& why I am not any longer….
So, there is so much secrecy in the world. In fact, although I will publish this on my site, and it will go out to (I think 3) you via email, I am not going to publish in my normal fashion. Why? Well, mostly, I don’t want to embarrass my husband. It is a silly care since he obviously didn’t care about discretion way back then. Also, maybe there is some sort of fear that I will be judged, not just for what I chose to do, but also for airing my dirty laundry.
I am fairly sick of the elephant in the room.
The truth is the truth is the truth and this is it.
I made a friend, we quickly became “besties” way back in 2005. We took vacations together, our families were very intertwined. At some point in the deal my husband took on my friend as his girlfriend. It lasted many years. When it ended there was a time the gal and I were not friends. We decided to rekindle our friendship. Why? Therein lies the grit.
Okay. At the time it was devastating. I knew it was happening and wouldn’t face it. I was going to law school. I was away from the family. Not that I deserved it, by a long shot. I was just busy making, what I still believe is the single biggest mistake of my life. Getting $200,000, which is now $300,000, in debt banging my head against a brick wall that caused me a great deal of pain and self esteem damage. (please stop trying to make this a good thing….maybe someday the Goddess will shine her Sophian wisdom on it…it hasn’t happened yet, I remain hopeful)
Nothing would ever be the same again…for all sorts of terrible reasons.
Even when we moved away. Even though nobody ever said, “yes this happened”. Even though it stopped and it was clear it wasn’t happening. Things were different. Caustic. Prickly.
We got a phone call that confirmed that there was an affair….scab rips off again.
Somewhere along the line I had an experience where I prayed to have this burden of anger and hatred lifted off me. I prayed to forgive this woman who I thought was my best friend. I wanted my life back. I wanted to turn back time. I wanted to make it better for everyone. So I forgave her.
Really I did. Wholly and totally. I gave it up. I decided. God helped, for sure. Especially when she was in the form of a fat, black woman ala The Shack. One day I woke up, and as if by magic, it was gone.
We hung out for years. She and I went on vacations. I hoped she knew it was real because, in the end, I even had her and her new bough hanging out with me and my husband.
I am not stuck on monogamy. I am stuck on honesty.
The gal and I never really talked about what had gone on, except that somehow, there was this idea that the sex only happened a couple of times and that it had a certain casual quality. I didn’t ever want to hurt her, at least that is what I told myself. If I were in her shoes, it would be awkward and rotten and maybe thought of as mean to be browbeat into a confession.
In a moment of honesty (although wielded like a sword) my husband revealed the true extent of what happened. It was like a dam broke. I could finally breathe. A light went on and I could see things in glaring, stark reality. Nobody was hiding any more. It was done in such a filthy way that if there was any more to be spat, it would have been in that moment…I mean, why not?
When I confronted her about the extreme extent of the affair, she didn’t want to be known that way. Me seeing her in the light of it all made her uncomfortable, I suppose. She made a silly ultimatum that I unfriend someone on facebook, I didn’t comply, and that was it. I don’t even know if I feel sad about it. It just is. I feel apathetic.
So, why? Why would I even think of being friends with my husband’s girlfriend.
Well, I was trying to reclaim my life. I was grieving. I wanted my life and my friend and my husband back the way they used to be. It was misguided, I know. Yet, it was also one of the greatest learning experiences in my life. I now know that I can forgive almost anything. I know how forgiveness gives you relief. I know how to give it easily and without reserve. That is big. We all talk about forgiveness but when we give it, is the sin gone? Or do we remember…noting it down in the big book in our head where we make that sort of catalog, always at the tip of our memory. Getting rid of something totally is SO refreshing. When I was with her, I was not angry or spiteful. I loved this woman just the same…more maybe.
I also, learned, in the end to give it up.
That is, I learned that the end of a friendship doesn’t have to be ugly or terrible. It just can be. The problems with my marriage stemming from this period of our life are bigger than an affair. In getting myself healthy and whole I began to learn how to set boundaries. Real boundaries for myself clicked something in my head. In the end I decided to do a reset. That is, the light of truth had to be shown to all the hidden corners so the cobwebs could be swept out. In the glare of that honesty, people scatter. It can be harsh.
All of a sudden, I started loving myself.
That was the real shift. I realized that I was worth more than all of this. I didn’t want to live this way, in any way. The realization that I get to choose to have the energy in my life that I want was a miracle. I don’t have to be a victim. I don’t have to live like I deserve to be treated with disrespect of any kind.