Have you ever been sucker punched? And I mean, knocked-in-the-gut-so-hard-you-fall-to-your-knees, sucker punched? I have. But unexpectedly, not by fist or foot. It was by a text message. I received it from an unknown secretary stating she’d last “been with my husband” several months ago. I’m not a mental math whiz, but instantly, a breakneck-speed calculator registered my son would have been 10 weeks old at the time she stated. My knees buckled and the room’s oxygen vanished. I glanced up from my phone screen to see him turn white as a sheet. Meanwhile, my baby observing the soap-opera scene from a pleasantly-plopped position in the middle of a bed.
My world collapsed in the milliseconds it took a stranger’s thumb to press “send.”
This was my Discovery Day, or “D Day,” as they call it. They are as awful as you’d imagine in spite of everyone stating they can’t imagine it. The series of events are raw, and the memories not to be messed with. It is a day that is etched on your heart, mind, and soul. In a matter of moments, you’re forced to gulp a potent cocktail of betrayal, hurt, and humiliation and start to live with a constant emotional hangover. It’s accompanied by the all-too-familiar bleary eyes and a pounding headache--lasting months on end. I’ve heard others recount their experiences with similar heartbreaking language, “the rug was pulled out from underneath me,” “my world shattered,” “the earth crumbled beneath my feet.”
It’s hard to find your footing in the days and weeks following that D Day. Hell, it was hard to get out of bed to even put feet on the ground. But even early on, one thing seemed to ease the heaviness of processing my new realities. That was to share the story with family and close friends—so that I didn’t feel the full effects of loneliness, sadness, and anger enveloping me. I couldn’t have handled alone, it was too much.
Sharing the crazymaking experience of affair aftermath has helped unload the weight so that I didn’t lift the extra heavy betrayal bag by myself. Family, friends, support groups, and a therapist offer a critical listening ear and comfort. On many days, I still feel doubled-over and emotionally hungover. But I’ve committed, every day, that I will stand a bit straighter, and I’ll eventually get back upright after one of life’s biggest punches.