Monday, 25 November 2013

Infidelity is a bitch!

It's taken me a while to understand why my divorce was not easy or why it took me longer to 'get over' it than people expected it to. Well one, because they have no idea what I went through. And two because there is little that lacerates the mind, body and soul like the breaking of trust.

When two people come together with the express purpose of being committed exclusively to each other, infidelity strikes hard and deep. It makes the person cheated upon doubt everything about themselves. Their bodies, their personalities, their entire beings. The first thing that happens is you wonder what you did wrong. But you didn't. You did nothing wrong. You did not go out of your relationship willingly looking for another partner. No matter how fat you are, no matter if your sex life sucked, no matter if you're the smartest pea in the pod or the ugliest thing that walked. You did nothing wrong. You are responsible for your relationship, not your partner's choice to cheat on you.

Being cheated upon breaks you like little else can. It makes you doubt every moment of your relationship, not only with the person who did it but for other's that come in the future. It is not the death of my marriage that got me as much as my loss of faith and trust in men. To be hurt in that way takes a lot out of you. It doesn't help that people expect you to get over it or to be flippant about it. Or that they say it's not a big deal, or that it made it easier for you to leave the man. It is a big deal. And it doesn't make it any easier to walk out on your relationship. It makes you sit on the toilet floor and cry for hours. That's the truth and the sooner you accept it the better.

Yet I have met in the last year, men, who have helped my process of healing to begin. Men who have demonstrated extreme kindness and thoughtfulness. Men who have walked away from temptation. Men who have acknowledged the deep pain infidelity can inflict.

It's a long way off yet but I can see the beginnings of the scab on my wound. I'm still too scared to be in a relationship but I feel like I may be able to trust again. To give freely. To not look over my shoulder at every turn of a relationship. I have learned to raise my standard and have found men who meet the new standard. The scars years of infidelity left on me may never heal completely, yet I hope they won't overshadow my view on love and relationships either.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

On what "would have been" my 6th wedding anniversary

The 1st of November kind of creeped up on me this time. The day was going just as planned when suddenly, mid-afternoon, I remembered it was the 1st. The mood steadily went downhill from there. Every few hours I would glance at the clock and think of what I was doing at that time of day six years ago.

While I indulged in my pity fest, going through in excruciating detail my actions and thoughts from that day, my mind started drifting to my other anniversaries. Year 2008, 1st of November my ex-MIL came to our place. And stayed. Not a fun beginning to our married life. The second anniversary was a good one. We went to La Ronde in Montreal and pretended to overlook the deep irreparable fissures that had already permeated our marriage. Roll over to the third, with baby in tow, we fought and stayed home. The fourth was marked by a perfunctory dinner. The tasteless food was an apt reflection of the state of our relationship by then. Most people including my family forgot to wish us. It was our last anniversary.

Last year would have been our fifth anniversary. We'd filed for divorce and were in two separate states. It brought an onslaught of misery and guilt for me. I chose to get drunk and not tell anyone.

This year, it dawned on me that the pain and grief had reduced. On my "would have been" 6th wedding anniversary, I was a single mother to a 3 year old munchkin who means the world to me, I was working, I was spending the day at the parlour purely for myself and not for a man who would barely notice me and I was preparing for my first international holiday on my own steam. Life really wasn't that bad at all. It sure beat getting dressed for a meal with a man who wouldn't bother to bathe or shave. It was a far sight better than the heavy silences and bitter arguments that marked most of our marriage. Or the obligatory sex that neither of us enjoyed anymore.

It made me realize that I may not be married anymore. I may not have an anniversary to celebrate. But I have so much more. I celebrate my son, who is my universe. I celebrate myself and who I have become. I celebrate my life, for it is mine, to love, to make my own decisions, to follow them through and to head off with my friends for the adventure of a lifetime.

Hopefully over the years the pain will vanish altogether. Sometime in the future, the 1st of November may hold no significance at all for me anymore. But till then, whenever the day rolls by, I will remind myself of all the things I gained from letting my marriage go. I will mark this day, from now it is my anniversary with myself. With my freedom. With happiness.