Christmas tree_upcloseIt’s a couple days after Christmas as we write this and we both feel pretty exhausted.  Christmas is always such a whirlwind around our home but this year seemed even more so.

Perhaps it’s because we had back-to-back nights where we cooked and entertained for about 20 people – or maybe just that we’re getting older, but this year wiped us out more than usual.  

Anyways, we had a very nice Christmas and we hope that you managed to do the same.

Our girls are home from college and our son and his girlfriend spent a couple days with us , so it’s been enjoyable to say the least.  Even our two nights of parties went off without a hitch.  No drama.  No arguments. Minimal stupidity from various family members.  It was good.

A Family Secret Exposed!

Now, if you’ve followed our blog for any length of time – or have at least read a number of posts, you may know that our extended family has had its share of relationship related occurrences over the years.  Most notably of course has been multiple instances of infidelity.  

Well, on Christmas day we were having a discussion with our brother-in-law (Let’s call him Burt) who quite surprisingly disclosed that he just discovered through DNA testing that his brother (Ernie) was fathered by someone other than who they thought was their father. 

This wasn’t a tremendous shock to him as his mother apparently bragged about her extramarital trysts when he was a young boy.  In fact, for some reason she was quite mean about it and would throw her affairs in Burt’s face like they were some sort of payback for his father mistreating or neglecting her. 

Well, apparently Burt’s mother had an affair for several years with a man who they suspect is Ernie’s father.  Their two aunts (mom’s sisters) were even in on the cover up as they knew about it and kept it quiet for some 60+ years!  

So a few weeks ago Burt took his suspicions a step further and called the man in an effort to find out more information.  The man was quite friendly and was certainly aware of who Burt and Ernie were but never really admitted to being the father.

However, Burt, an attorney and former undercover DEA agent, plans to pay a visit to this man, who would now be in his eighties, to try and get a DNA sample from him so that they can know for sure if he is Ernie’s father. He also wants to determine if this guy could possibly be his real father as well.

Crazy stuff!  Each year our family seems more messed up than we ever imagined.

Share Your Christmas Experiences 

Anyways, prior to Christmas we ran a few posts about surviving the holidays and we also sent out some holiday related resources on a few different occasions via email. Considering that focus on the holidays, we wanted to hear how Christmas went for you.

Please share your Christmas experiences with the rest of the blog community – good or bad.

What sort of challenges were you faced with during the holidays that may have been different from last year or any other time of year?

Perhaps you can share how you were able to cope with triggers, emotions, thoughts and any other affair related issue that came about.

If there is anything else you want to share or have questions about, please feel free to throw it out there!

Thanks and take care!

Linda & Doug


    20 replies to "How Was Your Christmas This Year?"

    • TheFirstWife

      I live a boring life. No holiday drama has ever been a part of our family (luckily).

      Immediate family on both sides is either out of state or out of country so we don’t get to see slit of family at Christmas ?

      But we host 20 friends with kids for a holiday event the day before Christmas Eve Lotsa fun and will be hard to keep going once kids start going off to college but we will try to keep the tradition going

      With 4 siblings and spouses/partners/etc we are lucky we all get along. My husband’s side too – all get along.

      Hope the drama dies down for so many on this blog. Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful 2016 and May your life continue to get better.

      • Doug

        It has become painfully apparent over the last few years how dysfunctional our extended family is. Lots of crazy stuff and drama. Glad your holiday was drama free.

        • Tryinghard

          I think everyone’s family has some form of dysfunction in it. When I talk to my shrink about my dysfunctional family she corrects me. She contends my family is not dysfunctional but that there are dysfunctional people in it. I agree. I certainly wasn’t raised in a dysfunctional family and try as I may neither I nor my therapist finds anything about me dysfunctional. Unless of course you consider brutal honesty dysfunctional:)

          • Doug

            I hear you TH. I wasn’t brought up in a dysfunctional family either, nor was Linda, but it sure seems as though certain members of our families have become dysfunctional over the years, which has spread to their children. Pretty crazy.

    • Patsy50

      Had a great Christmas with family. Have a Happy New Year Linda and Doug and hope all on this blog have some peace in their New Year.

    • Falling Ash

      I had a much better holiday than I had anticipated. OH was attentive and loving. Yes I did still have triggers and moments of sadness, but the good definitely outweighed the bad. Let us hope this good spell continues.

      • TheFirstWife

        Great to hear! Hope it continues.

        Just remember it is him – not you! He made the choice to cheat.

    • theresa

      This was special.

      Our family has always spent thanksgiving as a family. It is EVERYBODY’s favorite holiday.
      Christmas was a long second best, for all ages, toddler to septagenerian.
      And, as time marches on the family unit changes and there are faces that are missing around our table.
      3 members of the family were a long way from home. They were spread all over the globe. This was the first time since 2010 that there were no missing faces.
      Their trips home had to be planned carefully. There could only be 1 trip. They chose Thanksgiving.
      This required some creative manipulating of their available time off. They shifted schedules, gave up other holidays to have the most time for the most important holiday.
      They made sacrifices.
      They were all here at the same time.
      And a great time was had by all.

    • Carol

      My H had been having affairs (2 one year affairs and one 9 year affair) and one night stands since before we were married (40 years!) – found all this out in 2010. Needless to say, it’s been quite a journey. He was determined to become the perfect husband and has done a lot of work – it’s been a process. Re: Christmases – for the first couple of years, it was “find the perfect gift”, do romantic things, etc. This last Christmas, as our marriage has sort of gotten back to “normal” – whatever that is – I realized although it was a good Christmas, it was more just “OK” with the two of us – e.g. we opened our gifts to each other with the rest of the family instead of carving out “just the two of us” time, etc. We were each busy with Cmas and family related activities. A couple days afterwards, I started going into one of my “downward slides” re my H. At this point, my triggers are no longer specific, but general – and this one was – for so many years my H kept a part of his life secret from me, so I would frequently get the feeling he was distant from me. His language would be functional (e.g. “I’m going to Lowe’s for a hammer”; “What’s for dinner?”, etc.) and I just had the feeling he was emotionally pushing me away. I always assumed it was just my imagination. Then I found out my gut feelings were absolutely correct. So this year I realized I was triggered simply by the distance I felt – but in this case it was caused only by the crazy busy-ness of the holidays, plus we were both sick part of that time. We finally got a chance to just sit, talk, reconnect. I realized we can’t slack off – with our history, it’s crucial that we maintain the utmost vigilance about our relationship and quickly get back on track when something (family crisis, holidays, illness, etc.) distracts us. Hope that’s helpful!

      • Doug

        Good stuff Carol. Thanks for sharing that. With all the craziness around our house during the holidays Linda and I tend to dis-connect a bit because we both have so much to do. The day after – no..the next two days after Christmas, we just vegged on the couch together, did some hiking and just sort of reconnected (not to mention we were just plain exhausted!).

    • Hopeful

      In general I find that feeling hard. When that disconnected feeling flares up. It almost feels like the old normal. I am still at that point of struggling with what is normal and expectations for each of us and our marriage. My therapist says I am still “too tolerant”. I can see it in certain cases but I am just having a hard time with what is acceptable behavior. The basic things yes I get but how much time on the cell phone etc.. I guess I am just not a person who ever wants to police or be the authority/mother figure. Any tips on that?

    • theresa

      Thank you Carol !!!
      You gave me an AH AH! moment

    • Falling Ash

      Carol – I know exactly what you mean about that disconnected feeling. I felt it for well over two years prior to DDay, but OH would always deny anything was wrong when I asked him about it. He is now still in the “attentive” phase, but I would most definitely tackle it full on if it happened again. Now the holidays are over I did have to remind him that I am far from healed and that I just put discussing things on hold over Christmas and New Year. He seemed disappointed to hear that. I explained it had taken a herculean effort on my part to do that so it was now back to him to make the effort every day again to help me heal, by being honest, loving AND discussing things.

    • james78

      ok heres my xmas and it was an awful one, one to forget but unfortunately cant…
      been married for 10 years, a relative good marriage, no bickering, not many arguments, we share the commitment with the kids etc.
      my wife has always been interested in spiritual stuff and 3 years ago she joined this group of people who spent their time meditating, discussing who we are and where we come from etc,i always thought great shes got a hobby and theres no harm in it even though its quite alien to me. with time the people and the subjects got a more stronger interest to her and then on the 4 of dec I was due for a golf trip away with the lads and out of the blue she told me were not compatible anymore and she had got feelings for this man 20 years older than her almost 60 years old who was her spiritual soul mate….wtf I was gobsmacked didn’t see this coming…she wanted a divorce…blimey…anyway I tried to talk her out of it, explaining to her that she had an identity crisis and these people have brain washed her….her sister told her the same…so she changed her mind, wanted to stay with me and the kids…week after she wanted to leave. next week change again…..back and fourth all December until I finally snapped on boxing day as I was emotionally drained,never had cried so many tears…anyway I had it threw all her clothes and shoes out and told her get the f… out….morning after she cried and said she never was going to leave and it was only an emotional affair with this man, and they have never been physical (I believe her) …ok I said you need to cut out all contact, sever everything with this group if you really want us to move forward in this marriage….she did…
      but now im the one who thinks” I want out” my trust have been broken and im emotionally numb, I got no feelings left…I feel cold and im not bothered anymore whether she leaves or not, basically I just had enough….. I don’t know whether to try to have patience (which is not a virtue I have) I still love her but I don’t know whether its enough,,

      • TheFirstWife

        James. We have all been there. Your life is upside down and a mess.

        Your wife is in a terrible state if in fact she has been brainwashed or been involved in a cult like situation.

        For you kids sake please give it 6 months.

        I was in your shoes. My H told me twice about a divorce. I said ok as there was no point in trying to change his mind. A few days later he realized his mistake and 2 years later we are still together & happy.

        Get counseling for your wife and yourself. Just breathe and do not make any rash decisions. Even if your wife is unsure of her choices you need to be the rock.

        If I had not been strong and practical and made very careful decisions my marriage would have been over. Buy H credits my “smarts” for staying calm & rational & sane during that tough period.

        I had kids who still liv at home. What the hell was I supppised to do?

        Be there for your kids first and foremost. Then put yourself first and make sure you have someone to talk to about this. Therapy and counseling can be a lifesaver (was for me).

        Have a financial plan in place in case. Have a parenting an too. Just in case.

        Hope it works out. These emotional affairs are as bad as physical affairs.

        We have all been there. Give it some time and you may find your feelings change.

    • Falling Ash

      I spoke too soon about things being OK over Christmas. Today I am right back in the pit. Yesterday was a significant anniversary in our relationship. 16 yearsof being together. The same time last year, 9 months after DDay, I lovingly made a card with a personal message for OH. He hadn’t reciprocated and afterwards said he felt “useless” for not making me feel special. So I was hoping for something to be better this year. I didn’t make a card this time, but I did send a loving email with a cute and relevant picture. I didn’t want to make last year’s mistake, and wait until evening, so I sent it early in the morning. I waited all day for him to reciprocate, to wish me a Happy Anniversary, to even acknowledge receiving my email. By the time of going to bed, still nothing. I was devastated. Then in bed he thanked me for my email, said he hadn’t wanted to say anything as he thought I might be upset (about the death of David Bowie, who I love). I am at a loss to understand how him being loving to me and comforting me on our special date could possibly be seen as upsetting. Ignoring it, however, has done the trick and upset me immensely. I despair of us ever getting through this, when we are poles apart in what we think of as important. Very, very sad today.

      • TheFirstWife

        My H does the same thing and I was in the pit mid December. My holidays were great but I was very upset about his lack of acknowledgement of the important DDays and such.

        I told him I was very unhappy with it all.

        Not to make an excuse but it seems that most of the cheating spouses are men and they are idiots when it comes to emotional support and everything that goes along with it.

        I can be stubborn at times but I made damn sure if my H wanted a divorce he asked for it. I would not give him the easy out. And I don’t expect dates to pass by without any acknowledgement as I will not let him sweep things under the rug. That is how the cheaters want it. Like you dropped food on the floor. Oops – clean it up – mess is gone.

        Sorry cheating is a mess that does not go away.

        I asked my H a few days ago what prompted him to have 2 ea/pa during our marriage? I got the typical “I don’t really know” answer. Honest answer but not helpful.

        So It appears your OH is self centered and cannot bring himself to even try. Try to help you heal, try to extend himself, try to show some empathy on an important day. Does he try in other ways? It may be that he does other things but emotionally is not focused on certain things. Not to make excuses but my H ignored all the DDays this year but once I told him he is trying to do better.
        Sometimes you need to see signs in other places even though the ones that are overlooked are sometimes the most important and necessary. Is he helping at all in your recovery? If yes then that is a good sign.

        My H has made many more mistakes in the 2+ years since DDay. Not cheating or anything like that but communication errors, continued lying immediately after DDays, not acknowledging things like dates and stuff. It has been an uphill battle but 2015 was better than 2014 and better than the hell of 2013.

        We are not perfect but happy for the most part. But I have told him I am at a place where I am good with you or without you. I have to be for my kids sake.

        I hope you can turn your situation around and see some positives. I know how devastating it is to feel ignored and not the focus of his attention. It hurts. It hurts bad. Maybe you need to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself. It helped me tremendously when I did that. I stopped trying so hard to show him I loved him and wanted our marriage to survive. I started focusing on me first – for the sake of my sanity and kids. It gave me some self confidence and redirected my attention.

    • Falling Ash

      TFW – Thank you for your supportive and encouraging words. Yes. OH is being more supportive in many ways. He is far more engaged in chores around the home, acts of service etc. He knows he really messed up this week. He acknowledges that he still has far more to do. He went for his weekly counselling session last night and, from what he tells ne, it seems his counsellor dealt with the situation really well. She told him that at times like these, he must support me and listen to my pain, not let his own feelings of guilt and shame overrule my need for his support. He does struggle with expressing his emotions and that is something he and the counsellor are working on. She said he needs to own his shit fully and do everything he can to help me with my healing. She even suggested me going to one of his sessions so he can apologise to me fully for his affair. I am feeling just a little more hopeful today. Time to start clawing my way out of my pit…yet again. It is a little ovet 21 months since DDay. I had hoped to be further on with healing by this time, but I guess it will take as long as it takes. I am glad things are moving forward for you. It encourages me to see others getting there.

    • Believe

      I had a good Christmas. We spent it with my wife’s family.

      However, the week leading up to Christmas was very emotional for me. In Dec 2014, my wife admitted to being intimate with him in our bed while the kids were at a church gathering. I also on Christmas eve I saw a message to the AP that said “Shane (not my real name) has left now to go to his office”. I guess it was her way to tell him to call her or for him to visit. He came to visit on Christmas eve with the kids around but there was no sex. These sort of things really hurt me deep.

      I think we had a good holiday. We spent it with family and friends. We did positive fun things together as a family. This allowed us to put aside the negativity about the affair.

      We did have one heated argument this year. The one year anniversary since D-day was the 12 Jan 2016. We both acknowledged responsibility for our part in the argument and we’re determined to grow from these experiences.

    • theresa

      I think this blog should be added to the EA Hall of Fame

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