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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday Services in Crazy Town

As I drove toward Lemon Grove, the absurdity of what I was doing did not escape me.  Did I really hope and expect Jaymie's parents would be attending services that morning?  Even now, I can't begin to explain what I thought I'd do if I saw them standing in a front row pew, holding a Bible, making a joyful noise to the Lord.

Armed with Map Quest directions, I was able to find the First Baptist Church without making a single wrong turn.  Instead of pulling directly into the parking lot that was across the street from the side of the church, I parked on the street where I was afforded a clear view of the main entrance.  The trip had taken less time than I anticipated so I was one of very few cars nearby.

I turned off the car, rolled down my window and sat quietly, watching each car arrive.  Every new arrival made my stomach clench, my heart skip a beat.  Is that Daddy James??  Will Jaymie come to try and prevent me from creating even more trouble for her family?  It was quite warm in the car, but that isn't why I was having difficulty breathing.

I ached!  It felt as though an evil elephant had planted his humongous ass on my chest!  My insides churned.  My brain and my gut were spinning.  I worried that I might hurl during the Pastor's sermon.  I had a brief humorous thought about the urgent need for barf bags to be placed on the back of each pew just like the airlines do.
It's really no wonder I was so sick to my stomach.  You would be too if you had reached the epicenter of Crazy Town.  It's a brutal vortex.  Low oxygen and extreme gravitational pull...straight down into hell.

After watching the gathering of church goers file through the front doors for nearly an hour, I knew it was time to, as my mom used to say...Shit or get off the Pot.  I don't why I went in. I didn't know what I'd do, what to expect.  Daddy James was no where to be seen.  I've never been a fan of idle threats.  I guess I just couldn't see going home without following through.
Usually being a person that always does what she sets out to do is admirable.
In this case, it was nothing but lunacy with quite a bit of masochism thrown in.

Right before I assumed services were to begin, I got out of the car, headed to the steps in front. There I met an elderly gentleman.  He walked right up to me and offered his hand.  "Hello, young lady."  (Already liked him.  He called me young!)
He introduced himself and welcomed me to services.  He was so happy I was joining their little congregation for services that morning.
I managed a smile and as I shook his hand I said, "I'm Shawn.  Thank you so much."

I walked into the foyer.  Such a simple church.  Nothing fancy here.  Remember, this was a neighborhood of limited means.  I found a seat on the far left, in the last row, right on the edge by the aisle.  Escape route appropriate.

I sat quietly, barely looking around for Daddy James.  Mostly staring at my lap or the front of the church.  Looking for salvation in all the holy symbols hanging there.
Cue the water works.....Not just whimpering, not merely crying.  Bawling.  Sobbing into my hands, dripping snot on my pants while straining to suck in breath while making no noise.
Yeah...that won't attract attention or anything.

Within a minute, a woman that I later learned was the Pastor's wife came over to me.  She didn't ask me what was wrong.  She was in no way intrusive, just concerned and armed with Kleenex.  She said she was glad I was there and she hoped I enjoyed the service.  I nodded and accepted the snot rags with great gratitude.

All the members here seemed older.  I think they liked the idea of a newbie, a soul to save that might bring something fresh to their beloved place of worship.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's why they were so unbelievably kind to me.  It's just a bit of an off topic observation.

The church had a Welcome Wagon Tag Team.  Next, I met Madeline.  She offered comfort.  Asked if I needed help.  I said, "No thank you.  I just hoped to find some peace here."
Cue the lightening!  Hard to believe God didn't fry my butt right there in that hard, wooden pew!
I hadn't come for peace.  I had come to perpetuate my war, my vendetta.  That was not to be.  (Thank God!)  Daddy James was no where to be seen.

Madeline gave me a pamphlet that described weekly meetings and group counseling for those in crisis. She shared that these meeting helped her when her husband had passed recently.  I was extremely grateful, but I could not wait for her to leave me alone!  The more kindness that was wasted on me, the heavier my soul became.  The guilt was almost unbearable.  I thanked her and told her that, for now, I just wanted to sit in the back and pray for guidance.  She graciously left me alone, after offering a gentle hug.

The sermon began.  In an opening prayer the Pastor thanked the Good Lord for bringing new faces to services that day.  The poor man had no idea how unwelcome I should have been.  Only I knew my intentions for joining them on this Sunday and that knowledge nearly suffocated me as he spoke.

For nearly an hour, through his sermon (Can't remember a word of it) I sobbed silently and I begged God to help me find a way to rid my broken heart of this intense pain but, I wasn't granted a revelation that day.
I rose quietly during the closing prayer and crept out.  I couldn't take anybody else being nice to me.  The shame I carried right then was immeasurable.  The only saving grace was that I had not talked about Jaymie to anyone.  I managed to refrain from dragging any of these lovely folks into my version of hell fire and damnation.  I walked quickly to my car.

Caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror.  Puffy, blood shot eyes, blotchy red skin.  I was a sight!  I remember shaking my head at my own reflection thinking...Who in the fuck are you anyway?? I don't even know you!  You're pathetic!

You all know, I don't wear weak well.  I needed to get back some control.  On the drive home, I began to shake off the guilt and contemplate how I could use what I'd learned from Madeline.
I wondered if Daddy James would go with me to the counseling meeting at his church?


TryingHard said...

Awesome. Maybe God DID want you to be there?? Sounds like this was the tipping point out of CrazyVille?

Anonymous said...

First to comment:

I am so sorry that you went through all of this! Your story and others, have led me to wonder if marriage is even worth the pain the in first place.
Almost half of all first marriages fail; and those that remain married few are happy and faithful. I know that I would loose it if I were in your position.

I guess I wonder if marriage is something that people should approach with more caution. Were there any signs or hints at the beginning of the marriage that Richard would have cheated on you?

Good luck,


shawn thewife said...

TryingHard: You'd think this would have put me over the edge, brought me back down to some kind of rational reality...but no. I still had a heart full of anomosity. I went a few more rounds with Jaymie and her clan.
I think the best place God showed me was cyber space! This blog and the Healing Heart were my salvation.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Wondering: I had no clues, not an inkling. From the day I got married, I always thought Richard was adultery proof.
Should marriage be approached with caution? No, but with very extreme consideration, cooperation and conversation.
You can never know true love without risking your heart. Being vulnerable is kind of a prerequisite.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Another Betrayed Wife said...

I feel your pain emanating from this post. Betrayal is a beast like no other and will strip you of your identity in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I think that I have been totally disassembled in order to rebuild myself the way I was meant to be, rather than having my life ruled by my self-imposed ideals, expectations and fantasies. It is excruciating but once you emerge on the other side, you never take anything for granted again. I am determined that this pain will have no long-lasting power over my happiness and this is my wish for everyone who has suffered in the aftermath of betrayal.

Denise Johnson said...

Don't mean to eavesdrop but didn't he cheat on you in the beginning of your relationship & then a hooker in Vegas 5 years ago? I dunno, I guess what I want to say is...I'm all for you fighting for your marriage but when is enough going to be enough? What happens if he does it again 5 years from now? I'm a three strikes you're out kind of person & trust me, if there were three women he cheated on you with, those are just the three you know about. I am glad you were calm at the service. If anything that's where Richard needed to be, a church, maybe not that church but any old church, ha! Keep your head up. I hope you are healing. And I hope deciding to stay with a multiple cheater doesn't affect your children.

BS said...

I think marriage is still worth it.

But we all need to be less trusting.

IMO, that is the good thing about the affair.....I no longer have my husband up on this idealized pedestal where I give him 100 percent trust and total freedom to be where he wants, when he wants.

I should have set those boundaries early in the marriage. I didn't. I bought into the bull crap that boy's night's out and men vacations would give him the freedom he craved and to not feel trapped and that would prevent an affair.

Research now definitively shows the opposite. Boy's and girl's nights out, according to infidelity counselors is typically the death knell of a marriage.

Married couples who stay faithful typically socialize together and with other couples who are in stable healthy marriages.

My husband had single men, men who cheated on their wives, a bunch of disgruntled married men in his regular group of friends.

As part of our agreement to work on the marriage he gave up that group and we have found new friends and always socialize as a couple with other couples.

Still, I don't think everyone should marry. Sometimes people can be perfectly happy going through life single. Nothing wrong with that, if it makes a person happy.

Lastly, One of my brothers, mentioned that the majority of men he knows have had at least one affair. Most wives are oblivious, according to him.

According to him, the group of faithful men is very small. He is one and sometimes feels weird about it.

According to him, men almost always cover for other men and it's almost never a reason to drop a friend.

Anonymous said...

BS & Shawn:

Shawn, I like that you are keeping up the blog regularly. You have many readers and you do owe it to us/them even if you did this blog solely for yourself. There are no good soap operas anymore...

BS- Thank you. I have been on a few sites regarding marriage and infidelity (not the healing heart, I'll leave that alone and just read it and never respond) and I've written on those sites that every single and I mean EVERY SINGLE man I have ever worked with or for - and we are talking hundreds of men: I've worked in airports, malls, health care, construction, trucking, etc etc - and every single man I ever had a conversation with cheated regularly on his wife and every single man I didn't have a conversation with I accidentally found evidence that he was cheating - they leave stupid clues that no one wants to find!!! - and all the other men that I didn't talk to about their lives (a lot of men love to brag) or happen upon stupid stuff, there were tons of gossiping about them cheating...

When I write this or tell this to anyone especially women they go ballistic! They think I'm paranoid cuz I've been madly cheated upon - I didn't know this before when I was working with all these men, so no, I'm not paranoid...I thought my husband was the only non - cheater and how lucky I was!!!! Ha!! Then my husband would tell me stories of the men in his companies and then the women who worked with him or for him would come to me at functions and tell me how lucky I was to be married to such a great guy - all the other men cheat!! Ha Ha Ha.

So thank you for writing that. I am always so alone in my knowledge of men (women have no f'ing idea) and when you try to explain this simple truth to women they will deny and deny and blame you.


fenix said...

BS thanks for posting the information about socializing with couples instead of boys/girls nights out makes a lot of sense!

I just recently visited crazy town and my husband was very freaked out I think I should let him read your blog so he can see what crazy really means LOL

Elle said...

Love this post Shawn. It's hard to reveal our vulnerability...but a post like this helps all of us recognize that crazy in us. And, hopefully, put it into perspective and allow us to show ourselves some compassion.

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous:

I have met many faithful men. Only about 50 to 60 percent of spouses cheat.

And, recent studies show that women are cheating at a higher rate then men, these days. The ones who are prone to it are prone to it, and the ones that aren't are not.

I was shocked when posting on infidelity boards by the many men who have never cheated but were devastated by a cheating wife. These men chose to not stoop to a revenge affair, too.

I do know that certain professions have higher rates of cheaters. So maybe those are the people you are running into.

Also, women tend to get caught less than men because men are not as intuitive and as sensitive to the clues as are men, and women are sneakier and have more time at home alone.

You might wnat to google the article titled "women are the new men". It is an article about how many women are cheating.

I think a lot of people cheat due to peer pressure and curiosity, as well as just a plain old lack of integrity as well as a sense of entitlement and self absorption.

Also, even my brother admits, he was in a profession where men have a high rate of cheating, so his experience may be skewed.

Also, even my brother suspects that a lot of the men are bragging about affairs they never had, just to fit in.

The outsider (my preferred term for the OW), in my husband's affair had a very loyal husband. He was devastated to learn she was a cheater.

She even mentioned to my husband, in various emails, that she had checked up on her husband regularly to ensure he wasn't cheating.

Also, early into the relationship the outsider was very very very possessive and jealous of my husband's time. She was also suspiscious of him cheating on her, based on emails and texts, I had resurrected by a computer expert.

It was really amusing to read those emails. Here is a women cheating on her faithful husband with another man who is cheating on his wife, and she is expecting him to remain loyal to her.

She was also very competitive with me and was always asking about me.

I was glad to see, my husband typically told her I was beautiful and intelligent, but the sex had gotten routine, and then changed the subject, when she got on that curious kick. The only thing he complained about was that I was too intellectual sometimes, and too practical about money. He actually told her, my wife is intellectual and you are just fun.

That annoyed, me but does show he thought she was the bimbo she is.

Shows you just how crazy these outsider females are when cheating. They truly think they are "all that" rather than just an amusing diversion and an easy lay.

My husband showed no jealousy about her personal life, in the emails and texts, I saw. In fact, when she complained about her husband, he encouraged her to stay with him, saying who else would put up with her the way he does. LOL.

He even said many times he didn't care what she did and was not interested to know and preferred that she not ask about his personal life.

To him it was just about easy sex and ego strokes and variety.

To her it was about being in competition with the wife and other women and taking the man from the wife in order to feel good about herself.

In one email she discussed a prior affair partner, who was caught and the wife promptly divorced the cheater, took half and moved on.

She said she was in love with him, but he dumped her and six months later was living with another women.

The outsider was also competitive with this women, complaining that she didn't know what this women had that made her affair partner to choose her to move in with.

All too amusing, IMO. And, highlights how pathetic she was and is.

IMO, it's easy for an average looking OW to find an upgraded man to cheat with, the upgrade being either money or looks.

Still out in the real world of being single, these outsiders would still have to settle, because it's much harder to find a mate interested in a real relationship or marriage, rather than just an affair.

shawn thewife said...

Another Betrayed Wife: Well said.
I like your attitude, Sister!
Thanks for sharing.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Denise: Reading an open blog is hardly eavesdropping! Feel free to chime in at will!
You're right about Richard's many other ventures outside our marriage. Could there be more than he told me about? Hell, yes. Could there be more in my past than I told him about? Hell, yes again.
My point...we can second guess each other about yesterday or we can focus on each other today. I chose to stay in this marriage because I love Richard. I have loved him for well over half of my life. Choosing to stay means I want a future with him, so that is what I care about now...our future.
Lots of changes have been made. Trust is a rare commodity around here. Change for us improved us. It made our future together possible and I am grateful.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...

Thank You, Shawn:

I like your attitude too and love reading your blog.

I forgot to sign my name to the last post and it came up anonymous. Oops, sorry


shawn thewife said...

BS: I just wrote to Denise about change. Changing our relationship has saved our marriage. Some may see the change (lack of trust) as a bad thing. To each his own. The lack of trust is inevitable after betrayal. Boundaries are essential, in my book.

Before Jaymie, I was blind, deaf and oh, so dumb! Now, I'm none of those things. I'm just in love with a man that was equally dumb. We embraced change, improved our marriage and get smarter everyday.
I will never judge Richard by the behavior of others or some lame statistic. I will set boundaries that help me feel safe.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Me: Soap Opera?? I think my story is more of a tragic thriller!! LOL!! Sort of a PG rated Fatal Attraction!!
If I help anyone conquer the beast of betrayal, every word I type is well worth it!!
Thanks for reading.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Fenix: Good plan! Let him read all about what could have happened!
We are entitled to each and every emotion that we must trudge through to recover from the wounds of DDay. I hope this blog helps some betrayed spouses learn from my wrong way trip searching for my Road back to Happy. They can read where I went wrong and steer clear of that path.
Thanks for reading.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...

Shawn wrote: BS: I just wrote to Denise about change. Changing our relationship has saved our marriage. Some may see the change (lack of trust) as a bad thing. To each his own. The lack of trust is inevitable after betrayal. Boundaries are essential, in my book.

Before Jaymie, I was blind, deaf and oh, so dumb! Now, I'm none of those things. I'm just in love with a man that was equally dumb. We embraced change, improved our marriage and get smarter everyday.
I will never judge Richard by the behavior of others or some lame statistic. I will set boundaries that help me feel safe.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Excellent Points in total. Also, I could not agree MORE.

shawn thewife said...

Elle: Thanks. My deep seeded fear of vulnerability is the main reason I took so many wrong turns on my Road back to Happy. I learned, after my many tours of Crazy Town, that I was always vulnerable, we all are if we love completely. Do I still beat myself up for my trips to Crazy Town? Nope, because I've learned from every minute I was there.
Hopefully a few other betrayed spouses, like Fenix above, that may be in the "Why am I not getting better yet?" phase of recovery or have cheating husbands that think they should be "over it" by now, will read my story and cut themselves a little slack. That would be a very good thing.
All Roads to Happy are different, but none will be found on Easy Street.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn