For the last couple of weeks I’ve been quite pre-occupied with work. There’s just too much stuff going on with too few hours in the day to get it done. I’ve been working long hours while seemingly not getting a tremendous amount accomplished. Some nights while sleeping there have been visions of work invading my brain and I found myself awakening in the middle of the night unable to fall back to sleep.
Consequently, I’ve been tired and a little cranky at times. When I get like that I don’t have very much tolerance at all for things – especially stupid or inconsiderate people. I don’t like myself very much when I get like that, so thank goodness it doesn’t happen very often.
For instance, the other day I was grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon (which was my first mistake) and found myself in a sea of Starbucks slurping, cell phone talking, kids are screaming, slow cart pushing… morons. These people were blocking the aisles and really impeding my mad dash through the store. Quite frankly they were frustrating the hell out of me. I could seriously feel my blood pressure rising to the point to where I felt like I was going to explode.
Thankfully, I made it through without killing anyone and I’m happy to say that I’m not writing this from a jail cell.
However…what I did not notice was that my recent disposition has created some uneasiness in Linda. You see, it seems that I’m acting similarly to the way I did 5 years ago prior to, and during my emotional affair.
So the other morning as we lay in bed just before getting up, Linda says to me: “Is there anything you need to tell me?”
At first I was somewhat taken aback and asked her what she meant? She went on to tell me that I was acting a little “short” with her and the girls (and others). She also pointed out that I got up one morning around 4AM and went right to work, hammering away on the computer. Basically I was behaving in ways that reminded her of a very bad time in our lives.
Needless to say, I felt awful. I knew I was being less than pleasant of late, but didn’t realize the extent that I was. Naturally, this was yet another lesson learned on my part – one I should have already known.
Even if it’s been 2 years, 5 years or 10 years since your affair, your actions and words can quickly whisk your partner back in time to potentially a very bad place – a place that brings back bad memories, triggers, questions, worry and doubt. Fear and insecurity can rush over them in a heartbeat. There’s a sudden impulse to check phone bills and monitor computer usage once again. There’s a thought that “If he does that again, I’ll kill him!”
Completely understandable reactions.
Being a realist however, I know that throughout life and relationships, shit happens and you’re not always going to be at your best 100% of the time.
Your relationship might slip into a rut for various reasons. You might be pre-menopausal and act like a bitch now and then. Stress may get to you and cause you to be a grouch to everyone you come in contact with. The list goes on.
The point is that you have to be aware of these things when they pop up, take a step back to analyze what’s causing you to act the way you are, come up with a plan to manage or correct things and then implement the plan.
In my case, I was somewhat aware of the fact that I was acting like a bitch, but Linda brought it home for me by mentioning it. And that brings up the point that you and your spouse need to have the understanding that if similar episodes occur in your relationship and it starts to become a common thing, one of the spouses (the nice one) needs to communicate their displeasure with the situation – without fear of being yelled at, stonewalled or gaslighted. Then you work through the issues at hand.
This is one of the major things that Linda and I have corrected in our relationship since my affair. We do not avoid confrontation and we communicate much more effectively with respect to our needs, concerns, desires, etc. Life after infidelity for us is much more honest, open and proactive.
Now in our situation, Linda’s concerns were quickly dispelled through a brief conversation, and that can be attributed to the fact that we are far removed from the affair and we have made the necessary changes in our relationship to address such issues.
I realize that not all of you are in the same position though, and unfortunately I don’t think there is any magic pill that can make such scenarios more manageable, especially if the affair just recently occurred.
I still think that awareness and communication are the keys though. You have to be able to realize when your words or actions are wreaking havoc (or your spouse needs to inform you). Then as a couple you need to talk through it in a safe environment, come to an understanding of the effects of your actions, have some empathy for your spouse’s feelings and then work to do better the next time.
I know this sort of scenario happens a lot, so how do you handle it when it crops up in your relationship? How does it affect you and how does your spouse react? Please tell us in the comment section below.