What an awesome response I got from yesterday's post; I was humbled by it. Not only did people say some very nice things in the comments, I also got a couple of emails that made me laugh, cry and pretty much get a healthy renewed faith in humankind. I think sometimes all it takes is having someone say, "I know what you're feeling; I went through the same thing." Relating and connecting with another person who knows exactly how you feel. It's like how I feel with people who've had a parent pass away, in my case a parent I was extremely close with. Unless you've gone through it, you can't come close to imagining how it feels.
That last phrase is something I said a lot during the Bad Time in our marriage. For about eight months there, we didn't know what the hell we were doing or feeling. We were both with other people, yet neither of us wanted to take the final step and divorce. Certainly there were times when I felt close; don't get me wrong. It wasn't exactly shits and giggles during those months. There were some serious knock-down drag-outs, to be sure. Navigating the emotional roller coaster in a situation like that is pretty effing treacherous to say the least, and at times it felt like I was in a day-to-day, sometimes hour-to-hour survival mode. It is not for the weak, I can assure you.
An example: One day while driving through the main road of the small town we lived in at the time (I like to call it Hell's Portal) and was enjoying a rare moment of actual peace. Singing along with the radio, windows down, sunroof open - I was feelin' fine. I stopped at a red light and happened to glance over to the car that was stopped next to me on my left. Wouldn't you know it - there was Brian and the other woman, She Who Shall Not Be Named. You may choose to believe this or not but I have no reason to lie. My first reaction? I started laughing. Which believe me, when I think about it now, all these years later, I still can't believe it sometimes. But I think I understand why. For one thing, I was obviously a little in shock. I'm sure I was thinking something like "There is my husband. With a woman in the passenger seat who isn't me. This might actually be one of the top ten worst moments of my life. And seriously, God? Did you think I was having too decent of a day or something? Had to put me back in check? Because that's some messed up shit right there."
I remember Brian had the weirdest expression; he was looking at me with this sickly smile that I think was a combination of shock, sadness, guilt...and irony. We both have a healthy appreciation for dark humor and it really doesn't get much darker than that. She on the other hand, was looking at me with pure unadulterated hate. Because I was with her husband or something? Because I was married to her boyfriend? I don't know. But I think that was the part that actually kicked in the laughing.
Our friends of course knew what was going on with us, and they were way more informed about everything than our families were. I mean, we'd only been married two years at that point; isn't it called the Seven Year Itch? We were five years early on that. And as we started to reconcile, you better believe some of my family members were full-to-burstin' with well-meaning advice. There were those who said divorce, period. No looking back. This is ridiculous - how could you ever trust each other again? There were some who said don't even think about getting back together unless you go to counseling. You need to find out why this happened and prevent it from ever happening again. Then, there was a select few (VERY few) who offered their support no matter what I decided. I still remember quite clearly who said what, trust me.
And I repeat: Have YOU ever been in an almost brand-new marriage and separated but still in love with your husband? Guilty of the same thing he's doing? No? Well, then I'm sorry but you don't understand. Not only do you not understand, you have NO IDEA. So while I appreciate all your unsolicited advice, kindly shut yer piehole. I am very careful now with offering relationship advice. I myself went through a crisis and luckily came out on the other side with a much healthier and stronger relationship for it. That certainly wouldn't work for everyone and I'm still by no means an expert on the subject. Nor would I ever claim to be.