Believe it or not sometimes I am beginning to see light shining on the path I have been forced down due to my husband’s infidelity. I am beginning to see a little clearer how I contributed to this debacle. NO, it does not mean that he was just in doing what he did. It just means that sometimes we unwittingly do things that help shift the tide of events to a road that was never meant to be traveled. For it is often NEVER just one persons fault when a relationship unravels. Let me explain.
Before B’s affair came to light I had not been enjoying my life for quite a long time. Sometimes autism took its toll. Sometimes my own negative thinking. Sometimes it was just situations involving me in things I shouldn’t have let myself get involved in in the first place. Other times is was a very low level depression and large amounts of stress that contributed to my thinking that life had somehow become a struggle. And while I recognized that life was never meant to be a struggle somehow it was turning into that very thing it was not meant to be. Often I felt I had lost control of my own life.
Recently, I have come to see that this pain of my husband’s betrayal has brought good things to my life. When I came close to divorcing I was distraught and depressed. If I thought life had been a struggle before, now it felt like a 1000 pound weight had been added to the backpack that I carry on my life’s journey. All my self doubts rose like a tsunami and smashed my ego into smithereens like wooden boats thrown against giant breaker walls. I was a mess.
Yet, slowly I have come to see many positives that have come my way after this experience, one of which I would like to share with you. You see, in almost losing myself and my life as I knew it all of a sudden I realized what a good life I had. For the most part I have loved it and when taken as a whole it had made me happy and has brought me much more joy than sorrow. I had just forgotten the good parts and was concentrating on the bad. Trying to fix things that were not mine to fix or living for the future and not in the present which created suffering and unhappiness; discontent and anger.
And so, in almost losing everything, I have gained a new and positive perspective on my life…and when I got that back I realized that my remaining years are meant to savored, grabbed, and spent looking for the first buds on a tree. So now I stop and listen and look, recognizing and appreciating the pure joy I hear in the laughter around me, all the while enjoying brilliant sunsets that are best viewed when still and contemplative. For life was never meant to be a struggle and I am trying not to make it so.
“As you become more attached to yourself you will become less attached to the outcome,” my therapist says with a smile.
Sometimes I wonder about this statement. Although it seems true enough as I continue this journey of the “maybe divorce” sometimes I wonder if this attaching to yourself, this honoring your self and your desires, really means at some point that you just dial back the caring…maybe you just begin to not care anymore because the fight for keeping your marriage has cost you too much personally. Your anxiety has increased to the point that everyday you wake up wondering “if this is the day.” And while once I believed that this thought might kill me, now, sometimes, I just wonder if it would be a relief for it is difficult to live with a man who no longer loves you the way he wants to and the sadness plays out like recessed shadows etched deep into his face.
I know when this began two years ago I felt like the world was coming to an end. It seemed as though my heart was being ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t sleep at night. After all this time my anxiety about divorce and what it would do to my children has decreased but is it because I am working really hard on integrating all aspects of myself and discovering more about who I am or is it because I am shutting down? Perhaps I see the train wreck in the distance, so I move away, because I don’t want to witness the carnage firsthand. I also don’t want to deal with the repercussions that it might have on two boys with autism and one with mental health issues much less the fact that four of my children are adopted and have already suffered so much loss in their young lives.
And so I continue to work on myself. To find corners of sunlight and to open the shutters wide to let the sunshine flood into my life. I work to make myself more aware of what I am doing and why I am reacting in the ways that I do. I am practicing ways of building up my resilience and incorporating peaceful ways of thinking as a habit that I can rely on to keep me centered. And I am trying to learn not to allow negative self-talk rule my head and my heart even though it still wants to.
So if this work, if all this trying to find better ways of attaching to myself, is going to make me wiser, happier and more peaceful; I am all for it. For I am becoming a better me and I am finally doing all of this psychological work for greater self understanding of what makes me tick. And if the “maybe” divorce comes to pass I think I will be in a much better position to retain my own dignity and grace during the process. And for me, that is what is important.
So be it.
Throughout our lives we have roles we take on. Some have been forced upon us and some we take on willingly. Many of these roles we discard as time goes by, some we reinvent in a slightly different form, while some we seem to keep until the day we die. Somehow the latter seem to be the ones that we like the least and yet we retain them the longest.
This weekend was difficult for us. I think that when you are over 50 and going through a “maybe divorce” that one of the biggest issues is the discarding of roles and the discovery of new slots out of which you are now going to behave. After operating from one set of expectations for thirty years it is difficult to recognize and accept new patterns of doing things and unfamiliar ways of thinking. Years of acting one way are difficult to channel into something else and difficult for “the other” to accept.
I know that in your 50’s it is suppose to be a time of gains. Money, richer relationships, second homes, etc. For me, it feels like a time of discarding stuff including those parts of myself I no longer need or wish to operate from. As I take out this “stuff” I am forced to really look at it and contemplate whether it is of value to me anymore. As a result, I am feeling lighter and freer than I ever have before. But that doesn’t mean it is easy especially for the other person involved. Honesty, in the form of being true to myself, has moved to the forefront of my life which at times hurts B. And while I dislike seeing B feeling uncomfortable and knowing that I have caused his discomfort; at this point in my life I am not sure that I care anymore as long as I know that the truth of who I am…who he is…will make things better in the long run. But what exactly is BETTER? What does that mean?
I guess I won’t know the definition of BETTER until we reach the end of whatever all this is. And I’m okay with that because either way whatever changes I have made I suspect will have led me to a more authentic me.
And this relationship? It will either be or it won’t but in the end I will be all that I have envisioned and right now that is what feels important.