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fzald

I discovered my departed GF might have been unfaithful...

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KayC
16 hours ago, fzald said:

Prior to now, I'd "accepted" that she was gone

You accepted it to the extent that you had grieved, but now that you are grieving even more in depth, you are feeling it all the more.  Before you had round one, now you are experiencing round two, even fuller.  But this is not a waste, as we must allow ourselves to feel our grief in order to process it...it is my guess that you had processed to a point, but now are processing it even more.  It won't always be these keenly acute of pain, but needs must be to feel this to get through it.  And you are also experiencing the comfort with it, the closeness to her...that closeness can be carried throughout our lives even as we learn a different way of relating with them.

https://whatsyourgrief.com/changing-your-relationship-with-grief/

https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-concept-care-continuing-bonds/

https://blog.aftertalk.com/2176-2/

 

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fzald

Continuing bonds speaks loud and clear to me. I believe that I was actually practicing that theory up until this point. I think it was a little extreme of our friend to say that "all I ever do is talk about her", at least prior to this week. Sure, I mentioned her from time to time. Sure, I remembered both good and bad things. I would still feel a little pang of sadness driving by her old house, or eating at our favorite restaurants. I would occasionally shed a tear hearing a song she loved. But it was not all-consuming grief. It was something I had learned to live with, to accept as my new reality, and adjust to. I know I will never forget her, and I had learned how to live with her in my heart.

This week, however, a lot of that recovery was shattered with one single comment on the Internet. Yes, her existence and her spirit are intertwined with mine. She is part of me. So, anyone attacking her character in such a way is going to also attack me. Yes, my friend is right, I've been shaken to quite a degree over this situation. 

But maybe what this means is that my relationship with her is actually strengthening, becoming even stronger, even though she's gone. I feel like this accusation was a test of my love for her. Even though the other guy most likely just lied about it, that doesn't change the circumstance - that it shook the very foundation of the grief healing I'd done and the love I still carry for her.

And since then, I've been focusing on reinforcing and reassuring myself of that love. The more the "facts" pour in, the easier this becomes to do. My other friend who knows this other guy somewhat said he has been known to be a heavy drug user in the past and still is a heavy marijuana user and drinker (so he may have just been high and off his rocker when making that comment in the first place), and indeed at one point had claimed to be an active illicit drug dealer and user back in 2016 - I know for a fact my GF would never want to be involved with someone like that. 

The more I resolve myself to the fact that this did not happen and that it was a lie, the more I find myself grieving our relationship again. Because believing it's not true also means believing in the love she had for me, and with the thought of that love now once again so close to the forefront of my thoughts, it's brought back all the hurt and pain of her loss. But through it all, it could just be argued that it's a manifestation of the depth of the love I had for her, the idea that she can still affect me this much is not a bad thing, but yet a testament to the intensity and fullness of my love for her and our relationship. And I'm discovering a new depth of our love that I hadn't previously dove into.

And yet at the same time, our friend is right - she would not want me suffering. She wouldn't want me oversleeping and struggling to eat and all of those horrible things that happen during grieving, like now. Last night, I wrote to her for the first time in a couple years. I cried quite heavy, and I asked her to forgive me. In my letter, I promise her that I don't believe this accusation, that I love her and continue to love her more than life itself, and that I need her strength and forgiveness as I forge through another round of grief. 

 

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KayC
2 hours ago, fzald said:

I think it was a little extreme of our friend to say that "all I ever do is talk about her"

That is insensitive and downright uncouth for your friend to say!  When they have walked in your shoes, then they can share their opinion, not until.  I'm sorry.

2 hours ago, fzald said:

I've been focusing on reinforcing and reassuring myself of that love.

Good.  I went through similar tests although not to the extent you are, and made the choice to believe based on all I knew to be true about George and our relationship.  I haven't doubted since.  I know what we had/have.  Excuse my back and forth in past/present tense, sometimes it seems both.

 

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fzald
5 hours ago, KayC said:

That is insensitive and downright uncouth for your friend to say!  When they have walked in your shoes, then they can share their opinion, not until.  I'm sorry.

I agree, but I'm willing to be a little forgiving on this one because I think my friend otherwise had good points. The overarching point of his "monologue" is that she loved me and that me questioning it shouldn't be necessary. 

But regardless of the truth, I know I can forgive her. I feel this more and more every day. If it did happen, I can forgive it. If it didn't happen, I can still forgive her death and her leaving me behind. 

But the saddest thing is that it's actually made my love for her ever stronger and ever more deep. And this only makes me miss her and wish she was still here all the more. The knowledge that even this sort of threat wouldn't have had to break us up or destroy us is even more reason to miss her and wish so abdly she hadn't left.

I can forgive her for having to leave. I can even forgive any unproven misdeeds. But I can't be happy with it. Not right now. I was "happier" before, but I can't be happy now. I miss her more than I've ever missed her, possibly even more than I did when she first died. The realization that a love you once shared was and is as strong as the love I had for her is bittersweet. I think I always knew it, but this week, I feel it more than ever. Just as how falling astray can ultimately strengthen a relationship in life, so can it in death. As Carrie Underwood once sang: "When you figure out love is all that matters after all, it sure make everything else seem so small." This is how I feel tonight.

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KayC

I like that you are working through all this.  I know it's been tough, but you are doing it.
And as for being happy...I have not had the kind of happiness I had with George, yet I've had moments of happiness and have learned to embrace them and appreciate them for what they are.  My sweet beautiful dog, Arlie, brought me joy, but now even that has evaporated...I can look back and remember it, but it went with him into his grave.

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fzald

It's different today. Worse in a way. But definitely different.

Through the past week, I've done almost nothing but remember her, think of the good times, look at photos, videos, etc. of us together. These things were bringing me a strange sort of temporary comfort. From the outside, it feels like what happened was that the foundation of my love and relationship with her was threatened by that guy's comment, and so I reassured myself of our love, not just from my own memories, but also from those "memories" that are preserved in tangible form. Proof of the time we had together. When I would feel sadness, which was much of the time this week, I'd look at something. I even had some items "set aside" since they were particularly good memories of our time in this world together. Text conversations in which we discuss our future plans. Some of the last pictures we have of us. And especially, conversations from around the time that this alleged encounter occurred, in which it is quite evident she is still looking at me as her partner. Looking at these things brought me comfort. I would lay back on the couch and play a video, and just listen, even closing my eyes and hearing our voices together.

But today, I don't think I can do that anymore. I now have a different feeling. Even the thought of looking at our photos or memories is gut-wrenching. This morning is the first morning I didn't wake up by looking at something of us together. It's almost like those memories have become a minefield. Opening the box (or more like the folder on the computer) feels dangerous, as if it's going to explode in my face somehow. Maybe figuratively this is exactly what it is, that the emotions will explode. I don't know if this means I'm starting to go into a protective mode, where my brain can't handle any more of this deep emotion?

I definitely am still thinking of her every moment I'm awake. But in a way it's even harder now. I don't even know if it means maybe I'm having new doubts, or if it just means I'm emotionally drained, or what it means. The thought of her possibly having cheated still throws a huge pang of pain into my stomach, but that does seem to be happening less often. But I also feel exhausted. I'm at work and trying to focus and having trouble. I'm having to make up excuses as to why I seem lethargic or slow. Most people just won't ever be able to understand how you still can deeply grieve the loss of something you lost three years ago. There absolutely is an attitude of "time to move on", and up until last week I appeared to be doing just that to those around me. Now, for the first time, true grief has gripped me yet again, over the same person, and nobody truly understands other than my closest friends and family and the folks on this board.

And yet, maybe there still is a nagging doubt somewhere in me, that wants to say "if she was unfaithful, who cares if she doesn't want me to suffer...by being unfaithful she would have caused me to suffer, so what difference does it make now?" Maybe part of me is angry that if it happened I can't confront her, that I can't express the anger to her in a way she'd perceive, and often expressing that anger is the first step towards forgiveness and acceptance. I can't even express the anger now because I don't know if it happened and there's lots of signs to say it didn't.

I want to find strength again. I had it. I knew I had moved forward, and the thought of her helped me do it. I don't know what I'm doing anymore.

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