It Takes Time Soon after D-day I started keeping a journal. I needed a way to express myself without feeling I had to watch my words. I could vent about my husband without worrying about being cruel. Browsing through the entries I’m struck by the anguish I read in my words, words filled with raw emotion, gut wrenching pain, and the agonized ramblings of a broken heart. I use gutter language and expletives that would shock those who know me. I’m reminded how D-day turned me into someone I barely recognize. I never knew I was capable of such vile words. I’m shocked at how quickly I went from a controlled, confident and capable woman to one out of control and lacking in self-esteem. Where one minute I’m positive, upbeat and sure of my place in life as a woman, wife and mother, within a matter of a few sentences uttered from the mouth of my husband’s AP I question everything about who and what I am. On Saturday, May 31, 2014, a woman who seemed vaguely familiar rang the door bell and destroyed my life with her angry words. She declared that she and my husband had been “seeing” each other for five months. She stated that he broke up with her and she was hurting. I needed to know just what kind of man I was married to, she practically shouted. She went on to inform me that my husband of nearly 25 years was just waiting for our house to sell so he could have his half and leave me. She didn’t say “for her” but the implication was clear. Seeing utter disbelief on my face the woman proved her words by showing me a selfie of the two of them. She also showed me graphic pictures of male genitalia clearly meant to make me believe they were my husband. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the devastation, humiliation, agony and utter betrayal that her words caused. My husband stood mute, shrugging his shoulders at my horrified, pleading face. Every woman and man who has had their own personal D-day understands how that moment changed my life. I would discover that my husband met his AP on Craig’s List after searching for a few months for women to hook up with. Yes, I said women. He was looking for sex and although he only hooked up with this one he had others that he sexted both before and during his affair. I would discover that several years before this affair my husband spent eighteen months going to an erotic massage therapist once a month for a “happy ending.” I would discover that on his last visit with this paid whore she “rewarded” him with intercourse. I would discover that my husband is capable of great deceit and even greater selfishness. I would discover that this man I’ve known since our sophomore year of high school is in reality a stranger. In addition, I would discover that I’m capable of filthy language, hate-filled tirades, and shocking personal lows. I would discover that it’s easy to say I would never live with a man who betrays but much harder to set aside over 35 years of shared memories and love. And over the next few months I would also discover that I’m capable of great forgiveness and amazing understanding. As I read my journal, scanning through page after page of personal hell, I realize that in the past twenty months since D-day the entries have lost their raw pain. The expletives have practically dried up, not completely gone but getting there. Where the first entries lack hope and are filled with utter despair, later entries cling to the idea that there is a better future coming for my marriage. There has been personal growth for both of us, amazing growth on the part of my husband. Over the months I’ve learned that it takes time to start the healing process. Those first few days I didn’t think I would get through the next hour much less the next week. I’ve learned that it takes time to even want to forgive and even longer to actually extend forgiveness. I’ve learned that it takes time to feel safe enough to move forward. When Rick and the AR team state the 18-24 month time frame they understand that it takes time to crawl forward from the utter devastation of D-day. My husband and I have come a long way since that hellish day. First Steps Boot Camp was a great start for us. EMS Online was an amazing class that saved our marriage. I highly recommend these courses. Read the community forums. Read the blogs. Only those who have walked in your shoes can truly understand your anguish. Gain insight and strength from others who share your pain. Find someone you can lean on, cry openly, share with. My best friend has been a pillar of strength for me. For those of you who are just starting on this hellish journey, I’m living proof that there is hope. You will get through this devastating, life altering experience. You will be stronger. Don’t rush the timeline. Like Rick recommends, don’t make life-altering decisions in anger or grief. Remember, a better day is coming. It just takes time.