My husband started talking about a divorce and sleeping on the couch the week after Thanksgiving. The majority of that month was a blur of holiday happenings and undeniable distance. Before we knew it, it was Christmas week. We had just come home from a Grinch performance and put the kids to bed. My husband said he wanted to talk. I sat at the end of our bed facing the computer where he sat. As soon as I sat there I knew. My blood ran cold. I was floating above my body. ‘This is the moment when your life will change. You will remember this for the rest of your life’ I thought. I wanted desperately to be wrong … I wasn’t. I held my pregnant stomach and listened in silence. As he sat there he told me he had been seeing someone else I felt numb and in denial. My brain heard his words but I couldn’t process them. The story of his affair unraveled slowly. Every new detail I learned I was sure was the last.
Over two years after that day in December and trying (but not succeeding) to save our marriage, I learned the affair had spanned over half of our marriage. I felt like a fraud. Like my entire life was a lie. I felt distant from my children who I’d always believed were conceived in love. How could I be so blind? I envisioned running away so many times.
It’s been two years since we divorced. The pain and hurt from my ex have finally stopped bleeding. I now see that the affair was a blessing in disguise that led me out of a toxic and unhealthy marriage. Life is on the upswing again. I have come to enjoy my freedom and been reminded of the undeniable strength and importance of female friendships. I have embraced my family of four vs five and we finally feel back on our feet. I feel closer to my kids than I ever have.
But even when I feel on top of the world I am realizing that the damage is still there. I have started dating again. And both times I started to get close to someone only to find myself drowning in the insecurities that still linger from my marriage. I bring whatever hope for a new future under the currents with me until they have been swept away too. Jealousy is an ugly beast who I have not learned to strangle. The burden of the work to rebuild the trust we didn’t succeed at in our marriage has just been transferred to whoever I am dating. I hate it. I want it to just go away.
I am someone who values family and security above all else (where are my fellow cancers?). I crave stability, yet my scars keep me swatting it away. Being vulnerable is not a feeling I was ever great with, and that has only been amplified in recent years.
It feels so ridiculous most days. I have three amazing happy healthy children. A job that I genuinely love. A home surrounded by the most amazing neighbors you could ask for. Life has been good to me. And yet I can still get hung up on the mud of insecurities lingering from the affair and my previous marriage the moment I try to let anyone in.
To anyone reading this: I do not care how unhappy you are in your marriage. I do not care how tempted you are by your kid-free co-worker. I do not care what a junkie for lust you are. I do not care if you’re bored. I do not care, and neither will your spouse. Be an adult and address your issues, don’t hide them under someone else’s sheets.