What's YOUR story

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
What's YOUR story
11
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 3:22pm

Lookingforhappy needs our stories.  In the olden days, it was easy to look through the archives and find posters' stories and follow their journey...not so much these day...actually not at all.  So, let's share our stories...from soup to nuts.  How you got to where you are today.What were some of your stumbling blocks? What did you do to push through? What helped you the most?

I'll post in separately with mine.

((group hug))

Clarity

Community Leader...EAS


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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2011
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 6:15pm
Charity, was it gradual or final? Did you go nc or slowly pull away and just wondering a guesstimate how long was it between you knowing it was ending to your being ready for mh? Just one more,i know you've said it before but what does mh stand for? Oh and does mh know the while story. Ok i guess that was two more.
Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 7:52pm

My Story

Once Upon a Time...in a far away land (actually right down the street) I ran into my teenage crush (from afar) from 30+ years ago.  He was the cutest boy in the neighborhood, but he was 3 years older than me...and I was a geek.  It wasn't until recently I realized that he had a crush on me too, but he would have been the laughing stock of his friends if he had shown any interest...in front of them.  I realize it now because I remember (and I had forgotten 'til about a few years ago) that he use to come to my window...a lot...and tease me about listen to Jan and Dean singing "Little Old Lady From Pasadena."  And he use to stick up for me when I was being ranked by the geek squad.

Anyway, there's the set up for my first issue...low self-esteem.  The cutest boy in the neighborhood...and he's no longer all that cute...life has aged him, of course...and because he's an alcoholic...his addiction has taken its toll...physically and emotionally...none of that matters...he's interested in ME!

After high school, he was drafted to Vietnam (now we got the whole Vietnam Vet thing going on as well), married, had four children, separated...and now involved with a 2-year  relationship.

When I first ran into him, he was having a yard sale at his mom's house (in our old neighborhood) and I had moved back to the old neighborhood as a result of getting the house after my parents died.  Wow..."Is that HIM?", as I drove past.  I pulled in, asked if he remembered me.  He did and we chatted a while.  I looked towards the house and saw inside a woman inside shuffling boxes around and asked who she was.  "Just a friend"...I know, I know...talk about naive.  Anywho, I told him to stop by anytime if he found himself in my area of the old neighborhood...and two days as I backed up the driveway, he pulled up.   He came in and we chatted some more.  He called later that night and we chatted some more...so much in common and lots to catch up on.

He called later that week offering to bring over some chinese take-out.  We chatted all night long.

Oh oh...forget to say how the first night he came by, after he left...there was a knock on the door.  He had forgotten his jacket.  Grabbed his jacket...grabbed me and gave me a kiss.  Forgot your jacket...yeh right.

Okay, now back to Saturday night, Chinese food has been shared and off to the sack we go. "Afterwards" I asked about HER again.  "She's still in the picture"...okay, now here's where if I had any self-esteem I would have said "yeh, well call me when you are available...see ya"  Nope...I had just experienced the BIG O and so my response was "Can we do that again?"  One week in, I could have saved myself five years of crazy.

I didn't get to the Boards for a few years and even then NC wasn't even a concept...not that I can remember.  So, when I'd had enough, I'd break up with him.  His ego wouldn't have that, he'd call..we'd get back together.  Then he'd break up for whatever reason.  My ego would have none of that, I'd call..we'd get back together.  And all the while, I know this is going no where, but is the war of the egos.  We'd try to be friends...never worked.  I'd become disappointed again and get pissed, cut him a new one, then feel badly for my meaness..have to call him with my big fat jewish apology...and the beat when on for five years.

So two more stumbling blocks...separation and abandonment issues are at play...from my adoption.  How did I get by that?  Therapy.

And, I was the Queen of the 24/7 obsessive thinking.  How did I get by that?  I picked up a CD on chanting...and it worked.  It took so much focus and practice to actually say and learn the chants, it broke the cycle.  I'd find that 'wow...I didn't think of JAM for 5 min, 10, 30, 1 hour stretches of time.

I decided to change careers and went to bartending school...something new which took my focus away.  I started going out to singles dances...even though my heart wasn't quite in it...I went anyway.  I first went girlfriends and we met some nice guys...just to dance with...would meet up with them next week, and I actually met a really nice guy.  I cried the day of our date and after our date.  I think I was letting go.  But I let him go too. And several others after him.

Eventually I started working at a local Post as a bartender and in walked MH.  He's a Veteran and was a member there for years.  I remember thinking "Cute!" But, I hadn't quite gotten JAM out of my heart and I thought no more about him...well except to serve him. 

I would make chit chat with him, as bartenders are known to do, and I would always ask him "What's on your menu tonight?" because he said he loved to cook.  And he would always go into detail about each dish.  Then one night, he asked if I'd like to come for dinner and I found myself saying "yes".  

The relationship was so different with MH.  With JAM, I never knew when I would see him again.  MH always had the entire menu for the weekend...for us...planned out.  And it took us three months to finally hit the sack.  And I had been reading a lot of Men are From Mars...Women from Venus on dating...and I put a lot of what I learned into practice.  So, there would be no jumping into the sack quickly for me...I was going to let this relationship evolve slowly...although I will admit I was ready to jump his bones way sooner than 3 months, but I let MH be the guide.  And I figure because he was interested enough to make it work, he knew going slow was the best way to go. And the rest is history.

We will be celebrating 10 years together on 2/14/13.  

So there's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

((hugs))

Clarity 

Community Leader...EAS


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2012
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 8:25pm

Good grief..who wants to follow clarity? Clarity? Is a dang good story-teller.

So here goesSurprised. Over 20 years ago there was a young woman attending a small women's college...this young woman had grown up fairly privilidged..and had attended many boarding schools and private schools around the world throughout her life. She was constantly told "remember who you are, and what you represent"..only the thing is..she didn't know who she was or what she represented. What she knew that there must be life beyond the walls of academia...so she dropped out of school and took a job playing Irish fiddle in a bar ..(which was a tad different from the classical music she had always been trained to do) and met a...cool Italian/American mechanic. I would like to say, they fell in love...they fell in passion. He ran his own garage..he was so..independent! And he was so different from the others in this young woman's sheltered world. This woman imagined herself a princess.. her favorite childhood book..the paper bag princess..was about a princess who lost her home and everything..but defeated a dragon to save her prince, only to leave the prince in the end when he scolded her too much....this princess was slowly immerging outside the walls of her castle..and here was a very handsome prince to save.. When the princess returned to a small music conservatory to finish her education..the paperbag princess discovered she was (gasp) pregnant.She did the unthinkable and married her prince. Fast forward 20+ years...this princess...never did address the reasons she dropped out of school in the first place. She finished her education and did nothing with it. She took care of children (11 in all) 3 of them had special needs (autism, epilepsy and blindness) and ran a small music studio.. she came to realize that she had married a workaholic with an affinity for bourbon and cars. She was not even on his radar, or so she believed. As the children started leaving home, one by one..she began wondering..who she was. What was she doing..and could she really spend the rest of her life feeling ..invisible?  And along came another prince. Or so she thought. She met this man in a prison where they both volunteered. He was a starving artist..they spent hours discussing the creative process...he had lost a daughter (she had lost a son). He knew she was a girl (her household..which consisted of mostly boys... seemed to have forgotten she was a girl). She fell in love. (oh, good lord..you may roll eyes here).  They the princess and her xAP were friends for 3 years..nothing was held back...they had a PA for 9 months..during which time this now older princess turned soccer mom realized that while her H had an affinity for bourbon and cars..her lover? He was a MM with an affinity for pot and other women. Still..she made excuses, he had many dragons she could slay. She also returned to work full time outside the home. She chose to work at a community center with teens dealing with real issues of poverty, homelessness and gang life..and the more she worked the more she remembered the importance of honesty and consitent integrity. Finally she couldn't do it anymore. This now older paperbag princess turned soccer mom..turned dragon slayer, realized she needed to slay her own dragons...no-one elses. So she left xAP and is now dealing with her own self...answering the questions in her own identity...and learning to overcome her own personal fear of intimacy...and all with the help of her friend..the workaholic with an affinity for bourbon and cars with whom she has raised or is raising 11 children.

  The difference between who you are and who you imagine yourself to be, is what you do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2009
Sun, 11-25-2012 - 3:40am
Revolutionarybreeze - blown away by your story! Have you thought about writing a book about your life??? Fascinating stuff!!
Every recovery is a kind of rebirth
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2012
Sun, 11-25-2012 - 10:14am

Thanks W.G.O...I did have a contract years ago to write a book on homeschooling..titled The Dog ate The Cuisenaire Rods and the Not So Glorious Side of Homeschooling. But...after a year and a half of working 2 of our boys (we refer to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2)..wiped out my computer with a magnet..I lost everything and threw in the towel. Maybe one day...

But honestly? Life not that fascinating. Sitting here this a.m...dressed in blue jeans and flannel shirt having a tea party with my 2 year old (wondering if I will EVER stop having tea parties) whle watching reruns of RoseAnne..my big plan for today? To paint a dresser for said 2 year olds soon-to-be bedroom. (fingers crossed we can move him out of our room this year!)

I can honestly say, I think my life is pretty typical of soccer mom facing empty nest and having mid-life crisis.

Okay guys. Your stories please! Others did get lost and Clarity is right..the only way to get them back is to start writing.

  The difference between who you are and who you imagine yourself to be, is what you do.

Avatar for ratherbeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Sun, 11-25-2012 - 11:23am

Having been out of the A for such a long time it is hard to remember what was really true and what was fantasy.

I was involved with a much younger, single (divorced with S.O.) who also worked for me.  I had known her for 5 years, and was involved for another couple of years.

Some of these views of what REALLY happened have changed as time has passed, and the fog has lifted. I am done with the fantasy and try looking at the reality of things more closely and honestly.

I can tell you that I thought I was in love and that I was looking for an exit from my long time marriage and I know it would have been the worst mistake that I ever made in my whole life. I am stuck with that as fact.

Affairs were not a stranger to me, as I have been married to woman who has had more, than I would like to even think about. In fact I try not to think about it. Being on this side of it makes me understand her a lot better after all these years.

This was the first time I had ever gotten seriously involved with another person and I would have left my M if AP would have been more committed to continuing our relationship.

It was her, who wouldn’t commit and it was I that ended it many times. Many, many times. But, she kept coming back, sucking me back in.

I understand LC because I spent more than a year in endings, while she still worked for me.  I made the effort to never see her, and tried hard to keep away from her. I didn’t want to fire her for the obviously good reason that it wasn’t the fair thing to do.

I am now 91 weeks out from last contact.  I still count. I had to start over many, many times. I made it six months one time and foolishly answered the phone without looking at who it was. In the end it was always my fault. My own stupidity and the hanging onto the fantasy. I kept hoping that she would come back and try to make it work. That is one of the reasons I talk so often about ‘hanging on’.  Hanging onto the fantasy and not giving up is just self-destruction.

Another thing I am a believer in is ‘being prepared’. If you are serious enough about ending it, then you have to be prepared for anything that can happen. I am often surprised that many think that they are prepared for a DDay, but then they really aren’t. They fold up like a cheap suitcase. It can happen at any time, during or after.  What are you going to do, IF it happens?

Then of course, what are you going to do when they fish? I am constantly amazed at people who think that just because the OP is the person, who ended it, that they aren’t going to fish.  Be prepared. More often than not they will fish and you will not be prepared.  Then it is time to start all over again.

Read and heed.  All these stories here are different, but yet the same.

No Contact is the only guaranteed, 100% effective way of healing, and getting over an affair. If you block and walk, the rest will come. It is just as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow. It takes time. Give time, time.

For a long time I was known as Mr. Blunt. I know I have offended people from time to time.  I know what it is like when you are down and feeling sorry for yourself. Pity time. BTDT. I have stayed on here and I can tell you, I am a big old softie. I have used all the excuses, I have had all the ‘feelings’, but I ask the hard questions.  

I believe that it is up to you to do the hard work if you really, truly, want to end things. If you just want to feel better without doing what it takes, you only need to find another outlet for your emotions.

In the meantime, if we all wish upon a star, maybe the boards will go back to being normal and an easy place to stop and visit and drop our worries.

Until then, I am pulling for you to end it.

Get prepared, get honest, and Block and Walk, then give time, time.

It all works.

Rather….

 

We only miss what could have been. I know I don't miss what it really was.

Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
Mon, 11-26-2012 - 6:18pm

I stink at story telling.  But fine.  FINE.  Since Clare-bear asked so darned nicely, FINE.  But you're getting the short version.  Or my flavor of "short version".  HA!  ;)

Take someone who has some issues.  Some long-standing, deep-seated issues, involving things like intimacy, and trust, and love, and self-loathing, and a habit of bolting when things get hard.  Sometimes the bolting was physical (SEE YA!), sometimes it was only emotional or mental - but it always happened.  People were only ever allowed to be thisclose - no closer.  And when there was the possibility of letting someone in closer, I made sure to screw it up.

Add another, with many of the same very same issues.

Allow to marinate for a couple, few years, and the recipe for disaster is complete.

Engage in a long-distance, half-simmering all the time affair.  Poke coals with stick now and then, to keep the fire burning.  Kick fire out after a marriage (his).  Go NC, try to recover, learn nothing, just bury, bury, bury.  Hear about a divorce, grab stick, resume poking coals, find that they are still warm, engage again, worse than the first.  Find boards, join boards, make new friends, get careless with covering electronic tracks, have d-day.

Everything in me told me to bolt.  Leave all of it, everyone, everything, and get gone (and leaned towards a more permanent solution, on the very darkest days).  But, DH wouldn't let me go.  And so, I stayed, and instead of burying, I started digging.  And I haven't stopped.  :)

The affair spanned 13 years total, on and off.  It's been five plus years since d-day.  And I don't run anymore, and I don't hide.  Not from anyone, but mostly, not from myself.  Ever again.

xoxoxo

Kim

    

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2011
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 11:03am

Yikes. I kept meaning to write this, but I find myself hating to dig it all up again. Lookingforhappy, I hope you get to this point--the point at which you suddenly realize that this story is OVER and DONE and PAST. For seven years, I had a sneaking feeling in the back of my heart that what I really wanted was to be able to look back on my A and be relieved, proud, and happy that I had gotten past it and ended it somehow and could start to accept myself again as someone of value. I am married, for 29 years, two grown children, a marriage that was the envy of many of my friends. That said--

I am a musician in my "other" life and had for more than 10 years hosted an "open house" for other musicians, once a week, in my suburban neighborhood. It started as just a what if? sort of thing and became a big thing. Cars parked up and down the street every Tuesday night. The neighbors wondered. The people who came here were so happy to have found an outlet for musical skills that they hadn't been able to enjoy since college, in many cases. My house was a refuge for a lot of people over the years. I can't tell you how many told me that no matter how lousy the week was, they always had Tuesdays to look forward to. My kids grew up with their kids.

xAP was one of these people. We had an instant connection on a musical level--knew a lot of the same songs, had started playing in the same way around the same time, etc., etc.  Then he moved away for two years, because that was where the work was. His W and two kids remained in the area (though i didn't really know them--they weren't part of our weekly get-togethers--it was like they didn't exist, he never mentioned them--that should have been a red flag for me but it wasn't). Being essentially the master of ceremonies for this musical animal I had created, I kept in touch with him via email, and whenever he was home, tried to make a space for him to come and play. That email relationship turned the way many email relationships do. By the time he moved back home, things had started up between us. My H nearly found out several times--enough so that he was deeply suspicious and really did not care for this guy. The whole thing lasted more than seven years, during which time xAP's W had another child. That nearly broke us up, but I am sorry to say, it didn't succeed. I finally ended it, with many tears and scenes, blah blah, you know the drill. But not having this site to counsel me, we kept in touch all that summer and still played music together, and (at least for me) I was halfway down that slippery slope when I inadvertently discovered (long story short) that he was having it off with one of the other females in the Tuesday night group. Like, they were slinking off from MY HOUSE into her car and going home together (he had S from his W by then). That was the end of that. Almost a year ago (Dec. 2nd) was my NC date. I was in agony. Had to come up with a way to throw all of those good friends out of my house (they now meet elsewhere, and my H still plays music with them). Tuesdays--it's only recently that I've begun to be able to deal with them. I used to have to leave the house, go swimming, go out for a drink with friends, anything, to not be here by myself while my H left to go play music with xAP. Horrible, and of course some of these old friends have no doubt figured it out, but I guess they love me enough that they have pretty much not gossiped about me too much. I live in a pretty small town, and everyone knows me. I'll leave it at that.

Now, though, I have started a new band, with two other FEMALES, which is taking off in a big way. I still have my old rock n roll band (yeah, there were two, including the Tuesday night one--xAP played in the other one as well--I had to privately "throw him out" of that one as well, because it also met here at my house). I was afraid that that band would crumble without xAP. I was wrong. I am learning new chops as a musician because we are now short one person, and I've had to pick up a lot of his parts. I am sorry I took his music away from him in this way, but I have come to realize that there was nothing else I could have done.

He was a black hole of sorrow for me, and I suspect he is a black hole of sorrow for the woman he took up with too. After a lot of soul-searching and NC, I think of this as something of a sickness that I had. I avoid seeing him anywhere, even if there are 200 other people in the room, unless I absolutely have to be there. I still miss him. Hands down, the worst year of my life. I'm still on the anti-depressants. I lost a friendship, a musical partner, and a lot of history, but I still have my marriage, and my H is so happy that I left the Tuesday band. He knows but he doesn't know. I am one of the lucky ones. I hope you will be too.

--Bird

Avatar for Sogladitsanewday
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2012
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 3:12pm

Hi everyone, and in particular Lookingforhappy!

I've been thinking about posting my story since you first posted your request, but it feels like a lifetime ago, and I feel so distanced from it. I have tried to find my story when I first posted it, when the pain was raw, but it is lost, and my view of it now is different. At the time we feel like we will never get over it .... but we do, and it can even make us strongerSmile

Anyway, back to my story ....

I met my xAP through our son's sporting activities. I was lonely, feeling depressed, neglected by my H, I felt invisible, I was feeling middle aged and I guess you can say it was a last ditched attempt to feel attractive before the dreaded menopause took hold. Well, xAP is tall and handsome, very charming, great company, and we used to chat, all very innocent at first, we found each other extremely funny, we enjoyed being around each other, we found each other attractive. He initiated the flirting, and I lapped it up. We exchanged mobile numbers and the texts immediately became very sexual, very intense.

We arranged to meet at a hotel one afternoon, I pretended to go shopping, it was just supposed to be for a drink, I was very reluctant to have sex, I was looking for a friendship and didnt want to be rushed into sex. I got to the hotel and he had booked a room. We had a drink in the bar and then he suggested we go back to the room to "get to know each other better, no sex unless I wanted to". Well, when we got to the room he came on very strong, I said I don't want to do this, he gushed about how gorgeous I was, how connected we were and I felt like I had to go through with it, though I really wasn't keen. However, once I got going the earth moved, volcanoes erupted, and I was well and truly smitten.

We both went back to our respective homes, the texts were flowing thick and fast, how amazing it had been blah blah blah and then all of a sudden one from him "well I'm taking W out for a nice long walk now" i.e. I've got more important things to do. My heart felt like it was ripped out, I was dismissed. That first afternoon showed me exactly what I was letting myself in for i.e. his wife came first and I was just a bit of fun on the side, a diversion from his real life, but stupidly I didn't walk away then.

It's hard to condense this because obviously so much happened in 2 years. A few weeks into our relationship he went on holiday with his family. He texted me twice a day briefly, once in the morning with his itinerary of all the fabulous things he was doing that day. One to say goodnight in the early hours of the morning when I was already in bed. When he got back from holiday I went on holiday with my family. He sulked, he stropped, he wanted me to text him all the time, I spent the entire holiday in the toilet pretending to have a urine infection so that I could text him. He said he missed me so much. He asked me to marry him. I said yes.

I got back from my holiday and we met at my house, both taking the day off work. I started to make plans of our new life together, us leaving our spouses and working towards us getting married. He said he couldn't leave his W at the moment, her dad just died. Shortly after that my dad died, so he couldn't use that excuse any more, so then he couldn't leave because of his children (who are both grown up) but then the children both left home, so then he admitted that he couldn't leave his wife, he loves her but isn't in love with her. He wanted me to leave my H and get a flat near his home, so that he could sneak away from his W to see me occasionally. I said no way, I'm not being your bit on the side whilst you live happily ever after with your W. I ended it ... for about 2 hours, then I thought I couldn't live without him, so I texted him again. He asked me to be patient, maybe one day something would change, maybe his W would get fed up with him and we could be together, so we continued our A.

And this scenario continued for 2 years, I would feel I was being used for sex, I would refuse to be his bit on the side, I would try to be more sexy, more desirable, funnier, etc etc so that he would decide he couldn't live without me and he would leave her, he showed no signs of ever leaving her, I would end it, one or both of us would miss the ego stroking and we'd start it up again.

Eventually, I had had enough, it was destroying me, my self esteem was at rock bottom, I felt so inadequate, so inferior compared to his W, it was clear they would always be together, and I would always be the side dish. So I told him it was over, forever, I threw away my mobile phone, got a new phone the next day.

I should have explained I had given up on my marriage and was ready to leave my H and be a single mum. The day after I ended my A I explained to my H that I was unhappy, that we had drifted apart, that I was lonely. He was gob-smacked and completely committed to making our marriage work, and since that day we have worked on improving our marriage, we are spending time together and are getting on great, I love him again and we are happy. I should of course have spoken to my H in the first place about my unhappiness, rather than going out and having an A and saved myself a whole lot of trauma.

I ended my A on 29th March, xAP tried to reel me back in one day in September, pouncing on me as I was leaving work one day, but I was not available to him any more and I sent him on his way. I haven't heard from him since. I am completely over my A, it has been really hard work, harder than I would ever have imagined, but you can do it, we can all do it. I takes a combination of things (1) the desire for it to be over (2) the committment to it being over (3) putting in the work ... looking at yourself ... why did I make those bad choices? What was going on with me that I allowed that to happen? Why did I risk all I have? What do I need to do to make better choices in the future etc etc and finally (4) time, it takes time, like Rather says, give time  time.

That's just a small part of the story, there is so much more to it, but you get the picture.

Much love, Soglad x o x o x

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2011
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 6:40am
I'm here I'm reading, thanks for putting your stories here i know it can't be easy hashing it out all over again. I hope to add my story to this list, its to fresh right now though.

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