Sunday, December 8, 2013

Anger and Music

Forgiveness does not come easy to me.

That might sound odd coming from someone that was willing to work through adultery in her marriage, but it is true. Forgiving my husband for the pain caused was the easy part. The anger did not subside for years, and rebuilding our life together was and continues to be complicated. The constant movie and music plot lines centering on affairs and cheating and lust and sex only fueled my anger.

The longer I let myself be angry, the easier it was to say hurtful things. I pushed my husband away continuously. He never wavered in his promises of change. When I told him I didn't believe him, he said he would earn my trust. When I said I was unsure he loved me or that he had changed, he told me that was okay, because HE was certain he had changed. When I told him I was afraid I couldn't love him the same way again, he followed my lead, but remained a constant source of love.

Shortly After Knowing, we had to change vehicles. I only had one CD to listen to, and while I loved it, it also rubbed salt in my fresh wounds. I realized one day the entire album was about an affair. I was riding around, in a car that my husband cheated on me in, with someone else's hand prints on the back seat windows. I felt humiliated. So I belted out the words to every song on that CD. It was all I listened to for months.

One day I realized that I was letting myself dwell in anger, and it was emotionally draining. I had to break the cycle. So, I changed the soundtrack.

Over time, the anger subsided. It felt as though one day I was mad, and the next day, we were better than ever. I had let go of the anger and remembered how to forgive him.

Today, I was listening to another song by the same artist. Lyrics from the song struck me:

And I, oh I
Wanted you both to know
That I, oh I
Forgave you both long ago

In time, I was able and willing to forgive my husband. I have still not reached that point for the other women. That is anger I wonder if I will ever be willing to let go.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the Moment

I have been working on writing more frequently, and while I have shared my story here, this is my effort to concentrate on what the moment meant for me. If you have been through something similar, what did the moment mean for you?


It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to what I was reading.

“I am running out of interviews to prepare for.  Maybe we could go get a room in the city.”

My stomach flipped and my heart sank. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t real, but a few minutes later, I was running through various scenarios in my mind. I thought I was going to vomit. I sobered up quickly as I tried to rouse him from his drunken stupor. I told him to get out. He was black out drunk and had no idea what was going on.  I had a house full of people coming the next morning and I would not be able to get any sleep if he was here. I pushed him out the back door. I did not care what happened to him, I just wanted him gone. I moved away from the locked door and it burst open again, the frame cracking and splitting. He was enraged, and I called his father for the first time in our near six years of marriage. I asked him to come and pick up his son.

Once he was gone, I trudged up the stairs. I tried to lay down in bed, but his phone was in our room and I could not be near it. I went and sat in the glider in our child's room, listening to the breathing. Sighs and movements made the tears flow. “So what happens now? You leave him, right? Now you have proof he was cheating on you. With her, while you were busting your ass to keep your family together and to keep him from falling into an unemployed back hole. So now you leave. You pack your shit and take your child and you go home. You spend the rest of your life alone, but you prefer that, right? You go, because you don’t put up with that shit and he lost you.” I dialogued with myself the rest of the night. Both selves were right: I should go and I should stay. Ultimately, he will be the one to choose.

When the sun started to come up, I stood up and peered into the crib. My baby's soft cheeks were rosy, and it was a good dream. My baby would be one in a few days, and in a few hours our family would be downstairs to celebrate. I got in the shower so that my mom would not be able to hear my tears or my thoughts. “My child loves him. Can I really break that up? It isn’t your fault though: you were faithful. I fixed my hair and caked on the make-up to hide the bags under my eyes.  I could hear mom downstairs with my baby, making breakfast. I stood in front of my closet trying to find something to wear that would be forgiving. I still was not used to my body after giving birth. I heard a vehicle door slam, then a few moments later, our front door opened and closed.

He walked up the stairs and the vomit started to rise, but I managed to keep it down.

“Sorry about last night. I didn’t know I was so drunk. I’ll fix the door.”

“That isn’t why I had your dad come get you.”

“Then why?” He sounded annoyed.

I took a deep breath, mustered all my courage and looked him in the eyes. “I am only going to ask this once. If you lie to me, I will pack my things tonight and this marriage is over.”


“Did you sleep with Her last year when you were out of work?”

As the tears started to well up in his eyes, he looked to the floor. “Yes.”

He tried to pull me close, and begged me to hug him. He pleaded with me to say something, anything. I looked down at the top of his head. He could not bear to look at me. All I could think was how unfair this all was. I married the love of my life. I married my best friend and my entire life as I know it changes at the glance of a text message, because he could not keep it in his pants? In that moment, I decided to stay. Not for him. Not because I am a faithful Catholic. Not because I took my vows seriously, and not for our child. I chose to stay because I deserved the life I wanted. I had spent the last five years and change bending over backwards to make our marriage work. I did in the face of insults and fear. I did it during happy times and awful times while he left it up to me to pick up the pieces. After pleading for his honesty throughout the course of our entire relationship, if I bailed the moment he was finally honest, what would that prove?

“Do not ask me to comfort you right now. That is unfair. You need to take a shower and go get the birthday cake. I will talk to you later. If you can continue to stay honest, I will stay. Lie to me and this is over.”

I bit my lip to keep myself from crying and I walked away. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rebuilding Memories

When you have had something like an affair in your marriage, things take time to feel normal again. We went through a period of time where we talked in depth about our relationship every night and sent emails during the day to each other to reconnect. Slowly the need for relationship discussions subsided, but there was still some pain. For me, it was hard to look at photos of our life together. It seemed distance and unreal to see our vacation pictures or family photos.

So, we set about making new memories. The beautiful thing about both of us being determined to change our relationship was that we did still have connections. We were not completely starting over, but we needed the chance to create important events to remember and reshape our marriage: a chance to rebuild memories.

As children are in the mix, this can be challenging! Here are some things that we have found to be helpful in rebuilding and maintaining our relationship with one another, and our "dating" life:

Love Letters

Sometimes this is just an email that differs from the standard "What time will you be home?" or "Can you do this for me?" When it has been a longer stretch between date nights, we have found a kind, loving email that reminds one another we love each other and think about them when they are not right in front of us is a good way to signal the need for one on one time. It also helps to reconnect after dishonesty in a marriage to renew and freshen our "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways" talk!

The Spur of the Moment Movie or Dinner

Occasionally, I can pull off a quick exit for us. I like to try to give our sitters notice, but every now and then I can call them on a Saturday and we can get away for a few hours. It is amazing how much an unplanned outing can help us feel closer and cure cabin fever. My husband sometimes manages to surprise me as well! He usually gets home from work long after dinner, but from time to time he makes the effort to come home before I have cooked and take us all out to eat, or "trick" me into the car on the weekends for a surprise meal. With or without the kids, it is nice to have the illusion of spontaneity back for a moment!

Music Nights

We like TV, and there are some seasons where it seems we have a favorite show to watch every night. Sometimes watching shows together gets old, and we will just turn it off and listen to some music after the kids have gone to bed. It is nice to just sit and talk as we listen, or we play a game (Scrabble or Skip-Bo) and spend some time in our living room alone.

Pumpkin Pie Nights

Around the holidays, we have started a new tradition for us in the past year or so: Pumpkin Pie after the kids are in bed. One year we bought a few different kinds of frozen pie and tried them all to find a favorite. (Marie Calendar's is ours!) Then it is just a matter or having one in the freezer for a spontaneous Pie Night! I will put it in while I am cooking dinner so it has cooled down by the time the kids are in bed and we sit on the couch and eat pie together. It is nice to have a new "thing" for our relationship. We all need memories and traditions that are our own.

Late Night Calls

When we are not on the same schedule, it can make things feel crazy. After a long day with the kids, I just want to go to bed and after a long day at work, he needs more time to unwind. Sometimes I will call him and talk to him for a bit before I fall asleep! It seems silly, but the conversation often turns to how we are doing and we make plans for a date.

Friday, February 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Things to Know

Today, I wanted to try something new for From the Ashes in an effort to increase the readership as well as decrease some of the stigma attached to talking about dishonesty in marriage and working towards staying together.

So, today I am joining in 7 Quick Takes, hosted by Conversion Diary. Here we go!

7 Things to Know About From the Ashes:

From the Ashes is a blog that is set up for those among us that have experienced dishonesty in their marriage, and are seeking to heal their marriage. When I went through the experience of discovering my husband had multiple affairs and a sex addiction, I found very few places online that did not blame the spouse that did not cheat and that focused on healing the marriage versus divorce. I wanted to create a space to talk about these sort of issues in a way that is consistent with Catholic teachings on marriage.
From the Ashes is anonymous, and is open to anonymous comments and anonymous guest posters. What I needed to see most in the aftermath of my discovery, was that others could empathize and I was not alone. If you would like to write a post for From the Ashes, please email me at
There is a very small Facebook group set up so that you can easily receive blog updates. Readers have liked the ease of this method in sharing a post with loved ones that may find comfort in the posts here.
I am not a counselor of any sort. Just a devoted Catholic woman that wanted to share my story. My husband and I went through a terrible time and are still committed to our marriage.
If you have experienced sexual dishonesty in your marriage, please know that you are not alone, and that my prayers are with you. There is no set amount of time to heal. 
I invite you to share this page with others! Please contact me privately or in the comments section with questions if you have any.
Here is a link to the first post written for From the Ashes. 

Thank you for stopping by! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rational Versus Irrational

My husband is leaving on a semi-business trip in a few days, and I have worst case scenarios running through my mind.

The trip is near where we used to live, and it is over the weekend. As he will be able to spend spare time with family, it should be a good thing in theory. I am stuck in the world where he has three days away from his wife and kids in the town where the woman he had an affair with lives.

My rational self acknowledges that he is not the same person he was when all of that took place, and that our marriage is in a better place as well. My rational self knows he is going for us: to help make our lives better and support us, his family. My irrational self imagines that he has her phone number memorized or that he has somehow alerted her to the fact that he will be in town. My irrational self keeps me up at night.

I do not even know if he knows that she moved back to the area, but I do not want to bring it up either. It is needless worrying that is most likely the result of me feeling vulnerable and hormonal: pregnancy will do that to you.

I want to tell him that I need to look at his phone. That I am exercising my Cheated-On Spouse Rights to tear apart all his privacy to search for something that will confirm what the little voice in my mind is whispering. "What if....."

Instead, I hugged him. I told him that I loved him, and that he had two things to remember on his trip: he had to come back no matter how crazy the kids were before he left, and that he was married. He smiled and hugged me back. We spent some time holding each other and talking about our day, and then we fell asleep.

My rational self won this battle!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just a Reminder

I know that this blog page has not been super active as of late, but I wanted to issue a reminder that I would love to accept any reader submissions for those of you that have also had a challenge in your marriage that you would like to share or believe someone could benefit from reading about. This blog is anonymous and will stay that way. I just edited the comment settings so that even comments can be posted anonymously, with approval of course to avoid spam.

If you would like to submit a post, please email it to

There is also a Facebook page available so you can get updates and links to blog posts. You can find it at

If you feel moved to do so, I encourage you to share a post that spoke to you with others. My only goal is to help spread the word that folks going through difficult times in their marriage are not alone!

Thank you for reading!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Divorce was not an option.

Marriage is a big deal. It means committing yourself to another person for life. It means making someone else's needs equal to your own, and compromising and loving someone else until death. This is not always the easiest thing to do. It certainly is not easy when you have just found out your husband was having sex with other people while he was unemployed and you had not only just given birth to your first child, but also were eyeball deep in trying to care for said child while you were at work so that he could concentrate at home on finding work.

My parents divorced when I was in high school. I felt as though I could stop it, and when I could not it left me very angry and upset. I escaped to college and had the added guilt of feeling as though I had abandoned my siblings. We all went through really tough times dealing with our parent's divorce, and all of us came out of the mess with the steely resolve to never ever go through it again. My faith was a part of this desire, but no more than my parent's divorce.

When I met my husband, this was something that we talked about before we were ever at a point where we knew if marriage was an option. He told me he felt the same way. If we were going to commit, it was for good.

Fast forward to our first year of marriage. To be honest, it felt as though I was doomed to live a life of misery. I was unsure of my ability to have children, and our life was incredibly chaotic. My husband seemed to have one foot out the door and told me that his feelings for me had changed. It was heartbreaking to be 22, newly married, experiencing family tragedy and feel entirely alone. At that point, the only thing keeping me from leaving suddenly was my view that our marriage was sacramental, and that I promised before God to be with him always.

I felt as though he was keeping his commitment to me because he hated to lose. Getting married young when all of your friends are telling you not to is tough. Getting divorced within a year is tougher. Going through any of the above when you hate losing or admitting you are wrong is even more difficult. My husband hates to lose and hates to be wrong. I did not feel loved or safe: I felt rejected and as though I was something to "win."

The next few years were slightly easier, but there were really tough moments. Our sex life was still mostly about him, and it was common for him to masturbate. I tried to ignore it. Our arguments would get scary. I also am not a fan of losing an argument, so I would let things bottle up and then get confrontational; there were a few moments that I was afraid he would hit me. The truth was, I knew little about his mind and what he was capable of. When I tried to get him to open up, or to talk about things when we were not upset, I was shut out and ignored.

I remember one particular incident that nearly ended the marriage long before I was aware of the affairs. We were at a party at his cousin's house. Her husband was not particularly a nice person. I was talking to him on the couch to pass the time. He was a little too drunk and pretended to accidentally feel me up. I awkwardly smiled to not make a scene, and stood up to go to the car. As I began walking to the door, I noticed my husband was coming in, and suddenly his cousin's husband rushed passed me to tell him all about how he accidentally groped me and he was so sorry. My husband looked at me and I was still a little shocked at how fast everything had happened, so I didn't look upset. So he high-fived him. When his cousin's husband left, I told him I was going home and he could stay or go, I didn't care.

He followed me out to the car to ask what had happened and explained why he thought I was not upset. The initial shock was wearing off and I was really angry. They were supposed to go to a game the next morning, and I was really furious at the high-five. I exploded in the car and things got really awful. He began screaming at me in a way I had never experienced from him. I was driving, but was fearful of violence. I stopped the car outside our home and told him to get out. When he refused, I got out and got into our second vehicle.

I had no where to go. It was late, and I had no one to call. I waited until I was sure he was asleep and slept on the couch. I heard him leave for the game in the morning and I went to our room to pack. I called the only friend I had (another of his cousins) to see if I could stay there for a little while so I could collect my thoughts. She told me no. It was hard to make the choice to leave and not be there for work the next day, so I stayed and let the matter drop.

This is one of the most extreme examples of what our marriage was facing at various points. There was a side of him that I could not fully know: there was rage, anger and events that I only saw glimpses of until After Knowing.

There were a few times that I had considered leaving the marriage, but the fact that I had put so much thought and prayer into the decision to take my vows, made life afterwards look depressing. Could I move back near family and be divorced before 25? I could not handle the separation from the Eucharist that would entail: God was all I would have left to show for my life. I did not know if a separation was easier or more difficult: it certainly seemed lonely. I missed the boy I had dated. I missed the way he looked at me and kissed me: I missed feeling as though we were meant to be together.

By the time we began to seriously figure out whether or not I could have children, things were better. We seemed happy again, and had spoken a few times about those first few years and the things we regretted about it all. There was love again, and I felt as though I was an equal again.

To be honest, I am not sure what began his search for another affair. My theory is that it had something to do with being out of work with a family to support. Or that he had too much time on his hands. To think that I was initially worried he would spend too much time looking at porn is now laughable given the reality. While I always had suspected something devious was happening during our first year of marriage, I never suspected it would happen again, let alone with the woman he chose. The betrayal is unreal to this day.

I did not want a divorce or separation After Knowing. I needed him to know that if he did not love me or wanted out, that he needed to just say so. After all, that had always been our understood arrangement: No cheating, just be honest.  I was more confused by his behavior than anything: all he had to do was say he wanted out and I would go live my very Catholic separated life and be on my way. So why didn't he just say it?

The empowerment that came with knowing that I had always done all that I could do to fulfill my vows was strong. Knowing that there was an underlying issue made me feel relieved. I did nothing to deserve this, a fact he was rather clear about. The truth is always more complicated than we imagine it to be: he did not want his marriage to be over, but he also did not want to give up casual sex. This was the moment that he full understood that he had an addiction to overcome and a choice to make, because the double life was no longer possible.

After Knowing, it took some time for me to know and feel as though he made his choice and he wanted to be married to me. I cannot tell you when exactly I began to trust it, but over the past few years I have grown to trust.

I still do not know what would happen if our marriage regressed. It seems that when I reflect on the past years of our marriage, it is hard to imagine a situation that we could not conquer, or a time when I am not called to unconditional love for him.

Every day of our marriage since the affairs surfaced, my husband has proven to me that he loves me and that his wife and children are all he cares about in this world. He works incredibly hard to make sure I know this. I do not fear him, and I do not feel rejected. Divorce was not an option.