Wonder

Since Dday, I have always wondered if  CEO still thinks of me.  As childlike as this may sound, I couldn’t fathom that men in general, simply shut out memories forever.  That they are THAT capable of compartmentalizing an entire relationship in milliseconds.  Logically, there are many male bloggers that wax and wane about their AP’s, so I know some men do.  But they tend to come across as somewhat Emo, which CEO definitely was not.

There were times that I justified him as being some pathological liar or sociopath- just to rationalize things he said to me, or specific conversations we had throughout our relationship together.  But deep down, I knew he wasn’t.  I was kidding myself (although all the data says, sociopaths comprise more CEO’s than any other profession- just sayin).

This question has lingered throughout the years and I’ve wondered on and off, “Does he still think of me? Like I still think of him?”

After my last post, I decided that I should start writing again after a commenter mentioned they were happy to see I was still writing.  For me, the only way I can tell my story is to go back.  Go back in time and log in to things I haven’t read in a long, long time.

And there it was.  The answer that I’ve always wondered about…

 

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Last active 1 week ago

 

My heart stopped and I could barely breathe as I saw his name, with the log-in details showing.   I never thought in a million years I would ever see that.  I haven’t logged in for years and the one time I do- it shows he was just there?  It hit me like a ton of bricks.

And then the realization set in: his timing was not lost on me…it was within a day or two of my birthday.

He’s thinking of me.  I know it.  There’s absolutely no reason for him to be logged into there.

And no- this doesn’t change anything.  We are both where we should be: with our spouses.  And no- I won’t reach out to him.  If he wanted to talk to me, he knows how to find me.  For the record,  I would absolutely speak with him.  Too much damage and hurt has occurred to not seek true closure.  To wish my friend well.

But friends- my head is spinning…with CEO most certainly on my mind.

And me- on his.

 

 

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Empathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My good friend Madeline over at https://madelineharper09.com  blogged about the ending of her affair. For those of you who follow my blog, I haven’t even begun to write much about mine but suffice to say, our stories have overlapped since the beginning. She has since moved on but it was difficult for me to read along, as I’ve been there. I empathized with her pain, as well as knew first hand the pain of being a betrayed spouse. I also understood her affair partners reluctance to engage in the relationship any further. Juggling two relationships takes more work than anyone realizes (take my word). It taxes the mental file boxes so to speak.

Grief. Confusion. Pain. Sorrow. Love. Fear.

So many emotions pulse through your veins when facing the end of an affair. I haven’t divulged about my affair, but I wanted to share an actual email which I sent to CEO at the end. It mirrors so much of Madeline’s pain. Our lovers may be different, but I get where Madeline was at. I understand how it feels breathing through a vice-grip day in and day out, all while trying to function for your children. As humans we strive for knowledge, to make sense of our world and the relationships within and around it. At least we should.

Esther Perel once said, “Depending on the circumstances, anyone is capable of anything. This is a crucial piece of knowledge to hold, if there is true intention, to engage empathically with our fellow human beings. It is easy to cast off those that perpetrate or endure horrific things, as being unlike us or different in some way. And my worry is if we operate from that standpoint, we will always be operating from a place of disconnection and isolation. Empathy entails putting yourself in the shoes of another. It is important that we all challenge ourselves to cultivate this ability, because given the right circumstances or right conditions, we are all capable of anything.

The importance of struggle and pain is crucial to the development of character. The process of recovery is transformational. There is a great cost to the character of human beings if things are achieved too easily.”

As I followed Madeline’s journey, I couldn’t help but sincerely wish that her pain transformed her, just as the pain I caused transformed me. You should realize, I am in a different place than when I wrote this letter. But make no mistake, I sat in the crosshairs of gut-wrenching pain and my consequences for a long, long time. I struggled immensely, yet grew out of those ashes into a better person–a better wife–a better friend and better mother to those around me.

***

I came to the beach and ran all the way to the end. I wanted to feel close to you. To see your face amongst the crowds. Maybe even bump into you going for a run (we never did race!!)

My mind pondered so many things, thinking how just 1 week ago you said “I want you.” And how on a dime, that suddenly changed. I still don’t get it.

I ask myself constantly “Did he ever truly care for me?” You said you weren’t the man I thought you were. What does that mean???

I think you did care for me but I am so confused. I reached for my tablet this morning, wanting to turn it on to see if you had written. But I had to stop myself as this habit is so ingrained in me, to include you in my day to day life.

Last night, I took Vivianne to the outdoor concert. I left my phone at home by accident. Normally, I would have sent you a message talking about date night or our plans for the weekend. And in that moment, I realised just how much your presence truly was in my life.

We may have started off as adventure seeking lovers but you became one of my closest friends over the past six months. And I adored that CEO.  Simply put, losing you and your friendship hurts me the most. I have felt your support and laughter through so many months now, seeking advice, sharing my thoughts, concerns, fantasies and more.

I grew….as a person…..by knowing you CEO. That is one compliment which I’ve never said to anyone. Read that sentence again, slower now. Because very few people have ever come into my life and impacted me in so many ways. You are one of them–having made such an impression on my heart.

I look for the number 1 to appear in my inbox all the time. Seeing a message from “CEO” pop up gave me companionship during the chaos and monotony of my days. I noticed your name says ceo (lowercase) now in my inbox. And I wonder what you changed in your settings. I wonder if this is another step forward to disconnecting what had been our connected lives. It makes me well up in tears and I fan my face trying to breathe through the pain.

I hear footsteps behind me as I sit here watching the waves. And I wish they were yours so that I could tell you just how much I will miss you in my life. Waves of grief wash over me as if I have lost an arm or something. It hurts that much.

As I ran here today, I saw a vision of me working late at night putting together a business plan. The next picture was me at a table negotiating with a bunch of executives. Then finally another picture of me reading a news article talking about my company. I was giving an interview and they were asking “How did a mom get involved in the industry–how did you do it?” And I answered, “I met someone who inspired me to dream again. A CEO who showed me how to juggle a house of cards….I dedicate this to him.”

With that picture in my mind, I burst into tears thinking that in time, you and I will be referred to in the past tense. I never want to lose your friendship and tried to ask you how our interactions would be going forward. Likely this may happen over time. But right now, I can’t let go of someone whose friendship meant the most to me of all.

I care about you…always will. And CEO–you may not feel that you are a great person. But I felt it with you. And I know you are. I still believe in you. Everything with you was magical and that is how I will remember us.

***

I remember being in so much pain when I wrote those words. Thinking of not hearing from CEO every day ripped my heart out of my chest. Our lives had become so intertwined, both of us were a source of encouragement to the other. Whether he was having a bad day because an investor pulled out, or if I was struggling with the work I was handling–we always reached out. Losing his friendship was the death kneel, but I knew No Contact would be for life. It killed me to think I would never see his smile again. Never hear his laugh. Never share our fantasy world again.

But…over a year later, I can say that the pain diminished enough to function.  It waxed and waned over those first few months but the overall trajectory was there.  Two years after Dday, you are solidly looking forward and living your life, without the constant feeling of missing their presence.  It may not feel that way in the beginning (the first three months of No Contact are brutal) but you do get through it.   Make no mistakes, you carry the memories of them wherever you go, but they’ve been relegated to a filing cabinet that rarely gets unlocked.  The mental pictures you had swirling around in your head for so long, become fuzzy.  You don’t see their face with clarity and definition any longer.  It’s like they become a photo or snippet of a movie, when memories pop up.  And you are seeing it from afar.

I believe in order to move forward in your life, at some point you stop looking back so much.  You just do-instinctually.  You begin to live more in the present and little by little, you dust yourself off and rebuild your life.  One day at a time.

In the beginning, it’s an accomplishment to not burst into tears every time you drive or hear a song on the radio.  Or maybe just being present long enough to say, “I’m good, thanks” when a grocery clerk asks how you are.  A few moments suddenly becomes a few hours, and then it grows to a whole morning that you didn’t think about “them”.  As time moves forward, eventually days fly by.  And one day, maybe a whole year later, you get an entire week or two as a reprieve for your hard work.  That’s pretty much the first year after Dday in a nutshell, my friends.

Truthfully though, you won’t ever forget your affair partner. The good memories or bad ones–they are in that memory bank for life I’m afraid.  But you do heal.  You do.  In time.

I’m proof of it Madeline.

 

 

 

 

 

Paradise

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Well we finally arrived after two flights and a long layover in between.  The kids took it in stride and even walked themselves through immigration.  I feared they would be asleep and we would be carrying them ourselves, since that is when they are normally sleeping.  But it worked out perfectly.

As we came out of the airport, someone was there to greet us with the car we had rented.  No waiting in lines- wow, I could get use to this.  As my husband placed our suitcases into the back of the car, he jammed his suitcase against him.  His right hand caught a piece of metal which was at one time, part of a side carry handle.  I looked at his face, then saw the blood, and he said, “I think I cut my finger down to the bone.”

The woman took him to a nurse who works in the airport.  We sat next to our rental car saying prayers for Daddy to be ok.  And for this to please, not inhibit the fun he has looked so forward to.  My heart sunk knowing all the water activities we had dreamed of doing while here.  Fifteen long minutes passed when Daddy suddenly appeared saying, “It’s not to the bone-just a deep cut.”  Phew…a huge sigh of relief came flooding out.

We drove about an hour through villages and such, till we finally reached a stone sign.  As we drove down a twisting road (think Lombard Street in San Francisco meets the jungle), we suddenly broke out in the giddiest of grins.

You park your vehicle and then the resort ferries you further down the ravine in little tuk-tuks reminiscent of the ones in Thailand, only much nicer.  As the driver turned the last corner, there stood our own private butler- local drinks in hand literally welcoming us to paradise.

He brought us into our room- and it was stunning.  Views of these majestic mountains coupled with white plantation shutters…four poster bed covered in a white mosquito net.

I’m a visual person so this place is a feast for your eyes and for anyone who loves architecture.  I still can’t believe we are here…in such paradise enjoying our marriage and family after so much destruction.  I feel grateful beyond words that my husband didn’t give up on us, that we have finally rebuilt a solid marriage where honesty reigns (despite how difficult that has been) and that we haven’t allowed our past to destroy our family.

I never thought being 2 years past Dday could feel so great…but it does.  We are making new memories and CEO feels so far behind us now.  This is proof that all those articles you read after Dday are true: some couples rebuild their marriages into stronger, more resilient ones.  I am very grateful to say, we are one of them ❤️🌴☀️

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember two years ago living and breathing through every single painful moment and wondering when the pain of not seeing Niall ever again would diminish.  I read plenty of stories of others before me and I remember commenting on someone’s blog, “When does it get better?”  A fellow blogger, Anonyman, gave me some sage advice which I’ve reflected upon, many times, over these years.  It’s never quite left me.  He said, “How I felt after D-Day is vastly different to how I felt one year later.  Now two years later, I still think of Scarlett but not in the same way that I did back then.”  That was the gist of his advice.

I remember thinking at the time, “Can I please fast forward to where you are at?  Is there a magic pill I can take to erase all of the memories of him?”

So how does this relate to me now?  Well, I have a few clues in my data which makes me think CEO may have found my blog.  I really don’t care, if he has.  I’m surprised it took him this long, although I know he is a busy man.  Or rather, he always liked to portray himself as such.  Maybe he wants to read my thoughts.  Maybe he still thinks of me.  I’ll never truly know.  And really, it doesn’t really matter.  Nor bother me.

For those of you wondering how to get through the devastation- for those of you googling, “How to get over an affair?” – I can tell you this: Anonyman was right.  I’m approaching two years from our Dday yet it feels vastly unimportant to my current life.  Yes, it stands out as a day that once signified so much pain, for a lot of people.  But I have reclaimed my marriage, as best I could, after so much time has passed.  I never thought I would see the day when this month would feel so ordinary.  But it does.  I am cognizant on a low level that this day is approaching, but also-  it’s not holding me captive like it once was.

My life is very full.  Very exciting.  Very adventurous.  Very free.  I have an amazing bucket list kind of trip coming up and the irony is that, I will be landing in paradise on what was our Dday.  I had no idea when I found these flights that this date synced up, to what was once, such a pivotal date.  It took a few weeks before I even realized it.  That’s how different things are two years past the pain.  I call that progress, my friends.  Progress that you don’t necessarily feel or see, when you are within the first year of Dday.  Something to look forward to eh?

I can’t tell you how rewarding it felt to realize that.  CEO feels so far back, that he isn’t there in the forefront of my thoughts anymore.  But…and there is always a but, right?  I do think of him, which I believe is normal.  I only ever fell in love twice in my life: to my husband and to him.  So despite where I am at with my husband, I acknowledge that I will likely always have a fondness for CEO when I look back upon our time.  We had what I felt was a magical affair–gorgeous suites overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Amazing sex listening to the sound of waves crashing on the sand.  Sex on the balcony–yes–bucket list. Check

But he doesn’t belong to me.  He belongs to his wife.  He belongs to his family.  He is right where he needs to be.  I always wanted the best for him-and the best is his wife, not me.  And honestly, I am right where I need to be: with my husband.

Speaking of my husband, I would like to share that he has transformed into a super husband.  Cape and all.  He has achieved a huge recognition at work.  They flew him to New York as he was nominated for an award by his Fortune 100 company.  I can’t tell you how proud I was of him.  Just being nominated was an honor.  But the best part is- he won.  And I couldn’t be happier for his success, which really transcends into our home as well.  He really is living up to his potential  and I think the therapy has been a huge blessing in this regard.

I will add, this is the first time he has traveled since confessing of his affairs.  Previously, he was supposed to go away but then meetings took precedence and the trips were canceled.  Or he found ways to mitigate him flying out, by suggesting more conference calls etc.  Pretty much, we’ve skirted around this issue for a long time.  He made a promise to me that we would travel along with him, if he had to do do any business trips.  And that worked for a while (plus we got to enjoy the hotels while he worked!).  But it’s been a long time since his confession and this time, I simply couldn’t go.  The kids were getting out of school that week and it just wouldn’t work.

It was a bit nerve wracking thinking, “What if?  What if he cheats on me at the event?”  But I dismissed those thoughts.  And honestly, we kept in constant contact.  He missed all the important end of school activities, which of course brought a few tears to my eyes.  All the fathers were there-except him.  But thank God for FaceTime.  The technology of today brought our family together, despite the miles.

So where are we at today?  Well school is out.  Summer is here.  And I am five hours away from boarding a flight to an amazing destination with the people who love me the most.  I can’t wait to land in paradise.  I have spent countless hours planning this trip and I can honestly say, it’s going to be an amazing adventure.  Not only will I be drooling over the resorts architecture, but I will be lounging on one of the most stunning beaches in the world.  Taking in the beauty, soaking in gratitude and love and reflecting upon our progress thus far.

Two years post Dday…and life is pretty epic my friends!

But it took a helluva lot of work to get here.

Boy, was it worth it.