1AD

Years are funny things. They are a man-made construct to mark the amount of time that it takes for the earth to travel around the sun once. In the grand scheme of things they mean nothing; I am literally no different now to how I was yesterday. Adding another day onto my age hasn’t made me better, happier or wiser in any way.

Yet, at the same time, they do mean something. They give us pause to reflect. They help us remember. And they remind us that we’ve survived another passage around the sun. And that’s a good thing.

As I write this, yesterday marked one of the last first anniversaries I have faced. A year ago yesterday was the day I caught my (now ex-)wife having an affair. I shan’t go into the details, though it is a tale worthy of the best of Cold Feet plots, suffice to say that on January 26 2017 I woke up knowing that she had told me a week prior that we needed to work on our marriage, and I didn’t fall asleep for the next few days having found out that we were, in fact, far past the point of no return.

Back on that fateful night I had no idea where I was, what had happened, why it had  happened, what was going to happen, what I wanted to happen, why she had done it, why she had chosen him, how the children and I would cope, when it would stop hurting, how I could live while I hurt so much and a thousand other things, all at the same time and all of which were tearing me apart.

And yet, I survived.

I am not a religious person at all, but I would convert to any faith and do anything required if it meant I could prevent any of my children from feeling even a fraction of the pain I felt. The emotion was so intense it caused physical pain, yet still churned my emotions so hard that I couldn’t think.

And yet, I survived.

The next few weeks were hellish. She confessed to months of her affair. She confessed to inviting him round our house while I was working away, whilst the kids were upstairs. She confessed to workplace liaisons in basements and stairwells. She confessed to dates when she had been “working late”. She confessed to acts performed with the 19-year-old boy who was 16 years her junior that sickened me physically. She revealed everything, tearing down every element of intimacy and trust that a person and their married partner should have only with each other.

And yet, I survived.

The next few months were a rollercoaster as I decided what I wanted. She still worked with him and refused to even countenance getting a new job, so I knew she had already chosen to stay with him rather than her family. I was living in Schroedingers box, both foreseeing a world with her where we could repair things and a world without her alone as a single dad. I tried to protect my children from all that was going on, but they could no doubt sense something was wrong. I tried everything I could, yet nothing worked. I felt worthless.

And yet, I survived.

I then had to ask her to leave our home and our family when I knew she was still seeing him and had no intention of making things work with me. I had to juggle my new life as a single dad whilst trying desperately to repair something that will never go back the same way again. A broken heart will always end up with pieces missing. Broken trust of that magnitude means I knew I would never trust anyone 100% ever again. I found new routines. I decorated my home to try and reclaim it. I drank every night. I cried alone.

And yet, I survived.

Quicker than many thought but slower than I wanted, I adjusted. My pragmatic mind kicked in. I realised that life wouldn’t come to me. I took control of my own destiny. I started dating. Some dates were disasters. Some were great. I met new people. I started to learn how to “adult” again. I went to new places. I started blogging. I wore new clothes. I started having sex again. Mostly, far better sex than I’d had for a long time. My confidence started coming back to me. I realised I wasn’t as broken as I thought. I discovered that some women thought I was actually not the worst option for romance. I still drank a lot. I still cried sometimes.

And yet, I survived.

Towards the end of the year I took a step back from near-constant swiping and dating. I realised that dating was fun, but that I no longer needed validation. I knew by then that I could be seen in a certain light as desirable. I realised that if someone came along who was looking to do more than simply have sex and go out for dinner then I wouldn’t be averse to it. Anniversaries felt less painful. I’d been through my first Valentine’s Day, wedding anniversary, birthdays of us all and the anniversaries of dates when she started her affair. Time was doing its inexorable work, putting memories of gigs and meals and parties and kisses and smiles and jokes and wine and walks and cocktails and mini-golf and visits to TK Maxx and holidays and gin and tandems and tattoos and massages and more between me and all the hurt. My divorce paperwork came through.

I had survived.

I don’t know what “they” say, but I’m going to say that the first year is the hardest. The first year breaks you down, shows you sides of you that you don’t like and aren’t proud of, but also shows you all the things that you actually should be proud of. I look at my children today and they are happy when they are with me. They are adjusting and thriving. And I am too. I still have occasional down days, but these are fewer and further between, and nowhere near as deep as they were 12 months ago.

And it’s getting easier all the time. I have things to look forward to now. I have made some incredible new friends and reforged and reaffirmed relationships with old friends that are a million times stronger than I even dreamed they could be. My work is going well, my confidence has returned and I am grasping the opportunities ahead of me.

I’ve made it to 1AD – one year after the date of discovery. I have no idea what will happen by the time 2AD comes around, but I am confident that it will be better than before. If I survive another journey around the sun I know it will be more than surviving.

It will be 2AD. And I will have thrived.

7 thoughts on “1AD

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: