Sam Tries Being Grateful… and Doesn’t Succeed 

February 2015

Gratitude. That was the topic of yesterday’s post on one of my favorite blogs. If they keep this shit up it’s going to change to formerly favorite blog. The article shook me up for some reason. I was reading it with tears running down my cheeks. I know I’m in a bad place right now and I don’t know how to get out of it. I feel like everyone is against me. They’re all convinced I’m the bad guy and Zack is a saint and they are all trying to get him to leave me. Me. The person who has eaten copious amounts of shit, pushed down all my feelings, moved 20 hours closer to my husband’s whore in support of his job, and eaten the damn show lettuce so my husband wouldn’t be alone in eating it.

So let’s get started. Here is what they say about the benefits of having a grateful attitude: These researchers are finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

Well doesn’t that all sound delightful? Sign me up!

And this is what one leading researcher has to say about the effects of gratitude:
1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions. Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly.

He goes on to talk about how we like newness. That explains some of those people who are always wondering if they will ever be happy. By being grateful for whatever it is you keep that feeling of newness alive. He believes it makes you more of a participant in your life instead of a spectator. OK, good to know information.

2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. There’s… evidence… showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

This makes sense: You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Those are very different ways of relating to the world… research… has suggested that people who have high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy.

I’m not sure I completely agree. I think you can be grateful and envious at the same time. As in I’m grateful I have two healthy children. But I always wanted 4 and it can still sometimes sting when others seem to get pregnant and gestate so easily. I also think it’s very easy to be grateful when you have everything you want.

3. Grateful people are more stress resistant. There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. … gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.

I believe his belief is bullshit.

4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.

Blah, blah, blah. We’re all entwined. People see worth and value in you and so now you do, too. Terrific.

So how do we get to this enlightened stage of constant gratitude for every shit thing that happens? Let’s see what the good doctor has to say about that!

At a time such as this it’s hard to see positive forces when pain and other obstacles are blaring and our fears are welling up inside. When this happens we feel stuck.

The folks at Unstuck.com say that this is a precisely when it’s a good time to be grateful. Not grateful for what has us stuck, but appreciating what doesn’t.

Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen panic, and could open up our thinking to new solutions.

… when a crisis strikes, not only will a grateful attitude help – it is essential – and is when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life…

In these instances gratitude will not necessarily come easy, nor naturally, and Emmons believes that it is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful.

“We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy…

But being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances…”

Oh, ok. So then I’m very thankful my husband cheated on me. I’m thankful his entire family is still in contact with her and act as though she did nothing wrong. I’m thankful his sister begs him to leave me and tells him he deserves so much better. I’m thankful his supposed best friend has been feeding him information about this page, thereby sending him to a psych ward. I’m thankful that after promising my kids a pool in exchange for decimating their lives our yard will remain pristine and pool free. I’m thankful for moving 2000 miles away from all of my friends and activities so that we could be so much closer to his whore. I’m thankful that I no longer have anything like PTA, Bunko, or friends to occupy my time. Gives me so much more time to dwell on my gratefulness for my husband’s affair and his family’s betrayal. Hell, I’m even thankful he’s probably fucking around with her again because at least he’s happy! Oh, and don’t forget, I’m so grateful he threw me under the bus to everyone. He must really be secure in my love for him to be able to completely disregard me and any of my feelings in order to trash me to everyone. Wow! So fucking much to be grateful for!

The article then goes on to talk about remembering the bad. Well I’ve got that one in the bag!

Gratitude may be helpful for those who have experienced infidelity as research indicates that gratitude can help us cope with crisis.

“Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals. The contrast between suffering and redemption serves as the basis for one of my tips for practicing gratitude: remember the bad.

It works this way: Think of the worst times in your life, your sorrows, your losses, your sadness—and then remember that here you are, able to remember them, that you made it through the worst times of your life, you got through the trauma, you got through the trial, you endured the temptation, you survived the bad relationship, you’re making your way out of the dark.

Remember the bad things, then look to see where you are now.

Remembering the bad can help us to appreciate the good.

We know that gratitude enhances happiness, but why? Gratitude maximizes happiness in multiple ways, and one reason is that it helps us reframe memories of unpleasant events in a way that decreases their unpleasant emotional impact. This implies that grateful coping entails looking for positive consequences of negative events. For example, grateful coping might involve seeing how a stressful event has shaped who we are today and has prompted us to reevaluate what is really important in life.”

I am not on board with any of this. I’ve had bad things happen. I remember taking some sort of stress level quiz my freshman year of college. I had several major ones, including 2 friends dying. I don’t look back on that time in my life and think about how it shaped me. I did think to myself, “Wow- I’m stronger than I thought,” once or twice. It was good to know I could endure. But that was then and this is now. I was 17, 18 years old and had my entire life in front of me back then. I’m 45, middle aged. My life is probably half over. I have good longevity genes but I eat a lot of processed crap and drink too much diet Coke.

I can look back on all my miscarriages and say the same thing pretty much. I don’t think about it or how it shaped me. The few thoughts I have on the subject are as follows: I endured. I didn’t let myself get bitter. I tried to handle myself with grace.

But I’m not thankful T and S died. I’m not thankful I went through multiple pregnancy losses. I survived. I did what needed to be done. But I was never grateful for the struggle.

Finally, there are tips to help put all this gratefulness into action. I must learn to “reframe this experience using the language of thankfulness.” Uh huh.

What lessons did the experience teach me?

Um, that my husband is capable of lying to me and cheating on me. That his family condones his whore and her whoreish actions. That his sister wants him to leave me because she thinks he deserves so much better than me. That his best friend is out there stirring up trouble and feeding him information behind my back. That my husband will always throw me under the bus. That he will never take into account my feelings before everyone else’s. There could be more but I think that’s enough for now.

Can I find ways to be thankful for what happened to me now even though I was not at the time it happened?

That would be a big fat no. I suppose I could say at least now I know.

What ability did the experience draw out of me that surprised me?

I’m surprised at how angry I am. I’m surprised that I have finally snapped. I’m surprised I’m no longer willing to give second chances and that I truly want to destroy people. I’m surprised at how completely unforgiving I feel.

How am I now more the person I want to be because of it?

I’m not. I’m not nearly as nice. I’m not willing to overlook all the betrayals to keep the peace. I feel lost and like there is no hope. I don’t want to go on most days. If not for my kids I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. I don’t feel like there’s anything left. Death is coming for me and I surrender.

Have my negative feelings about the experience limited or prevented my ability to feel gratitude in the time since it occurred?

I truly don’t know. I think this move has affected me a great deal as well, so not only am I dealing with his affair, which I thought was pretty much behind us, I’m dealing with this upheaval. When I think back on it the timeline was basically this:
May ’13- half hearted, false confession
June ’13- she blocks me, I confront him, he tells me he doesn’t know if he loves me and threatens divorce if I won’t leave it alone
June ’13-August ’13- trying to win my husband back
August ’13- find out while I’ve been trying to win him back he’s been fucking around with the whore all summer. I’m told they really really like each other and that they’ve talked about sex and how much they love each other and how much they want to be together. Also told that while he’s willing to toss me aside he’s not willing to lose his kids.
August ’13- begin to rebuild and repair our marriage
September or October ’13- start hearing rumblings about him going to our new state
October ’13- find out he was planning on marrying the whore
November and December ’13- more talk about our new state
January ’14- job offered
July ’14- we move
December ’14-January ’15- he’s busy throwing me under the bus

In less than a year I’ve found out my husband was cheating on me, lying to me, planning to marry someone else all the while telling others how happy she made him and how miserable I made him, and moved 2000 miles across the country, uprooting my life and my kids’ lives. I’m also now about 20 hours closer to the whore. I’d say that’s a lot of change and upheaval so pardon the fuck out of me if it’s taking me more than a day or two to adjust.

Has the experience removed a personal obstacle that previously prevented me from feeling grateful?

No.

Present Day Sam Says: I would add to that timeline:

February ’15- still busy throwing me under the bus

February ’15-June ’15- dealing with his supposed anxiety attacks, crying spells, and drinking. Made appointments for him, attended therapy sessions with him

June ’15- unbeknownst to me he starts sending Harley money, buys her and her daughter new phones after her husband kicks them off his plan

July ’15- he quits therapy and unbeknownst to me hooks up with Harley

August ’15- I find out he’s having an affair with Harley once again; he cuts off almost all financial aid to me and the kids

September ’15- find out he and Harley are engaged

December ’15- find out he’s been showing her naked pictures of me

February ’16- he moves out of the house and out of the state, quits his job without saying a word

June ’16- resigns his new job and stops sending money

July ’16- kids and I move 600 miles away in with my mom

It’s been a rough three years. Lots of upheaval. Everyone says it will get better. It keeps getting worse.

I’m still having a huge problem with this gratitude thing.

Good Day/Bad Day Kind Of Day

The other day was a mixed bag of good news mixed in with bad news. On the good news front I got a call from the person who does the billing at my lawyer’s office. I finally sent off my retainer for my expert witness who will hopefully nail CF’s ass to the cross.

She was letting me know his office had received a check for $3500 but that the initial retainer was only $1400. Now, I could have sworn the $3500 figure was quoted to me somewhere so that’s what I sent. Anyway, that was a bit of good news because I was thinking the initial retainer was $3500 and it could climb from there. Hopefully… although that’s never been my strong suit, that $3500 will cover it all.

Now for the bad news. Upon arriving home I scanned through my email, hoping for a reply from my lawyer since Cousinfucker has decided he doesn’t need to pay his court ordered spousal and child support.

Yep, I texted him at the beginning of the month. I was very civil. Hey, Jackass! I didn’t say anything last month because you sent the back support for February, but you haven’t paid support this month and it is due on the 1st. You also haven’t paid last month’s since the check very clearly said it was for February’s back support. And you still owe back support for March and April. You are now four months behind. Please do not get into the habit of spending all your money on Harley and her hooligans. It is not all yours. $3600 of it is mine and your children’s. Okay, that’s not completely what I said but it was pretty close. Naturally, his response was silence. I suppose that’s better than calling me a lazy, classless bitch who is living off of him despite the college education he paid for in his fantasies, and who should be thankful for the great life I lead thanks to him.

No reply about his noncompliance; however, her assistant did let me know that our court date needed to be moved. Apparently, another case has taken precedent over ours. So I now have 4 lovely choices for a divorce date because CF sure as hell isn’t going to settle. The first option is only a week after the original date. The second one would be 3 weeks later than the original date and the last two go into November. I swear, I am never going to be divorced from this fuckwit! Seriously- ten years from now I will still be writing this damn blog and talking about how my court date was moved.

Meanwhile, he lives it up with Harley and her spawn and I have to remain celibate in order to collect spousal support. I’m going to die…

Update: It’s another good news/bad news kinda deal. I received a support check finally. That was the good news. Actually I would call that lukewarm news. Cousinfucker is supposed to send them monthly. Here’s the bad news: He wrote the check for some random figure he’s made up in his fucked up head. It wasn’t even a fourth of what he’s been court ordered to pay me. It wasn’t even half of what he offered to pay me!

I’m so sick of him and his shit. As I said to my lawyer when I emailed her with the news: I didn’t realize you got to set your own support amount. But you know what? I’m not going to let that bother me. I’m turning it over to my lawyer and pressing for another show cause hearing. You know why? Because I’m heading to see the mobster tomorrow; otherwise I’d be heading down to Cousinfucker’s and kicking the shit out him.

12 Lessons Learned From Cheating

Gather round, folks. We are going to learn some valuable lessons about cheating. All kinds of exciting stuff!

Today’s idiot is Parker. Parker is a former OW; she has a plethora of information to share with us about the joys of cheating.

Let’s see what all Parker has to share with us.

To begin she shares this little nugget:

Here’s what happened. I was single and he was married. He and his wife had been together for about eight years, most of the time unhappily and in couples therapy (of course they were, Parker; of course they were!). I had recently ended my own decade-long relationship and was rebounding- I just didn’t know it at the time. Rather than grieving my desperately broken heart, I threw myself into an affair (sounds like a smart thing to do; wouldn’t want to suggest anything like running, baking banana bread, or seeing a therapist). Then complicated things by falling madly in love. Long before I had the affair, I had always judged cheaters. But now… not so much.

Yeah, I hear that a lot. I always thought cheating was wrong and then I did it and I decided it wasn’t so wrong.

I was the same way with embezzling, Parker. I always thought it was wrong to take advantage of people and to steal. But then I started embezzling and cheating people out of their life savings and I totally get it now!

Let the practical lessons begin!

  1. People who judge you for cheating have never cheated.

My ego wants to say, “If you haven’t done it, don’t judge it,” but the fact is, I totally get it. Once upon a time, I thought I understood the rules of relationships. Eventually, some of my friends in committed relationships were unfaithful to their partners (often partners I had grown to love like my friends). When my friends shared their experiences with me, I saw that cheating—like relationships—has a good deal of gray area, and through that, I learned that life does too. There are two sides to every story.

Really, Parker? If we haven’t cheated.. yet.. we shouldn’t judge? I haven’t pistol whipped anyone. I don’t beat my kids. I haven’t shared naked pictures of someone though social media causing them to commit suicide. I haven’t molested children or raped anyone. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t make fun of people. I don’t use slurs.  Are all of those examples just things I haven’t done yet so I shouldn’t really judge those who do them? Or does that only count when we’re talking about having sex with married people? Yeah, don’t judge those people out there fucking married people. That could be YOU one of these days!

2.  Yes, It’s the Best Sex of Your Life… But There’s a Twist

Or, better said, it’ll seem like the best sex of your life at the time. Everyone says it’s the illicit rendezvous, the secrets, the newness that make the sex so amazing, and to a degree, that’s true. But that fades over time. What made the sex truly hot for me was the exploration and connection I found with my lover, both of us freed from inhibition. And that was golden, because it made me grow sexually. Here’s another bonus: You’ll take that with you into your current relationship or future one, making the sex, and your satisfaction, even better.

O.M.G! Could you not find a connection and explore with an unmarried man? How is that you were sooooo free of inhibition with this woman’s husband? Was it because you knew it was a dead end relationship so it didn’t matter what you two did together? It’s not like you’d be spending holidays together for the next twenty years.

And I’m sorry but there’s just something sociopathic about gloating over how sex with a married man is the best sex of your life. You need to get out a little bit more- and I say this as a self-described hermit for the past 3 years! Volunteer… get a dog… seek therapy.

3.Mind-Blowing Sex Has Risks

Doing things you never knew you could (or never even knew existed) is enough reason to justify just about anything … in the moment. Yes, even the possible destruction of a marriage or family—because in the throes of passion that’s the furthest thing from your mind. But that lapse in judgment usually leads to sloppiness—leaving sexts on your phone that your wife finds or skipping birth control and getting knocked up, all of which often has one huge repercussion: getting caught. My affair, long ended, stayed a secret, but most don’t. So if you’re going to play the game, accept that you’re probably going to get caught, and it could very likely be the end of your relationship, or cause long-term alienation from your family. If that happens, I guarantee those mind-blowing orgasms will probably not feel like they were worth it.

Yes, Parker, getting caught is the big repercussion here. Not devastating your spouse. Not destroying your kids’ lives. No, it’s all about you getting caught and not being able to live your double life anymore. You poor, poor baby.

4. A Cheating Spouse is a Liar, But Their Spouse May Be Lying to Themselves, Too

If you and your partner don’t have sex anymore (sex drives don’t just disappear forever!), if your spouse becomes distant or starts working late or going out with new friends a lot, these are telltale signs of cheating. So is coming home showered from the gym or starting to use device passwords. I’m convinced my lover’s wife didn’t want to know he was having an affair, because he was guilty of many of the signs above. Did she know it in her gut? I’m not sure. You can shut off your instincts if you want to. But lying to yourself about your relationship will catch up to both of you. And sooner or later, one of you needs to find the courage to admit it so you can confront your problems, and ideally fix them. Your gut will thank you. It’s one of your best friends.

I’m channeling my inner Dan Aykroyd here: Parker, you ignorant slut! I’m so tired of people like you blaming the spouse, expecting them to do the difficult things while you lay around and fuck our spouses.

Who’s really lying to themselves? Your married lover that is so unhappy in his marriage that instead of divorcing his wife he fucks you on the side instead? Or the wife that may honestly not know? Or the wife that feels that something is off but is told it’s all in her head when she asks if there is anyone else?

And Parker? You’re not really concerned about any of us betrayed spouses finding the courage to admit our relationship is broken so that we can confront our problems and fix them. You want us to realize you’re fucking our spouse so that we will leave or kick him/her out. It’s not about us; it’s all about you.

5. There’s Always Another Side to Your Lover’s (Crap) Marriage

Lying in each other’s arms, my lover and I shared stories about our relationships. This is what I heard him say about his marriage: “We’ve been unhappy for so long.” “We have no sex life anymore.” “All she does is argue with me.” No one was telling the other side of the story about what was still good about the relationship—what he still loved about his wife, how they were still deeply connected (which, P.S., is why your lover isn’t going to leave them no matter what they say otherwise). And God knows what his wife’s side of the story was. Maybe he enjoyed pushing her buttons more than she pushed his. But looking back, I realize if my lover had admitted the good stuff, it would’ve put the kibosh on the affair, because he needed to justify his actions—and I liked being his salvation. Letting him omit also allowed me to keep lying to myself. (And dreaming that he’d leave her for me.)

I do believe that’s the first sensible thing you’ve said so far. Let’s face it: telling your side piece that your spouse is awesome and you don’t plan on ever leaving is not exactly the way to get in his/her pants. You always go with the ol’, “We don’t have sex…we live like roommates…we stay together for the sake of the kids…I’m nothing but a paycheck and a handyman…I never loved her/him… He/she just doesn’t understand me.

6. Be Brave When It’s Time to End Your Relationship

For those of you whose relationship really is over, who really don’t have any positive, loving connection left with your spouse, it may be time to grow some fucking cojones and own up. “But we have kids …” “But he’ll be devastated …” Those are the reasons most unhappy couples stay together longer than they probably should. They’re totally good reasons. I believe your happiness is the foundation of your life. If you’re parents, no one can teach your kids how to be happy better than you can—and no one can see how unhappy you are better than they can. Will there be fallout? Most definitely, but it won’t last forever. If you need inspiration, listen to comedian Louis C.K., father of two daughters, who came out of the other side of his divorce extremely happy. He points out, “Divorce is always good news […] because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.”

Parker, here’s the problem once again. Your encouragement for my husband to bravely find his happiness comes at my expense and it’s to your benefit. 

Happiness is wonderful. Speaking as a person who is pretty damn happy right now I can tell you it feels fucking awesome. But you know what? You don’t achieve happiness by stepping all over other people. 

You better figure out the source of your unhappiness before you decide to start fucking someone else and then leave your spouse. Because if you wait until you’re balls deep inside someone else then you’re not really all that concerned about your happiness. You’re concerned about your dick.

7. People Need Someone Else to Leave Their Spouse

Most people can’t extricate themselves from an unhappy relationship alone. So they find someone to help them, usually a new love. Which is why, in my experience, 98 percent of all the failed relationships have ended when one partner left the other for someone else. It happened to me in the early ’90s when my first boyfriend and I were at the break-up-or-not turning point. I wanted to keep trying. (Uh, see No. 6. No cojones on me.) He didn’t. He’d fallen in love with an actress on a directing gig. Did their new relationship last after we broke up? Nope. (They hardly ever do.) But it got him out, and we both found much greater happiness afterwards. In that way, I think affairs can be really useful, because let’s face it, life is fucking scary, and it’s hard to make big changes all by yourself. If your partner leaves you for another woman, you’ll understandably hate her (and blame her). But once the dust settles, you might thank her. And after his relationship with her ends too, you guys might even become friends.

Awwww…. poor baby! Yes, Parker, divorce sucks. It really sucks when you’re the one left behind with no shiny new partner to tell you how wonderful you are and to fuck you whenever you’re feeling low. Then again, how often do you feel low when you have a shiny new lover who blows sunshine and rainbows up your ass all the time? I’m guessing not often!

That’s the thing about cheating, Parker. It’s all about the cheater. They use fake platitudes to make themselves feel better about the horrendous thing they’ve done but once you peel away all the paint it’s a horny little goat humping anything that moves and spackling reality with fake platitudes like, “Happiness is the foundation for life.”

Hey, Parker… what is the betrayed partner left to do once the cheater leaves? Who do we pair up with? How do we get to go through this divorce? Wait… that’s right. We don’t matter.

Oh, and as for that, “…once the dust settles, you might thank her. And after his relationship with her ends, too, you guys might even become friends,” bullshit? Hell to the no! I will never thank that cunt face cum dumpster for a damn thing. And I would sooner set myself on fire and run into raw sewage to put it out than to spend one fucking minute in his presence. Ever.

8. Honesty Isn’t Always Better

I knew someone whose husband started an affair while she was in treatment for a very serious breast cancer. (I know. It sounds unforgivable.) If he’d admitted his cheating to her, at least during the treatment, it could’ve hurt her health even more. Okay, so that’s on the extreme end of the don’t-be-honest scale. On the other side is this: Not all spouses want to know about infidelity. (See No. 4 again.) If you know your spouse would rather not know, then think twice about spilling the beans. Maybe a better answer is ending the affair, and channeling the excitement and happiness you found from it into your marriage.

Ah yes… the “better” sort of cheater. 

I didn’t tell Bill I was cheating on him because he was going through chemotherapy. I cared enough to not ruin his recovery with the awful truth. Too bad I didn’t care enough to not fuck other men while he was going through a life or death event in his life.

Oh, and btw? If you’re taking all that happiness and excitement and channeling it into your relationship with me? You can take all that shit and shove it up your ass; I don’t want anything having to do with your affair- good or bad.

9. But Sometimes Honesty IS Better

Yes, Virginia, couples can recover from an affair. I’ve known a number of people who’ve admitted infidelity to their spouse. And after a period of intense anger, separation and/or couples therapy, I’ve seen a number of these couples fix the holes of their relationship to become stronger, more intimate and more committed than when they first got together.

Over on Chump Lady, they call those couples unicorns because they are so very rare. Generally what you are seeing are people, both husbands and wives, who don’t want to lose half of their net worth. You see people who don’t want to lose their cushy lifestyle, people who want to be taken care of while they fuck other people. You see people who want to present their picture perfect family life to others while they fuck anything that moves. You see people who love the idea of two people fighting over them. You see lying and gas lighting and blame shifting and head games and trickle truth. You see people who, in other words, want to have their cake and eat it, too.

Very few couples honestly make it through the devastation of infidelity. The relationships are never the same and I don’t think many of them are stronger for it. Do some of them make it? Sure. Are some of them stronger now? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t bet on it. In fact, although I still believe everyone needs to make up their own mind on how to handle infidelity in their relationship, if I’m being honest I would advise leaving. Too many sunk costs. Too high of a risk.

10.  One-Way Cheating Rocks

There are many benefits to single-sided cheating. For me, right or wrong—remember, no judgment here—it was a hell of a lot easier to have a clear conscience during the affair. Another benefit of being single is it allowed me—during late night crying fits fueled by loneliness, or lack of a sext in 24 hours—to remind myself that my married lover was a lying scumbag* and that I deserved someone better anyway. (If you’re cheating on someone too, this angle just won’t work as well.)

*Okay, so I am capable of a little judgment. But it was temporary.

Parker, you were not an innocent party in this. It takes two to fuck. You were a part of that. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t married to his wife. You knew fucking her husband was wrong and yet you did it anyway. Did you break vows? No. Did you do a shitty thing to an innocent person? Absolutely.

11. Sigh… Single or Not, You’re Not Really Innocent

For most of my affair, I enjoyed my clear conscience. Whenever culpability crept up on me, I easily reminded myself that he was the liar, and sometimes would even blame his wife for choosing not to know. (Again, see No. 4.) But eventually I realized that despite being single, I wasn’t innocent. (Turning this philosophically more enlightened corner really sucked.) I clearly wasn’t as directly involved in betraying my lover’s family as he was, but I certainly played a part in the deceit. It’s not something I feel good about. But it’s something I have to live with. Forever.

There we go! Now you’re getting it!

12. You Can Probably Never Trust a Cheater

My lover and I frequently fantasized about the happy life we were meant to have together as two sexually, intellectually and spiritually compatible people. Yet, deep down, I knew if he ever did leave his life—during our affair or later—I could never trust him. Every business trip, every late night out with the boys, no matter what he told me, I’d wonder. (As a gut truster, I’d definitely bust his ass, too.) Maybe if he’d only cheated with me, I’d have felt differently, but I knew he had a history. And I’m pretty sure he’d still be seeing me now if I let him. That said, there are always exceptions. (See No. 9.) And for me, the most important one was my own. I ended my affair because I didn’t want to be a cheater anymore. And that was my greatest lesson.

Oh don’t worry, Parker; I’m sure you were super duper special. All affair partners are.

Dear Blockhead

February 2015

I’m curious. What was it about my page that made you think you needed to run to my husband and tell him all about it? Do you think that somehow those 3 or 4 years living as college roommates makes you more able to judge what he could or could not handle? I mean, I realize I’ve only lived with him for the last 20 years. That’s nothing compared to the years you two spent together. You lived with a teenager, pre war. I’ve lived with a grown man post war, moved all over the country with him, had his children, had his back, was his biggest cheerleader. Where have you been? We’ve seen you a grand total of 5 times in those 20 years. Yes, we’re very similar. Almost identical. And yet, your way ended up with him in a downward spiral that culminated in a stay in the psych ward. My way didn’t. So guess what? I win! Turns out I do know my husband.

Again, I’m curious as to what it was that you found so alarming. Was it the pictures of his whore? I’m not sure what was so concerning about that. Was it when I would try to wrap my brain around the concept of his family embracing his whore? Because once again I’m not sure what’s so alarming about that. Was it the times my anniversary triggered me and sent me on my own downward spiral? I suppose that might seem like something you might want to run and tell him all about. Then again we’re back to: I know my husband. I know he doesn’t want to deal with any of this. He wants to bury his head in the sand and pretend like he never cheated. I know this about him. You obviously don’t. Because once again, your way sent him on a downward spiral that ended with a trip to the psych ward. Mine didn’t. Mine simply let me vent and work through it on my own. Was it when I vowed to destroy him if he was still cheating on me with Harley? I think that’s a fairly reasonable stance. He knows this. I’ve told him. You also need to emphasize that small word: IF. If he screws me over I’ll return the favor. If he doesn’t we’re all good. Was it the part where I agreed to move closer to the whore, to the town they devised us moving to so they could be closer? I mean, what a bitch! What kind of horrible wife would uproot her life and the life of her kids to support her husband? What kind of a bitch says, “I’m perfectly happy here. The kids are happy. But if you’re miserable then we’ll move. It’s not fair to make you miserable. We’ll adjust.” You’re absolutely right! You did the correct thing by running and telling him all about that. Make sure you tell him how much I hate it here and how much I miss my old life. Maybe even leave the first part out because that makes me sound too nice and understanding. Hell, I come across as almost supportive and you’re clearly going for bitch. Was it the entries when I did my best to put a positive spin on his affair? You know, my bone analogy. My long and winding road analogy. Maybe it was when I talked about other blogs that pissed me off, or when I would copy things that were meant to be inspirational. Was it all the talk about our 20th anniversary and how conflicted I was? Maybe it was all the details of their affair. Did you think he needed to know I sometimes wondered what would have happened on D Day if I had played it completely different? Because I didn’t. Did you think he needed to know how worthless and pathetic I sometimes felt for staying because everyone says leave? Because I didn’t. Did you think he needed to know how pissed off I was with his sister and all of her lies? Because again, your way: psych ward. My way: No psych ward. Was it simply the fact that after a year I hadn’t completely let it go? I guess once Zack said he was sorry I was supposed to develop amnesia. I’m so sorry that his indiscretion can still hurt me 18 months later. I’m sorry I still have questions and doubts because my husband wouldn’t answer my questions or he lied. I’m sorry I haven’t completely forgotten every shitty thing and that I can’t blissfully focus on the future. It might be a lot easier if his whore were out of our lives, but since everyone in his family must stay in contact and fawn all over her that’s not a possibility. It’s hard to move on when the whore has a front row seat into our lives. I’m not sure what sent you running gleefully to my husband and you know what? I don’t care. That page was for me. It was my place to vent so I could pretend for my husband that everything was forgotten. I left it public so that she would hopefully see it. Or someone she loved would see it and know what a whore she was.

I would love to know what on earth made you think you were doing the right thing. Because it wasn’t the right thing. He ended up suicidal and hospitalized. And where were you? I’m the shitty wife he needs to be protected from but I’m the one picking up all the pieces you left behind when you broke him. I’m the one who sat with him. I’m the one who drove him to the ER and stayed with him for hours, leaving our kids home alone for hours. I’m the one arranging for rides for our kids while he was hospitalized. I’m the one that was up there for the entire duration of visiting hours every single day. In fact, I was the one that had to keep everyone, including those that want so badly to stick a huge machete in my back, updated. And again I ask, where were you? You emailed me almost a week after he got home to see how he was doing. No texts, emails, or phone calls to him. I haven’t replied and I don’t know that I will. You’re so damned concerned about him when you’re throwing me under the bus. You figure it out. You’ve obviously got his number. Use it. Instead of calling to let him know how horrible his wife is maybe you could call to check up on him and see how he’s doing.

The Beginning of the Really Dark Days

February 2015

I took a drive today. As I was driving through the mountains I thought about how easy it would be to simply drive off the road into nothing. Empty space. And then a huge crash when my car finally met the ground. They’re just thoughts at this point. My dog was in the car with me and I wouldn’t want to kill him.

I’ve never been a fan of death. I was always one of those that wanted to live forever. But I’m finding more and more often that if I didn’t wake up in the morning I’d be ok with that. I would miss watching my kids grow up. And I’m sure it would be hard on my kids, my mom, maybe my brother. I don’t want to put them through that. Zack would be fine. Like I said I’m pretty sure he’s fucking around with Harley again so this would be perfect for him. He gets to marry his whore and no one is the wiser. He keeps his kids, his money, and the bitch that apparently lives to make him miserable is gone for good. Hell, I’m sure he’d get lots of sympathy.

I won’t do that to my kids but maybe Zack and Harley (Jezebel, too) will get lucky and I’ll get cancer or have a heart attack.

Present Day Sam Says:  Before anyone starts to panic I am fine now.  Even in my darkest days I would recover quickly.

When the Truth & Your Spouse Don’t Exist On the Same Planet

February 2015

Let me begin by saying my husband is home finally. I’m thankful for that. He also says he thinks his time there did him some good. No, we haven’t talked about my page or his belief I’m going to leave him. I guess at some point we’re going to have to. It’s difficult finding a good time. When he’s depressed and anxious I don’t feel like I can say anything because I don’t want to pile on. When everything is good I don’t want to bring it up and spoil the good times.

I’ve been reading a lot about acceptance and moving on from the affair. A lot of what they say makes sense. But here’s where I get stuck. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had all of my questions answered honestly. It’s been vague and half truths, trickle truth. Did you talk to her on the phone often? No. Turns out he called her every morning on his drive into work. Did you tell her you loved her before Jezebel’s wedding? Did you say I love you immediately? No, to both. Turns out they were talking about marriage and he was telling people he was going to marry her before he even half-assed confessed to me less than 2 weeks after it started. Why did her husband think I needed a lawyer? I don’t know. Turns out it was because they were talking about leaving their spouses and getting married. Did you have plans to meet up? No. Turns out he was going to bring her with him to get his tattoo. And she was going to get one, too. Hell, his entire first confession was a lie. The only part that was true was the fact he was texting Harley.

How can I honestly say I believe him when he lies to me? When he refuses to give me straight answers? When he lies to his sister about me? It’s like after 20 years with the man I finally realize that he and the truth don’t exist on the same planet. So again, how do you believe someone that looks you in the eye and just lies?

How do you go on and put it behind you when everyone in his family is still in contact with Harley and they all love her and fawn over her? She has a window into our lives. And that’s assuming they’re not actually fucking around again.

I buried my head in the sand before. I tried to come up with explanations for things that made no sense. Well this time around here’s what doesn’t make sense. I know that their plan was to move him closer, move us closer, so they could be together. I don’t have specifics because, of course, he couldn’t remember, or kept it deliberately vague. The plan as far as I know was to move closer so he could fuck his whore on the weekends and have his kids with him full time with me playing nanny, maid, and cook. We’ve moved closer. At the same time we were buying a house it became clear things weren’t going well with her and her husband. For all I know she deliberately left her page public for me so that when she locked it down again I would be suspicious. But, we buy a house as it seems she’s heading for divorce. He tries to keep me off the deed. I have a meltdown. He has a meltdown. Was it real or was he keeping it together for her? We move. Within 5 months she’s liking my MIL’s status where she says if you have a handsome son… Then she’s liking her status when she asks for prayers for him. Am I really expected to ignore that as coincidence? It wasn’t coincidence last time.

Again, I ask, how do you put it all behind you and focus on this fucking future everyone speaks of when she’s never gone? When so many things come up that are suspicious?

The only thing I have to cling to is what others tell me. His mom telling me he thinks I’m going to leave him and that I haven’t forgiven him. His sane sister telling me he loves me and he’s scared to death of me leaving him. Him, when he’s drunk, telling me I’m his rock, his savior, his everything. He credits me with saving him.

I try to focus on that but I don’t want to be taken for a fool. I have no desire to be blindsided. So I remain vigilant.

Present Day Sam Says:  You have no idea how difficult it was to write this: It’s like after 20 years with the man I finally realize that he and the truth don’t exist on the same planet.  It was heart wrenching.  It was facing a truth I didn’t want to face and so I spackled over it yet again.  I’m saying the words but I refuse to believe them.  All those “coincidences” probably weren’t a coincidence at all.  They probably were in contact, or at least Tammy Faye had suggested it.  The sad part is what I wrote is so true.  He doesn’t exist on the same planet as the truth.  He lies constantly.  He rewrites history.  He makes shit up.  It’s scary to see where I realized that and then shut the door on it so that I could live my so-called perfect little life with an intact family.

One Year Later

I had been planning on writing this post several weeks ago but… I’ve been busy with a guy.

My chipper attitude is not solely due to the mobster. He’s a huge part of it but even before meeting him the clouds were beginning to part.

I fully admit I’ve been engaged in a year long temper tantrum/pity party. I’ve had brief moments of hope and happiness but the darkness would quickly wash over me again.

I also admit I have been a horrible friend, a self absorbed whiner, and a very selfish person this last year. It has been all, “Me, me, me! Listen to me wail about my pain! I’m tired. I’m poor. I hate life.”

Something has changed recently. Maybe it was my mom returning and being available to help with kids, dinner, and laundry. Maybe it was Rock Star finally get her license and a car. Maybe it was both of my kids being happy. Hell, maybe it was the fact I finally got my back support so I could breathe a little. I felt normal again. Maybe it was something as simple as cultivating relationships and feeling better at my job. Or jobs.

I’ve been thinking of putting myself out there and volunteering again. I’ve thought about doing things I want to do. I have been able to look ahead just a little bit once again.

I have a court date looming. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope I nail his ass and he pays for every awful, evil thing he’s done to me and my kids. If the worst happens and he gets away with his 2 year financial rape of me… well, I’ve been through Hell and I”m still standing.

When it’s all over, no matter how it ends, I will still be the better person. I’m stronger than him. I’m more capable. I’m the better parent. No matter how many times or how many different ways he tries to beat me down, to defeat me, to try to suck the joy out of life and make me want to give up and die, I will always emerge from the fire- stronger, better, ready to kick his ass.

This blog has not been a ray of sunshine for a full year. But you know what? It’s like I’ve said all along: I just have to wallow and get through this in my own time. ’Tis true. There was no way to rush it.

I had to go through every crappy feelings, every crappy experience, to get where I am. I will never be one of those people who can be grateful and optimistic when I’m struggling to survive and things are going badly. I am, however, one of those people who can look back on it all and say, “I survived. I did it. I made it through.”

For those of you who might still be in those dark days I want you to know it gets better. I can’t tell you when it will happen for you but it will happen. Don’t rush the process even though you may want to. Don’t feel guilty when you’re down and don’t try to convince yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling that way. This shit is hard. Recognize it. Accept it. Wallow in it. Let it wash over you. And then get up and get on with it.

Everybody hurts. Everybody has problems. There are so many kids out there abandoned by parents. Kids out there that have lost a parent. There are people out there going through the exact same thing as you- they were lied to, cheated on, made a fool of. People lose loved ones- perhaps a child, a spouse, a parent. Sometimes they lose homes. Or pets. We’ve all got problems.

I don’t say that to guilt anyone. Again, I say wallow in it and let yourself feel every sucky emotion. And realize you’re not alone.

I wrote once about someone looking at her life six months post break-up. At the time my life was a mess, and looking at how far I had come was not a pleasant experience. This past weekend, June 10th marked the one year anniversary of what was probably the worst day of my life. I think it was worse than finding out he was cheating on me again. It was the day that led to me losing damn near everything. It was the day I knew I was going to have to tear my kids’ world apart yet again. I knew I couldn’t keep it all together and I couldn’t do what I originally wanted to do, which was to stay put so Rock Star could graduate where she started.

On this one year anniversary I happened to be with the mobster. I paused for a moment and mentioned it, to which he replied, “Don’t think about that.”

You know what? It was okay. I  could acknowledge it had been one year since my life fell apart, and then get on with my day. I didn’t dwell. I didn’t get sad. I acknowledged it and then turned my attention to this fabulous man who drove hundreds of miles to get to me.

Sand