Two years ago today my world fell apart. What I had thought was real, turned out to be a sham and I lost all perspective of what the truth even was anymore. It was on this day my husband had come home and told me he had been having an affair with his secretary. Clichéd but true.
That was the beginning of five months of anxiety, confusion, anger and despair. As the days and weeks unfolded more of the truth came to light. It wasn’t just one secretary, it was numerous women, in a variety of relationships that spanned most of our 10 year marriage. The shock was further compounded when I discovered the betrayal extended into our home with someone I had entrusted to help care for our children.
Looking back I’m amazed at how I’d had such complete faith in him; it was an unquestioning, almost childlike belief in our relationship. It had never occurred to me that he would be unfaithful. Had I been able to take a step back to objectively appraise our relationship I might have seen some signs but I was far too entrenched in my belief that he was the right man for me and we were in a ‘normal’ happy marriage.
I had to say goodbye to a husband who had never even existed outside my imagination, and then tasked myself with figuring out who the person I was sharing a home with really was. This was difficult because while I was grieving the loss, and angry at the betrayal, I was also at the same time listening to him tell me he loved me, that he wanted to stay married, that he had “just lost his way” and that I was to blame because I hadn’t been loving and attentive enough.
My willingness to try to salvage the marriage despite the extent of his betrayal is testament to how desperate I was to cling to love. After months of listening, observing and searching for answers I discovered he had continued to engage in the same behaviours as before, even while our marriage was hanging over the edge of a precipice.
It was at this point I was able to detach myself emotionally. I ceased to be afraid of being on my own and knew my life without him would be happier than life with him, for his values were very different to mine.
The months that followed required further healing and I made a conscious decision to do it as best as I could. I went through periods of feeling stuck but knew forgiveness was my end game and worked towards it, trying out different strategies along the way.
It’s been a fascinating journey and I’ve embraced the opportunity to explore who I really am. I’m celebrating today because it is the anniversary of the start of my amazing new life. Had I known at the beginning of this journey what I know now, I would have been far more courageous and dived in head first.
I have gained so much and I’m incredibly grateful for all of it.
- I’m kinder and more compassionate towards others who have experienced similar pain to mine, and worse.
- I’m mindful of what matters and I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore because the small stuff doesn’t get in the way of me seeing the bigger picture.
- I have faith in everything that happens because it occurs for a reason and all will work out just fine if you stop fighting the universe and allow it to flow.
- I’m super clear on enforcing my boundaries and can stand up and speak out with a confidence I never had before.
- I have an ability to see past the impression people try to make and now pay attention to small details in what they say, and how they act. I have no fear of falling into another unhealthy relationship because I fully trust my own instincts.
- I now understand what other people do is not about me, it is all only a projection of their internal state of being, so I don’t get offended much. On occasion when I am influenced by the words or actions of others I know it’s only my ego acting out so don’t beat myself up about it when negative emotions arise. I allow them airtime until my mind rationalises the situation and shoos my ego back into its little cave.
- I have a new appreciation and admiration of my friends and family who were my solid post to hang onto while the ground underneath me was crumbling.
- I’m grateful for experiencing such pain as I now know how strong I am, and I appreciate all I have in my life so much more.
And most of all I’m grateful to my ex-husband, my biggest teacher of all. The memory of the pain that remains in my heart is also what has made my heart grow and made me see how beautiful the world really is. Thank you.