Once again, thank you to everyone who has read posts here and shared comments on their experiences. I appreciate comments that are both positive and negative. I realize not everyone sees me as a saint- and to the person who called me a "skank," well.... that's OK. I get it.
The point is, I started this blog to help others in the same situation try to avoid some of the mistakes I made, or at least to know how to deal with them and move forward into a more positive place. Yes, I know I made mistakes. I think it's each of our jobs to work on our own failings. A blog can never convey the hurt, pain, guilt, and penance an individual pays out. But let it be known, mistakes come at a cost. To you, and to the people you love. But I've never really been into judging others. I just wanted to try and help. Because making a mistake doesn't make you a horrible person for the rest of your life. You can start being different. You can start being better. Right now.
I wanted to do one final post to let readers know that I am no longer actively checking the comments on a regular basis. I will check in as I can, but the good news is that I rarely think about this anymore at all. My marriage is in a great place and I feel that I have moved past my affair for good.
For those of you looking for advice on what you can do- here are my basic steps that I think apply to most every situation I've read about in the comments over the years:
1. Stop all contact with your exAP. Immediately.
2. This means, whatever email account he/she has for you- delete it. Disable it. Make it vanish. Poof. Gone. Do not look back.
3. Whatever phone number that person has for you, change it.
4. Block the exAP on Facebook. Delete any other social media accounts you have that may tempt you to spy/stalk that person. Tell someone else if it helps you stick to the promise to not stalk that person online. The more time passes, the easier it will get to not try and keep tabs on them.
5. Even if you fail at the above, hold to the next rule steadfastly.....
6. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.... under any circumstances..... never contact your exAP again. Ever.
7. No, not even for that reason.
8. Really? You're still trying to argue you need to tell him/her about THAT? Why? Examine that question for at least as long as you were in the affair before you take any action.
9. If you feel you must reach out, write the letter you envision sending to YOURSELF. Let it sit one week. Read it again. Let it sit one month. Read it again. Let it sit six months. Read it again. I will bet you a lot of money your heart will change the longer you let it sit. It does not need to get sent. Get the words out, but don't send them.
10. If exAP contacts you, tell him/her that you plan to tell your husband/wife everything about the call and everything that they say. STICK TO THIS. They need to know you are no longer on the same "team."
10. Good luck- stay strong and get a good therapist. You can do this.
Sometimes listening to my iPod in the car one of the songs comes on. THE songs. They were more than just music. We traded them back and forth like messages in a bottle to one another in emotionally encoded mix CD's that meant something, but weren't supposed to mean something.... if asked, that is what you'd say, anyway. We had to be cool about our sordid affair. Nobody was supposed to really care about one another. Most of the time anymore I skip past these songs. I'm not there anymore. It's a chapter of my life I've largely closed. But sometimes I like to revisit these dogeared sections of the difficult past. There are times it really helps me relive the powerful AHA moment of realizing, I'm done with it. And I know why. And I've forgiven myself, and him, for everything. This is actually one I came across after the last contact. It wasn't something I ever gave to him... maybe that's why I'm still able to stomach it, and get something out of it. Hope you enjoy. Best line: "At the end of the year, when the cliffs rise up behind you, and the stream runs in circles, from the chasm to the core, and the sun comes in tears, cause the gardener did not find you, will you bloom bright and fierce? Will you know- you don't need him anymore?" -Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer Blooming bright and fierce.