Scout, I realized I didn't address the forgiveness part of your post at all, just the parts about the path towards it... and I wanted to be sure you knew that I appreciated the whole post. It is just that I'm not really thinking about forgiveness, yet. I know I want to get there but I don't want to move faster than I'm ready-- which was one of the major takeaways of that post for me, anyhow.
My IC asked me about forgiveness this week and how I saw that happening. I said that I'm not really worrying about that right now, but that trust and forgiveness are things that generally have come easy to me, and sometimes it is my brain that has to slow me down. Earlier that day I'd been in a conversation with someone at work who had totally thrown me under the bus back in January. It was really awful and I felt completely betrayed when it happened, and it took me several months to repair the damage with my own boss because of it. Anyway, I was having a great time talking with him, work stuff, kid/distance learning stuff-- a very positive conversation and I hung up feeling good about it, I'd helped him out with several things. It didn't occur to me until after we hung up that wait, I don't trust this guy at all. It is something I need to hold onto intellectually, otherwise I forget.
I also realized that nearly every time I post about feeling positive, something happens to derail me-- like the Universe reminding me not to get too big for my britches. And in fact yesterday after I typed this out, I went to a colleague's funeral and was feeling rather down, it was a long drive so I listened to Esther Perel's podcast on relationships and got to one about a couple that met as affair partners and were now married, the H with two young children and the W feeling unaccepted by his family and branded as the "other woman." All the other episodes I'd listened to that involved affairs placed the original married couple in the center, not the APs and the difference in my response really struck me. I could drum up zero sympathy for the OW, ZERO-- even when she was crying about being treated as an outcast by his family, I just felt like she deserved it and what else did she expect? And when the H talked about how happy and in love they were, I felt a visceral disgust, like I wanted to vomit.
Then I got home and H had spent the day on a virtual quarterly conference that used to always be held in AP's city. He had also won a new contract that he'd worked on for a couple of years, and while I am happy about this and said let's celebrate with nice take-out, I know I wasn't over the top by any stretch, I didn't touch him or hug him-- I just didn't feel any of that would be authentic to how I was feeling at the moment. It was more how you would congratulate a neighbor or friend, not your H or best friend. (Not that I think I should have done anything differently, just saying what I did.)
He seemed a little down and quiet all night, and in my head I wondered if he was missing AP, because of the conference, or because she might have been more enthusiastic in congratulating him on something he's been working for during the entire duration of the A. He'd shared with me way back when that one of the things he knew he was going to miss about her was her friendship, someone he shared good news with and was happy for him, etc.
But... here's what I'm really proud of, and how I know I'm really making progress, not just on the surface. (Though please swing 2x4s at me if I'm not getting it.) It didn't really bother me. I felt the stirrings of it all worrying me, and of course the podcast made me think about the A and AP. I know that a month ago I would have gone down the rabbit hole and felt terrible and probably started something with H around it.
Instead, I did my own thing. Relaxed my brow. Enjoyed the amazing take-out dinner and no cooking or dishes. Played board games with the fam. After the kids went to bed, took a bubble bath, worked on a crossword puzzle, chilled out until I felt totally calm. I realized that my own experiences during the day probably had something to do with how I was feeling-- maybe more so than anything I was observing in H's behavior-- and anyway, even if he was missing her or those feelings he had with her, I really felt like well, that is natural under the circumstances and besides completely in his lane, not mine.
So I went to bed and fell asleep and had a good nights' sleep-- no 4 am awakening and mind going in circles-- and woke up feeling fine. And H has been his nice (new) normal self today so far, made me breakfast, cracking dumb jokes, wanted to call his mom on speakerphone together to talk gifts--so who knows if everything yesterday was just in my head. Maybe, maybe not... but truly? it doesn't really matter either way.
I am, though, really feeling proud that I was able to nip those feelings in the bud and refocus on what I can control-- my own emotions, my own response to the triggers I experienced yesterday-- and was able to rebalance. Alison, if you're reading, it was so key for me to know it was OK to have to re-let-go of the control thing every 10 minutes sometimes-- that has really stuck with me and helped me to recenter and rebalance.
Clearly all still a WIP but feeling pretty good. I have a lot of fun stuff planned for the weekend and had a productive work week. Happy Friday everyone! xx M
Me (45) H (41) M:13 T:17, D8 & D11 4/19 BD #1 ILYB 8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA 12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA 2-5/20 R attempt #1 6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP 9/20-present R attempt #2