Every time I look in the mirror, I see a woman who was rejected in favour of another. Whatever it is that she has, I don't have it. It can't be that I'm too old - she is the same age as me. I think I'm actually more attractive than her, my hair is nicer! It's amazing what you can find out about someone by typing their name into Google. The woman that my husband left me for, after their affair, is a teacher at a prestigious private school, lives in an exclusive suburb, and has a weird obsession with the band Nirvana. He chose her, over me. After being married for only three years, he discarded me for this new woman. Interestingly, they don't live together, he still lives in the house that was furnished and paid for by me, after he convinced me that he needed to move out to find himself, conveniently in a location that is about ten minutes drive from her house.
That reflection in the mirror is of a woman who couldn't compete because she realised too late that she needed to. I was too busy to give him the attention he craved and he never said that he felt unloved. She can turn up in her designer clothes, lavish him with praise and adulation and then go home. I was juggling work, children, an ailing mother, paying bills, doing laundry, cleaning the toilet, putting the bins out, cooking dinner, while he sat on his laptop telling her how much he loved her and how his wife just didn't understand him like she did. That love letter that I found in his car, where he declared that she was "my love, my life..." still makes me feel so totally inadequate. I really believed that if someone married you, they communicated with you, they told you how they felt, that you were in for the long haul, for better or worse. Apparently not. Once you start feeling a bit bored or neglected, the easiest way to deal with it, is sign up to an Internet dating site and lie to the woman that you married for a few months before leaving them.
I am hurting, I am humiliated, I have days when I find it hard to put one foot in front of the other, and I am ashamed I have days where I break my no contact rule to text him, which only makes me feel worse afterwards. It is just so unfair that they can start a blissful new life together, seemingly unaware of the devastation and heartache that they have left in their wake.
But, sitting at my dressing table this morning - the dressing table that we bought on eBay and that he painted - I looked at myself long and hard and I said out loud, "You know what, Amanda, they are in the past, they are not worthy of your future. They are taking up valuable space in your head. You are a nice person who has been treated badly by two selfish people who don't care how you feel or who gets trampled as long as their wants are met. The best revenge you can have is to prove to yourself that you can do this life thing successfully on your own".
Since Steve left, I have struggled with accepting what has happened. I get angry and sad because I fell in love with a man who turned out to be quite different from what I thought he was. Quite frankly I think he used me until he got what he saw as a better offer. I obviously have made some big mistakes and I continue to make them, but I think I need to ease up on myself and cut myself some slack. There was nothing else I could do, I now know he was talking to women on the Internet the whole time we were married - it wasn't me, it was him. I have to keep telling myself, there is no going back, only going forward. I have to just let them get on with the relationship they have created out of lies and deceit and stop obsessing about what could have or should have been. Life can be confronting, daunting, intimidating but it can also provide opportunities where you can be really proud of your achievements. That is what I need to work on now.