Business as Usual

If there is one thing about the crisis of infidelity, it’s that life as we know it changes. Maintaining a “business as usual” approach to crisis is a mistake. The ‘usual’ of our lives has been shattered and at some level, though life and time refuse to stop, it becomes more surreal than we ever thought possible. It’s the betrayed spouse who is forced to wade through the layers of pain (and B.S. from the unfaithful spouse quite frankly) and seek to find some new ground zero. 

It’s not that I didn’t try to operate in a business as usual mentality when our lives were turned upside down. I yearned for some sense of normalcy to our lives, as I’m sure you do too, but it was gone. It was gone for quite a while now that I think of it. I see many couples try to treat it as though it’s a mere bump in the road and that life will just go on as before, significantly minimizing the ordeal altogether. I do understand some spouses refuse to admit to their infidelity and refuse to come clean, so there is the appearance of normalcy and the appearance that life hasn’t changed “all that much” as one spouse said to me the other day.

For most of us though, life as we knew it is disfigured and altered.

Whether it be taking care of ourselves, or getting help for the marriage, we need to take a step back and stop pretending that life and the climate surrounding our lives is normal. I know for kids it’s especially tough to navigate, as their lives are pretty set in terms of demands, schedules, school work and the like. Sometimes it’s the routine that helps them cope and I get that.

I think what I’d like to stay on though, is the mentality of business as usual and how devastating it can be. If you’re in crisis today, I’d encourage you to admit that, realize that, and give yourself permission to not be able to do what you used to do. I’m sure it’s hard to function. I’m sure it’s even harder to believe that this is going to work out for better, or even for the best. When you’re marriage is in question, and your family’s future is desperately uncertain, we sometimes defiantly minimize the trauma and try to ‘suck it up.’

Alternatively though, sometimes we want to curl up in the fetal position and quit. There were many times I wanted to get a very large bottle of whiskey and disappear. Without question the days were too many to count that I wanted to do that.

I couldn’t then and I can’t now.

You can’t either friend. It’s not about disappearing; it’s about allowing the mentality that you’re not affected by this disappear.

Though you’re in the middle of crisis, give yourself grace to not be OK. Give yourself grace to be a mess and take steps to get healthy however long it takes and whatever it takes. It will probably take good money and humility to get the type of help you need to heal from infidelity. You may have to admit you’re not OK and you don’t have everything under control the way we’d like to think we do. But that’s OK. It’s about getting help NOW, even if the progress is inch by inch.

I know… absolutely cuts at the core sometimes. We’re fashioned and cultured to suck it up, rise up, and meet any challenge.  I do believe we need to meet the challenges before us. The kids need to eat, the bills have to be paid, and life in many ways goes on.

But we don’t have to face it with a mentality that pretends we are who we’ve been.

Perhaps we’re becoming someone deeper, richer, and more balanced.

Maybe the strength and perspective we need can only come when we put aside the façade and the business as usual mentality and tread carefully, sensitive to the leadings and the promptings of grace. Grace still has a voice, I will promise you that. 

Paul said it best……”When I am weak, therefore am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 

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Usually at this time of year, my house is decorated, the tree is up, presents are wrapped and I'm busy baking my usual infamous holiday goodies. Then I found out about the affair and confronted my spouse on Christmas Day last year. This year I cannot muster up enough enthusiasm to even put on an ugly Christmas sweater. I bought presents. That's it. I will go to church services. I will try to see my kids and grandkids and watch them open presents. But it will never be the same, ever again. I hope that I can somehow find a way to create some new kind of traditions or memories so I can let the old stuff go. But truthfully, right now, I wish I could just hibernate until January 3.

I agree karen58

Two days after Christmas last year my husband took his affair partner to Vegas for 3 days and left me home with our son - promising to call every day, never called once. That was 1 month after D-Day (3 days after thanksgiving...what a crappy holiday season). We are now 13 months after D-day, 20 months into the affair - and still he can't decide (did I mention - she was my financial manager and "friend" for 8 years who had complete control of our business financial life). Life is not fair, it certainly isn't easy - someday I hope it is easier than this. The holidays are tough this year - I am optimistic that someday, with or without him, they will once again be full of joy and meaning, with new traditions and lots of peace. I wish somehow I could skip the messy part between here and there. Hibernation sounds great, where do I sign up.

It's nowhere near business as usual - but - those around me seem to think it should be. They are loving and trying to be helpful. I graciously accept their input. And determine my own path.

I remind myself every day that it isn't nice, becoming or the person I want to be to be bitter and angry with him and especially her - - what woman does this to another woman? He claims I am asking for him to give up his best friend. I wonder at a best friend who would consent to destroy your family, your spouse and doom your child to spend only 50% of their time with each parent - asking them to choose with whom to spend their time. That fact I cannot bring up - logic and reason in matters of the of the heart are apparently irrational. Life is hard. I have learned so much in the last year. For all of you out there - know that you can bear much more than you think, though it isn't easy. I was one of "those" people - you know, the ones who swear they will never tolerate their spouse to stray, yet, here I am, 20 months later.... Find people to help - - there are others that have walked a similar path, and no one who hasn't lived it understands like someone who has.

MIne wont give up his friend either

Seems like its always friends who do this to us. HIs "friend" is one of the few that are left after a major company bought out the company he works for and got rid of most of all the old employees. I used to be friends with her. He had an emotional (don't think it was physical,, but who really knows?) affair with her 18 years ago. That ended my friendship with her,but not his.i just didnt know it. So this is his second EA (or again, maybe PA) with her. He says he has no one to talk to except her because the others are new and he doesn't know them. He told me he wouldn't give her up when I confronted him last Christmas, he didn't do it, and now he still can't understand, a YEAR LATER, why he stil can be "friends" with her!!!! There is no room for her in our marriage. I told him that. He just looks at me blankly and then comes up with another excuse.I too thought I would never stay in a marriage in which there was infidelity. YEt here I am a year later, ill from the stress, 33 pounds lighter, sad all the time, and just wishing that I could stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head. Wishing it would just all go away so I can live again.

Not business as usual :(

This is my first post and I am nervous and ashamed ! My husband of almost 31 yrs (together 34) has had a long time affair ..ap also was around my family ya see she was my husbands partner when he was an officer .. She spent time at my home hung out with my son at that time she was 25 and my son 22. My husband then 50. The age difference is incredibly painful. I knew many of their times together and I didn't approve I didn't want to be one of those wife's who nagged and mistrusted ..should of gone with my gut ! He retired 7 yrs ago and has his dream job of being a pilot. We have had issues in the past but made it thru. Oct 8th 2013 was d day a few days later the 3 of us sat down and put the cards on the table if you will. It has been 2 mo and I still don't know if he has closed that chapter because he has gone back and forth so many times. After this last weekend I have been checking into a seperation! My main concern is that our life hasn't skipped a beat in this time we have built a home traveled celebrated holidays and I didn't beleive our love life (or his should I say) ever suffered. I was hanging on to the possibility the relationship wasn't physical. We have had the conversations about what happened and maybe why and how he felt ...I honestly don't have a ton of question left. Then another email surfaces, the last was about being ready to give up everything for her ..then he is back . I just know that the pain has gotten so bad for me I feel numb and not focused ..he even booked the weekend retreat to hopefully help save what we have! Nothing will be business as usual I take it day by day. I do need some normal in my life in order to function ...but I sure wish it wasn't the holidays. He travels a lot so I wonder how I handle this ! How do you know ... You don't ...and that's the hard part! I love my husband and I ask myself why, but that is not really the question is it ? It's does he love me enough to accept help and do what it takes to move into our next chapter? Our friends and family are fed up with the back and forth they are tired of seeing us suffer I guess! I wish I knew at what point if you are the one who was unfaithful what helped you make up your mind one way or the other and what made it the last time with your ap or partner ?

Not Ok

Thanks for the post Samuel. Thanks for the encouragement to not pretend to be something we aren't. Sometimes though it seems like a very fine line between admitting your not okay to yourself, and still trying to act okay to everyone else, or at least side stepping why your not okay to everyone else.

Of course I realize that in my case those who know about the affair is limited to about 5 people (the betrayers, the betrayed and our pastor who we are seeing for counseling) and we have the luxury if you will to keep it all under wraps. Some-days I think it is harder but in the long run I'm sure it will be better. It's just difficult to explain to all my friends that I'm emotionally having a hard time without being able to tell them anything.

I can not stop and heal I am

I can not stop and heal I am the bread winner and have 5 kids and a part time business that will only function if I am there and working. At first when it came to light I was unable to get much done I work piece work and if I did not suck it up we would be in a real money problem. I try to act normal and do an ok job of it but I am not the same I am not as patient as I use to be I get frustrated much more than I ever use to. I know I am running myself into the ground but do not see any other choice. I have not had a vacation in almost 4 years I work or should I say spend 50 to 80 hours a week working or driving to and from work. I did not my wife to have to work so she could be home with the kids and she is the one to go and have an affair and I seem to be the one to have to clean this up and protect her for the kids sake. So I do not have the time to heal.

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