That time I had an affair…

I'm THAT girl now.

I’m THAT girl now.

And if you hadn’t already figured it out or heard some rumour about it (for those who know me personally), let me lay it all out for you. Yes, I had an affair. I cheated on the man I vowed myself to. I ran away from my problems and straight to another man, behind my husband’s back. I turned away from a relationship that had crumbled and broken years before I took that final step — not that it makes it any better or justifies anything, really.

It happened. I can’t change or undo any of it. I can’t go back in time and in those moments know what they would do to the future, because in those moments I believe I wasn’t really all there — and I didn’t care. About anything. In a way, I didn’t even really care about myself.

Let me rewind a bit here to about 3 years ago. Owen had just been born, I was emotionally, physically, mentally drained of everything. I had a newborn baby who required everything of me and a husband who already did very little (not entirely his fault as I took it upon myself to do it all without asking for any help at all … yet he never offered either…). That was the beginning of my real breakdown. The beginning of the end of me.

I realize now that I’d been losing “me” for years in our relationship. In fact, we’d been losing each other. Ever so slowly masking our true selves to save face and maintain this horrendous evenness in our relationship. This steady water of nothingness that just ensured peace and “happiness” between us. That wasn’t a relationship. It was an arrangement. A quiet way of living life in a ritual of mundane blah. Awful.

And so I disappeared.

I shut down from everyone: my parents, my friends, my colleagues. I stopped communicating entirely. I wasn’t even writing, really. No journal, no blog. Just shut in myself. The only one I opened up to, eventually, was the man I thought could make me feel like me, make me feel whole. The other guy.

I’d spent years feeling like I was never a priority. Like I didn’t matter. Zero support, no enthusiasm for me as a person, no joy in my presence. Sure, I knew on some level that I was loved, but it was never shown to me.

Then, suddenly it was.

And after all the love had been sucked and drained outta me with the arrival of this new little life that took absolutely every single ounce of everything I had left, it was so glorious to have some of that given back to me. How was I supposed to say no?

So I didn’t.

I’m not proud of the hurt I caused when it was all said and done. I am, however, grateful for what it’s done for me as an individual. I’m not sure I’d be where I am now (as the real me, the open me, the Miranda I never knew the world could ever accept or would want to accept) without that affair. It taught me an enormous amount about myself, about my now ex-husband, about my mother/father, and even my friends (and those who I thought were friends).

I am the reason my marriage physically and openly came to an end. While we are both to blame for the breakdown, I am the one that hammered the last nail in the coffin, so to speak.

It’s changed me. Hardened me in some respects, but also made me feel so much more. I spent years hiding my emotions, saving face and not rocking the boat to keep things neutral. Now? Not so much.

I’m also the Miranda that has to live with the knowledge that, yes, I cheated. I have to wear that “label” forever, rather like a scarlet letter I suppose. I’ll always be THAT girl. And as silly as that sounds, it’s not easy to deal with. I never wanted to be THAT girl. Never in a million years. I didn’t ever dream I would be. It wasn’t my intention, wasn’t my plan. Hurting people is the last thing I’d ever want to do, ask anyone I know they’ll tell you the same (but not my ex-husband, please).

I’ve noticed that an immediate reaction to my infidelity is usually, “But what about Owen?!” Well, what about him? He was being cared for in the best way possible. I never once neglected him or pushed him aside. I was the best mother I knew how to be to him in those moments — he was always a priority for me, despite the selfish nature of my actions. What I did neglect was an already failing marriage, an already on-the-rocks relationship with next to no communication and a daily ritual that was beginning to feel like nails on a chalkboard sound.

I think back on it now and I’m not even really sure how I did it, lead that double life. Because you really are leading two lives — I’m not sure anyone else would admit to cheating or having an affair, but if you do you’ll agree it’s not simple. At home I was this mundane, closed off, depressed, exhausted mother. Out in the world with the man I felt could “save” me I was open, lighthearted, and happy. But it wasn’t sustainable. It was taxing in its own way, draining me of whatever humanity I had left, really.

I only woke up to the reality of it all when it was all said and done, when it was all out, when everyone involved knew the truth and all was out in the open. Then my emotions came crashing down, then my humanity came rushing back, then the real me looked at the monster I was and simply mouthed, “What. The. Fuck.”

So, why bring all this up? Because we all have demons. We all have things we wish people didn’t know, but they are the things that make us who we are (even if they aren’t the nicest to talk about). What I did is a part of me. It will always be a part of me, and if I don’t accept that and embrace it then I can never grow from it. I can never move on fully because that tinge of guilt and shame will always be there. That secret skeleton in the closet that will always be on the tip of my tongue, willing me to say, “I had an affair once…”

Also, I bring this up as a bit of a reminder to all mothers/wives/girlfriends: Don’t lose yourself. Don’t let yourself be forgotten in your relationships. Remember you ARE important. And if your partner isn’t making you feel that way then say something. Don’t let it linger, don’t let it drag on. I did. I let myself fade away into oblivion, and at the slightest glimmer of recognition, I jumped. And I jumped in with both feet without ever considering my landing options.

Don’t be THAT girl. It’s a heavy sign to hold. Trust me.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on January 29, 2015.

14 Responses to “That time I had an affair…”

  1. […] seem that the only men I seem to want to open up to are already attached. Am I doomed to forever be that girl? Please, please tell me it isn’t so. I’m beginning to think I’ve cursed myself. […]

  2. […] had to embrace a great deal over the past few years, most notably my own infidelity and the life I’ve now had to build for myself and Owen because of that life decision. I […]

  3. […] days, after so many tears and cursing at myself I wish I just didn’t fucking care. After all, I’m the one that broke us, right? Why the hell would I feel something […]

  4. […] the happiness. Is it real? Is it going to last? What happens when the feeling goes away? But do I deserve to feel this way? Am I just […]

  5. […] I did. I let her out to someone I probably shouldn’t have. I let her out in a way that wasn’t exactly intelligent. I let down my walls for a man I […]

  6. […] feel like I have to be so bloody cautious about everything. Not make a mistake. Not fuck up. Not be THAT girl. But then I realize I don’t really know how to do the right thing, […]

  7. […] my hands clenched tighter and my arms began to burn, too; and my brain suddenly came to life with every struggle and upset I’d had in the past few months — scratch that, past few years. Every misstep, every […]

  8. […] told no one. I showed no one. I even hid my brokenness from myself, covering it up instead with an affair. I hid from my ex with another man. And I hid from myself in the arms of someone I wasn’t […]

  9. […] meaning to. Have you learned nothing over the years? Maybe you really are destined to forever be that girl and you’ve just got to fucking accept it. Ever think […]

  10. […] I’d been alone in our marriage for years. Alone in my emotions, alone in a depression that lead me down the path it did. Sure, I wasn’t physically alone, but mentally and emotionally I was buoyed in the middle of […]

  11. […] occasions. All the friends and enemies I created, family births and deaths, my marriage, my child, my affair, my freedom; and through it all me discovering bits and pieces of myself I didn’t even know […]

  12. […] I fully understand what it means to move on. I do. And perhaps my situation was unique since I moved on while we were still in our “relationship.” But that doesn’t mean the notion that we were eventually going to forget one another was […]

  13. […] I also vividly remember that when (on some deep level) I knew I was done with it, I still couldn’t and didn’t walk […]

  14. […] word. First love. First kiss. First fuck. First car. First day of school. First job. First child. First husband. Wait, […]

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