Mindless and our oldest child leave early each morning. Mindless drops OC at school on his way into work. Today, he kissed me good-bye and told me how much he loves me, as he has done every morning in recent years. And, the thought that came into my mind was, “Why couldn’t you be this way, love me this way, before d-day?” When that thought came into my mind, I realized something. In the past, I obsessively questioned everything he did with me compared to what he did or did not do with an AP. Those thoughts sometimes still come to me, but I am no longer spending hours every day combing through every possible scenario in my mind, I am no longer consumed by those thoughts. Now, the majority of questions that come to my mind are focused on just our relationship before, during and after d-day.
When did this change happen? Honestly, not that long ago really. Going down the rabbit hole of questioning every detail was overpowering the first year. The second year he was away and we struggled through on FaceTime and with several visits to us as best we could. Mindless being away was exceptionally hard on all of us. But, also, being near my family again was a blessing I did not before see was missing and needed in our family’s life.
Mindless returned at the end of his year away, we had a few weeks before moving on to his next job. When we made our move to his newest job, I went even deeper into the rabbit hole of depression. I think this influenced my inability to stop obsessively thinking about every detail and question over and over and over again. I finally feel like I am coming out of that depression, slowly. And, as I am coming out of it, I realize that the questions are not possessing me as they once did. How did I get there?
Upon first D-day and certainly upon ultimate D-day, my mind was consumed by questions and thoughts. We spent hours every day going through question after question after question, detail upon detail upon detail. The period between first d-day and ultimate d-day was filled with trickle truth and lies. I do believe he wanted to move forward with me. I do believe he wanted our marriage. I do believe he wanted to stop his double life. I also believe him when he says he was a coward, he was afraid the truth would end us for sure, that he was still putting his self-interest above mine out of fear, not out of malice. However, because he continued his lies for those two months, because I could sense that all was not adding up, because he was acting with duplicity (still lying while outwardly treating me lovingly), my sense of safety was further eroded upon ultimate d-day. How could I ever trust that I knew all the details? How could I ever trust that he was putting my need for information above his own self-protection?
First, the polygraph helped A LOT. Still, polygraphs don’t answer questions about emotions. And, polygraphs only test what the examinee actually remembers. I believe at the time of each polygraph he had told me all he remembered. Does that mean he has remembered everything? No! We have gone over and over the details so many times. And, he continues to make himself available for polygraph whenever I desire, if ever I desire. It is a measure of safety to have it, to know it is on the table whenever I need, which is less and less as we continue forward, as his actions continue to match his words, as he shares any memory that emerges as it emerges (far and few between).
Second, I learned a lesson from Shawn on A Year After the Affair. Based on something she said, I learned how to put my negative thoughts and questions on hold for a bit, so I could just enjoy a moment or two in my life. It helped! It didn’t make them go away, but it allowed me a few moments of respite. I tried to increase the moment of respite a little bit more with each passing day.
Third, I do believe it happened without me even realizing it until today. I finally feel like I know all Mindless remembers and that he will share with me any new memory that comes his way. I know I can ask a question whenever I want, there is no time limit or prohibition on asking. But, I am all asked out, mostly. I just realized today, just today, that I have not been consumed by these questions of details for a little while. The thoughts are changing, the focus is changing, the questions are changing. Now they largely focus on us, on our relationship and I think that is a change for the better. Somehow, I’m not sure why, I feel more at peace with the details. I wonder if this blog is part of the reason why?