She was soft and sweet and looked over her daughters shoulder as if she was her silent bodyguard…like if I got to close Mom would beat the hell out of me.
Over the course of my time helping her daughter face the midlife chaos nightmare her husband’s past brought upon her, she warmed to me.
I was not a threat, I was here to help.
The Mother was 73 and if you can imagine, edges on a solid concrete wall…that was her. Hard. No softness. Protecting herself at all costs.
While I tried to teach her daughter how to survive a midlife crisis and bring her husband back from his 13 month affair, I could see she was doubtful.
She didn’t interject her opinions but I saw her face and her body language from the beginning recoil in the strategy I built up for her daughter.
But that was at the beginning…
Toward the middle of our session, Mom moved to the edge of the room, then to the side chair, and then…by the end of my time with the wife whose husband had left her, Mom was seated next to her daughter ready for our session to end and open to talk.
And talk she did… Her story…
Her Daughter sat and listened as I rolled from my conversation with one woman to another.
Mom explained her life when she was married and hopeful for her future. Husband cheated on her at around the 10 year mark in their marriage.
He wasn’t interested in staying with her. At least thats what she said for years…now she sees that had she been different during that time, he may have come back sooner.
But things weren’t different because she was angry. And mean. She did everything she could to show him she was hurt, he had ruined her life and the lives of her children. She held her nose and ego up high.
“What did you expect from him back then?” I asked.
She said, “I expected him to come to his senses and just get home! But he never did. I know it was because I was so cold.”
There was a long silence and her daughter and I held our breath waiting for more information from a woman who had been through an experience neither of us ever wanted.
Mom kept talking, ” I was just so mad, how could he do this to me?”
Her anger still was there. Visibly. You could see her brow tighten and her face turn down and the way she was sitting showed the years of this heavy burden she’d been carrying.
“Did you ever notice he was trying to come back to you?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“Looking back…yes…he tried a few times…but I never saw it.” Then he did come back – he had to. I forget why, but he ended up living back in the house and we started to connect and then…my anger from the past kept coming back. And that feeling, of how could he have done this to me? He ruined everything. He ruined our lives and our marriage. I just couldn’t get past it. So we broke up for good.”
I was silent. Her daughter just listened.
When Mom said nothing more. I poked her anyway, “So knowing what you know now, if you could go back and do anything different…what would you have done?”
The question hung like a heavy brick suspended in mid air. We all knew it was going to fall…it was a matter how long we had to wait.
Finally, Mom said, “Um….well…I never forgave him. I never trusted him. I couldn’t. And because he ruined me, I never trusted again. I dated a bunch of men, even almost married another man, but in the end my ability to trust was broken. I never could trust any of them. And in the end they all failed me.”
I avoided looking at her daughter and stayed with Mom, “What happened to him? Did he remarry?”
Mom said, “That affair lady didn’t stick around. That’s when he came back and it ended with us. I ended it. It was trust. He would have stayed. I just couldn’t get past what he did to me. I couldn’t trust him as a husband, but I trusted him as a distant friend. (she laughs) He married someone else and we stayed friends. I’m better friends with his new wife. She’s so much like me.”
I went back to the question I never got an answer for, “So if you could go back and do things different what would you have done?”
She answered right away, sure of herself now, “I probably would have forced myself to learn to trust him. Because it wasn’t him. It was me. And because I never fixed it then, I have carried it with me this whole time. Hmmm…yes…trust is really hard when someone hurts you. But if I had figured it out, I know we’d still be together.”
This happened 37 years earlier. She said “37 years” as if she had been keeping track…like she thinks of it in years and that time. Imagine? All that hurt all that anger and the never forgiving?
What She Teaches Us…
Do you want that?
Do you want to look back and regret leaving or giving up?
I know so many women who think there is someone better out there for them and will “bail” on their husbands too soon. And if they do find a new person, that guy is filled with flaws and “shit” in their backyard too. Why? Because he is human. Just like you. Just like me.
We are not perfect people. We screw up and fuck up and do things wrong every day. Sometimes they are big errors, sometimes they are tiny. But being imperfect is part of the human make up. Expecting for perfection from others is where you will drive yourself loony. Because they only person you can ever control is yourself.
And you know how hard it is to admit to your own self, “Oh boy! I screwed that up!”
Have you heard that saying, “Never forgiving someone for a wrong they have done to you is like drinking poison hoping the other person dies.”
The answer: Love. Just love. Unconditionally love others and work on the shit that is wrong inside you.
When your hubby leaves that’s a great opportunity to look at all of the pieces of yourself and think, “Hmmmm…where do I fail? If I were to date me, what would I not like about me?” You know there is a big list. Look at it. Fix it. You CAN fix you.
I’m not perfect. I screw up all the time. But I’m quick to apologize to myself or to others if I hurt anyone along the way. Cause I can control that part of my life. I can keep my side clean.
And just because I’m keeping my side clean only means I had to go through the mess you are all facing to figure it out. Ha. So I guess from pain comes goodness. And while I know how to get to this other better side, I refuse to judge other stuck on that yucky side I don’t want to be in again.
Every day I hear from wives stuck and finding solutions. And while I help carve a path to getting a husband home, I never, ever, ever, ever judge. Cause it sucks. And it’s so hard. But I can say, IT’S SO WORTH IT!
And in order to get to that great place you have to go through this yucky shit. Yes. Shit.
And once you arrive…you will feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. You had the power to get here from the very start!
Life is so interesting!
As always, if you need help, click here or on the above link to “videos” and join the way to get your husband home.
My goal remains the same: Let’s get him home.