This is a hard process, very hard. Every time you think you get somewhere there is someone or something that will knock you back down. I am not asking for an instant fix. I never have, but I sure would like to see things stop falling backwards.
The funny thing is I don’t know how much of this is just my perception. I don’t think she sees us falling backwards as much as I do. I know she wishes I could forgive myself and I can’t and won’t but I will find a way to live with myself which I hope is the next best thing.
Over this last week I have had a few things go up and down, but I started to feel a little like myself for brief moments. She commented that she hadn’t seen my smile for so long and she liked to see it back. I began having my sense of humor again. All of this just in very small flashes. I think seeing my friend really helped, but now what. I am very sarcastic and witty. I will always have a smart ass remark for anything. I just don’t always say it.
I don’t think for the last 8 months I have not had that part of my personality. It was out of order. It would have made life a hell of a lot easier if it would have been there. It helps me remember that nothing is really as serious as we make it out to be. We all end up in the same place. So it has been good to have sparks of it back.
So what is the game plan? We are supposed to find ourselves as I mentioned yesterday and I asked if anyone knew how to do that. I got thousands of responses on how to accomplish this feat. Please note the sarcasm dripping off that statement. I don’t know that anyone knows how to know who they are. You just do, don’t you?
What does it even mean to know who you are? I know my name. I know my history. What else is there? Hopes and dreams?? Is that what makes up me? Here is what I know. I try to be a good person. I will help people before I will help myself. I volunteer often for different things, kids activities, nonprofits events,… I enjoy seeing other people succeed and make something of themselves because I put them on the path that got them there. I don’t know that there is anything better, other than seeing your kids succeed in their efforts. It takes a lot to get on my bad side but once you do, watch out. You will never have a chance with me again. Sure all these things make up me. Then I have to add in the obvious huge black mark against myself and my wife and family. I feel an odd split inside of myself. I know that I have good parts and do good things, but I also have this part that says I should remove myself from everything because of what I have done. The two sides fight constantly.
Is there an amount of good that can undo what I did? I think that is obvious. There is never anyway to undo the wrongs that I caused. So no matter what good I do I will never be that good person again. I will always be the man who cheated on his wife. I will always be the man who risked his family for the company of another woman. Why try if I can never be anything else? I read the internet and all these blogs. Once a cheater always a cheater. Is that who I am? Is that the future I have in store for me? I am not sure I can live with that the rest of my life.
I know you are probably thinking, too late for that dipsh**. And you are right. So how so I get rid of it? There are only two options I see, both have me disappear. Can I just vanish and run away from my problems? I could just become someone else, someone no one knows. I could recreate myself into whatever I wanted. The only problem would be that I would still know who I am. I would still have this constant fight inside myself. The Good versus Evil. So what is the other way. Well, it would need to be a way that I could disappear without having my mind keep going. I would need to disappear to stop the voices. I would need to disappear so the fight between Good and Bad would end. Then it wouldn’t matter who I was or who I am.
Not a pleasant thought but always there. So right now I just plug along. Moving from one day to another. Hoping one day is better than another. It is all I can do. So can I ever know who I am or what I want to be if all I do is live moment to moment? I don’t think it even matters in the end.
How did it get so late so soon? – Dr. Seuss
It’s so hard to forgive yourself. It’s because we know we are not able to redeem ourselves from our messes and mistakes. We, the broken, cannot be our own fixer. My fixer is Christ Jesus, who showed me His love for me, His complete forgiveness (even when I’ve deserved none of it) and His ability to restore me, and provide hope when I cannot see any lights at the end of the tunnel. If you have access to a Bible, I encourage you to read the book of Psalms or John. There is nothing like the newness of life Jesus brings when someone is truly broken and ready to be healed. Hope that helps….
Romans 3:24, “we are justified freely by His GRACE through the redemption that comes from Christ Jesus.”
Praying for you! You are truly holding on with all you have.
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Eventually you’ll stop living in the mistake you made. It won’t go away but you’ll move forward from it. It hasn’t been that long, so just give it some time. I believe the hardest things in life is being patient, we must learn to accept things don’t work at our pace, at our time, at our wanting. And we all have a cross to carry through life, but it’s how we deal with it, what we learned from our mistakes and how we remedy it is what makes us better than who we were before.
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Our commanding officer of the Commando training center told us the very first day we started the hellish 6-month course (about 25 years ago now): “There are three things essential to pass this course: eat whenever you can, sleep whenever you can, and laugh whenever you can”. While finding food is generally not an issue for the most of us in the Western hemisphere, I found the other two necessities very applicable to my everyday – now civilian – life. Sleep is indispensable, for a tired person cannot make good decisions, and humor is the strongest weapon known to mankind. Try to see the humor in life, make jokes of your own missteps without denying your responsibility and without belittling the facts. And make sure you are well rested, it will keep your head and heart clear. But a smile spreads happiness, in your own heart as well as in the others surrounding you. Hang on, you are a good man!
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I have definitely seen that smart ass side of you lol. But you are so much tougher on yourself than I think is healthy. It’s hard for me to reconcile this man that with the man that cheated. Eventually you will get past this. The affair will not define you or your marriage.
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One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
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That is a very nice (and very true) tale!! 😊
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Once a cheater, always a cheater – I think this is both true and false. False because you’ve cheated doesn’t mean that you will do it again, but now that it has happened, it CAN happen again. That “I will never cheat” will never ring true again, because despite all your morals and good intentions, you know it can happen. But true in that, you’ve cheated. That is now part of your history and the lessons you’ve learned and the consequences of your actions – you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life.
However, having made a mistake doesn’t define who you will be in the future. You’ve cheated, and you’re right, no matter what you do, you cannot “undo” the mistake, or remove the hurt you’ve created for your family and yourself. However, you CAN move forward and make the choices to atone for your mistakes, to help your wife heal, and to heal yourself. This will not be a easy road, but choosing this path will also be a part of who you are as well. In the end, who we are is defined by our actions and choices – we can make mistakes, but how we choose to deal with it afterwards will show who we are.
Finding yourself – I hate that statement. I don’t think we can “find ourselves” because we change throughout time and to put a label on us to be a “certain way that someone remembered us as” would undermine the very purpose of finding ourselves. What I think that means however, is to act with sincerity. And I think, if you are upset, depressed and sad, you should be able to express that the way you need to be, and not have to be “humorous” or “sarcastic” as you would be if you were “happy”. But perhaps, what your wife/friends/therapy wants for you is to move out of this dark place so you can be “yourself” without the influence of such darkness. Or in your own words, to be the “better side” of you.
Part of this leads to you needing to “forgive yourself”. I don’t think you should ever say what you did was ok, and to make excuses to justify it “I’m only human, I made a mistake, my marriage was not where I wanted to be”… But I think you do need to “forgive yourself” in that you need to not let the act of adultery control your life and hinder your ability to move forward with your wife in your marriage. I think it means you need to stop living in the past, and what you’ve done, and focus on the present – hurt with your wife when she hurts, smile with her when she smile, and continue to take the steps to move forward with your relationship. Know that the consequences of your actions will be with you and your wife – and she may be hurting for a long time and you may feel the hurt,guilt, shame every time you see her hurt. But these emotions are the NOW, and a consequence of the past, but it is NOT the past. The road to reconciliation is a long one, and one that never truly ends. But you can keep moving forward, and choosing to love each other everyday, through the good and the bad, and to take the steps to make sure this never happens again. And should your marriage end in divorce, it wouldn’t have been only because of the affair, but because in the end, this would be a mutual decision that reconciliation is no longer an option either of you wants to pursue any longer. By then, this decision should not be made in bitterness and hatred, but in love and understanding.
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I had a good cry the other night partly because I didn’t know how to deal with my own guilt. I’m not sure how far along the healing process you are but I’m starting to realize that the only way I can move on now is if I forgive myself. At first it didn’t want to, didn’t feel I deserved it but I thought if my wife was able to find the heart to forgive me then I should too.
Don’t let this one act define you. You are more than one bad choice 🙂
If I didn’t know better, I would think my husband wrote much of this. We are at a similar struggle point. He is filled with remorse, regret, and shame at what he has done. It is very painful for him to see what it has cost me emotionally and physically. Worse, it is excruciating for him to see what it has cost him in terms of his relationship with our older two (late teens) children. He has used the term “disappear” before. He often says we would be better off without him. He keeps saying he is having a horrible time living with what he has done. I know how genuine his feelings are. I have watched him sob over the damage he has done. Over a relationship with someone who lied and manipulated and finally turned to full on attacking our family.
Here is the problem. When he sees me struggle or sees me battling a trigger, he retreats in shame. He is almost unable to reach the full level of helping me (and US) heal because the shame is so great. He says he will never be able to look in the mirror and see the same man again. I grieve that for him. As much as I have struggled, it has mostly put my best characteristics out in front. His worst were paraded around for a long time. Visible scars remain. I have asked him what it would take for him to be able to heal. His answer is always the same: he needs for me to heal first. I understand this and yet resent it at the same time. It MUST be parallel. I can’t carry the burden of healing us both, it isn’t fair. And yet, when did “fair” ever play into this? So I wonder if that is partly your struggle too? Not being able to heal fully while your wife is still very hurt?
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I think that it may be part of it, but often times I will write how I am feeling on here and she will not know because I am putting on the brave face. When she is struggling I can close everything off and help her. I know it makes it worse for me in the end. I know it adds to the extreme highs and lows that I have but I don’t want her to think she has to do the work for both of us. I want her to know I am there for her even if I have to bottle everything up until later. It is hard, but so is the rest of my life. I know I won’t be able to heal until she is, but I also know it can take years and she will never be the same again. AS much as he looks in the mirror and sees someone he does not recognize, and I do the same, but I also look at my wife and see the destruction that I caused which is even more hurtful for me.
Don’t think this is on you, just explain to him that you need him to be strong for you when you are at your worst. That is what it will take for you to heal. He may not know that. We are think headed you know.
I have not read your entire story, but did read this post and a few others. As the wife (of 13 years) of a husband who cheated recently, I feel for you and your family. Don’t let the world judge you for your mistakes. Only someone who has been in this situation can understand where you are coming from and that you are not your mistakes. I wish your wife strength, as I know the process is long and challenging. I wish you the ability to forgive yourself…eventually 🙂 I believe couples can absolutely repair and even be better after an affair. You will find happiness together again, if you both want it and work at it. And it sounds like you do. Best of luck!
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