When I began writing in March 2019, I thought we had reached our last discovery/disclosure day, commonly referred to in the affair recovery world as D-Day. The day when I would finally learn the full extent of my husband’s double life. However, like most of those who walk this harrowing road, another grenade detonated only weeks later. My heart was demolished. I was left reeling and wondering yet again, “Who the hell are you?”
When considering writing this memoir, Dave and I pondered whether we should wait until we had more recovery under our belt, or if we should just begin and tell our story from where we are now with what we know. We chose to go with it. Perhaps there are people in the same boat as us, and maybe if we can share our ‘nothing watered down’ madness, they may find the strength and courage to persevere in their own story whatever that may be. Twenty-eight years is an awfully long time to be swimming through debris from the shipwreck of shame. Maybe our brutal honesty can offer hope to others floundering in the cesspool of secrecy and dysfunction.
When we went searching for affair recovery material in 2019, we found very little home-grown help. Australia seems to lack openness for couples finding themselves in our position. There is no shortage of counselling services but having access to others who have waded through the affair quagmire and overcome infidelity seems a rarity. Is it because the majority of us inhabiting this Great Southern Land are immune to adultery? Or are we not open enough to expose the reality of what goes on behind closed doors? Is our attitude one of ‘She’ll be right mate, S*#+ happens’? Do we brush the treachery of betrayal aside and get on with life without actually getting to the bottom of it? Do we even know what ‘it’ is? Do we keep our shame hidden? Is the topic simply out of bounds?
Online resources helped guide us to a path of recovery, and though invaluable in content, the material scarcely conveyed the intensity of emotions we were drowning in. Our experiences at times felt completely out of control. In the midst of our trauma, there was nothing remotely neat, orderly or sensible about us. It was messy, volatile, and unlike anything we were equipped to deal with. Perhaps we might be too damaged to come back from this. Maybe we’d damaged our children to the point of no return. We’d done so much so wrong, but then again, what is right about abuse and betrayal?
During rumination, I wondered if I was just a little bit crazy or a whole lot crazy. I mean, how does someone like me get sucked into something as insidious as this? How? Why would Dave, the person who swore to love, honour and cherish me, seem so hell-bent on destroying me? Am I stupid? Ignorant? Blind to the truth? OR…am I none of these things and stronger than I ever realised? Before this became my reality, I would have held a very different point of view. Until we find ourselves in a situation, we can never say for certain how we will handle it.
For those with no experience in addiction, infidelity or abusive relationships our story will be unrelatable and perhaps shocking.
For those who unfortunately have lived this nightmare, it may sound all too familiar. We wish it wasn’t. We wish it wasn’t a story we had to write either, but we want you to know that although it can feel like it, you’re not alone.
Meanwhile, for others our story will pale in comparison.
We don’t compare stories or pain, we share hope for healing and recovery and even though each situation is unique, we’ve learned there are more similarities than differences. We hope and pray that while you can relate to our story, you will also relate to our healing and experience healing in your own lives as well.
Dave and I both share our points of view throughout the story
We would like readers to assume that at the time of writing this book, neither one of us have arrived anywhere. We are both on a journey, in the process of, and committed to our recovery and healing.
We all bring baggage to relationships. When we met in 1990, we were no different. Dave brought his brokenness with him and I mine. I also came with an active two-year-old boy plus my new-found commitment, love and relationship with Jesus…
And yes, it has felt like a very, very long road to our happily ever after. We are works in progress, but we’re not quitters.
This story cannot be written without being completely authentic regarding the source of our enduring love. If you are of faith, you will understand, and if not, our desire is that you will take some hope and encouragement from our journey and believe, no matter how bleak your circumstances may appear at any given time, “all things truly are possible and will work together for good.” Matt 19:26, Romans 8:28
Sometimes the heart simply sees what the mind cannot…