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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.