I started graduate school 6 months after d-day. Counselor Troi and MC were my biggest supporters in this idea. I spent my first class making sure every paper, every assignment was perfect. I threw myself into that class to such a degree that I decided I needed to let go of my position on the PTO. School was going well, I had less time to ruminate, but I was still not doing well when not thinking about my school work.
My best friend was upset with me for withdrawing from our school community. She became sick with a cold and was mad at me for not checking in on her. I apologized, explaining I had become somewhat self-focused with school and dealing with everything going on in my life. I told her I had fallen short on being a friend, and was really sorry for that. I hoped she could understand that I had needed some time to adjust to my new reality. She didn’t. She still pulled away from our friendship. I did wonder if this was her way of ending the friendship after I had confided in her about some of what was going on with MC and me. She cancelled plans for our joint family ski vacation, was always too busy when I would suggest coffee or tea and never again asked me for a ride anywhere. I missed my friend.
I ended-up sharing with two other women friends and I am so glad I did share with them a little bit of what was going on. They were so supportive of me and of seeing all the changes MC was making. One friend always made me laugh, she was such a free and healing spirit. The other friend was also a G-d send who happened to know a couple from the previous place they lived who had been through something similar. She put us in touch. It was this couple that introduced us to Affair Recovery.
MC continued with his work of becoming a safer partner, someone who was invested in our relationship and our family. A lot of this year was focusing on helping me through the trauma and his learning empathy. As we made our way forward, his year away was looming in front of me, in front of us. I was so scared on the one hand, but so very ready to live near my family for a whole year.
We moved back to the US. MC was with us for a few weeks before departing overseas. He had been talking about new wedding bands, since I had refused to wear my old rings since d-day. Here he was about to leave for a year and he had not even looked at rings, didn’t really seem to care that I wasn’t wearing a ring with him going overseas. I was disappointed. I felt bad for feeling bad about this. He asked me to drop him at the mall. I asked him to not get wedding bands because I wanted to pick those out together, maybe instead just something like a “promise” ring just so I could wear something that was meaningful and special and not tainted when I was ready. All he heard is that I was disappointed in no new wedding bands. He spent three hours at the jewelry store, traded in our old rings, and picked us out new wedding bands. The bands arrived a few weeks later.
I had hoped that he would have had a simple, but special exchange planned, with meaningful words, perhaps at a park or arranging with a Rabbi who would oversee an interfaith vow exchange. I had these images in my head of something extremely small, simple, with our kids by our sides, but meaningful and special. He had nothing, he just gave me the ring and said, “I hope you like it.” Again, I was disappointed. At this point, he decided we should go ahead and write vows to repeat to each other. We took about 30 minutes to do so, with the kids fighting in the background, we exchanged vows, standing in front of a tv set at our temporary lodging. I was mad at myself for having expectations. I was mad at him for not meeting my expectations. We clearly still had such problems communicating with each other and I felt disappointed, but so mad at myself for feeling disappointed.