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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

THEN & NOW

Just read the best thread of comments on That age-old question after the discovery of an affair… « Our Journey After His Affair

I won't rehash it all, but you really should go read it.  Once again, that Wayward Spouse Blogger dude was shooting off his mouth about how we, as betrayed wives, need to own some of the blame (seems as if he'd like to toss the lion's share of it into our arms!) for our cheating spouses wayward behavior.  In the thread, 3 betrayed wives, much better writers than I, made eloquent remarks defending our right to deny any blame.  They're words got me thinking....

About THEN & NOW.  How different my life would have been if I knew THEN all I know NOW.   What would I have done if Richard had come to me THEN and told me how he was struggling with getting older?  Would I have been understanding if he had shared that he had met a 24 year old girl that he couldn't get out of his head?  Would I have suggested counseling or would I have shut down and told him to get a freaking grip!?  Hindsight, all it once it is both beautiful and sinister.

The main reason I feel very strongly that the betrayed hold no blame for their partners infidelity is they should have come to us THEN.  THEN is anytime before choosing to go outside the marriage.  THEN is when we should have been given the opportunity to step up and fulfill the unmet needs of our spouses that caused them to cheat.

But, I guess that only rings true if there were unmet needs.  Wayward Blogger is oh, so adamant that is why men cheat...unmet needs.  What about unmet communication needs, Asshole??  (Sorry.  I could delete the name calling, but screw it.  It's my  blog.  I can call it like I see it here.)  Are perfect wives mind-readers?  Should I have been consulting with a psychic to discover my husband wanted more attention?   Damn.  If only I had owned a crystal ball!  I know I could have prevented Richard from jumping Jaymie's bones!!

Ugh.  Wayward Blogger brings out the sarcasm in me.  His arrogance and patronizing tone just chap my bootie.  He's so absurd.
Changing attitude....there, I'm over it.

Beautiful hindsight.  From THEN, we gain perspective.  If we are wise, we are able to learn from past mistakes, never to make the same ones again.  This is where I am NOW.

Sinister hindsight, focusing on the morbid, sordid hideous details of mistakes made THEN.   Wallowing in the negative, dwelling on blame, allowing THEN to prevent a better NOW.  This is where I was for a full year after DDay.

 I still don't have a crystal ball and I can only imagine what would have happened if Richard had come to me THEN.  What I know for sure is Richard never gave me a chance to be there for him THEN.  That's all I really need to know NOW to cast the blame away.  

THEN, Richard and I had lost the communication skills required for a healthy, happy marriage.  He didn't trust me enough to let me in.  He went to a stranger for comfort.  He owns the blame for that decision.  NOW, he vows to always come to me.
NOW, we talk every day, about everything.  No topic is insignificant.  No subject is taboo.  NOW, with the help of beautiful hindsight, our marriage is full of promise and I am grateful for lessons learned.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. (Non)Recovering Way(nktard) rears his ugly head again. I especially loved his parting shot about shrill finger-pointing and betrayed spouses wearing their victimhood like badges of honor. Blameshifting at its finest! I wonder why he is so invested in making an affair the fault of the betrayed. Almost every one of his sentences, where he talks about his fair goes something like this, "Yes, I cheat. BUT... (insert any number of excuses and the phrase "shitty spouse here)". I don't remember who said this to him, but I couldn't have agreed more when the commenter pointed out that it seemed there were only two ways to approach this issue in his mind--his way and the wrong way. That about sums it up. And I agree that his wife is probably not as reconciled or as healed as he would have us all believe. I don't see how she could be when he refuses to take accountability for himself or allow her to express her feelings and instead constantly hangs the threat of divorce over her head.

But enough about him. You raise a very good point. How do we prevent affairs? How do we get vulnerable spouses to talk to us instead of acting out in behaviors that will devastate our marriages? Would it hurt my feelings if my husband came to me and told me he was obsessed with another woman and on the verge of having an affair. Hell, yes! But not near as much as it would hurt if he takes it to the place where he's sleeping with a homewrecking whore. So what do we do to prevent it?

Shaunie said...

I agree anonymous! Waytard Is a loser who rationalize his pathetic behavior because he is disgusted and ashamed with himself. I hope his wife gets the courage yo run from that douche as he will never change

shawn, the wife said...

I gave up trying to communicate with that guy. I can only type out the 'things to do BEFORE you cheat' list so many times and then I gotta face it...he's never gonna admit he CHOSE to cheat. Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

So, let's forget Waytard (love that!) and talk about
"What If". Do you ever think about what ifs? I do all the time!
What if i had opened my damn eyes to all the gigantic red flags?? What if Richard had come to me and told me he was obsessing about Jaymie?
You could drive yourself crazy with this crap, but wouldn't it help others prevent affair fall-out? Kind of a heads up?
Maybe a blog by betrayed spouses on what we would have done IF....could be useful.
Wadda ya think?
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Hey Shawn- I am so grateful to have your blog to read. So naturally, I had to go check out Wayward's comments, which unfortunately, sucked me into checking out his blog. Ugh. I get that the gnarly world of cyberspace is his safe-place to process his side of sordidness most of us following these blogs have experienced, but it just felt like a whole lot of rationalizing coming from him as I read through both the blog and his comments. His open letter to the woman he'd had the affair was just so flipping "woe-is-me." And because of his need to call her out publicly for lying to him throughout their affair, I really can't take anything he says seriously now. Including his ridiculous comments about a betrayed partner's need to take responsibility for their part in an affair. (REALLY?!?no REALLY?!? Entitlement much?)Your point is irrefutable there's only one partner who chose an affair.

But I digress, what was way more interesting was the question you and Anonymous started to explore...and that's the issue of "What if..." It's taken me two LOOOOOOOONG flipping years...and a hell of a roller coaster ride to finally feel like I might be able to let go of the what if's. And that's probably only now possible, because I'm finally at a point where I feel like I know everything I need to know about his affair, and if it ever occurs to me that there might be something else I want to know, I know that all I have to do is ask. In the marriage we had leading up to his affair, I don't think I could have done anything to prevent his affair. We weren't talking to each other about much beyond the mundane details of our day-to-day routines. We'd both gotten complacent, and we'd both been so busy with the rest of our lives that we totally took each other for granted. Don't get me wrong- there was no abuse, there was no alcoholism, there was no "drama". There just wasn't much effort from either of us to really engage, and really connect, and really remember and appreciate all the good things that had brought us together in the first place. If he'd come to me with concerns...I probably would have just been pissed off. My thoughts would have been..."Why should I work harder at our sex life? I'm not seeing you do anything to make me want to bang you more or more creatively." And that gets me to the one piece of marital advice about affair prevention that I'd try to offer. It's not sexy, it's not creative, it's not very innovative advice...but I believe that it's true- each of you has a responsibility to figure out how you connect. Figure out what makes each of you feel engaged...and then you both have to bust your ass to figure out how to build doing that into your daily routines and make sure you both understand your roles in staying connected. Because the chemical rush of the initial sexual contact between two people is impossible to sustain...passion alone won't sustain a marriage, nor will emotional support alone. And once you've moved through the initial passionate connection, I don't care who you are, or what you look like...at some point, you're gonna have to work to stay connected and ensure your own needs are being met as well as meeting the needs of your partner. And even then...it's a crap shoot. And that's because the one thing I know for sure- is you have no control over anyone's actions other than your own. The best we can hope for is that we create the optimal conditions for a marriage's survival and then hope like hell that our partner respects us enough to honestly keeps us aware of where they are in the partnership. That's it. That's the best you get.
Again- forgive me for the lengthy post. Wayward's stuff hit some nerves. Keep writing Shawn, I really appreciate being able to read.
Reviling Roberta in Hawaii

shawn, the wife said...

Hi, Roberta: You never need to apologize for posting and venting here. Let it rip!
No one has a "perfect" marriage. What the hell is perfect? Perfect is boring. Life gets crazy so it's easier to just TRUST that your marriage is solid, then to check in and take the time to communicate. I've learned you can't just TRUST. You gotta verify. Richard and I have learned to talk, really talk, about everything. If nothing else, I hold that out as my infidelity survivor silver lining.
Forget Waytard. Gotta focus on our own waywards, right?
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Dear Shawn,
A friend told me about your blog. It's made me laugh (lord knows I could use that) but It's also made me cry A LOT. The story is a little different but the aftermath is VERY similar. The feelings, the different personalities, the mood swings. I almost stopped reading because I'm afraid of what's next. I am 6 post DDay. This time (yes it's happened before) but let me also say I've cheated as well (which I'm very ashamed of). Today's date is a trigger for me. It's been a tough one. Especially when you have several consecutive good days. Then the beast reels you back in. I want to forward to now but I'm doing my best to be patient. I don't want to miss anything. I'm hoping something in them will help me speed up the healing process. I'm realizing the road to healing a broken marriage is a very long one. Hopefully when I'm up to speed on your blog I will have a better understanding of what has happened and how to move on.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: Im glad your friend (is she a betrayed spouse, too?) told you about our little support group. I write the blog, but my readers are the reason. They help me so much more than I could ever help any of them.
I gotta tell you right off…I cheated, too. Years ago. Seems that Richard and I both jumped into marriage a little too soon. I only tell you this so you don't beat yourself up about past mistakes.
Like the title of the post above…that was THEN. You gotta try to focus on NOW. How is your WH treating you NOW? When I began to shift my thinking to NOW, I began to walk my Road to Happy.
Healing alone is nearly impossible. I'm glad you have a caring friend, but sometimes surrounding yourself with others that truly know your pain makes the struggle a bit easier.
Please consider checking out the Healing Heart Message boards. The link is on the bottom of my blog. Or come here and comment anytime. I try to check the blog at least every other day and answer as many questions as possible.
You can email me privately, too.
shawnthewife@aol.com
You can have a better marriage after infidelity. It just takes a hell of a lot of hard work. it was worth it for me.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn