore. She asks “Where would you like this Cowardly Lion to go?” I would like him to be with us, he makes us a family and complete when he is really with us. When he is concerned with his girlfriend, I can feel the distance and it creates so much anxiety because I feel like I’m always waiting for him to abandon us again, while he bounces back into the fantasy where he can be someone else for a bit. I don’t like being in the fantasy side of things, I want to click my heals together, and return to where I feel safe. 

I don’t feel safe right now. I let him move back home because he’s convinced that wherever I am at the end of the day, that’s where he wants to be. Unfortunately he’s still talking to his girlfriend and she’s doing her best to plead her case, telling him that he wouldn’t have done the things he’s done if he didn’t want their relationship more. Maybe she’s right. I honestly don’t know how any woman or man, who claims to be a woman or man, knowingly continues to try to pull a marriage apart when the married man or woman says they want their marriage to work.  As far as I’m concerned his not ending the communication with her is still telling her she is right, that the relationship with her is what he really wants and it’s still telling me the same thing as it told me before, that it is not over. 

She thinks I begged him to come home, I did not. I tried very hard to create distance so that he could have a relationship with her if he wanted that, but he wouldn’t allow me to keep that distance. I tried not answering his calls or texts, but then he would just come to the house. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that our lives were moving on without him, that we weren’t going to wait around for him to get his life on track. 

I got a job, painted my bedroom, did a few other minor renos to the house, bought new furniture for my bedroom, the kids booked school trips and didn’t bother to consult him. He was upset that nobody was asking him for his input. The kids felt that he moved out without even so as much as a goodbye or explanation so they decided to treat him with the same respect. They feel if he wants to be part of their lives he will make the effort, they aren’t going to chase after him. He feels when this happens that it must be because of what I’m saying to them. They are smart kids, big enough to pay attention to his behaviour and the selfies that their dad’s girlfriend is posting on Facebook. 

Playing in the sand gave me a lot to think about. I know that before too long if he doesn’t get over the guilt he feels for allowing things to get as far as they have with his girlfriend, and cut off from her completely that I will have to ask him to leave for the very last time and move on from this craziness that he’s brought into our life. I keep having faith that he will find the courage to be the good guy I married.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to burry this all in the sand, click our heals together, wake up somewhere over the rainbow, back in Kansas, with the tornado behind us, and the witches forgotten far, far away in Oz. 

Going Back

I think of all the what ifs that I’ve had in my life. What if I had of gone home with the guy from the bar one night when I was still a teenager? What if I had of let him take me to his place and spend the night doing lord knows what to me? My life would be very different today, I think. I’m starting to feel like I should have done more before I settled down in a relationship with my husband. I want things that I didn’t want before. Sometimes I think I want freedom and then others I can’t bear to imagine my life without him. I’ve loved him for so long that I don’t know how to say goodbye and walk away from that part of my life. What if I did walk away? I’m afraid he’ll forget that he’s a father and he’ll lose his kids. They love him I know, but they know what I’ve done for him and our family and they are appalled at the way he’s treated me. I believe I was a good wife and mother. I did everything I could to keep us together. My love was not enough. I feel like I failed, and I hate failing. I know I can’t look back on our life or go back to before I knew about his affairs. Sometimes I wish I had of ignored his phone the night it lit up late at night. That turns into a whole string of what ifs. My head is constantly reeling even two years later. I don’t understand, can’t comprehend and there are no answers that I can find to help me. Do we spend time apart and see if that’s what works for us? I don’t know. He’s left me with all the hard questions to answer. The kids look to me for guidance and I’m not sure I’m the best person to help them. I have been very careful with my words and showing my feelings around my kids but my heart aches for them. He’s screwing it up and blaming his stupid mistakes on me. That they must be reacting to him the way that they are because of something I have said or done. I told him he needed to talk to them before he moved out, and tell him his plans but he didn’t, he just left. Packed his stuff and left. Then he expected that they would contact him, and is upset that they don’t. They feel he moved out without telling them so it’s all on him if he wants a relationship with them. I think I led them down the path towards forgiveness when I stayed with him and he’s fucking it up when he pulls stupid shit like moving out without a conversation with them. They don’t think he respects them or their feelings. They love me, I feel their love. My pain is their pain, and I know it shouldn’t be but their whole lives I’ve been their whole world. He worked and worked, missing out on so much of our lives to make more money. I don’t know why he figured making more money would make him happier. He was always chasing a bigger yearly income. He often asked me what did I gross last year, and honestly I had no idea. He was happy when we were first together, he enjoyed his job and the people he worked with. Most of them are still friends today. I wonder how he’s going to feel when he has to tell them we aren’t together anymore. We’ve been so good at faking it for the last two years our friends and family will scratch their heads. Many of them will cut him from their lives, because him hurting me will hurt them deeply. They welcomed him 25 years ago into their lives and now he’s left. 

Afternoons with Ann

Ann has become the person I trust the most. She’s the only person I trust. She doesn’t offer her opinion on how I’m choosing to deal with this mess that is my life. She listens, she watches my body language and she asks me to explain what I’m feeling when she notices my foot and crossed leg start to move as I’m talking about recent events. Sometimes I wish I could ask her for a hug but I’m not sure if that is part of her job description and it probably crosses a line between patients and therapists. 

A lot has happened since the first time Dave and I sat on her couch. Now it’s just me. Last week was the first time in months since I had seen her and I felt so much relief when she opened the door to her beautiful new home and welcomed me into it. It feels like a home. It is a place where I feel safe. I know that I can laugh or cry, be angry or whatever I need for that hour. She listens, observes and then asks if she can make a suggestion or can we try something. I’m here, I will do anything at all if it will make me feel even the tiniest bit better. 

Ann knows my biggest secret. She knows that Dave and I have separated. In January this year he dropped out on me like a few times before and I knew he was with his girlfriend. He denied it and said he just needed space on his own. I told him it was time to try therapy, I felt we needed some sort of intervention to help us sort out if we should stay together or be apart. During our sessions he was there but I could tell he wasn’t really there. I was pretty sure that he didn’t end his relationship with his online girlfriend like he promised he had. When it comes to reading Dave, I’m really good at it. The only problem is as a cheater he is also a very good liar who makes me second guess my instincts. I should never doubt myself, because every time I’ve had a feeling of disconnect, my feelings have been correct. 

In July, he disconnected. I asked him what was going on, he said nothing was wrong and carried on. The problem is I knew something was going on because my anxiety was back and so were the sleepless nights. In July his online girlfriend moved to the city, our city, where we live. Only instead of telling me the truth he let me feel crazy, again.

Ann calls it “Crazy Making” and it does make a person feel a little crazy when someone acts like they love you and want to be with you but then they do things to push you away. I can deal with a girlfriend but I cannot deal with lies and deceit. Tell me the truth, leave me and be with your girlfriend but don’t try and hang on to me while you are out enjoying your freedom. 

A few days before Thanksgiving I find out through Facebook that she has moved from Georgia and now lives here. My whole body is vibrating, I want the truth, all of it and now. By the time Dave arrives at the house to talk, I suggest we need to go out because I’m not sure he wants to have this conversation where our boys can hear us. I’m almost certain I will not be able to keep my voice down or hide the shame I feel for trusting him and letting him do this to us again. He promised it was over, never to happen again. Lies. All lies. Being blindsided sucks.

Ann wants to know what I want out of my sessions with her, what do I expect? I tell her, I’m not sure.  I don’t know if I just need a safe place to vent, and have someone listen to this insanity or if I need her to actually fix whatever is broke in me that keeps allowing him back into my life, so that he can bulldoze it again, when I start to feel like I’ve built a little bit of security again. I tell her I wish someone could just tell me what to do, tell me if what I do is right or wrong or build me a flow chart to guide me. Yes, go in this direction. No, go in that direction. She laughs a little and says “Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice”

Life is all about choices. I need help to make choices now because I thought I was making all the right ones but I still ended up in this spot where my husband had an affair. I have to retrain my brain, though because the poor choices were his not mine, but somehow I’m left wondering where I went wrong? I felt like I was a good wife, and mother so why did he make it all feel like everything I did meant nothing. I have to quit giving him so much control over my happiness. I should be very happy with the type of mother and wife I am. I am very proud when people compliment me on how wonderful my kids are, and I like to think that all that credit falls to me for being a stay at home mom their whole lives. I have to give credit to Dave too though because he worked so hard so that we could make that happen. It was very important that our kids were safe and being raised by us. I love him for that. 

The problem is that we’ve been a team for so long that I don’t know how we will make out being apart for good. We’ve been separated for two months now and it’s very hard. I want to cut him out of my life completely and he won’t let it happen. I’m willing to talk about the kids and come up with a schedule for our youngest son to see him but right now I just want space until he can do what he says he wants to do. He says he wants to make things right and come home to his family. What does he have to do to make that happen? I tell him what he would need to do and he “says” he would be okay with it but when it comes right down to it will he be? 

I can’t worry about what he needs right now. I need to worry about what I need and how I can get my feeling of strength and independence back. I don’t need him. I love him and I know that I will never have this kind of relationship with anyone else, I don’t even want to. 

Eventually, I will move on. I have set a boundary and a deadline of how long I am prepared to wait after that, I begin removing him from my life for good. He will go into the mental box that I have, the one that I keep people in who’ve hurt me. They don’t get out of the box, they get put there because there is no room left for them in my life. It might be a sad way to live but it is a method of protection for me. 

Ann knows I had things happen to me as a child and I wonder if they’ve contributed to how I perceive things now. She wanted me to think how far back I could remember the feeling of anxiety. I tell her I think it might go back as far as grade one and having to carpool with this teacher who was mean to me. Seriously? What kind of teacher or person even is unkind to a six year old? I remember trying so hard to not be scared or crying when she finally came to pick me up, so that she wouldn’t call me a baby in front of the other girl who we carpooled with. I hated every minute I had to be in that car. To this day, I even remember how it smelled. 

Ann wants to know about that six year old me and I don’t like to talk about her and the experiences she had. I feel scared when I think about the things that happened. Even at six I knew they were wrong, but had no power to control them. I wonder if that teacher ever thinks about that time and those mean things she said and did to me. It makes me wish I could go back and make that little girl feel safe and protect her from that woman. 

Most of this was in a very short hour this afternoon with Ann. She makes me feel stronger. I think she knows that deep down, I have the answers to all of these doubts that I have. I just need to find the courage to say what I need, out loud. 

Finding Wellness 

 I started searching for me, putting myself and the wellness of my body first. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, another is trying to find peace within my mind. 

Trying to put my needs above everything else in my life has always been a struggle for me. Having three kids and a husband made it even tougher. I remember having a discussion with my doctor after a kidney infection left me wiped out for several weeks. He said to me “Stacey, how do you feel about the numbers on the scale?” Well of course I didn’t like what it was, 350lbs…shocking, depressing, embarrassing. “Do you want to make a change in your lifestyle?” Of course I would but how do I find the time to do all that I need to do for my family and do everything he was asking me to do? His response was “Ask for help. Right now it’s just overweight, next comes diabetes and numerous other complications you need to make a change” Asking for help was something I was not very good at. Even today, it’s still hard for me. 

I started a program that the Dr recommended for weight loss. I talked weekly with a therapist, weighed in, worked out, went to group support meetings with 29 other people in the same boat as me, and followed the plan for a year. I weighed food, counted calories, tried clean eating recipes, walked kilometres upon kilometres every day. It wasn’t easy to do because it required time and energy. 

The first week was the hardest. I remember one night being completely exhausted, crying and wanting to give up when my husband took me by the hand to our bedroom, pulled out my pyjamas, and tucked me into bed. “Stacey, you are doing such a great job. This is such an amazing thing you are doing for our family. You need to be healthy for our kids, they need you and so do I.” His words stuck with me, lifted me. 

After a few weeks I found my groove. I walked on the treadmill in the morning after the two older kids went to school, my youngest got plunked down in front of a couple of shows on the Disney Channel and I walked for an hour. I thought about a lot in that hour but mostly how I was beginning to feel strong. I was loosing weight, my confidence was returning, I bought a few new clothes and at the end of the first half of the program I was down 83lbs. In the second half of the program I had to rely more on myself and less on the program. I had to step out of my comfort zone at home and join a gym, and then came a boot camp. By the end of the year I had dropped down 120lbs all on my own by following the Dr’s orders, watching calories, and exercising. 

I put in all the hard work, but then something started to change and I was slipping. I wasn’t working out as much or as often. I couldn’t quite put a thumb on the beginning of this anxiety I was starting to feel. Was I anxious because I was now done with the program and that I would just fall off the clean and sober calorie wagon? I kind of feel like food is an addiction as well, and sometimes the binges are uncontrollable. Then with the binges come the guilt and remorse. It was during this time that things had started to change in my marriage. I asked my husband if there was someone else and he laughed it off and said no. He lied. His lie has made me feel like everything I’ve ever done, especially in the last few years, didn’t matter. That his little speech should have been saved, that he didn’t really need me because he decided that an affair did suit his needs. 

For the first few months after I found out about the affair I quit doing everything. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening or what had even happened. I still can’t for that matter. 

I had talked with my Dr about the next step, gastric surgery, because I was worried that the weight was going to come back, and by the time I convinced him, I had already put 50lbs back on. The surgery itself was pretty easy, I already had all the tools to make it work and my anxiety over the possible weight gain went away. My will to exercise has not returned. I hear songs that I used to listen to when I ran and I want to be that woman again. The one who felt strong and in charge of her life. Now I just feel like I can’t be her anymore because she didn’t matter to the one person who I loved and trusted the most.

 I’m struggling right now with the changes that are beginning to happen in my life. My oldest son is graduating this year, and my daughter decided she wanted to try a boarding school in another province, my youngest will be at home still for at least 8-9 more years so the house will not be empty. I feel like things are weighing me down and I don’t know how to process these feelings. I returned from dropping our daughter off at school, a very emotional trip for me, and I’m barely able to keep it together when my husband starts hitting me with what our oldest son is dealing with in organizing his grade twelve year. We have to go meet with this counsellor, and lists off a bunch of potential options of what we can do to help our son. What he’s not paying attention to is that my anxiety has landed heavily on me, and when I ask to just go home, he says “No, you can come” He’s annoyed, I can see the look in his eyes. He doesn’t listen to me and as he’s about to pull into the school parking lot, I can’t breathe, my chest is hurting and I’m crying that I can’t deal with this meeting right now. I just got off the plane from leaving our little girl at a school 15hrs away, she is never moving home because after boarding school she’ll be off to university. I don’t feel like I can keep it together and talk about the impending graduation and what we need to do to help our son get there. I hate showing emotions to other people, I feel silly to be upset that my kids are growing up. So I have all of this piling up on top of the unhappiness I feel in my marriage. 

I’m not happy. I can’t get past my husbands affairs. I want to, but something won’t let me. I want to know, was he unhappy in our marriage which led him to the first affair? Did he want me to leave him like I always said I would if I ever found out that he had an affair? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how to deal with my anxiety. He doesn’t feel he should have to justify his whereabouts to me, or leave his phone and computer unlocked now. I feel if there is nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal? I’m not asking that it be like this forever, I’m asking for peace of mind until I feel like I can trust him. Right now, I’m just waiting for him to reach his limit with me and drop out of reality and take a week off to be with the girl he met on line. He said  he thought that I was doing better. I feel like I’m just getting better at hiding my feelings from him. 

Today we talked about separating and what that would mean. Do I want that? I don’t know what I want anymore. I feel like he is just a friend, I don’t feel married and that we are just together because we don’t know how to leave each other. I feel like I need some time away from him, and kids and everyday life but I’m afraid that if I go, I won’t ever come back. I have to come back, I have a little boy who still needs his mother for at least 10 more years. 

I wish I knew what happened to derail our life and when, maybe we could have fixed it before the train totally derailed. I didn’t want to give up on us, but he can’t do what I need him to do to make me feel safe, and that he’s in my corner again. I need him to be my person. I want him to be the guy I fell in love with, the great guy that everyone thinks I’m so lucky to have. Unfortunately though, I don’t see him anymore. That guy he used to be is gone, and I feel like the person he still wants me to be is gone too.