Reading: You Are Here.

Truths & Lies

You Are Here.

Finding Your Way After You’ve Been Betrayed

By Elle Grant

Photo by Aaron Burden

Yes, you are here. And I know how disorienting that is. I know that, just yesterday it seems, you were picking up your kids from school and listening to their chatter of the day, or you were cutting the tops of strawberries and putting them in a pretty bowl, you were wondering whether to order those cute shoes online, you were noticing how prominent the veins on your mother’s hands have become or the lines newly etched at the corners of your own eyes.

And then. You discovered a text, or picked up a call, or overheard a conversation. So now you’re here. Reeling. Frightened. Lost.

Let me make a promise: You won’t be here forever, not in this place of abject terror, red-hot fury, stunned shock and confusion. You will inch forward, like an injured bird. You will pick up speed as you heal. And you will arrive at a place you can scarcely imagine. Not over it, exactly. But through it.

Millions of us have survived this. And more than surviving, we have emerged with our hearts still open, our integrity unshaken, our humor intact. You can too.

But for now: You Are Here. Let’s get you oriented:

How to Answer the Question: How Are You?
Fine, thank you.
Doing okay, how about you?
A bit stressed, thanks for asking.
Barely holding it together. Please pray for me.
Really? You really want to know?
*Unintelligible due to convulsive sobbing*

What to Take to Feel Better
Ipubrofen or acetominophen for that motherf#%@%*er of a headache
A glass of wine (One. And only one.)
SSRIs or other prescription medication, under a doctor’s supervision
A lit match to his clothes
An axe to his laptop
A financial retainer to your lawyer

Popular Names for the Other Woman
Bitch
Fucking bitch
Two-bit whore
Bitchy McBitchface
Ho-worker
Homewrecker
Sexatary
Your girlfriend (said in your best 13-year-old mean-girl taunt)

Things to Eat When You Don’t Think You Can Eat
Ensure or other meal replacement drink (ed. Note: tequila is NOT a meal replacement drink)
Soup
Crackers
Cereal
Smoothies
Entire chocolate cheesecake

Common Infidelity Acronyms
OW: Other Woman
D-Day: Discovery/Disclosure Day
OC: Other Child
NPD: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
SA: Sex Addict or Sex Addiction
AP: Affair Partner
WH: Wayward Husband (though ‘wayward’ sounds entirely too quaint)
CS: Cheating Spouse

Healthy Habits to Keep You Sane
Meditation (pretty much just breathing while you think about breathing)
Exercise — whatever gets you moving and no, walking the halls in your bathrobe while you ring your hands and moan doesn’t count
Talking to a trusted friend
Writing in a journal
Walking in the woods
Hobbies (painting, music, furniture restoration, auto mechanics. Anything that takes you out of your pain and into a place where you forget yourself.)

Excuses to Give Your Boss When You Can’t Come Into Work
I have the flu.
My kid has the flu.
I have a doctor’s appointment.
I need a mental health day.
My life has become a country song and I’m channeling the lyrics.
Ummmm…is bail included in my employee benefits package?

The Best Advice from Betrayed Wives
Encyclopedia for the Betrayed“Get into therapy right away.”
“This will become less a part of your life with time. That will be good enough to feel better, and you will be surprised by that, just as I am.”
“How can you get him to understand how painful this is? You don’t; he doesn’t have the capacity to empathize with your pain because he warped his thinking into justifying this behavior in the first place. But he can try… and that will be enough to feel better, I promise.”
“Don’t email or text anybody in the middle of the night or when you’ve had less than six hours of sleep.”
“You don’t have to have this all figured out today.”
“You can never un-tell somebody. Be careful who you tell.”
“Don’t make any permanent decisions until you feel more stable.”
“Take it one day at a time. I decided within the first two weeks that I would give it a year as long as my sexually addicted spouse did not view porn, masturbate, or pay for sex. That was the line I drew for any possible hope for the marriage.”
“I felt rushed to decide whether I would stay or go, rushed to know if our marriage would survive, rushed to decide if I could forgive. And in the midst of trying to make all these decisions, I was rushing my healing, which I know now can’t be done. It takes time.”
“I took care of ME first. Every day I got stronger and had a little more clarity than the day before.”
“Do NOT contact the Other Woman. It won’t give you the satisfaction you want.”
“Get tested for STDs.”
“Tell yourself that you will survive. I willed myself to envision a time where I wouldn’t be in constant agony even if I couldn’t trust that would be true.”
“My heartbreak, my rules. I read that on Betrayed Wives Club in the early days and haven’t let it go. It speaks to our vulnerability and our empowerment — both essential to recovery from betrayal.”

Excerpted from Encyclopedia of the Betrayed: Your A-Z Guide for Everyone Who’s Ever Been Lied to, Cheated on & Left for Dead by Elle Grant, copyright 2018. Reprinted with permission.

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