Today was the day last year that marked the beginning of the unraveling of my marriage. Not the D-day. That comes in September. But today was the day that the first clue was revealed. The first hint that something was terribly wrong. I had found messages between him and another girl. Not the one he was actually having an affair with. I didn’t know about that yet. This was someone else. A much, much younger girl from work. They were not having an affair, but the messages were very flirtatious, and he was not discouraging it. It was definitely flirtatious enough that one could see that it was headed in that direction. I was devastated.
Over a Facebook message.
Little did I know that was small potatoes compared to what was truly happening. I just thought we had problems. I thought we had problems just knowing that he was entertaining the idea of having an affair, little did I know at the time that he was actually already engaged in one with someone completely different.
The girl he was sending these flirtatious messages with, actually started messaging him again months later, during our separation, this time including some pictures in which she was in a state of , ahem, undress. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t realize that Jeff wasn’t getting those messages. They were coming to ME. I sent her a message back letting her know. I have to admit, sending that message to let her know that she had actually not sent those messages to Jeff, but instead to me, HIS WIFE, was kind of fun. Just imagining the look on her face when she read that first sentence was a pretty entertaining thought. I mean , I kind of imagined it to look kind of like this.
I was harsh, but kinder than most people would be in this situation. She is very young. Unmarried. Naive. So I decided to show her a little grace and explain to her that going after someone else’s husband has a much far reaching effect than just her and the husband. I explained to her the devastation it brings to everyone involved.
To my surprise, she actually responded. Said that she was sorry. That she actually had been raised better than to do what she was doing.
Turns out, she comes from a broken home and knows first hand what that fallout is like. So why then, I asked her, would you want to possibly have a part in causing someone else’s kids to go through what you went through?
I have recently heard that she is pregnant. I wonder, now that she has a relationship, and a child of her own, if she realizes the seriousness of her actions. If she thinks about what it would be like to find those kinds of messages from another woman to her husband? I wonder if she understands better now all the things I said to her. I hope she does and that she never does something like that again. And I hope she never has to experience it herself and that her baby grows up in a loving home that stays whole.
A couple of nights ago I had started having some anxiety about this upcoming season of unfortunate anniversaries. The thought of them brought about some triggers, and sometimes when I’m working through battling those triggers I get particularly quiet. Jeff always notices. So we talked about it. We talked about how the triggers affect me. And then we talked about all the good things, and how thankful we are for where we are now in comparison. We talked about how proud I am of him and the transformation he’s made in himself. We talked about all of our victories in the battles we have faced in this past year. We talked about how far we’ve come and our belief that things will just keep getting better.
He told me how every night when he goes to bed he thanks God that he has been given the gift of going to sleep in this house with me and our family. He said every morning when he wakes up he thanks God again that he has the privilege of waking up with me by his side.
I know from my support group and from talking to so many others that are trying to rebuild their marriage that Jeff’s commitment to this marriage, to our family, and to this process is a rarity. He is truly 100% committed to whatever it takes, and he goes above and beyond in his effort to making it work. I know what a true blessing that is and I do not take that for granted.
So I told him that although I couldn’t promise that the memories and triggers in the coming months wouldn’t sometimes make me feel sad, that I was going to do my very best to intently choose to focus on all the goodness of the present day and not let the memories and the triggers steal that from us. And in response he snuggled me right up and kissed me gently on the top of my head, and said he knows how hard those memories are, and that we would just try our best to focus on making new happy ones to replace them.
So that’s the plan.
I recently gave a woman in my support group some advice on how to get through a particularly hard day. I told her that when those memories pop up to just keep reminding herself that she doesn’t live there anymore, and to try and focus on all the goodness in this present moment. So I’m going to do my best to take my own advice. And I hope y’all will pray for us in these coming weeks too. That the pain of those memories will continually weaken, as we focus on building new and happier memories and reclaiming those days that were tarnished.
Amy Thurston Gordy