Survival Mode: “Existing” Post Infidelity & Divorce
“Hang tough Delaine – things are going to better. You really are better without him…”
Many, many times I heard these words from girlfriends when I found out my ex was cheating. I knew they were right, that at some point things HAD to get better. But while in the throes of my grief, those words felt empty – nothing but sterile, void sylables. For I felt like a shell of a woman…numb and shattered on all levels of my being.
I’d been betrayed before by men – in high school and university. But the pain of marital infidelity was beyond compare. We’d built a life together, had children, and I’d trusted him with ever ounce of my heart and soul. How COULD he? How COULD he jeopardize all we’d created together, stuff that was so meaningful and important, just to get his rocks off?
I couldn’t comprehend it. It was a full-blown mind-body-heart attack that bludgeoned and shocked me to the core. In my mind’s eye I could actually see my heart in two pieces. My chest ached, the rest of my body felt entirely numb, as if all blood flow had been cut off. I looked at the world around me through the eyes of a lost soul within flesh, cut off from my body’s sensations, imprisoned by my skin. I couldn’t eat, weight poured off me, and I couldn’t sleep. God…nighttime, how I hated it. No matter how exhausted I was, my brain would ruminate incessantly, trying to problem-solve, so anxious to help me find my True North. I just wanted to turn it all off; to curl up in my darkness of Rock Bottom and disappear.
But I kept going – I existed, and ‘did time.’ At the back of my mind a little voice kept saying, “Just – keep – going.” I had no idea where I was headed and quite frankly, I didn’t even care – all I felt was numbness. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself trudging, chin down, through a dark, hostile Wilderness, arms dangling, with the burden of my sorrow on my back. But strangely, sometimes, from above the treetops, I’d catch a glimpse of my Higher Self; She was still with me, I hadn’t been abandoned, and it was She who was pushing me forward. And I wondered: had some part of me CHOSEN to arrive in this hellish Wilderness? There HAD to be a bigger reason for it all, didn’t there?
I still don’t know the exact nature of that reason. In fact, I’m still not even sure where I’m going. But I know that time continues to be a saving grace and reveal things to me when I’m ready. And looking over my shoulder, I have a new yardstick as to far I’ve come and how strong a woman I really am. And I wouldn’t have learned these things had my world not completely shattered and forced me to reconstruct from scratch.
So with my body as my guide, and a smile that I can now feel, I continue onwards. Through the ups and downs. Over the hurdles and unexpected obstacles. This year of my life has been like a school of hard knocks, one of tough self-love. And the one thing I know for sure is that I’ll never settle for a life of mediocrity again.
(written at the end of Year One post-divorce, Delaine Moore)