My old journals were so vitally important to my getting through this whole mess.

journalBy Linda

Our kitchen remodeling project is in a little bit of a holding pattern as we await the delivery of our countertops. So, since our house is a complete mess as a result of the construction, this past Sunday Doug and I worked to clean it up a bit.

One of the things I asked him to do while we were at it was to go through some of his things in his office and throw away anything he didn’t absolutely need. He tends to print off reports and articles and stuff and never throws them away and they start to pile up.

Well, as he was going through his bookshelf he stumbled upon my old journals that I kept from just after D-day and for several months after.

Even though pretty much everything I’ve written in those journals are on the pages of this blog, I’m not sure why, but I grabbed them from him and quickly stuffed them into a drawer in another part of the basement. I guess I feel like they are my own personal diary and don’t want anyone to read them. Even Doug.


Reading my old journal entries

After a bit I started to look through them, and I must say that it was kind of strange and eerie in a way to read some of the stuff that I wrote back then. I was amazed at the ups and downs of my emotions and thoughts from one day to the next.

After looking at a dozen of so entries I think I saw all of the following words that described how I was feeling at various moments:

  • Anxious
  • Frustrated
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Elated
  • Hopeful
  • Empty
  • Confused
  • Unsure
  • Insecure
  • Coping mode
  • Happy
  • Loving
  • Feeling disconnected
See also  How to Recover From an Affair With RPL

This really demonstrates the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced.  I’m sure many of you are experiencing this now or have so in the past.

I also saw a comparison chart where I listed the faults of the OW and then next to that I would note how I was better than her. For instance: She was controlling.   I was more laid back. She was manipulative and deceitful. I was honest and caring.

On one particular entry I had a list of questions that I had in mind to discuss later that night with Doug. I think there were no less than 2o questions. Here are a few:

“When you said that something came up so you had to call her, can you explain that. What came up?”

“Other than what you have told me, what are the problems in our marriage that you discussed with her? What were you unhappy about?”

“About how many days a week did you actually see her in the office?”

“Did you call her while on baseball trips or on trips not related with business?”

Stop the Lies – A Personal Accountability Log

And on and on.  Like I said, there must have been 20 questions in all and that was just for one evening.  It was like I was an FBI agent or something – a skilled interrogator.

What was apparent was that those early days were dark ones for sure and I was acting like a complete nutcase at times. But you know what else is apparent? What I did was normal and I did what I had to and what I thought was best. That’s all any of us who are going through this can do.

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As I continued to read on, I also found an entry that I had typed up and printed out.  It had “A Year Later – A Long hard Journey” in bold. Perhaps this was an old post, I don’t remember, but I wanted to share some of it with you as it is evidence of the transformation that occurred after a year and that can occur with you as well.

Here are the main bullets from the entry:

In some ways the affair was the best thing and the worst thing that ever could have happened to me.

– I know that our relationship is so much better than it was a year ago and because of that I am truly grateful.

– As far as our relationship goes, we have learned a lot this year. We both have taken ownership for our behaviors that were not conducive to a good relationship. We committed to spending more time together. We are having fun, communicating, being friends as well as lovers.

– In all honesty right now, we have a wonderful relationship. I look at him and think how much I love him, respect him and admire him, which I know is very hard to believe after everything I’ve gone through. I guess I know how guilty he felt and he shows us everyday how much he loves us and cares for us by his actions. For that I admire him.

I feel so much stronger and empowered since this has happened.  I know that if I can survive this, I can survive anything.

– I know our relationship is in a far better place than it was just a few months ago and we are so much closer, so for that I am very hopeful.

Now, don’t get me wrong, after one year we still had a lot of work to do from that point on, but it was so evident that we were in a much more positive place.

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Do yourself a favor and start a journal

My journals are nothing pretty to look at. They are not organized. In fact, they are kind of messy, as I would write in them while I was supposed to be doing my job. Or at the very least I was writing in a hurry during my lunch break or planning period.  Some are in pencil, some in ink and some in magic marker, for crying out loud!

There are also loose copies of emails that Doug and I wrote back and forth to each other that made the journals even less organized.

But you know what? That doesn’t matter.  They were so vitally important to my getting through this whole mess.

If you haven’t started a journal yet. Do so now!

Hopefully, when you go back and read them years later, you will realize how strong you really are.


    25 replies to "Finding My Old Journals"

    • antiskank

      Linda, thank you for this post. I’m not sure why but it has made me very emotional. I also sort of kept a journal, especially the first year or two. I seemed to spend more time writing when I felt the very worst. It was mostly just so I could get the feelings out. I was in such shock and distress, I didn’t know what else to do and felt I had to be doing something, anything! It helped me to try and organize my chaotic thoughts to put them down on paper.

      I also sent my husband many related articles and emails explaining my feelings, asking for help and explanations in a nice way. He has never answered a single one of them. In fact, most times, he did not acknowledge that I had sent anything.

      I have worked very hard since the original D-Day almost 3 years ago, but things with our relationship are no better than they were at the beginning, in fact may be worse. There were a few glimmers of hope and possibility but they have never lasted. After all this time, I am ready to start up my jourmal again to help me focus my thoughts. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in actually doing anything, just says he doesn’t know how! I have given him a 3 month period to get his act together. I am silly enough to still hope that things could improve but realistic enough to know they may not.

      I am very happy for you and Doug. It must be quite uplifting to read the parts of your journal after things started to turn around and get better. Thank you to both of you for sharing and giving us this forum to relate and receive support and confirmation that we are not completely crazy!

      • Linda

        Hi Antiskank,

        It’s good that you’ve journaled your thoughts in the past and I would encourage you to not only do so when you you are doing bad , but also on those occasions when things are going well.

        One key thing you said is that YOU have worked very hard since D-day. Your husband needs to get busy as well. Saying he doesn’t know how is pretty lame but perhaps he does need to be shown/told exactly what to do. Tough love maybe? Linda

    • Shifting Impressions

      Linda, I can completely relate to your roller coaster ride of emotions. I have been keeping a smattering of journal posts along the way and am just starting to see the value in being able to look back and reread the posts every now and again. It has just been over a year since D-day. By looking back, I can see that progress is indeed being made. Very slow but progress, never the less.

      Your post has reminded me to be thankful for even baby steps forward. Once again, this site has been a life line for me over the last year. Thank you for all the work you and Doug put into this… touch more lives than you realize.

      • Linda

        Shifting Impressions, Thank you! It’s important to notice that you are indeed making progress. It can be very frustrating when things don’t improve as quick as we want but as long as things are moving in the right direction, that is the important thing. Linda

    • Untold

      Antiskank, so sorry for your situation. I understand your frustration. You should NOT be the one doing all the work. .

      I too journalled my struggles over 4 years. My unfaithful wife can’t stand it. She wants me to destroy, delete, dispose of them all so we can “move forward” and I can “get over it”. Our counselor even suggested I destroy my writing of how the behaviors, events and betrayal caused me pain, as a symbolic gesture of forgiveness.

      I declined, for two reasons. First, it seems she still doesn’t get it. Even though there has been some progress, I still see contempt, hostility, rug-sweeping, and secrets kept about the affair. Plus she has a tendency to revise history. Second, those journals are too valuable. I spent a lot of time on them, recording the events and behaviors, thoughts and feelings. They have been very helpful as I look back to restore, unravel and unpack the REAL narrative. I don’t know that I can ever destroy them.

      How do others feel about destroying their journals?

      • exercisegrace

        Untold, I think at this point you should keep them. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like she is “all in” the marriage, and these journals are valuable resources in your timeline.

    • exercisegrace

      I wish I had kept a journal during the time period I suspected their affair. There are so many things my husband has blocked out. He was so incredibly hateful at times. Demanding, critical of the kids, etc. I was ready to check the basement for pods. He just doesn’t remember most of that. I think he believes me when I tell him, but sometimes he has questioned it. If I had put it down in a journal, he would be able to read the historical account for himself.

      After d-day, my counselor suggested writing in a journal to get my feelings out. Writing always seemed to make me angrier and wind me up. I would write pages and pages and be more furious when I was done than when I started. I DID end up burning them, but more because I hated seeing them. Hated reading the awful words I had written about MYSELF and how worthless I felt. I also didn’t want my teenagers to stumble on them and read them someday.

      • Strengthrequired

        Eg, my h doesn’t remember the things he said either, he believes he would never had said those things to me. He doesn’t even remember telling me by text message that he had found the one he loved and wanted to be with. He doesn’t remember me telling him how much of a coward he was for not being man enough to tell me face to face. Yet he doesn’t even remember coming the next day wanting to try. He moved back the following week. I showed him the txt message one day, and he couldn’t believe it. A couple of days I brought it up again, and he couldn’t remember it. I reminded him I showed him the txt and I would show him again, but I was unable to get into the old phone.
        Sometime I wonder if the ow sent me the message, if he was unable to remember that, yet he doesn’t remember a lot of things during that time.

    • Tryinghard

      EG, SR
      Oh my!!! My h did the same. I would remind him of things he said and he said the same thing, didn’t rember it. Was actually incredulous that I would say he said it. He actually said during one early discussion the the OW was really a nice person and he wanted the two of us to have a talk together.. LOL , yeah!! Can you imagine me and her having a hear to heart. It would have been a heart to heart alright!! Me ripping hers out!

      Anyway when I reminded him of it he laughed and swore I had to be making it up. When I finally swore on my grad sins life I was telling the truth he said it he believed me. Haha, what the hell was I thinking, he said. I just laughed and said obviously thinking wasn’t your strong suit then

      Seriously I thought he was losing it but when you guys said your H’s did the same it makes me think maybe he’s not developing Alzheimer’s !!!

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, eg, I’m thinking that it must have to do with the depression our h were in, for them to truly not remember things. It just goes to show you however, they truly weren’t in their right state of mind, otherwise they would remember everything.
        The ow must feel special knowing the only way they got any where near our husbands was because they were depressed. Our h were just lucky that we were strong enough to stand by them, and knew them enough to know what was the real them.

        • exercisegrace

          SR, exactly. You hit it on the head. My husband was in a serious clinical depression. He was very unhealthy and that is the biggest part of what allowed him to walk down the slippery slope to infidelity. Yep. She had herself a real prize there!

        • OHC

          In my case my AP and myself became clinically depressed when we went no contact. Neither of us was before that. Have you ever been depressed? Was your husband on meds or was it not recognized? Personally, I cannot imagine entering into a relationship of any sort when depressed. I wouldn’t have had the energy. I could barely get out if bed. But I guess everyone manifests differently

          • exercisegrace

            Yes, finding out my husband cheated on me put me into quite a bad depression. In his case, he was depressed and the thrill of having someone chase him and admire him was like a temporary “fix” for the depression. It made him feel good about himself. But once he actually crossed the line and cheated, the guilt, shame and stress of it drove him onto several medications. That’s when he realized what he done, what he stood to lose and what he almost threw away over some slut he mistook infatuation for love.

            • OHC

              I wonder if he was truly depressed when he cheated or more on the slippery slope towards depression. Not that it makes a huge difference, but just wondering.

              And it makes sense that if in his case it would worsen if it truly was just infatuation and not love. That would depress me too, especially if at one point he had thought it was love

              I know for me and my AP it was the end of our relationship that caused the depression. It was a big shock to the system to suddenly go cold turkey after being each other’s best friend and support system on a daily basis for 4 years. But with time and meds we got past it. Took me about a year, not sure about him, since we haven’t talked a lot about it. And his wife eventually agreed to couples counseling, so that probably helped him too. Ending things with me when his marriage was on such shaky ground was the right thing to do, but he was in many ways left more alone than I was

            • exercisegrace

              In his case he was truly depressed. In a short amount of time, we lost two parents unexpectedly. The economy tanked and he nearly lost his business. Financial stress was high, and we had just moved. We had two new babies. He was hospitalized for a week with a meningitis that got quite bad. Our oldest developed asthma and had some serious attacks before we got it under control. His AP later admitted she took advantage of these situations to push the relationship further. In her words, she “pursued him aggressively”. He became overwhelmed and seemed to have no peace anywhere he turned.

              Like many men, he defined himself through his work and when it seemed like it was failing, he took it as HE was a failure. This made it easy for the cheap flattery to make him feel good about himself. And that’s what it really was all about. It was about how she made HIM feel about HIMSELF. Very selfish on his part. He has said now that while he thought he loved her at the time, what he really loved was how she made him feel about himself. She had her own broken, dysfunctional issues that have made her seek out older, successful married men over and over again.

              So yes, the depression was very much in place prior to the affair. Realizing what he had done drove him to the point of suicide. He even had a plan for it. She told him his depression was my fault and that SHE could cure him………..all while I was begging him to seek help. She insisted he not see a doctor. It makes me sick when I think how it all could have ended. She was enraged when he finally ended it. Today he says they were both two depressed, ill people who used an affair to temporarily medicate those feelings. He doesn’t feel that any of it had a basis in reality.

      • exercisegrace

        TH, yes take comfort that you are not alone. I think it is very common. Our therapist says that they become backed into a corner and will blurt out whatever is necessary to protect their lies and hide what they are doing. Further, they will often resort to anger and meanness to make the betrayed spouse back away when they get too close to the truth. My husband has said more than once “that doesn’t sound like me” or “I would never say something like that”. It makes him very uncomfortable to hear what kind of person he was. On the up side, it also highlights the fact that the affair partner wasn’t with a “real” person. She had some crazy, screwed up version of our husbands. If he had stayed that way, I would have ended up leaving HIM. By the time he ended the affair, I was already investigating exit strategies. I knew I couldn’t live the way we were much longer, and I didn’t even know the truth of what was going on!

    • Tryinghard

      I tried journaling but they were just visceral stream of conscience and I deleted them all. I did however save some very poignant emails I sent him that I re-read once in a while.

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, I have emails I sent my h, and then whatever I had written on here that I occassionly reread. Some of the txt messages I sent him, when I can get into my old phone would be still there too. Yet looking back, we have made a huge step forward, a step I wasn’t sure in the beginning would ever happen.

    • TryingHard

      LOL my husband didn’t have any depression, anxiety, aspergers, unhappiness, discontent, nothing. According to him, MC and psychologist.

      What he did have was a major case of entitled narcissistic stupidity. It’s a horrible disease that makes people choose behaviors that will ruin their lives once their dirty little secrets comes to the light of day. It causes terrible shame and regret and embarrassment. This syndrome is very similar and does not exclude the primary symptom of Headuphisass disease.

      • OHC

        Is he truly narcissitic, do you think? Like the official diagnosis, not just from the affair? Asking legitimately. I would think you would have some pretty big challenges in that case in making progress after the affair.

        • TryingHard

          No, he’s not full blown NPD. Trust me I’d have bolted a long time ago had that been confirmed. It’s pretty easy to diagnosis.

          He does have narcissistic traits however as he was raised by a parent who is NPD. UGH long story.

          Of course he has issues. Really, no sane person does all the crap he did without having some self esteem narcissistic issues. Everyone has narcissism to a certain point. Healthy narcissism. Affairs are def NOT a healthy narcissistic action.

          He really thought he was a big deal in her eyes and actually he was!! But she didn’t have the ability to set the bar very high. He loves that low class admiration. So do his parents. He’s only just realized it through therapy.

          • exercisegrace

            TH, I think EVERYONE who has an affair is narcissistic. At least temporarily. How else could you justify doing something that hurts so many others, all for your own personal, sick gain? If mature people want out, they do so with honor and dignity. They don’t lie, cheat, sneak and deceive. Luckily, as you said it isn’t always the full-blown deal. It can be situational.

            • Tryinghard

              Narcissism, like many other personality disorders, run on a spectrum. Just like sociopaths, psychopaths, etc. one doesn’t have to have committed an ax murder to be a psycho/sociopath. On the subject of narcissism, I have no doubt in my mind that people who cheat are narcissists. The cheating is only a symptom of the narcissism. I’m sure if you looked at your h you’d see some narcissistic traits. Does he have NPD? Probably not. But those traits are hard to change and if they were strong enough to impel him to cheat, the trait is still there. Just saying this to make you be aware of the real him. Remember, we aren’t going to be ignorant or naive anymore, right?

              And you’re right only someone who’s a narcissist or has unhealthy narcissistic traits, would make the lousy choice our husbands made to cheat, lie, betray, you name it. They were acting to satisfy their own ego when those chose to cheat and that is narcissism.

              I see a lot of narcissistic traits in my husband and honestly they don’t serve him very well. I call him out on them and I can see the light bulb go off when I do. He doesn’t like that part about himself. He really gets taken advantage of when he allows himself to be flattered and he is easily flattered. Haha pre-affair I let it slide, now? No way.

            • OHC

              Totally agree. There is a world of difference between someone acting narcissistic and someone with the diagnosis of NPD. The latter would be almost impossible to deal with, there really is no treatment

    • theresa

      Isn’t it funny. His memory is so sporadic when dealing with events during the affair. However, he is so emphatic in his denials, so absolute in things the he didn’t do.

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