There was a time when I frequently asked myself, “Will I ever feel normal again?”  I think that it’s a question that most all betrayed spouses ask themselves at some point.

Recently Sara wrote a post that mentioned the term “New Normal,” and I had to agree that our relationship now is very good, but different.  It is our new normal.  I imagine that many of you feel the same way.

For any of us who have experienced the pain of an affair, our lives go through a total transformation and normalcy appears to be something that we will never feel again.  “Feeling Normal” is quite a subjective concept and there is no exact time-frame for when someone can be completely at peace with something as traumatic as infidelity.

The affair victim has experienced an immense emotional roller coaster ride since D-day.  One day we love our spouses and want nothing more than to return to normalcy, and the next day we feel like shoving our spouse in front of a moving train.  You want to trust them again. You want to believe all the promises.

Though many of the stories of how infidelity has impacted us are similar, in truth we are all affected a little differently.  We as individuals and our marriages will have various outcomes over time which cannot be foreseen at any given moment. Some marriages will emerge stronger while others will certainly disintegrate.

How we handle and cope with the affair will dictate our “new normal” and how long it takes to achieve it.

But what exactly is “normal?” 

See also  Discussion – The Ripple Effect on Families as a Result of Infidelity

I found this online and thought it was good:

“Normal is being able to function without intruding thoughts, nightmares and untold anxiety. Normal is when you can sleep again the whole night through. Normal is when you don’t want to keep checking phone records, bank and credit card statements and when you don’t feel sick to the stomach when these come in.

Normal is when you can watch a movie about a betrayal of some sort through to the end. Or when you can finish your sentences remembering what you were saying and can complete a proper conversation. Or you can hear a song on the radio and not end up in tears.

Normal is when they say they are working late and you don’t give it a second thought or when you are apart for a day or a weekend and you know they are thinking of you and not with another or phoning another or texting another. Normal is when your partner tells the truth and you know it.”

For this week’s discussion, let’s talk about your new normal…

How long ago was your D-day and what is your new normal at this point?

What are you doing to stay strong, to cope and to help you feel somewhat normal again?

What has to happen yet for you to achieve some sense of normalcy? 

If you are fortunate enough to have achieved some normalcy, how did that happen?

Please remember to respond to one another in the comment section.

Thanks!

Linda & Doug

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LINESPACE

    20 replies to "Discussion – Will I Ever Feel Normal Again?"

    • chiffchaff

      Hmmm, I was starting to feel almost normal!
      I do at least have more hope, in myself, that I will feel normal again though. Having been plunged back into non-normalcy I can see what I had gained with hard work, so it is possible to feel normal and I think the description you provide is a good one. Being able to work, concentrate, sleep, be happy and to trust your partner when you’re not there.

    • exercisegrace

      My short answer is yes.

      The longer answer is that it will come at a high price, and with lots of hard work. It will also be a “new” normal. Obviously I am not the same person I was before. I could sit around and resent that (I have, its not fun) or I can accept that (currently working on this attitude) and work up a whole new definition of what Normal means to me. I have determined that this is going to include some positive things that perhaps should have been there all along. I am more assertive. I make my needs known more readily, ignore them at your peril. I set boundaries that are made of stone, topped with razor wire, and rigged with explosives. Cross them at your peril. I communicate more effectively, and I don’t jump to automatic conclusions about what someone else’s thoughts or intentions are. I will ask for something to be clarified or restated instead of silently seething over a perceived insult. I don’t give trust automatically, you have to earn it. I will assume the best but be watchful for the worst. I have learned conversational phrases that have been lacking in my vocabulary for far too long…….”no, I’m not comfortable with that”, “we will need to discuss that further”. “I’m not ready to discuss that at this moment”

      Eight months or so out from d-day, I really don’t feel very normal. I feel more like I have been rowing a small boat in rough seas, seemingly in vain. But I am starting to catch glimpses of the shore and that gives me hope.

    • Natalia

      Normalcy for me has come gradually. I can tell you what I no longer have, what I no longer feel, or what I no longer do:
      I no longer have nightmares or crying spells.
      I no longer feel that intruding thoughts are controlling me or invading my mind.
      I no longer feel sick to my stomach when he’s contacted on FB or his phone signals a text message.
      I no longer check phone records or emails.

      It’s hard to get used to this “new normal me.” I miss the “old me” terribly. The old me was trusting and loved without rules, because she thought none were needed. The old me didn’t question his kisses or his hugs. But the old me is dead. The new me has proven to be stronger, more confident and more assertive. The new me has learned that boundaries are important to keep others out. The new me will stand up to any bullshit that comes her way. The new me will soon feel comfortable.

    • ChangedForever

      Wow, EG, that is a great comment. You seem so steadfast for just 8+ mths out….i’m almost 25 mths following DDay#1 of my H’s EA/PA with a coworker of his, 26 years younger than him. That was the tar pit he was in when i ‘discovered,’ what the hell he had gotten himself into. It had been building up for years…so many other inappropriate relationships were discovered as i dug for the details of the PA he was having….
      I just told him last night that that phone he has, has to be shutoff when he comes home. Thats the new normal for him as of immediately. I am NOT going to live my life second to an iphone. I see alot of women seem to be okay with that but not me. Its not only a trigger but a major source of disrespect (my opinion.) if someone wants to talk with my H after he’s home? They can call him. And even then, it better be brief.

      EG, i’m where you are in attitude, but it took me MONTHS & MONTHS longer than you.
      But, feeling ‘normal’ again? Those days are done as the new ‘normal’ sets in…i was thinking the other day that i have to come to terms with this being the way my life will be, from now on. And i will … Someday.

      • exercisegrace

        I am trying and some days are better than others. Today happens to be one I am not hiding in the bathroom and crying! My husband’s ditch witch is ten years younger than me, but about 100 pounds heavier. I still made negative comparisons. Some days I still fight to see myself as valuable and worthy.

        I agree that my husband’s new normal looks quite different as well. I would not be comfortable with him going out to lunch or dinner or anywhere, alone with another woman. I question his conversations with women more than I ever did. But these are all consequences of his choices. If he wanted to be trusted absolutely, he should have never broken that trust.

    • Natalia

      Exercise grace: I liked what you posted. It was as if I was reading my own story. I am also more assertive now. I speak up when I have to and have laid down rules that my H is following to the T. Just today he did something for me he would not have done before because it wouldn’t have seemed important to him. As I’ve said before he can keep his work related female friends on FB as long as they also friend me. There’s one woman I can’t stand but I kept her on FB because she and my H have been friends for many years and I suspect there was an EA going on at some point. But not anymore, however I wouldn’t let my guard down with her. Anyway, yesterday she posted her political views on FB and I commented opposing her views. Her new boyfriend (she’s a widow) thought it was ok to respond by insulting me. I don’t use FB to lash out insults to anyone. So I thought this was stupid and low, especially cause the guy is an attorney and you’d think he’d be more educated. So I went ahead and deleted her as a friend and I told my husband what had happened. He said the guy was an a***hole and proceded to delete her as a friend also! I was totally surprised because before Dday he would have defended his friend and would have said that I had no business making any comments and shouldn’t complain. This new normal in him is what I’ve always wished for. I have always wanted him to put me first and not his female friends. I guess the new normal me has done the trick and he’s finally respecting me.

    • Paula

      Very good post, Linda, thank you, and thank you to all who have responded, very eloquent, and you are all doing so well.

      I guess, for me, all of what you have all stated is true. However, the feeling of not getting anxious, or more accurately, uncomfortable, when these things come up – eg movies, etc, has never left me. I accept them, but they still make me uneasy, and I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in three and a half years, but not as bad as in the beginning. I always wake around 4.15am, and that is my sleep done now. I never have any “easy” moments, where it is not in the forefront of my mind, even after all this time, and I have one of the men who has accepted, worked and tried his darnedest to repair the damage – so I have, I suppose you could call it guilt, about not being “normal.” I know “normal” won’t ever be what it once was, so I guess I still struggle with what “normal” will be for me – will I always feel like my life is saturated in sadness, that I am missing something I once treasured so? That is the hard part of the new normal – I don’t really like it, but I accept it, as I can’t change a thing about the past. This is my new normal, and I wish I could embrace it, and be happy! For all of the things my partner has done, and does understand and accept, he does not understand why I am not happy now. He feels better about us than he has in a few years, but not me. He tells me that I somehow have to find a way to let go of the past, and embrace the future, and, by God, I have tried, but have yet to find the magical key that will allow my psyche to do so – and I have had a LOT of therapy, and tried bloody hard to apply it all. Which starts the cycle all over again, of why am I not strong enough to be happier by now, which I am very aware does NOT help at all!

    • angelwings

      Hello everyone!
      I haven’t been on in a few months because one of my new normals is not having a computer at home! Reason being our daughter has taken it with her to college and we just haven’t bought a new one yet. Another new normal is newly empty nesters. Add a new job for my H within the past year that takes up most of his time. Early hours, late hours and lots of time on the phone with work business. Add all this together and that leaves me alone at home with too much time to think. So here lately I’ve had some setbacks from my new normal and wishing things were back to “normal”. Just when you begin to feel a little more “normal” something new comes along to remind me that what used to be will never be again. I’m adjusting to this “new normal” life of mine. H and I are trying to make the best of what time we have together but he is so tired from work all the time that I feel alone even with him next to me. I’m trying to keep our marriage strong, but somedays I feel like I’m failing again. and it’s those days that I have setbacks and remember how he always made time for her. Yes, sadly it’s been a few of those days lately. So I find myself reading these sites again and feeling a little stronger because of it. It’s a nice reminder that I am never alone in this and in my new normal life.
      Thanks for listening and letting me go on and on. Peace to you all

    • Amanda

      I do feel normal again, and happy. I had a busy summer
      with a couple of classes I had taken and there now finished
      yea. But the downside is a put a couple of pounds on due
      to my inactivity. I feel my life has returned to normal, because I am setting new goals again, I am looking forward to redoing a least one room this winter in my home.
      Oh yeah, I will setting a goal of getting those extra pounds off. I wish they would come off as easy as they came on.
      I have had a few other good changes happen to me this
      past year, so life feels good again.

    • rachel

      Amanda you are an inspiration.
      Thank you!!!

      • Amanda

        Rachel,
        Thanks!
        How are you doing?

    • Rachel

      I’m doing pretty good. My attorney called yesterday and said we won’t be goingnto court next week for the home equity loan. He said “you’re not signing anything”! I mailed him a copy of a financial investment that H has from his parents of 37,000.00. I think that was the deciding factor.
      The next court date will be a pre-trial January 8th.
      H is suppose to be leaving soon ( been hearing that for two months now). My attorney wants a copy of his lease of his new home on the water. I can’t wait to see whose on the lease with him .
      Next step is an appraisal needs to be on my house. We will split the cost of the fee. Not sure if I agree with that since he does make 100,000.00 more then me, but I guess I won’t argue that one.
      H has been coming home late and leaves early. He doesnt eat his breakfast here which is really nice because I can have my kitchen all to myself in the morning to make a nice breakfast for my son.
      Tomorrow my son (16) is having his wisdom teeth out. All 6 of them. Yes, he has 6.
      My college son is coming home at 3:30 to help me and will stay with him while I work on Saturday.
      I hung new curtains in my sons room, rods and all. H would never have let me do that before. Would have said that’s a stupid idea.
      I cleaned my keurig coffee maker with the help of you tube. Another task that I wouldn’t have done the right way.
      It’s amazing the freedom that I have and the confidence that has been hiding for 25 years is finally returning!

      • exercisegrace

        Rachel! You sound so good! I hope things continue to go smoothly, sounds like your attorney has your back. Keep your head up and know that everyone here is hoping for the very best outcome. You will be in my prayers!

    • Amanda

      Rachel,
      I am glad to see your doing good, take care.

    • KelBelly

      Ok, I am back after my huge meltdown last month and must say, I am much better. I have had to do a lot of work on me to get to a place where I didn’t feel like I was losing my mind all the time.

      I know it is strange but in my new normal, I cannot talk about his EA anymore. My H has gone above and beyond to help me get through all this and to show me every day that he loves me. I couldn’t see that because I wouldn’t let go of all the pain his EA caused. We are going on dates, working out at the gym, snuggling on the couch, laughing, in counseling, and most of all, talking. It just seem that every time the EA is brought up, it reminds me of all the unhappiness and I just don’t want to dwell on that anymore.

      I can’t change the choices he made but I can change the way I look at it and handle it. We were in a very dark place in our marriage when I found out about his EA and I believe that had I not found out, we would not be together right now. The act itself was awful but the finding out was a blessing in disguise. We are not only saving our marriage but saving our youngest son from having to deal with the emotions and turmoil of a broken home.

      I believe the one thing that has really worked for me is taking time for me and doing things that I wanted to do but didn’t because I was worried about taking time away from my family. I am no longer afraid of him leaving. I am a strong woman and know that I can stand on my own. I now realize that 100% of why my H had his EA was because of him, not me or anything that was in my control. My H knows what I expect and I will except no less from him.

      I know that we are not even a year into this yet and I have some hard dates coming up but I refuse to give it enough power to destroy me anymore. I can honestly say that my marriage is in the best place it has been in years and I want to enjoy it. I actually got butterflies in my stomach the other day when he kissed me and that hasn’t happened for very long time. I think I like butterflies better than sadness 🙂

    • Dol

      Exactly a year on for me. I suspect – is this true for others? – going through an anniversary of it all tends to knock the normal off a bit as you recall exactly what was happening x day this time last year.

      I find it hard to believe the sort of normal that quote describes can ever return. I have what I call my Paranoia Monster and it’s utterly untrusting and always tells me what it thinks my partner might be doing – sometimes the most ridiculous nonsense, but it still manages to scare me. So that’s continuous emotional hard work.

      But on the ‘new normal’ – I was thinking the other day, if I hadn’t known what things were like before this, I could imagine thinking feeling this bad was normal. It isn’t.

      We are both working very hard on deeper aspects of ourselves, and trying so so hard to support each other. That’s also a new normal and a flipside to all the horror. Like the fact we now run regularly together, these things probably wouldn’t have happened without the EA!

    • chiffchaff

      I’m finding it really hard to deal with the sheer anger I have developed as a result of discovering my H’s recent ‘inappropriate behaviour’ on scrabble. I’ve realised I’m swinging fast between dealing with it/trying to ignore it and seriously considering leaving.
      We’re supposed to be going back to couples counselling and this is also making me feel angry, as we did this last year and it was a waste of money seeing as my H was lying to everyone, including me and himself.
      He’s also told me that the women he had inappropriate relationships with before his full blown affair were all ‘really attractive’ which I find downright insensitive. why is that relevant? they were women who didn’t care that he was married, attractive or not.
      I’m finding that I can’t relax and feel on edge when I’m with him or away from him. He’s acting like a dog that’s been kicked for no reason.
      Ever since discovering that sex chat stuff he was up to I have been up and down on that rollercoaster again. I read his scrabble chats again and he sounds like such a self-pitying a-hole. I asked him to stop contacting these women, his support group, and one of them is now back on his phone again.

      • Natalia

        Chiffchaff: This is so wrong, I don’t even now where to start. He’s being an A******ole. You are right to feel angry at this time. He’s insensitive and passive aggressive. Maybe you need to rattle his cage and give him an ultimatum. When you go to couples’ therapy don’t hold back and expel your anger and disappointment about his behavior. Make it clear that you are not going to take his crap. Either he makes a HUGE effort to show his commitment to you and your marriage or you’re OUT. No one deserves to be treated the way he’s treating you. How humiliating and insulting. I remember reading Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman to my husband one night. When I was done with one of the chapters about being married to a spouse who stonewalls you or is passive aggressive, my H started “confessing” about other women. I got so angry at him for having waited so long after Dday to tell me this(1 year), that I threw the book against the wall and I yelled at him that I was not going to put up with his crap anymore. That when I had asked him to tell me everything he claimed there was nothing else to tell and now it turned out there was more. To make the long story short, he talked for hours because he had never seen me so angry and ready to walk out. It took me to be furious at him for him to turn around.

    • EarlofNothing

      This is were I am. My d-day 1yr anniversery was 2 days ago (day before thanksgiving). I’ve completely lost it again. My wife is doing everything she can to reconsile but I still feel such resentment. I called the bastard and reminded him that I have not forgotten, which was unwise, but what can I say Im enthralled with devising a method for his downfall without jepordizing my freedom.

      I am glad I found this discussion as I am running out of coping tactics or I guess moreso hope for normalcy in our marriage. I think I supressed alot though leading to this point. My 3 1/2 month old son did not come easy but my values were strong enough to overcome the pain to care for my wife when she went through invasive surgery in her 2nd trimester (equivelant to a c-section with my little dude still growing in her tummy) and a week in the hospital for his birth. I also was accepted into an accelerated CFP(c) program (53% pass rate) which is like the bar for lawyers or boards for Drs but in my field one week before d-day. I just took the 2 day 10hr test the weekend before my d-day and no longer have the intensive studying that allowed my mind some degree of seperation from reality.

      I guess what I am saying is that I placed my mind elsewhere and its all coming tumbling now. Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen apart for short spans over and over in this past year typically during lulls in what needs to be done. Im glad to hear that it can get better which is what I hear in alot of these posts. I both love and hate my wife and I am questioning my strength to move on. You have each spoken of this new normal and I think I need to figure out my norm now as the man I was is dead and I need to get some life back into this shell of a person Ive become.

    • Jana

      I am 5 yrs from D-day
      I don’t know how to get that normal marriage again.
      What is normal?
      I want to be cherished, loved, & respected.
      I may have those already but can’t see them through the cloud of sadness that still engulfs me. I will continue to fight for our marriage. I will continue to pray for God’s healing of my brokenness. I trust and believe my Heavenly Father will do that for me. As He has forgiven me when I don’t deserve forgiveness I must offer forgiveness to my H. The pain I felt when our 11yr old son died was unbearable. Healing came then and I must keep trusting God for the healing again.
      The difference is the Pain we felt when our son died was not from a choice he made. My H chose to hurt me and our family. He chose “self”The pain of betrayal by a loved one is also unbearable and more difficult to recover.

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