How To Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay

"Learn how to be okay
when things are not okay."

When I first heard this statement I thought it was dumb and much too simple. It was almost insulting – like trying to treat an intensive care wound with a band aid.

However, ten long months into recovery, this statement has been a foundational thought in getting through many hard days.

Like many unfaithful spouses, my tendency and need to control situations have been off the charts. When you are hiding behind your affair, there is an illusion of control (and complete self-absorption) you live under because you never think about the harsh reality that you might lose your spouse because of your decisions. Much like the character in the Wizard of Oz, an insecure shell of a man hiding behind an image, walking in the truth of my actions has revealed my insecurity, shame and fear like no other. It has been terrifying to face both the pain my actions have caused as well as the waiting while my spouse chooses whether to stay or go. But I’m learning, albeit slowly, how to become okay even when everything else isn’t.

If you also navigate dark days of uncertainty where you feel anything but okay, I want to share some of the ways I have found solace in the storm:

  1. Focus your eyes on something constant and bigger than yourself. For me that has been Christ. I must keep my eyes focused on Him. If you do not subscribe to faith I recommend putting your belief in something bigger than your humanity or your spouse’s choice to stay or go.
  2. Take a break from all social media. Not only am I too vulnerable and fragile to carry or care about the on-goings of the world, but it’s also too much of a trigger for me as I do not want to associate in any way with my past life. The temptation is too great.
  3. Pay attention to what you listen to. When I’m not listening to a hymn that speaks truth, or a podcast that helps me heal, then I usually find that I simply need quiet. This means slowing down, less radio, less TV, less overall noise and junk.
  4. Feel the feelings. Like my husband and most of you, I don’t like uncomfortable feelings. Particularly when I feel ashamed, alone, discouraged, angry, hurt or afraid. But the only way out of feelings is through them. Choosing to not feel is what got me into this mess initially. When I choose to feel I can remind myself it will be okay and it will eventually pass.
  5. Find a group or community of people that share your pain. Hope for Healing and Harboring Hope are life lines to fellow people who share our hurt. Through their stories we begin to see how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. It is so incredibly comforting to know we are not the only ones who have felt this way or have been through this.

Some days in recovery can feel like an eternity. The pain can be so intense that it feels like anything but normal or okay. But there’s something I’m beginning to realize. On the days I’m not okay, I notice details and moments I’ve missed during all my years of hiding and making it about me. I am now acutely aware of my new found clarity and gratitude.

Just the other day I couldn’t stop looking at the color of my husband’s eyes. Perhaps the road we have traveled thus far has made me see them in a shade of blue I had never noticed in all of our years together.

In the midst of the stillness, quiet, and sadness, I can find appreciation for things I would have previously overlooked.

And...

I’m still breathing. Although my heart is breaking, it is still beating. The sun continues to rise in the morning and its beauty is indescribable.

Even though my marriage remains uncertain, I know God is still at work. Knowing this helps me be okay without it being okay. I hope and pray the same for you.

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Comments

Thank you Elizabeth. You put

Thank you Elizabeth. You put to words the big emotions that overwhelm me. The hiding, to now having to deal with the fallout and reality. The constant uncertainty and fear. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing.

Thanks for your comments and

Thanks for your comments and understanding. Those savage and untamed emotions are the hardest to feel aren't they? I pray peace for you as you feel them and come to terms with them.

Thank you

Thank you Elizabeth for your blog. I needed to read this today. I need to start giving this whole situation over to Christ and allow Him to help us through this. I needed the reminder that it is Okay to be Okay when things are not Okay.

hugs to you...

I am glad you received

I am glad you received comfort from reading this. The days we don't see a way out or feel anything is okay are the hardest, aren't they?
Thanks for the hug.

You saved me

Thank you for sharing this with us. I put my husband through not one or two, but 4 D-days. Before the 3rd one, I hoped to pour all my heart out but still remained uncapable of confessing everything because of the fear of him leaving me. So i was contemplating my future life alone, in all this mess i had brought upon me. He was very mad and hurt and I couldn't find a reason why i would deserve a 4th chance. I thought I was a miserable person who I, personally, would have dumped right away. But he was still here and I couldn't understand why he's not breaking anything in the house...that's when i run into your article and you brought me so much hope!!! the fact that you are still with your husband after your gradually disclosure, made me made up my mind and, i think, finally GET IT, because i got out of my room and vomited all that was left, begging him to actually leave me, because he certainly deserves soooo much better than this person in front of him.
That moment, a miracle happened: he came to me, hugged me and kissed me, first time in 10 days and agreed to give me a timeline in which to gather all my 'remaining unnecesarry information', so that we can finally have the full disclosure. I so much thank God for making me run into your article, for my mate's incomensurable strength and for discovering AR not too late.

Wow. That is an incredible

Wow. That is an incredible story of grace. It sounds like you have been scared a long time and it must be a relief to finally be free of all of the secrets. I know we can't change what we have done, but with God's unfathomable love for us, we can change who we become. I hope you know you aren't alone. Doing life alone is what all got us into our mess in the first place. Thank you for commenting and reaching out.

Elizabeth, thank you for

Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your perspective and personal experience in recovery as an unfaithful wife. My wife has betrayed me several times, and I have chosen to stay despite these betrayals. It's been such a painful hard road. Even harder than enduring the abuse I did at the hands of my father. That perseverance you speak of reminded me of one of my favorite songs. It really speaks to me in these circumstances of trying to fund my way back to a healed place in myself and in our marriage. The Lyrics are below:

Still Breathing - by Billie Joe Armstrong

I'm like a child looking off on the horizon
I'm like an ambulance that's turning on the sirens
Oh, I'm still alive

I'm like a soldier coming home for the first time
I dodged a bullet and I walked across a landmine
Oh, I'm still alive

Am I bleeding am I bleeding from the storm?
Just shine a light into the wreckage, so far away, away
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way away
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way away
My way to you

I'm like a junkie tying off for the last time
I'm like a loser that's betting on his last dime
Oh, I'm still alive

I'm like a son that was raised without a father
I'm like a mother barely keeping it together
Oh, I'm still alive

Am I bleeding, am I bleeding from the storm?
Just shine a light into the wreckage, so far away, away
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way away
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way, away, away

As I walked out on the ledge
Are you scared to death to live?
I've been running all my life
Just to find a home that's for the restless
And the truth that's in the message
Making my way, away, away

'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way away
'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way, away, away

'Cause I'm still breathing
'Cause I'm still breathing on my own
My head's above the rain and roses
Making my way, away
My way to you

Those are beautiful lyrics

Those are beautiful lyrics Ironsides. Your comment and words touched me and I really appreciate you sharing that. I can't imagine the grace, fortitude and pain you have endured by choosing to stay. I know that is grace that has come at your expense. I hope your wife, as well as myself, never forget the cost, as the lyrics suggest. I really hate that I never chose to transform my own pain and I transmitted almost all of it onto my dear husband. No one deserves what ya'll have been through.

Online confusion

Ok so, I found out my boyfriend/child's father has been downloading/deleting messaging apps. After much denial he finally said he had been talking to a married female in another state but that it was "strictly platonic" (about sports, the weather, etc). That they had already quit talking over time. Claims to not remember her screen name and never knew how to get in touch with her outside of Kik. He said I pushed him away by not sharing my problems with him so he needed "a friend" to talk to. Well... After some digging I found where he had also been downloading dating apps and adult/hook up apps for the first couple years we were together (and before, as far back as I could go). Up until a good while after our daughter was born (she's now 2 1/2). I didn't see where those were still being downloaded but the messaging apps became consistently downloaded first thing in the morning and deleted on his way home most everyday. Sometimes even redownloaded after he was home.
Well, I'm not believing that I am getting the full truth and having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around it. He "can't remember" much of anything. He says it was mainly about porn/pics but that he never sent/received sexual pics or "out of line" communication with anyone and never intended to meet anyone. So how was it about pics?!? I keep coming back to the fact that this had been going on our whole relationship. So he was never committed to me to begin with. Soooo confused!! Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Wow. I'm sorry for all of

Wow. I'm sorry for all of the pain and confusion. I know there are some great resources out there by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Boundaries and Safe People are good at helping discern what is safe.

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