Letting go is scary. It's relinquishing control. Leaving the outcome up to something or someone else. It's very counterintuitive.
In the situation I found myself in, and similar relationship break up scenarios, a common impulse is to control the outcome, mainly to avoid the imminent onset of the acute hurt looming at the end of the conversation. With such a level of suffering on the horizon the brain goes into protection mode, and will do anything to keep that horizon as far in the distance as it can, stalling the suffering. It will create behaviours such as manipulating, begging, crying, blackmailing, pleading, bullying, blaming, maybe even lying in a desperate attempt to control the outcome. Why it does this, is completely understandable. It's a horrible, terrifyingly overwhelming feeling when someone doesn't want to be with you anymore. That someone you love may not feel the same as you anymore. It's devastatingly painful. I get it. I've done it before too. You will do anything to avoid it.
The trouble with this tactical behaviour is, if the outcome is successfully altered and the heartbreak temporarily diverted, this is as a result of those desperate tactics and not down to the other person's free will, i.e. because they truly want to. Their emotions are being toyed with. Guilt, pity, fear and confusion (to name a few) affects their decision and causes the control to shift. The outcome maybe diverted, but is the reason as sincere as it needs to be? The relief felt from the diversion is palpable, but is the diversion for the right reasons?
Now, this emotional issue was just as prevalent throughout my moment of letting go. The fear was absolutely real. Right there radiating throughout my body. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. The prospect of losing him, my whole life changing, losing the home we had nurtured and decorated together, the life we had worked so hard on since breaking away from Army life, seeing him move on before I'd even had a chance to catch my breath, the devastation of all of this was unimaginably painful and very, very real but there was something that made me not attempt any of those tactics. The impulse to control, left my body completely (it would return with a vengeance later on, but right then, I was on my own). In hindsight (which I agree is a wonderful thing) I think it was a test of faith. I knew my husband (at least I thought I did), I knew our relationship. I knew the truth of our marriage and why we had made the decision for me to not go to abroad with him. I knew what I felt about all of it and I had to take that leap of faith, that he did too. And if he didn't, then as devastatingly painful as it may be, I would know. I could face that, do the necessary grieving and try to put my life back together after it had been so unexpectedly blown to pieces. Sounds so calm now doesn't it? But it really wasn't that thought out. In fact it wasn't thoughts at all. It was all a physical feeling, a sensation, rather than thoughts. All of that information was downloaded to me in a few seconds from just feeling into what was happening.
Again, not really a conscious thought at the time, but I think something made me hold on and put my faith in what I felt and believed about him, us, our family, our home, our kids, our life together. I wasn't going to fight dirty. I could see he was all over the place. His secret fantasy life had just been busted and one of the very few things I knew about affairs, is they are not real life. They're a bubble, an escape, a checkout of normal life. His bubble had just exploded and he had hit reality pretty damn hard. I wasn't going to try and convince him to stay. I wanted him to stay because he wanted to. I had put my faith in what I knew about us. I couldn't be that far wrong. Could I? Surely. Either way I would get my answer.
Scary fucking shit! Fuck knows where that came from! I think it shocked us both.
I think having felt completely ambushed, caught utterly off guard I realised I could fight or surrender. The unbelievable news my husband had been having an affair had side knocked me over so much I felt like I had already lost, so why fight? It was done, what could I do? I felt like I'd be fighting a losing battle, an unwinnable war and would just humiliate myself trying to convince someone to love me when clearly they didn't anymore and I still had my dignity and integrity, these were still very much intact. All I could do was face it, own it and deal with whatever transpires. Even if he wanted to go, he was now (and forever will be) the guy who cheated on his wife. I could keep my head up and hold onto my honour. It doesn't sound much, but it was all I had and it actually gave me a lot of strength in that moment. However, it didn't stop me from having to run to the toilet thinking I was going to be sick. But all in all, it was a very highly emotional, yet weirdly calm place to be. Feeling every sensation and facing it as it was rather than how I wanted it to be or how I might try and manipulate it to be.
I was still in a state of complete trauma and utter shock, but the tears had stopped. I still felt like it was a nightmare I wanted to wake up from but I was in it with my eyes open now. I still felt like a rabbit in headlights wondering what the fuck was going on but I had let go of the outcome and was blindly trusting the lights. I was calm. I was rational. I was fully in that moment. I said what I wanted to say, which was genuine and from the heart, and that was that. I told him exactly how I felt and that was.....
....that I loved him, I loved our family and if there was a way to work it out then I thought we should and if the outcome made us better than before, then I would be grateful.
And I meant it. Yes, I know, where the fuck did that come from too? Sometimes to win the fight, you have to surrender.
I feel VERY strongly that I MUST point out that this blog is by no means advice on what to do if this happens to you. It is just an account of what happened to me and what I did in response. That's all.