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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

A Realization

I'm realizing . . . I don't know how to "do" Anger.  That's Anger with a capital 'A'.  I'm beginning to realize that I have a lot of Anger right now, but I don't know what to DO with it, how to healthfully express it.  'Cause, I think I need to get it out.  No, I know I do.

I was raised in a home with no anger.  I was taught that there was no sense to it.  Discussion and Conversation:  that's how problems were resolved.  And, don't get me wrong:  I think that's a very healthy way to teach children.  Express your feelings through words, not actions.  And so, I've never been an angry person.  I'm not familiar with the emotion.  I don't know what to DO with it.  But now, I know there's something in here, inside me, causing the anxiety, and I'm finally realizing (mostly thanks to friends - and I mean that honestly, not sarcastically) that I am ANGRY.

When I was in therapy for the year following the final infertility prognosis, my counselor taught me to get my emotions out by writing.  Whenever I felt the "stuff" building up inside me, looking for a crack to ooze out, I was instructed to find a quiet spot where there would be no interruptions.  Settle my body completely comfortably and then do the deep breathing exercises.  Then, with pen or pencil and paper (no keyboarding / no typing), I was to write (or draw or make angry marks on the paper) for precisely 20 minutes.  If the timer rang while I was mid-sentence, I was to stop there.

Then, in therapy, I could either chose to explore what I'd written . . . or leave it and move on.

That was a successful coping mechanism for me, and I think I need to do that again.  Unburdening myself here, to you, helps, too.

In the past, there have been times when I've been writing around the proverbial pink elephant in the room.  Eventually, though, his size grows enough that I have to address it.  Such was the case when I finally wrote that the ex had moved out, and such is the case now.  Again.

I am in the throes of dealing with the third blow in my marriage.  First, he moved out.  I dealt with that and moved on.  Then, we got divorced.  I dealt with that and moved on.  I didn't think anything could be worse than those two blows.  And, truth be told, there was such a release of stress and pressure from them both, that they turned out to be, oddly enough, "good things".  This one, though?  This one, I don't know how to deal with.  Because I don't know how to deal with anger.

About three weeks ago, I learned that the ex had been having an affair with one of our friends since July of 2008.

There, I've said it.

I am SO hard-wired to "do him no harm" that it takes all I can to not delete that.  He reads this blog, and he'll read that.  And be incredibly hurt that I shared this with you.  But, oh my god, has he hurt me.

I thought I'd built myself a safety net in our marriage.  Time and time again, I told him, "If you EVER even THINK of having an affair, just tell me!  If you're EVER attracted to someone else, TELL ME!  We'll work through it, together!"


I know now that there IS no such thing as a safety net:  not unless you both share the same morals and values.  The same commitment.  And, of course, you never know that you DON'T share these things until it's too late.

Why, oh, why couldn't he have been honest with me during the course of our divorce?  Because he knew I wouldn't have been so fair and split everything down the middle, financially?  Probably.  Am I resentful of that?  You bet.

Am I angry that, when there was nothing left to lose (the divorce was finalized), he STILL couldn't tell me about his infidelity (ies????).  Um, yeah.  Just a tad.

Am I angry that I was made a fool of?  That I sent out Christmas letters telling everyone that our marriage hadn't worked because "he's a good man, just not a good husband"?  Yeah.  

Am I angry that I was there for him, every step of the way through Explorer Guy's Alaska adventure, assuming that he was doing it "alone" . . . with no support system?  Yes.  What a fool I was.  I didn't learn until later than he'd already started seeing one woman (if not both that I came to know about) before he left.  That THEY were supporting him the whole while?  That in no way was he "doing it alone"?

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

And, I have been fooled HOW many times now?

Am I angry at the outright SKILL and trickery that he and this mutual fried exhibited by carrying on this affair RIGHT UNDERNEATH my nose and the noses of our friends?  Dinner parties, events all together, etc., etc., etc.?  Holy shit, yes!

All the times I would call him on his cell phone after a day of nannying so we could meet up in town for dinner and he said that he was at HER house, "just having a glass of wine"?  And, how convenient:  she was a mutual friend.  No one would question seeing them together.

All the times I QUESTIONED him about his relationship with her and was constantly assured that my false safety net was still securely in place:  he "would never do that" to me.


I thought I knew him better than he knew himself.  Apparently not.

For the first five years that we lived up here, the ex still worked in the Twin Cities and spent about 5-7 days each 2 or 3 weeks down there.  Were all his lonely nights in a motel room really all that lonely or did he have company?

When he was working in the far west end of the county here and staying down there during the week because the drive was so long, was he really at the motel or was he at HER house . . . or someone else's?  Cellphones, after all, ring where YOU are, not in the PLACE you are, like the "good ol' days".

It's all just SO mind-boggling.  I put e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g into him and my marriage.

It was so much easier when I was under the (false) impression that it simply "hadn't worked out".

And, up 'til now, I've been experiencing so much aggravation over wondering just WHAT the "whole truth" is!  But, my oldest, dearest friend gave me some sage advice the other day:
The truth is, we often don't get to find a comfortable place with this stuff.  Even if you get 100% of the story, you still won't be comfortable.  I understand wanting to know, believe me, I do.  However, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable might be part of what has to happen, as well.  Not easy or fun, but you've gotten through worse, that is for sure.
My bold and underlining is where I think she's made her point.  And that will be the hardest thing for me to do:  although perhaps it's a step in the right direction now that I've IDENTIFIED that.

I've always been one to say, "I don't care WHAT the situation is, just give me the facts.  Even if it's 'you have cancer' (or, I suppose, 'you can't have children'), just give me the whole truth and I'll deal with it."  So, not (ever) knowing the whole truth will be my hurdle to leap.  Or, as the case may be, slowly walk up to / trip over a few times / and then, one leg at a time, step over.

Yep, re-reading what I've written, I know that's it, 'cause I just felt like I was going to throw up.


  1. I am sure I will not be the first one to tell you that you are beating yourself up for being yourself. It's counter-productive, to say the least. Being angry is NOT a bad thing. It is a good thing (within reason, of course). Do not let the many failings of your ex taint the good person that you are. Being supportive, loving, open, and caring is all part of who you are. Did he deserve your love? No. Is it your fault for not seeing it? Absolutely not. Is he a small, self-centered sociopath? Yes. I could go on - and I will, but will send you a personal email.

  2. I'm going to say it again - you are NOT the fool. Don't think for a minute that people that know what he's about see his actions as clever or you as foolish. When people have heard or seen what he has been up to I guarantee you they feel very, very badly for you and the way you were being treated. Not all people have the ability or courage to speak up, be it the position it would put them in or or that it's just their nature. Not one person would think you are a fool, only that he is a crappy excuse for a trustworthy husband and that you deserve so much more.

    Stop worrying about him reading the blog, it's YOUR blog and if he's concerned about what you write...it's one of those things where "he should have thought about it before..."!

    You are an amazing, beautiful, smart, self-sufficient and trusting woman that was made that way by being raised in loving family and home... look at it that way - now who's the foolish one? Hope he's reading... I'm feeling in a particularly "shoe up the boot" mood today :) I hope you have a nice evening concentrating on what everyone else besides him thinks of you, that's real!

  3. My x cheated on me as well. I found out about it before the divorce. You have nothing to feel shame about; you acted in good faith.

    We can't control behavior of others, and it's a hard lesson to learn. I'm confident, though, that there are people out who there who absolutely are worthy of my trust. It helps me to look forward and not back.

  4. I hear you about not knowing what to do with anger. I grew up in a household with PLENTY of anger, but it was all so inappropriately expressed that when anger rears its ugly head around me, I just get uber rational. I can't tolerate it, and I don't do well with it. It's a tough one for most people. I think the writing idea is a great one. I also think that screaming at the top of your lungs (hell, you live in the middle of nowhere! go for it!) and chopping wood feel pretty good.
    As for Tom reading your blog....to second Erin, it is YOUR BLOG. If he can't handle what you are writing, he doesn't have to read it.
    As for you being foolish: no, no, no. You are loving and trusting and all the things a person needs to be to have a happy marriage. The other truth, though, is that it takes TWO people like that. Not one loving, trusting person and one selfish, deceptive person. I'm so sorry you got so burned and hurt and torn up, but know that you are wonderful and NOT at fault.

  5. His behavior reflects badly on him and not you. You have shown yourself to be a person of sterling character and you should feel proud of your behavior. You did all the right things and your ex did not.

    He may have fooled you but he lost your love and that sounds like something of great worth.

  6. You are not alone and neither are you foolish or stupidly blind.
    My father cheated on my mom all 28 years of their "marriage" . What can I say, my mom is a wonderful ,loving, trusting soul and he is a lying scumbag. It has been 28 years since they splitup and I still harbor major resentment at my father for all the pain he caused my mom. Some days life just calls for a good scream..... go out into the woods and let one loose.


  7. His actions are no reflection on you. You trusted him and he abused that trust. If he doesn't like what you're writing about now, he can go somewhere else.

    As for your anger, vent away. Then go visualize his face on a log and chop some wood :)

  8. Anger is not wrong. It's an emotion that can be productive as long as it doesn't consume you. Anger is only unhealthy when you are unable or unwilling to deal with it. Having a healthy outlet like writing is so great and I can tell you process a lot of your thoughts as you write. Keep it up. I recently sat with someone who had for several weeks written out her thoughts and feelings of anger about being betrayed by her husband. When she felt that she has purged it all, we sat and burned every single piece of paper. Even through tears, she felt as though she had gotten most of it out and could now move on. Doing things like that are symbolic, but they really do help. I know you will figure your own way to get through this-you're strong and brave and you deserve time to let yourself be angry and grieve it all, and then, when you least expect it, you'll find yourself not thinking about it as much and life will return. And-there are a lot of good men out there-don't let one dog keep you from finding joy in a new relationship when you're ready.

  9. Your ex was never a real man. Only little boys act selfishly like he has by cheating and then go off to play mountain climber or whatever. Your ex is still in his "terrible twos". You were the only adult in the marriage and you deserve a mature man who can respond to you and love you like an adult. At least you are now free of that "two year old" and his dirty, crappy diapers.

  10. That was the most expressive and eloquently put post that you have ever written my friend!

    No shame, no puking. YOU deserve to let it out. And don't you dare feel bad about "Outting" him. You did, ever so bravely, what he couldn't do. Be truthful.

    He's not a man if he can't stand tall. You don't need to protect him and you don't need to respect him.

    You can stand tall. You can look in the mirror. You can and will let that anger go someday. Everything has a course, and this one just needs to run. I've been told that the average person takes five years -five- to recover from a divorce. You just have the one that keeps on giving and resets that damn clock!

    Hang in there sweet cheeks...

    God I love you!!!!

  11. You poor thing...it is a horribly difficult thing to go through. I went through it 18 years ago right after my daughter was born. I know it sounds cliche, but it will get better. Keep your head held high and keep moving on with your new life. Close that chapter and write your new one.

    And for your anger, didn't you say you have a huge pile of wood outside?? Grab your axe and start chopping - might help you work through it. Especially if you post some pictures on the wood first to help you aim properly :-)


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