Living for Today or Another Day

It’s a pretty common occurrence during recovery that anger can arrive like a freight train out of nowhere. What’s even more common than anger is depression and raw hopelessness. These emotions are never triggered more than when a fight arrives due to a “reminder” or due to some sort of trigger in the betrayed spouse, or sometimes even the betrayer. When the exchange takes shape, both spouses can feel “stuck,” frustrated, or just plain exhausted. How we react in this moment can be very defining for recovery and for the humility we the betrayer have arrived at, or failed to arrive at. How we diffuse the argument, the trigger, the reminder, and the intrusive thought can be ground easily gained, or ground horribly lost. Due to our inability to be in the moment or aware of just how much our betrayed spouse is struggling, we fail when we overlook the significance of our mate’s emotions and trauma.

Yet, as we walk through these moments which can seem almost endless, we have to remember we are not living just for today. It may go against some very sound wisdom like “Seize the Day” and” Carpe Diem” Or better yet, “Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” Great points indeed and I certainly wouldn’t try and disagree with them at their critical mass point of understanding.

What I do mean though, is that our recovery is not wrapped up in just TODAY and the events of today. That’s all or nothing thinking that can be toxic, depressing and addictive in and of itself. Though today might be rough, and terrible, and full of grief, sorrow, reminders and depression, the rest of our recovery is not wrapped up in how today goes. I’m not living just for today, as there will be a tomorrow, and though today may have been rough, and though today may have been one of the hardest days we’ve had in a long while, the fact is, how I handle and process today and today’s upheaval or even successful conquest, will affect my tomorrows to come. One of the best things to remember is, I WANT A TOMORROW and I WANT A TOMORROW WITH MY WIFE AND PRECIOUS FAMILY.

In recovery, whether it is six years later, or six months later, we must hold in our minds the fact that we are sowing and we are plowing for many days down the road. And perhaps, today may have won in terms of sadness, or reflection. There are more days ahead that will be most certainly blessed, rewarding, and full of so much joy, if I will not put my hope in only today and not just live in today’s struggle and pain.

It is true I may need to humble myself incredibly, and die to my own agenda and my own pain for the moment, that it is not going to define my entire recovery or define my entire approach to recovery. It just means that “this day” has been rough and “this day” has been overwhelmingly painful for Samantha; and for me. Just because today we have lost a battle, it doesn’t mean that I, or we, or my marriage or family will lose the war of recovery to arrive at a restored, reconciled marriage in the long run.

Also vital is the understanding that I might be right in my claim. I also might be right in my feelings of under appreciation, or being done wrong by my spouse’s anger or treatment of me or how they are shaming me or attacking me in this current moment. However, is the goal to win the argument, or win the relationship? Is it to win at restoration and recovery? If I have to overlook or remind myself of what has ultimately transpired to then see our marriage healed and restored later down the road, I’m more than happy to do so. My goal is not just to survive this hour, or this day, but to keep my eyes on the prize of walking out my recovery for the long term and the long haul which will be more rewarding and fulfilling than I can imagine.

We’re living not just for today, but for the days ahead friends.

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Living for today......

Sir. Sam, I would agree, sometimes it comes from out of know were and I thought I was past this or that or that my spouse was past this or that. We are not special in our recovery, it happens. I can easily get caught up in winning the fight instead of just letting it be what it is, his feelings, not mine. Time does not heal all wounds...work on my recovery does!

Sometimes we get caught up in the woulda, shoulda, then the logical one (my spouse) says "Why are we even talking about this its stupid ,we are together and moving on".......Part of the process of recovery. Together we can lose sight of right now , and no good comes from it.

Looking at what I did that got us here in the first place is something I have to keep in the fore front of my mind....I am luckey and greatful my husband is still with me after what I did. Lord knows if it was the other way around with my pride and drama....someone would be dead! And that someone would not be me!!! Thank you for your article it was a good ego check!

Jana

Helpful

This long-term perspective is helpful to me, and it’s something I certainly struggle to remember in the heat of the moment when I feel hopeless. Thank you for your wisdom here.

Living in this currently

Samuel, first I can’t thank you and Samantha enough for sharing your story. If my betrayed partner never found your videos and gave us hope to find a way back from my unfaithful actions, I don’t know that we would still be talking. We have just started EMS online, and we are coming up to week 2. The week leading up to it has been extremely difficult for my partner as she has stated that just hearing the story of my infidelity as one of the most difficult parts for her. With all this going on life does not stop and all the things that need to be taken care of day to day just don’t go away. I feel that it’s been overwhelming for her and losing the day in a sense has been a difficult notion to consistently deal with. I feel so terrible that I have attributed to what she’s going through and when empathizing and trying to give her an outlet to express her emotions and work through processing all of what is going on in our lives doesn’t feel like enough as there are numerous times I feel we are going to sleep feeling hopeless. We both have shared that we have had to read our contract to not give up. Yet my mind keeps playing games with me in wondering if I’m a detriment to her. Even if I’m vowing and doing everything I can to do things right because I truly want to do my part and become a man I can look in the mirror and be happy with. But I fear everyday that I’ve already let her down too much and if we both let it go she would recover without me and have a better shot at it. But I don’t want to give up on her, I want to be there, I want to help her find answers, but I feel I keep losing the day and it’s hard to remember that overall war of recovery. She’s expressed not knowing how to deal with this all, we have our small group wall but nobody has posted yet and she’s afraid she doesn’t know anybody well enough. But I know she is trying in her heart to figure it out, she may very well be paralyzed in it and truly stuck in what to do. And I am too, I feel like I can’t tell her what to do but be there and listen and answer questions and ask if she’s tried certain things. But conversations where her reply is “I don’t know” or “I just don’t know what to do or who to turn to” has me feeling just as lost and hopeless because short of doing everything by the book I don’t know what to do or if it’s something I have to take on and accept. I know I can’t just fix it, I just hope and pray that she finds her way through her emotions. I feel for her having to do it, I really do. It’s heartbreaking knowing I’ve done that to such a wonderful person. I want to fight for us and see her through it, it can just feel extremely hopeless at times. But thank you for writing this, it struck a note with me and I’d like to share the same thought without being a coach to her but as her humble equal who really just wants to see her smile and have hope again.

its part of the process...

thanks for the kind words centralcoast.  the reality is, we hate to have to suffer for what we did and yet sometimes, we feel awful watching our spouse suffer. the best thing we can do though, is lean in, and embrace what is happening and be there for our partner/spouse.  i know it makes you want to pull back, but you have to be ok with uncertainty and you have to be ok with the pain that you caused.  it's part of you being a safe person for them and part of you owning what you've done. many quit and pull back and give up when they see their spouse suffering as they can't handle seeing what their choices have done to their partner and that's unfortunate.  no only have they betrayed their spouse, they won't help them heal and that's worse.  stay strong.  embrace it.  dont let it lead to condemnation and self hatred.  you'll be a better person for standing in the middle of your pain and choosing to help your spouse heal while also tending to yourself.  one day at a time my friend.  

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