Find a Conversation
|Thu, 05-28-2009 - 4:58am|
I just came from a history conference that I serve on the board. We meet once a year. My spouses affair was while I was at this conference last year.
A few good things that I think might be useful to some.
Shortly after D Day, I began an exercise effort. Nothing to dramatic. I do crunches, side leg lifts, back leg lifts and some pushups. I repeat it twice then finish with several sets of pushups. I used the OM's name to do the last five push ups for months. Just saying his name upset me enough to really do those last few hard ones. Now, almost eleven months later, I just use some music that amps me.
I can't tell you how many people came up to me last week and told me "You lost weight!" One female historian actually took my picture. A very extraordinary and forward thing for her to have done. Two of my long time female friends who are my age, and work in the industry, both avoided me like the plague. I was sort of the "fun to talk to person in the trade," a harmless, well connected friend in the industry. These are nice, classy woman and I think they might have found themselves uncomfortable about what they might have felt or thought standing next to me this year. They certainly didn't avoid my spouse. One of the female directors of the association actually made a passing "come to my hotel room" joke and then turned red after realizing what she said.
I'm overstating this a bit, and afraid I'm coming across as narcissistic. (but the fact is that It's probably not hard to look good among a bunch of librarians and history nerds.) I'm not really sure what people thought, but I clearly got more attention than normal at this conference which I've been attending for almost a decade. This was really good for my self esteem and showed that my hard work is paying off. My spouse flew in for a few days of the conference and I think (well, i know) she got an ear full about how different I look. Having others say nice things about you to your wondering spouse goes a long way I think. Having said this, it's clear that I was letting myself go for years before the affair. I needed to correct this either way.
I've been eating better and I feel a lot better. I used to throw my back out hauling boxes of books at these conferences. With my new core strength, I've had no problems this past 10 months with my back at all.
DW struggled "off and on" over the conference. She forgot to take her meds three of the four days we were there. But so many people came up to us and showed her unconditional love and respect that it really moved her. One man who is a Franciscan Priest, (not our faith tradition) really said nice things to us as a couple. DW told me she wished she was catholic for a day and could confess to him, knowing he would simply love us and offer God's healing wisdom and forgiveness. Our own pastor has acted like a sanctimonious jerk thus far. Ugh!
DW took a nap in the Hotel room on Friday. I called her and asked her to come down and save me a seat at the banquet. As a board member, I had to take tickets at the door and act like an usher. DW came down, found a seat, then got up and found me at the door. Crying she said she could not act happy in front of these people and went back to the room. After I finished my duties I went up to the room and just combed her hair with a brush, (something she likes) until she calmed down. She said she could not believe she did what she did and didn't feel any remorse afterwards. I'm usually a talker, but my impression was just to let her talk and keep silent. I still don't know fully what was going on in her head, but she calmed down and we eventually made it back down there. We sat at an almost empty table and listened to the awards being handed out. The Press I work for didn't win anything this year so I didn't have to get up.
The day she flew out was the one year date for her affair. She flew home, but I had to drive the truck of books home that didn't sell. She called me from each layover and talked me through my loneliness and urges to obsess. She called me from her car when she got back home and said that she was searching the radio stations for songs that reminded her of me. The OM is her HS boyfriend and there are tons of songs about that sort of thing on the radio and the two of them would talk about those songs during the affair. She stopped listening to the radio about a month after D Day. Only CDs that she or I made for her. That popular Darius Rucker song, "Don't think I don't think about it" was one of their songs and it just kills me when I hear it:
"When we make choices we gotta live with them
Heard you found a real good man and you married him
I wonder if sometimes I cross your mind
Where would we be today if I never drove that car away"
Yeah, well they tried to find out.
Rucker is coming in concert and that song is on the radio ads. Ugh!
To have her unsolicited, say that she was searching for songs about me on the radio hit a tender nerve and really made me feel like she was letting him go and at long last, focusing on me.
Anyway, we had a good night tonight. She had to work midnights. When I got home from work she said she struggled to sleep and needed a few more hours but could not calm down. I laid down next to her and told her about hiking with my son in a back pack when he was one and how cool of an experience that had been. She was asleep when finished.
She just called me and said that listening to me calmed her down and she could not stop thinking about me. This is such a long way from last fall when she came to me crying and said she felt just knew she was suppose to be with him and didn't want to hurt our children and knew that going to him was going to hurt my feelings. She somehow got it in her brain that she needed to give that relationship a chance. She could not grasp what those words did to me. And maybe she can't fully grasp how her actions toward me now simply move me to tears.
It's strange but I feel that when we have problems now, I no longer attach them to the affair. They are just our problems that we have to solve. Not problems brought about by the affair or related to the affair so much anymore. Just the regular problems we struggled to work through before this big mess. And yes, I'm paying attention to them and taking them seriously now.
We met with my therapist this week. DW and I got into it about some things and began arguing about how we parent our children differently. After about ten min. The therapist finally broke in and said. "Well, this is actually a good sign. You are not arguing about the affair anymore but about practical issues and problems." "things are not fixed, but this is a big improvement and you guys are well on your way." "good for you guys."
Things are not perfect. We still have problems. Real problems. But they are our problems that surround us. Not outsiders so much anymore.
5 kids ages 15-9, D Day: August 5, 2008
Status: Figuring it out. Together.