New phone

I haven’t been too bad with the triggers lately. Moving house has been a whirlwind of activity and distraction. However something cropped up the other day that hit me hard.

Since DDay, OH and I have deliberately started talking each evening about our day’s events, however exciting or boring our day has been. This is us showing an interest in the minutiae of each other’s “lives” when we are apart during the working day. Sharing of his day was something OH started deliberately hiding from me all those years of his EA.

The other night, OH was telling me about his day and mentioned his frustration that the earphone port on his phone was not working properly. He suggested he might have to get a new phone. My mind was immediately catapulted back to post-DDay which was the last time he had to get a new phone (and number for obvious reasons).

My heart started thumping wildly at the trigger and I had to try and breathe through the moment. OH noticed what I was doing and asked me to explain. When I did, he was very supportive and this led to a long-overdue conversation about how we were both feeling these days. He told me how sorry he still feels, every day, for his behaviour back then. How much he loves me and how much soul-searching and personal growth he has worked on. He also said he desperately hopes it is possible for me to learn to love him again, but he knows he must continue to be patient. I acknowledged the truth in all this and thanked him for continuing to work hard.

Nothing is certain, but I am more confident that moving away from a lot of the triggering situations was a good decision. However, I am realistic enough to know that many of the triggers are ingrained in my head and it is up to me to to work on controlling them myself.

So busy. Too busy to sleep!

The 2 months since I last posted anything here have been mega-busy.

We have completed on the purchase of our new house. I deliberately chose that we do so on the anniversary of the date 3 years ago that OH was arranging to meet the OW in the texts I discovered on DDay. On that same date 2 years ago that he went to a work appointment on the street where she lived but, despite a vow of honesty, failed to tell me that fact. I needed that date to have something positive attached to it. So I guess now it does.

As for me, I am currently living in a state that is a mixture of excitement and of high anxiety. I am having such trouble sleeping as there is so much to do, preparing the new house and garden ready for the move, sorting out all the stuff for moving and the even bigger load of stuff that needs to be got rid of (either by selling, recycling or dumping), and then will come all the work preparing this current house for rental. I really need my rest, yet the anxiety I feel about all there is to do won’t let me.

Add in the fact that this last weekend has been full of triggers and you have a recipe for sleep deprivation and emotional exhaustion.

For example, on Saturday we went to an event taking place in the venue OH and I had our first proper date. What should have been a lovely trip down memory lane only served to remind me what a total sham he was during his affair years. The commitment HE failed to demonstrate, making a mockery of my hope for our future. This weekend he wanted to take smiling selfies of us sitting in the same spot we sat in over 17 years ago. I did it, but it was fake smiling. The only emotion I truly felt was extreme sadness for what could have been had he not chosen selfishness over loyalty. It was hard not to break down, but I kept my resolve, externally at least.

Later that same day we were watching a show we both enjoy. In it, one of the characters comes to realise that she had been oblivious to the knowledge that her mother had been having an affair for over 8 years, just as I was oblivious to OH’s 8 plus years of his EA. Bam! Another mega-trigger!

So for the last 3 nights, I have slept very little. OH knows it, but does he try to talk to me about what is bothering me? Of course not. He is adopting his usual “if I ignore it, it will go away” attitude. I get so fed up of always being the one who needs to talk about “it” again. I fear he is slipping back towards rug-sweeping and other old coping strategies.

This saddens me immensely and only adds to my stress.

Thoughts on DDay anniversary

3 years ago this very date was DDay. I should really say MY DDay, as OH didn’t know I knew for certain until nearly 3 weeks later.

On this day I looked at his phone for the first time ever, without his knowledge. He always kept it on him, glued to his side, but on this day he had gone to work and left it behind accidentally.

Amongst loads of nothing, I finally found a message exchange between him and a former work colleague, that he hadn’t deleted. It was dated 5th March and mentioned some work stuff, but then went on to say “Would be great to meet for lunch again (AGAIN???). It could be an irregular regular thing. x” She had replied saying that it was indeed good to catch up and she would look into options. To which he responded, “We could do a good food guide to ******. It is certainly a great place to find hidden delights. x” Hidden delights??? My mind boggled. What sort of hidden delights? There was just one more text dated 2 weeks later, from him to her. “Hello gorgeous. Just a little text to ask how life, the universe and everything is. x” Gorgeous??? More alarm bells.  No response from her…at least not one that hadn’t been deleted, if so.

My blood froze and a lightbulb in my head went off. This may begin to explain why he had been so off with me lately. He was meeting with another woman, in secret, behind my back. But for how long had this been happening? From the texts, it sounded relatively recent. Maybe I could nip it in the bud.

That night, I decided not to confront him, but to do a little digging. I told him I had a dream that he was having an affair. He froze for a moment then denied it strongly. “I am NOT having an affair!” He didn’t convince me. I decided I needed to think very hard about what to do next….

Today, March 31st 2017, he wrote me a letter. A letter filled with love and hope for the future. A letter from a completely different person to that man. I much prefer the man he has become over the last 3 years. The one of honesty and integrity, who cherishes me every day, to that one who had been cheating on me. Not for a short while as I had assumed back then, but for 8½ years of stolen moments and clandestine meetings, all the while lying through his teeth.  I definitely don’t want THAT man in my life!

 

A time of change?

I am feeling guilty that yesterday I was feeling tired and emotional and was a bit snippy with OH over something or nothing. To give him his due, though he walked away at the time, he came back shortly and I apologised. He said it was forgotten. I want to believe that. The old him would have locked it away to fester in a vat of seething resentment.

Maybe he is genuinely changing and I need to recognise that. But I struggle with trusting him to be honest in what he says. He hid the truth about himself, his lack of self-worth, his fear of commitment and his inability to not be flattered by and seek out the attentions of other people for so long.  I don’t trust my own judgement anymore where he is concerned.

He claims to be fully committed to building a new life together. That he loves me heart, mind, body and soul. That everything he does now is for US.

I only wish I could believe that. Trust him again. Having a bad week as it is DDay antiversary on Friday. Maybe after that is over, I will start to believe it might be true. Fingers crossed.

Three years and counting

Today marks the start of “antiversary” season. Three years ago today was the last time OH met up in person with the OW. A lunch date that he was fondly referring to in the texts I saw on DDay. Three years ago today, he snuck away from work, drove to her place of work a few miles away, and took her to lunch in a local pub. To all intents and purposes, two ex-colleagues “catching up”. Sounds so innocent, doesn’t it? Only it wasn’t innocent at all, and three years later my stomach still churns at the thought of it. Thinking about how the man I loved could lie, by omission and to my face, about what he was doing and who with for several years, makes my skin crawl.

Does he remember the significance of this date? I doubt it very much. He is notoriously crap at dates at the best of times. Will I remind him? I am not sure if I will do so this year. I have asked him to take ME to lunch on this date for the last two antiversaries, but maybe I can be strong and show how far I have come by not even mentioning it this time. But by a piece of serendipity, we are going to the theatre tonight. He booked it for today. but rather by accident than design, I think. Nevertheless, just maybe I can have a little internal thought tonight, and celebrate the fact that he is out on a “date” with me on this date this year, by his choice, and she is long gone!

“The date we do not celebrate”

Today is “The date we do not celebrate”. OH and I that is. We used to celebrate February 14th. Valentine’s Day. Most couples in a relationship do.

Every year we would buy a funny/cute/loving/sometimes sexy card and write a personal message of love to each other. Something along a variation of “Thank you for being in my life. You are the only one for me, now and forever” etc.

The thing is, OH continued to buy me a card and write those sort of messages during the whole 8½ years of his relationship with the OW. In my ignorance, I lovingly saved every one; thought he meant every word. All those cards are now meaningless to me. I still keep them…but as a reminder to take nothing at face value ever again. As landmarks along the path of treachery.

We no longer celebrate this date. The first one after DDay was 10 months afterwards. I told OH very adamantly that I no longer wished to celebrate it as it had been a lie for so many years. He denied it. Claimed he was able to compartmentalise our relationship so that it wasn’t a lie when he wrote those words of love every year. I still insisted we no longer celebrate it. My little grandson had just been born so instead we went shopping for a gift for him. In all the shops there were hearts and flowers EVERYWHERE! I was a complete wreck! So now we don’t go anywhere on this date. Each year I still see all the build up to today going on around me, but each year it loses the power to hurt me a little more and I find I can mostly ignore the little twisting in my gut whenever I am reminded of it.

OH and I have a different date, more personal to us that we do celebrate. That is OUR day.

I hope everyone has a good February 14th, whether it is a day you celebrate… or not. X

New year:new start?

I cannot believe it has been almost three months since my last blog post. I do periodically dip into WP world to see how everyone is doing, and occasionally to comment, but have sadly left my blog to its own devices, due to life’s busy cycles. A lot has happened in that time.

I mentioned in my last post that we were thinking about moving. A fresh start for OH and me away from all the sad memories of the last few years and triggers from his affair.

Just before Christmas we viewed a property. It was a beautiful, over 200 year old, Grade 2 listed, TINY cottage in a historical village (listed in the Domesday book). It would have meant a massive downsize and was at the limit of our budget, but we fell in love both with it and the lifestyle it represented (and the gorgeous village pub). We put in an offer a few days before Christmas. A cash buyer offered more. We lost out and spent Christmas resigned to our dreams not being fulfilled.

I had a reasonably good Christmas nevertheless. OH was attentive and present in ways he hadn’t been before DDay, and I was not as raw and sensitive as I had been the last two Christmasses since DDay. New Year was quiet and spent with family. Just how I like it.

Fast forward to 3rd January 2017, and my phone rings. It is the estate agent for the cottage. Cash buyer has fallen through, are we still interested? You bet we are!!!

Since then it has been a mad rush of activity, solicitors, mortgage advisors etc. Tomorrow the surveyor is carrying out a full structural survey. Fingers crossed there is nothing that shows up in the survey to jeopardise the purchase now. I have lost my heart to this place. This could so easily be the “forever home” I have dreamed of for years. Please let nothing go wrong!

Wish me luck?

A brief update

Just a fly-by post to say that life is busy, but I am still reading (and occasionally responding) to posts by all you wonderful WP bloggers.

Counselling is going well. If you can say that about something that puts you through an emotional wringer once a week! I really feel we are getting somewhere. We have been exploring my childhood, family break up and coping strategies and have just started work on letting go of or healing past hurts in order to better deal with the present. It is all starting to make sense and fit together. Well at least this week it is.

It is now 2½ years since DDay and 1 year since OH told me the last lie (I think/hope/believe). Life is getting easier to manage and the triggers affecting me less. I cannot state definitively that OH and I will make it together, but it appears more likely as time goes on. He continues with his own counselling to challenge and tame his own inner demons and I think, from what he tells me, it is going relatively well. Here’s hoping.

I am in a tidying frenzy at present as we have someone coming to value the house tomorrow. Not that we are definitely planning on moving. My daughter would like me nearer so we are just covering bases. One room of my house is a massive trigger for me as it is the one OH would retreat to to brood and message/email the OW. Neither of us use it much now due to the trigger potential. He tidied up his crap in there last night, but I need to go in and dust/vacuum today to make it look clean as it is thick with dust from lack of use.

Wish me luck!

Why I loathe the Gutter Press

2016 has been a really tough year in many ways. Yes, I am still struggling to heal over my OH’s infidelity, but he is trying so hard to be loving, honest and all those things he gradually stopped being during his 8½ year emotional affair with a much younger work colleague. This post is not about that.

Earlier this summer, my niece died. I am not going to share the details, but suffice it to say it is a huge tragedy as she was so young and should have had a long and happy life ahead of her.  It has hit the family hard, especially my brother and his wife, as her parents. I believe this tragedy has brought us closer than we have been in years, which is a small comfort at this awful time.

Last week was the coroner’s court hearing to confirm the cause of her death. My brother attended to give evidence. A woman approached him afterwards and he quickly twigged she was a reporter from the local “rag” there to report the court case. As a consequence, he didn’t say much to her, but did confirm that the demure photograph she showed him was of his daughter.

The news of my niece’s death has now appeared on the front page of the newspaper. The words written were mainly exactly what was said by the judge in conclusion, with some distortions and inaccuracies, but the photos they printed were not the ones of her with her loving family. No! They deliberately used others from her Facebook page where she was obviously enjoying a drink, glammed up, and posing in a slightly provocative way (as young girls all seem to do these days). The picture they painted of her with the choice of photos was deliberately aimed to give an impression of her that is/was only a small part of who she was. We can only conclude that the motives of the reporter were salacious, vindictive and cruelly intended to mislead.

My brother is distraught and angry, but asking them to print a retraction would only, in his opinion, “fan the flames”. So he suffers in silence, his grief palpable, whilst I fume with righteous indignation on his behalf. But, as he says, those who really knew her will know what a load of bollocks the article is, and those that didn’t know her, don’t matter.

I have nothing but contempt for the gutter press and all the lowlife “churnalists” who worm their ways into peoples lives at their most vulnerable, and exploit them for profit! I hope they all drown in their own vitriol!

Secrets, Shame and Nurture

I have started individual counselling.

“Secrets”, “Shame” and “Nurture”.

Not the name of a new Indie band but the main themes that “jumped out” at the counsellor from my initial meeting with her on Monday.

She seems really nice, and caring. Of course the first session is one where I just ramble, answer questions and talk about ME. It is a strange concept. I am not used to talking about me and my problems. I am more familiar with other people talking about theirs and me either coming to the rescue or at least offering solutions. The counsellor, W,  picked up on this very quickly. “It seems to me that throughout your life you have been the one doing the caring, giving of yourself. Yet nobody has nurtured you in return.” Lightbulb moment!

She also picked up the themes of secrets and shame being recurring elements of my life growing up. My parents splitting up when I was small and not being able to talk about it. Becoming my mother’s main support when still a child myself.  Lying awake at night listening to my father beating the crap out of my mother and her having to hide her bruises in the morning. The shame of having to stand in the queue for “free” school dinners. The shame of being from a single-parent family and not being able to afford to do all the things my friends did growing up. Of having to work 3 part time jobs whilst still at school so we could afford to eat (no “Family Support” back in those days). A lot more very personal stuff along the way that I do not want to share here at present (yes, more secrets).

I am seeing her again next Monday to start exploring some of these themes. I do feel that this will be a therapeutic experience for me. When OH and I had our couples counselling after DDay, it always felt that the focus was on him primarily and I hardly got a look in. As the counsellor told me on Monday, this counselling will be for me, and only me. Even just after the initial meeting, I felt an immense sense of relief that I will be able to talk to someone about my pain. To release it. Let it all out to someone other than the source of a great deal of that pain (OH) or someone I want to protect from that pain (my daughter).

At last someone is listening to ME.