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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Home of the Brave

I love the 4th of July, Independence Day!  I love everything about it.  I love time off to enjoy the company of family and friends.  I love baseball, the beach and a good barbecue.  I love hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and s'mores.  I love wearing red, white and blue, especially the cool 4th of July t-shirts you can get for $5 at Old Navy every year.  I love fireworks.  I love our flag.  I love our country.

I did not plan on writing a post today.  I have been gearing up for a festive celebration at the beach tomorrow.  Packing up all the trappings needed for an early get away to the coast to celebrate our country's declaration of freedom with thousands of my closest friends.  (It's gonna be a zoo out there and I love that, too!)

::::Adding this little factoid on July 5th;  There were over a million people on the beaches of San Diego yesterday!  CRAZY!  It cost us $50 to park!  Worth it!!  So fun!::::  

As I was loading the back of my car and humming Yankee Doodle (Really, yea.  I do that.) my brain drifted to thoughts of the real meaning of the holiday.  The signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Such a monumental, historic day!  How brave those men, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to name but a few, were knowing that if they signed their names to such a treasonous document and were captured by the British, they would be hung, at the very least, probably drawn and quartered, too.  Amazing courage!

From there, my brain shifted gears again (ADD much?) to how brave we, betrayed spouses, are as we do the work to recover from the trauma of infidelity.   Whether we ultimately decide to stay or go, the courage required, the fortitude, the grits and the guts to survive and thrive after adultery are pretty damn close to heroism.

A reach?  Not in my book.  So I decided to come back to my computer and share some of these thoughts with you.

To heal we must declare ourselves independent of the need for any guarantees, not that we ever had any to begin with, but it sure felt like we did before DDay, right?   We renounce the shelter of the safety net that used to be our previously loyal spouse.  We boldly take control of our own destiny, not able to ignore the possibility of future peril, but able to function in spite of it.  We debate the infinite number of issues between staying or going.  With great intensity we weigh the pros and cons of leaving the cheater and starting over alone, or reconciliation with someone that nearly destroyed us.

That takes some serious chutzpah, People!  It's not fearlessness.  Nooooo!  Not even!  Far from it!  It is wicked scary!  But that's why I decided to stop packing up the towels, beach chairs and sunscreen.  I had to tell you all how freaking proud I am of you!!  Of ME, too, for that matter!!  We are reclaiming our right to the pursuit of happiness!  We own it!  Maybe it took longer than we thought it should, but like our great Nation, nothing worthwhile ever comes without supreme effort and sacrifice.

If you haven't found your Road to Happy yet, I hope you still take a minute to give yourself some credit. When I was living in Crazy Town, I never gave myself credit for merely enduring.  Just enduring when life is spiraling out of control is an achievement worth celebrating.  This weekend, as you put one foot in front of the other, heading into another pain filled day, please remember...You are stronger than you think! You are a champion in the making and I am a BIG fan!

Happy Independence Day, my friends!

15 comments:

Lorna Golden said...

Until it all comes crashing down again...and it will. Oh Shawn, oh silly silly Shawn. Gotta love ya for not giving up on your "fairy tale."

Iris said...

Lorna,

Have you read any fairy tales? The original Brothers Grimm that is, not some Disney version. My goodness they are bloody and sinewy and dark - is this the life of Shawn and Richard? Gotta love her yes, and her expansive heart. I've never seen a blog so realistic in its affection, so expressive of the owner's warmth. Why aren't you warmed?

elladisenchanted said...

Welcome back Shawn. I have missed you!

shawn thewife said...

Ella: Thanks a bunch! It's nice to be missed!

And...
Iris: Thanks for the kind words. I sure don't see myself as having as "expansive heart". That is a very sweet compliment that I probably do not deserve, but I could not be more grateful for knowing you do.
Thanks also for jumping to my defense with Lorna.
Not to worry, dear Iris. Lorna is nothing but water off my feathery duck back!! Actually, I kind of feel sorry for anyone that has such a dark view. I shared that outlook for so damn long, I know how it can eat away your soul. Sad.
Hope & Hugs, my friends! Shawn

TryingHard said...

Another great post Shawn. How lucky you were to have your family and friends to celebrate at a beautiful beach in San Diego. That HAS to be a happy road.

I admire and thank you for your bravery and candid blog. You make me laugh and so do many of the folks who post here. We stick together like true soul sisters in our commitments and struggles.

You're a tough smart, courageous woman. Happy 4th and please keep posting sister!

BS said...

To heal we must declare ourselves independent of the need for any guarantees, not that we ever had any to begin with, but it sure felt like we did before DDay, right? We renounce the shelter of the safety net that used to be our previously loyal spouse.

We boldly take control of our own destiny, not able to ignore the possibility of future peril, but able to function in spite of it. We debate the infinite number of issues between staying or going. With great intensity we weigh the pros and cons of leaving the cheater and starting over alone, or reconciliation with someone that nearly destroyed us.


Well, said, and I could not agree more with the words in your blog.

I also feel sad for Lorna. She must be in tremendous pain to come here on this type of blog to attack the choice of a fellow betrayed spouse to reconcile.

Making our own choice is truly taking control.

And, thank you, Shawn for encouraging all to take control by choosing their own path.

It takes courage to put yourself out there the way you have.

Elle said...

How true! And yes, I suspect your assessment of Lorna's own pain is bang on. Her need to demean you reveals how small she herself feels. Sad. And unnecessary. As you so often point out, there are many Roads to Happy. I hope Lorna finds hers and then shares her newfound compassion with those still struggling.

INFIDEL'S WIFE said...

Dearest Shawn,

I am just discovering your blog today. My DDay was November 29, 2012, one week after the 15th anniversary of our wedding. It was the most devastating day of my life. I had been in IC and had just told my therapist that my husband would NEVER cheat, that I trusted him completely. Then I received an accidental text meant for her and stood there, mouth agape, wondering what the hell was going on.

This was the first of your blog pages I have read and I intend to read more, but on the issue of weighing the pros and cons of leaving . . . I still battle with that a year and a half later. We have four children, a ton of debt, etc. Lots of days I wish I had let go and let him have his fantasy life. I often wonder if I made a mistake "forgiving" him so quickly and being too ready to receive him back into our once somewhat predictable and mostly stable life.

He's military and his affair occurred on the heals of his return from deployment. Long story short--after years of talking about our marriage between ourselves and expressing our "needs" with each other and me feeling like I had done all I could on my end, I told him he needed to take some action or I would die on the inside. I guess he figured the marriage was too far gone at that point. He thought he would contact a long lost friend on FaceBook and one thing led to another. His affair was a short lived one, only about 4 months if you count the "innocent" part in the beginning and they spent two night together (once in his tractor trailer--he's a truck driver (WAS a truck driver), and once at her house), but the effects are still crushing.

I realize I am rambling. I, like many others I'm sure, am still struggling. Some days are ok and some days are difficult to say the least. My road to happy is still obscure. I hope I find it. It's good to know someone has and that the hope of finding it exists. Thank your for your blog. Thank you for the time and energy and pieces of yourself that you put out there for others to glean strength.

MCampbell

K.Utrecht said...

What occurs to me is that most of the responses here are from betrayed women (didnt look through all of them so don't know if any men responded). What I do know is that I felt your type of affair feels similar to mine, your reaction is somewhat different though ;).

In a nut shell this is what happened: november 2012 my now wife then fiancee left to pursue a new carreer in a very undevelopped country. With the marriage to be arranged and economy as it was (lowlowlowlow) and me having a good job we decided that I'd stay behind to see if she would fit and then I would follow after the marriage.

Things got delayed and we married in september (initial planning would have been june). I joined her in November.

On boxing day 2013 I discovered she'd had a very serious (emotional as well as physical) affair since April 2013 until the day I discovered it. Yes, you read that correctly, even during our marriage. However according to her it never was meant to continue after that, but as explained by you shawn and many other internet places, there is this thing called the fog. It really makes 2 people out of one.

Anyway, 6 months in I can say more or less the same things as you can now. I luckily focussed not much on him, and considered him non-existent (not so easy as it sounds though). My issue is that she did this in a crucial time in our relationship (which already stands for 12 years now). My idea of our lives together included starting a family in this undeveloped country. I'm so affraid this will haunt me if I decide to take that step, that I will not be able to enjoy the moment completely, to its fullest extend, what child birth should be due to the infidelity.

It is my single most greatest fear. For the rest, what Shawn says holds true, I do believe our relation has become better, except for the unconditional trust being gone. As was mentioned before on the blog, this is gone forever and likely for everyone (except my mother of course ;)).

BS said...



As was mentioned before on the blog, this is gone forever and likely for everyone (except my mother of course ;)).

Kutrect:

I am sorry to hear of your plight, but maybe if you reframe the inability to bestow 100 percent trust on another imperfect human being into a positive rather than a negative, it may help you adjust to what Shawn refers to in her blog as your "new normal".

I mean seriously, does any human ever really deserve to be trusted 100 percent? Humans are fallible.

Now, that I no longer trust my husband 100 percent, I have set far more reasonable and realistic and marriage friendly boundaries.

In marriages today too many husbands and wives lead ridiculously separate live.

The experienced infidelity psychologists refer to this phenomena as the "married singles".

That type of married single lifestyle has to be harmful to a union.

My husband is no longer allowed to be a married single.

We travel together and do things together often.

Sometimes I surprise him at lunchtime and we go out together for lunch.

No more boy's nights out or men's only trips.

I think it should have always been that way.

K.Utrecht said...

I completely disagree. I don't want a relationship where I can't trust she will not do anything like this again. True, that unconditional trust is gone but something else should (and hopefully will) come in its place, less strong but nonetheless firm.
I also don't want a relationship where I or she simply can do fun stuff without each other, I don't want to be condemned to the relationship because of trust.
A healthy relationship is also one where you give each other space to explore. Which is hard, but in my view is completely required to return to a healthy relationship with my wife.

That said, it still stands that I'm here in this godforsaken country without the foggiest of what my future looks like. She destroyed all what I held dear and this needs rebuilding, also my trust in the future.

That's the other issue, I'm not at 'home' with my parents and friends. I'm 16000km away from home in a country I don't want to be in (and never wanted in the first place but knew I would survive with my wife) with a people I generally dislike and no prospect on moving anytime soon (contract ends september 2015). This is a large burden for me because I have nothing to focus on other than the affair and its effects.
That's the most incomprehensible thing about it all, that she willingly allowed me to leave everything behind to discover I didn't have anything where I was going either.
Ah well, life if not always easy...

Anna Thornton said...

I am in week one of my new discovery. I looked online at once and started to read.... mostly to beat up my husband with the statistics of his affair lasting. He told me for a week that he loved her, was in love with her and could not choose between the two of us. I let it ride for about 4 days, being wonderful and understanding one minute and a raging bitch from hell the next. I finally said his choice was her or nothing because I was tired of playing. He decided to let her go.... but face to face. I have no idea if he means it as we have been down this same road with her before. Saying that he will let go of all contact. I came across this today and read it all. it made complete sense and helped me realize what I am feeling is normal. He says he is trying and understands my feelings. He tells me that he will always love her but I mean more. Some minutes I am ok with where we are at in healing, other times I want him the hell out as I will be better off. It is good to know there is a road map out there and that I too will learn to cope. thank you for opening yourself up and sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

I hate the bitch. I still, over a year out,have intense rage. I hate her so much I can barely see straight. A lot of times I hate my piece of shit husband with the same intensity. I have have every suggestion from you, healing hearts, and betrayed wives club - I still am failing to let it all go. To move on. I don't outwardly rage anymore. I don't vent, anymore. My WH is a closed book about anything to do with the affair. I cannot bring it up -ever. Not to fight with him about it but not even if I'm struggling with something and want his support or just help. My WH has taken to ignoring me and not ever answering me if I discuss anything that he doesn't want to discuss ( that includes ANYTHING -not just affair related). I keep hoping something will change and he will be my best friend again. Buthe just lies, avoids, and ignores.

I haven't posted in a looong time. But I have always kept up with everyone. Shawn -you are awesome! Thank you for "laying yourself bare" for all of us.

Faith

shawn thewife said...

(((Faith))) I hated so much a year after DDay, including myself for not being able to "move on". I would suggest that maybe one of the reasons you are struggling with healing is your WH's lack of understanding. If he expects you to never talk about all the pain you are feeling only a year after DDay...he is being very selfish and ignorant of the wounds he caused you and the time frame needed to begin to recover.

I'm not sure those wounds ever heal completely. I've just learned that I'm better living in the NOW. I strive to focus on gratitude instead of regret. I know...it sounds so Zen, but it's not really. It's nothing more than a shift in thinking. It takes practice, but it's worth the effort.

If your WH won't join you in MC, which would be a HUGE leap forward, please consider IC for yourself. It's so important to heal you first, then you can work to heal your marriage...IF you still want to.
Only you can find your Road to Happy. Your WH sure won't lead you to it.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

TryingHard said...

Faith

LOL. It's ok to hate the bitch. Hate away BUT seems to me most of your ire should be directed at your remorseful husband. No, you life will not get better until he recognizes and accepts responsibility and helps you heal. There's no way around it. He's hoping with enough time you will forget about it and he can go on his happy ways again. Reconciliation is hard enough when two people are working together on it. Impossible otherwise. I'm so sorry you are going through this.