I am a member of a forum about infidelity. I’ve been a member since 2008, when I was dealing with my ex, toward the end of our marriage. There is a sub-section about new beginnings. Often, the people in that section are obsessed with being a husband or a wife. They liked being married, obviously the problem was their cheating spouse, now they are divorced, so they can move right on to somebody who “deserves them”.
The problem is, very few people are perfect. While you are dealing with the aftermath of infidelity, it is easy to put your self on a pedestal up on that moral high ground. Yes, I gained weight, but I didn’t cheat. No, I didn’t do the laundry for 3 weeks, but I didn’t cheat. So what I have a temper, I’m not a cheater. Obviously, those are not reasons to cheat, but it doesn’t mean they are good things either. I think often growth is stunted during that phase, because you can’t see your flaws in comparison to someone else’s. I know, I’ve been there.
As I healed, I looked at my ex-husbands complaints. Yes, I’d gained weight. Yes, I had a temper. Yes, I was a slob. No, picking up his phone was not a valid complaint. No, asking him to take out the trash was not a valid complaint. (yes, one of the reasons he gave for cheating was my “emotional abuse, by asking him to take out the trash”)
Now, I’m pretty happily married, and would like to stay that way. Was there really anything my ex said I needed to work out. The temper and the slop thing were big. And, while my husband loves me, and has always known me heavy, he also wants somebody to DO things with. If I can’t keep up, he will be less happy. And, honestly, those “flaws” made ME less happy.
As I approach my 2nd anniversary, I began to write about how my life was so great, because of my husband. But when I thought about it, I realized, my new beginning wasn’t based around HIM, it was things I had done, for me. Things I had learned. I am nothing like I was when I was married before, and, quite a bit different now than I was when I met Brad.
My new beginning includes
- Graduating college
- Learning to be independent. There is no one telling me I can’t. I can take the subway in a strange city, and drive through Manhattan without a problem. I had always been told those things were too hard and too dangerous. Last week I spent 10 hours a day, and 3 days, in Boston, by my self. And, I did it. I remember being terrified to navigate airports by myself, and I do it all the time now.
- Losing weight, which isn’t necessarily what I’m excited about. But, the process of getting there has made me stronger and happier, I sleep better, I feel better, I’ve made friends. This past weekend, I was at a museum when my son wanted to go on a simulator. 2 years ago I would have told him no, because he was too little to go by himself, and I certainly wasn’t going to embarrass myself when I didn’t fit. Last week though, he asked, and I looked at him, looked at the ride, and said “come on” climbed in and put on the seatbelt without hesitating. It was a lot of fun.
- Learning that I can. I know that is vague, but I don’t know how else to word it. I just can. I can walk 10 miles a day, I can figure things out, I can do it. After a couple decades of the subtle abuse, the being told, over and over and over again I couldn’t. Big things, being told I was so stupid, I was a fucking idiot. or I’d be so lost on my own. to little things “No, you need to stay with us, you might get lost”. I was an 18 yr old, with a 10pm curfew, because it was too dangerous to be out with my friends later. I needed to be home, where I would be protected.
- Getting a tattoo. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’ve wanted one for about 15 yrs now. I always put it off, because, it was a sin. I was told over and over how it was a sin, and since you were stuck with it forever, you would always be sinning. That is why a man cutting his hair and shaving was ok, because if you decided it was a sin later, then you could stop sinning. Well…by that logic, I will always have my son I conceived before I got married, so, I will always be sinning. I have the rough draft drawn up, just waiting to get back from a trip, because I plan to enjoy the hot tub while I’m away, and I can’t with a new tattoo.
- I’ve learned to be content where I’m at. Previously, I was sure I’d be happier if we had more money, if our bills were paid off, if we had a bigger house, a different car. I’m happier now. You know what changed? nothing. I changed my attitude. I decided to he happy, to be thankful for all the good we do have.
- And, really, what prompted the whole post…I’m the new 3rd and 4th grade soccer coach for my boys’ soccer team. I was asked, and started to say no. Then, I tried to talk around it, like Brad can coach, and I will stand there on the sidelines. And…no. I’m the coach. I know nothing about soccer, but I guess I will learn quick. I VOLUNTEERED to do this, on my own. A year ago, 2 years ago, 5 years ago…no way. I couldn’t do it, I would do it wrong, I would embarrass myself, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the kids, people would laugh at me. Now? I don’t care what people say. I CAN keep up with the kids, And, I’m a fast learner. If I do it “wrong” there were plenty of other opportunities for the other parents to step up.
I’m a better person, I’m a more complete person, not just because I have Brad in my life, but because I worked on my flaws and my weaknesses. I LIKE me now. I don’t know that I could ever honestly say that before. I think, today, i am the best me I can be. And, tomorrow, I’ll be better.
Yesterday, I saw home decor on Pinterest. It was giant letters on a living room wall that said “it is well with my soul” and, it really is. It’s a nice, but very foreign feeling.
Odd anniversary post, but, there it is, all true. Maybe next week I’ll write a gushy post about how amazing my guy is.