The Comfort of Laura

When I first learned of the affair, I told 2 people very close to me, both of whom were furious with anger.  One was female, the other male; people who have known me all or most of my life.

When I decided to tell others, I decided that I didn’t want Laura to know because she would be very upset and I had already upset 2 people, so began to consider whom to tell, based not on closeness, but closeness and something which might seem like a lack of loyalty, but isn’t….um…people who wouldn’t get upset.

Five months down the road when I felt a need to feel some reaction, perhaps? Laura said

I hate it that you were betrayed.  I hate it that you have had to deal with all this self-doubt and pain by yourself.  I hate him for being such a… well… a God****ed MAN.  I hate men.  I hate the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I read about a couple, so much like my husband and me, having this big purulent boil of deceit and dishonesty pop in their faces.  And let’s be frank here – it’s all about the dishonesty, isn’t it.  The hiding, the sneaking around, the lying, the disrespect.  I can’t stand the lying, because it is a symptom of a deeper disrespect.  How do you heal a wound that goes that deep?  The skin may grow back over, but the cause of the wound is still deep down in there, causing problems.

I think she took it very well, don’t you?  I wasn’t in front of her to see her head pop off, but…she totally held it together. I mentioned that my husband and the OW had met twice, but her pursuit went on for 9-10 months, lots of ruses to keep her finger in his life…she was ready to leave her husband and she totally wanted our marriage to end.  To which Laura responded:

I would like to point this out… He was pursued by a deranged woman, and succumbed.  She actively pushed and prodded him, and he “saw” her twice.  Twice in 9 or 10 months.  While I don’t condone his actions at ALL – in a perfect world he should have had the strength to resist completely – I think there must be a great deal of love for you in there.  I’m sure she flattered and pampered him, stroked his ego and commiserated with him.  That’s tough to resist.  Yet he did, mostly.  He faltered only twice.  How many men could resist a full-out attack?  Be honest – how many women could have resisted a man who did the same?

Then he felt guilty and angry with himself.  He tried to hide it from you, to keep you from suffering the pain of betrayal.  What most men (from the evidence at hand in the media) don’t seem to understand is, it’s the lying that **** women off, even more than the infidelity.  Ok, the infidelity part is pretty bad, but the lying just compounds the anger and feelings of betrayal.  Forgiveness comes faster if you own up to your sins instead of letting someone find out by accident.

I don’t know if you can see it right now, with all the churned up feelings, but he was showing you his love, first by resisting the temptation, then by trying to spare you the pain.

I am not saying you shouldn’t be angry and feel betrayed.  (Personally, I’d have tossed all his mess out into the road, broken all his cds and dvds, set it all on fire, then changed the locks and bought a big **** Doberman to eat him should he ever set foot in the house again, but I’m an inherently violent person.  Eventually, I’d let him back in, but he’d be a poorer man for it.)

Yeah, it’s a teeny-tiny kernel of decency in the center of this whole mess, but try to remember it’s in there.

Hearing this from Laura was like manna from heaven.  If she hadn’t mentioned destroying his belongings, I would have known she had an imposter writing her email, but that was enough authenticity and sympathy for me to lean in closer to the other things she had to say.  There are times when I feel pretty badly about this cluster*beep,* but I trust Laura and what she sees, and she sees a decent man who loves me.

That’s the comfort of Laura.

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This entry was posted in Behavior, Betrayal, Emotions, Love, Reactions, Revenge, Suspicion. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Comfort of Laura

  1. Elle says:

    I LOVE Laura. We should ALL have a Laura to watch our backs. I, too, selected whom to tell based on whether I thought they could handle it.
    It’s a tough situation. Many of us, post D-Day, don’t have the emotional fortitude to be selective. We either bite our tongues entirely…or we shout about our betrayal from the roof-tops. Or we tell people that, if we were to stop and really think, we shouldn’t — ie. people who haven’t supported us in the past, people who aren’t “friends” of the marriage, people whose loyalty is to our spouses, etc.
    In a perfect world, however, we’d all have a Laura — someone D’ya think she can she be cloned??

    • Lyn says:

      Cloned. Wouldn’t that change the world? A couple of ppl told me they’d “throw the bum out,” so to speak…even ppl commenting on this blog who’ve never heard of us before. How asinine is that? I have always held the opinion that an affair is not a deal-breaker. Abuse is, but not an affair. Chronic cheating is, but one affair? Throw a marriage away with someone you cherish because they were stupid one day? How stupid is that? Fortunately, my pride didn’t ruin my life. So many women who stomp out end up miserable, according to experts. My fave is Peggy Vaughan, of DearPeggy.com, btw.

  2. Jen says:

    I have a Laura too in my life post D-day. And you are so right, they truly watched our backs. Wouldn’t know how my last two months was without her. But unusually she was not my closest of friends but somehow after thinking for very long who i can talk to- her name came to mind and after that every thing clicks.

    Initially she was shocked and mad with what has happened, but later she assured me that my husband was a good man- she said- he is just going thru his midlife crisis and the OW pursued him at the wrong time. She helped me process a lot of my thoughts about the OW.

    I love Laura too…actually mine is called Loretta.

  3. Mrs. BadAss says:

    What a level headed friend. You are very fortunate – I could use my own Laura right now.

  4. Sarah says:

    Lyn-

    I discovered my husbands affair 5 weeks ago. The emotions feel unbearable at times.

    They way you have expressed your self in this blog have touched me. Your honesty and your ability to depict your thoughts so clearly are inspiring.

    I am in a different spot than you in ways; have 3 small kids and a fourth on the way. H had 3 month affair with his employee. Half way through the affair I found out I was pregnant and yet it continued. On Feb. 17 while out of the country on vacation with the kids I discovered emails and texts between H and the O.W. and even baited the O.W. into a few emails posing as my H to get necessary information.

    The deceit, the fact I caught him, exposing me and unborn child to significant health risks, all crashes down on me. I thought our marriage was strong (obviously, I wanted to bring another baby into it).

    I have read, seen a counselor, discussed briefly with our priest, and confide in my mother. Other than that no one knows. I struggle about telling others. If I want this to survive, having that knowledge out their seems detrimental. Also to burdeon my dear friends who know I am desperately struggling now but think it is depression related to pregnancy- To tell them will be to lay this pain at their feet, to make them carry it, but I know in my heart only I can work through this. So why ask them to feel this deep soul wrenching pain too. It seems a selfish thing to ask.

    I feel I can understand in theory why this happened….I used the phrase “a perfect storm” as you have. I want to rise above this as I have with so many other small and big struggles in my life. But the pendulum swings and I feel crushed. The aching heart pain on the underside of your shoulder you describe I feel so intensly. A truly broken heart.

    And I think. The O.W. is creepy. To do this to her marriage to her 3 young children. It is so odd another woman/mother could do this to me. And now it dawns in me, H feels creepy to me too. Different. I understand that live will change through a relationship but it seems as if love has been lost. Although I can forgive to the point that I can already push the deep stabs of pain away as I think of the actual affair, I have still lost something for him. This extinguishing of unconditional love I have felt for him for 15 years scares me. Is it depression, grief, or actual loss.

    I spend my time wishing days away, unable to care for my children, minimal connection to unborn child. I want to be in a coma. What has come of me. I read your posts and think – oh my, this rational, intelligent woman is a year out. She still feels the deep pain I do.

    My husband is deeply remorseful. The O.W. He has cut out of his life.

    I pray, ask God to walk with me. But this pain feels unbearable. I thought I was stronger than
    this.

    Sarah

    • Lyn says:

      Oh, Sarah. How I feel for you.

      The pain is indeed, unbearable and in those moments, it seems that time stands still. It feels like torture in slow motion, one which will never end. I used to wonder how I could feel this much pain and still live? How did my heart not just stop? How does a person endure it and, listen, Lord, FOR HOW LONG?

      I have felt so much of what you are feeling…to think of my husband and hear my inner voice say,

      “Who ARE you?”

      Wondering how trust will again unfold…how do we get back to where we were, which I thought was extraordinary.

      Depression, grief or loss? I believe it is all three. There is a sense of loss because you have lost; you have lost your image of what your marriage was and you have lost trust. You have been deeply, deeply wounded and as my friend, Laura says, it’s so much about the betrayal of the lying. We feel anger, as is natural, and we are trying to manage the anger because we think if we just let ourselves feel it? It might kill us. No, we might lose our minds. No, it might kill us. It goes on and on.

      You are wishing days away because you don’t want to deal with the pain. You ARE dealing with it, but let’s face it: this entire scenario is against your will. It’s an awful lot to bear. I remember wondering where God was in all of this. I knew God was there, or here, but, I was so preoccupied with physical and emotional pain that I had difficulty feeling God’s comfort, so just know that God is indeed, there, God is here, God is at hand, regardless of whether we feel it or not. Fortunately, I had experienced this when my mother died, some years back, so I knew I was not alone, but I also knew that my actions were up to me.

      Regarding “telling,” a friend said to me, “Once you tell, you can’t un-tell.” That is why, as I learned, whom you tell can either be helpful or a hindrance. If you are defending your husband to an enraged friend, that’s inconvenient: it doesn’t exactly serve you and your needs.

      It’s very thoughtful of you to consider the burden this will be to someone else, that said, the Scriptures say that God gives us to one another to help bear one another’s burdens. We are not meant to drag things along, alone. We are social beings and we need our community. Their pain will not be as your pain. There may be rage and/or dismay, but they will not feel the wound you feel. It’s true that you are the one who works through it, I just say, whomever you share with, be it your counselor, priest, mother, a friend, myself, or all of the above, I feel you must share it in some way. It’s okay to need people, that’s how we are created.

      “Rising above” is an important survival technique. I am reminded by a picture I saw of Mary, the mother of Jesus, when I was young. Mary was standing on a serpent. It was “under her feet.” Keeping my foot on the head of that serpent was something I have not always done and when I have not managed to do that, for whatever reason/reasons I felt overwhelmed by…I was very unhappy. Miserable.

      I saw a book title, “My Husband’s Affair Was the Best Thing To Ever Happen To Me,” or something close to that, and I was thinking, “Pul-leeeeeze,” plus some things I don’t really recall, but I am sure they were not pretty. As inconceivable as this concept is, right now, if your husband is truly sorry and you are willing, he can rebuild your trust in him by submitting himself to the consequences of his actions (namely, a crushed YOU) and walking through his own fire. He can’t expect to come away from his affair without pain and discomfort, including the pain of seeing your suffering. Peggy Vaughan talks about recovery in terms of the couple: the speed and fullness of recovery are directly related to the husband’s willingness to participate, as I read it and as I have experienced it.

      It is now 15 months since I learned of the affair and I can truthfully say I have never been happier, felt more liberated, personally, or as intimate in my relationship with my husband. It has been quite a journey, one I did not want to take and have often resented…but the destination, a deepening of our trust in one another and our communication, is there. I didn’t feel it was necessary, and certainly not by way of an affair, however, the satisfaction I now feel is something I never guessed I would feel.

      I may sound rational, but I am deeply emotional and not always entirely mature when it comes to my emotions. I wanted to be in a coma, too. And remember…the deep pain I recently felt was tied to the anniversary of the affair, heightened by the anniversary of the death of my mother-in-law, never properly handled, due to being interrupted by the discovery of the affair, two weeks later. To further complicate matters, I was also facing a medical procedure involving my heart and was subject to moments of feeling slightly crazed, all things considered.

      You have not failed, you are not failing…you are enduring, and as unattractive as that is, sometimes, it still counts.

      Elisabeth Elliot has written about suffering life-altering blows and advises to “Do the next thing.” Put one foot in front of the other. Make the meals. Enjoy the children. Get close to their faces and see God’s goodness in them. It is there.

      Bless,
      Lyn

    • Penny says:

      I hope that what you did since that time has been healing, and that you and your family are recovering. Please let us know where you are in your journey.

      I am sending good thoughts your way, praying the goddess will heal your family and help you find joy in life again.

      • Penny says:

        Now I see your post 8/18/11 – I am so happy for you dear! I have a journey to walk, and am inspired by success stories such as yours.

        Keep us posted!

  5. Sarah says:

    Lyn- 

    I have read and re-read your post. Thank you. In so many ways thank you. To have someone understand these painful (and in some ways unexplainable) feelings is a gift that I did not expect from a google search and a chance glimpse into another woman’s life. 

    Your response touched me deeply and it felt like  an embrace.  As I read your words I sobbed. Afterwards I was still….calm….at peace….Gods comfort it would seem. Again a gift I did not expect from a stranger. 

    I am relieved and joyful that you have been able to move so far beyond this to build on your relationship even though you resented it at times. The fact that this is something thrust upon you- is a hard pill to swallow. But yet you have persevered. It seems your honesty, commitment and faith have brought you to where you are. I pray I can travel the same road. 

    You are a caring, thoughtful, inspiring woman with a unique voice. Thank you for sharing and giving so much. Again….a gift I did not expect. 

    I will try to do as you wrote. Make the meals, enjoy the children, and look into their faces for Gods goodness. A plan to follow, and God knows I need a plan right now. 

    Thank you. 

    With love and kindness-
    Sarah

  6. Once again says:

    It looks like this is hour last post can you tell me where are you today in your relationship.? I am looking for hope that my relationship will turn out ok.

    Thanks for your beautiful story. It helps to have a voice out there to help me go throug this pain

  7. Lyn says:

    Jackie,

    Thank you for your kindness.

    As we approach our 13th anniversary on Saturday, I am happy to say that things have turned out well and we are happy, again. A friend of mine who works with married couples has always told me that marriages which persevere and heal become much stronger. Honestly, I didn’t see how that could be possible, at the time, but I am glad to report that she is correct.

    You can email me at lyndbarret@gmail.com, if you would like.

    Best,

    Lyn

  8. Lyn says:

    Things could not be better.

    Thanks,

    Lyn

  9. WalkTheWalk says:

    Pursued by a deranged woman… Do you really buy that? I have been the other woman to a man who pretended to be separated from his wife. I met him via a datingsite so he was the one who was actively searching to meet other women (yes, more than one, found out about that too late).
    He is still with his wife who now knows about his affairs (I told her) but prefers to stick her head in the sand and blame the women who “are after her man”.
    I have no respect at all for wives who take their cheating husband back. I call it the Hillary-complex: “It’s a cheater but it is MY cheater so you won’t have him.” As if I would still want this man who lies and betrays without blinking an eye…
    Having seen this married man in action, I think they rarely change. They are thrill seekers who need a secret garden. Just having a good marriage and a wife is way too boring for them.
    Unless such guys do some serious work on themselves, they won’t change. Life was way too good when they had the attention of more than one woman.

    • Lyn says:

      Yep, I do. The more I have learned about her and her bizarre behavior, which I have witnessed, the more I see it.

      I also used to not respect women who forgave their chronic cheats, which was difficult because one of these women was my mother. Having already been married to an earlier cheating husband, I’ve had years to reflect on this. One affair is not my deal-breaker. I have felt attracted to others. It’s part of the human condition.

      Domestic abuse is an automatic deal-breaker, as is chronic cheating, for me, anyway. Fortunately, a close friend and her husband have worked with married couples for decades and she offered perspective on how these things play out, as well as data to back it up. Admittedly, I was interested in data, at the time, however, the situation bore itself out and she was right on every count. Some change, some do not. Most affected marriages recover and most of them are stronger than before, I’m told. Those words didn’t mean much, at the time.

      You are right about some people never changing. People are human. We screw up. Some of us are selfish and malicious, some of us are not very diligent in protecting our marriages form affairs because we don’t think it can happen to us, as in our case. Also, in our case, I knew my husband and the quality of our relationship. I was in disbelief until I recognized her name from his past. What I knew, what I discovered and who we are as individuals and as a couple, determined our path.

      Perhaps you’ve read other parts of my blog which go into more detail.

      Best,

      Lyn

  10. WalkTheWalk says:

    Men become chronic cheats because their wives refuse to turn one affair into a deal-breaker. That shows them they get away with it. Until I met my married man and saw how dishonest someone can be, I had no clue that such people existed. Yes we all screw up from time to time but there are boundaries that should not be crossed.
    I don’t believe for a second that his marriage is stronger now. The marriage was not the problem, HE is the problem. He is immature, a man-child, and his wife is immature as well as she refuses to see how he really is. That’s what you often see: that people chose a partner who has the same level of maturity …
    I wonder: how many affairs does your husband have to have before you will consider him a serial cheat?
    I’ll tell you what I have also told the wife of my married man. You might celebrate your 50th anniversary at some point but you will know that day that your marriage has been contaminated by affairs. And you will also know that you never really felt safe in your marriage.

    • Lyn says:

      True, some men do become chronic cheats because they get away with it. I’ve seen it and I divorced someone because I knew they would cheat again. How many affairs would my husband have to have for me to consider him a chronic cheat? One more.

      I can choose to view my marriage as contaminated by an affair, but blame and bitterness is not the direction I like living. Can I guarantee that there won’t be more affairs? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Comes a point where a decision needs to be made, considering what may or may not have been done by the offender to be honest, transparent and accountable. Trust or not? I can not trust and be miserable forever, even if there were another affair. On the other hand, I can trust, knowing another affair is unlikely and participate in a marriage which grows deeper.

      Do I feel safe? Most days. Life is good.

      Best,

      Lytn

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