One year ago I walked out on my husband. I often forget this part of my story. Although I was the one to walk out first, he was the one who asked for the divorce. My relationship was a broken record of “Andrea’s fault” so, even then, I thought walking out was a sign of weakness, not a moment of clarity or strength. After I found the infamous text from the infamous mistress, I realized my relationship was over and I had been lied to and betrayed. Our relationship was long since broken, but the tipping point of infidelity started my entire world on fire.
It’s been an entire year and I couldn’t be happier. Finally I’m the person I have always wanted to be. I’m assertive. I have power and control of my life. I, for the first time in 26 years, feel pretty. My divorce was the best-worst thing that ever happened to me. Without the shit-show I wouldn’t have grown into the bad-ass lady I am right now. With that said, I still struggle.
I am a person who looks to others’ stories to find answers, meaning, or the slightest moment of solace. I suppose that’s why I chose to blog about my experiences. Recently I have been trying to find articles about healing from cheating. The only thing I really find is how to make a relationship work after infidelity. Mine didn’t work (thank goodness), but the toil is still real.
Cheating is the suckiest thing you can do to another person. It’s a betrayal beyond belief and it really really hurts. Cheating isn’t about any emotional or physical interactions…it’s about secrets, deceit, deception, and the cowardice to not deal with the problems at hand. After you get past the fact your safe person destroyed the constructs of your monogamous relationship, you are left with an aftermath of duplicity. You and your ex’s friend circle is in shambles. No one wants to get in the middle of anything, and those who do are wrought with turmoil no matter how hard they try to help both parties. As time goes by, the memory of the bellicose ninety-day-divorce-waiting-period fades and everyone moves on with their lives. It’s not the same. The couple can’t be at parties together anymore. The friend group has to figure out who they are going to invite when. And eventually, the mistress becomes apart of the group and you see that smiling photo of her, where you once stood, on Facebook. And you cry, all the way home from the Apple store.
This is my reality and I’m still figuring out how to reconcile the thoughts and feelings surrounding the fear of replacement and my inability to trust, something I’ve never had before. I’m learning that there isn’t much to do with these issues except see the facts and sit with the emotional scars that are healing more and more everyday. I was not replaced because I do not want to be that body with his arm around. I know she isn’t better than me. I often want to explain this with “well I never went after a married man” but that’s a simple thought. I have worth that is absent of any comparison to another. And I do trust people when they earn it, and it is possible to earn it.
After writing this, I still don’t have the answer to this struggle. How do you let go of betrayal? How do you trust again? How do you stop laughing at mistress jokes (okay, this one will never happen…for purely clinical healing reasons of course…)? All I know is, as cliche as it sounds, time really does heal, which sucks because it takes a lot of time. Though, each day gets a little easier. Each day I am able to laugh a little more. And each day, the aftermath smoke from the fire settles and the air gets a little easier to breath.