Arming for battle: Steps to take

If you are just beginning your journey through this most horrific experience, I am so very sorry. For me, it has been the most horrific experience I have ever been through. I would not wish this pain on anyone. Previously my life had not always been cherries and cheesecake, but the traumas I had been through, seem so insignificant now. Not even losing our first child was as devastating as Bryan’s affairs.

I longed to hear others stories no matter the outcome. I just wanted to know that I would survive. Let me say now to you, YOU WILL SURVIVE! I am living proof right here that you will survive. And yes, no matter the outcome. There were days that I was down on my knees begging God to just let me drift away, away from all the pain. I do  not believe that I ever would have acted on my thoughts in a million years, but thoughts of just not existing just floated through my mind. I never thought about details, I simply just wanted to be vapor.

Crying out, praying, talking, yelling to God gave me a tiny amount of hope. But it was enough! It gave me the strength to take the steps to get the help I needed. Reaching out to a very select few led me to the greatest gift, that of finding several women that had been through the battle of an affair. Because let me assure you it is a battle! You must arm yourself. I also had found a support group for the victims of affairs. I challenge you to find a group, mentors, just reach out and find others that have been through the very specific heartbreak of an affair. Let me be clear, if your sounding board or main line of support has not been there, you definitely need to find someone who has. People who have not been there just do not know!

Sometimes you also need some anonymity. I actually changed churches after the second disclosure. I found great peace in not being asked about Bryan. No one knew me, I could just blend in. I actually joined an older women’s Sunday school and loved it. I walked in that first day and it was as if they knew I needed love and just embraced me with joy. Each one hugged me with such warmth, it was like God himself wrapping his arms around me. I will never forget their grace and love.  Each time I walked through those doors of that Sunday School those women just loved me even though they did not know me. I was then free to absorb God’s word and free to listen to His guidance.

Whatever your needs, be alert to how you can insert positive people, life tools, and environments into your life. Fill up with what is good and leave behind what fills you with even more negativity, hate, and anger. This is your battle, how you choose to fight will define you for years to come!

Dogs have feelings too!

“The dog has peed on my side of the bed again!!” Bryan yelled and cussed! Ranted and raved! We had a little Maltese named Titian and he was so very sweet and cute. We had rescued him from a pretty terrible living circumstance. We had taken him to the vet and he was absolutely filthy, he had fleas, worms and he was extremely weak, malnourished, really just awful shape. The vet said that his life was in the balance. So I carried him around like a baby for weeks. By doing so I had made a friend for life! Bryan however, had never really liked little dogs. Before kids, we had English mastiffs and loved them. To this day they are the best dogs we have ever had. They minded very well, housebroke easily and were honestly just giant lap dogs. Bryan loved the big dogs so much he had never really adjusted to the idea of a small dog.

Titan was mostly a perfect gentleman for several years before Bryan began his affair. He did like to mark his territory and would do so in the house on occasion. No real extreme, however. Then out of nowhere Titian started to bark at Bryan, avoid Bryan and yes, PEE on his side of the bed. Now he would not pee on the bed when Bryan was out of town only when he came back home. The first day was always the roughest. I thought the little dog was having a midlife crisis. I could not imagine what was causing his change in behavior. What did that little dog sense?

Oh, my goodness, retrospectively I should have realized that the dog was trying to tell me something! I truly believe that Titan knew, sensed something was very wrong with Bryan. He had never been so standoffish nor ugly to Bryan before. He had never peed on the bed before. I do not know what it was, was it Bryan’s smell, “her” smell, Bryan’s demeanor and attitude, who knows?  But I apparently had an affair watchdog watching out for me! Though it is quite the joke now, it was not in the least funny when it was happening. Bryan was raging mad!

We now have two dogs one very small and one quite large. Both love Bryan and stay right with him when he is home. The little dog sleeps in Bryan’s lap every evening and the big dog is right next to him or at his feet. I have definitely learned a lesson, though! From now on I will be more careful in watching our dogs and their behavior around ALL people. Any more doggie midlife crises will be looked into thoroughly. And, I will say this, if there is any more peeing on the bed, somebody has a lot of explaining to do!!  So pet those furry loves and give them a hug, treat them right and you too may have an affair watchdog of your very own.

 

Even music can be painful!

Music anyone? Well no, no thank you!

Music is a love of mine! I love all sorts of music: country old and most of the new, bluegrass, gospel, Christian contemporary, 80’s hair band, 90’s pop, today’s pop, Christmas music, hard rock, Celtic, really most music is quite fun for me! UNTIL my husband’s affair!

I will never forget taking my kids to school one morning and having the radio on my favorite country station. It was just a few days out from learning that Bryan had been having an affair. Just as the kids hopped out of the car, the music stopped and the call in story line of the day started and it was something along the line of “how badly can you trash your husband’s wife or ex-wife that you have already destroyed because of an affair?”! No, honestly I am not kidding! I will never forget the station, the longtime morning show personality that I had listened to since I was a kid, and the horrible feeling of bile rising in my throat! One of the woman’s words that called in still haunts me even today. Her words were something along the lines of “I am so much better than his wife, I am beautiful, and sexy, I deserve him, she is ugly and fat, her husband and kids are better off with me and she does not deserve him or his kids! She got what she deserved, nothing!” And the morning crew laughed and laughed, they thought it was hilarious! Since that day I have NEVER listened to that station again! I was appalled! I was humiliated all over again!

Starting that day I could only listen to Christian or nonverbal music. It has been only in the last year that I can listen to just about any genre of music that I choose. I am still very sensitive to the cheating and do change the station if a cheating song comes on. Do you realize the garbage we have all put into our heads over the years? As I have gotten my ipod together and downloaded songs for walking and pleasure I have realized some of my very favorite songs are about cheating! It is like it was ingrained in all of our heads that hey, it’s OK, go for it, you deserve better, everybody does it. Almost like a subliminal message.

The benefit of being alert to the words now is that I have shared my love for other genres of music with my kids. They now enjoy listening to classical especially when we do our school work. They even hear if a song is loaded with ugliness and most often, not always, but often choose to change it. Sadly they do know the radio station that must not be named and it is not even programmed into either my husbands or my cars. What is that old saying? “What you put in is what you get out!” Well, it is true. Music is just one more area of our lives we have decided to kick the devil out.

 

 

 

Have you told your friends and family about your spouses affair?

What a loaded question! I am sure for some of you, you automatically told your friends and families. Others  we were less forthcoming. It is a huge burden to bare alone! But I have come to believe that we must be extremely wise in our decisions on whom we tell. The biggest advice I can give you in the beginning stages of an affair is to be cautious. Though you have far more hurt than anyone could ever deserve, you could save yourself further pain by using the best possible, well thought out plan you can muster in your state of shock and choose whom you tell VERY, VERY carefully!!

I was lucky enough to find a support group during the second and third affair. It was so nice to go and sit with people who understood what I was going thru. During the second affair, I had NOT told my family and had only told very few friends what was going on. I had shielded myself not because I thought my family would not be supportive. But because I was humiliated and embarrassed. During the third D-day, I finally told my family. But at that time would have never believed that any choice I made regarding my marriage would cause total separation between my family and myself. I did not believe that was possible.

One particular night we had quite a few new participants at our group meetings. So those of us who had been going to the group for the longest shared our stories. When I finished my story. Eyes were quite wide. Why? Because I was staying with my husband! The room erupted with everyone saying, “No, Not possible, my family would disown me!”, “My friends would KILL me!” and, “My family and my friends told me to choose, my spouse or them!”. I was shocked! I mean truly shocked.

So I left the group that night not really believing that my friends and family would stop having a relationship with me, even if separately from Bryan. But in the weeks to come, I would find out that nothing could be further from the truth. It appeared that now, no matter that I was the victim, I was the one wearing a scarlet letter of my very own. I made a choice to stay with my husband. I even thought time would heal and that they would want a relationship with me sooner or later. At this point, my family(siblings and their families) made their decisions and I am not included in their lives.

I am one of the lucky ones, though. My parents have come to a place of peace with my decision. They had only ever wanted the very best for me! I am so blessed to have the Mom and Dad I have! They have loved me unconditionally my whole life! In regard to my remaining family members, I can not change them. I can not change, nor would I, my decision to save my marriage and my family.  I can, however, choose to love my family where they are at in life’s journey. Unconditionally. And I can pray for them. That is the choice I get to make! No one gets to make that one for me!

 

Just how many affairs has Bryan had?

When I married Bryan in the hot Texas summer of 1990, I never dreamed that we would ever face the horrific experience of an affair. Much less a series of affairs. The first really was honestly a blip on the radar. It was 2001 and I had just had a baby. We were facing bankruptcy both with our business and personally. I truthfully just had a gut feeling. I questioned Bryan but was always told not he had not had an affair. But in my heart, I always knew the truth. We had gone to counseling and it never came out. During counseling, we made the choice to save our marriage. I actually did not learn the real truth  about the first affair until the second affair in 2012. This was the affair that shattered my world along with the third and fourth affair. Though the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th affairs were all with the same woman they were excruciating! When I say each affair, really it was just a long affair to both of them but I thought he had ended it two separate times. So each new revelation that he was still in the affair was like a bombshell of destruction and devastation for not only myself but our children as well! It is absolutely by the grace and love of God that Bryan and I have come out TOGETHER!  I hope to share the pain of each with you so that you can know that you are not alone. We, however, are never truly alone when we choose to fully allow Christ into our lives. That is where our healing can be found!

Cell Phone face down. A sign of cheating?!

Did you know that one of the signs of a cheating spouse is them placing their phone face down instead of face up? Neither did I! So to this very day when Bryan puts his phone face down it really drives me absolutely crazy! My tapes(negative emotions, feelings, inner verbal abuse) about the past begin to flare and I can spiral out of control faster than you can say “Cheater, Cheater!”

Bryan has had during most of his affairs two phones. Honestly, this made cheating so much easier for him! He still has two phones, one that is rarely used and one that is normal daily use. The rarely used phone is my real problem. He uses it to conduct business for his other part time job. In the past, Bryan would guard that other phone like if he lost it, he would be forced into cutting his hand off with a dull blade! No really! He would protect it from any possibility that I or our boys would even touch it, much less look at it! Though he no longer guards the phone like he had, he still faces that rarely used phone face down. And it truly drives me crazy!

I can go days without much worry about the past. Thinking about the affairs outside of helping others or that Bryan will have another affair rarely crosses my mind anymore. But when I see that phone laying face down, I feel like I have been punched in the gut! Every time! Just this morning I could not stop myself from turning it over and looking at the front screen. Yes, only the front screen. I decided early on that scrolling thru Bryan’s phone would not be beneficial to me. If I have to watch his every move, every single aspect of his life then I did not want that life! I would rather just give up and be single than become a husband police detective.

Now that is not to say that I have never scrolled thru. I have, but honestly, Bryan was sitting right there allowing me to do it. Though he allowed himself to be sucked into a world of absolute lies and deception. I can not go there! It truly feels wrong to look at his phone. It is his. I feel a little bit guilty for looking at the front screen this morning.Though I know Bryan does not care anymore.

Each day is a new day. My triggers of Bryan’s affairs can sometimes really throw the whole day or even week for a roller coaster ride of emotions. If I can not learn to trust again quite honestly the devil wins! And my whole goal is to kick him out, not keep him in! So today, I will give Bryan grace for putting his phone face down. I will give myself grace for looking at his front screen and momentarily feeling punched in the gut. This day is just barely getting started. And I choose a day where love and trust rule the day! The devil just got kicked out!