My Personal Journey of Growth

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My Personal Journey of Growth post image

Photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass https://flic.kr/ps/asWq5

Hi Everyone,

Today I want to share a bit of a personal message from me as well as my thoughts on the next steps for the site. I started this website in September of 2009. Seven months prior to this, I found out my husband cheated on me and it was one of the lowest points in my life. In the beginning, I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even my family or friends. I searched online to see if anyone else was in similar pain from a cheating husband, and I could not find a site. After 7 months, I felt a little better and I remember thinking to myself that no one should ever feel as alone as I felt. I wondered if expressing my thoughts online would help someone else not feel so alone. I decided to start a blog and promised myself I would share my deepest feelings and emotions. If I could help one person in a dark hour in their lives, then it would be worth it. So I started writing. For the first couple of months I received no comments and only had a few visitors. Eventually, one person wrote me a personal message. She told me she understood exactly how I felt and she felt bad no one responded to my writing on the website. She wanted to tell me I am not alone in my thoughts. What she didn’t realize is that I was on the verge of quitting the blog when she wrote me, and her single message to me gave me hope that what I was writing might be valuable. I kept writing.

Fast forward to the present moment – I cannot believe what the site has become! I have interacted with women all over the world who have experienced the pain of infidelity. As the website started to grow, I made a couple of rules along the way. I knew my mental state was low when I started the blog so I made a promise that my site would be a place of positive support, which is why messages are reviewed before being posted. One can certainly disagree with me or any of my visitors, but mean and rude comments would not be allowed. The other rule was that no matter who wrote to me, it would not be my place to criticize, judge, or force my opinion on them. Wives can tell me their husband cheated on them multiple times and I would seek to understand, not judge. Cheating men have contacted me and I seek to understand, not judge. The ‘other woman’ has contacted me and I seek to understand, not judge.
To my surprise, people have opened up and shared such intimate details of their lives. They have shared with me things that they will not share with family or friends. They have shared insecurities that they would never say out loud to anyone. It is an honor for me to say that I have helped many. Some on a very small scale such as making them not feel so alone. This is extremely important because it the reason I started the site. Others have shared they have been depressed for months and my words have empowered them to start the healing process. Some have told me I helped save their marriage.

I learned 5 major lessons along my journey, which I am still on. Below are those lessons in no particular order.

1. One sentence, one kind word, can make a difference in someone’s life. A lady who wrote me a paragraph was the reason I continued writing the blog and didn’t quit. Words are so powerful. If you get a chance to say something nice to someone, say it! You never know what people are going though.

2. Writing is a form of healing. Sometimes situations happen in your life that cause so many different emotions that it is hard to think straight. That is what happened to me. But each time I wrote a blog post or responded to someone, I had to logically think about what I wrote. It was typically a post on one emotion or one thought. The amazing thing that happened is when I focused my mind on writing about the one emotion, my brain could understand and break down that emotion. I could evaluate if I was going overboard with my feelings or not. Writing helped isolate my thoughts so I could manage them properly. Over time, I felt less overwhelmed emotionally. I would tell any person that is going through a difficult situation to start writing. It can be as simple as buying a notebook and just writing how you feel. Do it every day for 2 weeks. What you write does not need to be shared to be effective. I cannot tell you how many people write to me and at the end they say ‘wow I feel better already’. Writing heals.

3. We are more the same than we are different. Pain is a great equalizer. It knows no race, age, or religion. It’s interesting that we get so caught up on the few things that are different than focusing on everything that is similar. I have interacted with people from Asia, India, Europe, rich, poor, black, white, and many of our raw emotions and insecurities are the exact same. People will write to me and often I would think to myself “wow I thought I was the only one who felt that way.” This person had a totally difference life experience, yet we are connected in thought. Simply amazing!

4. The quickest path to healing is to serve others and/or volunteer. I thought in responding to people that wrote to me that I was helping them, and the truth is that it helped me too in extraordinary ways. I would hear stories that were much worse than my situation, and every time that happened I would say thoughts of appreciation. Every time someone took the time out to thank me for a response or for the site in general, my confidence grew. After hearing many stories of how other husband’s cheated, I started to realize that my ex-husband’s cheating was not a personal and intentional attack on me as I had assumed prior. As the anger and pain from my own situation started to disappear, it led me on a path to forgive my ex-husband and most importantly, forgive myself. The emotion of pain and the emotion of serving others cannot exist in the same thought. That is why serving others is an ultimate tool for healing. Seek to volunteer or help someone else in need, and I promise what you will find will serve you better than anything else you can ever imagine.

5. Universal pain has universal solutions. I have been shocked in how much I have in common with women all over the world. What you might not realize from the site is that I have interacted with hundreds of men who have openly shared their thoughts with me on cheating as well. Men’s viewpoint on why they cheat is very similar as well. The themes are consistent. The pain is consistent. If the thoughts and pain are consistent and universal, the solution should be universal as well. If I share with you how I healed from this experience, it should work on you as well.

I have so much more that I want to share. What I have learned about relationships and marriage is too much to write in one blog post. I have been working on a book, responding to those that reach out as well as working on maintaining the website. I also have been trying to explore other forms of communication online like social media. Unfortunately, my split focus is not working. I have to focus more and I have decided the best route to take at this time is to spend less time with one-on-one responses, in order to finish the book. The goal of writing is very similar to the goal I had when I started the site – I am writing the book in order to help one’s marriage, that’s it. My hope is that my writing will go into more depth than an individual response, and will allow more room for growth and healing.

Until now, I have been anonymous. People that contact me have no idea who I am, all they know is that we share a similar experience of pain. I stayed anonymous on purpose. Part of this reasoning was my own fear. Affairs are such a controversial topic and I was not sure I wanted to embark on this type of issue other than the website. However, recently I realized that my desire to share what I have learned has become bigger than my fear. The second reason is that I like things to be perfect, when I started the site it was full of imperfections, and it still is. I kept waiting until everything was perfect with the site, but now I realize the site imperfections are more of a reflection of me than a perfect site. Last but not least, I remained anonymous as more of my own social/personal experiment. I wanted to see if I could be of value to someone else without that person knowing my age or race. I am an African-American female in my 30’s (I was in my late 20’s when I started the blog). We all have thoughts that come to mind when we look at someone. I did not want a subconscious thought about who I was to lead the interaction with visitors. I wanted to lead with support, lead with empathy and lead with empowerment.

As I embark in new adventures in learning and growth, I will be sure to share. Make sure you are on my email list as those who are on the list will get special treatment from me (smile). This site will remain, although, as stated before I will not be responding as much.

As far as what is next for this site? One of my mentors told me to ask my email list what they would like to see in the site, and go from there. And that is exactly what I plan to do. To each one of you that has ever contacted me, thank you for changing my life and sharing a part of yours with me. Peace, love, and hugs to all of you.

  • Yara November 30, 2014, 1:58 AM

    Wow so glad I came across this website! My name is Yara and my husband and I have been married 15 years. We have 2 children Anthony 9 and Bella 4. We just got married threw church on July of this year. All of a sudden my husband told me he wasn’t feeling good that he kind of felt some kind of anxiety! I thought he was just feeling overwhelmed working at 2am for 10 years? So as the days went by he was getting worst! I went ahead and contacted my uncle who is a homeopathic Dr. And consulted with him what my husband was feeling. During this time I was very scared and confuse because my husband would keep on telling me to just tell him that I loved him ! I started getting this gut feeling that something was very wrong. Every day before going to my Zumba classes I would ask him if there was something he needed to share with me? That I was all ears and that no matter what it was we would try to solve it! This continue for about 3 more weeks when on September 9th 2014 I got up to get ready to go to work (FYI he didn’t work for about a month because his doctor gave him time off) I went to his side of his bed and asked him how he was feeling? I notice he was sweating very much! He got up and sat down also with his head down. At this point I just new my life was going to change for ever!!!! He confess to have had cheated on me!! !! WHAT!!! With who? Why ? For how long ? What did I do wrong ? I couldn’t believe what my ears had just heard!!! He swear to me that he was only with her twice and that the second time he was with her he realized that what he was doing was wrong and left her in the hotel! He begged me not to leave him and begged me to go to a a marriage counselor to help us out with this family drama! I decided to work things out but did not know it was going to be so hard to move on!!!! I feel devastated, I feel angry, I feel embarrassed, I feel stupid! But not happy with his story I went ahead and hired one of the best polygraphers in Los Angeles! To my surprise he passed all the questions I had! My husband told me about his affair with this women after a year. It has only been about 2 months that he confessed but I feel terrible!! I cry all night , I think all night and the night has become my enemy!!! I just don’t know if I will be able to be happy again?

    • Jewels January 5, 2015, 2:15 AM

      Hi Yara,

      I’m super behind on responses due to working on the book, but I sent you a direct note as well. let me know how you are feeling. The great thing about what you wrote is that he confessed. That he felt so bad that he confessed. This is rare, and this is a very good thing Yara, because most men that cheat do not feel bad about what they are doing. I always tell women that if your husband confesses, you have a better rate of survival than one who doesn’t. Rebuilding trust will take time, there is no quick fix. It will be through his daily actions that will eventually help heal this broken bond between you. He is going to have to work very hard. I want you to consider personal therapy as well. When a husband cheats, it often hits the core of our self-esteem, and a good therapist can help you process those strong emotions. The pain is a process, but you will get through this no matter what happens. Hugs to you.

  • sami July 18, 2015, 6:15 AM

    My husband and I have been friends for over 20 years and together for over 13. 6 months ago I found out he had been visiting a woman whilst I was working. He was very careful with his phone and changed his schedules to call her by walking the dogs etc I found out within a month of it happening and kicked him out as the massages were very clear that a relationship had developed. Two weeks after I had kicked him out he was in a full on relationship with the girl who was 17 years younger than him. Same age as his eldest son. Over the following weeks he asked me to try again and we did it lasted a day and a half then he walked out saying tobme and the children that he wanted a fresh start with the young girl and her baby (not his) he came back a day later to see the children and asked me again to try and I said no. He left and had a mental breakdown. I felt guilty and supported him as a friend as he began medication and counselling but he was still seeing this girl behind my back and stopped visiting his children. He became verbally horrid saying some vile hurtful things and for the first time ever became a bad dad. ( his saving grace for years had been that he would bend over backwards and would do anything at any time for any of his children but suddenly he didn’t have time for them and would rr schedule and not turn up for them) he buried himself in debt, had serious anger issues and quit his job. Two months after I kicked him out he rang me up out of the blue saying his work was falling to pieces and he needed me as his friend. The woman had dumped him and moved away. A month later he found out that I had been seeing someone else and he became very angry and said he wanted to kill himself because he had lost me and wished he could turn back time. His counsellor has told him that he was suffering from severe depression and had a breakdown as a result of his actions and his medication and counselling have helped him become more like his old self. He wants to try again and is always coming to see the children. He has gotten a job and began to clear his debts and seems genuine but I cant get the past six months out of my head. I still love him. Our daughter is pushing for us to try again but our son is older and more aware and he said he doesn’t trust him anymore.

  • China ruined our lives...! January 26, 2016, 2:25 AM

    Where to begin! I warn you now, we are one dysfunctionally, disgunctional family – definitely not traditional. However, we are very notmal in another sense. Here goes:

    My husband and I divorced in 2000. I moved to Australia with our two children to get an education. Immediately after the divorce – as well as all through it, he wanted me back. I agreed to consider it, even though I wanted to continue my education in Australia. He immediately got positioned with his job in China. He visited the kids and I every three months for two weeks – never failed, for the next 14 years.

    Although we tried to be together at first, it didnt work. He was already dating women and I didnt feel like competing. I met a man almost two years later and was with him for three years, before ending it. My ex always kept on abou us raising our babies together, etc, and so immediately after breaking up woth my ex boyfriend, my ex husband and I were a ‘couple’ again. Throughout the next ten years, he stayed working in China. I ended up returning to Anerica in 2009. He still visited us every three months. Throughout this time, on a few occasions, I would be upset that he’d ben drinking more than I liked with his overseas friends, and we’d break up – usually never lasted more than a few days or so. He swore I was just imagining that something was going on, and would often tell me that if I kept accusing him, he would indeed cheat. The thought hurt me deeply, and I tried to get better. Something that will add to this weirdness is how we never had sex in these ten years! I thought he was impotent. I would sleep naked by him throughout the years, and nothing. We hugged and snuggled, but never fooled around. I never initiated, as I didnt want to embarrass him. Then Christmas 2015 came!

    He was home for vacation, and we had a great Christmas with the kids (16 & 19 now), and although we’d bicker, I never thought anything of it. Then two days after Christmas, he chooses one of these bicker moments to blurt out how he has met a 30-year-old Russian (of Korean dissent) who he is in love woth. In my begging and disbelief, he tells me how broken I am because of my step-dad being an alcohoic when I was growing up, and how he did not find me attractive, and hadn’t in years. Said he loved me like a sister, but I didn’t turn him on at all. He insisted he was in love with ‘M’, as she was pretty, smart, educated, exciting, etc. (keep in mind, I have two bachalors degrees and an MBA). He stood in our livingroom and stood his ground with our kids, with all of us begging, and ended up leaving our home that night to go to a hotel. I begged and begged and after two long, excrutiating days, he ‘came to his senses’, and said he realized how stupid he was, was terribly sorry, didn’t mean the mean things, and only loved me. He also said he was ready to come home to the US and not work overseas anymore. He’s in the middle of a multi-million dollar job, so that was a huge risk. He told his boss immediately, and we are currently waiting on him to hear something about when he’s coming home.

    He told me everything I wanted to know about ‘M’ and how she primed him in just seven months of cheating on me to come home and dump his family at Christmas. She went over what I might say, how he might feel, etc etc to keep her claws in. He called her that night and told her never to call or write again, that he was staying with his family. I was satisfied it was finished, and still feel it is. HOWEVER, in talking about our past, and starting with a brand new slate, I asked if there were others. This is when the real bombshell hit! He told me that from 2007-2012, he had carried on a fulltime, constant, and commited relationship with a 25-year-old Chinese girl (20 years younger than him). She had lived with him for a full year of this time, then moved out when her parents disapproved because she wasn’t married. She lived with her brother and came every weekend. They saw each other at work everyday, as he was the boss, and she worked in document controls. After three years, he was transferred to asingapore in between jobs, where he stayed for two full years. During this time, she constantly tried to get a visitors visa to come to Singapore, but because of where she lived in China, Singapore kept denying. He stayed faithful, nonetheless. After two years, he said he went back to China and saw her for three days. She insisted they marry, or else. Thank God, he refused, and she soon married another man and now has a baby. He hasn’t seen or spoke to her in years. It had been three weeks since he dumped us after Christmas, and we’re moving forward. Sometimes.
    I HATE how ‘M’ had him ready to leave us so fast. It sickens me. However, after talking in-depth, he explained how lonely and alone he felt with no other westerners around, and no western luxeries – tv, radio, social media is blocked, etc etc. I am over that pretty much, as I believe he sincerely regrets it. My issue is the long-term girlfriend that ended in 2012. I look back on the times he came home during those five years, and all the amazing memories we made during that time, and they are tarnished. He was living with – and sharing his life with, another woman. She knew all about me, and even though she didnt like it, she told him hat she at least got to see him for ten months out of the year, so she was ok. Constantly wanted him to marry her and take her “out of China”. It devastates me that he was faithful to her for two years in Singapore, too. He was telling me how much he loved me and how I was the only one he ever wanted, etc. it hurts like hell knowing he gave so much emotion to this nobody, just because “she was fun and the sex was anytime I wanted”. He also said many times, “we never argued”. Almost like our arguing made him do it.

    He is waiting to find out when he’s coming back as we speak, and we are going to live together under one roof for the first time in 15 years. I’m very excited, but afraid. I haven’t worked since graduating wih my MBA, as we made arrangement that I would raise the girls fulltime, since he wasnt here often, and that way, at least they would have one fulltime parent. I loved every moment of it, and raised two very intelligent (I homeschooled), hard working, and loving children. I never knew this would possibly cause me to not have a dime to my name if he dumped us. I had nothing! He offered to support us still during his two days of leaving us, but it was daunting and scary. I would have been on welfare, food stamps, you name it! Talk about embarrassing.

    Anyway, my issue is this longterm relationship. I hate that he was able to do this for so long without a conscious at all. So many milestones the kids went through during this time that he shared – then went home to another woman. Five years is a lot of memories, anniversaries, building habits together, and learning about each other. Good sex would last maybe six months, but after that, a relatinship wouldnt work without substance. I hate that they obviously had substance 🙁 I feel she broke up with him, since he wouldnt commit to marry her (says he considered it for about 10 seconds at never again). He swears it was sex and that he never loved her. I don’t buy it.

    Im obsessing over it, and how at least 7 years of the last ten have been major lies. I was faithful, and he knew it! Does this ever heal? Will I ever not feel like a complete nothing, who was a fool in front of my kids and him – and everyone – all my friends knew Him from visits, and knew that we were together. I want to stop hurting and caring, but it’s a sharpness everytime I think of it. I can forgive – and I do – 100%! However, it’s the forgetting that’s harsh. Please help! I am lost – and feel so alone and stupid. I’m scared of keeping on with my feelings to him as he is sick of hearing it. It’s only been a week since I found out about long-term girl, and three weeks since the post–Christmas dumping. I feel Im going to chase him away again, or just blow his newfound love for me… 🙁

    If nothing else, thanks for reading.

    • Jewels February 21, 2016, 8:39 PM

      Hi there,

      A bit of delay, but hopefully you will read this. I will tell you the first thing that came to my mind after reading this – What an amazing woman. You have sacrificed your life for the sake of your kids, and they will grow up to be great people – never forget that and never hang your head low. Second, your husband. Honest factor time – long distance in marriage – very very tough, the likelihood of cheating, very very high. So do not beat yourself up for not knowing ect. Your husband took advantage of the space. Those 5 years you had with him isn’t erased because of her, I know it feels different now, but those good memories are yours to keep.

      So I am assuming with the divorce you never got remarried and thus can not get support? If that is the case, it’s time – TIME to be selfish – finally!!! Time to stop looking at your husband and all the drama and start focusing on moving forward. Seriously – you are smart (MBA), very loving and giving – you have alot going for you. Try to take the next few months and make it only about YOU – because you deserve it. Don’t worry about feeling like a fool, that song ‘Everybody plays the fool’ is soooo true – we all have our fool moments. Trust me no one is looking at you too hard because they have their fool moments as well. Things will get better – the sooner you start focusing on YOU the faster your healing journey will take. I wish you well, take care.

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