I Still Struggle For years leading up to D-day my husband and I were leading separate lives under the same roof. We weren’t angry with each other. We weren’t making threats to divorce or having screaming arguments. We had family supper together every night. We went on family vacations. We talked about politics, family, the latest national news, friends, and a host of other topics. But we never talked about our relationship. We were disconnected emotionally. We lived a life of pretend normal that was externally the model marriage but internally suffocating. Intimacy was gone, not just in the bedroom, in every aspect of our relationship. Looking back I was deeply unhappy and obviously so was my husband. Yet neither of us had the courage, wisdom, or whatever it would take to shake us awake to our dismal reality. So we continued to live together, yet separate. In the months leading up to D-day our separate lives became nearly unbearable. My husband had become nasty and mean. He would lash out at our daughter and me for the stupidest reasons. He became almost tyrannical in his need to control practically every aspect of our home lives. His anger was always just under the surface. He wasn’t abusive but he became increasingly difficult to live with. On days I worked and he didn’t he wouldn’t be home to eat lunch with me. He would go shopping in the next town without me. I now know that his affair and the confusion, shame, and guilt it was causing were responsible for his actions towards me. But at the time it seemed that nothing I did was good enough for him anymore. After D-day when we decided to stay together our previous pretend normal was no longer good enough for either of us. We would need to have a better marriage and deeper intimacy or recovery would not be worth the effort. So through a lot of hard work, tears and learning about ourselves and each other we’ve come a long way in the past two years. It’s amazing how much he’s been willing to change. I’ve changed. Our relationship has changed and it is now more honest than it’s ever been. Yet at times I still struggle. The other day he purchased a new blender without me. Yes, that simple purchase sent me spiraling downward into an emotional hole that was dark and scary. I thought we were a team. He knew I wanted to help choose the blender. Didn’t he care about my feelings? He was so selfish! I became withdrawn, distant from my husband. I didn’t talk about anything with him. I even began second guessing my decision to stay with him. In my head I ranted that I felt “stuck” in the relationship, forced to stay when I really wanted to leave. I began to convince myself that I had only stayed because we still have a daughter at home. Or I stayed because I had no other financial option. I was trapped. I would be happier alone, away from my cheating, uncaring, selfish husband. I began convincing myself that I really wasn’t happy. Maybe I could just leave and start over. Then it hit me. What in the world was I doing? Was I really trying to talk myself into leaving? Sure, if I wanted to I could make a case for divorce by focusing on the negative. Who couldn’t? My husband could easily do the same with me. I had allowed a simple blender purchase to turn into a major trigger that then made me question the entire past two plus years of hard work. I resolved that it was time to yet again focus on the many, many positive changes we both have made since D-day. My husband is an imperfect human who caused me so much trauma and grief. But honestly, I’m imperfect as well. If you’re like me, and so many others, when it comes to triggers and reminders you can easily spiral to a dark place. Luckily Affair Recovery has a Protocol for Reminders if you haven’t looked at it you should. Recovery is a struggle. There will be days when you want to just give up. There will be days when the pain of betrayal just doesn’t seem worth the effort of recovery. But don’t lose your focus. Keep your eye on the horizon. Stay strong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re stronger than you think, braver than you believe. Stand firm and fight for what you deserve. The pain of the process is worth the result. You will struggle. But you will win.