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Betrayed Spouse 101

The New You

W hy is it so hard to take time for you? Why are you hustling and bustling, getting everything done for everyone else, especially now? I'll tell you why.

You don't want to appear 'selfish'. Especially since being 'selfish' is the ROOT of every extramarital affair. Your cheating spouse is selfish, that Other Woman/Man is selfish - they're looking for something that gratifies them, regardless of the cost to others. In fact, they seem to glory in it "Just once, something for me" they say, as if it excuses the wake of destroyed lives their actions leave behind. They have such a perception that they give so much, and deserve to be selfish because of it. They perceive that the spouse is ungrateful, or takes them for granted, when in reality, she or he may be giving so much, they need a break and a fresh outlook on life. The betrayed spouse is worried about being perceived as 'selfish', because 'selfishness' wounded them so badly.

I work full-time. I am a wife. I am a Mom. I give my all to each, and sometimes it's a juggling act. Do I feel put upon? Sometimes, but I also remember I signed up for all of this. When I take a little time or do something for me, its because I certainly earned it, but more, I DESERVE it. My husband having an affair - I never signed up for that. I didn't deserve any of that. So during all the backlash after D-Day, why did I feel bad about doing what needed to be done for ME? I think I was just so wounded, so badly in need of someone to guide me, it was safer to do for someone else than it was to do for ME.

Now it's been a while since D-Day, and I can say that I do take more time for myself now. It's not easy with the job, the baby and a rebuilding marriage, but I manage. It may be a taking few quiet moments in the middle of the night after the baby wakes me to write in my journal, it may be that rare weekend morning when I let my husband get up with the baby while I catch an extra half hour of sleep. Regardless of what it is, I don't get outrageous with it, and I don't make apologies for it.

I've taken up a new hobby, and rediscovered a few old ones. I speak my mind a little more often. I find myself saying "No" when I never would have before. And I'm a better person for it.

I'm taking steps to insure my self-sufficiency. I have opened a bank account jointly in my and my daughter's names. It's there if I need it - emergency money, if you will. I hope I never do. If not, someday it will be my daughter's wedding fund - and a testament to a love that survived in spite of this chaos. I am taking steps to work toward a career change, to something I want to be doing with my life. Most of all, I am realizing that NO ONE (save my child, I guess) will have that kind of power over my life again unless I give it to them.

I'm learning to trust myself again. Yes, I was deceived. But it wasn't because I was 'blind' or 'stupid'. It was because I was uninformed and I had faith in my spouse and the person I thought him to be. There is no shame in that. I am wiser now, and I know what to look for. No one, him included will be able to devastate me in this manner again without me catching on pretty quickly. I have faith in that, and in my ability to deal with that.

I'm slowly letting go - of the pain, the anger, the label of 'victim', the focus on the betrayal. It's necessary for my healing to put this in perspective. Someday, when I'm 85, this will be a chapter in the book about my fabulously interesting past. I keep that in mind, and I keep moving forward.

My final thought for you is that you need to grow back. Not grow up. Grow back. When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that all my dreams wouldn't come true. The future was wide open, and I dreamed big dreams. Then I got older, and school came along, then a job, then a husband, house payments, car payments, a baby - somewhere along the line, I shelved some dreams because I didn't have the time, or the money, or I didn't think I could compare to others who did follow that dream. What I wouldn't give to have those years back now! But the truth is, the future is STILL wide open. It starts over again, fresh and new every single morning when you open your eyes. When you were a kid, that was a given. It still is. And I want to keep it that way, always.

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I wish you peace and a great big helping of YOU in your journey. You really are the best friend you've got. Get to know you again, and you'll have a friend you can count on for life.