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The Aftermath

aftermath [af-ter-math, ahf-] noun 1. something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature

The Sun’s still Shining ☀️and I’m still here 🙂

And, everything is OK.  We’re getting close to three years on, and hey,  I’ve survived! We’ve survived, too. H has made some major changes, well, we both have, and I guess we’re doing pretty well.  Well enough that Therapist sent us on our way with his blessings, saying that we should keep on doing what we’re doing.

If I seem hesitant or at least, kind of blah about the whole thing, it’s because sometimes I am.  There are still triggers of course, and some days I just wonder…what if I tried so hard for the wrong outcome?   But most days are fine, and I’m happy to be in THIS place at THIS time. Honestly.  The here and the now. It’s all good. 🙂

We laugh, and we talk, and we have a comfortable life for the most part.   I have a great job, and I practice yoga regularly, with a group of women I also consider to be my friends.   Yoga saved me, and I’m still so grateful for it.🙏

Anyway,  for those of you keeping score at home, here’s a little timeline of all the things I’ve been up to since my last post:

July 2017 – ran a 5K in what has become a family tradition with my siblings on the Fourth, then got on a plane with H to Las Vegas .  If you’ll recall, Vegas is the location of our wedding, 20-ish years ago. Over the next 20 years, we vacationed in Vegas many times.  But,  H loved Vegas soooo much, that he wanted to share it with one of his OW, too, and as a result, I had written it off as too triggery.  That is until Therapist encouraged me to claim the places that I felt had been stolen from me, like New Orleans and Las Vegas, among others.

So, I won the Battle of New Orleans at Christmastime 2016.  Vegas was taken back in July 2017. There are some other places that I’m working on gradually, but these two were the biggies, and I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something. I’ve realized that I’m strong and courageous enough to do things that are hard, even when I don’t think I can. Onward and upward.

Also in July – we became debt free, and not by winning the lottery.  It’s amazing how much less important “buying things” for the sake of “having things” is, when all of a sudden you have no debt.  I seriously just want to save as much money as possible.  I’m guessing this is a short-term effect, kind of like hysterical bonding?  😂 We’ll see…

And later in the month of July, the house that was once home to the Tenant and whatever nasty stuff she had going on in that place, with and without H, has been cleared out, remodeled, and rented to a legitimate renter. A property manager is in place, so H will never have the need to meet or visit with said renter.   The extra money is nice, and comes in handy later on…

August 2017 – our last session with Therapist.  H first met him in October 2015, so it was nearly 23 months of a combination of individual and couples counseling.  It was worth every minute, and every penny.  I recommend everyone try some counseling, even without a trauma like infidelity. Even if the relationship hadn’t survived, the things I learned about myself and about H were much needed and will be valuable for the rest of our lives.  The best part is that H has said several times that he’s glad he found Therapist, and he even told his dad recently that counseling was well worth the time he spent at it, and that he learned a lot about himself.   Win.👍

September 2017 – Like it or not, I’m officially the breadwinner in this relationship, as H quit the physically demanding job he started mid-2016.  His hours sucked, the job had changed for the worse, and the company treats its employees like animals, so while some of the benefits were nice, I was on board with him giving it up.  Plus now that he has some rental income, he’s decided he’d like to buy another property and get it ready to rent.  So, at least he does have a goal in mind and he’s not just drifting.

October 2017 –  Home improvements began on our 100% paid for home.  We spent so much of our monthly paying for the mortgage that we didn’t keep up on certain maintenance, so H is using some of his free time to paint, repair,  and replace.  This is not a short term project…

November 2017 – H and I took a trip to a city we’d both been to as teens,  but never together, and had a good time. H likes “familiar” best, so it was a step to getting him to travel to places that are new to both of us – hopefully beginning in 2018 – stay tuned.

20th wedding anniversary came and went this month.   Yay.

December 2017 – We had planned to spend Christmas at the beach, but something happened to keep us at home instead. H’s mother has had a history of falling down and not being able to get up.  She also has a history of hospital stays, followed by a few weeks in a rehab, and then she goes back home.  But in December, she fell and went into the hospital, but this time was different.  From the hospital she went to a psych ward for evaluation,  due to suggestions of being suicidal. After a week on suicide watch, she was released to a rehab center.  Two weeks later, she was sent to another psych hospital due to being combative with nursing staff.  Apparently UTIs can wreak havoc with our minds, and her’s was fried.  After another week, she was sent back to rehab.  Through the whole ordeal, it was clear that something wasn’t right – she wasn’t bouncing back the way she has in the past. But, medically there was nothing found to be wrong, other than the UTI.  No evidence of stroke, or anything else.  Diagnosis is just “early dementia” and while that sounds like a lot, it’s doesn’t really give us any answers.  So, it’s been tough, and honestly it’s a good thing H doesn’t have a job right now, because there’s quite a bit for an only child to deal with when their parent is in and out of various hospitals.

BTW – this is the bitch of a mother that H has had a difficult relationship with, and that he spent lots of therapy time on… he’ll dance on her grave when she’s gone, but for now, he is a good, responsible son, even if she says differently. And she often does. 😐

Later in December – anniversary of D-Day #2 came and went, and we celebrated the new year with friends old and new. I’m in a good place.

February 2018 – birthday month for both of us.  H is now 50, and I’m still a year younger.  He asked me if he should join AARP.  😉 Ramping up home improvement projects as Spring nears.

March 2018 – MIL is released to go home. H spends a lot of time scheduling home care, nurses, physical therapy, etc.  MIL is her usual uncaring, disrespectful self. She is often confused, and this causes her to get ugly with H. I have fears of H going back to his old ways to soothe the pain that he doesn’t admit he feels, and I even suggest that he set a time to meet with Therapist if he wants to talk about his mother.  H says he’s OK, there’s no need. I hope this is true…

So, life is flowing, like a river to the sea. If you recently found yourself here while in the middle of betrayal – please know, it takes time, but it does get better. Take care of yourself. Find a counselor. Don’t worry – you’re going to be ok.

☀️

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When you have no answers 😔

This post is not about H, or infidelity, or therapy.  Instead, something very different but equal on the heartbreak scale.

My sister is 11 1/2 years younger than me.  She had just turned 7 when I left for college.  I missed much of her growing up years, but when she gave birth to her first child, 5 years ago, I promised myself I would be more present in her child’s life, even though I live a hundred plus miles away in a different state.

My sister and brother-in-law are typical middle class Gen-X parents.  They love their kids, have tried to provide a comfortable life for them, and in my opinion have done a great job.  Even so, mother and her first daughter have had an uneasy relationship.  As a toddler, my niece began throwing fairly violent tantrums, including hitting and kicking her parents.  She’s an otherwise sweet, smart, funny girl.  Recently, the uncontrollable behavior has increased, and my sister and brother-in-law have sought help from doctors and therapists.  Last week she was tested for a wide range of mental health disorders, including oppositional/defiant, bipolar, sensory processing, etc.  A diagnosis is a couple of weeks away.

Throughout this summer, I have awoken to frustrated texts from my sister, all cries for help.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I can do on a daily basis, due to distance,  as well as my inexperience with raising children, with or without mental illness.  I try to be positive and supportive from afar.

Anyway, I was able to travel to their home this weekend for a visit.  Honestly I was hoping my presence would be a deterrent for a meltdown, since I’ve never really seen it happen while I’m with my neice.  Her parents and toddler sister could use a break from the rage.  Unfortunately it was not to be, and I’ve now experienced several tantrums over the past 24 hours.  When she’s not crying/kicking/screaming/throwing things, she’s very pleasant and good fun to be around.  It seems to come from out of nowhere.

My sister, on the other hand, is a shell of herself.  I know she’s tired, angry, and disappointed that her family isn’t what she had hoped for.  I observed her staring at her daughter, just waiting for the next fit to begin.  And when it did, my baby sister lost it.  She screamed at her husband, who was trying to move the girl into her bedroom to calm down. She screamed at our mother, who was also in the house at the time.  She screamed at me, and in front of her younger daughter.

I guess H does factor in here after all.  If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that H was subjected to quite a lot of yelling and screaming by his family throughout his life, especially as a child.  It made a very negative impact on him, and he’s only now, at 50, figuring out how to appropriately cope.  And all I could think of while in the midst of the conflict today was these babies that I love so much, and how their mother’s harsh words and actions might affect them later in life.   I asked her to stop raising her voice. I told her lashing out isn’t going to be productive.  She sneered and walked out.  My brother-in-law expects her to pack and leave with the smaller girl any day now.

My sister tends to enact a scorched earth policy on people who disappoint her – she and our brother have barely spoken in years due to a conflict, and her relationship with our mother isn’t great – so I fear our relationship may be coming to an end since  I spoke frankly to her this weekend.

She’s my best friend. For 37 years and counting, I have loved her more than anyone else on Earth.

My heart is breaking, for the pain this family is going through, and because I feel so helpless.

☀️

 

 

 

I’ve forgotten her name.

I admit I’m having some foggy thinking and memory loss lately, as I work with my new doctor to help reverse the damage my latest endocrinologist has done by cutting my thyroid med dose in half. Even so, I was delighted to realize yesterday that I can not recall the last name of original OW from D-Day #1.  

I will remember her first name forever unfortunately, but her surname escapes me.  And I haven’t felt a need to go back and look it up.  That would be pointless, meaningless. 

I came to this realisation when H asked me what he should do if he were to run into her ever again.  We have been in the same neighborhood watering hole at the same time as one of the OW’s friends recently, which was the reason the conversation came up.  Just in case.

Honestly, I’d like for H’s conflict avoidance to kick in if he sees her, so that he will simply turn around and leave. Problem solved. But if that doesn’t happen, he needs to tell me.  Right away.  I think he gets it. Finally. 

I guess this is progress, even on the tiniest level. 

☀️

Same here, Maureen.

IMG_2175

Evidently I have little to say when the sailing is smooth, but I felt I should check in to say hi all the same.

I was just looking back at my posts from last May.  Wow, what a difference a year (and a man who finally starts fighting for his marriage) makes. 🙂  I was pretty sure we were done back then.  For good reason.

It’s better now.  There are two of us working on the relationship, which helps immensely.

I’ll soon be crossing a trip to Las Vegas off of my list of things to do, just days after the upcoming two year Original D-Day antiversary.  I’ll be back to express my feelings about that in greater detail.  I just have to figure out how I really feel.

We survived the trip to New Orleans;  hopefully we’ll survive Vegas, too.

Until then, all is well.  Happy Monday, everyone!

☀️

Today’s Mood 😕

H said something during a conversation tonight about the past that hit me the wrong way.  ( No, I don’t think he is cheating. ). But,  I still believe that HE in some way deep down believes it was my fault. That he was justified to cheat.  So when he said something about liking the attention he got back then from a former OW and, after all, he wasn’t getting enough attention at home at that time, I went off.  It is ridiculous that this even comes up at this point.

Everyone likes attention, H.  So while you were “out with Mr.Alibi” all those years ago, where do you think I got attention?  Oh, that’s right, I didn’t.  I lived without.   I sat at home and occupied myself.   I thought this was just how a long term marriage ended up. While you were out dating various women, of even better yet, paying for sex.  I can see how that’s all my fault. Not.

H has made great strides, as I thought I had,  but damn, this misguided comment really hit me hard.  And where is he now?   Is he here with me, holding me, trying to comfort me?  Nope.  He’s turned his back on me. Closed the door.  Can’t take it that I’m upset.  Just like so many times before.

When will this stop hurting so much?

☀️

Last week’s MC session + “Why Did You Stay”?


During a conversation we were having in our latest MC session last week about what things were like   for us last year    at this time, the question came up:
“Why did you stay?”   Therapist was looking at me when he said it.

I smiled, and replied “sometimes I wonder.  I often ask myself”.
It’s true. On those days when H just can’t help himself but to tell me a dumb “joke” that has some relation to strippers or prostitution, I wonder if he will ever gain the maturity it takes to see that those things are truly the opposite of funny.   Or his latest comedy  –  that he’s “BEEN GOOD FOR YEARS”…um, no sweetie, really it’s only been months..well maybe A YEAR but not YEARS…and he then explains with his silly math to prove that he’s correct.  (He’s not.)   Or when H can’t let go of his need to be a passenger seat driver while I’m behind the wheel.  It’s irritating, but not grounds for divorce.

So I’m still here – why?

Even if the jokes are dumb and inappropriate, he tries really hard to make me laugh. Sometimes he succeeds.  He has been working hard to make things better, finally.  Working at a lot of things – his job, the rental property, dealing with his mother, and our communication.   I had faith that he could.  He does things now, good things,  that he would never have done “back then”, to show me that he’s growing.  He has a sweetness about him that really does melt me.   He loves our dogs and refers to the four of us as “our family”.  I think he loves me. I want to see what’s next. 

Maybe that’s not much of a list, but it’s a start.


 

 

Projecting

It’s sort of unfair to you, the reader, that I’m more likely to write when I’m feeling off or when in despair.  Many days, everything is going well, and I’m optimistic that everything is going to turn out just fine with H and me.  I am less likely to feel inspired to write on those days, so you don’t hear about how H is successfully making improvements in his life, which has a direct result in improving mine.  You don’t know that we laugh together, and talk together, and cooperate like never before.  Just take my word for it, we do.

Even so, sometimes I have rough days, or rough weeks, and this has been one of them.

In my perception, H has a nasty habit of presupposing that I am upset with him.  Maybe a car door accidently closed too loudly for his liking, and he thought I slammed it.  Maybe I phrased a question the wrong way, making him think I expected something of him when in fact I did not.  Sometimes he’ll look at me and say “are you mad at me” and I have no idea what I may have done to bring the question.  No, I’m not, I’m just over here minding my own business. Should I be?

It gets to be exhausting.  Wondering if my next move or comment will make him cower in fear.  Or make him shut down to silence.

I don’t ask much of H.  Don’t cheat, don’t lie, hold down a job.  That’s about it.  I’m perfectly capable of caring for a home and dogs, working, seeing to our needs.  My expectations are not complicated.    Just don’t cheat, just don’t lie.  Go to work.  Stick with that program, and you’re unlikely to disappoint. H seems to be doing those very things – so why is he so convinced I’m mad at him?

Last night,  he may have figured it out.  Perhaps he’s actually upset with himself.  Maybe he’s seeing in himself whatever he thinks I’m thinking, and he’s projecting it on me.

I honestly don’t know.  What I do know is life isn’t much fun this way.

Here’s a little Sunshine for you


Hope you’re all having a good weekend.

Latest MC session – “You guys are doing great”…

…and when I think back to where we were six months ago, or a year ago, I guess we are.  Even six months ago,  H was still hemming and hawing about how to deal with The Tenant situation, and I was detaching myself from the relationship.  But then things changed, and he figured it out, and since September we’ve been finding our way back.

Some days are really hard though, and I get discouraged – mostly with myself.  I still find it hard to give myself a break and not be so determined to just be “healed!” already. (And then I need to remind myself of what I just typed above.  It’s only been six months since he really decided to commit to US again and to accept the boundaries that I need to feel safe.  Ok, it makes more sense to me now…)

But then there are days like today, when I came back from a nice long dog walk to a fully cooked breakfast (a birthday surprise prepared by H) that are fun and sweet and make me glad we’re both making the effort. Or evenings like last week after our meeting with Therapist, when H and I had dinner together and easily talked about so many things, and it just felt right. Or even the conversation we had while driving home, when H told me finding Therapist and spending the time and money over the past 18 months has totally been worth it, because he’s learned so much about himself and his relationships with all the people in his life.  (It wasn’t that long ago that H told me he “wasn’t getting much out of therapy” and he was ready to quit.  I guess like everything else, it just takes time. )

We’re working through the book “Hold Me Tight” with Therapist right now. Therapist says we’re doing just fine,  better than a lot of couples he’s seen.  He’s actually ready for us to wind it up soon.  He just wants to be sure we are armed with the tools we need to continue to do well. We’ve been going every other week or so, so I expect MC to be officially finished by summer.  That’s kinda scary for me.

We start each session talking about things that are currently causing tension in our relationship, mostly unrelated to affairs or prostitutes or strippers.   Instead, now we discuss H’s criticism of my driving skills, or my continued struggle to pay 100% undivided attention to H when I’m attempting to multitask.  These are things that have gone on for our entire relationship, but until recently, instead of expressing our feelings about them, we would grit our teeth and do whatever it was that we did to suppress them.  Now, all the feels are out in the open, and it can be hard to admit that even if we didn’t intend to hurt the other with our words or actions, the fact is, we did.  And we both need to do better.

I need to do better, so that I know that no matter what, I’ve done my very best to take this pain and make something good from it.  More compassion for myself  – my focus for the near future.

 

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