50th Birthday

So, we survived the Affair Anniversary weekend (barely) and the family illness scare (barely) and then suddenly we were barreling down on our birthdays and the anniversary of our 1st D-Day . This birthday was important to me – I turned 50, and I wanted my 50th to be a celebration of life since I have survived breast cancer, career disaster, and infidelity – and am still standing. I was also excited about the house and really wanted to pull it together and show it off…but that never seemed to happen. I really thought that we would have done enough remodeling and organizing to have a small celebration, but it wasn’t even clean enough to let my closest friends inside. I was a total mess in the weeks before the day. My best friend and my daughter both pushed to find out about a party and what they could do, and I just cried and cried because I really wanted to throw a party, but I at the same time I just didn’t feel together enough to pull it off…and I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone or make any explanations….so I just cried instead…although I still went to work every day and still taught classes and still turned in assignments. I finally realized that I was so emotional because I really thought we would be healed by the 1 year mark – that it would all be over. Unfortunately, I actually seem to feel worse – more information has continued to dribble out, and I just know that I do not yet know everything about the affair. In addition, the week of our birthdays last year was absolutely awful, and both of our celebrations had been emotional and unpleasant, with M’s followed the next day by him telling me the first part of the truth.  and I was dreading a repeat of the disaster.

My actual 50th Birthday present from my husband…

When M realized how I was feeling, he put aside everything that he wanted to do and helped me paint the living room and kitchen. It involved considerable effort on his part since the pipe for the wood stove needed to be replaced and the ceiling had to be repaired and re-textured.  This forward progress on the house, and his willingness to do something to help me feel better, really did help, and by the time that my birthday rolled around, I was up to several small celebrations instead of one big one. Eventually, the people in my life took over and I celebrated individually – lunch with my boss, dinner and shopping with my best friend, and dinner out with M, my daughter and her boyfriend. M made an effort to at least get me a present, which hadn’t always happened in the past, but a mug with chocolates and a balloon making fun of my turning 50 were not neither loving nor celebration of life gifts….It feels like neither one of us can win, since he tried and I still feel unloved. On his birthday, we went to a lecture by a historian at a local historic site and then home to make a birthday dinner, which turned out nicely. While the birthdays weren’t perfect, they were a vast improvement on last year so I relaxed a little….

But the day after M’s birthday (and four days after mine) is and I suppose always will be the anniversary of our first D-Day. Predictably, instead of comforting me or even checking to make sure I was OK, M got up early and disappeared into the woods behind our house. He spent the day avoiding me and any possibility of conversation by clearing brush and cutting down trees until dark when he was too tired to do anything but fall asleep in front of the TV. I was less understanding about his need for solitude and hard work this time.  Once again, protecting his feelings was more important to him than comforting me  – or even recognizing that I might need comfort.

The uneasy feeling has come back, and I am getting more and more anxious again. Even when I try to avoid thinking about it, I am becoming more and more convinced that I still do not know all of the details of the affair. And, once again, my attempts to discuss my feelings or to question inconsistencies are met  with confusion, panic, or dismay, and then accusations that my need for comfort is going to keep him from ever being able to do anything that he enjoys ever again. He insists that he was not avoiding me or difficult discussions, that he was just busy, and that it doesn’t do him any good to own land if he can’t enjoy working on it. We just go around and around having the same arguments and both saying the same things without ever moving forward.

I hoped for presents like these….


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