On the day I discovered the infidelity, I started writing. Not in sentences or in a way that anyone could read or understand - just words on a page to get them out of my brain and body. It made the feelings more understandable and slightly less debilitating. Knowing their texting started just after Wodapalooza, I wrote, "we will never compete together again". Underneath, I wrote, "will we ever train together again?". This may sound silly to anyone who does not consider exercise a fundamental or enjoyable part of her life but to me these thoughts were incredibly sad. Training is something Pat and I have done together since we first started dating. We started CrossFit together. We competed alongside each other as individuals during our first little CrossFit competition. And we have since competed as a couple or on teams three times. We loved a partner workout and some of my favorite memories are training and competing with him. At the same time, we are both wildly competitive and somewhere along the way I created a story that I had to keep up, had to be as good of an athlete as Pat is, in order to earn his love. How we each contributed to this toxic competition and feeling of conditional love is a story for a different day.
Following the infidelity discovery and signing up for a lot of expensive therapy, we both quit the gym that is unfortunately tied to the situation. Luckily, we stocked up on equipment throughout the spring and summer so I felt very comfortable with the idea of continuing to work out at home for the foreseeable future, even as gyms in NYC re-opened. Pat has a gym at his office so he primarily works out there. He loves barbells much more than I do so full gym access is much more important to him. Because of his work gym access, we really haven't trained together at all, even when he's home in Brooklyn, since even before the infidelity discovery. But traveling to Jamaica presented me with the opportunity for exposure therapy. I felt safe because the small hotel gym was nothing like our old CrossFit gym and there was no one else in there. We've since worked out together at home since we've been back as my husband is quarantining away from his office.
As with all of my progress and recovery, it hasn't felt perfect and I constantly fight against negative thoughts of the past. A brain that has suffered emotional trauma does not forget and doesn't like to rest. I don't want to think about whether or not Tori can do 20 unbroken push presses with 35 pound dumbbells, but I do. I insert the phrase, "that doesn't matter. You are currently doing push presses and need to focus on them" to stop the thought cycle. I also have to actively fight against my toxic competitiveness and the feeling that I have to "keep up" in order to be kept around. An old mantra from my distance running days, "run your own race", has helped a lot here. Alongside these negative thoughts and triggers, I believe that a lot of good has already come from us working out together again. There is a sense of true rebuilding and forging the future. I also feel so free as I'm able to say that, no, I'm never going to kill myself to back squat 200 pounds again. That sense of letting go of that old story of pressure and conditional love is like shrugging off a heavy barbell in itself.
It's not easy. And it's not tied up in a neat little bow of "you are now ok and will always feel ok moving forward". But there is progress and I'm proud of it.