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.

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

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.

Keeping Trixie Silent

I know all the right things to do. I know not to contact Tony’s wife. Some days the right reasons don’t matter and that’s the part I strive to understand about myself.

My therapist basically said “let go and let God.” “Vengeance is mine, said the Lord.”

I did read everyone’s comments and digest them. Thank you. I just didn’t have any energy to address each one. When you know you want to do something wrong, it’s hard to listen to people who care about you telling you to behave differently.

Why do I have to hurt him? It doesn’t even make sense to me. Isn’t it bad enough I’m in such pain? Why hurt another family?

I suppose what struck me this time was the fact that I don’t know what Pandora’s box I am opening by telling her. She could be as nuts as Trixie for all I really know. Or, even if she’s not, maybe one of her friends are. I may experience the release of anger temporarily, but I could end up doing even more damage to myself and I’m not well enough to manage any more damage. I heard that from you loud and clear.

But the feeling of wanting to out him is strong.

So strong I reached out to him instead. Which is just as bad. He hasn’t answered me so now I’m obsessing. The trick is not to fall back into compulsion to force him into communication with me. He is doing the right thing for both of us. Something I can’t seem to do.

My head is still not screwed on. For any step forward I fall back, way back. I feel lifeless and empty. Trying to fill this void is overwhelming.

I know this comes down to simple math: he gave me something I never had and I can’t see past that. But I know there is no choice than to move forward and put him behind me.

I don’t even mention this to my support system anymore because I’m so embarrassed. I can’t afford the therapist as I’ve been out of work too long.

I’m just worried I’m sliding too far back. I’m worried it all feels like to much for me again.

I Decided – Trixie Post

*Written last week

I made up my mind. I have decided to contact Tony’s wife. I have been reading and reading like crazy so many opinions about do/don’t contact and why.

And I finally decided I am never going to be at peace until she hears the truth. I asked him many months ago, before I had my breakdown, to tell her. He promised he would. This was the only way I could avoid having this obsessive need to tell her myself.

He didn’t.

Here’s my email to her:

Hello Kelly,
I am sorry in advance for the disruption this email will cause.  
I am writing because I had an affair with your husband for approximately 2 years from 6/16 – 4/18.  
I have tried to avoid contacting you, but have realized I needed to do this for myself. We fell in love and when he decided to stay in your marriage, we were both unable to let go for a time and then, ultimately, I was the one who couldn’t let go. I have been suffering a deep depression which led to harming myself.  
I needed to finally stop hoping one day he might change his mind and just give you the facts about Tony.  
It is up to Tony to honestly explain to you what he’s done throughout your marriage, and who knows about it. I can provide any proof you need from me but thought keeping this email to the point was best.   
Madeline

If you are curious what changed my mind it was this website:

https://www.infidelityhelpgroup.com/2016/10/05/should-i-tell-his-wife/

And a website called Chump Lady.

*written today

I guess I hadn’t decided because something is stopping me from sending it – and believe me that send button has been under my thumb more than once this week.

I’m just sitting on it. Perhaps the feeling will pass. Perhaps it won’t.

I realize there is no gain from this text to his wife. I try to keep mulling over in my head why I feel so strongly about outing him. I know part of it stems from pure rage that he gets to live his life free and clear after 20 years of continued cheating and the wreckage he left of me.

Then I think: who cares.

If I could surgically remove these thoughts and feelings of him I would opt to at this point. I would even go back to Mexico! (Not ever!)

Dodging a Dating Bullet

A friend of mine, who is also single, told me a few weeks ago, the dating websites were currently hosting a plethora of men….so I turned the apps back on and gave it a shot.

Rob (my 6’4″ date) ghosted me. I saw him in the city mid December, I text him a short note on his wife’s 1 year anniversary, and that was the last I heard from him. It’s too bad but it’s ok. I thought I would hear a holiday greeting, but no. He’s not ready and he’s not for me in any case.  Deleted.

There were, and this is no lie, at least 10 eligible matches that I was able to start speaking to. One by one they each fell to the wayside, but it was definitely more available men than usual! And I have my preferences set to 6′ and above and I still had a ton of matches. Was everyone looking for a NYE date?

It came down to 3-4 men I moved to text with.

Dan, who is so intermittent with his text that I gave up. We may never get started. He wants to schedule a phone call but is inconsistent.

Jack, who started of great but now that we are talking a bit more, I’m beginning to think he’s not for me.  Everything is really good in our chats, he’s clearly interested, but I’m not laughing unless I’m cracking the jokes. I will go on a date with him.

Brian, super promising Texan transplant. His accent reminded me of Bobby and we hit it off quickly. But he turned on a dime ….story ahead.

Brian and I matched on Bumble and he met all my initial criteria – a definite sense of humor, handsome, intelligent and nearby. Our first phone call last close to 2 hours and it was so easy I don’t even recall what we spoke about. But the day of the date things started to get weird.

After speaking to someone for close to 2 hours on the phone, I do expect a good morning text, or at least an early text confirming our date for later in the day. I got neither from Brian. At 4pm – when we had loosely planned to meet between 4-6pm, I got the first text that said he was in meetings til 5 ish. Ok, hall pass on that one – at least he was acknowledging me and I could now jump in shower. By the way, no apology for not texting sooner, just the text that read “in meetings”.

The next text came about 5pm “still stuck” and then once at 645pm “almost done, how are you?” Finally at 715pm or so (I had showered but didn’t dress or put on makeup) I received a text asking me to come to him. Now, all my girlfriends have a rule – first date they come to you, period. So I knew I was breaking dating code if I went to see him. But, I was mostly ready and I did want to meet him. Drinking didn’t matter much, so I agreed.

It only occurred to me upon my arrival the place he selected was the place I met Tony (Bennett). I had a momentary reflection and moved on. It had no impact and I was glad of it. That had all the makings of ruining my night.

We hit it off in person quickly, laughing and conversing quite easily. He was better looking in person and had a gentle mannerism. He wanted to touch my hands and leg and I found him very appealing. The time slipped by. He asked if I would like to go to a different place for another drink and I agreed. We kissed a little on the short walk over and he held my hand. He also said he wanted to absolutely see me again. Everything was going well.

On reflection, this is why I should stop first dates from going to long. When I connect with someone, it’s pretty obvious and fast – but it over accelerates the attraction and moves us forward too fast. Had I ended the date then, I’m sure I would have seen Brian again. But it didn’t even cross my mind.

We went to the second bar and he asked some sexual questions. Not too probing but I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in talking about it much on our first date. That’s when he started to ask me to come back home with him, even if it meant just to sleep. If I had been drinking more I would have said yes. I didn’t. I said a clear no and that I wanted to go home. He was also exhausted and a little drunk.

As we walked out of the bar, he headed in the opposite direction of my car and I pulled him back indicating my car was the other way. He pulled me forward and motioned across the street indicating his home was around the block. We stood still.

I think I was evaluating if I would go or not. Either way, in my head, I needed to get to my car first. He saw my confusion as refusal to listen to him and began to get angry, telling me I didn’t need my car. But I was processing that even if I went with him I wanted my car. Before I could get through my own head, I felt him drop my hand in frustration and watched his face change. At that point I made the comment “did you want me to come back with you or not?” And his reply was “now I’m thinking I don’t” and with that, I turned around and walked towards my car. I never looked over my shoulder.

His face had gotten ugly angry and in the briefest second I got uncomfortable. By the time I got to my car a couple blocks away I had started to cry. So many reasons for the tears surfaced: I was scared and anxious, sad, confused and lonely.

I think I did the right thing, there was a meanness to him at the end that I couldn’t identify until that last moment. The type of mean that could have ended up hurting me (not intentionally) because he wanted what he wanted and wasn’t listening to me. Maybe my cues are off, maybe I’m misleading. But he was no gentleman ultimately.

Good chemistry matches are hard to come by, so I was sorry it happened this way but I do think I dodged bigger damage ahead with Brian.

Thank you, next.

P.S. Do you know the way my addled brain works, I am actually sorry it turned out that way because he had so much promise.  Argh.

The First Downslide

It wouldn’t be a Madeline story without a serious dash of crazy seasoning. But I promised honesty.

I saw Tony last in April. I don’t recall if we spoke on phone subsequently or not, probably. But the last text was mid-August. Full stop. My last text said:

“I am having surgery on Sept 7th that I don’t expect to recover from and since you have decided to be such a jerk and I won’t recover you can expect my letter to you and your wife then.” I was furious at him for being a douche when I was dropping my son at college after I supported him through dropping off two kids to college. He could have been kinder. I should have been less crazy, but that sets the scene.

And I blocked him for a while until I went to Mexico, hoping I would hear from him because he knew the surgery date and my birthday were around the corner.

Needless to say, while fighting for my life, I finally stopped focusing on Tony.

Until I started to feel better and talk about it in therapy.

As my body healed and the new meds kicked in, the desperate addiction I felt towards him increased. I knew myself well enough to know trouble was brewing.

But I did all the right things. I called friends. I diverted myself. I even went on a couple great dates (those stories will follow and were therapy approved dates). I finally felt happiness, real and true, outside my home with my family the day after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day and the subsequent party took all the life out of me. I slept for 2 days following. My cousins hire professional photographers and post literally hundreds of party photos.

To step back to provide context: my x never enjoyed these family parties. He didn’t want to play football with the cousins (boys and girls) he didn’t like to socialize and every year became a struggle. I love this family and would do anything to be included and they always were inclusive to The x and my boys. But towards the end of marriage I gave up on being included. I’m still surprised at all the times I said no and they asked again.

So when the guy I met asked me to a strange second date I quickly said “I will trade you for a football game!” The whole story will follow but, god bless his heart, he was so excited to be included.

My cousins are short – the girls are under 5′ and the boys under 5’8″. So I made a joke to my very serious boy cousins that I was bringing a 6’4″ athlete who could be QB (knowing full well I would never live it down). Everyone he met said “oh! Your Mads 6’4″!” And that’s all they called him all day. 6’4″. He loved it.

He was the star of the game so my cousins loved him. He’s gregarious and wonderful so it was super easy.

I was really happy that day.

So what happened to being out Trixie?

I admit I check often if Tony and I are friends in FB. It was the only social media we remained connected on. He shut it down for months but opened it last week sometime.

My social media stopped when I went in the hospital. But now I had a reason to open it because the photos from the party were fabulous. My cousin tagged me in all of them and they post to my wall.

There is a beautiful photo of 6’4″ and I together. We look like a couple. There’s photos like that with my cousins too, but I know they are my cousins. My cousin also tagged all of 6’4″s football hilights with my name. And they made comments under the photos about 6’4″ doing me proud on the field.

Today I saw Tony had unfriended me on FB. I went into shock. I couldn’t think and my reaction was to reach out. But he has been deleted from my phone for so long I truly could not recall his phone number. So I sent a text to his two emails and they didn’t come back with “delivered”. I scoured the internet with phone combinations for 40 mins until I hit it. I really couldn’t recall it. I called from my phone and it went straight to VM. I called from the house phone and it went straight to VM. I was blocked.

I called where I thought he was working and got as far as reception and hung up and called my friends and admitted my cray.

An hour later he replied that he was flying home, couldn’t text or talk now, and I was never blocked. I apologized and said I overreacted and he asked what prompted it. I didn’t answer.

Will he text me tmrw? I don’t know.

I made it through 7 months of not seeing him and 3 full months or more of no contact and I lost my shit the instant I felt rejection.

My friends say it’s because I have the photos with the guy up and he doesn’t want to see things like that. I interpret that as he doesn’t want me happy. I get confused. Why now? What’s the big deal of FB friends when we don’t communicate any longer?

But it hurt and flipped the Trixie switch.

My call with my therapist is at 10am tmrw. But what can she say that I don’t already know? Why do I keep doing this to myself with a man who clearly doesn’t want me. Or any connection with me.

I have to get to the bottom why rejection causes Trixie to trigger. And I want it to stop. I want to stop thinking about him and wanting him. I can believe he gave me the world and it was lovely but I have to also believe it’s gone for good.

I am angry and embarrassed at myself. And worried about him reaching out to me soon.

I was doing well. But my little child, Trixie, stomped her feet and wanted to know WHY now….why take me off FB now. It was a small and innocuous connection. But it was something to me. And now I’m hurt all over again.