Updated: Jun 12, 2019
In 2011, I found myself very suddenly single. Technically my husband and I were just separated, however, we were no longer a couple. We were no longer a pair. We were no longer a team. I was certain “we” were no longer a “we”. To say that realization was crushing would be putting it mildly. For a number of years, I had given everything inside of me to make my marriage work. I feel like that’s most people’s story so in that regard my situation was neither special nor unique. And I’m sure the feelings of shame, regret, loss and devastation also don’t belong to just me. In fact, at that time I was keenly aware I wasn’t special at all. Now my parents might disagree and I certainly believe my current husband would. But at the time, I didn’t feel special or worthwhile. Deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties, I believed I had truly given my best gift to my then husband. I had taken my little precious gift and wrapped it up in the best wrapping paper just like you would do for an extremely special Christmas present. I’d decorated my gift with beautiful bows and flowers so it was sure to impress the recipient. The act of giving the gift to my then husband was labor intensive and sacred. The gift I’m speaking of, was myself. I had presented my whole self to him as a gift; the good, the bad and the ugly. All of me was in that beautifully wrapped, sacred present. The part of me that will stop and give money to a homeless person, the sentimental part that loves creating special traditions and memories, the part that belly laughs too loud, the part that loves the Dallas Cowboys, the part that secretly believes I can convince anyone I’m right because I think I usually am, the part that picks at my nails, the part that loses my temper, the part that never flosses, the part that can make a joke and lighten any situation including a funeral, the part that wants to help the underdog, the part that doesn’t particularly care for regular dogs and the part that sometimes snorts when I laugh. It was all in there. It was all inside that gift…. and he had thrown the gift away. He had opened it, surveyed the contents, and then tossed it aside for someone else. There is nothing quite like THAT feeling. I don’t think I’m saying anything here that everyone in my same shoes hasn’t also felt. I felt like trash. The person who supposedly knew me best had decided I wasn’t worth keeping. It’s a special feeling, let me tell you. Crushed and abandoned, I was looking for answers. I was looking for the why. Why was I not good enough? Why had he picked HER and not me? I had a million questions. I had a million whys.
The “why” road is a lonely desolate road. It’s dark and bendy. You are sure to lose your balance and fall flat on your face. The “why” road should be avoided at all cost. For realz! There should be giant yellow signs that scream “CAUTION AHEAD”. Here’s the thing about the “why” road; it leads you to the “when” road, and the “how” road, and the “where” road. These are ALL roads to avoid in any case of infidelity. They don’t lead anywhere good. They don’t. They don’t. They don’t. They DON’T! Oh, you may think they will lead you to peace and understanding but it’s Fools Gold you’re chasing. I was certain (CERTAIN!) that if I could just understand the why then, and only then, would my deep anguish subside.
As a side note, I’m not particularly detail oriented. Somewhere in the universe my mother and my CPA both just laughed. The truth is, I’m not detail oriented at all. But I do think I inherited a bit of my grandfather’s MacGyver abilities. If I can tinker with something long enough I can usually figure it out. So, here was my thinking. If I could go on a fact finding journey to get enough details about the affair or the inner workings of his brain, I could then figure out why I hadn’t been enough for him. Think about that for a second and let it sink in. I was looking for enough evidence to convict myself of being worthless. OUCH! By wanting to ask questions about the infidelity, I was looking to confirm the argument that I was indeed trash worthy of being thrown to the curb. Well, when you put it like that it seems like a TERRIBLE journey to go on. Who would volunteer for that??? Unfortunately, I think way way way too many people go on that same journey when they insist on getting all their questions answered. They aren’t only looking to confirm their worst fears that they aren’t good enough, but they are also looking for comfort from the person who hurt them most. If you think the answers to your questions and knowing all the gritty dirty details will bring you comfort and understanding, YOU ARE WRONG. And even if getting all your questioned answered by your unfaithful spouse could bring you comfort, would you want your comfort to come from that person? Would you want comfort in that form? I wouldn’t. Having the answers and knowing “all the things” isn’t going to change the past nor the present and sometimes it actually changes your future for the worse. At the end of the day, I was still going to be a single mom with two small children. Did I want to be a single mom with two small children AND have all those grimy images in my head of my ultimate betrayal? Thankfully, a wonderful lady named Jenni gave me this advice. She convinced me that I really didn’t need to know. It was a need-to-know situation and I did NOT need to know. Oh I wanted to know. I thought I HAD to know in order to move forward. But the truth was I didn’t. I didn’t need the details. Sitting here 8 years later, I am positive that I didn’t need that information in order to rebuild the life I have now. Could I have gotten here if I had asked my questions and gotten my answers? Possibly. But the road would have been much more difficult. I’m thankful I didn’t have to carry the burden of those answered questions with me. I was able to move on unencumbered by those answers. The divorce recovery road is hard enough without packing yourself down with baggage you don’t need. Trust me, you have enough baggage as it is without adding more.
Sometimes the truth doesn’t set you free. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss (or at least it’s less sucky). And sometimes what we think is medicine to heal our wounded soul is actually what breaks us open even more. This is a need-to-know situation and you don’t need to know everything. You have to ask yourself these questions: 1) will the knowing help you get where you want to go, 2) will it slow you down on your journey to restoration and healing, 3) Do you want to live the rest of your days with the newly found knowledge rattling around in your heart and mind? And if by chance you decide the answer to any of those questions is yes and you firmly believe it will help heal you, then you must ask yourself one final set of questions. Do you want your ex to provide that healing? Do you want to rely on anything they have to say and would you believe what they tell you? I am living proof that the answers to the questions you want to ask regarding your unfaithful spouse won’t heal you. The power is within you to heal and rebuild your own self. Your power to heal yourself is far greater than any short-term remedy they have to offer!
If you need help finding the power to rebuild your new life or if you want to argue with me for a bit longer about how answers will help you, then please feel free to reach out. I’m willing, ready and able to walk this road with you.