Today I am writing for those of you who want answers to the questions, ‘How will I ever move on from this affair? When will the ache disappear, and when will the shooting pains that make me catch my breath stop? When will I get through a day without tears? When will I stop missing him or her? Why do people with no idea at all keep telling me that time will heal?’
I’m writing for you and for me. I’m writing to place a marker on the highway.
I’m setting down a stone to say I’ve made it this far. I don’t know how much further I will travel, but I am Here.There is a part of me that wants to hold back from writing this because it feels very private and I always wonder if someday he, or someone he knows will read this, but I’ve reached a place where that doesn’t matter to me. I’m writing for me and for you, not for him or her, or them. This is for us.
Measuring the healing or the hurt or the heartbreak doesn’t happen every day, but significant days tend to bring it to the forefront of my mind.
For weeks I have been dreading a day which passed recently. It was the birthday of the other in my story. His birthdate was the password on my phone, my login at work. A date I won’t be forgetting in a hurry, no matter how much I would like it to pass by unnoticed.
Two years ago on his birthday we exchanged texts and messages, as he was away, and my gift to him was a slightly crazy cooking experiment that I’d embarked on following food that we’d shared. I’d photographed it, and led him through the whole experience via fb messaging. He loved it, and a few days later sent me a ‘thank you’ gift of a number of songs I should listen to.
One year ago I found myself buying him a present ( 6 months after I had last seen him), and crying when I realised that of course I couldn’t send it to him. Every part of me wanted to be with him that day. Even though progress was being made with my marriage relationship, I still wanted him more than I could bear.
This year, things were very different.
I’d worried that I was going to feel the pull towards him again. That I was going to ache. That my life would feel incomplete and I would feel dissatisfied.
I’d put in place protection for myself so that if that pull happened I wouldn’t act on it by phoning or messaging. I’d told friends about my worries and I’d sought company for the day. I knew in my head that I didn’t want any further contact with him at all. I knew that what I have in my marriage is not worth risking for anything. I just wasn’t prepared to trust my heart to do the same. I’d told my husband how I was feeling.
The day passed. I didn’t feel any of the things I had worried about. I thought about him; I’m still thinking about him, but the thoughts were not what I was anticipating. As I held up my thoughts and emotions for inspection I realised that I was curious. Curious to know what his life looks like. Curious to know if he has told the truth to the people in his life who should know the truth.
I also realised that not a single part of me felt any regret that I was not part of this birthday. He is no longer any part of my life. He is my past. I’m in my present, and I don’t want him in my present. Partly that is because of his behaviour since things ended, but that is only a very small part. The main reason is that I love my husband. I love my children. I am content in my life. I am better than content – I know that my life is very, very good. I know that it is the life God has for me. I am not saying that life is easy or painless, as there is much in my story that remains painful and unresolved. Somedays I feel as if I keep knocking scabs which I’ve forgotten about but then they bleed again and I realise the wounds haven’t yet healed and I need to give them some care.
But I think this part of my story is starting to heal. The part where I loved somebody I wasn’t married to.
I don’t understand why or how but I know it is changing.
I don’t think time heals, but I believe that God does.