I need to talk. Well, write.
Something happened today that wasn’t meant to be upsetting … but as it turns out … was VERY UPSETTING.
So… today is going to be a story-time post with no links.
Here’s what you need to know, going in…
Twenty-two years ago, while married to my first husband, I had a short affair that resulted in one visit to a motel. I confessed to my (then) husband that night.
The stories – the one’s about me, him, and our marriage – are ALL OVER this blog. Feel free to go searching, if you want the details.
I was thoroughly disgusted with myself and devastated at the bomb I dropped on my family. Everything went to hell.
Afterwards, I had an emotional crash so large that I literally wasn’t in my right mind.
Also, to be clear, DURING. But I digress.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I would bring this up, years after the fact, in an entirely different marriage, and another country away from the other man (OM) and anything/ everything that would remind me of that horrible time in my life?
Well… lemme tell ya…
A half hour ago, I get a text from my husband: “Why is OM showing up on my [FB] timeline?”
Simple question. Maybe a simple answer. Let’s see… here’s what you need to know…
- The affair was with a co-worker
- My closest friend worked there, too
- When I left, they still worked together
- All these years later, they are still friends
- Their birthdays are on the same exact day – yay, I get to remember that every year.
- She is now retired and lives nowhere near him or me.
- She and my husband are friends on FB but have never met.
- I told my husband all about everything before we even met in person, including the OM’s name.
- I blocked OM on FB for years, through many incarnations (quit, start up again, quit, start up, etc.). The last time I re-joined Facebook (Dec, 2014) I decided that 15 years was long enough to be worried and didn’t block him. I have had no problems since.
Today, Facebook’s algorithm decided to show my husband that OM wrote a birthday message to my friend.
Therefore, the question from my husband.
Therefore, 0M is now blocked again.
Here’s what I want to say about this… and a few other things…
I’m gonna be brutally honest and not mince words:
If you think that having an affair will make you feel, “More alive,” more passion for your marriage, better about yourself, or any other combination of whatever bullshit you say to make it all okay, LISTEN TO ME!
IT’S ALL A LIE!
A little louder for those in the back…
IT’S ALL A LIE!
And if you’re UNlucky, like me, twenty-fucking-two years later, you will have to re-live the trauma…
Which is why I’m shaking, sitting at my computer 4,000 miles away from OM, our workplace, the motel and any reminders I have of the whole disgusting situation.
My ex-husband is dead, and God knows we talked all of it through until we were shells of the people we were before.
Yes, we forgave each other for our unfaithfulness… his many affairs and my one that was more than enough … but ya know… sometimes – most of the time – it’s hard to forget.
That’s point two: It will always be a part of you. Maybe way in the back… but it’s there. You cheated.
If you reconcile your marriage, it will always be in the back of your partner’s mind, too. Even if they forgive you. Even if they *almost-forget* because it’s been many good years. Somewhere, it lives. YOU CHEATED. <<< This is not to say that good marriages can’t survive and thrive after infidelity… but… I suspect (with only anecdotal-type knowledge) that many, perhaps most, do not.
When I told my second husband about it all, he had to do some rising above and forgiving, too. He had to believe I’d be faithful to him. I assured him I would. I’d never cheated before that time in year 18 of my first marriage and I had (and have) no desire to EVER put myself in that gawd-awful situation again. Once was enough to scare me straight. I hated myself so much I can’t believe I didn’t die like the worm I thought I was.
I’m sure it wasn’t easy for my husband to let it all go – but he did. I’m not the same person I was. He knows this.
Today, as he was sitting outside having a cig … and that message from FB caught his eye…
He was just making sure. Everything’s okay, right? There’s no *reason* for me to worry, right?
The affair, though short, was life-changing and not in a good way.
It is something I’ve carried with me… my late ex-husband carried with him… and my husband will carry with him…
And my children… my family… my friends…
Needless to say, if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t. Duh.
But afterwards, I’d do that differently, too. I wouldn’t tell ANYONE who doesn’t need to know.
That ship has obviously sailed.
And so, here I sit, remembering that one time I thought it would be a good idea to sleep with that guy I worked with and ruined my life. Lost my job. Lost my family. Lost my integrity.
Still rebuilding. All these years later.
I *will* be okay. I *will* move forward. I *won’t* beat myself up.
But I *am* shaking my head. God, what a tangled mess I made. Still pulling apart threads.
I will continue to use this blow horn of a mouth to say that extramarital affairs are VERY BAD business indeed.
And sometimes, even if you do everything to heal, much of it very right, it can come back to bite you in the ass.
I am a living example.