Helping hands

I just got off the phone with a friend who went through what I and many others are or have already gone through… an affair.  For me, it started with my wife getting involved in an emotional affair, though I didn’t recognize it at the time.  Before it turned physical, as far as I know anyway, my wife declared us separated… like that made it OK!?  It only took her another 9 months to file for divorce, but that is another post for another time.  Anywho… this friend, we’ll call her BB, went through the same thing I’m going through.  Her husband had an emotional affair which then turned into a full blown physical affair.  He left his wife, got an apartment, and was making plans to divorce BB and move to another state with his AP.  The main difference between her situation and mine, is that her husband went to marriage counseling where my wife refused… but there are so many other similarities that I use her as a sounding board for whats going on between my wife and me.

She is one of those people, much like most of the people I’ve been in contact with here, that is supportive without judgement.  Sometimes all I need is someone to say it’s OK that you feel this way… It’s OK that you want to save your marriage…  You’re not wasting your time holding onto hope to save your marriage and your family….  Even if it doesn’t work out, you did what you could…  It’s not a waste of time…  The 15 yrs you were together wasn’t a waste of time…  Hold onto hope…  Have faith…  Don’t give up yet.

When I am in my dark space and the voices of negativity and despair won’t shut up, I write it down here, or I call BB or another friend, who happens to be a pastor, who helps me understand what faith and hope really are.  Though my pastor friend “K” has suggested that I have a right to divorce my wife because of the infidelity, she supports me and prays for me to have the strength to endure these trials and for my wife to open her heart to me again and open herself up to working out what went wrong in our marriage and save it and our family.  I would like to ask the same of you if you feel so inclined.

 

Changing

This weekend was an emotional roller coaster for me.  One minute I’m up and happy, the next I’m down and out of control.  The shitty thing about this roller coaster is that there are very few flats and straights… its almost all up and down… and its my own design.

I have decided to close the ride for a bit and redesign it.  I have decided to stop putting so much importance into things I have very little to no control over.  Don’t get me wrong… saving my marriage and my family are of the utmost importance… but I really only have control over the family part, which is me and my boys.  I have no control over her or her actions.  I do, however, have control over my actions… and recently my actions have been to allow her into my head and run me up and down the ride… which is why it is temporarily out of order!

For Father’s Day, my step-mom gave me and my brothers (I have 3 blood and 1 step) a picture of my dad, who passed away last October.  It’s a classic picture of him sitting down, hands clasped together, ready to impart some of his hard earned wisdom.  I looked at the picture and realized I am in control of this fucking ride, and I’m tired of the ups and downs.  I am tired of feeling guilty for her actions.  I’m tired of feeling guilty for doing the best I can for my boys in the position I’m in.  I know I’m gonna fuck-up.  I know I’m gonna kick-ass.  I know sometimes I’m just gonna get by.  I also now know that that’s life.

Do I still want my wife back?  Absolutely.  Do I think it will happen?  I do.  Do I think the pain that I have gone through and the difficulty of reconciliation will be worth saving my marriage and family?  Of course I do.  Do I think she feels that way?  It doesn’t matter.  I do.  I am in control of my actions, not hers.  I will wait for her until I don’t want to wait for her anymore.  I can not tell you how long that will be.  I can tell you that I will be in better control… maybe not complete control… but definitely better!

Season of Firsts

So this weekend is my youngest sons birthday, and it’s his first one where we will not be together as a family.  Last year, though separated, we still celebrated together… so this is the first one where we are really apart.  To be honest, I am nervous!  I don’t really do kids parties.  Is there a guy who does?  Anyway… He’s really excited because I was intentionally pro-active and sent the invites out and got all of the RSVPs… and all of his close friends are coming.  We are planning a pool party with pizza and water-balloon games with prizes and everything.  He’s turning 9 so the prizes were a little hard to pick since we’ll have kids ranging from 8-12yrs.  Finding toys and games for tweeners is hard!

Mad props to the moms out there who get this stuff done!  (Boy, that shows my age! haha)

Why am I telling you this?  I have a couple of motivators.  One is that I need to start acknowledging the things where I am now stepping up and performing where, in the past, I had let my wife do all of the work.  Another is I am realizing the things I had missed; The fun of putting it together, the joy you see on your kids face when it all comes together, the satisfaction of seeing it all come together, the excitement of planning a fun day, etc.

This separation has forced me to acknowledge a lot of things where I didn’t step up, where I let her do all of the heavy lifting.  Its forced me to become a grownup.  Sadly, it may be too late for her to see, but one can hope.

I remember when she first left, I was trying to do things that I thought she would like and appreciate to try and win her back.  It took a few months of futile efforts to realize she wasn’t interested and that what I was trying to do was not to make me a better man, but to make her see me as a better man (if that makes any sense)

Since I came to that realization, my focus has been on what makes me happy and what makes my boys happy.  What I also realized was even though me and the boys have a lot of things in common, they don’t like all of the things I do… so I have also learned (and am trying to teach them) how to compromise.  The only way we are going to get through this is together… and I told them in no uncertain terms that WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!  One way or another, we will be OK.

I don’t tell them about how I feel for their mom… I don’t want them knowing she is the reason our family is not whole.  I have wondered about how they would feel if we tried to get back together.  Would they be scared? Excited?  Nervous? All of the above?  I don’t think she and the POS are doing well right now, but that by no means that she’s thinking about coming back either.  I can (and have) drive myself crazy pondering that!  I often let those monkeys run loose in my head for days at a time.  I must say that writing them down here helps keep them at bay.

I am rambling now, so I’ll sign off.  Wish me luck for the party tomorrow, and if you can continue to support my hope that she soon opens her heart back to me, and that she opens her heart to reconciling our marriage and restoring our family, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Shooting Myself in the Foot

I wonder if that’s what I’m doing.  I am trying to stand for a marriage that she wants nothing to do with anymore.  I say trying because I am dating someone… have been dating someone… and my wife knows it.  I wonder if that knowledge helps her justify leaving me for another man.

I started serious dating 6 months after she left me.  I used most of that time to reflect on what I did and didn’t do which led to where we are.  I went to counseling.  I evaluated myself as a man, husband and father and I didn’t necessarily like the answers that were revealed.

Through my dating I discovered that I was actually a pretty good guy.  I wasn’t this worthless goo-for-nothing guy that my wife didn’t want anymore.  I was funny.  I was a gentleman.  I was complimentary.  I was someone that these girls wanted to go out with.  Now some of them were obvious mismatches.  But some were pretty compatible.  The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted or needed.. other than I did not want to get into a relationship.  I wanted someone to go out with, go to dinner and a movie, go on a hike, to a concert, etc. I was dating two girls… D and B.  Neither one was like my wife.  I do believe because I did some work on me that I no longer compared them to my wife, like I did to the prior girls just a few months before.  Anywho…

I was very open with both of them about my willingness to take my wife back, that this was not a relationship and that I was dating other people… and this was on the first date.  Talk about being clueless in the dating scene!  haha.  Yet at the end of each date, I walked them to their car, gave them a hug, told them I had a nice time, and that I’d like to see them again… and they both said yes.  After the 2nd date with D, about a week later, she told me that she did not like me dating other people, and after a little talk about expectations, we decided we should just be friends.  I saw B the next night, cuz she had another date earlier that week.  It was interesting because she went on that date knowing she liked me, and basically told the guy before hand, and to his credit, took her out anyway with the thought that he could win her over.

Can you smell the testosterone?  haha

Anyway… so because D and I were no longer seeing each other, and B declined a second date with the other guy, we ended up just dating each other.  We started going out every week and then a couple of times a week.  It has continued to evolve, and now I find myself in the role of the asshole.  She loves me.  I do love her… but not like I love my wife.  I can not give her all of me because I can not give up on my wife.

Here is the crux… I feel like I should break up with B because I am not over my wife.  I feel like I should break up with her because I am trying to stand for my marriage.  I feel like if there is to be any chance with my wife, I can not be seeing someone, even though she is.  Don’t ask me to explain, cuz it doesn’t make sense to me either… It’s just how I feel and we all know emotions are wonky!

So that’s why I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot.  If I stay, I could end up hurting B IF my wife comes back comes back.  And right now, that is a BIG IF!  If I go, I will definitely hurt B and possibly myself IF my wife doesn’t come back.  Most of the advice I’ve been given is to just take it one day at a time.  B is definitely helping me get past a lot of the mental anguish my wife put me through… and continues to put me through.  B is a great woman who deserves more than I can give her right now.  But, selfishly, I don’t want to let her go either.  She is good for me.  She has brought joy back into my life and I to her.  She has helped me feel good about me again.  I’m not afraid to be alone, but I do prefer having someone to share my life with.  I just didn’t expect to find her outside of my wife.

Random

I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs about divorce and reconciliation… sadly, there are a lot of us going through this BS!  In a way, there is this camaraderie that builds as well… whether you want out or to save the marriage… I’ve yet to see someone not be supported and encouraged in whatever path they’ve chosen.

For me, when I read that someone has hit their limit, my heart breaks.  I start wondering how long I can hold onto hope and will I eventually stop wanting to save my marriage and my family?  I have been fighting this battle for damn near 14 months… and she has not shown an ounce of remorse or regret.  She has consistently shot me down when I ask if she’s sure of this path she’s on.  So we are still on the path to divorce, and all I can do is make it as inconvenient for her as possible.  My hope is that if I can stretch this out far enough, it may be that she comes around to wanting to reconcile before our divorce is final.

The scary part is reading some of the painful stories associated with reconciliation.  The biggest being the loss of trust… in everything they do and say.  I hope I’m strong enough, that we’re strong enough to fight through it.  I know my goal… I think I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping my eye on the prize.. though I have strayed here and there.  Even with that though, I have never given up the hope of reconciling.  I’ve played scenarios in my head where we are together and she does something out of (what used to be) the ordinary… and I question if she did that with him.  Does she still think of him.  How will it be the first time we are intimate again?  All these things start rolling in my head and soon its got spiraling out of control into a depressed state.  It scares me to think that I’ve waited all this time for us to possibly fail again.  I hear the success stories… how the couple became even stronger together and their marriage is even better and how their love is stronger… and I so desperately want that!

So I wait.  And hope.  And fear.  And read.  There are some amazingly strong people out there who, whether they know it or not, help me hold onto the hope that she will come back and together work to save our marriage and our family.

 

The Perpetual Torture of WHY

Why, why, why… you know the why’s… why did she do this… why did she leave… why is she ignoring the impact on our family… why is she unwilling to work on our marriage… why did she allow this to get so far…  The WHY’s are endless.

What’s more torturous than the WHY’s regarding her???  The WHY’s regarding me.

Why didn’t I see this coming… why didn’t I do more to show her I loved her… why didn’t I give her what she needed… why did I act so weak and defeated when she said she wanted to leave… these are endless as well.

Even though I know the WHY’s are bullshit and un-answerable, they always seem to creep into my head… especially late at night.  Those quiet hours are the worst.  They never shut up, and then the anger and frustration builds up and it’s a downward spiral.

When I finally realize what is going on in my head, I have a few podcasts I listen to or some books with highlighted passages that help me get perspective.  They don’t give me any answers… so I’ll settle for perspective.

In the meantime, I will continue to hold onto hope that she may want to give us another chance.  To give our family another chance.

 

 

Always the Underdog

I have always rooted for the little guy.  Maybe because I have always been the little guy!  I am the youngest of 4 boys so though mom protected me when she was around, I was fair game when she wasn’t.  I might not have always won, considering the closest in age to me was 3 yrs older, but I used what I could find to my advantage.  My dad once told me a story where I cracked my oldest brother upside the head with my Tonka truck (the real kind built with metal in the 70’s)  Moral of the story?  Just cuz you lose doesn’t mean you weren’t in the fight!

When my wife first said she wanted to separate, I did everything wrong.  I won’t go into that again.  When she first moved out, I continued to do everything wrong.  When I started reading more about “Midlife Crisis” is when I changed my approach.  Instead of trying to win her back, which was s sure fire way to lose her completely, I started figuring out what I like and the type of man/father/husband I want to be.  A much different way of fighting than I’m used to.  Much more subtle… and I am anything but subtle.

So what does all of this have to do with being an underdog?  Well, my wife told me that we were through.  That there was nothing left to fight for.  That she was never coming home and that we would never be anything other than friends if even that.  She told me flat out that she found it disrespectful of me to continue holding on and fighting for our marriage when (in her opinion) there was nothing left to hod onto and that there was nothing left to fight for.  That she fell out of love with me a long time ago and that she didn’t leave me for the POS, and that to prove her point, she said she dated someone else before dating him.  She said we were complete opposites, that we didn’t have the same goals in life, and that we never worked well together to the point where we hold each other back.  I guess it only took 13 years for her to figure that out.

She paints a pretty bleak picture, right?  So what am I holding onto?  Why am I holding onto it?  Why am I putting myself through the heartache of this?  Because I don’t believe her.  I have been married before… to my HS sweetheart.  Never should have married her, but not relevant other than to say I know how being though with a relationship feels.  I know how that person acts.  And she isn’t acting that way.  I put more value on peoples actions vs their words.  Her actions are telling me that she is still not sure she has made the right decision, but that she also feels that she needs to see ths through.  Her actions tell me that she is struggling with herself, which explains a lot of the anger and vitriol directed towards me.  Her actions tell me that somewhere in there is the girl I know and married… and that she is a good person caught up in doing something very hurtful to me.

Just because I think I know her does not mean that I know she is coming back.  I hope and pray that she does, and that’s all it is.  In the meantime I continue to do things that make me a better man, father and husband.  Ultimately she will be the one who decides our fate, but not mine.  I know what I want, I will continue to work for what I want, and in the end, if I get what I want, I think we could be even better than where we were when things were great.  I believe that.  Am I the underdog?  Oh yeah… without a doubt!  Am I in the fight?  I have to be!

There is a Sucker Born Every Minute

I think it was PT Barnum who said that… He must have known me in a prior life.  And I think my wife might have been PT Barnum in another life.  I am such a sucker.  Maybe she was Mozart in a prior life ‘cuz she can play me like a fiddle!  Not that Mozart played fiddle…

For the last two to three weeks I have been getting “friendly-ish” texts from her.  They are nothing really, but of course I have to look for the hidden meaning behind all of her communiques.  :/

What they are is just meaningless and needless conversations… which is the thing that gets to me.  She hasn’t done that since she told me she was gonna file for divorce back in January.  Since then, it was very cold, very business like or very matter-of-fact to her decision to move forward with this POS that she left me for.

What has been driving me crazy is trying to figure out her motive… what is she trying to gain… Prior to these last few weeks, all of her friendly actions have been to gain an advantage or get what she wants with no regard to how it may impact me or anyone else, including the boys.  But, as far as I know, there is nothing going on… nothing coming up… nothing to trigger this strange behavior.  So what is it?

Then the hopeful side and the logical side of my head start battling over control of this meat-suit I call me.  I wish there was a third side that could just stand up and tell them both to SHUT THE FUCK UP!  IT COULD MEAN ANYTHING OR NOTHING!  I think it was T. Harv Ekar who said “The only meaning something has is the meaning we give it.”  Very apropos for this situation, don’t you think?  When the dust settles, the third side comes out… but in the heat of the moment it disappears… strange… when I need it the most is when I don’t have it.  Maybe that’s the lesson I’m supposed to learn.  How to stay calm in the storm.

She was always my calm in the storm… I’ve never had to do it on my own.  When she left I was a ship with no rudder lost at sea… I lost my anchor… I lost everything.  So now I have to figure out how to navigate these uncharted seas with nothing but my gut to guide me.  Makes me wish I had joined the Navy instead of the Army when I was younger.  haha

So as I get the boys ready for bed, I notice the distinct absence of my partner in crime… my friend… my wife.  As I tuck them into bed, he absence is palpable.  As I come out to sit on my couch and write this blog, her absence is overwhelming.

I miss her so much.  Not just the fun times.  It these mundane, routine times that I really miss her.  I miss sitting next to her and smelling her hair as we unwind watching a TV show.  I miss running my fingers through her hair and brushing her cheek and ear with my fingers.  I miss her cold feet touching my warm legs.  Her soft lips kissing me goodnight.  Waiting 30 minutes for her bedtime routine and being woken up by her as she climbs into bed.  I miss holding her and whispering goodnight.  I miss waking up to go to work and whispering “good-morning baby, I love you”.  I miss my wife.  I have missed her every day and every night for the last 13 months and 20 days. Then I torture myself wondering if she’s ever done the same.

I hope she wakes up from this fantasy world she has created in her mind.  I hope she opens her heart to me again so we can do it right this time.  I hope and pray for her to open her heart up to me again.  For us to reconcile and restore not only our marriage, but our family.

God, I am such a sucker!

Will The Real Me Please Stand Up

When all of this started in April 2016, all I could think about was how can I save my marriage.  How can I save my family?  How can she do this to me and our boys?  How does someone do this to the ones she said she loved?  I scoured the internet looking for something… ANYTHING… to save my marriage.  I could rattle off all of the sites that said I could do just that, even if I’m the only one who wants it.  Just pay $***.95… less than the cost of X marriage counseling sessions.  What a bargain!  I almost did it too.  I had the money… but then you read into it and they all have one main thing in common…

WORK ON YOU

Now they all have different ideas on who YOU should be and how to achieve that special YOU… but what I figured out (hopefully not too late), is that I need to be the ME that I am supposed to be.  The ME that I can be with or without her.

You see, what I finally realized was that I changed… I relied on her too much.  I became dependent on her.  I took her for granted.  I stopped being the me she fell in love with a long time ago… maybe it was fatherhood… maybe it was turning 40… maybe it was a combination of trying to start a business in the middle of a recession… probably it was a combination of all of the above!  No matter what… I was suffering a mild depression because I was not being me… I was being someone I thought I was supposed to be.  The problem now is that I was that guy for so long… I didn’t know who the hell I was… whats worse… I don’t know who I am.

Now for the good news

I realized that I still love to run.  I’m not in the same shape I used to be in, But I’m slowly getting into the 8 min mile range and to the 6 mile mark.  I also love to ride my mountain bike.  I’ve never been a single track/downhill bomber,  but I do like a nice challenging cross country ride with a little bit of everything.  I am trying to get into riding a road-bike too… just not as comfortable on it… its a completely different animal!  I love riding my motorcycle.  Something about being out there on the bike is so freeing… maybe it’s the vulnerability… but it is one of the best stress relievers I know.  When I got my bike running, I went out and bought her a helmet, jacket and gloves… knowing where her head was… but I did it anyway hoping one day we will ride together again,  Nice metaphor if I do say so myself!  🙂  I love camping.  I could count on one hand the number of times we went camping… she didn’t like it, even though I would go out of my way to make it as easy and comfortable for her as possible.  It’s not as much fun going on a family camping trip if the whole family isn’t there.  She used to like it as a kid… she had great memories of camping… yet she couldn’t help create those for her kids??  I digress.  Me and the boys love camping… I actually have a trip already planned for later this month.

I am slowly finding myself again.  I don’t know if she even see’s it or if she ever will, but I do.  My friends like who I am.  My boys like who I am.  Most importantly, I like who I am.  I continue to hope and pray for her to open her heart to me again… to give us and our family another chance.  I am not the same man she left… but am the the mam she once loved?  One can only hope.

Same Shit…

Went on a hike today with the boys and a close friend and her son (More on that in a future post).  I’m distracted… having a great time… it’s a beutiful day… and BOOM!  She pops in my head.  I’m thinking how much fun we would be having as a FAMILY on this hike.  I’m thinking how we would have made it an entire day, probably would have taken a bunch of family pics because the setting was just incredible and the lighting was perfect and it was set up to be a perfect day!  But it wasn’t.  It will never be perfect again.  We will never be whole again.  Not unless she opens up to me again… Struggling with hope this weekend… and it’s only Saturday for fuck sake!

I wonder if she knows she can still get to me?  All it takes is a text and she can get my head spinning.  I went 40 days once with essentially no contact, meaning I only talked about the boys and it was just business, not friendly.  After 40 days of that, she started being friendlier and kind, so I reciprocated… EEEHHH!!! Wrong move!  She turned right back into Mr. Hyde talking nasty and mean to me and treating me like shit… she even got her mom on board.  That was back in March, and her mom is still being a cold bitch to me.  The strange thing is now she is being nice to me again… I’m still keeping it business only… a little gun-shy to go through that shit again.  The real strange thing is that my son lost his tooth when he was with her, but she had him bring it home the next day for the tooth fairy to take at my house… WTF!?  She then sends a few friendly texts to me about it, telling me how she helped him pull it out ‘cuz it was so loose, and how he lost another one the day before so she wanted to give him more money than usual… but she’d pay me back.  Again… WTF!?  The texts were nice, friendly, and totally unnecessary… and its in my head!

I’m rambling tonight… sorry about that.  So much is in my head and I can’t seem to make head nor tails out of any of it.  She is never this friendly when shes with HIM… So are they not together?  Does it really matter?  I can’t do anything until she makes the first move… I’ve tried multiple times to let her know that I still want to save our marriage, and every time she unsympathetically shot me down!  Never again.  She has to make the first move.  She has to at least show me there is an opening and an interest on her part.  Until then, I hope and pray that she changes her mind and softens her heart towards me.