One thousand. 1000. This weekend I surpassed 1000 followers which I find a little weird. I haven’t posted a lot in the last 6 months, but people still find me and still comment. I originally put this blog together for me to sort through all the things bouncing around my head and to try and make sense of it all. I put it together as a place where I can be me without worrying about who I am writing to or who I might offend. It was very helpful for this purpose and it brought clarity to the things I was trying to figure out. People commented and made me think about things differently or would just offer support which was also very helpful.
Unfortunately, as things in my relationship progressed I was no longer able to get what I needed from the blog so I stopped blogging. It was causing more problems than it was solving so I moved away from trying to figure things out and just took it all in, kept it in, and buried it. Sure it is not the best coping mechanism, but it gets me through each day. Lately, I have had somethings happen that have made me rethink this approach. I may need the writing. I have been able to think things through with a little help and writing things makes a difference for me. It may not be the best thing for what is going on in my life, but I know it helps me process. Over the last few days I have rethought a few things.
I originally thought I had an affair in a misguided attempt to save my marriage. I am amazed how much I could convince myself that things I was doing during the affair might actually be helpful. I am sure most people would think I am an idiot (myself included) but hindsight is not real helpful in the present.
Instead, I now think I had an affair in a misguided attempt to save myself. It was a completely selfish move. I was lonely, depressed, and did not know how to communicate. I am still some of those things, most of those thing, but I can at least recognize them for what they are now. They are my problems. They are issues born from years and years of neglect and abuse. Whether the neglect and abuse came from my childhood or was self-inflicted doesn’t really matter. These problems affect my marriage more than I like to think they do and while she has her own set of problems, me having an affair did nothing to help any of those things. In fact, for the most part it made everything worse. I became more depressed, lonely and my marriage definitely did not get any better. The only thing I got out of it was another look at how truly pathetic I can be at times.
I still wonder how I was able to convince myself the affair was a good idea. I wonder how I ever thought it might help. I think it is because when you think of an affair, you think of it as a big grand event that can be stopped by making the right decision. It is a clandestine meeting in a smokey motel room or a weekend away that your spouse thinks is a work trip. Those things may be part of an affair, but it is not the make up of the affair and how one gets themselves into that position. Once you are to that point there is no going back. There is not a moment of clarity that spouses of cheaters hope we have right before we go into the room or get in the car. At this point we are so full of self-delusion that it takes major events to wake us partially up and still it takes a lot more to get us all the way out.
I think this is the biggest misconception there is about an affair. People who look at our situation often think that one day we woke up and decided to go cheat on our spouses. We had some time to deliberate what it is we were going to do and how we were going to do it. Now I am sure that there are people who do it that way, but that is not my experience and the more I read about other people going through similar situations, the fewer people I think wake up one day and decide to cheat.
An affair is a series of small choices that when looking back equate to a grand spectacle. These small choices lead to the weekend trips or motel room visits. The amount of self-deception it took for me to get to where I was at the time of my affair still surprises me. That amount of self-deception took time. It started with little choices and small steps. Each carried me a little closer to damning myself. I can remember some of them and each time thinking that this is harmless or that this can help with what I am going through. If I just sign-up for this and see if people really find me attractive because I know my wife doesn’t, then I will feel good about myself again and it won’t matter what my wife thinks. The decision seems almost harmless at first, but one decision leads to another and another.
Now don’t get me wrong, I knew each and every decision was not good. Otherwise why did I hide it? I knew each time I made one of those choices it was not what I should have been doing, but each seemed so insignificant by itself, that at the time I thought the benefits outweighed the risks. Yet, each of those decisions clouded my judgement for future decisions. Each one made the next decision seem not so bad. It wasn’t too far from the last one, so what is just a little more. However, I still made each and everyone of those decisions and ultimately I made the decision to go all the way.
This is what is also so scary about affairs. They are a series of small decisions that can set you so far into a fog of hurt that you will do anything to make it stop. Even if it only stops for a few moments. You are hurting from choices you are hiding and cannot share. These secrets push you away from the person you need to feel the comfort from and so when the opportunity comes along from somewhere else, it is easy to take that momentary relief from the pain. You use it as a medicine against the poisoning you are slowly doing to yourself.
I have heard many times that if my relationship was doing better then I would never had strayed. So this means the affair was not all my fault. She should shoulder some of the blame. I had this thought almost exclusively while I was still in the midst of the affair. I convinced myself I was pushed to the affair. I was ignored and denied affection. She told me at times to go find someone else. Our sex life was nothing like what I wanted and full of guilt. She had the ability to change things and she was choosing not to, so how could this be all my fault. As I said, I had this thought almost exclusively while I was still seeing the OW.
I know that the affair is and always was 100% my fault. The affair was my choice. It was a series of choices I made and hid from my wife. I could have handled things 1000 other ways and I chose the most selfish and hurtful way. Our relationship had problems, it still has problems but instead of working with her to fix them or just leaving, I chose the affair. She never had a choice in any of those decisions. She never had a say in all the little decisions that amounted to the affair. I made them all on my own and so the affair is 100% my fault.
Sure the relationship problems we both share responsibility for but not the affair, not ever. We have both recognized that we both have issues and so does our relationship. We are communicating more, but still not enough. I know a big part of that relies on me being able to share but it is really difficult. We are going to counseling together and trying to get past a lot of our issues but unfortunately it seems like my “issues” constantly get in the way. Or at least that is the way I perceive our sessions.
As I have been holding issues in and hiding myself things have not been getting anywhere. I think I am getting to the point where I don’t care. I just don’t care anymore. I know I don’t care for myself, but I am also losing my ability to be empathetic. If I stop caring then maybe I won’t hold back so much. I can just be the jerk most people assume I am already. If I stop worrying about hurting her and just say it then at least it is out there. I think I am getting to the point where I just have to be me and I have to stop worrying about everyone else. I don’t mean this in a selfish way. I mean I just need to be me and if she likes me great, if not at least I stop dragging everything out. We can begin to make decisions knowing where each of us stands. I can just be myself – not that I really even know who that is but maybe I can find out.
Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong. – Charlie Brown