It has been really hard for me to keep my equilibrium. On the one hand, we are doing better than we have in a long time – more time together, more passion, and a shared vision for the house and our future have all been good for us. Much of the time I feel incredibly happy, and then suddenly I feel like I had fallen off of a cliff into a pit of devastation. I have read and read and read and edited and considered and modified…I have processed and discussed and breathed and processed and engaged and worked and put everything out of my mind….I have vented and expressed myself. I seem to be fine and then all of a sudden, I fall apart.
I really did forgive J for the infidelity immediately – I felt great empathy for his pain and confusion, and I really do believe that he did not mean to mess up so badly, he did not want to or intend to hurt me, and that his sorrow and contrition is not just because he got caught. I also believe that he hurt himself worse than he hurt me, and his devastation and pain has not been processed yet. I worked through the painful images issue early, we never had the reintroducing sex issue, I worked and worked and worked and worked on the obsession issue and finally realized that I could not overcome my obsession until I had the whole truth – once the biggest part of the truth was out, I was able to send a very clear email to the OW and give up internet stalking her. I can watch a movie or TV show of the news that touches on infidelity without falling apart – or even feeling bothered.
I have regained much of my equilibrium and began trusting myself again, started working again, approached creative projects again, reached out to friends, started taking better care of myself and my life and my health and my house….and then I would be back in a place where I just wanted to stay at home with my head under the covers. Small seemingly meaningless things put me over the edge, and I have cried for hours – feeling completely without hope or the possibility of a meaningful future. Other incidents push me in a different direction – I just want to run away. There are times when I really was not sure I was going to survive – or if we were – just because I would suddenly and inexplicably feel so sad and hopeless.
The crying part makes perfect sense – I have lost something very valuable to me and I am mourning its loss – although given that I have mourned for more than a year, this seems excessive. Even the overly emotional Victorians felt that a year was more than enough time to mourn and move on, so I should be past this by now! I really think that I have come to terms – first intellectually and then emotionally – with the loss of clarity and cleanness in my marriage. I don’t have doubts about J’s love for me and his desire to be married to me for the rest of his life ( at least not for more than a moment or two randomly). More than the fits of depression or crying, the periodic, overwhelming desire to run away finally gave me a clue to the real problem….I have a deep, seemingly undiminishable, well of anger bordering on rage. For me – this is QUITE a problem. I have always had a temper, but I am usually able to step back and analyze it, control it or express it in a healthy way, and I have always been quick to recover – and when I am over it, I am over it. Obviously, that was not the case with this disaster. Why? What is so different? The fact that I have not been able to process or recover – while thinking that I was – has made this whole process so much more difficult….especially since I spent a year unaware that I was angry, and in fact actually expressed confusion and a little concern about working through the recovery process since all of the literature indicates that the hurt spouse must work through their anger before healing can occur, and I didn’t think I was feeling any.
So – what is the problem? I don’t feel like I can be mad at J because he is sincerely sorry for hurting me. I’ve always thought that anger at the other person in an affair is silly since that person made no vows and owes the marriage nothing. I think that I initially vented the anger that I was feeling by being angry and somewhat obsessed with the OW for a long time, and I justified it by focusing on the the religious hypocrisy that I felt she showed in this whole nightmare. Unfortunately, the more I found out about her and the actual circumstances of the affair, the more I felt sorry for her…which indicates some serious codependency issues on my part. I also am not angry at God. God did not have a role in the current state of my marriage – it is the result of human actions. So who does that leave? While I am currently quite a mess, I am healthy enough to know that J’s affair was not my fault – I am not angry at myself for not preventing it, or for not leaving him when I found out, or for being devastated. Our marriage was not perfect, and neither am I, but I am not to blame.
So what do I do now? Try to process issues as they come up, attempt to examine my feelings and recognize them for what they are and deal with them in a healthy way. So what makes me angry? Who knows….
I am angry that I spent all of this time working hard on the wrong things. I am angry that the person I trusted more than I have anyone in my life – probably the only person that I have ever really trusted in my life – spent more than a year lying to me over and over again. I am angry that the man I have loved since I was 19 turned to someone else when he was troubled. I am angry that my love chose to have sex with someone else. I am angry that nothing I do is enough, everyone always wants more. No one checks on me to see how I am feeling, no one wants to know because I am the person who is supposed to always be fine so that I can help them feel better, feel calmer, feel more grounded…but who does this for me? It used to be J, but he became so caught up in himself that anything that broke his concentration made him angry and now he just falls apart if I am upset or angry….So how do I process all of this anger? What do I do with it?