I was talking to my friend Scott the other day, and I mentioned how I had read every single advice column known to mankind about infidelity, divorce, separation, etc., and pretty much broke every cardinal rule there was in my quest to recover from the damage my ex did to me. I can laugh about it now, but I can see where most of this sage counseling would have made things a little easier on me. Problem is, I’m rarely in control of any of my emotions when I’m hurt. I figured I’d share my mishaps with my friends here so all the women out there who know what they should do, but still do the very worst things anyways will have some company.
There’s tons of sites, but I’m not going to quote from just one. Instead, I’ll pick out the ones that really, really were glaringly correct, and I equally glaringly blew them off anyways. :-)
INFIDELITY ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
And this is what Bird did: I completely agree that this would have been my best course of action. Instead, I wrote him emails, letters, blog posts, text messages, and slapped him with a PO order. I waited by the phone for him to call. I dropped everything and came running any time he crooked his finger. All said, the guy has a library of correspondence from me that he admits he never read.
2. Let them live with the natural consequences of their crappiness. Cheaters are really good at not taking responsibility. They pin the blame on you.
And this is what Bird did: Because I felt fate and consequence would take entirely too long, I moved the timelines I could control up a notch. I tanked a million dollar lawsuit we’d been a hair’s breath away from winning, because of one snide comment from Chef about pretending he loved me to get the money. One comment. One. :-) I turned off every utility that was in my name, and scheduled them to be off on the same day. I sent texts messages to his new girlfriend about embarrassing secrets he had. I called them both every mean name in the book. There’s more, but I think you get the jist. I was pissed.
3. Succeed. Go be awesome. You’ll enjoy that in its own right, but I promise you, it will get back to the cheater.
And this is what Bird did: I didn’t totally fail on this one, but it’s all relative if you think about it. Chef lost pretty much everything because of an addiction, so he didn’t set the bar to succeed all that high. Yes, my rent is paid, but I also live in the ghetto. He is unemployed, and I have a job, but it’s the same job I had before. I think where I really succeeded is that I learned to laugh again quicker, and he is still struggling to just get up each day.
4. Expand your world, make new friends and try new things.
And this is what Bird did: Especially at the beginning of the separation, I withdrew from anyone and anything. I hated that I seemed to not be able to think about anything or anyone but myself and how much this all had hurt me. I drank like a fish, mixing ambien with it at times, wrote mean posts, sobered up, pulled them down again, and cried, cried, cried. I could hear my anger in every word I said, and it made me feel even worse. Finally, after Bekkie put her foot down about booze, I began to address the emotions, live through them, and as they were tackled, I got the sense that things just might calm down. Still, it took a really long time for me bother with new friends or new hobbies. My world was really, really lonely.
5. Keep being the individual you were before you got in the relationship. When you give up aspects of yourself, you stop being the person your partner fell in love with.
And this is what Bird did: When you get married in your early twenties, and stay that way until your mid-forties, my guess is this advice isn’t all that good. In true form, I reverted back to a dork teen-ager that had been dumped by her first boyfriend. :-) Shall we call that a point for me? I’m still learning who I am, and that has been one of the few things about this whole crappy chapter of my life that I’m really enjoying. I’m a work in progress, but at least I’m progressing.
6. Don’t talk about relationship problems with other potential love interests. Common sense, right?
And this is what Bird did: And still does — talks to The Guy about Chef a lot. But I’m actively trying not to bring things up all the time. Or at least wait for him to ask before bringing it up. What can I say? I’m traumatized.
And this is what Bird did: Rubbed his nose in all of them. Maybe he thinks less of me for it, but I don’t really care.
8. Don’t cast insults at your ex or his affair partner. You are the victim, and as such, you maintain more dignity than either of them will ever have if you remain composed.
And this is what Bird did: I did not remain composed in any shape, form, or fashion; nor can I say I was in the least bit dignified. Once, I physically hit both of them in their/my living-room. I perceived smugness from them both, and reacted accordingly… I muddied the waters with my reactions, and when it was all said and done, I regretted almost everything I said and did all along the way.
These are just a tiny scattering of the many, many wisdoms I couldn’t seem to follow. So, to my fellow sisters on their own journeys through hell, my only advice would be
to not be all that hard on yourself even if you fail. If all of this didn’t hurt so badly, we could have all followed these truths with no problem. But when something strikes us to the very core of everything we’d built our worlds around, a bit of psychotic, extreme behavior is to be expected….and later, those are the episodes that make the best stories. :-)
- Infidelity: What to do after an affair (cnn.com)
- Quick Word from Bird (everyonehasastory.me)
- Stop Blaming the Victims of Infidelity (brokenbutstronger.wordpress.com)
- Recovering From Infidelity (conseillesrelations.wordpress.com)