Journal Entry: Friday 9th November 2007 (Six months in)
Obviously the first thing I need to write is five weeks!!! This is the longest I have gone without writing in my journal, and the good thing is that I haven’t felt the need.
Rich read what I had written in my last entry(7th October 2007 Journal Entry Sunday 7th October. We lie to ourselves you see…..) and it was hard. He read it when I was there and it all got very emotional. But what really surprised me was that he read it again the following Thursday on his own. He got a lot from it and said it was really good.
Since then, when I now look back, Rich has tried even harder – Jesus couldn’t try harder than him!!
We had a beautiful time in France; Rich is fantastic on his days off, lights the fires, lights the candles, does the shopping: all the mundane things that I used to be taken for granted for. He wants so much to please me. Over the last month he did become very tearful for what he had done to me; I think he now has a sense of disbelief.
I have been asked to work full time, as a Band 6 (a big jump from a band 4) in the office. Everything is changing at work and I am so excited about the challenge – something that I haven’t felt for ten years. It really made me realise what a drudge I had become. I said yes to the full time post (but only short term until March), without consulting Rich. I think that because I am still acutely aware that I have to look after myself, and can never put myself in that vulnerable position again, I don’t consult him. And perhaps (as always as I am writing this, things come to mind) I subconsciously keep that small distance between us.
Rich, as always, and as I knew he would, thought that this was all part of my escape plan (the tunnel he thinks I am building!) But I don’t have an escape plan; but I will always have a plan B. And again that is a change in me and Rich. Perhaps I should write a list!
But my life is better. We have more money now than we have ever had (because I am back, and back to my full earnings capacity!) I must fulfil my career now.
My husband treasures me. I use this word deliberately because it means ‘something so valuable, to be looked after and handled carefully. Something that you would not want to lose, that you value so much. ‘I know this is how Rich feels about me but…..
This makes me cry. I have decided to write in my journal because (although I have had the best month I have ever had with my hormones) I feel sad. Because I still have a broken heart, and I have come to realise that I always will have. I thought that Rich could fix it, but he can’t. I never thought that Rich would let me down, and he has. Everyone in my life who I have loved has let me down and hurt me; and I realise that I am on my own. As always I am crying my eyes out now because I have written it down, been honest; but I am hoping that by acknowledging it, confronting it, as I know you always have to do to move on, I will move on.
I look at all the things that are better in my life, I am thinner, have more money, have ‘me’ back. These are all things that I have done, not anybody else. But Rich is also better, in fairness: he is confronting his fears, more loving, adores me, and, yes, that is better. But undermining that is that he broke my heart, did what he did; and that will never go away. If I stay with Rich I will have to live with that forever.
Because I know that this is a wedge between us, because we always shared everything I tried to explain this to Rich last night. But he just thought that this was me giving a ‘goodbye speech’. To me this just highlights that we can’t share everything anymore; another wedge between us. After Rich had his defensive tantrum I explained again:
That perhaps when Rich gets upset and says “I can’t believe what I did to you” instead of comforting him I say “neither can I!!” That Rich needs to confront what he has done, and part of that is opening his eyes and seeing, really seeing the damage he has done to me. Because only by really understanding that, and recognising that, can we move on to wherever we are going.
My strength, that everyone keeps telling me about, is also the thing that keeps making me wonder if I can live the rest of my life with this in the back of my head; or whether I should walk away. But to what? The thing that keeps me here is Rich’s love, his adoration. I could meet someone else, but I don’t think that they will be able to give me that love and adoration like Rich does. They won’t be Rich.
I did say to Rich that I don’t believe half the things he has told me. I do still think he is lying, but I am bored with going down that road now, I have made my decision on that.
I have just read this again and sobbed. Because although we have had the best month we have ever had, this does look like a goodbye speech.
I am afraid that I am not going to stay. But I have said that I will give it a year from September and I will.
I have also come to realise over the past month how selfish people have become; I have been guilty of it myself. How we are all entitled to pursue what we want, because it is ‘our lives’. But we get so caught up on this fixation that we don’t think about the people that we trample on, or hurt. I have a responsibility to Tom, to Snowy the dog, to the kittens, and even to Darren who now lives with us; and yes, despite what he has done, and because he has put himself through this hell, I have a responsibility to Rich. If I walked away I would be one of those selfish, ‘it’s all about my life, people.’ In fact I realise that Rich has already realised that and stopped being one of those people. He has stepped up to the line, and I need to join him there.
I have re-edited my book so many times, I know this story off by heart; but there are still times when I read an entry by Mois (it is as if I am reading about a different person now) and it brings tears to my eyes because I know her pain so well.
I was in turmoil deciding what title I was going to give this post: there are so many things that resonate in this journal entry, even now. Here are some of the one’s I considered and then changed:
‘Really see the damage that’s been done: only then can we move on to build something better’
‘The definition of treasure’
‘Was I digging a tunnel?’
‘The Escape Plan?’
‘My husband adores me, but my heart is still broken’
‘Time I stepped up to the plate’
Is this entry a goodbye speech?
‘I will always have a broken heart.’
Disbelief has finally kicked in!
I decided on the title I chose because it reflects this entry – the veering from a positive outlook to considering if this was the end, despairing that some things would be ever present – like my broken heart.
I love this entry for so many things, firstly for its positivity, and secondly because I had finally started to realise that it was not all about me – although I did lapse back into that at times as you will see.
I know that for Mois to not have written in her journal for a month was a major turning point, because without her realising it at the time ‘The War’ was no longer dominating her life. Yes she had found herself in her image and her work, but I know that she still had a long way to go to really find herself and become the person that I am today.
I love this entry because I had started to see the small, and good things that Rich did, and appreciate them; but the biggest thing was that I had started to understand how much Rich loved me and how much he adored me. I had even looked up the definition of treasured because I knew how important it was to give Rich the full appreciation he deserved.
In addition I had recognised that Rich had a sense of disbelief in what he had done. That is something that haunts Rich even today. (I included a guest post The perspective from the other side) wonderfully written and explained by a man who had an affair and is trying to rebuild his marriage. He writes about this very thing in that post.
If you are going through what I went through, what Rich and I went through, I can only urge you to remember that it is so important to see the small things in the present moment that you are in; and not let them be continuously tainted by something that happened in the past.
Yes, I think that when something like what happened to me, when someone you love turns your world upside down it is necessary to have a plan B; to keep a little bit of yourself back. It is in some ways only natural. I did subconsciously have an escape plan; but as time has gone on I stopped doing that because I realised that ultimately it is about trust; and as that trust builds again then you may reconsider the plan B, may start to close that distance between you. I have to say here though, that the Rich put the work in every day to keep me; and if you are looking for ways to make amends for something you have done I will say this: you have to be sorry and you have to show it, every day. There is no easy way out of this, you’re responsible for the mess and now you have to clear it up.
I cried when I wrote this entry because I thought that we would never get that back; that I would always have what had happened in the back of my head; that I would always look at Rich and think how he had broken my heart.
I can honestly say to you that I no longer have a broken heart: Rich worked so hard to repair it. Yes it has scars, but I do not live with what happened to us every day; I live with what we have now. There is no wedge between us, because what we have is based on things and actions after ‘The War’; and therefore the ‘wedge’ Mois felt existed then has been left in the past.
I think it is important that I explain to you that my husband still lives with it every day. He still cries at records, cries at what he did all those years ago, cries when I tell him I love him. I wish he didn’t, but he does; he broke his own heart.
I would urge you to consider that when you look at the person who hurt you. I really do understand how you may feel sometimes as if you just want to whack them, I know I did! Especially at this stage. But I also saw the small things, more and more each day, and I held onto them tightly. As someone once said to me “small steps.”
Just before this entry I had been to see a friend who loved Rich and I and what we represented to her: The ‘perfect love’, people who adored each other. We gave her faith that people could be happy and support each other. To her Rich epitomised the Knight in shining armour, he gave her hope for her future and the type of person she may find. And then he left me! And in doing so he destroyed her hope in finding a supportive, kind, all-encompassing love. When I went to see her she sobbed for the whole two hours I was there, sobbed at the sadness of it all, sobbed because it had destroyed her dream; and when I came away I realised how our selfish actions can impact on so many, that we do not even think of; it is not throwing a pebble in the pond in situations like this, it is throwing a bloody great boulder!!
I told Rich about what had happened when I got home: how she had cried; and then Rich cried, he looked at me and said “I have ruined so many people’s lives in so many different ways haven’t I?” I cried then; cried for him because I did not want him to feel such responsibility; but he did, he could see the results of his actions.
Reading this entry now I can see that this was one of the main things Rich did that made me stay; because I had such respect for his ability to recognise and regret actions that he had taken; things that so many people cannot do.
More than anything about this entry is that I recognised that Rich had stepped up to the plate and that I needed to join him there. So I stepped up to the plate, but only because Rich took hold of my hand and pulled me up there with him.
And here I am nearly twelve years later, with tears in my eyes because I never realised that until I wrote this book!