I noticed today that I started this blog on 19th February 2018. By sheer coincidence this was the 10th anniversary of the day that I found out about E’s first affair. I didn’t deliberately choose the date, but it now seems strangely serendipitous that the date that everything started to fall apart ten years ago, was the date that’s marked the beginning of what’s proving to be a brand new, very positive, part of my life.
I’ve only been writing for a few months, but in that time I’ve realised how far the kids and I have come since that day in January 2017 when E left. We still have an awful lot to work through, and we are still recovering from how hurt we were, but I’m beginning to feel like peace is being restored and we are comfortably living our new life. I’m not complacent about this – we all know what’s happened before when I think things have calmed down – but I think that every day we’re better able to deal with the next grenade that’s thrown our way by E. At least he can’t get married again (?) and he absolutely can’t be unfaithful to me again (sadly, there’s no such certainty for P).
Not only has this blog allowed me to revisit and contextualise what’s happened, but it’s also reached a lot of people. So far an average of 200-300 people per day are reading it and some of my posts have reached over 4,000 Facebook viewers (I know that’s teeny compared to the big-girl websites, but to me it’s huge). I’ve also had several messages from people who have been through the same thing, and for whom my blog has been reassuring and reaffirming. I’ve had so many people tell me that it’s good to know they’re not the only one who has felt this way and been through this. I’ve also been honoured to have people share their personal heartbreak with me. It’s reassured me that I’m doing the right thing.
When I started this blog, it was to try and make something positive from something negative. It’s already doing that in ways I hadn’t anticipated – not only am I beginning to realise how free I am now, but I’ve reached other people and, in a very small way, I’ve even helped them by simply reassuring them that they’re not the only ones.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the fact that the response to this blog has (apart from one comment), been supportive, and everyone who has commented, reacted to posts, or messaged me has been 100% behind me. I’m not sure what I expected, but when I starting writing in such a public way, I was definitely expecting negative comments, or critical ones, or people saying ‘there’s two sides to every story’, or to somehow suggest that my account of events was spiteful or untruthful or left out something vital about my relationship with E. I’m sure that as the blog goes on, and it gets read by more people, that those comments will come, but so far I’ve received nothing but friendship.
Vitally, everyone who has read this blog has believed me. It was so important to me to be to be believed. I’ve been lied about, and to, for so many years that I wondered if my perception of the truth was right. I doubted myself., Nobody has questioned more than me whether or not E was somehow justified in having those affairs, if I missed something, if we were really together for the sake of the kids, or that I was somehow lying to myself. Being believed, being accepted, after so many years with someone who had created a version of me to suit his agenda, and who interpreted everything I did and said to prove to himself that his version of me was correct, has been liberating and has begun the process of me beginning to like myself again.
It’s not all been plain sailing and occasionally, writing about what happened has put me back in a very dark place. It’s meant re-exploring some very difficult emotions and feeling them all over again (its incredible how the past has such power to hurt afresh), but, in some ways that’s been a kind of therapy. When things were bad last year, I would try to console myself with the thought that ‘this time next year things will be better’ – and do you know what? They are. Writing the blog is helping me to appreciate how much better things are now and how much better I am without E. In a funny way, It’s made me begin to appreciate and value myself, and made me try to apply the kindness to myself that I always try to apply to others.
It’s funny, I spent so long blaming myself, and taking responsibility for, E’s affairs, and now he’s gone, it’s incredibly liberating being free of him and contemplating a life that’s mine and mine alone.
Not long after E left a friend asked me if I’d had a ‘Gloria Gaynor Moment’ yet. At the time such defiance and positivity seemed impossibly out of reach, but now it feels like an everyday normality. I know that there’s a lot to do and a lot to deal with – legally and emotionally – over the next few years, but I’m kind of looking forward to dealing with whatever life throws at me on my own. I’m not sure if this is my Gloria Gaynor Moment, but whatever it is its pretty good.