I haven’t posted for the last two weeks or so. This afternoon I have been catching up with the posts from the blogs I follow in my Reader and I am just about back up to date now. There has been lots of stuff going on for me. Work has been frantic, but it has been a good frantic. I had felt woolly headed for a long time, really only treading water with my workload and doing the things which were shouting the loudest. But just recently I have been a bit more in control, and have started to take back some of the initiative. I have started to run quicker than some of the jobs that are chasing me. I am making some progress. I don’t feel quite so burdened by the pile of admin on my desk when I walk in in the morning. The paperwork doesn’t make me want to run and hide. I was at that ‘I am so busy and there is so much horrible stuff to do, I might as well just do none of it because it is all awful and what is the point anyway?’ stage. But this seems to be passing.
I have also been doing lots on the home front. The ironing pile which threatened to engulf me has been tamed to a manageable state. I have caught up with most of my odd jobs. The sewing pile was tackled last Sunday afternoon and the items have now been through the wash again (they had been there so long since being laundered I thought this was cleaner!) I have organised and sorted out some of the home admin jobs which needed doing.
I say ‘I’ but there has been a lot of ‘we’ as well. We have been pulling together, doing jobs to get them done, rather than aimlessly looking at them and thinking ‘sod it, we will do it tomorrow’. The energy and impetuous has been good. I have felt positive.
I think this drive partly comes from the time of year. The recent snow falls in the UK have meant there has not been much chance to be out and about (avoiding the boring, necessary stuff) and we have knuckled down and got on. In a complete turnaround, the weather this weekend was positively spring like and we went to the local park on Sunday morning. We fed the ducks, we walked together. The sun was out and it was nice. It felt normal.
I am trying not to obsess on that thought, the ‘it felt normal’. It somehow feels frightening to think it felt normal. I didn’t imagine for one moment I would ever feel completely normal again. I thought there was no chance. I wonder whether sometimes I have resisted accepting nice things (when we have had nice times and my husband has said sweet things to me) as a defence of some kind. If I let him back in he has the power to hurt me all over again. But also I wonder whether I do it to somehow keep making sure he knows how much this has all hurt me. Perhaps if I don’t tell him everyday how much his affair has hurt me, he might forget. He might think I have forgotten. He might think I am over it. I know that all sounds mad, and as I type the words I can see the warped logic to it. But I didn’t say there was any sane reasoning behind my thought process.
It is strange because this progress has come on the back of some triggering and a seriously messed up action I have taken. Valentine’s Day has been something which, for the last two years, has been a nightmare. The shops filled with the pink, hearts and flowers just after the new year and since then I have been avoiding the shops like the plague. In 2011 we had a very muted Valentine’s Day – it was only two months on from the first and second D Days and it was (although I didn’t know it then) in our false recovery period. Bitch was still very much on the scene. In 2012 again it was very soon after D Day three and I had obsessed myself into a frenzy as he had told me she had sent him a card in 2011. I should have taken heart from the fact he had deposited it into the hotel room bin and she had seen it there. He couldn’t risk bringing it home or having it hidden somewhere. That must have got up her nose. But I was too raw at that stage to see any of that.
This year we had agreed we wouldn’t do any of that stuff again. Before the day I was triggered by the thought of the whole gushing expressions of love and how I would get through it. But it was ok. We did buy each other cards, and my husband chose a very sweet card with a meaningful verse. He signed it with 18 kisses as we will have been married 18 years this year. We bought each other small gifts. He was pleased with his Scooby Doo DVD (I know!) and I liked my toiletries. It was thoughtful and nice. We didn’t put the pressure on and it worked. Instead of going for a meal on the day we decided to go out for the day on Saturday. We went sightseeing to a city we had never been too. I took pictures of the cathedral. I lit a candle for my late mum. It was a beautiful day. I understand now what our counsellor means about making new memories and banking those.
My husband had a business trip away the week before Valentine’s Day and this was a major trigger for me. It was a conference in a hotel in the north and it was a very similar type of gathering to the one where he met Bitch. There were lots of women there, and it felt far too close to a repeat of the opportunity which he had taken advantage of in 2010. I did start to get very charged up about it, I started to feel out of control again. I shouted and told him he couldn’t go. But my husband was calm, he told me he understood. He went out of his way to make me feel safe. He checked in all the time. I told him when I felt really bad. He rang me during the evening meal, he rang me when he was back in his hotel room. He didn’t have more than three pints to drink. He told me he could see all his co-workers getting pissed from the free bar. They were necking back the doubles and getting plastered. He could stand back and see what was going on. He felt he didn’t want to join in, he didn’t want to put himself in that situation. He didn’t even make an excuse as to why he wasn’t drinking – he had thought about saying he was on antibiotics. But instead he chose to say he didn’t want to drink much. He was happy as he was.
I was proud of him then. I know how hard it is not to be influenced by the crowd – my old husband would have gone along with them, not wanting to be the odd one out. He would have got peed because they did. Now he was happy to stand up and say no. I told him that made him a bigger man.
I was pleased when he came home. I felt like I had been able to use some of the techniques we are learning in our book. We haven’t got to the next chapter yet as he has been away, and the time we have had we have been enjoying together.
My husband is away again at the moment and I have wondered whether it is ok to feel like this. I suppose this is the doubt creeping in again. Am I safe to feel safe? What if it happens again, what if I am being too naive and he is up to no good again? But I am working on that. I am focussing on the good stuff, the progress I have made. The progress we have made.
There is one little (big) thing which I have to confess. I know I have said before I had been obsessed with Bitch and what was going on with her life. I have been following from a distance, keeping up with the comings and goings via her boyfriend’s open access Facebook page. However, it has never been quite enough for me. I know I should just move on from her and should not give her headspace, but that is so damn hard to do in practice. I know everyone says the way forward is to forget about her, to not let her have power and to leave her behind.
So, I did something rather devious (stupid?). I created a fake Facebook profile in her name. I acquired a few ‘friends’ and then send her a friend request. I couldn’t help myself. I felt sick when I sent it, but only 12 hours later she had accepted. I am amazed to be honest she could be taken in by such an obvious ruse. But there she is, in her full glory. Status, pictures, everything – open, accessible and available. I think she has moved on to such an extent it wouldn’t even cross her mind that it could be me. I am so insignificant in her eyes. I laughed she could be so stupid.
When I first got access, I poured over her site. I looked at every entry from 2010 and 2011 – and that is three hours of my life I will never get back. I found entries on the days when the first, second and third D Days took place. And yes she was hurting. She was posting all sorts of stuff. And there was stuff about when she was lonely at the weekends, when we were away on holiday and she couldn’t talk to him. There was one particularly sick inducing moment when I found she had ‘liked’ one of his favourite sports pastimes. But it was a window into how she was feeling and, awful as it sounds, I was glad. I was glad she had been in such turmoil. It also clarified some of the texts she had sent in 2012. She had been made redundant, she has now got a new job. She is back with her new man (their separation didn’t last long).
Now I know I have got to be careful. At the moment having the window into her life has been something of a facing of my fears and knowing I can survive them. Typing her name in everyday has been a bit like I imagine it would be if I had to hold a huge spider (terrified of them) – horrid to start with but done to limit the effect the fear has. Exposure therapy I suppose. (Although I don’t think I could manage the spider bit for one second.) But I know it is easy for this to get out of hand. I cannot go to stalking her every day. But getting that bit of power back, it has been quite liberating for me. I have felt I have the upper hand, getting one over on her so to speak. Childish and ridiculous really, but another little victory. And when I keep chalking up those small battle wins, eventually I am going to win the war. So for the moment I am keeping my window into her life (albeit that it is a Facebook window and what goes on there is normally an edited version of reality). I am taking it in my stride and if it starts to hurt I will let it go. At the moment I am laughing at her poorly shoulder and the large injection she needs to have to fix it……..wicked I know but hey ho!