chasingthereddot

like a cat chasing the laser pointer we can talk about whatever people chase


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Forwarded the email

Some of you will recognize the error of some of my actions and choices way before I finish the story, but what did I do after I saw the strange email in my work inbox that morning? I called my husband and told him about it. I also responded.

The man emailed me back very quickly. For the next eight to ten days this person emailed me details of my life and of my husband’s affair, but not enough details for me to do much about it except figure out on my end how I could get him to admit this. He did tell me a first name and a city where the woman lived though.

I was in anguish, stressed at work, disgusted with my husband, with myself for this happening again. Hoping against hope that he would admit it this time or that there was some other explanation, though I knew there was not.

I mean I’m getting emails at my job talking about my husband being out of town, that I have two kids. My youngest wasn’t even one year old at this time and my other was three. The thought that someone knew about them and where we lived hung over my head like Pigpen’s ball of dust swirling and swarming in my brain. The guy is telling me he intercepted text messages from them and where they went together. That my husband took her on his business trips. I thought it was the previous affair or the previous affair’s husband messing with me and suggested as much to this guy. He denied it, but wouldn’t tell me who he was. He just said he cared about the woman.

I had to figure it out because the emails at work and denials at home were terrorizing me. I hired a PI to try to investigate who the heck was emailing me and to try to figure out which woman it was etc.

During this time people tried to say things to me like, “maybe someone has a vendetta against him” or “you know it could be that he isn’t having an affair”. My response: “Usually it’s the simplest answer. The simplest answer here is that he is having an affair, not that someone has a thing against him and is emailing me at my job, talking about details of the affair and my life.”

The husband didn’t own up until I found a giant bottle of Cialis in our safe. I assumed that the Cialis was for him in general because he had issues in the past in this arena. I confronted him with it by hinting about it, that I might have access to see what prescriptions we filled in our insurance, etc. Then finally told him I looked in the safe. It took him about 35 minutes of us laying in our bed in bouts of silence broken by me telling him that he owed the truth to me and our kids while he worked up the courage to tell me the truth. He only talked to say things like, “I’ll tell you in the morning” hoping it would go away. A grown man willing to cheat, lie, and who knows what the heck else who couldn’t just say yes, I’m cheating and this is with whom. When he finally gathered enough strength to tell me he made me promise I wouldn’t contact her in any way. I agreed. I lied and said yes. To me, telling a lie was like turning into him. To be willing to lie to get what I wanted. I wanted the information so I acted like him.

Little did he know, I had already called her. The unknown man who was emailing me gave me enough information to narrow it down to two women. When I saw their photos online, I thought, please let it be this one and not that one because that one looks like she would hurt my kids. That one looks like a selfish human being, she looks like a B.

I attempted to call and leave messages for each of the two, this one and that one, asking them to call to talk. When dialing this one I was totally calm while leaving the message and the other one I shook like an addict when I phoned. That one’s place of work pretended they didn’t know who she was.

I bet you can guess which one it was and if you guessed that one, you’re right.

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Sight of the Island

When I wrote in March 2015, I couldn’t look forward and know with certainty where I would be today. Here goes.

I never really did birthday parties for myself. Being sung to with cake all ablaze often brought feelings of anxiety for me, so if it could be avoided, I would. I mean all hanging out at a bar in younger days, sure! Happy Birthday. However, as I approached my 40th birthday in 2015, my thoughts on the subject changed. For my 40th, we would have a party. I picked the spot, menu items, wine, food, etc. Then turned over the rest of the planning to my mom and husband. The party was fun, place was great, overall a nice time. It happened to fall on the “bar night” of November, aka: right before Thanksgiving. So, extra time off to boot!

After birthday party recovery, my husband was set for a work trip to Brazil that Monday and I was all set to go back to work, kids back to daycare. Upon arrival at work I opened my email to find a message. The message was from a man’s email address and the subject read, “Your husband is a cheater”.  I thought perhaps someone found my husband’s name on the listing of Ashley Madison users. I opened it. And so the discovery began that yes, he was cheating again.

I was transported back in time. Back to feeling like I was lost at sea floating in the ocean with no life boat. Yearning for sight of land while my feet dangled in shark infested waters. Looking for sight of an island somewhere I could swim to and climb to warm my bruised soul in the sun. The island I had to rely on was me. My own ability to save myself. So, I did what I had to do.

Island


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And yet, sometimes healing must happen alone

I let time lapse and not shared the middle of the story with you. Yet, here I am to say hope and healing are yours to have if you want, even if that means divorcing the person who had an affair/s and healing on your own.

Trying must be a two sided coin, a joining of both people to make a marriage work. In my case, it didn’t work. He did it again, I didn’t do enough, I might fill in the blanks from my obviously biased opinion at some point. He cheated again and the story is one that I couldn’t even make up. I know some have been through what is judged as worse and others through things that are judged as easier than my story. I’m here to say, I will do my best not to judge. To just know and understand that you too may have hurt, or be hurting right now desperately searching the internet for signs of a future that is better than what you are feeling right now.  I offer you these words-you are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone and you can have a better life.

 

 

 


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There’s a lot of work involved

When I went through my spouse having an affair, it broke me down, shattered pieces of me, tore me up, pain etc. etc. blah blah. It’s been a while so I can tell you that in some ways I’m glad some of those pieces of me that were shattered did so. However, I can also say it’s a lot of damn work to learn lessons in life. So. Much. Damn. Work.

If you are a person like me who really wants to dig down and figure yourself out, it can feel like the person who had the affair got off easy (yeah I’m being crass with that pun too). They think, “oh that was a mistake let me move on” or maybe they end up with the other person meanwhile us other ones over here are left with a crap load of internal work. Working on esteem issues if that came up, or whatever the hell came up for us. It could be so many things and I know I can only give you examples of things that came up for me, but I’m not sure I want to dump those all in this particular post. Yet. Ha!

The work is about feeling through the pain and working through the pain to get to the other side where you can look at things differently. When I was in the midst of the shit, I used to read about people who had “made it through” and said their marriages were better for the affair. While that gave me hope, it also makes me wonder a bit because I’m not sure I will get there or if I’m there. Which makes me question whether I was really in my marriage at all before the affair. See, it always takes two to cause an issue. I’m just learning about this for myself and it will be partially for me to keep to myself, but staying married to someone who had an affair is hard work. For me, it’s a challenge because I’m willing to tear it all open and lay the bullshit on the table, my bullshit, my spouse’s bullshit and just look at the disgusting mess to see how what can be cleaned up, what has to be sown up, and what can just be appreciated for the ugly mess that it is. My spouse though, not so willing to do this. I guess I can see why. The pain laying there was “caused” by all conventional means by my spouse, so who would want to sit there and figure out all of the things that were impacted by their really really bad choices? “Oh yes let me stare at all of the pain I caused you and then let’s talk about it more?”…maybe not so fun for them. Even though I still wish it would happen, I can see how it might not.

I’m going to keep it short because boy I could (and likely am already) rambling about this. I want to say. It’s a lot of f’ing work to heal yourself, but it’s worth it. It’s worth learning who you are, what makes you happy (please note that I said what not who), how you want to live your life, what things are important to you? Keeping your mind open to answering these things can lead to interesting discoveries and new beginnings. Perhaps you will stay, perhaps you won’t, but in the end you better make damn sure you are better for it anyway and I know you can.


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Time Passes

Time passes and it gets better, better for long moments in a row. Then one day you have a trigger. A song, a scent, you hear the name of the person who messed up your life, something that reminds you of what happened. It threatens to dig into that part of you that feels the pain. That part of you that sort of is comfortable with that pain because it’s what you’ve known. At that moment you can let yourself fall into that pain or you can decide to think to yourself, “Whew, that hurt hearing/smelling/seeing that. I think I’m going to be terribly heartbroken in a few moments. What am I gonna do about it? Am I going to let myself get stuck? Rage? Blame? Or am I going to feel it pass slowly as I breathe and remember that I don’t have to choose that pain anymore”.

I’m not talking about avoiding your feelings I’m talking about not letting them catch you like a fish on a hook. Rather, let them swirl around in your body, cry a bit if you need to, let it out and then let them go on. I feel like I need to put a disclaimer that this is the long view after an affair, like years later. It can be managed a bit easier than right during or after the heartbreaking, gut wrenching, overwhelming, all encompassing time. I can tell you that I have been there and it does get easier, but there is also a lot of work involved.


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I should have known

There were days when I thought I wouldn’t make it. Days when I wasn’t sure anyone could understand the searing pain that something so common, so typical could cause. How come no one talks about it? Am I an anomaly of the human race feeling as if I can talk about what happened without sweeping it under the rug? Maybe. Yes, it’s possible that I am. I think I’m ok with that.

We got pregnant in July. I found out while he was gone hunting. Yes hunting in July, you know a man will find a way to do his hobby all year round if he can. I sent him a photo and told him to do well for his new baby. I thought he’d be happy and he was. Only maybe he wasn’t.

After taking the test I went to float in our pool. Wondering if this pregnancy would be ok. If this little zygote would be able to stand the trials and tribulations of growing into a little boy or girl. I wondered if we would have to go through the pain of loss again. I hoped we would not. While he was out with the guys in a different state, probably not thinking about anything but the hobby. Maybe he was though, maybe I assumed the worst and he was really thinking about his dead parents, his dead family and how our first pregnancy ended in death? Would you call it death? I don’t know. Some do. Some don’t. That’s probably a good question for an abortion debate perhaps? Or a good question to ponder during some fervent church group meeting discussing the merits of a life. Talking about when life begins and ends, science maybe making a show from time to time, and perhaps not. Maybe I was wrong and he was hurting and afraid. I didn’t know. Who could tell? If I asked the answer would be I’m fine anyway.

This feeling starting creeping over me. Something was wrong. I asked, he denied. I asked again and again. He denied again and again. I started questioning myself. I know I wasn’t the greatest wife. I was crabby and stressed. Various things got to me. I resented that he let me bleed freezing and cold in our bathroom while what was left of our first pregnancy flowed away. I resented that if he had taken the time to look into my face when I asked for a heater in the bathroom that he might have noticed how white my lips were, shaking. That he might have noticed the fear in my eyes. I didn’t ask for help though. How could he know? I should be fair right? It’s a double standard to think he should have told me his pain and then expect him to notice mine showing up right in front of him in a pale bloody mess. Self being stuck in its own need, its own desire for being validated and right. Self keeping me stuck in ego.

So, there were more meetings and shopping trips for him during this time. I figured he just needed to change things up. He exercised, ate differently, and even whitened his teeth.  Never ever had he been interested in whitening his teeth. Not when I brought it up. Ever. I should have known, but denial’s loving arms were holding on to me tightly rocking me and singing a lullaby in my ear that should only be sung to my unborn growing baby. Lulling me into believing.

It must be my fault. I must change. I bought books. They were really good, helpful. He wouldn’t read them. I bought them electronically. He wouldn’t listen. I should have known. Dumb lies. Stupid alibis. I should have known.

I kept trying to get him to just say it. I signed myself up for counseling through work because I knew I needed to change. One day he told me it was me. I was ugly, fat, and he didn’t love me anymore. I should have known. I didn’t. Instead I internalized these truths he spoke that I had so often beaten myself up with while crying in a corner. Yes, I was ugly. Yes, I was fat. Who COULD love me? It makes so much sense. I should have known.

Then I did know. A short phone call was all it took to verify some information. Then I knew. I had been listening to a cd every day to work and from work about loving myself. I had been getting better even though he didn’t love me, I could love me. I could break those nasty thoughts that I was growing out of until they sprung from his mouth to my ears. Externally taken in instead of internally thrown out. I was growing, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. Now I knew. I should have known earlier, but I didn’t.

Pain. Lots of pain. Through it baby getting bigger. Actually, baby boy. HE was growing and hopefully healthy. I did all I could to keep this pain from him, even though I always wondered how I could shield this tiny creature from the chemicals swirling around him when I fought not to cry. When I would walk at 3am to burn off adrenaline from a bad encounter with the father. The husband who was still in our house, but not in our world. I drank smoothies made with fruits and protein powder and tried to keep him safe. My heart ached to protect him even though a part of me knew there was no way to protect him from it all.

Time. Time goes by and things change. We grow or we don’t. We learn more about ourselves or we don’t. It’s up to us. Pain. It can be used to change for the better or used to dig a deep hole to hide in forever. It’s up to me. I decided to try to learn from it. I’m still trying. The spirit questioning and not knowing one single thing about what will happen in the future. I had no idea in any direction other than I would grow and I would fiercely protect this little baby who was now in my arms instead of my belly.

Growth. Spirit. It’s easy to forget that it takes work to grow.  The tree has to reach underground to grow tall, just like we have to reach inside to allow ourselves to change.  Be like water I used to tell myself. Adjust to the new things in life and be like water. Strong, able to carve valleys. Things will work out better than I can even imagine I would tell myself. In many ways they have, even though I should have known.