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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope is a beautiful thing.  But it needs to be nurtured and backed up with devotion, commitment and a heck of a lot of grit and determination.  I am very happy to say that, every one of those elements are in place right now.  I think my husband had his Come to Jesus moment as one blogger calls it.  Perhaps that was his rock bottom.  I’ll never know because I am not in his head.  But he’s been seeing his therapist weekly now.  And wow, what a difference that has made.

For starters, I’m no longer viewed as the bad guy for wanting him to step up, act responsibly and with foresight to ultimately lead our family.  He now gets that message from his therapist!  She’s making him accountable each and every week, with things he knows he should “do” but always found excuses not to.

Our normal routine is that he will brain dump after every session.  I did have some concerns that she was focused on creating new habits rather than digging into the core reasons behind his shitty behaviors.  I’ve been married to him for nearly 2 decades, so I can say with certainty that I know the man.  Trust me, he is a people pleaser at his core.  And it stems from being adopted and not wanting to be abandoned by anyone (since essentially, that is how he views what happened to him).

I brought up my concerns and he thought it would be a good idea if I met her.  So I did that a few weeks ago.  I gave her the cliff note version of his affair, mine with CEO and how things recently came to a head and I thought our marriage was 100% over.  I gave credit, where credit was due – explaining all the positive changes I have seen in him since starting therapy.  But also mentioned, “I love this new attentive husband of mine.  Trust me, he is great at kicking into high gear after one of our marriage talks.  The issue has always been that it’s short-lived and fizzles out.  I don’t want to lose this new dynamic and I am afraid of that.”

But I’m not sitting here dwelling on that to happen.  I do believe that he is transforming.  We both are.  Together.  In the right direction.

That’s when she asked, “So how was your birthday?”

“Oh my gosh.  I was so blown away.  You don’t understand.  He never does stuff like that.  It literally made me cry.  I was THAT shocked.  Seeing everyone there, friends from near and far….it just, well- it meant the world to know that he even tried.”

As I paused I noticed the therapist breaking into an enormous smile.  I couldn’t help but think – she’s been behind this all along.

Friends, I celebrated another year getting younger.  Yep- I’m stuck at 21.  I don’t make a fuss over my birthday and to be honest, CEO blew mine off.  He did of course, congratulate me on turning another year younger (when we were in the midst of having our affair).  Big woop.  My husband on the other hand, pulled off a major surprise.

We had gone out for a birthday dinner (just the two of us) but stopped off for a glass of wine at a trendy Italian restaurant with a fantastic bar.  As our reservation time got closer, I started to get antsy.  I wanted to know where we were going, which was part of the surprise.  I finagled three guesses out of my husband, as we sat there finishing our drinks.

Is it in X city? (Yes)

Have we been there before? (Yes)

Hmmmmmm I thought.  Ok so it can’t be Blah restaurant.  And it can’t be Blah Blah either.  We’ve never been to those yet.  So I am guessing it’s XX restaurant.  Am I right?  Huh, huh?

He just grinned and said, “I have a feeling you are going to enjoy tonight” as he took another sip of his Allagash.

A few minutes later, it was finally time to leave.  As we drove along the corridor, I stared out the window looking at the beautiful board and batten homes.  Each one, lovely in their own right.  That’s when he pulled up to park, at the rear of a boutique hotel.  There’s restaurants adjacent to the hotel, so I didn’t think much of it.  I started throwing out more guesses then.

Are we going to ABC Restaurant or XX Bistro?  But he wouldn’t say a word.

We walked towards the restaurants, hand in hand, when he suddenly pulled mine sharply to the left, so that I faced the hotel entrance.

That’s when my eye caught a table of 14 women, all standing up–saying, “Surprise!”

I literally walked up the stairs and my dearest mommie friends, from near and far were all there.  I stood there speechless.  Literally.  Speechless.  Then the tears started, which I brushed away quickly.  Laura (from my story–the one who gave advice to me when I thought I had feelings for Billy–aka reunion boy) was there.  My guy best friends wife (who is like family) was there.  My newest neighbor, who just had a baby and whose husband was out of town for a month (all very valid reasons as to why you couldn’t make such a event) was there too.  And then I had my posse of moms that I see every week– the friends that make me laugh till I cry.  The ones who I can communicate with solely by funny GIFS and memes, bitching about life, marriage and if it’s appropriate to drink wine at noon.  Alone.

I had friends that had driven hours to get there.  And friends who live just a few streets away.  All my favorite women were sitting at one table.  And it was beautiful.  So, so beautiful.

Once the tears of shock wore off, my brain was trying to decipher everybody I saw.  As I looked around the table, I realized there were no husbands at all.  Thats strange–where are all the men?  That’s when one of my dearest friends said, “Kate–your husband has been planning this for weeks.  I even asked him why?  My husband would NEVER do this.”

Stunned I said, “Really?  Weeks?”

“Yeah.  He told me he noticed you always light up whenever you talk about hanging out with your girls friends.  So he planned a Girls Night Out, as he wanted you to shine on your birthday.  He wanted that as his gift to you.”

Well, that just started the tears all over again.  I leaned over whispering into my husband ear, “Thank you” as he said, “I gotta go now.  Have fun with your ladies.  I’ll pick up the kids.  Just make sure Kate gets home safely ok ladies?”

The whole table erupted into a giant, “Yes” as the wine continued to pour and laughter ensued.

It was a beautiful night.  Spent with beautiful friends.  And it made me realize, just how much my husband truly gets me.  And that he does notice who I still am, under this cloak of motherhood and responsibility I proudly wear.

When dinner was over, we headed to a nearby bar.  It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and they have a DJ spinning on the weekends.  One of my girlfriends explained, “Your husband arranged this next.”  I stood there- blown away while she gave the doorman some name and viola, we were all taken inside.  I couldn’t help but smile (and send my husband a text to say thank you, yet again!).  He wasn’t there, yet I felt very taken care of.  I felt special and loved and adored.  Everything any woman would desire to feel.

It was a beautiful evening friends.

Walking down the stairs, to the thumping house music, my only concern was whether or not my 5″ heels could handle being danced in all night.  That and keeping my alcohol consumption in check.

The shoes held up fine.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  But that’s what Sundays are for right?

Recovering.

 

 

 

Forgiveness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up this morning, like every other morning, and went for my run.  It’s a poignant day because two years ago, Laura (in my story) sat me down and said, “Start exercising everyday”.  Well, I took that to heart–nearly 1700 miles later, I can say, it’s been one piece of advice that I’m grateful I followed.  In short, it’s been a blessing.

But it’s also been a curse because as someone once said off-line to me, “Don’t you find exercise to be incredibly hard?  Because it is for me–that is when my brain goes nuts and I think back to my affair.”

“Yes”, I said.  “I do too.  But thats also why I run.  To work through all my pain.”

But like Forest Gump, here’s what I discovered during the end of that milestone…I could only ever get so far in my recovery because the one person I needed to talk to–to move forward and heal in my life–I wasn’t supposed to contact.  Yeah….CEO.

For months, my brain has been screaming at me to reach out.  To make peace with him.  To seek his forgiveness for shutting down, walking away, not talking to him or replying to his messages.  For not protecting him from the fallout of my confession.

No matter how hard I tried to move forward with my life (and make no mistakes, I have), this issue remained front-and-center.  I circled around these thoughts for miles, upon miles as I ran every week.  Until I finally sat by the ocean this morning, looked out towards the sea, opened my phone and broke 16 months of no contact.

Yes, my dear friends.  That was me today.

I apologize if I have disappointed you all.  But this is my true reality.  This is my story and how I struggle to remove CEO from my thoughts.  I am trying to move forward with my marriage, at warp speed no less.  But how can one truly move on, when there is this giant bolder of pain sitting over there that needs to be forgiven?

I recognized how unhealthy it was to hold everything in.  Clearly, I’m an expert at that.  Heck, I haven’t even begun to write about our actual affair that’s how great I am at holding every card to my chest.  But I needed to say the things that I did.  My contact with him was for MY healing.  To move forward with my husband and not have this constant dialogue running through my head.

I was taught as a kid that if you did something wrong, you sought someone’s forgiveness.  And all this time, I wrestled with doing just that, in order to fully move on and heal.  Going “no contact” and pretending that you caused no damage to another persons life and marriage is naive and cowardly.  I had a part to play in all of this and I needed to face it head-on, or else I felt I would never move past where my husband and I had worked so tirelessly to get to.

So as heartfelt as I could, that is what I did.  I contacted him.  CEO’s response was terse, and awkward.  Hell he could have been in a meeting for all I know.  But once I started, there was no stopping me.  Reaching out was about my healing.  And I told him this.  His responses really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  I needed to follow my heart, seek his forgiveness and say the things that have been on my heart for a very very long time.

Did I say everything, cover every last thing in this talk?  No.  Not even close.  You can’t sum up everything in a short message.  I explained that I wished I could explain everything but even if I had an entire day to talk, I doubt that would be enough time to convey everything.

Do I regret it?  Nope.  Because I know this isn’t to reestablish contact.  It’s to move forward.  For me.  To ultimately give every piece of myself to my husband and to not look back any longer at CEO.  For closure on every side.

With breaking no contact, I do feel a sense of relief in addressing how things ended.  I asked for his forgiveness and he granted it to me.  I shared that I wake up every day, thinking he hates me.  He said, he doesn’t.  It’s been healing to see those words, after telling myself over and over that he must.  I explained that I don’t have an enemy in this world, but because of how things ended, I believed that’s how he viewed me.  He said no, he has no enemies.  He doesn’t hate anyone.  That’s not who he is.

So, I have a heavy heart in knowing I broke NC, but my intentions were good.  When my husband came home, I told him immediately.  Read everything I wrote and everything he said in return.  Full transparency my friends.  It’s not easy but it’s the only shot we have at making this marriage work.

There was a part of me that wanted to not tell my husband, because I don’t want to cause him any further pain.  But I knew I had to.  I was emotionally drained and every fiber in my muscles were aching last night.  Strangely, it felt good asking for CEO’s forgiveness but interacting with him brought those all too familiar “friends” along for the ride–fitful sleep (non-existent is more like it), a swirling mind (Did I word my contact properly?  Did I seek his forgiveness in the right way?), utter exhaustion and fatigue.  I wasn’t expecting that to happen.  Truthfully, I don’t miss feeling like that.  But while CEO was in my life, that’s exactly how I felt.

Conflicted.  Over-analyzing everything.  Trying to perfectly word everything and not just be…myself.

I long for the peace and serenity to return to me.  I expect it to.  This would have set me back tenfold had I done this a year ago.  But I wasn’t ready.  I could only reach out on my own terms, when I was strong enough to do so.  It’s taken me sixteen months to get there.  And along the way, you guys have not just been my readers but a few have become genuine friends.  I may have lost CEO’s friendship, but ironically I’ve gained more friends by opening up and sharing my pain.  Real friends that know everything–the good, the bad, the ugly side of Two Cheating Hearts.  And still love and support me regardless.

Thanks for holding my hands Woman Invisible, even during your crazy day yesterday you were there.  And thank you RecoveringWoman for your sage advice and friendship.  It’s helped keep me on this path to restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight

The universe has a funny way of working in my life, especially the last 48 hours.  I’ve been thinking quite a bit about CEO, for various reasons which I won’t get into here.  Suffice to say, I really tried to put those thoughts aside and focus on my family today.

But the universe…had other plans.

As I walked out of a bathroom this evening, I came face to face (and shoulder to shoulder) with CEO’s wife.  Yep, this is now the second time I have seen her actually.

I froze, while Vivian kept pace to exit the restrooms accordingly.  She noticed I hadn’t moved a step and said, “Mom, come on.  Let’s go.”  I just stood there, while I watched his wife wash her hands, oblivious to who was standing behind her.  A minute passed and I finally walked outside, joining the mayhem of New Orleans Square.

Only it’s not the one you’re thinking.

I quickly walked over to my husband and told him what happened.  And within a minute, she walked out of the bathrooms and right behind my husband.  I stared, frozen again, as she gingerly made her way through the outdoor dining area.

I turned to my husband again and said, “I need to know if he is here.  I will be right back.”  As I walked the perimeter of the restaurant, I felt Zane’s tiny hand clasp into mine.  And then I saw her back, sitting at a table with what appeared to be CEO.

I immediately walked away and back to my husband, only to nod ‘yes’ at his inquisitive eyes.  Three minutes later, she walked through the restaurant again only this time, CEO was trailing behind her.

He had his eyes firmly planted on the ground.  He didn’t see me, despite walking right behind my husband.  We were less than five feet from each other, but surrounded by the public at large.  To be honest, he looked miserable.  Not the CEO I knew.

The entire situation felt like an out of body experience.  My husband has asked many times, “What would you do if you ever saw him?”  And each time I’ve said, “I don’t know.  Depends which day you ask me that question.”  But in that moment, I did nothing…

Very surreal and not what you expect to happen at the Happiest Place on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Time Thoughts- Part 2

There’s a lot of healing that will come after 1 year of NC.  Taking a vacation instead of thinking of your AP is a huge help.  Before embarking on this trip, I really held onto the mindset that I wanted this trip filled with reconnection to not only my spouse but my children to.  It’s been 12 blissful days filled with every conceivable adventure and paradise one could ever dream of….And you know what?  In the end, my husband has trumped any momentary happiness CEO brought into my life.  It’s a stark reminder that our spouses are capable of being what we once knew them to be: leaders, adventurers and exhilarating lovers.  Yet life and responsibilities of work and home skews your perceptions after nearly two decades of marriage.image

I feel very fortunate to be where I am.  To experience the joy and love of my family at their best.  I wish all betrayed and wandering spouses could find their way back to such nirvana.

Life…is pretty epic friends.

Get out there and live the life you dream of, instead of looking back at what you think you had or lost.

I promise…it’s worth it.

Video

Real Time Thoughts

 

(Author’s note: I will likely delete this post within a week)

 

When I started this blog, my intent was to tell my story from beginning to end.  I never wanted to clutter my site with blogging awards or chain mail thingies, nor wanted my blog to be a place where I vented about the affair aftermath on a daily basis.

But today is a difficult day, for many reasons.  And I am going to break my storytelling protocol to provide a rare glimpse of actual present day angst.

Today is a meaningful day.  I went to the hospital for yet another follow up, and was told that I do not have cancer.  This underlying medical issue developed right before my relationship with CEO ended.  So walking back into that hospital, sitting in the same waiting room and wearing the same white baffle knit robe conjured up many emotions today.

I sat in the very same changing room where I took a photo and sent it to him.  He quickly replied, “Oh my God, I just lost my breathe.  Are you ok?  Praying for you (and I’m not religious).  Let me know the outcome once you know, ok?”

The doctors ran multiple tests, only for the radiologist to finally say it’s benign.  But I had several hours until that occurred and I sat there thinking, “What if?  What if I am diagnosed with cancer.  Would I then reach out to CEO?  Would I then reach out and have one more conversation to put every last swirling question and emotion to bed?  Would it keep my head faced forward, for life, and keep my heart only thinking of my family?  Knowing just how precious every second with them would be?  Would getting a diagnosis of cancer be the magic pill to binding my heart completely to the ones I truly love?  To the ones who show what true love is?”

Those thoughts as well as many others concerning the special meaning of today is something I struggled with immensely.  I wanted to reach out to him and my brain was firing all it’s synapses to do so.  But it was hard, brutally hard friends.  For I have a years work of no contact under my belt and just as much pride and ego wrapped up in that accomplishment.  However, somewhere deep inside my heart, I yearned for him to know.   That I still cared—even after everything that happened–I still did and I still remembered.  And that I didn’t forget.

The significance of today was not lost on me.  I wished that I could have reached out.  To say a lot of things that have been on my mind for months.  To share that he was still in my thoughts, even after all this time.  Truly.

So I did what any woman trying to forge the next chapter in rebuilding her marriage would do….I ran home to my husband and cried about him yet again.  I shared my struggles and pain over how conflicted I was.  I shared aspects of our story, yet again, with my husband.  And then we went out for dinner and a glass of wine trying to reconnect/rebuild our marriage from this point onward.  Brutal honesty–it’s not an easy thing to do my friends.

Because even if every single fiber of my heart wanted to reach out to him–it wants, even more so, my family and children’s happiness above all else.  And it should be that way, rightfully so.  That was always the crux of my parting thoughts to him.

So all I can do is send love and friendship from afar, wishing him continued success in all of his endeavors.  And hope–so so sooo much hope for a transformative year in his marriage as well.

Another year stronger.

Another year of figuring this all out.

Fly on, my dear friend.

Fly on.