The Sting of Divorce: Surviving Infidelity

If there’s one thing I don’t want this blog to becomeit’s some sort of marker for that one person who “has it all, does it all, can be it all” without batting an eye or dropping a bead of sweat. Authenticity and transparency mean a lot to me, and if there is any one universal truth about what it means to be a working mom, it’s that no one’s journey is bullet proof and everyone has experienced some level of earth-shattering difficulty at some point in time. In truth, being a pro in the earth-shattering difficulty department, my usual MO is to curl up inside my own head, turn on the self-sufficient, multi-tasking, workaholic machine-mode and just phone it in for awhile, all with a dazzling smile of “all togetherness.” But this blog is about doing things differently and if I really mean to make my life as a working mom more manageable, it’s time to get real. With myself and with you. This working mom is going through a divorce. A life-demolishing, heart into a million pieces, room is spinning, oceans of tears, no oxygen, gut punch, gaping hole divorce. Surviving infidelity. That’s where I’m at.

Surviving Infidelity: The Sting of  Divorce

As someone who champions the true beauty of every woman, both on this blog and in my career as a pro photog, my own self-worth is presently in tiny pieces on the floor, littering my happy world of strength, ambition, clarity and drive. Realizing that surviving infidelity would be more of a war with myself than with my soon-to-be ex-husband (seriously, my stomach just dropped even typing those words – one of those “How is this happening?” moments), I find myself battling inner demons without ceasing and clinging to any semblance of normalcy.

View More: http://kbsimplephoto.pass.us/blevins

Instead of detailing the horrors of my recent married life, reliving those ugly minutes of discovery and the soul-shredding pain that comes with the awareness of intentionally brutal deceit, I’m working to table the “what ifs” and “whys” and instead focus on my recovery and the rebuilding of my family. Sparing you the juicy details of what happened, and totally owning my role in my life up to this point, it’s time to start fresh. #katystartsfresh

hurts

Here are the top 5 challenges I am facing this week as I define what surviving infidelity means for my new normal: 

  • Realizing I haven’t mowed a yard in over 10 years and grass grows very quickly.
  • Getting a grip on my finances and making sure bills don’t bounce and get properly transferred over.
  • Explaining to my toddler boys why Daddy isn’t home and explaining that he loves them with a smile on my face when they ask why he doesn’t want to live with them anymore.
  • Fearing that this divorce will somehow rip my stepdaughter from my home and her safe place.
  • Feeling resentful that alone time is at an absolute minimum, and I’m left to cope with my emotions quietly and internally for the sake of the children, instead of getting to be a bit selfish and wallow in bed for a few days.

helps

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week: 

  • I no longer feel stress when I enter my home. It feels peaceful, happy and mine.
  • I don’t spend all day questioning when I might hear from him and whether or not he’ll be nice to me today. I don’t have to walk on egg shells anymore.
  • My house is CLEAN. Me clean. New couches, new table, carpets cleaned, new pictures hung, new security system. It’s turning more me and my kids every day.
  • I already knew this, but have been humbled by the intensity of the love and support my friends and family have shown. Their selfless commitment to my survival has left me feeling very loved in a very unloving period of my life.
  • There’s a certain sense of accomplishment when I conquer small tasks. It feels good.

hopes

Here’s what I have learned so far in my very brief, very dark week and a few days change of newly-estranged, defined singleness. These 5 steps have started me down the path to surviving infidelity:

  • Cling to faith. I don’t imagine how anyone navigates this type of loss without the love of God to carry you.
  • Ask for help. I am forcing myself to ask for help EVERY. DAY. I cannot do this alone.
  • Accept love and support. Likewise I am forcing myself to ACCEPT love and really breathe in all of the positive words of encouragement I am receiving.
  • Fight the urge to hide. Dark Katy wants to hole up. Not an option.
  • Say thank you to your friends and family. They deserve my wholehearted thanks and it also continues to remind me that I am surrounded by a great support system.

The obvious theme here is to avoid isolation. My quiet thoughts are my most dangerous ones. They question my worth, my sanity, my past…they dream up nightmares, horrors and scenarios I don’t want to think about. I am forcing myself to go through this with everyone in my life for my own survival, which is in part why I am writing this blog post. So that you can see that this working mom is coping with a major loss and perceived failure among all of the professional success and ordered chaos. Sometimes things just don’t go right. Or in my case, they go blisteringly wrong in the most epic and painful of ways. Usually I’m blogging from a “If I can do this, so can you!” position.

Today, I’m blogging from a “If you can do this, so can I.” Thank you for motivating me to fight back and reclaim the life that I deserve.

View More: http://kbsimplephoto.pass.us/blevins

Comments

  1. April says

    Oh Katy, thank you for this. I hate that you are going through it, but I needed to read this today. I so admire your bravery and your strength and your openness.

  2. says

    Katy, you are one of the most beautiful and inspiring women I have ever met. I haven’t known you for very long but in that short time, on many occasions, you have shown just how strong you really are. I am a firm believer that every single person we meet comes into our lives for a very specific reason and I believe that the reason you came into my life was so that I could see what true determination and strength really looked like.
    I may not have known you long, but I am honored to call you my friend. You inspire people each and every day Katy and I hope you see just how truly amazing you are!
    You will get through this and we’ll be here for anything you may need :)

  3. Margie says

    Katy I am so in love with your commitment to transparency. It is a mission of my own to remove this culture of “mommy judgement” that the pictures on Facebook and pins on Pintrest have created. I have no reference to your world right now and this unbearable struggle, but I can’t begin to describe the importance of us mothers sharing that THIS job, motherhood, is nt all adorable repurposed crafts, homemade toddler muffins, and perfectly styled family photos on fresh fallen leaves. MOTHERHOOD is a constantly struggle of selfless days, focusing on building another humans sense of safety and loving them each day the best we know how, hoping each day begins and ends with a healthy baby who feels loved. Anything else that happens within that day, a cute iPhone pic snapped, a new skill discovered, a successful run To the pediatrician or grocery store, should be celebrated. We shouldn’t praise ourselves for impressing each other with the cutest birthday party themes, handmade valentines day school treats….our goal as Mommy’s should be to create respectful, loving, kind, and happy children. I order to do that we must take care of ourselves and lead by example first and for most. I hope and will continue to pray that you surround yourself with those are are focused on your same intentions, goals, prayers and eliminate all others who bring less to your life. Keep praying and loving those kiddos Mama and let God take care of the rest.

    • says

      Margie, I appreciate such a heart-filled response and agree with you on every level! Releasing my misconceptions of what it means to be a “good mother,” and focusing on the value I can bring to others and myself by giving love, time and quality energy to my family has been a huge learning lesson that the world’s standards are really no standards at all.

  4. says

    I am so sorry Katy! My brother just got divorced due to infidelity… but on his part. I am so sorry you have to go through this and the pain you must feel. Hugs and prayers my friend!

  5. says

    Katy, I appreciate your honesty so much. I think people appreciate knowing the lives we read about online aren’t picture perfect. And while the reason why I’m a single mom is different, you still hit on some great points that I can relate to, especially the last 5 things that you’ve learned so far. The fact that you are realizing those already might help this transition a little. And I’d just like to add something I’ve learned in my journey… You mentioned saying thank you to friends and family for all of their support… I’ve had to learn to apologize. It may not be the case for you, but sometimes it all gets to me and my emotions run high, and I will say, do, or project a certain attitude towards those who are supporting me that I really didn’t mean. And I feel horrible for hurting the people who are helping me most. And while words can’t be unsaid, apologizing has helped both them and me understand where each other is coming from. Thanks again for your transparency. Thinking of you!

    • says

      You are so right Sarah. I definitely find myself apologizing when my patience runs thin, my emotions are raw, and I take everything personally. A lot of prayer and constant self-awareness have helped me to think before I speak…MOST days. Ha.

  6. says

    Beautifully written & honestly open! Life is hard sometimes & your transparency is a breath of fresh air! I am praying for you to know and feel your worth in Jesus through all this & that you can rest in Him!

  7. says

    I am so sorry to hear you are going through this! I will be praying for you and your family. Life is difficult sometimes and we all go through things… many people try to pretend everything is perfect but there is always more to the story. Thank you for sharing…

  8. says

    Dear Katy…my first born and one of the strongest women I have ever known and an inspiration to your mom. How my heart just weeps for what you are going through…and how my soul just soars with pride for the dignity and courage you are showing while you forge ahead. Dealing with betrayal is one of life’s hardest lessons. It is hard for the entire family…we all believed in a person who did not deserve that kind of trust and loyalty. The best way to heal is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and help others with being authentic…the world does not need more superficial examples of the “perfect woman.” She does not exist. The world needs your kind of honesty and strength and all one has to do is read the comments to see the impact that your being opaque in your pain is doing for those around you. You are surrounded by love from all sides. I have always been proud of you, but never more so than I am right at this moment. May you continue to be blessed beyond measure as you walk this journey and always remember that your mom is right there to help in any way I can…although, I think I am more there to watch and learn what it means to be a resilient woman of grace.

  9. says

    katy- you are such a strong woman. I am looking forward to watching you grow into this fresh Katy! I can’t imagine what you are going through, but being strong enough to talk about is amazing, you are helping more people than you will ever know! I’ll be praying for you!

  10. says

    I’m going through this exact thing right now. I have the same issues within myself right now. I hate that you are going through this bit i appreciate that im not alone. God bless!

  11. says

    Katy,

    I am so sorry to hear this news. While I haven’t gone through a divorce myself, both of my parents divorced twice. Divorce is an incredibly difficult and painful time. I am so sorry, friend. Thank you for sharing your story here…such honesty. I know that it’s post like these are why you have such a loyal following, and I know sharing your story will help so many people. Thinking of you.

    Lauren

  12. says

    Wow – I know what a difficult transition it can be – especially with young kids. There are tons and tons of resources available though. I won’t plug them here – but if you need some advice on where you can turn, please feel free to email me.

  13. says

    This post was a reminder of where I was a few years ago. My ex-husband (trust me, it will feel SO good in the future to say that!) had an affair and chose the other woman over his family. 9 months of him not coming home, treating me worse than dirt, and of him denying that anything was happening at all. Unfortunately, the other woman was pregnant and the whole thing turned into an embarrassing episode of the Jerry Springer Show. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever been through, and now, 2.5 years later I am still hurt in ways. It’s a very long process and when you’re down in it, the end is impossible to see.

    But I’m writing this to tell you, from someone who has actually been there- it does get better. Not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually IT DOES GET BETTER. You will heal and grow into your own person. You’ll learn so much about yourself as a woman, as a mother… Lean on God and know that He has a reason for doing this. And know that you deserve better and that He didn’t design marriage to be that way. Your husband is supposed to love and cherish you, not drag your vows in the mud. It’s heartbreaking (as if there’s a word strong enough, I know), but eventually a peace will come.

    I don’t ‘know’ you in person, but I read your blog and I’m here if you ever need to talk. Much love, many blessings, and a hug to you. YOU CAN DO THIS!

  14. Kelly Henry says

    Katy,

    In so sorry you are going through this awful situation, but I’m so happy that you are trusting The Lord to carry you through it! You are a beautiful person inside AND out! When we worked together, I often envied your uniqueness, your driven and fun spirit, and most of all your outlook on life. YOU GOT THIS! ;) You could have worded this blog to bash your ex husband, yet you took the high road (most importantly, you took the Christian road), and gave just enough details to make your point.

    You were a beautiful and wise person when I knew you, but you have since grown on so many levels that it gives me such hope that I can too! I am always “shorting” myself in various ways, but when I read your encouraging blogs now and then I am inspired and filled with hope. Thank you Katy, and keep on keepin’ on! ;) Love you girl!

  15. says

    What awesome strength you have not just in writing this for the world to see, but in honestly putting one foot in front of the other abd not retreating. I know that kind of strength and I applaud you for it.

    I’m sorry this type of devastation has hit you…know that life will be better after awhile because you’ll get through this and be ever stronger.

    :mama hugs: to you :)

  16. says

    Katy,
    I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. I know how difficult and how painful divorce can be and I appreciate your honesty in wanting to share your story with us. Although infidelity wasn’t the primary reason for my divorce, it had happened during my first marriage, so I know what must be going through your head at the moment. Stay strong, my friend and if you ever need an impartial someone to hear you vent, rage or scream my shoulders are wide enough.

  17. says

    Hugs and support to you! !8 years ago, this was me…and all of these many years later, I am happily 12 years into my second marriage and we have been together for 17. Now the only important thing to remember is that everything is all about the children. Keep that positive outlook, a smile, and definitely hold strong to your faith for it will see you through!

  18. says

    I’m very sorry you’re having to experience this. I was in the same spot you are in today 14 years ago. Your post brought back some very painful memories. It sounds like you have a good grasp on what you “should” do, and “should” feel, but making those “shoulds” a reality is not that easy. You put on an act for the world and for the kids, but inside your head it’s a dangerous place.

    Time is the only thing that makes it better. And, it WILL get better. I didn’t think it would get better at the time, and I didn’t think that anyone would every love me again. After all, if my husband of 15 years could drop me like that, why would anyone else ever want to be with me? But, they did. I’ve been happily re-married for going on 12 years. My kids and I have been able to experience a life that never would have been if things hadn’t happened the way they did. Sometimes good can come from situations that seem hopeless. Hang in there, and keep blogging!

  19. says

    What a real and touching post. Thanks for sharing and thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  20. says

    What an absolutely beautiful post. While what has happened isn’t beautiful, you being open and honest with us, your readers, is.

    I am so very sorry that you are going through this. I want you to find peace and happiness in this very dark time and sharing your story seems to be sending you in that direction.

    Once again, thank you for sharing your story with us. IMO – this is what blogging is all about, the raw honesty from one human being to another.

  21. says

    Katy, I so admire your bravery and vulnerability. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now and everything I think of to say sounds trite, but I know you will do this just as you do all things: with intensity, bravery, and a determination that pulls you through the dark. I admire those things about you. Hugs.

  22. says

    Katy I admire how open you are and have always been with your readers. That is something that doesn’t always come easy, or without a price. I am so sorry you are going through this, but you are very strong and very motivated to keep you and your family happy and healthy!

  23. LKM says

    I stumbled across this post on Pinterest and can only say it hit every point I am feeling. We finalized yesterday and the same things you wrote here are exactly what I am feeling.

    • says

      LKM, I can’t say how timely your comment was! I’ve had a particularly rough day and am just about to sign and get things finalized myself. I’m there with you in spirit, friend! I’m glad you found comfort in my post and please know I’m here anytime you need support and you’re not alone. Be sure to check out the Modern Femme Movement. You might find a home there with the working mamas I love and am supported by. It’s a truly special place – https://www.facebook.com/groups/chaosandkiddos/

  24. Kara says

    Oh my goodness, I so needed this tonight. I found you from pinterest. I have two little ones, 6 & 2 and I’m going through a messy divorce because of infidelity! Thank you for your openness, it helps me feel like I’m not alone!

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear you are going through a rough time. I’m glad this post brought you some encouragement and yes, please always remember, you are not alone in this! I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you will survive this and your children will continue to thrive. Please check out the Modern Femme Movement (http://www.modernfemme.com). I know you have a lot going on right now, but if it’s in any way possible, I would love to see you at our upcoming May convention. You’d be surrounded by 900 other women that will support you and celebrate you as you move forward to establish your new normal. XOXO

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