I’d love yours and the input of CN on the transition between Leaving the Cheater and Gaining the Life. I feel I’m in transit, like I boarded the plane to Meh on Monday, and I’m about to touch down into Tuesday with a few bags and a little bit of hope. It’s like I’m jet lagged.
My travels were frought with delay. I took a while to put down the hopium pipe, roughly 12 months whilst I played amateur detective and pick me samba. My husband, not yet divorced but separated for 18 months, pretended he was leaving because “I was boring, he didn’t like me and I was the most aggressive person he knew”.
I hunted and I found more than I’d bargained for. Other women, I love you’s from co-workers. It culminated in finding my own intimate lady parts posted and viewed on Reddit by over 800, without my consent, under a thread called “share my wife”. I know I could go down the path of criminal charges, I currently choose not to. The abuse is not where my question sits.
What I’d appreciate advice on is the recovery from the trauma, the Gain a Life part of the story. My kids and I are getting support, I’m on my way to filing, I have a close knit circle and I’m weeding out the flying monkeys and Switz friends. I operate on extreme self care, I stay true to Grey Rock, I am building my new realm with a value of sane and stable parent at the foreground of all choices I make. It has taken my every strength, but I’m starting to see the rewards. Slowly. One Thing Every Day is my mantra.
So, I ask. In the transit, I have so many options. What do I choose? I’m healing, my pattern was to jump into another relationship or bury myself in work/hobbies. I’m nervously stepping into new ground. I love my single life. I’ve got things to finalise. I’m out of the chaos with no desire to return. What now? I escaped, and I’m on my way but it’s all so unfamiliar. Do I keep building my feeling of worth? How do I go from Leaving to Gaining? How do I take this to the promised land of Meh?
I’d appreciate yours or any input on the transit.
You’re doing all the right things. In fact, you’re doing so many Right Things you could teach a masterclass on resilience.
Self care? Sane parenting? Not self-medicating with new dating profiles? Kudos! I’m sure it doesn’t feel mighty, but this is what mightiness is made of — slogging forward in spite of.
Asshole posts intimate photos of you on “Share My Wife” — and you haven’t yet stabbed him with a box cutter? GOLD STAR. Go to the front of the class! OMG, just recovering from that is a lifetime’s worth of therapy right there.
Let’s talk about recovering from that for a moment. He commoditized you. He reduced you — intimate you — to pixelated bits and broadcast it for kibbles. For his own, and others’, titillation (forgive the pun). Clearly you, as a whole person, with an entire loving history with this man, didn’t register with him. He doesn’t respect or connect on a deeper level, or he wouldn’t be capable of this.
There’s something menacing and obviously misogynistic about those sites. Anything intimately shared will be weaponized. So, aside from criminal charges (which you’ve decided not to pursue), I think the proper response to revenge porn is defiance.
Where these freaks are expecting shame and terror, how about a shrug and “Why yes, I do have nice tits.” Be above intimidation. Never stop seeing yourself as a whole and magnificent being. Whatever response these fuckwits want — refuse to give it.
You’re not grubby smut. You’re a mother, a worker, a daughter, someone who raises border collies, a grower of fabulous dahlias, creator of the world’s best tortilla soup. I don’t know the particulars of your magnificence, but you do. So own it. You define you. NOT THEM.
That’s where Gain a Life starts — taking yourself back.
What now? I escaped, and I’m on my way but it’s all so unfamiliar.
Well, you’re not truly escaped until you’re properly divorced. So don’t expect meh yet. But do expect it all to feel unfamiliar now. Of course it feels unfamiliar — you’re getting over TRAUMA. If it felt familiar, I’d have to slap you. Living in trauma and chaos is not okay. This new uncertainty is HEALTHY. Move towards it. Keep doing the uncomfortable, scary-good things. Pretty soon you’ll stabilize and feel steadier.
What are those scary-good things? Not taking his crazy bait. Maintaining gray rock. Moving forward with the divorce. Resisting the hopium pipe. (JUST SAY NO. That’s not remorse, it’s a trippy hallucination you’re having.) Little baby mighty steps.
Do I keep building my feeling of worth?
Yes, of course. What’s the alternative? Go back to Dr. Pornography there?
How do I go from Leaving to Gaining?
Leaving is gaining.
How do I take this to the promised land of Meh?
Finalize the divorce. Meh is out there, but when you breed with a fuckwit, full indifference is a ways away. It’s all manageable and survivable, eventually. But just accept you’re in slog mode now. You made some pretty earth-shattering discoveries a year ago. That takes time to heal from, and you’re still sorting out the particulars.
Be kind to yourself. That’s often a throw away line, but let me tell you what kindness looks like — not expecting miracles of recovery from yourself too soon.
You ARE a miracle of recovery — but you’re not going to FEEL like it for a long time. I’m nearly 13 years out from my D-Day and I look back on it like it was another lifetime ago. I do marvel at my courage now (okay, and my chumpy stupidity) — and I feel exactly zilch about the sociopath who inspired the hard-won wisdom of this blog.
At the time I went through it, I mostly felt exhaustion and confusion. But the most important thing I felt was defiance. You don’t own me. You don’t own my story. You don’t own my future.