7 months ago, I came out on the blog and made it public knowledge that I had cheated on Justin for much of our 2 year relationship. It was something Justin wanted me to do. He thought it would help his hurting process for me to share my wrongdoing with the whole world. For me, it was cathartic to write. To realize why it happened in the first place and why I kept going back again and again to people who are no good for me.
Right now, it's been about 9 months since everything came out. It feels like we're in such a better place now than we were in November and December, but the reality is this: we are still struggling. We still put walls up around each other. He lashes out for no apparent reason other than he's hurting so badly he needs to express it, and I just keep all my feelings bottled tightly up inside.
There are millions of stories out there from the people who have been cheated on. I struggle every day to find ones from the cheaters. I don't talk to Justin about it because I don't want to hurt him more than I already have. I don't talk to my family or my friends about it because I don't want them to think badly of Justin or of me. The way Justin found out in the first place was by reading my diary, and now it feels as though I can't ever keep a diary or a journal ever again for fear that something else like this will happen. That I'll relapse and fall back into old habits, and I can't ever let that happen again.
So I'm turning to this little text box to say that life hurts. In the beginning when this all came out, it hurt even more. Just thinking of Christmas and how we spent it makes my heart break in two: we were holed up in the bedroom, him drilling me about everything that happened, everything that had led up to this point in our lives. We had a lot of sex then, using it as a coping mechanism to prove that we could still be close to each other.
Now, seven months later, we're still suffering. The initial hurt has passed, the shock has passed, the betrayal has passed, but all the guilt and all the shame and all those broken promises and a picture of the people we could be right now still remain. We're trying to plan a wedding and fix our relationship with each other at the same time. He asked me last night, "How do we get close to one another again?" And, in truth, I have no freaking idea. How do you rebuild intimacy after a tragedy that has blown your whole life apart?
For me, I need to break down walls. I need to talk about my feelings, actually say them out loud instead of writing them down. That's the hardest part about this whole situation, the talking. It was hard when I was telling Justin I had had an inappropriate online relationship with an ex boyfriend. It was hard when his family found out and didn't know if they could trust me anymore. It was hard when everyone at work found out, and sometimes it's still hard to get up and go to work every day like it never happened.
Right now, it's hard to shoulder all my guilt and all of shame toward it. It's hard to call my friends back when they need me the most, and it's hard to shoulder their sadness from my failures there as well. It's hard to get out of bed in the morning, it's hard to take a shower and do normal tasks that must be done to live my every day life. But I still do it. I get up and go to work every day. I put one foot in front of the other and push myself because I have to. These are the non negotiables.
I'm working on it, fixing the broken heart of our relationship. Justin is working on it. We're working on it together because there is no trouble shooting this, there is no tech support or how to guide to getting through this pain. All we can do is take it one step at a time. And we are.