Strange Days

I am beginning to wonder if thinking of Tony is cyclical. Maybe hormonal related? Or maybe it’s the empath in me. Whatever it is, I am sure it’s some kind of strange intuition because I’m not sure I can believe things are just this random.

I believe Tony is most likely still employed at Peloton. I bought the bike last summer to feel closer to him. Stupidest reasoning ever, but there’s the truth of it. I can’t even make sense of it. I barely rode in the beginning and he didn’t ride at all – he just worked at the corporate HQ.

When I had my last break of texting his wife in early February, I also made the decision that if I didn’t absorb myself into something else that I was going to slip right back into a massive depression. The bike is very expensive and it was sitting there. It was an easy choice that was healthy for me.

And then, in typical Madeline fashion, I became obsessed. This is a good obsession and keeps me focused and healthy. I feel fantastic after so many months of a sedentary and disabled life.

I didn’t think about Tony when I chose to invest my energy in the Peloton, somehow he became less the reason for the bike. I joined several groups for support and quickly joined the Peloton cult. I check in with members every day, ride in a group, and have made friends that I will be meeting in person this weekend. The community is so supportive its insane. I chose to buy into it. (I acknowledge I need to write a post about self-talk….a whole bunch of thoughts have been bubbling up lately).

With that said, there was one ride an instructor called Tony’s name in a shout-out. I can guess this instructor and Tony have become friends. It sucked for a day or so and started me thinking about Tony’s participation in Peloton (because he wasn’t a rider when I bought the bike).

Late last week, Tony has been in the forefront of my thoughts again – which never bodes well. I want to speak to him so badly and have to argue with myself consistently. There is no good outcome from reaching out to him. There is no reason to reach out to him.

Of course it never stops there with me.

Once I started to think of him more consistently again, the thought occurred to me he may be participating in the same Peloton event that I am attending this weekend. Then nausea started to set in. If I were to see him, and possibly with his wife, and certain he would ignore me – it would probably debilitate me and ruin my entire Peloton community weekend.

Then yesterday, I was in the city and was “this close” to taking a class at the studio when I decided to head home instead. Thank goodness my feet took me home because, I took that class on demand later in my day and who was at the front of class: Tony. Same instructor, Tony’s kind of music, and he was seated right at the front of class where you can see him on video most of the class. Of course the instructor also shouted him out and spoke to him.

I didn’t feel sick this time. Instead I worked up my best time ever and sweat mounds of sweat getting through that ride cursing the bastard for sitting there in his life. Knowing he’s back into his perfect life and marriage and just feeling angry. The anger fueled me and I got a personal best record for the ride. I wasn’t done. I went down to my treadmill for another hour-and-a-half and did some walk + run classes to continue my sweat.

If I had bumped into him at the studio, it would not have gone well. His last words to me were “my last impression of you is an asshole. Congratulations”. He means it too. I crossed the line with his wife and his wife told his kids – his worst nightmare come true to look bad in their eyes. I know him well enough to know he doesn’t forgive, certainly not a threat to his family. I am the one who hurt his family and he will always think of me that way. I am sad about it, but that’s my own doing.

This is why I think it’s some strange intuition in me. I started thinking of him and suddenly he actually manifests.

I don’t think he will be at the event this weekend, but as a sort of protection, August is going with me to the Saturday evening cocktail party and concert. It was a last minute decision when I heard from August again and I hope I don’t regret it. He’s about to be thrown into a pool of Peloton crazies and I don’t care. As long as he’s on my arm if Tony should be there.

My Poison

I was doing my usual sweep of social media this morning and saw Tony’s daughters FB. I know it’s creepy I look at his childrens social media, but it’s the last place I can see him. I also know he’s celebrating a wedding anniversary soon and figured someone would post a photo.

I got a video of Tony giving his wife a family trip to Italy because their son is studying abroad.

At first I felt sick. A literal shock rolled through my body. As I watched the video a second time, I was calmer. He looks like the same person I knew but perhaps tinged with cowardice(?) Does that make any sense.

I have a feeling I missed all along he was a little afraid of his wife. I got hints of it along the way, and I don’t think he’s afraid of her per se, but afraid of how she could ruin his life.

I’m not surprised or bothered by the family trip. I know it’s very common after a DDay to plan big moments like this to bond. To invest back into the relationship you were taking away from during your affair.

It’s a morbid curiosity for me to know what happened after their DDay and to learn what my part in the story was. I know it’s none of my business but how do I stop thinking about it?

How do I shut down my brain from obsessing like this? It’s been a year since I’ve seen this man and I’m still obsessing.

I understand what he gave me and why it was so important to me. I understand I will never be with him again. But why do I continue to want connection with him?

Part of me does wonder if the daughter did it intentionally? Her mother told her of the affair – did she tell her about me? Why does this matter to me when I known this is none of my business.

As a last thought, because I was being reckless, I now realize his daughter can see that I viewed her video on FB.

Will I be sick forever? Is my mind entirely destroyed from this affair – never able to get straight again?

I can’t seem to let go. I’m worried I may never let go. I’m worried I can only hold Trixie down for a while before I truly do harm again.

I’m a broken record. People with normally functioning brains can’t understand me. I want to will it all away and make active and conscious good decision to do so. Then something like this takes over and debilitates me.

I dialed his number from a burner and listened to his voice mail. Then I sent a text telling him I missed him. He’s not stupid so he will know I saw the video.

I deleted the burner now and wrote this post to save a little sanity. Next I will do some exercise. I should have put the phone down first and helped myself out of the burning desire to communicate with him but, as usual, the obsession won the fight.

Why, why do I feel some need to speak to him? I don’t have any desire to see him – but something in me wants more from him. More that I know I will not get.

BANG! Shot through the Heart!

So here I am getting on my Peloton like I do every day and I choose one of my favorite instructors and some groovy Motown music.

I’m enjoying the ride, working up a decent sweat, and doing ok. I was a bit tired from pushing hard yesterday.

During a Peloton ride you follow along with the instructor in the studio. Some times the studio has live riders and other times the session is just filmed for their digital app. This was a live ride from February on demand.

The instructors will try to call out riders leaderboard names (handles) as well as milestones like 100 rides, birthdays, or such. They also can see the town you are in and any small note you make under your name. A class usually has upwards of 500 riders so there’s no guarantee you get noticed on the leaderboard.

If you’re slow and you’re at the bottom the only way to get noticed it a milestone ride as instructors have a separate section to be sure they try and acknowledge those riders. It’s a big deal and joy to the Peloton cult to have a shout out during a live ride.

The instructors are also so skilled with the cameras they somehow know how to look right into them and speak as though they are speaking directly to you! It makes home riders feel like they are part of the tribe. It’s a pretty amazing thing to feel that way and it’s very encouraging – which is part of the Peloton magic.

Towards the end of my ride the instructor looks directly at the camera and says something along the lines of “shout out to my man, Tony, I got you, you know who you are” and I knew in an instant it was my Tony.

Fucker.

I slipped sideways on the bike and since I was clipped in, ended at an awkward angle that I had to pull myself upright again.

Fucking ouch. That hurt.

Bastard. Why are you always there?

I know it was my Tony because he works with the instructors at Peloton. I just know.

I got off the bike. Text at least 5 friends and then got outside for a long walk.

I bought the bike because Tony worked there and I foolishly thought it would connect me to him somehow. Another dumb move on my part.

I haven’t really used it since I bought it at the height of my depression, but it’s an expensive bike and I’m committed to using it now to heal and be strong. I never considered he was riding the bike as well (he wasn’t as far as I knew last November). I certainly never thought about the random chance he gets a shout out by first name (it’s not his LB name, there was no Tony on the LB).

It sucked. Its over.

I can only wait for my own shout out one day.

Crazy Talk

I’m writing this to get it out of my head. I haven’t told anyone but the blog about looking at Tony’s photo and obsessing, but I haven’t been sleeping well and generally feeling a funk.

I know it has to be from that darn photo. Nothing else has changed.

I’ve now spent almost a week dwelling on the fact that he’s back in his marriage full time, he lied to me in November to say “nothing had changed between them” because I recall that bonding/hysterical sex is a real thing after finding out about an affair. So chances are he’s in a better marriage now than he was before.

It makes me want to vomit that I am obsessing and he’s getting on with his wonderful life and wife.

I want control now, of my thoughts, my ability to STOP caring about this man that nearly took life from me because I allowed it. I want to STOP worrying about someone who could care less for me.

I have to STOP thinking of how great I might have fantasized it could be because it was never anything but fantasy. We had a time, a season and now it passed.

I’m still thinking a lobotomy is my best option.

I Trapped Myself

I acknowledge that I am stuck in repetitive negative thoughts. The patterns are so immersed that I believe my brain processes the obsession as my normal cognitive behavior. When I don’t “get what I need/expect” I fight for it.

Fighting for it got me into a hole I nearly didn’t get out of last year.

I fought with my boss and had to leave a job. I fought with my children and still have one relationship that needs mending. I fought with Tony until I made him despise me. Even though, at times, I knew I should stop pushing, it felt like I was wired to defeat myself.

I had trapped myself into my own bad behaviors.

I tried to convince myself that going to Mexico was a reset button for me. If I could lose the weight other things would fall in place. Again, really bad thinking on my part. I know part of it was severe depression because I didn’t want to care if I died. I thought if I could feel physically better about myself, perhaps the emotional duress would lessen.

That’s clearly not what happened. I made everything much, much worse before it even started to level out these past few weeks.

Learning to get out of these behaviors is taking a toll on me. I am doing what I can which is primarily holdings myself accountable by writing out the damaging behaviors as well as redirection and create new, healthy patterns.

I actively try to stop my obsessive thoughts by interrupting myself. My brain is so powerful it can bring me right back to the unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts and I can’t exercise it away all day and night. I have disputed my sleep pattern despite including significant activity in my day. I disrupted my eating pattern and found the old habit of not thinking what was going hand-to-mouth too easy to fall back into.

I stopped the poor eating (there was a different trigger there will talk about in a separate post). Now I am going to figure out exactly what I need to build in my brain to stop the obsessive thoughts. I need a mini activity (even a brain activity, doesn’t have to be physical) that I do each time I begin to obsess. I need a replacement thought.

As much as I currently feel like my life was ruined, I want to begin believing it is simply changed. I have the power to begin making new and different choices. Choices that are better for me. I am not alone. People have lived through heartbreak and come out stronger the other side. I can too.

I hate self talk like I hate exercise but I’ve got to try something different. I may even make a vision board.

How Do I STOP This Ridiculous Obsession?

Writing because the only reason I can think for feeling such apathy today is because of that damn wedding ring photo?

Right? It must be.

I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get off the couch. I have slept poorly two nights in a row. The only positive is I can’t reach out to him to start an argument or any trouble. Both he and his wife are deleted from my phone.

Why, why, why! Do I obsess like this after all this time. It’s going to be 1 year in April since I’ve seen the man. 2 years in April since I’ve know he would stay married. I am angry with myself. I want to change and every time I think I make progress I manage to bang right into a brick wall. Head first.

I do feel sick with grief in an odd way. Not crying, but entirely apathetic.

What can I do? How does this stop?

I have seriously thought of going to get hypnotized (does that work?) or a lobotomy. I cannot seem to pull myself from this gutter.

Obsessing

I found myself obsessing about Tony’s photo of him and his daughter and the fact he was wearing his wedding ring.

I was driving into the city to meet a friend for brunch and couldn’t get the image or thought out of my head. It kept spinning round and round.

And then my heart started to ache and I wanted to cry. Truthfully, for all the tears I’ve cried over Tony, I thought they were done. I had felt when I spoke to him in November that I had cried my last tears over him.

But this felt different somehow. This was physically painful again, all the way from my belly and a big gasping sound. I thought for sure I would be sobbing…..

I didn’t.

I just lingered in the feeling, willing myself not to cry and ruin my makeup and my day. I took big gulping breaths and tried to calm down but somehow the vision of the ring on the hand was twisting my insides.

I couldn’t feel anger or anything else. Just intense grief. I convinced myself that if I didn’t cry right now that I would wait and have a good cry once I got home later. I pulled the pain in deep, breathed in and gathered myself and paid attention to my driving. I had obsessed long enough to be close to arrival.

I forgot all about it while with my friend. I am too embarrassed to even mention to her what was in my mind. I felt a lingering sadness but not the same pain.

I’m writing this post to account for the feeling, and the passing of the feeling and wondering what will come next. The feeling was so painful. I don’t want to delve into that place of deep sadness and grief again. I didn’t like being caught by that feeling today.

I don’t really understand why the photo effected me that way.

Stalker

Short story, for my own accountability.

I was trolling IG and came across Tony’s daughters IG and she posted a photo of them tonight.

He was once again wearing his wedding ring.

I wasn’t shocked by the ring per se, just shocked to see him in a photo as I haven’t seen him since last April or any photo since he lost weight. But, my eyes did go right to the wedding ring.

I tried to dig deep to determine what I was feeling. Why I still troll. Why it matters to me to know what he’s doing in his life.

I know it shouldn’t matter.

The only thought I had was – that’s priceless – he’s wearing a ring after 5+ years of no ring and 15 years of infidelity.

Maybe he’s making a statement that he’s invested back into his marriage. Maybe she’s making him wear it. Maybe his guilt put it back on. Maybe it’s to show a unified front to his kids. Maybe he finally wants to do what’s right. Either way it shows he’s invested himself, somehow, back into his marriage.

And very, very strangely, I have a hope (for Kelly) that she get back the man she deserves because that man, the one I loved, is well worth having. She should get all of that good stuff.

But him, well I hope she makes him suffer for at least a little while and he’s miserable for all he did.

Obsessing

My therapist suggested I write letters to whoever I need, then let go.

I have never really been able to get to a succinct enough letter for Tony or my x. I suppose that might mean I’m still to attached to all the reasons those relationships didn’t work out.

I’ve been waking up each morning subconsciously thinking about Tony. I don’t like it one bit because I can’t stop my mind from waking me like that. The pattern this past week seems to be the lies he’s told me and my struggle to determine what’s true or what I want to hold on to as the truth.

My brain is like a target missile when I obsess over something. Looking for the truth. Looking for the moment I missed the clues and connections I should have been making. I don’t even know how my subconscious keeps coming back to him. I am really and actively trying to NOT think about this man every minute. Seriously though, NONE of it matters anymore and I CANNOT seem to get it through my thick skull.

I tried meditation and it was about gratitude and love and sure enough, he was the first thing to pop into my mind that I’m grateful for.

I may just come to accept I am fucking nuts that I can’t move on almost a year after the final end and two years past the moment I knew he wasn’t leaving his marriage. I understand what gifts I received from that relationship and I understand I can take them forward. I don’t understand why I can’t just fucking let go already.

I know all the wonderful reasons I loved him and line for him. I know what I was given and what I lost but for Christ’s sake, it’s got to go. I’m never speaking to or seeing this man ever again in my life. He’s done, out, erased. Finite.

I just want to stop obsessing. I do not know how to control this and it makes me crazy how he consumes me. Even crazier that he moves on with his life and intact marriage/family. I want him exorcised or lobotomized from my brain. I want him gone already.

Denial

You know when you get little glimpses of awareness that you’ve hit on an idea but can’t quite uncover it? I noticed this has been happening more often for me as I seem to be coming up from complete apathy to less apathy. The smoke clears for a moment, I have a thought, and I try to pursue that thought in the hopes of some personal enlightenment. In the wake of Tony-textacle, something struck me the other day – unrelated to Tony’s infidelity in his marriage – but my x’s behavior in ours. Then I recalled this same thought occurred to me post Bobby.

Strangely enough, I know more about Bobby’s post D-day than Tony’s. I didn’t even realize Tony and Kelly had a D-day in July until last week. Bobby told me everything about his recovery plan post D-day, until he hit the point in recovery that he needed to acknowledge I couldn’t be a part of his life. Tony lied to me for the past 7 months, maybe in an effort to “keep the enemy closer?” Who knows. When I realized Tony had been creating even more lies within his marriage, a little thought bubble popped up to say “do you recall saying he was more like your x than you wanted to admit?” And I got a physical sensation of being ill. It was as if my mind had buried that reminder so deeply that it created a physical sensation as it was dug up again.

Tony did, in his marriage, exactly what my x did to me upon discovery: lied more and denied what actually happened. The next stop on this this reality train is believing that Tony was also lying to me (haven’t fully accepted that yet).  I also repeat: does it even matter?  Nope, not really.   Not my marriage.

I read an article about Hiding in Denial and the flashbacks were not pleasant. When I uncovered my x’s infidelity he turned the entire situation around on me and my need for control. He wasn’t going to give up a female friend. He wasn’t going to allow me to monitor him. He may have crossed a little line, but he was in control and would manage the situation on his own. If he gave up his female friend that meant there was admitting to guilt and he wasn’t guilty. The article went on to describe that until someone admits they have a problem, no changes in outcome would be expected.

“Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.” Until I can change how I see the problem (and the problem is me, what I’ve done, and what I’m capable of) I will never be safe for my partner. Until I can accept the reality of my own defects of character I’ll never get where I’m going. If the right help is attained, we can find hope as well as a plan to find movement and clarity for both spouses.”

So, while I initially started thinking about Tony, it led me backwards to my own situation with the x, and then further into understanding myself. I have been programmed to accept liars into my life. This has become my defect of character and I allow it to continue by actively looking the other way.  Consistently burying my cues.  I keep accepting a “less-than-I-deserve” behavior in hopes that the other person will change.

Of course, they never do.  And I have become thoroughly practiced in being obstinate about forcing a change, obsessed with their change, instead of gracefully getting up and walking away from their behavior.  I allow some else’ bad behaviors to validate my own bad behavior.

I don’t stop.

With Tony I got the behavior I was seeking from my x. At some point Tony admitted his shame and his ownership for creating the mess we were all in. This was very close to the time he spoke to his wife. I believe that, up until that point, he was as authentic as he could be. He was horrified with himself and his actions and for the further mess he would be creating. I never got that from my x. Not even close. Never even an apology until years later – and it was one of those “I’m sorry if my actions hurt you but I never really cheated” kind of back handed apologies. I think that period of Tony being so genuine is what kept me holding on even longer, he couldn’t be that honest in his marriage so there was hope for us yet (idealized thinking). It wasn’t until his wife told me he was calling me a liar that the truth of it all struck me – he went right back to denial as it was a much more comfortable place to be.  But I shouldn’t have gone with him.  I should not have been around for his mistakes and lies to his family.

I have been holding on to my own denial. The thought that hope exists where it had, in fact, been extinguished 2 years ago in April ’17 when Tony chose to stay in his marriage. I am very good at this since I had a 22 year marriage where I was hopeful for around 18 of those years because I was gaslighted and weak. I keep allowing others, men in particular, to control my life. First my father, then a husband and then two affairs. If I don’t stop trying to control and manage my pain instead of acknowledging and accepting it, to really understand it, I am never going to break this cycle.

(You can go back to re-read the article Ann sent me here, and start to see how that played into what I had already started to think about my habits)

I actually believe that things do happen for a reason. I started to uncover these old perceptions of myself back in this post, and slowly other markers (such as Ann sending me the article) showed up along the way to highlight that I was on the right path to my own little self discovery.

While it may have been the worst way possible to uncover my own truths, sending Tony’s wife the information helped to uncover something I had buried and continue to recreate. I know it will always be viewed as malicious, that I would hurt someone who never hurt me and I understand that point of view. But somewhere in this narrative I needed Tony to accept the truth, my truth I guess, and this felt like the only way I could achieve it. What happens next in his life is his. His anger at me is because of discovery, because I upended that perfect scenario of life he worked so hard to create.  I’m sure some it it is because I hurt Kelly, but the bigger part of it for Tony is because he is uncovered as a serial cheater and liar and loses his prized possession: his outward face as a good and honorable man.  I have to own what I did, it was wrong and I haven’t yet learned how to control this terrible, horrible piece of me that wants others to hurt when I hurt.

Stick with me as I dig deeper, I appreciate all of your insight.