Is Pretend Normal Self-Preservation? For a variety of reasons after D-day I became disconnected with my family. In a way it surprises me. After all, I come from a family of betrayers and betrayed. I have three siblings. Two have been both unfaithful and betrayed and one has been betrayed. I have been betrayed. Four for four. Our parents were both unfaithful and betrayed in multiple marriages. That’s six for six. My husband, unfaithful, has one brother, unfaithful, and one sister, betrayed. That’s nine for nine. I believe his parents were both faithful (his father died before the age of 40 but his mom appears to have had a solid second marriage. But as we all know, looks can be deceiving.) That makes nine out of eleven unfaithful/betrayed just in our immediate family. We’re proving the national statistics on infidelity to be accurate. So with all the infidelity in my family, I expected to have plenty of shoulders to cry on and ears to listen when my own personal agony started. Surprisingly, I was wrong. As a matter of fact, none of my siblings called me until my mother chastised them. Even then, I only heard from them the one time. I’m sure my siblings could come up with many reasons why they’ve chosen to distance themselves from me over the past two years. They’re busy with their own lives. They don’t know what to say. They’re afraid to make me feel worse. But I believe that one reason is they don’t want to relive their own pain. Their affairs were years before mine and resulted in broken marriages for my sisters. My brother is still with his wife, a multiple betrayer. For his part, he had a “revenge” affair, something he suggested I try. I ignored that piece of advice. My siblings are living in their own pretend normal and don’t want my pain shaking their hard-fought security. If they don’t acknowledge my heartache they don’t have to step outside their comfort zone. Hence I’m disconnected from my siblings at a time I could use their support the most. In a way, I don’t blame them. Pretending to live “normal” lives protects them from acknowledging the worst in themselves or their spouses. I understand. After all, I chose my husband. I chose the person who betrayed my heart. Pretend normal is safer than acknowledging the truth. My husband showed up at my work the other day bringing with him a nice large diet caffeine free Coke with a cherry splash. I hadn’t asked him for it but every once in awhile he just brings me one because he knows it’s my favorite. He knows I only drink pop from a fountain and then rarely. It’s a nice treat. There are six of us women who work the front office of a medical clinic. These women think I have the best husband in the world. Why wouldn’t they? He’s funny, handsome and charming. He has a way of making people laugh and feel good. My co-workers also believe I have an amazing marriage. Again, why wouldn’t they? I have mastered the art of pretend normal. I’m sure you’ve read about it over and over again on the AR web site. If you did EMS then you definitely learned about pretend normal. There are times after my co-worker remarks about our great relationship that I think to myself, “if only you knew.” Pretend normal keeps me from telling my co-workers the truth. Our neighbors don’t know. Most of our friends don’t know. Except for close family members the rest don’t know. Am I ashamed? You bet! Am I afraid of what they’d think of both of us? Of course! Do I feel obligated to protect my husband’s reputation? The answer is yes. By protecting him I protect myself. I have wondered if telling my story might help those around me with their own personal struggles. Yet I pretend normal with all but a select few. Is this self preservation? Maybe. But for me what matters most is that my husband and I no longer pretend normal with each other. The world sees a solid, loving marriage that’s lasted over 26 years. Thanks to Affair Recovery, what the world sees is what we are becoming.