After my husband’s affair, I became all too familiar with several terms that those of us in the same ‘club’ know very well. Terms like ‘trickle truth’, ‘hysterical bonding’, ‘triggers’…I would love to go back to the days when those words would have just been words, words with no familiar and personal meaning.
Triggers…that is probably what I wrestle with most at the moment. We are 2 and 1/2 years out from his affair and about 9 months since my husband was finally completely honest ( to the best of my knowledge ) about everything that happened. I thought that maybe the triggers would start to decrease in number and frequency. But it seems like, although they still come in waves, they are getting worse.
My husband thinks reading blogs and self-help books for adultery makes things worse for me. In a way, he’s right. I read about dealing with his affair, and I’m triggered. I read blogs posted by others who are in the same boat – I’m triggered. But what my husband DOESN’T understand is that avoiding these things wouldn’t stop the triggers. They are everywhere, they are constant, and they are unwelcome and vicious. I can’t even go to church without being triggered. It’s RIDICULOUS.
So…what to do? Yeah, I try to take my thoughts captive, think about other things, all that stuff. But you know what? I’m EXHAUSTED. I’m just really tired of being triggered! Maybe that sounds stupid. It feels stupid to me that I struggle with this so much! But whatever the secret is to beating the triggers, I can tell you I haven’t figured it out yet. And some days I am filled with despair thinking that this is just never going to get better.
I didn’t want to be a member of this ‘club’. I know none of us did. I don’t want to speak this language! I want to hit the rewind button on my marriage and go back to where the flirtation between my husband and the OW first started…only this time he realizes that he’s treading on dangerous water and puts a stop to it. He realizes he’s playing with fire, and he doesn’t want to get burned. He realizes he loves his wife and family and doesn’t want to destroy what he claims to love so dearly.
But we don’t get to hit the rewind button. We don’t get to delete crap like this. We don’t get do-overs in marriage. If there was only some way to make potential unfaithful spouses realize what they are sacrificing when they choose to cheat…if only they could see the wreckage and the aftermath of their selfish, self-serving choices BEFORE they insert their genitals where they don’t belong. I could ‘if only’ until I’m blue in the face. But it’s irrelevant. The damage is done. And now we pick up the shattered pieces and try to fix the mess our unfaithful spouses created.
Or we don’t.