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Letter to the OW

Dear D,

I tried reaching out to you once before and you ignored me. I was hoping to get information in regards to my own safety and the safety of my children. Just for your own knowledge, I got myself tested for every STD as well as HPV. Praise the Lord I am clean. I am very concerned that in this day and age you would have unprotected sex. That seems so dangerous and unsafe. Especially with someone like R who has slept with so many people (without protection) and he didn’t even know their names! Not my business, but something you might want to consider with future partners. My husband was a master liar. I’m quite sure many other men are, too.

So I’m going to share what your choices did to our family. I’m hoping that you are not just a terrible person but that somehow you convinced yourself that sleeping with a married man wasn’t “that bad”. It was.

When R revealed not only your affair with my husband he also dumped the other 12 on me at the same time. Yep, in one 10-minute sitting I found out that my husband, the person I trusted more than anyone in the world, who I supported through numerous deployments, who I thought was my best friend, was actually kind of an awful person. And he was pretty open with me about how your relationship started with him (3 dinners and you were in bed together. And then it kept going). He also answered any question I asked, which by the way, means I know WAY too much about you and your sex life and what you like and what you don’t like.

Anyway, back to my purpose in writing. I want you to know that having an affair with a married man, especially one with kids, has a domino effect. I know this isn’t news to you since this isn’t your first affair with a married man. So why on earth would you do it again? You destroyed your own marriage doing the exact same thing. How do you think your ex-husband felt? How do you think your lover’s wife felt?

I’ll tell you. Broken. Destroyed. Shattered. I had no idea there was even a problem in our marriage, regardless of what he told you. I know he said a lot of things about how he wasn’t listened to, or I didn’t understand him, or he could never measure up to some standard.

The reality is that R is a broken person with serious addiction and codependency issues. I loved him dearly. I had no idea he felt ignored or unheard. He didn’t tell me. I’m actually a pretty nice person. I was busy raising two kids while R spent months and years away. One of our kids is autistic, and I essentially raised him myself. It was very difficult but I did it because I thought I was being a good wife. I try hard to be kind. I care about people. I volunteer my time at a food bank. I spend my life trying to connect middle school students with books. I’m a real person with real feelings. I love Jesus. I try to be like Him as much as possible.

Last summer when you were sneaking around with him, do you know what was actually happening to his family? He left our family vacation to sleep with you. Left me and my 15 year old in downtown Boston to have sex with you. And when you needed your eye surgery? Yep, missed the first days of my kid going to high school. Because you needed a DRIVER??? And yes, I know about Michigan. And sex in the back seat of your Jeep in a cornfield at the parachute club.

I know about sex in the shower. Oh I know your favorite type of sex (that’s a nice little detail I get to keep in my head forever).

So what happens when you mess with a married man? His wife tries to commit suicide. His autistic son tries to commit suicide. His sweet, gentle 15-year old winds up in therapy because he can’t watch his mom cry anymore. His autistic son moves out of the house because of his hatred of what his dad (and you) have done.

As a follower of Christ, I am trying hard to forgive and move on. I realize you didn’t ask for forgiveness, but that doesn’t matter. Jesus says to forgive regardless of the other person’s heart or intention. He says to forgive 70×7 times. That’s hard teaching when your heart is broken and you hurt so much you want to curl up in a ball and cry. But I trust Him. I believe Him. He protected me over the years from all kinds of disease. He walked with me after R’s confession. He comforted me in my darkest hour while lying on a bed in a psych unit. A place I never expected to be (I’m a professional with a PhD!). But here I am, a year later. Still trying to move forward. Still trying to release my bitterness and anger. Not because you asked for it but because God expects it of me.

I pray for you daily. I pray for all the women R slept with. I have a special box in my prayer closet that contains your name and his other affair partner, and then blank slips of paper for the other women with which he had one night stands. R might not remember their names, but they are precious to God. He knows each and every one of you in that box, and He LOVES you so much. I pray that you and the other women will grasp that truth, that you are beautiful in His eyes and He has created you for a purpose. He has a plan for you that involves something much better than other people’s husbands. Something you can be proud of and hold on to. Something that will never make you feel ashamed or small.

Well, that’s all I needed to say. I hope you find happiness with someone who belongs only to you. But more importantly, I hope you find a relationship with Jesus because He is the only one who will NEVER let you down or desert you. He is the only one you can truly trust.

In Christ,

M

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Wednesday-Taking a Break

So Wednesday’s I will be focusing on career (which for me is library). But today I’m going to avoid it because I only have a week left of summer. I would rather focus today on what I’m doing to be happy and what I’ve done over the summer that was positive.

Today I’m at Dorney Park with my boys (15 and 21). H is off somewhere with the military again. I’ve seen him all of about a week this summer. But I digress. This is the summer I’ve tried things on my own. I took trips by myself. I took my kids on mini-vacations. The three of us have spent more time together this summer than in the last few years combined.

Some summer highlights:

  • Trip to Cape Henlopen
  • New tattoos
  • Kung fu
  • Dorney Park
  • Hershey Park
  • Made new friends
  • Fostered old friendships
  • Read some books
  • Spent a lot of time in my prayer closet
  • Practiced being enough for myself

Trying hard to not need H but to be happy by and with myself. That’s a big change for me. I still find myself waiting for his text or call and when it doesn’t come, I experience a real dip in my emotions. I don’t know how to make that stop! I want to be fine with or without him. To not need his validation to have a good day.

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Tuesday: Intelligence Attraction

Tuesdays I will be focusing on improving my intelligence. It sounds weird to write that out, but I am actually really excited about where I can take this area of my life.

I have done all of the academic “stuff”, earned a PhD, 2 masters degrees. But I can’t say they taught me much about life. In fact I can look back now and say much of my academic striving was a cover to avoid life. It gave me something to focus on so I didn’t have to look at my imperfect, failing marriage. Or my disordered eating. Or my growing anxiety and depression.

This month’s intellectual goal is simple. I’m listening to the news on NPR once a day. Sounds silly, I know. But this is an area of weakness for me. I do not tend to stay up on current events, which is really a detriment to good conversation both with hubs and with friends and strangers. I struggle a little with social anxiety, so I am hoping this goal will allow me to step out a little more boldly in conversations.

Again, I am working my PILES because I want to be a better me, not because I want to try and keep the hubs or impress him in some way (I am learning that’s actually a form of control). It’s for MY self confidence, my self-esteem, which I allowed to be shattered by the actions of others. But I now know that I have control over these areas of my life and I will never hand that power over to another person again.

physical

Monday: Focusing on the Physical

Monday Funday.

Mondays I will be focusing on physical wellness. Notice I said WELLNESS, not weight loss or fitness, or gettin thin. I’m 43 and fluffy and I’m just not seeing those things in my future. But I do see a healthy body with strong bones and joints that will carry me well into my 80s or 90s!

Here are my strategies for today:

  • Eat plant-based foods (breakfast was power oatmeal. Little concerned because at lunch as I’ll be driving by Chick-Fil-A. NO. I banish those thoughts. I’ll pack my cute little lunch tote with my Hungry Root meal and act like I don’t see the big red chicken-head.) Dinner I’ll whip up some more Hungry Root. P.S. I don’t work for them or get any kind of deal by mentioning them. I just despise all things cooking and they make my plant-based life so much easier.
  • Jog Week 1 Day 2 (here’s my training schedule) DONE
  • Meditation (I use Insight Timer) DONE
  • Yoga (I follow the plan for my dosha according to Holistic Highway). You can also find lots of information about Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) at Banyan Botanicals
  • 10 minute workout with Chrys. She posts these crazy tough workouts on Instagram and I swear they are harder than my run. Plus she’s just fun to watch

So that’s my plan for today (along with all the errands and work planning I need to do). Hope your Monday is filled with healthy things!

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Sunday PILES Planning

Sundays are always a little strange for me. I have the church rush in the morning (although it was just me today so not much of one). Then usually nothing happens in the afternoon other than naps. But then the evening hits and I start to feel the new week creeping up on me.

Even during the summer months I have that slightly uncomfortable feeling that I should be preparing for the week. It’s weird.

Fortunately for me I actually DO have something to focus on tonight. I can look over my PILES and plan for how I’m integrating them this week. I can reflect on how I did last week. Oh and I can take out the trash.

But really, here are my PILES for the month of August:

Physical: Eat a plant-based diet most meals of the week, focusing on fruits and vegetables

Intellectual: Listen to the NPR morning podcast daily to stay up on the news and to have conversation starters with the hubs.

Library/Career: Connect with all the ELA teachers and try to get on their schedules for co-teaching.

Emotional: Read one article a day about creating an emotionally safe environment.

Spiritual: Volunteer weekly at our local food pantry.

Here are my reflections from week 1. Again, you can find these and all the other materials at Marriage Helper.

Overall it’s a good start. My P is my weakest area, but that is exactly what my pre-assessment indicated. So I can use this information to make some changes for next week.

I’ll be back Monday to share my strategies for reaching my physical goal this week.

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Introducing PILES

PILES is the way I am working towards balance in all areas of my life. I need to thank Marriage Helper for their materials that have helped me tremendously over the past few months. I do want to make a clear distinction about my approach towards my goals, however. Marriage Helper takes the stance that PIES goals are a method for getting your spouse back. I prefer to think about it as working on myself regardless of my marital status. These areas are all important for me to become the best version of myself.

Also, I am modifying their PIES acronym as you will see.

P-Physical

I-Intellectual

L-Library/Career

E-Emotional

S-Spiritual

Most of my posts will relate to my work in one of the PILES areas. I’ll tag them for easy reference.

I hope you will find the blog and the PILES method helpful as we work together to meet our goals!

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When Life Throws You Curveballs…

…duck. No not really. But today has been one of those roller coaster days where I got every possible emotion.

Last night I dealt with some pretty serious triggers so I didn’t sleep well, but was handling it. Sent hubby off to work, jumped into the prayer closet and had some pretty awesome Jesus time. Stepped out of my closet and got a phone call from the hubs. Just got called up for accident investigation and will need to be heading to NC within two hours for the next several weeks.

Now let’s be real. I am an Army wife. Separation is our life. But this year has moved into the realm of ridiculous. He was in Afghanistan for May and June. Home for a week. Sent to Texas for 2 1/2 weeks. Home 5 days. Gone now for 2 weeks. Home a week. Then on to Mississippi for a week.

I think the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of reconciliation is making everything that much harder. We move a few steps forward, he leaves, we take a giant step backward.

I’ve also been waiting on the results of some medical testing I had done on Monday and I’ve been terrified this entire week. So as my husband is driving away, my phone rings. It’s the doctor with the results. Of course I start crying before she can even get a word out because I was so sure the news would be bad. But instead, the nurse says I am completely clear, nothing showed up in my testing. So now I have this crazy mess of sad tears that hubs is leaving and insanely happy tears that I am healthy and God directly answered prayer. My 16-year old was jumping around high-fiving me over and over.

What a day. I threw out my diet and decided we needed Mexican food stat.