Suggestions from a veteran on what to do first.
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|Fri, 07-12-2013 - 6:59pm|
When I came to this board, I was fresh from my discovery and completly freaked out. I was hurting so bad I could barely breath, I had no tools, and I was doing most things wrong. Wise people on these boards reached out to me and shared their hard won knowlege. There are problems with the way these boards have been functioning recently so I thought that it would be useful to pull together what I've learned from my time here and repost them for those just finding us. I hope these sugestions will provide some of healing you are looking for. They may sound simple, but these were the ideas that actually worked when I first came here. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. This is not your fault. This advice is for your family and for you. In time, may you find peace and the resolution you seek.
Eat, even though you don't want to. I lost thirty lbs after discovery day and my failure to care for myself made it harder to address the issues in front of me. Avoid junk foods and fast foods. You are about to make difficult decisions that will have lasting implications on your life and the lives of those you care for most. Finding a way to supply your body with healthy nutrients will assist you as you attempt to make good choices in the days ahead. This is more important than you may understand right now. I had to go buy a bag of baby carrots or freash veggies, force one into my mouth and chew.
Time to be sober. As the saying goes, “Feelings buried alive never die.” Some things just have to be done the hard way. We have a grieving process to go through right now, we have big decisions to make, and possibly children to stand up for. All this at a time when we are at our very worst. At this time and place, alcohol is not our friend, reject it, time to be our best selves and do this clean, sober and with all our wits about us. You will look and feel a lot better about yourself in the coming weeks and days as you do this.
Exercise! At this time, we are under enormous amounts of stress. Exercise is an important key in managing that stress. At the very least, lie down on your bedroom floor right now and do leg lifts (front, side, and back), stomach crunches, pushups, planking. Start easy, stretch beforehand, but do this. Since the hate of the OM was in my head anyway, I use to picture myself becoming a better person (than him) as I did my pushups and I would say his name in my head to force those last few reps using my hate to push myself a little farther that day.
After several weeks of this, I honestly began to feel the difference in the way I felt about my body, my mind, and my self-esteem. I went from like 15 pushups to leveling off at about 70 after some months. I can't express just how much this small thing worked wonders on my self-image. I remember getting dressed for work one day, ironing my shirt, putting on my sunglasses, and walking past my spouse with my chin up, knowing I was taking care of myself. Out of the corner of my eye, I could tell she noticed.
The issues that got us and our spouse here is obviously well above our pay grade or we would not be here. We have a lot to learn, understand, and grapple with. Just so you know, you can’t do this on your own. You can’t. This is our rainy day! Spend the money, even if you don’t think you have it. Find a therapist now.
I picked the top ten books listed on Amazon about affairs and had them fedex-ed overnight and I began reading. Most of them were crap and I just tossed them. Three books became nearly invaluable to me. In the end, I learned as much, if not more, from the books and from these boards as I did from the paid shrink. Having said that, all three things provided important pieces to this puzzel that assisted me in saving my marriage and my sanity.
I personally didn’t get a lawyer, and that may have been one of my mistakes. Getting the facts about your rights is important in both staying with, or leaving a spouse. This was the constant advice from these boards. The reason I chose not to do this may have had something to do with my gender. Please ladies, get this help.
Venting to these boards was an important aspect of my grieving after D-Day. I found that listening to the people here and venting my experience allowed me to process important, nuanced issues. Thank you to everyone here, now, and in the past. You saved my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The 180 is list of dos and don'ts to assist you in helping your spouse find their way out of the fog they are in. It is also provides a healthy way to prepare oneself for the transition that is about to come into our lives. The farther away from D-day, the more I understand the wisdom of working the 180 with my spouse. I now wished I had lived this list far more than I did. We would have progressed along much faster.
As soon as I found out about the other men, my wife immediately began blaming me for her affairs. Later, her father also blamed me for his daughter's affairs. Let’s get one thing perfectly straight. This isn’t YOUR fault, YOU didn’t cause this, and YOU didn’t make these people do anything. There are good ways and bad ways to deal with dysfunctions in a marriage and an affair is the worst possible choice. In the Al Anon support group established for kids with alcoholic parents, they talk about the three "Cs." You didn’t Cause this, you can’t Control this, and you can’t Cure this. All we can really do is take care of ourselves and be an example of someone who is now attempting good practices in our families. If you chose to do these, maybe your spouse will follow, but that is also on them, not you. Don't take the blaim for other's actions. You can only fix yourself and take responsibility for your choices.
When I asked my spouse what things I needed to improve on, she pointed at dishes, laundry and the TV in our bedroom. I tossed the TV and began doing all the dishes and laundry. I did not do these because the affair was my fault. I did these as a symbol that I was willing to fight for my marriage.
If you are doing the above basic things, you will put yourself on a very positive life trajectory. As one who has been there, who has suffered just as you are, my heart goes out to you.
There is much more to learn, but this is our best advice to start with. Chin up, you have worth, you can do this.