DD, “Discovery Day”, is the day I discovered my husband’s affair. Today is the first anniversary of my second DD. My first one was more than 27 years ago. I didn’t take note of the date.
I’ve awoken happy.
What an odd sentence. I’m tempted to fix it. Nonetheless, I’m happy this morning. And I feel at peace, for today. I’m not a rookie anymore, so I understand this peace will come and go. It’s part of the process. Today I quietly celebrate knocking on the door to a new year, and crossing over the threshold.
That was last year. This is this year. Hello, This Year! Pleased to meet you!!
Many times last year I didn’t think I’d survive this. I thought my heart would explode. The pain was unbearable. I didn’t know the heart could be so vulnerable to emotion, but many times I clutched my chest wondering if I was having a heart attack.
I’ve worked hard. I’ve worked hard on myself. I didn’t work hard on myself so I could save my marriage. I did not. I worked hard so I could live a full and vibrant life, whether I’m married or not.
I’ve been practicing communication. Maybe I’ll even become a self-certified Communication Practitioner. I have excellent communication skills at work; many annual reviews and compliments have told me so. Step outside the office door, and poof. Communication skills evaporate.
Pre-DD I wasn’t communicating when something was bothering me. It’s not an uncommon scenario, one in which a couple gets so dysfunctional at sharing their needs they stop doing it at all. We were in a rut for sure. I held onto what was bothering me in silent anger. It’s funny now, but not then…I expected him to know what was bothering me, but of course he didn’t. I would explode and nothing would get resolved because my approach caused my husband to need to defend himself — hence the beginning of defensiveness routines for him.
Or, I’d try to do the, “Hey can I talk to you about something?” route and by the time we were done talking, somehow I was apologizing. I would end those conversations confounded on how he was able to do that — get me to apologize for what is bothering me. Huh?
I know you’re out there…people who can put your hand up and identify with either of these communication problems. The cycle of…
- Try to talk about something openly and kindly, and the conversation ends with you apologizing.
- Nothing got resolved. Nothing gets resolved. Why bring it up.
- Hold it inside.
- Little bit longer now.
- Little bitter now.
- Kaboom. Yelling and yelling.
- Go to step 2 and start over now. Sometimes start over at step 1.
We’ve broken the cycle. He can talk to me about something that’s bothering him. I can talk to him about something that’s bothering me. And stuff is getting resolved. Big stuff, little stuff, and some stuffy stuff that hasn’t been aired out for awhile, is all getting worked out. Sometimes it goes wonky. But most of the time it goes wonderful.
Instead of the “how to” on communicating, I’m sharing my mindset when I communicate.
- I don’t worry about making husband angry when I share what’s bothering me. His response is his responsibility.
- I don’t worry about ruining the day. If being open means we have a rough day, it is what it is.
- I focus on myself, and saying what I came to the conversation to say.
Like I said, sometimes it goes wonky. Most of the time it doesn’t.
I leave this four day stretch of posting about upcoming DD with two thoughts.
Thought One: We made it. We’re still married a full year later. We love each other. We enjoy each other’s company, and we’re making fun plans for summer. We made it.
Thought Two: There’s still a whole lot of work left to go on this relationship. If we can continue to communicate with each other, even about the tough stuff, even if we’re rehashing something we’ve hashed, we’ll continue to make it.
I’ve crossed that threshold, and am walking through the door into a new year. Wonder what it holds?
I don’t know for sure, but the air sure is sweeter on this side.