40: Reflections at 100 Days

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

48

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I’ve been counting up from discovery day. 100 days today.

Today I start counting down to April 22. Forty-eight days and counting down. So much unforeseeable change in the last 100 days, much of it positive. I’m excited to see the change in the next 48.

I said I’d stand-by for five to seven months. I haven’t done it perfectly but I’m not rushing out to change jobs, places where I live, relationships, interests, or friends. I’m focusing on the good and not letting the shame of my ugly set fire to my entire life.

On Hindsight

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Twitter: If you could do it over again would you still have the relationship with K?

Me (edited for clarity): Knowing what I know now? No. But I probably wouldn’t have had a relationship with C either.

At exactly 100 days, I realized I need and want someone willing to sit at the table and talk with me…even when it’s ugly. Especially when it’s ugly. Whether my ugly or theirs.

I need and want someone that isn’t going to panic and run, or if they do, can come back and reason it out. Someone willing to communicate and make time to be thoughtful. I’ll add, just because we talk doesn’t mean we stay together but after 7 years a cooling off period would have been mature.

The irony of my wanting maturity isn’t lost on me. However, for this immaturity, I was adulting in a hundred other ways. One-hundred days has given me a perspective not just on the ugly, but also the good and bad.

This is the difference between the good and great partnerships. Great partnerships don’t fear or ignore the ugly because they recognize everyone has ugly. That is why it is called ugly.

Unfortunately, my ugly brought our her ugly.

Perhaps that is why I worked so hard to keep the secret. My fears of vulnerability and loss made me hide my ugly.

Twitter: What would you say to C today if she were talking to her?

Me (edited for clarity): Love me and stay. Love me and end it. There is no wrong or right answer. The decision is 100% yours. I’ll respect you and the decision. Regardless of your decision, these are the things I’m doing.

If you let me stay what would you need and want?

Let’s try this for 90 days and identify the benchmarks based on what you need and want.

Secrets

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I’m glad the secret is out.

Lies and secrets are debilitating, warping perceptions of self. The reveal freed me from my ugly. K got closure. C got what I think was justification for ending the relationship.

Only C knows the truth but I only have hindsight.

The issue, of course, is secrets are like a disease.

No one touched by my lies and betrayal will be the same. We will weave out of it what we make of it. For me, that isn’t really a bad thing. I needed help and K unwittingly provided it. But now C is warped by the weight of the secret. A secret is a disease of perception.

My secret warped my perception of myself. It warped K.

Now it warps C and our history together.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

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It’s easy to love someone when it is good. You have dance nights, travel together, share adventures, and have great sex. It is easy to love someone when you feel like the cutest couple at summer camp.

It’s hard to love someone when it is bad. Tight finances, work problems, household chores, the stress of parenting, and living with the long shadows cast by other relationships make it hard. Essentially the trudging of life can make things hard and seem bad.

How does the good and bad weigh against each other?

However, when it is ugly?

Alcoholism, bankruptcies, infidelities, and sickness often bring out the ugly in people and relationships. However, properly leveraged it can bring out the beautiful too. I’ve seen repeatedly in my life that couples and individuals that strive to own the ugly blossom into the kind of people I admire.

When it is ugly it is important to love each other. Even if you have to leave them.

Choices

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I’ve learned a lot about how people respond to betrayal and secret keeping.

Here is the bottom line: Love and stay. Love and leave. There is no wrong answer.

Regardless, love yourself.