Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


22 Comments

16 May 2009

A day like any other, right?

The popular press was focused on people like Eva Longoria. Do we even remember her? Swine ‘flu was front and centre of many people’s worries. Rachel Alexandra  won the Preakness, the first filly in 85 years to do so. British retailers were up in arms about Manic Street Preacher’s latest album cover art. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the pressing governmental issues of the day … ohh Gawd, hey, it was a Saturday – was one of our long-term MPs, addressing a dental health conference! Hahahaha! Not doing much for the cause of us being a vibrant, and global nation ;-).

Yes, it has actually been EIGHT years since my life imploded. The OW, Leanne, a woman I once considered a friend, someone I had known since middle school years, sent me a text, at 8.57pm, whilst I was attending a 40th birthday party that she was also supposed to be attending. The text outlined that she had been sleeping with my most beloved partner, Roger. There was little in the way of detail, I didn’t keep the text, and cannot recall the exact wording.

I went back to the party, and carried on with the evening. Smiling, dancing, completely numb inside. Then drove the half-drunk Roger home in the wee, small hours. When we were about ten minutes from home, I leaned over with my phone, and showed him the text. He was completely bereft. Head in hands, he eventually looked up, as I drove into the darkness, and said, “I will pack a bag when we get home, and get out of your life. I am incredibly sorry, so, so sorry.” I think I actually floated away somewhere far, far, away. I don’t know if I have ever come back entirely.

Time.

Time does blur things, fading the edges of memory. But it has never eradicated the pain I still feel, not the “two to five years” later when I was supposed to feel a lot better, get my life back.

It is eight years. Eight pain-filled and unnecessary years. There isn’t a lot to add. I just wanted to mark the day somehow, as it passes by in every other sense.

The first ‘online’ person I ‘met’ – a woman who is different to me in so many ways, a US-Southern Baptist, 50+ year old, home-schooling SAHM, who voted for Trump – we couldn’t be politically, ideologically, etc, further apart – is still someone I ‘chat’ with regularly. Who knew? Six and a half years after her D-day, she is filing for divorce. He didn’t do the work, he is an passive aggressive, narcissistic arsehole, and she is (reluctantly) divorcing him. Finally. She has been through the mill. She messaged me today, to reiterate that cheating is a “life sentence” – her words.

I am currently seeing a lot of emotional exhaustion in the blogging community. People who are now three plus years out from D-day. The hope is fading. The magic pill of time is not making things any better for most.

I know that feeling well. I think there is a LOT of detritus bandied about – by counsellors, churches, people hawking self-help books, the general public – about being able to build a ‘new,’ ‘better’ version of marriage/partnership. That infidelity is actually an OPPORTUNITY! Lucky you!

The truth is, it sucks. And it will always suck. For the rest of your life, it will suck in some way, together, or apart.

And that, my sweets, is my take-home lesson from eight years of the pain of ‘surviving’ infidelity, together, or apart, it makes no difference.

‘Happy’ antiversary to me!


26 Comments

People, pressure cookers and purging

pressure cooker

It is interesting to me, the cyclical nature of this life. I never really struggled with cycles too much in my life, previous to the cheating, not really. I have PCOS and as such, have never menstruated much at all, six times in my whole almost-48 years on the planet. So, even that very organic and taken-for-granted cycle of life that most women (and probably most of their partners) experience was never a part of my life. Since D-day, which will be SEVEN years ago next month, I cycle. I cycle through periods of strength and despair, and back to periods of strength and coping. I know that even in the very depths of despair, I am strong, even if I don’t actually FEEL strong in that moment. I have always taken my strength as a given, not really for granted, but recognised that I possessed it, and that there are many positives, but also a few weird negatives (eg; not very forgiving…..) in its possession.

This long after the initial devastation of discovery, I honestly thought I would have metabolised everything, and had it reasonably neatly packaged away “somewhere” in my past. I guess I knew I would never forget, but I sure did think that it would be like every other thing that has happened to me in the past, “dealt with.” Whatever that is ;-). It isn’t. I still cycle through these stages, as I was told by the first psychologist I saw for about a year or so, about seven or eight months post D-day, “you are suffering from complicated grief, Paula. And it isn’t an easy thing to resolve. It means you will continue to cycle through those recognised ‘stages’ of grief, until they are resolved, and sometimes they never are sufficiently to move past them.” I accept this. But it doesn’t make life a heck of a lot easier knowing this, and dealing with it. The second psychologist I saw (about a year after finishing with the first) gave me my first tool that made any real impact on how I was trying to deal with my pain, in ACT. I finally had something that seemed to give me agency about the pain I was experiencing. It hasn’t stopped it, or made a huge dent in how I feel, but I do understand things better than ever, and it helped that he admitted that he was dealing with something that he regularly pulled the ACT toolbox out to help him work through, and that he hadn’t found a ‘cure’ or way out entirely either, and didn’t expect that he could now, rather just a way of learning to live with and cope with the emotional detritus when it got too much (he was a youth and violence specialist, and I found him very relatable.)

So, lately I have been cycling through the difficult periods again, I am not surprised. I am trying to play catch up after taking two and a half weeks off to holiday in South America (which BTW was fabulous, and Roger and I went together and had a great time – we always do. He has been my best friend for almost 28 years, we ‘enjoy’ each other and laugh at the same things, wanted to see the same things, do the same things, experience the lived culture as much as you are able on a fleeting visit and are actually a tourist, etc – oh, except for the fifteen months when he was fucking “our friend” – that wasn’t so damn friendly!) We stayed with the exchange student daughter we hosted last year’s family for a part of the trip, and that was so wonderful, so we did get off the tourist path somewhat. Yay!

Oh – I forgot a shout out to tempted – YES – we did go to Salta. Was different to my expectations, real contrasts in economic outcomes, etc…

 

So, of course I am a little stressed, but I am managing that stress, ticking items off the To Do List methodically. It is just the frustration at this knowledge that it will never really be any better. The decision to live without him isn’t a panacea to the pain I will forever feel about his choices, and the messages I am constantly trying to defend my psyche from. Two weeks after we returned, he asked me if I had enjoyed the trip! I was a little nonplussed. “Um, yeah, of course I did, it was a privilege and a pleasure to be able to do that, and it was nice to do it with you.” He paused for a minute, “it didn’t really seem like you enjoyed it much.” WTF? I sat with that for a moment, and then replied, “well, I have tried to explain this many times to you, gently and as kindly as I can manage. I don’t ENJOY anything the way I once did. All of the glitter and gloss that edged my previous life has gone. I like stuff, I enjoy doing things, but I NEVER LOVE any of it. There is no unadulterated pleasure, joy,  anymore. Life is bland and not full of colour and wonderment for me. It isn’t a direct criticism of anything about you, merely a fact of the impact of the aftermath of being betrayed for me. I wish I could change it, I HATE that I don’t feel any great heights anymore, I know it is the reason I have lost my ability to orgasm and enjoy anything sexual. It permeates and steals all the flavour from life. I seem to be no longer able to live the FUCK out of life!”

I do feel like a human pressure cooker at times, I temper my temper. I have strategies in place and practice mindfulness in order to function, but there is also a need to not punish Roger forever for making shit choices. I don’t talk a lot about my feelings to him anymore, that just isn’t fair when you make the choice to live separately. It is interesting when we do, though, because you know what? There are no answers. There is no end to the journey of healing from infidelity, like many other things. However, many of the “other things” I have needed to deal with in my life have been able to be catalogued and shelved for long periods of time, and I felt I was pretty healthy in my processing of them. This is like no other, it refuses to be shelved, no matter how many ways I have catalogued, re-catalogued, examined, re-examined. Pressure cookers do need to let off steam, and for this blog, and the mostly anonymous spaces of the online world, I will be forever grateful. It is where the shit goes, and you will have noticed that it is used as the rubbish receptacle for my pain less and less. I think it is a measure of progress. But progress it not victory, not absolute, it never will be. I did realise about two years into this journey, that healing will never be complete, it will never all be bundled away into a neat little package of “this is what happened to me, but my life is better now.” That will not be a path that is available to me. I have another path to travel.

For the friends I have made through this world, one especially, who helps ground me almost daily, listens, shares her own steaming moments, and her triumphs, and never judges, but always provides comfort in her wisdom, I am eternally grateful.

That purged, I am back to my essay! Have a great day all.


23 Comments

Distance

I have been thinking about this post for a few days – so unlike me to almost plan a post! I have been reading about people’s struggles with the skank who decided to fuck their husband. There are many different instances of these women – and I am using a gendered label here because I am addressing my own situation, and those of the women whose blogs I read. Hey, it works both ways, but I will describe it thus, because it seems so many of the bloggers are women who have been cheated on.

Bear with me.

You see, I am a lot further – in terms of time passed – from the cheating that happened in my life than many of the bloggers I read are. That doesn’t give me any grand wisdom, or sense of being more healed, or anything else you might think might happen. But it does mean I have had longer to process this crap, and to live around it. I have noted how damaging the skanks are (I HATE the term “other woman” – they are not women, they are skanks, and putting them in the same frame as women is insulting to us all) the ones who obliterated the lives of many a loving wife and/or mother by thinking it was somehow okay to fuck around with a man who was supposed to be committed to someone else. Hey, I am no cheating husband apologist. The person who “owed” us faithfulness was the man we were committed to, not the skank. However, these skanks are hideous excuses for humanity, scraping up the scraps the legitimate (can I use that word?) relationship leaves behind. As tempted commented to me the other day, they are carrion.

So why do we fixate on these scum? And we all do. We all know how these skuzballs get under our skin, and fuck with our heads. And those are just the “normal” ones, the ones who are embarrassed, or do feel ashamed and scurry away to hide under the nearest rock. What about the ones that Nephila, nothate and I had? The “friends.” Or the ones who go full Fatal Attraction on us? Or both (as in my case.) What power do they have over us that makes us think constantly about them?

It’s pretty simple really. Our self esteem is smashed into unrecognisable shards and dust. So we wonder what was so fucking special about these skanks. They might be prettier, they might be thinner, they might be more intellectual, they might be better in bed. In reality, mostly from the literature and the anecdotal evidence I have seen, they are rarely any of these things. In my case, she was skinnier. But I can’t think of one other way she had anything on me. But did that stop me from kind of trying to “compete?” No, I ran and ran and ran, and I got skinny. Did that make me feel better? Hell no. I felt skinny. That was nice, but I wasn’t any happier. I am a mile over that skank in life.

And that was when I got it. Look who they had turned me into. I was competing with someone on looks, brains, love, everything really. Who the hell is that? I was never one to overly compare people. I celebrated difference. I liked that I wasn’t beauty queen material, but that I have my own allure. I am different to “most” – laugh here, who are most women? – women. I have red hair, fair skin, curves, I think outside the square, I am kind, passionate, love animals and the environment. I have a keen social conscience, I am and have been an activist and am not afraid to speak out. I don’t buy into the cult of celebrity. Why was I becoming a pawn in this game? I didn’t need to compete, and I didn’t WANT to compete. I am mighty and pretty darn awesome the way I am. Hey, we are all growing and changing, but I was buying into the beauty myth, the rat race, and a myriad of other crappy positions that western society encourages us to scrabble for.

So I decided to stop with the nonsense.

It wasn’t easy, I haven’t stopped any of the hurt, any of the recycling of the past and the agony that accompanies it all. But somehow I was able to evict HER from taking up too much tenancy in my brain. She is nothing. Even if she “won,” what exactly was it she won? An ageing, cheating, lying farmer. Good luck with that. The harder part to let go was that even letting HER go, I didn’t want her to “win” by splitting up. I know that even if she didn’t “win” him, she was absolutely certain that we would split. And that was the whole intent of her actions both by letting me know about the affair almost two months after he ended it, and by continuing to harass us for nearly three years afterwards. I didn’t want to walk away, because that meant she would have manipulated me into the exact position she aimed for.

Then I woke up again one day and thought, “so what.” So what if I leave, and she wins? How does that affect me? I mean, in my HEAD I had known this since D-day, but I had struggled with so much anger, and so much need to be heard, to be understood, to be apologised to by her. Eventually, it wasn’t there anymore.

That was the day I realised I no longer cared. She had no hold over me, us, or anything anymore. The battle was a hollow one anyway. I have never since then been tempted to look at her Facebook page, her LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, Googled her, had to fight the urge to give her house the drive-by if I was in her city – all of which I did, or wanted to do in those first years. I no longer fantasize about torching her house, or spraying FILTHY CUNT in large letters into her manicured front lawn with weed spray. She has no power over me anymore. That is freeing. Does this mean I would be sad if I heard she had been the victim of a home invasion, raped, beaten and slowly, tortuously murdered? HELL NO. But I no longer actively wish that on her, or think about it much at all. I worked out that no injury visited on her would equal the one she visited on me. All I ever wanted for her was happiness and love. Now I am glad she has never experienced either, and I know she hasn’t really, as she has never had what I had, what we had, true, deep, passionate and connected love that made our hearts sing. I know that was what she wanted. She will never have it because she is a sociopathic bitch. TOIL told me some stories about the way she treated people that really made his mind up at the end, she is just nasty and horrid to people. She never makes them feel warm, loved or appreciated, but is always there to kick them when they are down, or even when they are trying to help. I just wish that that zombiefied, undead, unfeeling bitch had never crossed my path again, as this idiot felt sorry for her!