Saturday, 17 May 2008

Let's go round again

I can't believe how long it is since I last posted. I've still been on and off the rollercoaster and occasionally struggling to keep going. The irrational, obsessive thoughts and the tears keep returning. I do, however, feel a bit more settled emotionally. I realise that I have had similar episodes in the past, and then dropped like a brick again, but it is getting better. I still have moments when I wonder how to get through the day, but these episodes now last hours rather than two or three days. I don't know why I still ruminate over the events of the past two years. One day I can be fine; no drop in mood, triggers not affecting me, and then BAM, I'm at rock bottom again, working over all the details in my head again. I 'know' that I just need to change my way of thinking, but it's the 'doing' it that has been the problem in this instance. All this assessing and analysing has been driving me crazy. I just wanted to get to the bottom of it and be done, but I didn't have a clue what was bugging me. Is the problem T or K? One problem, I think, is that I am angry at myself - angry that I was blindsided and that I didn't make an effort early on to check up on K's stories. I am angry that I didn't take a more proactive course of action. I am angry that I wasn't in control of the situation. I am angry that K still carried on the affair while I became more ill with the stress and the menopause. I am angry at the way the affair ended - very drawn out, with K wanting to pacify T before helping me to heal (if he was even aware that I would need any help to recover). There are still many missing links in the affair story, but I am trying to put them aside as things not needed in order to move on in our relationship.

I think the priority is to make sure that we do not make the same mistakes in our relationship again. I think we are managing this for the most part, but occasionally something happens that makes me wonder where we are headed. I don't know whether my expectations are too high, and that is why I over-react. Take, for instance, some issues that happened around my birthday back in March. The first incident involved my birthday present. When K asked what I would like for my birthday, I said I would like a silk/cotton-mix nightdress similar to one I already have, which I had ordered online a few weeks previously (and which felt really cool, helping to alleviate the effect of the hot flushes), so he placed the order. The following Saturday (which was a few days before my actual birthday) the postman rang the doorbell and K went to answer. He came back into the kitchen and simply handed me the delivery bag containing the item and then walked straight back to what he had been doing. No 'Happy Birthday' or 'Here's your present' - not a word - it was simply thrust into my hand as he was passing! I was most put out, especially after the thought I had put into K's birthday last year. Apart from giving him some money towards some clothing he had purchased, I had ordered a book that I knew he would like (not an expensive gift, but at least I had put some thought into it) and wrapped it up and gave it to him with a lovely card (which is still on display!), so that it was a surprise on his actual birthday. Now it has to be said, we have never gone overboard on birthdays before - normally giving cash towards something has been the norm - but as I had done something different for his birthday, which he really appreciated, I naturally thought that he would remember this and do something similar for mine, making it more special. Anyway, as he walked away, I burst into tears. I hadn't done this purposely to make him feel bad, but of course, once I explained my reason, he realised the enormity of this oversight and apologised profusely.

The second incident happened when we went for my birthday meal at a very nice restaurant in a neighbouring town. We have been to this same place a couple of times previously on special occasions and we really enjoy it. Anway, we were choosing dessert and there was some conflicting information about one of the choices that I misunderstood initially. Now, you might wonder how choosing a dessert would start an argument, but it was incredible how it escalated. I won't go into too much detail, but the gist is that K started to explain what it was about, but I still could not understand the combination of choices available. K's usual method of dealing with someone not understanding something is to explain it in exactly the same way but in a more forceful tone - tending to lose his patience if you don't get it first time. This, of course, sent me into a spin again, thinking he had learned nothing from all this trauma he had caused. There were very few other people dining, and I could hear one of the conversations going on at an adjoining table, so I knew that they would be able to hear our 'disagreement'. I had to ask K to stop, but I was already not now enjoying my lunch outing. He kept on trying to explain about the menu, despite my asking him to stop, eager to get his point across and make me understand it. So, after the meal we came home and I was again in tears.

In contrast, and to show that K can be quite thoughtful, in between these two incidents, I noticed another email from the company stating that an item had been despatched and I thought that a second email had been sent by mistake regarding the nightdress previously received. I deleted the email without studying it in detail. A couple of days later a parcel arrived and K handed it to me with a bit more thought than the first one. I opened it and inside was a silk parcel with a huge ribbon and inside this was a gorgeous pure silk shirt. This was what the second email had been about. So, he had ordered this as a surprise and to make up for the way he had given me the first gift.

March was not a good month in other ways, as I happened to recall that it had been exactly a year since T's final email (out of the dozens she sent in expectation of a response from K following the end of the affair) and I wondered if she might suddenly come out of the woodwork again. I'm not sure how, as she doesn't have K's new work email, but it was a fear I had, and I still think she might reappear at some time in the future. I didn't really want to be remembering the anniversaries beyond one year, but May is the two-year anniversary of when I found the text messages on K's phone. And it was this very week two years ago that K stayed at the hotel where they had their secret midnight trysts. This hasn't actually had the same effect on me as it did last year, so I can see a future where these triggers will not be quite as significant as they are now. In fact, it almost went by unnoticed. I am trying to 'reclaim' as many experiences as possible in order to take the edge off these negative thoughts. Last October I wrote about our trip to the Lake District. I had wanted to go there again so that I had better memories about the place, as it was following my trip there the previous year (when K was over in the Ukraine on one of the project trips) that I discovered their relationship had been more than I had been led to believe. Similarly, our main holiday this year will be to the same place as two years ago. I was, at that time, under the impression that K had ended all personal exchanges with T, but I later found out that they had slept together the week before we went on holiday (when the Polish/Ukrainian group was over here on one of the project visits). Also at that time, I was troubled with various health problems (caused, I think, by the ongoing stress that they were still in contact due to the project), and I did not really have a great time on that holiday. So, every time I think about that time and place it causes me some anguish, which is why we're off there again - to make happier memories to look back on. K fully understands my point of view about this. The next trigger reclaim will probably be a trip to Poland, but that may not be for some time.

To be fair, K has slowly (eventually) come to realise the enormity of what this has done to me. There are still setbacks, as I've highlighted above, but on the whole we are doing good and he is expressing more remorse and understanding. I think his initial apparent indifference after ending the affair was simply his way of dealing with his own demons - not wanting to dwell on things - but I assumed he was simply being insensitive to my needs for recovery. I suppose in a way we were both making the wrong assumptions about the other's actions. After one particularly tearful episode (around the time of my birthday) I expressed my continuing disbelief about how he could have continued the affair behind my back while still expressing his love for me. K admitted that he was being incredibly selfish during that time and was so sorry for all the hurt I went through. For K, this was a huge thing to say. He has never been one to open up and give anything away about how he's feeling, so I suppose I was expecting a miracle to happen in the immediate aftermath of the affair.

As I've mentioned earlier, my low moods appear to be getting better, and I can look back and not experience the same depressing feelings as before. Some of my problems, I know, are not helped by the fact that I have been really (and I mean REALLY) fatigued due to long-term insomnia, and I am sick to death of the hot flushes, especially the ones that wake me in the night. I was taking some supplements formulated for the menopause, but they were not all that effective on any of the symptoms. I recently found myself becoming more upset with the menopausal issues, especially the hot flushes, than with the affair issues. They were probably intermingled at first, the menopause starting as a result of the stress caused by the affair, but I think the menopausal issues have now taken more of a front seat. Earlier this week, therefore, I went to see my doctor and agreed to have HRT. It is something I've fought against since all this started, but I have now had just about enough and, as my doc said, I needed to get my life back. So, on Tuesday last, I started on a fairly low dose oestrogen patch which is changed once a week. We'll see how it goes. I'm hoping for a new lease of life!


akakarma said...

It's great to hear how things have been- sound completely typical/normal to me! menopause is rough in many ways- make sure to have your thyroid checked! I can relate to the husband stories so much- it's all on the Y chromosome!!lol
Take good care!

Survived said...

Thanks karma. I suppose things are quite normal, really. It's just that it seems a lifetime ago this all happened, and I certainly never thought I'd get this far.

The nutritionist I was seeing suspected my thyroid was underfunctioning (as well as my adrenals), and the underarm temperature test she asked me to perform seemed to indicate this. She recommended some dietary changes, but I don't really know what, if anything, happened. I am feeling much better in other ways - it's just the menopause driving me crazy now. I have to say, though, that the hot flushes do appear to be responding to the HRT patch, I'm sure. They are getting fewer and less intense, so I'm hopeful they will be gone soon.

Debbie L said...

I know that menopause can really cause alot of emotions and I went through this mostly during the time that my husband cheated on me. One thing that I had to accept was that I will probably never know the whole story about my husband's cheating or why. It's a hard thing to have to deal with and I may never really get over it, but I am trying to focus on the good things in life and know that I can only control my own actions and was never in control of his or what he did to me. Good luck to you.