Today we have another wonderful, thought provoking and inspirational letter from a long-time reader, Battleborn.
I am a betrayed spouse (BS), not because I want to be but due to my husband’s desire. I made a decision when Dday came that we would not separate; we would stand our ground and fight for this 20-year relationship. My story is not much different from the other BS, the basics are all there; the affair, the discovery, the endless emotions, only the personal aspects are different.
I found out about my new status the end of January 2011. I also found out that my father had cancer. My anniversary was the following week, Valentine’s Day came and went then I returned back to my father who passed away the 6th of March. The evening my father passed away, my mother was admitted to the ICU with pneumonia because she was taking care of my father instead of herself.
My resentment and anger did not come from the discovery, it was from the aspect that not only did my husband have an affair but also I was not allowed the time to process it, I had other priorities. In the middle of April, I thought I finally had time to sit and think; sit and decide what or how to work on us. However, my Mom went into the hospital for lung cancer surgery. Once again, I felt robbed of my solitude. I was turning into something that I did not recognize I was the enemy to not only family but also my friends and myself. I am bi-polar with acute depression. I acknowledge that I have mental issues and I was trying to maintain what semblance of sanity I had left but even this left me drained and unable to grasp reality. The proverbial, “Why me, why now?” hit with a vengeance. Can the good Lord see that I could not handle anymore?
We made strides forward and we made steps back but we always seemed to be at least one-step ahead. I started both individual and marriage counseling. My husband came as I saw fit. He came willing at first then as I began to rage on with all my issues, he was less sure he wanted to go; he did, he endured. He did it because he loves me.
As I move through the thorns of this affair, I have had all the same issues as others, so I gloss over them. I am older than my husband is; she (the OW) is 18 years my junior. She is vibrant, young, fun and free; no restrictions whereas I have a child, I am less defined, and the young fun has long gone from this body. She is beautiful and I am pretty, I have always been pretty. I wonder if I really wanted to be beautiful. I have self-image problems and she did not. How was I to compete with that? I decided that I cannot and so why try and I move on.
Here it is nineteen months later and I have made some discoveries. I spent the last few days in the hospital with an angry rash from head to toe; swollen to the point I could not wear my wedding rings. I was not a pretty sight, even to my child who did not want to hug me goodbye in the hospital room. How horrible I must look to my husband when I could not even recognize myself in the mirror. But yet, he never wavered; he always gave me a hug and kiss when he came to see me and before he left, and always told me he loved me no matter what. He sat there with me as I was in and out of my drug-induced stupor; as I cried because I hurt, and listened to me bitch and complain when it was apparent I was recovering. He was there with me. He was there because he wanted to be, not because he had to be. He chose me, rash and any other warts I have.
I am at home typing this letter to whomever wants to read it and as I do, I am filled with the sense that all will be good, not perfect, but good. The moral of my story is that it is not the superficial things that I needed to focus on all along, it was the deep down feelings. It was the core of our relationship, what brought us together in the first place, what kept us together for the eighteen years before the affair. That is my focus and I am at peace with that.
I had to go through so many personal problems to see that life does go on it has to, there is no alternative. There are no shortcuts through this misery but there is an end and it is up to individual to decide how to end it. I believe, no strike that, I know that I made the right decision for me, for us. I make this promise to you, there is no right or wrong, there is no stop or go, it is either yes or no. Yes, you try to make it work, or no, you do not. The outcome is up to the both of you.
As I end, I know. The journey is not easy and I am aware, as is he, I will stumble along the way as we rebuild our relationship, our marriage, but I also know that he will be there holding my hand and pulling out the thorns as I gather them. So out of misery comes love…
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