After an affair, your life doesn't belong to you anymore. For over a year, I couldn't control my own thoughts.
The turmoil in my head was viciously repetitive but savagely random. With this blog, I began to exorcise the demons holding my head hostage.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank God for Pharmaceuticals & Napa Valley

Longest dinner in history!  I never take a moment with my grandpa for granted.  He's 98 now and I am so grateful for everyday I still have him in my life, but that night my heart forgot to appreciate my time with him.  My heart was much too busy thinking about Richard's time with her.

This would be the night that Richard decided to come clean.  Come clean...Odd phrase for revealing something so dirty, so shameful.  Richard "deciding" might not really be accurate, either.  He didn't have much choice.  I'd found the truth myself.  He couldn't very well lie his way out of the digital damnation.  He was ready to confess a multitude of sins, but was I ready to hear them?

Grandpa went home. (yea...he still drives!  LOVE that man!) The kids both retreated to their rooms for texting, Facebooking and other teen social activities.  Richard and I headed outside, into the dark.  I went out armed with a fresh pack of Virginia Slims and the rest of the bottle of a lovely Napa Valley white I'd been sucking down for the past two hours.  I was feeling no pain, not even in the emotional sense.  God bless pharmaceuticals.  We sat in the stools by the barbecue next to the pool.  I had no idea how to start this conversation.  I left that up to him.  After all, it was his story to tell.

He wasted no time.  It seemed to me he needed to expel all the lies, like the dishonesty had nearly poisoned him.  He needed his soul pumped clean, just like you might pump the sewage out of a cess-pool after years and years of unattended use.  He gushed foul truths about himself, recent truths and some long past.

Yes, he had loved Jaymie.  He couldn't explain it.  He never stopped loving me.  He told me repeatedly that he always wanted to come home.  Yes, he had stayed with Jaymie the first night I sent him out of the house.  Jaymie was there when he spoke with me on the phone, but he asked her to wait in the hall for privacy.  WHAT??  To this day, I don't buy that one.  Mostly because in her email to him that chronicles the entire night (see Post Rough Night)  not once does it say she left the room.  On and on, he continued to try and cleanse his soul.  I learned about a night he spent with a stripper 5 years ago, a mutual friend that he slept with multiple times 15 years ago and a woman he met at work that needed attention of a very personal nature.  He was compelled to help her in her time of crisis, 20 years ago.

In my drug induced zombie like state, I managed to absorb what he was telling me but I could not even begin to process it.  I probably wouldn't have been able to process it even if I was stone cold sober.  Hours ago, when I read the emails, my brain said, Good Night!  I'm over it for now!  Closed for any further input this evening.

If what they say about confession is true, that its good for the soul, Richard was ready for the Rapture.  Soul all freshly scrubbed, spic and span!  If he was hoping for me to contribute more to our conversation, he was extremely disappointed.  The only emotion I remember is empty.  I know, that's not technically an emotion but, that's all I felt, a big, black hole inside.  Void of any feelings.  I think I even thanked him for finally loving me enough to speak the truth.  The Xanax and wine had worked like a charm.  It served two purposes, I didn't flip out or lose it.  I didn't collapse or go ballistic and Richard was able to survive the night, but not in our bedroom, of course.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The REAL Truth

About a month after DDay, the wheels came off the coaster from hell and the car I was in almost flew right off the horrific track, hurling me to my demise.  Seriously, after I found the emails, I thought my life was over.  Life, as I knew it, was over, without any shadow of a doubt.

I was cooking dinner for my 97 year old grandpa.  Dearest man alive.  He was working with Richard trying to fix our chain saw.  I know, 97 and repairing our chainsaw...Crazy, right?  Grandpa is not only the dearest man alive, he is also one of the most amazing.  Anyway...Richard had left his computer open.  He had been making his laptop available to me as per instructions from Dr. K.  Cheaters learn in therapy that for the betrayed spouse to heal, there must be total transparency.  Richard, unlike many wayward spouses, had been more than willing to accommodate me.  I put dinner in the oven and thought I'd take a peek.  Up until then, I hadn't really dug, just sort of glanced.  Remember, I was living in Lovers La La Land, my own personal version of the FOG.  Richard had previously shown me some emails that he exchanged with Jaymie.  The ones I had seen to date were very vanilla.  He was careful, or so he thought.  I was about to find the emails that were of a more exotic flavor.

Went to his office email.  Searched Jaymie.  Nothing.  Went deeper into deleted files and VOILA, found the hard truth.  The REAL truth, not Richard's version of the truth. Truth I had suspected all along.  This was "Fog" truth, but that did not make it less real.  My understanding of this discovery was that Richard had been lying to me since DDay.  More lies.  Another layer of shock.  If you're gonna look, you should be prepared for what you'll find, however I can't imagine what would prepare you for this.

I found the mother load of heart wrenching, marriage shattering, breath stealing, mind bending, soul melting lies on the screen of a laptop.  My eyes wouldn't focus, probably because they instantly filled with tears as soon as I saw the first email from Richard to Jaymie that said, "I love you, Jaymie.  You make me feel things no one ever has before."  And, that was one of the easier emails to read out of the repulsive pile.

My Grandpa was here!  I could NOT lose it in front of him!  Dashed for the Xanax and sauvignon blanc.  Gotta chill.  Gotta keep it together.  Breathe, for God's sake!  I thought the first morning when I found the phone records that verified the affair, was the worst day of my life, but this revelation sent that morning to a distant second on the worst days of all time meter.

After I medicated myself, I started to scan the extensive list of emails.  I knew I didn't have much time.  I had only been trying to absorb the idea that my husband was in love with someone else for a minute or two when Richard walked in.  He instantly knew the ugly, REAL truth of his relationship with Jaymie had been discovered.  His face froze in a mask of abject terror.  I looked back at him in utter disbelief and with no hope left for our future together.

A few ineffective words dribbled from his mouth.
"I never wanted you to see those."
"Oh, my God.  I'm so sorry."
"Please let me explain."
He was probably thinking, "How in the hell could I be so stupid and computer illiterate?  I deleted those fucking things!  How did she find them??"

Told him to shut the fuck up!  "We can not do this now.  Get out.  Leave me alone.  I will not let this hurt my Grandpa!"  And, then a bit calmer, "I'll let you know when its time for dinner."
Good for me!  Self-control!  I don't even think the Xanax had kicked in yet!  Shut the computer and went in to check on the dinner that I could not possibly eat after reading words of passionate romance from MY husband to her, like these:


 to Jaymie
show details Sep 9
I want you to know some things:

I love you and I want you to be happy. As amazing as Friday was, the days since have been even better. Your words, your voice, your texts, your emails, your pictures have added an unforeseeable dimension of excitement and joy to my life.  I can see what I have given you as well. You have never looked prettier and I believe you have never been happier. When you said today you were frustrated, felt tension and pain in your neck, I felt terrible for you. I don’t want you to feel that way. I want you to feel the way I have made you feel over the last week. I want to be free, easy, unburdened. I want you to live every day at your maximum potential in all areas – physical, emotional, mental.  I want you to feel sexy all the time. Soon you and I will both return to being effective on our routines and in what we do.  I understand you are going through turmoil now and I want you to know that I will support whatever happens.  I will listen, but I will not judge. I will encourage, but I will not demand; I will guide but I will not control.

I know we will be together forever anyway.  So this is not about me. It is about you being happy and feeling free and good without burdens.

I love you.

He sent her this just two days after the first time they had sex in his office.  Almost every email or text contained words of deep, undeniable love, a love he had never felt before, a love without question, a love worth risking his entire married life.  Inside my heart and soul were disintegrating.  On the outside, I smiled and called the kids and Grandpa in for some homemade baked mac & cheese.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trust Forever Lost. WHY?

It felt as though as I was watching my life from outside my body.  My brain was imploding with volcanic anger and relentless sadness.  I was obsessed by questions so rampant I could think of little else. I did retain a small part of grey matter in there that was humming along, planning what I would do next.  Gotta have a plan.  It's my job to fix the mess.  If I don't do it, who will?   I could handle that teensy function of my cerebral activity.  The rest of the psychological meltdown was completely foreign to me.

I was puppet-like.  Somebody else was pulling my strings.  I couldn't have been running my own life.  I hadn't the foggiest notion of how in the hell I was able to get up, have sex, get dressed, get the kids to school and then head to work. My time was completely taken up by thoughts of Richard doing Jaymie on the floor of his office.  How could I find time to go to the grocery store and cook dinner? My imagination was sucking the life outta me.  But, on I went, hour by hour, day by day, I took tiny steps toward normality.  Not truly believing, but going through the motions as if, with the Lovely Dr. K as our head coach, our new found fervent love for each other would save our marriage in no time at all!

Body and mind were not a cohesive unit!  Are you getting that disconnect?  How do I explain Post Traumatic Stress?  My mind could not absorb something it was so unprepared for.  How can you comprehend something that your mind NEVER even considered possible previously?  I was the most trusting wife on the planet!  I never questioned where Richard was or who he was with or what time he'd be coming home.  He works with all women on his staff.  I used to call them his harem.  He works for women in crisis, in the middle of divorce or child custody battles.  He is their knight.  Not once, in 30 years, did I contemplate he would cross over to the dark side.

Sometimes I wonder if I hadn't had so much faith in the character of my husband, would I have suffered quite so much?  If the thought of him commiting this crime against our marriage had been considered before, I might have enjoyed a softer landing than the drop off a cliff I had endured.  I don't think I'll ever be able to trust anyone ever again, not with the unconditional confidence I had in Richard.  He always loved that about me.  He would brag to friends how I never whined about him going out, even to strip clubs.  I knew he'd come home.  I knew he loved me, so why be jealous??  My response to my friends that questioned my certainty in the faithfulness of my man, "If he cheats on me, he doesn't really love me.  So, why in the hell would I want him anyway?"  I was as serious as a heart attack, but now we know....Such bombastic rhetoric!  Total horse-pucky!  The loss of trust feels like a very important part of me, the me I was most proud of, will be dormant forever, if not Dead on Arrival.

Meetings with Dr. K were becoming less frequent and, I thought, less productive.  How long can you kick the same damn dead horse?  After a month, that stinky thing needs to be six feet under!  I thought a month was plenty-o-time to figure out WHY, in the name of the Good Lord, my husband decided to bang a co-ed.
I had been asking the same question for weeks, "WHY?"  I think Richard tried to answer, but he didn't try very hard.  He didn't strain himself looking into WHY he was a cheating, lying, selfish bastard.  The reasons he attempted to relate were so insignificant.  So irrelevant.  He felt like he loved me more than I loved him.  He didn't think I'd ever find out, so it wouldn't matter.  And, as I've mentioned before, he felt he deserved it.

I was over it.  Time to shake it off.  WHY keep asking the same thing over and over at $140 an hour!?  I secretly hoped there would be an answer to WHY, some miracle phrase or idea that would help me find some measure of closure.  Richard still went to see Dr. K.  She wanted him to focus on WHY he did what he did, so he'd never do it again.  I surely appreciated her forethought in that regard.

Truth is, I didn't know the truth yet.  I wasn't anywhere near done.  The coaster was just getting refueled and the wheels had been greased but good.  You've probably heard the saying, "God only gives you what you can handle."  When I learned the truth, I thought He had mistaken me for someone MUCH stronger.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living in the Land of Denial

I was an abysmal mental wreck for the next few weeks, but I didn't know it.  I didn't know much of anything.  The initial shock was wearing off, but since my mind couldn't handle the burden of my reality, it compassionately shifted into a comfortable delusion.  When a person suffers from Post Traumatic Stress, and make no mistake, that is exactly what this is, your brain will slide into a protective mode. My altered state of being was brought on for self-preservation but was also heavily influenced by my need to hide my husband's ugly behavior from my Mom & Dad.

They arrived a week after DDay, with my 97 year old grandpa, for their winter visit.  They own a home about 10 minutes from ours.  The trepidation I felt about them learning the repulsive truth about my current situation stemmed from a few things, but first and foremost, I did not need my mother's heavy handed advice right now!  She means well.  No, really...she does.  I know you've heard that before about people that just can't mind their own freakin' business, but I totally get where my mom is coming from.  She thinks she can "fix it".  Doesn't matter what "IT" is.  She has a deep seeded need to make it all better.  It's almost a compulsion, really.  And, lucky me, I inherited that annoying bit of her DNA, so I understand why she can't keep her solution brainstorms to herself.

Once we survived the conference with Jaymie, I exhaled and embraced the new relationship that was emerging with my wayward spouse.  The path I chose meant there was no reason to trouble my family with my pitiful predicament. Richard was absolutely frantic in his efforts to pay penance for his participation in his heinous violation of Commandment Number Seven.  I almost felt sorry for the guy. His shrink told me that Richard had experienced one of the worst mid-life breakdowns he had ever seen.  I've loved Richard for 30 years.  Isn't it obvious that I would choose tracks on the coaster that would allow me the smoothest ride possible?  I steered onto the track called "Madly in Love".  Most of the emphasis should be placed on the syllable...MAD...certifiable.

This was crazy, teenager, soupy, high energy, thought kidnapping, manic love.  When we had to be apart, we left notes for each other.  We texted hourly.  Called just as much.  Made love at every opportunity.  When close enough, we were always touching, hugging and kissing.  Spent way too many minutes just gazing into each others eyes.  There was only one reason I was able to gaze at anything remotely related to Richard at that point.  My brain had shifted into my safe place and had granted me temporary blindness by way of denial.

All of this uber-love was not normal.  Duh!  Not normal, but purposeful.  We made it through a dinner party with my parents and a dozen of their friends.  Yea, a few comments were made about how cute it was that we were so touchy-feely.  I think someone even suggested we get a room.  We just smiled and made-out some more.  Had an awesome time at a Halloween party with our friends.  Truly, we were back to our perfect couple persona's.  We fooled everyone, including ourselves, but not Mom.

Mom is a very smart and perceptive woman.  She has always had a kind of sixth sense about guys that cheat.  If she acquired that skill when my dad had his affair, then perhaps I will also be empowered with the talent now that I am counted in the ranks of the betrayed.  She casually inquired about the status of my marriage.  Without planning my answer ahead of time, I was surprised that I found a convenient lie so quickly.  "Richard has been struggling at work.  He just hasn't been himself.  He seems to need a great deal of reassurance lately.  He's seeing a therapist."  Nice, right?  Off the top of my head or pulled right outta my butt cheeks.  You can pick.  Where ever I found the fabrication, it seemed to appease her.

I had almost convinced myself, between hysterical crying jags, that I was such a strong and driven woman, that I would set the new world record for rebounding from the havoc, waste and ruin of my husband's erratic, immoral mid-life crisis.  As far as I knew, Richard was doing everything right to ease my pain, to quiet my anger and to mend our marriage. As far as I KNEW....haven't we already established that I didn't know jack shit?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

This Blog is for Me

A week ago, Richard calls me at work and says, "I've got some bad news."  Oh, crap.  Now what?  He hasn't been feeling well.  Is he sicker than we thought?
We had a little extended family misunderstanding that blew up recently.  It caused some serious hurt feelings.  Maybe that was what he was talking about.
Our daughter hasn't exactly been highly motivated.  Is she the Turmoil de Jour?
I guessed each of these as the potential bad news issues.  Not sure why he had me guessing.  He should have just called me and said, "Jaymie found your blog."

Was I shocked?  No.  How tough could it be?  I sure wasn't hiding our names or our faces. I want people to read this blog, the more the better.  I thought if I put our real names and photos out there, it added to the credibility of what I write.  I am more than willing to open up the most private wounds in my marriage for two main reasons.
1.  Putting all my pain on digital paper helps me move forward.  Type it, read it, analyze it, if I must, and then never dwell on it again.  Each harsh memory can be filed away in cyber-space and allow my brain to open up the emptied out area for new, happy memories.
2.  This is not so much a goal, but more of a hope.  It would mean so much to think that someone might find my blog and read a post that speaks to their pain.  Help a betrayed spouse understand the roller coaster and teach them how to fasten their seat belt for the ride.
Those are the MAIN two reasons for writing this blog.  But, if I'm being truthful, and that is what I crave in my life, the fact that Jaymie found this blog did not break my heart.

Did she read it?  No clue.  If she did, I bet she didn't like what she read.  It couldn't be easy to absorb how her actions almost ruined a life and a family.  I have only written pure truth.  No embellishment, no exaggeration and definitely no lies.  I've barely scratched the surface of the beast.  I'm still writing about the first couple of weeks on the coaster.  I think the first dozen posts set the tone efficiently, so if she did read any of it, she should understand the depth of my anguish,  if not the difficulty of my struggle.

Richard tells me that Jaymie called the attorney who helped me when she filed a restraining order against me soon after I started this blog and found the HH support group.  He said she was hysterical.  Screaming and crying.  Saying things like, "She can't do this!"  Why in the hell not?
I sure can do this and I'm not gonna stop.  This blog is for ME.  Her opinion of how I work to regenerate my soul is of no concern to me, as you can well imagine.

This new piece of drama in my life, already laden with histrionic issues, hardly made a blip on my "Do I give a Shit?" radar.  Could she call me out for violating the restraining order?  Nope.  Did I contact her directly?  Nope.  Did I use a third party to contact her?  Hell, nope.  This blog is restraining order proof.  My only concern was that she would try to find a way to take it down.  So, I beat her to the punch.  I shut it down.

Temporarily, I shifted the blog to private status.  As much as I hate to admit it, because I really want to be selfish about this blog, it is so personally mine, it is Richard's story, too.  After Jaymie found it and the attorney read it , Richard thought it was time he read it.  He has always known I was writing it.  I've showed it to him, with the picture of us celebrating his 60th at Pebble Beach, smiling on the right side of the page above Jaymie's grinning mug shot.  His only comment was, "Looks like you have the page set up really well.  I like the layout."  As far as I know, until Jaymie found my posts a week ago, Richard never read any of it.

He knew how much writing this was helping me...IS helping me.  I thought he didn't care that his name and face were public domain.  Wrong.  He cared A LOT.  He just cared more that I find peace.  He cared more that this could help us find our way back to each other.  I love him SO much for that.  He has given me everything I have asked for to help me heal.  My attorney was not feeling as generous as my husband.  He was shocked that I would risk Richard's reputation.  Richard listened to him plead his "rational" lawyer case and then he read my blog, all of it.

When he finished it, the first thing he told me was that he never knew I was such a gifted writer.  Huh?  I've haven't written more than an email in years.  Never even had a diary before.  Maybe he was just trying to make me feel good about myself before he told me the blog had to come down.  I waited for that wrecking ball to drop, but it didn't.  He only said, "You need to think about how this could effect my ability to do my job.  My reputation is all I have.  That pays our mortgage."  Then he told me that he never would have been able to write about the past year in as real a way as I was doing.  He was glad he read the blog.  He wasn't sure he learned anything new, except he felt something very strongly.  He felt the devastation I experienced when reading the emails he sent to Jaymie professing his love for her.  He felt it acutely.  Chalk up another solid reason for continuing to write.

The blog has been down for a week while I contemplated Richard's request for greater privacy. Today the coaster is heading up an incline so my decision for now is, no photos, no last names. I don't need those to purge poison and write from my heart.  I have to keep blogging, trying to describe the consequences of my husband's affair as clearly as I am able.  I'll continue to be honest to the core and strive to include as much detail as I can remember.  Might be boring.  I'm no writer.  I'm just a betrayed spouse.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hysterical Bonding

Had my face-off with Jaymie.  Felt vindicated.  Sort of.  MY MAN told her she meant nothing to him.  Sort of.  I told her, she was a pathetic loser.  Sort of.  Nothing is concrete or definitive in my new reality.  The only thing that was as clear as my new best friend, Ketel One vodka, was my deep seeded need to reclaim my husband as my own and hence, life as I knew it pre-DDay.

Richard was my life line, my emotional flotation device.  He threw me overboard, yet I still depended on him to be my savior.

Richard spent the first night out of the house with Jaymie, the second and third night in a tiny motel near our home.  On the fourth day, after 6 hours of emergency counseling, he made it back into the house.  Banished to the guest room, he could not have been more elated.  He never wanted to leave our home, but to his credit, he never argued with me about it.  Part of that may have been due to the fact he thought I might kill him in his sleep. (For those of you that take things too literally, please disregard the last remark.  It's called dark humor.)

When I acquiesced and agreed to let him back in our home, I told him it was for our kids.  I didn't want them to worry. I wanted to get back to normal as soon as possible for them.  Mostly true.
Completely true...I missed him so much!  Our king size bed felt like an immense cavern.  I can't remember ever feeling so alone, so lonely, so needing the man I had loved for over half of my life.
Starting to tear up as I type.  That is a very raw memory.

He hadn't been home long.  One night, after hours talking and drinking in the dark, we parted to retire in our separate bedrooms.  Sleep doesn't come easy.  The excuse for my next move was:  maybe I'll sleep better if he's in the bed with me.  I ventured into the guest room and asked him to please come back to our bed.  Didn't have to ask him twice.  Within minutes of feeling his warmth next to me,  I asked if I could lay in "my spot".  That's what we call it when I rest my head on his chest, under his arm.  His arm flew up, I crawled over.  With my ear to his chest, the beating of his heart penetrated my protective layer of self preservation.  I gave in to pure primal need.

I gotta draw the line with sharing all the passionate details of what happened next.  Suffice it to say, it may have been the best sex we have had EVER!  Well, I shouldn't speak for him, but it was the best I ever had.  No holds barred!  Inhibitions be damned!   It was like having sex with a stranger, but better because I knew every inch of him and he sure as hell knew me.

After, I was exhausted, utterly confused and mortified!  We laughed about it.  Humor can be a huge relief during uncomfortable moments, but the relief didn't last long.  My brain went into over-drive.  What did I just do?  Did he do that with her?  When did he learn that new thing? Was she better than me?  I'm losing my mind.  I cried myself to sleep in "my spot."
Woke up the next day and did it again.  I think we hid in the bathroom while the kids got ready for school.

Told Dr. K about the sexual marathon.  It wasn't love-making.  It was way too fast and furious.  When we talked about it, we giggled like hormonal teenagers.  Dr. K didn't have much to say.  She almost seemed as surprised by this behavior as I was.  That didn't make me feel better about it.  I felt dirty and shameful, but that didn't stop me from initiating another round of copulation again the next night.   I couldn't get enough of him.  So much sex!  All kinds of sex!  AND, even better, the hugging, the holding and deeper kisses than we had shared for years.

I'm finding it hard to describe how this addition to the coaster made me feel.  In one breath, I was putty, completely engulfed by my love for this man.  Then my brain would switch gears in a heartbeat and I haven't the skills to write well enough to explain the depth of my sorrow.  Crap.  Sorrow....such an inadequate word!  It was so much more than that.  I wanted to be with him.  I wanted to prove I was the only woman he loved.  (Who I was trying to prove it to is a question for another post!) Even while we were being more intimate than I could imagine, my mind imagined him being with her.

It was a year later that I found the Healing Heart.  Until then,  I thought the whole crazed sex component of this ride meant I was weak.  I was ignoring my true state of mind. Denial was comfortable and so much easier than my reality.  My first day reading the HH message boards, I came upon a post by someone brave enough to ask this question, "Is it normal to have tons of sex after you catch your spouse cheating?"  That woman is my hero!  There were many welcoming, compassionate, understanding responses.  Most of them told of the newest term in my vocabulary, Hysterical Bonding.

All at once, sitting at my computer a year after DDay and only a few days after I started this blog, I learned more about what I was dealing with than I had in hours of therapy.  Hysterical Bonding was normal!  In turn, that meant I was normal!  I was just taking back what was mine!  It was a turf war and I was not gonna lose! Without even realizing it, I was trying to be better than Jaymie.  Make certain Richard felt things with me that she could never make him feel.
There were so many more posts on HH that spoke directly to all of the pain, confusion and anger that I had experienced since DDay.  I read the message boards for hours.

I don't want to jump too far ahead.  There is so much more to tell.  The first year of my journey to healing still had many twists and turns for me to endure.  But, I'm glad this post took me to a place to talk more about hope and healing.  I want to stress that healing is possible.  No matter how demoralized and hopeless you feel, regardless of the darkness, if you don't give up, you may find a light, sometimes where you least expect it, to guide you back out of your emotional abyss.