October 20th will be etched in my mind forever. For much happier reasons, 21 years ago today my second niece was born. However, her 18th birthday was the worst day of my life. While she was getting drunk legally for the first time and celebrating the night away, I got hit by a truck I didn't see coming and spent the night crying, retching, thinking I was losing my family. Fuck! That night was horrific. Fucking horrific. I will never, ever forget it. That feeling of shock and bewilderment will never leave me.
Today also marks the end of "the affair void", which I get sucked into every year. It's the period of time from 5th September, when the affair started, to today. It's a vortex where time moves so incredibly slowly, like it's goading me on purpose and I fucking hate it. Every day that passes is another reminder that it didn't stop. Every day is another slow and torturous countdown towards the day I found out. It's my son's birthday in the middle of it too and three years ago we were opening presents on a video call with Dad, only I didn't know he wasn't wearing his wedding ring. I struggle through this time warp every year, feeling guilty as I secretly dread my son's birthday. I know all dates, what I was doing, what they were doing. I fight off meltdowns and triggers constantly and am generally plagued by the whole sorry story.
As much as I am in such a better place three years on, it's this being "plagued by the whole sorry story" that doesn't ever disappear. Does it ever go? That's a hard NO. The same feelings reappear; sadness, despair and disappointment, because it was and is, so incredibly sad and disappointing how people behave. That never ever changes. It still astounds me how a mind can be so warped and so many lives affected without care. It doesn't matter how much time passes, the reality of the entire episode is still so pathetic from start to finish, there's not much else I can feel about it. However, it's the admittance and acceptance of that patheticness existing permanently in my life, that creates feelings that are a bit harder to deal with. The list of these things does not get any shorter or any less despairing with time. It is very difficult dealing with feelings that feel like they can never be satisfied. I never got the chance to vent in all the places I wanted or needed to and even if I had, would it of helped? Who knows? And the more I know about how affairs operate, the more the despair stays. They really are the most pointless, painful, downright selfish and stupid things to participate in. They cause immeasurable chaos and devastation, pain, shame and sorrow that could all be avoided, but the justifications, the selfishness, the arrogance and self-righteousness take over and nothing else matters.
I actually just read the latest blog by Affair Recovery. I am still on their mailing list. It talks about the chemical cocktail that is created in the brain by affairs and compares it to that of an addict. They describe comparing yourself to the affair partner, is as pointless as asking an alcoholic, why can't I make you feel as good as drinking makes you feel? It's not used as a way to excuse the behaviour but to explain that it's NOT love that is felt. It is a dysfunctional rush and it only lasts so long. It is NOT real and it is not based on what they think it is. It is a highly potent release of chemicals that leads the brain to believe it's needed for survival, hence the pursuit of it at the cost of everything and anything else.
In other words, AFFAIRS ARE FUCKING POINTLESS! THEY ARE NOT FUCKING REAL and NOT FUCKING WORTH IT!! A childish fucking runabout where people behave like fifteen-year-olds who should know better. This view and my feelings around it has not changed in three years. Even if you're unhappy in your relationship, annihilating your wife/husband and destroying your own reputation and integrity are so ridiculously unnecessary. Just have the damn conversation. No one is saying you have to stay. You are free to leave a relationship any day you like. Just DON'T HAVE AN AFFAIR. If you think having that other conversation is hard, try looking your wife and kids in the face when they find out what you're doing and dealing with the dramatics of a crazed affair partner. Trust me, that conversation is nothing compared with the shit storm that is coming.
Affairs are signs of holes. Yes, big gaping holes. But not always in the marriage. In the lives and souls of the cheating spouse and affair partner. Affair partners are rarely special to a cheat, because the cheat is drowning in a chemical cocktail. Affair partners are just anyone willing. Anyone who makes it easy for the cheat. Someone to fill the gaping hole. And the affair partner? Well, they are willing because of their own gaping hole in their self-esteem. A hole that can only be filled by the perception of taking someone else down. A delusional belief they are being chosen above someone else. Please, please, PLEASE look at the realities in the cold light of day and see it for the absolute pointless patheticness it really is. It's not real. You don't look cool. You look like a dick. You're acting like a dick. People are going to get hurt, really hurt and it is NO ONE else's doing EXCEPT YOURS.
I had no idea where this blog was going to take me today when I started writing it, and I just want to clarify, I am NOT three years on, bitter and ranting and angry. Yes, some of this sounds ranty, is in caps and bold, but that is simply a way to stress the importance of something when writing. Being three years down the line and having gone through what I have, and having to face what I was thrown into with no say of my own, affairs are pointless, my feelings about them and those who participate in them haven't changed, and to be honest, I don't think they ever will, regardless of how much time has passed. These individuals who participate in affairs, both wayward spouses and affair partners, have no idea of the level of destruction they cause and to how many people. Today is always a reminder of how it affected not just me, but my kids, my sisters, their husbands - our entire family. One of my sisters was in tears saying goodbye to my husband that day as she thought she'd never see him again. My brothers-in-law didn't know what to say and my kids were just bewildered, I think. The sadness and disappointment were felt by the entire extended family. It's that recurring pain, sadness and disappointment that can hit whenever it feels like it. Days, months and even years after discovery. Anytime, anyplace, anywhere the smallest thing can remind me of what has happened in my life and where I am with it. The shock and hatred for it being thrust upon me by others and the level of chaos and destruction it caused reverberate through my body - STILL, just not as often.
But I am ok. I am actually very calm and in a really good place. I have a new job and lots to be grateful for. Life is good. Out of all this has come the most amazing connections with people I have never even met. I feel the strength and courage of women all over the world. Heartbreaking and bittersweet, but heartwarming and inspiring in bucket loads. I have made amazing friendships with women I have met in Facebook groups, I get emails and messages from women about this blog, comments and support both here and on Instagram. There are an Army of us wives and I am very proud to belong to this group of women. I can live with myself without the need for defense or denial. I don't have to lie to myself, block anyone from my phone, make excuses or cover up the truth. I don't have to lie, feel bad about myself or live with an empty feeling in my life. Would I rather it never have happened? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY, but despite all the pain, I would rather be on this side of the fence than that of the other woman any day of the week. I am the wife.