The death of a dream: my personal hell after discovering my husband’s affair
posted by: Mile High Mamas
Trigger warning: This article discusses the aftermath of a spouse’s affair. A fantastic resource is After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful.
I have been reluctant to talk about my own personal hell for the last six months because it was and is so intensely personal. And devastating. And painful.
There are a lot of words to describe hell. I hope that you, dear reader, never get to experience any of them. No one, no NO ONE, deserves the hell my family and I have been through.
In the end I have decided to write about it- for my own healing and for anyone else who may be going through something similar.
Finding Out About the Affair
In June, I found out that my husband had been cheating on me for seven months. He had left me and our two young children multiple times for trysts with his girlfriend. When I found out, I wanted to make it work. I love the man. Just because people screw up doesn’t mean you can stop loving them. We had been together almost 13 years. We have 2 small children. We had a lot to lose.
I spent all summer and most of the fall trying to make it work. I failed. And when I say, I failed, I don’t want you to think that I blame myself for the affair or for events that caused the affair or for the hundreds of lies I was fed over the months. I don’t. I say I failed because, well, I did. WE did. WE failed.
You know what else? I was failed by someone else. I loved (and still love) him like no one else on the planet. He made me laugh, he comforted me, he understood me like no one else. He was my partner in life. And he chose to turn his back on all of that.
I have spent innumerable hours reading about affairs and recovery from affairs and how to recover a broken relationship. I have spent days crying uncontrollably and at the most inconvenient times. For five months, I have woken up every morning and thought to myself, “S#&@. Another day to get through” instead of what I have thought every morning for over 30 years, which is, “Hot d@&#! Another day to do awesome s#&@!”
My Depression from the Affair
I thought I was immune to depression and anxiety and panic attacks. I thought I could be cured with bike rides and runs and time outside and with my kids.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I have been unable to do what I do best: ride my bike hard. There have been weeks with little to no activity on my part. I have not slept. I don’t eat. I don’t drink enough water. I expend all of my energy making life normal for my kids and pretending my life is normal to anyone else. And by 7 p.m. every night, I am exhausted but yet I cannot sleep.
This year has rocked me to the core. To be betrayed over and over again by the person you thought you could trust the most in the world is something I hope never, ever happens to you. No one deserves that depth of hell. I have wanted to give up on us so many times, but I couldn’t. How can you when your love is still fierce?
Eventually though, even I can be worn down and divorce papers were filed. Once again, I hoped that life would get easier. It did not. Instead, it sent me in to another round of panic attacks and anxiety. I never like to give up. It is not in my stubborn nature to admit defeat.
I feel that I have been defeated. It is impossible for me to reconcile our 12 very happy years together, the joyous births of our children, the many adventures we went on, even our wedding day with…THIS. THIS cannot be real. THIS was not in the plans. THIS is not what I have spent years training for.
I now find myself alone and more depressed than I have ever been. To be fair, I am not alone. I am far, far from alone. I have an amazing community of friends and family and they never let me down. But being surrounded in love and support doesn’t lessen the pain, which is a sad realization. It just makes it slightly easier to handle.
I am rational enough to know that this, too, will pass. It just won’t pass quickly enough or with the ending I so desperately wanted and worked for.
If you are in a similar situation, message me. I won’t have any answers for you (I don’t even have answers for myself) but we can drink a virtual glass of wine in solidarity.
If you are a cheater, get help- serious, intensive help. Be honest with yourself and others. Right. Now. Face yourself in the mirror and make a promise to be a better person.
And if you are the other woman (or man), stop. Just stop. I know that you can probably justify your actions to yourself a million different ways, but in reality, you are really, deeply hurting someone else and possibly an entire family. Cut it off and do it with a clear conscience. No one deserves the pain you are causing, even if you have convinced yourself that it will all work out in the end. Less than 1% of cheaters end up with their affairs. The odds are not good for you either way- you are tearing apart someone else’s life AND you will probably lose your lover. Cut your losses and get out.
Goodbye, man that I loved. I will never stop missing you.
Eryn is an outdoor-loving Colorado mom of two beautiful children. Be sure to read her follow-up article One Year Later: The Aftermath of My Husband’s Affair, When You Meet the Other Woman: A Strange Kind of Sisterhood, and My husband’s affair: how I’m doing seven years later. You can find her @BonedaleBetty. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.