In the immediate aftermath of trauma, all of the advice points to leaning into the pain, you must go through it in order to get through it, don’t push it all down and regret not dealing with it later. And then, once the grief has subsided, presumably your head will be clear enough to make a decision - stay, forgive, and move forward, or leave and start over with your broken / mending heart. The problem I’m having is that no one prescribes how long the initial period of grief is.
I am in the process of forgiving my husband. I am so proud of the work he’s doing in therapy and we’re both learning why he did what he did. His counselor once said (on the Girls Gotta Eat podcast), “men cheat to stay while women cheat to leave”. And I believe that the idea tracks here. My husband doesn’t want to end of marriage, he never did. He just wanted additional attention and power over a lesser woman who he didn’t respect. Not an excellent feeling but better than the initial feeling of complete abandonment.
I think where I’m the most stuck is the woman. Like I’ve said previously, I knew her and was kind to her. She was a coach at our gym who was not as fit or knowledgeable as the other coaches and I often listened to her work and relationship frustrations. She was not in our core group of gym friends but I went out of my way to be supportive and friendly. So I feel bereft and powerless as I want to claw her eyes out and scream at her everyday. I called her the first day and, to her credit, she picked up. She had tons of excuses but I got to say what I was thinking on day one. She then blocked me on both Instagram and iMessage. I understand this from the perspective of her mental health but I have more questions, more things to say.
I wrote her a final email at the one week mark, knowing she would not likely respond but I had to get the words out as I attempted to close what I called “the chapter of blinding rage”. I called it Closure but here I am a month later still wanting more. So I’m writing it here. And committing to putting this to bed. My favorite aunt has a pillow that says, “living well is the best revenge”. And that is my new mindset when it comes to this horrible person. I am building a new relationship with my husband, and, eventually, we will never think of her again. She is insignificant. She is no one.
As usual, I turn to the words of Taylor Swift as I move on: “I forgot that you existed / And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t / And it was so nice / So peaceful and quiet”.