A Brotherhood/Sisterhood .

I was just reading a post from @betrayedAug3118 on Twitter and all of the responses from beautiful, caring, compassionate, online friends and all of a sudden my mind pictured all of us as one. We were all squished together I guess in a mass of feelings and emotions and empathy and quite frankly Love.

We don’t “know” each other really. Not in a physical/visual sense anyway. We all met online for the same unfortunate, terrible, avoidable reason. INFIDELITY.

I could feel the support that was coming her way as she poured out her heart to her online tribe. Her struggles, her doubts, her heartache, all of it being validated by those that can relate.

I’m not sure how people did it before the internet. Yes, they were probably tougher, maybe more resilient, but they were still human. Did they suck it up? Was their support system bigger, stronger?

I doubt it. I think they just endured in their brokenness. They got up each morning and got ready for their day just like all of us. They slogged through whatever it was they had to do, and maybe they had someone to bounce things off of, but nothing like what we have now. We literally have countries if not continents listening to us.

We’re all going through something, and now we have so many more caring people who have “been there-done that” and can offer something worthwhile, even if it’s just a virtual ((hug)). I speak for me when I say I think that showing support for other’s has been as important to my healing as the support I have received.

I for one am so grateful for the online support of all of my tribe. I’m not sure where I’d be without you all. I would be alive, but I’m not so sure I’d be living.

We will persevere.

We will thrive.

I thank you all for everything you’ve given me and taught me. You know who you are.

We will make it through to the other side together, as a family.

An unorthodox family, but a family all the same. XOXO

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A Mother’s crazy love.

When my wife left, she said she was starting her new life. If you read my first post you’ll remember when I asked her if there was someone else, she said “Jesus”.

Jesus turned out to be a fifty year old, thrice married, deadbeat “dad” who has been taken to small claims court a dozen times for non-payment, a spousal abuse charge on his record, and was arrested for theft from his retail job on the day she left.

He is a self employed “life coach” and full time scum bag.

Any hoo, when she left she had no qualms of leaving her sixteen year old son behind to be raised by the heathen writing this.

Her two closest friends,(really her only friends) who are women, confided something with me. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that she left our son. I could see it in their eyes that they truly couldn’t fathom doing that as a mother. One told me if she was in the same situation, I would be the one leaving the house and she would stay with the child.

In hindsight, I always noticed she never seemed to have that maternal bond that my sister or her sisters and female friends had with their kids. I just made up for it and I’ve always been close and bonded with my kids.

She sees our son every other weekend. I would lose my mind if that’s all I saw him. She has no contact with our older two because they chose that. He’s her only link to what she had for 32 yrs as a wife and 25 years as a Mom.

We got some snow this weekend and she chose not to come get him on Saturday or Sunday because of it. She’s got an all wheel drive vehicle. She knows how to drive in snow. Because of MLK day he was out of school today, so she picks him up at 1:00 p.m. and returned him at 4:00 p.m. She left a note for me telling me to remove her name from the school contact list as she keeps getting mail from them.

I guess if I have a question for You Moms or Psychiatrists out there it’s this. Does this sound like a Narcissist, a sociopath, a mental illness, or just a selfish, terrible person who has no regard for anyone except herself? Or all the above.

There is definitely a textbook case of limerence going on also so that should be fun for her when that fog clears.

I had to write this as I worked 12 hrs today only to be greeted by that note. Anxiety is still showing it’s ugly fucking face whenever she’s involved.

At least my son’s home again.

My Happy Place

I was reading another blog tonight (shout-out to Walking TheJourney/ Dawn_ByTheCreek), and she was talking about her visits to Gettysburg, and it basically being her happy place.

Her description of how she can think there and how she can breathe there, made me realize that my running is my happy place.

First a little back story. I’ve been plagued with lower back issues in my past, to the point of emergency room visits, missed work, and walking with a cane for a short time. It runs in my family and it’s no fun. My mornings were started with being careful getting out of bed, and the rest of the day was pretty much the same. I had been running for many years but I have a physical job so when my back kept going out, I had to choose either to work or run, but I couldn’t do both as my back just couldn’t take the pounding. Of course I had a family to support so the running stopped. My back continued to go out and I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, otherwise known as old age, and I also have arthritis in my lower lumbar.

I had not run for a few years and put on some weight that I was not proud of but just decided that it was something that was unavoidable (wrong).

When D-Day happened, it was about a week later when I realized that I was waking up without back pain. It made no sense but I took it as a sign to get off my ass and get running again. I felt I had nothing to lose except the weight but I’m not going to lie, I was scared. Scared of my back going out and literally relying on my sixteen year old son to help me in and out of bed or the car since his mother had left.

I started on the treadmill as it was January and I live in the upper Midwest. As most of those who have been betrayed can attest, the weight loss came quickly. I lost forty pounds in about three months. Between loss of appetite and anxiety brought on by the betrayal, it was not the healthiest way to lose the weight but it worked. I got down under my High School weight. I started to force myself to eat and I changed to a healthier diet also. As soon as the weather got a tad warmer, I took to the roads. And that is where I found my happy place.

I live in the country so I have the advantage of not having to deal with traffic or the stops and starts of traffic lights and intersections. With that being said, I searched out a place to run that was unfamiliar and perhaps I could meet someone who also loved to run but wanted a running buddy.

Seven miles from my house was a greenway that I had run on in the past, but it was new so it was very short and disappointing. I revisited it one day hoping for improvements, and was thrilled to find out it was very much improved and was now a five mile loop once I became familiar with it.

I now know it like the back of my hand and it has been my retreat from the demons of anxiety when they come to visit. It seems like they can’t keep up with me when I’m out there, and their voices become drowned out by my steady breaths and footfalls. They don’t visit as much anymore. I think they’re getting the hint that they’ve worn out their welcome.

I like to look back on that day, damn near a year ago, when my back pain went away and think that just maybe God looked down and saw my anguish and how lost I was and said “He’s got a lot going on right now, I need to lighten his load a little bit”. Either way, I thank him every day for giving me another chance at running and at life.

I hope you all find your happy place. That place where you feel most at peace. I have been fortunate enough to have found a couple of them this year. My new church and my running trail and of course the time I spend with my children and family. I have found new friends at church, but I’m still searching for that running buddy.

Maybe one of these days.

Purging the clutter and memories.

Tonight I decided to clear off a bookcase in my sons room that has been there for years. Both of my sons shared this room, so there’s a mix of both of these young men’s lives on the shelves.

My older son excelled in all sports, but especially golf and all of the plaques and ribbons and a lot of his trophies are on these shelves. I started remembering walking the numerous golf courses while he played. Miles and miles of walking watching him set school records. A lot were solo walks, others with his Mom. We were so proud of him. We would walk hand in hand watching him. He resembles her.

My youngest son runs cross country and his awards and ribbons are also on there. We would go to his meets and cheer him on, as a couple. Parents who were proud of their son who may not have the athletic talents of his older sibling, but always finished and never quit.

I was also boxing up the books. Books that harkened back to their childhood. Books that we both read to them as parents do.

These memories of being a couple and just loving our kids is the one thing I can truly hold onto and know we did right.

I never dreamed it would turn out the way it did. With her leaving us for someone else. She took away our family stability, but she can’t take the memories.

Every corner of this house is a memory. We built it together. It’s on my family’s ground, but I don’t think I can stay. It seems like it’s part of us, interwoven with the laughter and the birthday parties, and the family get togethers. But if I’m to move on, I don’t see how I can with the constant reminders of us that are here in these walls.

Tonight was another reminder that, although I’ve come a long way, this healing road I’m on is still stretching out before me, with no end in sight.

My family has always been my #1 priority. I’m fiercely loyal. I was always the “Mama bear” when it came to anyone screwing with any of them. I’m still that way, just one short.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know the past holds many beautiful memories. And I’m thankful for that.

Her legacy.

When my wife made the decision to leave myself and our son, there was something I had to tell her. It was something that was painfully obvious to me and I don’t think I’m wrong.

In her family’s history, there was never a case of infidelity. Not that I ever heard anyway. There was also an extremely low, almost nonexistent divorce rate. There was long marriages filled with lots of kids and grandchildren.

I could see that what she was doing would be her legacy. They might remember her beautiful smile, or how time had been kind to her in the looks department. They will see her children and think that they turned out great. But the first thing they are going to remember, the first thing that will pop into their minds, is the fact that she cheated on her husband and chose to stay with her affair partner.

Her family has made it quite clear that he is NOT to be brought to any family functions. He is not welcome and that she has made this her new normal.

I have no idea how she will handle this going forward, nor do I care. I will never forget the look in her eyes when I was explaining all this to her the night she made her decision. Her eyes were darting back and forth as she contemplated what she was embarking on. Her normally beautiful eyes almost seemed to have scales over them as I tried in vain to construe what she would be remembered for. I wasn’t trying to be mean. I honestly believe it will be her legacy.

And to be quite honest, as much pain as she has caused me and with a tear running down my cheek right now, it makes my heart ache for her.

She was so much more than this.

Comparisons

After the betrayal, a very good friend who has stuck with me through all of it shared a dream he had.

But first a little back story.

I have another friend who in my opinion has seen more heartache by the age of fifty, than most of us will ever see in our lives. His firstborn child is severely handicapped and although his daughter is twenty five, she functions at a toddlers age. His first wife who is the child’s mother, died at 39 from breast cancer, leaving him with his daughter and a son who is younger. He remarried and on his wedding day his only son was killed in a car crash. His now current wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but after a double mastectomy, seems to be doing great.

I remember him telling me at both funerals that he was just grateful that the Lord gave him the time that he had with them. Although he seems fine, he self medicates with alcohol to, I believe, drown out the demons and sorrows that he deals with on a daily basis. I could be wrong about the inner feelings he has as we all tend to put ourselves in other’s positions. I am not wrong however about the alcohol abuse. I grew up with an alcoholic father so I know what I know.

Now, back to my other friend.

He sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Iraq so he has had his own hurdles to get over. He has seizures and headaches and memory lapses and a host of other maladies that come with TBI. He writes down his dreams for his own interpretations later. He shared a dream he had about our other friend.

In the dream, the friend told him “what I wouldn’t give to go back to 1995 and have my only problem being my wife leaving me”.

He told me that this dream was meant for him and would I please receive it in the spirit in which it was shared. I did. I’ve always used my friend with all the losses as a model for thankfulness and gratitude in the face of challenges. There aren’t a lot of people like him in the world that I’ve seen.

With all that being said, I still see the betrayal and family abandonment in the same context as a death. It is the death of someone I loved for over 35 years. The death of who I thought she was and the death of the mother my children thought they had.

She has hurt us beyond comprehension with her actions, but I still thank God that she gave me the children I have and the years of happy memories we all still remember.

Hopefully, as the years pass, and all of our lives progress, we can create new memories for not only us, but for those yet to come.

Ambushed

I was listening to a podcast today, and a young woman went through a horrific ordeal. Her dad, who was a former Marine and served in Vietnam told her “You were ambushed once, it will never happen again”. He proceeded to teach her how to protect herself so she wouldn’t fall prey to anyone again.

I’ve always used the word blindsided when speaking of the betrayal that my wife subjected our family to. I believe that “ambushed ” might be a better term.

The amount of deceit and thought and overall work that went into the year long affair goes beyond simple betrayal. It’s most definitely an ambush. I went from thinking we were happily married to doubled over in pain in a matter of hours.

When I heard her say the phrase “you were ambushed once, it won’t happen again”, I thought of Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.

I will never again allow myself to be put in that situation. I’m also going to teach my children how not to be so co-dependent that you become paralyzed when your significant other decides to become something that you would never have guessed they could become.

I’m not going through the next chapter of my life with blinders on. I will embrace the chance to love again, but I won’t be so blind to the fact that people make horrible choices. Selfish, life changing choices and you have to be prepared for anything.

When life throws an ambush your way, you had better learn from it. You train, adapt, become more aware and still retain the most beautiful aspect of human life, Love.