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, November 18, 2014

Lost & Found

There is a word, other than Crazy, that most accurately describes my personal psyche for a Year After the Affair....LOST.
Infidelity = LOSS on a massive scale.

When we are unwillingly dumped into the ranks of the betrayed, we lose a lifetime of learning to trust in a micro-minute.  We lose the basic feeling of comfort in our home and hearth.  We lose faith in the person we should be able to have complete faith in at all times.  We lose the ability to imagine any happiness in our future.  We lose our normal life and all the security that came with it.

We also may lose ourselves.  The most important thing I lost was me.  My husband's selfish choices robbed me of my self-esteem and the inner strength I had grown to depend on when times got tough.

I told you I didn't feel like I had much to contribute to a continued discussion on recovery after an affair.  I told you a story.  You don't have to be an author to tell a story.  It's all there for you.  Just start typing and the facts of the events fill in the blank page.  I'm not a writer.  I'm no one's idea of a reliable therapist.  I'm not even a strong example of affair recovery.  If I'm going to continue to write and any of you find my musings worthy of perusing,  I think a decent place to start is to address LOSS because so many of you write to me about it.

Maybe we can share our feelings of LOSS and then offer ideas to how we became FOUND.

Let me start:  If I knew then what I know now, even though I loss all trust in my husband, I would have worked much harder to maintain trust in myself.  Today, I often preach that we can't control the actions of others.  We can only control how we react to them.

If you read any of my story you know I LOST all control over my reactions to anything related to Richard, She who Shall not be Named and the affair.  I understand why that happened, but I believe that it won't happen again.  (please note: I didn't say will never happen again.  Never doesn't live here anymore.)  The big difference is I refuse to allow the behavior of anyone else to dictate my life.  I make decisions for myself and for the benefit of those I love.  I can do that without touring Crazy Town because I have FOUND my inner strength again.  I might be tougher than ever.
I know trust is very hard to come by for many of you right now, but please try to trust me on this....you can learn to trust yourself again.  As your pain recedes, you will find your inner Princess of Power.  Trust her.  She has your best interest at heart.

Please comment.  Share what you LOST after DDay,
but then try to focus on what you FOUND.

15 comments:

AJ said...

Thank you Shawn. I found your blog a few weeks ago. I could relate so well. I could not stop reading. Your blog led me to HH forum and a whole new world of healing. Thank you.

For me what I lost was my previous life. My life as a wife that trusted every single word my husband uttered. I also lost a life where I had become blase about my marriage. I lost the life where I tried hard to be a good partner and I knew that I wasn't because something was inherently wrong. I could not work out quite what was wrong. I lost a life where I thought I was to blame for my unaffectionate behaviour. What I have found now 9 months after DDay is a very different life. The life I have today is one where I am feeling the value of my self worth to be 100%. I was not a bad wife. I was unaffectionate because he was so detached. I have found that I could have done a few things to make my marriage safer but I was not given the information by my husband that he was unhappy and that he needed more. I am not to blame for his actions and his inability to communicate. I am finding that our roles in our relationship have had a complete turn around. I am no longer the enabling person and he is no longer the grumpy bully. I feel strength in my rights to stand up for myself and he in turn has come to realise he hated who he had become and has almost instantly reverted to being the much kinder person he used to be.
The biggest find is that on this journey the most horrid betrayal of adultery has actually led to a much peaceful and compassionate and communicative life together ( at this point....) ( not including obsessive insane days.... ) ( excusing drinking too much wine and having a go at him for having a trigger ping....)....lol.... but other than that......
Thank you so much for sharing.

here is the start of my blog if you are interested.

https://cheaterfantasy.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

Shawn,

What a relevant posting, thank you for encouraging this thought process.

Before D-day, I had created a narrative for myself. A narrative to which I linked my identity. That narrative was the fact that I had come from a childhood of turmoil (drug addict Mom, a father who loved us, but couldn't hold down a job and moved us many times always running, running, running from collectors and failed dreams, and both whom died young). A narrative that said, I overcame all of that shit, put myself through college, found a responsible, disciplined, intelligent, handsome man with whom to share my life and build a family. I had made it. I overcame everything and I made it. I am not my parents. I made it. Only, almost twenty years later, I find it was all a lie. Looking back on the last twenty years, I realize the strong, intelligent woman I had been had become subservient to her husband's insecurities. The dream of having "made it" is gone. But, so are the days of my dreams, my abilities, my strengths being hidden and forgotten for the sake of my husband's ego. He has had to face his demons are lose me completely. I see him doing this, I see a chance for our family. And, I have gone back for my Masters to not only show myself I am still capable, to not only ensure that my husband is really action (not just talk) in terms of supporting my dreams now, but as a safety net. I have now learned there is no "I made it." Anything can happen, at any time. No matter what shit you go through, there is new shit out there that can infect your life. Nobody is immune. And, so, I now live in reality instead of La La Land. I just need to move forward from all of this pain. It is a part of me forever, but I don't want it to prevent me from living in the present or planning for the future anymore. Trying to find my way still.

TL xx

Anonymous said...

"face his demons OR lose me completely" - stupid typo. . .

TL xx

shawn thewife said...

AJ: You sound like there are way more items in your FOUND column than your LOST one.
That only comes with a strong will and positive attitude. Nicely done, Sister!
Don't get down on yourself for the insane days. Those even happen for people that haven't suffered through the life altering destruction that is DDay!
As you heal, the insanity will lessen. So will the wine consumption!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

TL: The Road to Happy is always under construction. Shit can fly anywhere at anytime. You so got that right! In spite of that, you are moving forward, focusing on taking care of you!! A Master's Degree?? Right on! You are taking care of you and I love that!!
Living in the present and planning for tomorrow means you are healing...with or without your wayward hubby. Love to hear of my survival sitters moving on and up!!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...

Shawn blogged: We also may lose ourselves. The most important thing I lost was me.

I like that sentence, Shawn. I did lose me in my marriage....., and now I am found. :)

The best lesson I learned was one my sociology Professor used to preach to his students daily.

He would always say: "never trust anyone 100 percent, except yourself"

As a young college student I thought the Prof. was cynical and jaded and preachy.

I trusted too much that if I put out an energy of trust and caring and respect for another person, then they would reflect that energy back to me.

But now I realize the world doesn't always work that way, and obviously my Prof. simply had more experience in life than I did.

Also, I don't feel that my marriage is better because of my husband's affair, I feel that I am better in that I am a wiser, more savvy, person.

In some ways I am kinder, too because prior to my husband's affair I used to be very impatient with spouses who wanted to control their spouse's boy's or girl's only activities.

Now, I simply wonder what happened to the spouse to cause them to act as they do.

I do miss that carefree feeling of believing that I could trust my husband unconditionally, as I once naively did.

Nevertheless, I think learning that you can't trust anyone unconditionally is a valuable life lesson.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Shawn for sharing your story and helping others in similar situations. For me I lost my fairy tale; my Cinderella story. I had been with my husband since I was 15 (29 years) when he had his 2 year affair. I lost trust in my spouse as well as in myself. I lost my mind for awhile, unable to function properly; the anxiety controlling my life. It has now been just over 1 year since D day and I happy to say that I have found many things. I have found strength in myself, compassion to forgive, courage to survive, appreciation for all that is good in my life and the ability to learn from the affair and make changes to improve my marriage.
SL

Anonymous said...

First of all, thanks Shawn for your words. They have made me aware that i need to open my eyes, not only to the craziness that my husband instilled in me (I so need to get out of the victim stage) but also to seeing others around me and realizing that I'm not alone.

I read this particlar blog when it first came out and have had time to think about what I've lost. You mentioned that the most important thing you lost was yourself. I have to agree to a point. I'm not sure if I ever was completely myself. All of my actions were based upon what he wanted. He has a prestigious job so I move where he wants to go. My work leaves him at home alone with the kids for too long so I need to take a demotion... On and on it goes.

I am learning that some of the best decisions I have made are those that are made with only myself in mind. Self centered...perhaps. In any event, after the shit hit the roof I took a promotion and am expecting another in the near future. I can't control him, (as much as I would like to), but I can control myself and make a life for myself that makes me happy. Funny thing is that I think it makes him happy too.

Was the pain worth finding myself? Absolutely not. But I am hopeful that my worst days are behind me and my best days are yet to come.

Anonymous said...

I am days away from the one year after the affair. His affair with a mutual friend went on for 3 years. I asked all of the questions that a wife would rather not know but knows she must. The answers cut so deep that I literally felt I could die from the pain. His affair was emotional, sexual and they had even professed their love for each other. They had planned to leave their spouses and make a life together. But then something happened. He was overcome by the power of a praying wife. He woke me up at 2 am and confessed the affair. My losses have been many and on many different levels. The hardest loss to overcome has been the loss of the belief that I was this incredibly special woman to my husband for having saved myself sexually until marriage, only to be betrayed by that very same man. I decided to forgive. It wasn't and hasn't been an easy decision. I draw courage and strength from my faith in God. I know that I will never be the same, but I also know that life is a teacher and God is a healer and there is still a lot of beauty to life.

Anonymous said...

I'm about 6 months out from dday. So far, I've lost my self-esteem, my trust in almost everyone, my 23 year marriage, my joy, my ability to focus on or plan anything, and the good man who I married and loved for so many years. (He sadly turned out to be a figment of my imagination. The guy I am actually married to is a lying, serial cheating P.O.S.).

I've found the humility to ask for help from friends and family, gratitude for their love and compassion, and more inner strength than I knew I possessed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn,

I have commented on your site before, you may remember me. I am not the one that was cheated on, I am the one that cheated. I have been reading your blog so i can be able to have an idea of what's going through my husband's mind.
We had everything to live for. Dreams, hopes, plans. We literally ran extra miles to achieve more for our child. He hoped to have a devoted wife, i lied to myself that i wasn't "loved" enough. The lame excuse that cheaters always use. So i looked away from my husband, instead of focusing on my family and keeping us strong and together.
In the process, I lost all of his trust, all of his love, all of the interest he had in building our future together... there are no plans. I was treated like a queen, had everything a woman could ever want and gambled it for nothing!
Three years after DD, I still cannot forgive myself for what I have done. Maybe it's because of the fact that he will never be able to forgive me and it kills me to know that he will never be the same loving man i married. I understand his anger and i don't push his boundaries, I do not argue. I used to be a very controlling person, i spread such negativity it's impossible for me to understand how he put up with me for such a long time.
He has a great heart for overlooking at everything I did to him (overlooking is an understatement but it's the simplest word i can use right now). He still makes sure I am OK, he still cares.
So in simple words, I guess i lost a loving husband, a very happy life we could have had together, the possibility of expanding our family, but most importantly I lost the old ME. The person I am now, WILL NEVER be who i was three years ago. I lost my ugly personality and I lost my self confidence along with it. Well deserved too.
But along the way, I found patience. Patience to hold my anger because it was me who destroyed our family, patience to not push him over when he is angry, patience to not rush anything, as I would like to think that the future right now is a present waiting to be unwrapped. I know what i want, and that is to make sure to be the devoted wife he never got and the best mom that my child deserves. Right now the only dream that i have is to see our baby grow happy and healthy into a bright and educated person, see her build her life the way she wants to and last but not least, I want to grow old with my husband. I want to be that old couple you see down the street holding hands at age 72. That's the dream I have found.

~M

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and wow I know I was meant to find it. It's been four months since never stopped living at my house. I truly believed it would not happen to me, boy was I wrong. I grew up with a father who had a girlfriend from before I was born until the day he died over 30 years later. I went to school with the OW's daughter and she made sure my life was a living hell. I married someone who was as different as my father as I could and yet it still happened.
I don't know what I've learned yet except that never happens and I was a fool to think it wouldn't. We had our 30 year anniversary two weeks ago and he wants to work it out but I don't know yet. He's changed so much since D-Day but it just makes me more nervous , I hope that passes soon. I don't know my future, I'm just hoping it's one I want to live.

Anonymous said...

The affair was a 14 year affair that bounced between them being friends/working together/sex. I am so glad I found your blog. I went through the flinch, kicked him out several times and read the emails. He spoke words to her that I never thought he had in him. I am crushed. Its one year after he was caught by our kids. Our family was crushed. But to his credit every time he was kicked out he came back, apologized to each of the kids (they are adults), took a mental beating from me at every chance and has watched me suffer. There are days he is afraid I will commit suicide and days we laugh and love and just enjoy the time we have together. I outed him to the OW husband and will never regret that I did this. We both agree this would have never ended had I not outed him. I have not told anyone else. The pain our families have endured is tremendous. His children caught them too, but she bullied them into not telling. They may never speak to her again. They regret not telling. They were children and no one finds fault with them or blames them. One year later I still have bad days, I still worry he will call her and misses her and I am afraid that will never go away. We have started a new life together and he has done everything he has been asked to do, for that I am thankful. Had he not wanted to be here I am sure he would have walked away a long time ago. I have changed and worked on becoming the wife I want to be, I have changed, he has changed and so has our life. For this I am so thankful.

Shelly said...

I am 7 weeks post DDay. I found your blog this morning and have been reading it since 7am! I can relate to your story and so may others' - thank you. I don't feel so alone anymore.
I am still on the roller coaster (obviously), I love my husband and he loves me. He is as sorry as he can be and I really want to believe him. We are in our 4th week of counseling and so far, so good. Hysterical bonding has resulted in a new found love affair for us. My biggest issues as of today (because I have to live day to day at this point) are when will I stop thinking about this every hour of every day? How will I ever be able to fully trust him again? I mean, I trust him with my life, our son, our money - just not my heart. If I can jump those two hurdles, I know I will be in a much better place. I know this will take a long time, I often tell my husband I wish he'd never done this. But, on some level, I think it had to happen in order for us to fix "us". Not an ideal way to discover something is wrong with a marriage, but like you wrote - maybe God is trying to tell me something?

shawn thewife said...

(((Shelly)))
I'm very glad you found us, Shelly. I am much more sorry that you had cause to look.

This is by far the very worst way to discover your marriage needs work. The worst way...the Wrong way. It causes so much pain.

Reovery after an affair can take years, but if it brings you to a place where you learn to be open, honest and thoughtful about each other and your life together, the hard work of recociliation is worth it. It was for me.

You will have thousands of questions as you move toward your Road to Happy. Please take a mintue to visit the Healing Heart messages boards. The link is at the bottom of my blog. The members of that forum know your struggle. They are generous with support, empathy and true understanding of what you are going through. It is a small group. We all really need each other. It is so much easier to heal when you do not have to try to do it alone.

you can also email me anytime.
Shawnthewife@aol.com
Hope & Hugs, Shawn