Discovery Day. Destruction Day. Devastation day. I’ve heard it called a lot of things but in short D-Day is the day that the affair comes out in to the open. It can be the first day you find out about the affair for certain, it can also be days when things that you don’t know also come to light. I think that’s why discovery seems most appropriate for me but I think for many it doesn’t sum up the absolute world shattering qualities it has. I’ll start by saying we have a whole load of resources on discovery day right here.
Our Discovery Day….or at least the first one.
I’m not going to go over all our discovery days. There were four, possibly five, in total and reliving them is not fun but you can read our stories here from my point of view and here from my husbands. I’ll talk about that first discovery day though because it’s important.
We knew our marriage was in difficulty. We had both acknowledged that before this point, many months before in fact. He was placing a lot of the blame on me for that and I was running uphill trying to fix it. Obviously nothing was working. I genuinely had no idea why and blamed myself a lot. Looking back our relationship difficulties, repeated messages and texting late at night, there were red flags all along.
Red Flags Lead to an Implosion…and Discovery Day
The morning of discovery day we had been for a romantic walk, our son was away so we had a leisurely lunch. We had not long been home when discovery day started.
I found out because of a text from my sons football coach. I read it on my husbands phone whilst he was on the toilet. He had left his phone downstairs and unlocked which was very unusual for him. I still wonder sometimes if it was semi deliberate. Like he wanted to get caught so it would be out there. I will let him ponder that in his post though.
As I backed out of the coaches post I realised there were no messages from the aforementioned woman. Not a single one. Nothing. Suddenly those distant alarm bells were ringing so hard I couldn’t hear anything else.
I backed out of Whatsapp and looked in his phone. Saw an app called Viber which was clearly a messaging app. I saw 4 messages between them. Only 4 because Viber deletes messages automatically. Two of those messages were him saying I love you, and her saying it in return. Two of them were him telling her he couldn’t stop thinking about her (whilst he was with me) and her telling him he wishes he could map her body.
At that point, after reading it about five times and it really sinking in that he was cheating on me, I realised I couldn’t breathe at all. I experienced my first panic attack. He could hear me struggling to breathe. I just asked him to read me the last four messages between her and him. He refused. Said I obviously knew they said. He told me lies. Lies about what the texts were about. He told me lies about the length of the relationship. I called him on it all. It was bullshit.
I ran from the house, I vomited in the street. Texted him that I hated him and he was full of shit. I told him he could tell me face to face what he had done. In that time he texted her that his marriage was over so he didn’t “have to worry about it anymore” and she asked “why was she looking?”. Compassion and human behaviour all round eh? He’s disgusted with himself now looking back at himself, I’ll let him talk about that too. I should mention if you haven’t read the posts on Limerance here and here then you probably should if any of this seems familiar.
Five Tips on How to Survive Discovery Day & Beyond.
Breathe. Just breath. That’s all you HAVE to do. You are going to be processing a MASSIVE amount. Remember everything you thought was true about your partner is suddenly not. Even if you suspected, having it confirmed is just as hard. What you thought was reality, is not. Life has shifted a significant amount and you’re not experiencing trauma.
This is where SUPER self care comes in. You have to look after yourself so carefully. It’s really only those basics that matter. The absolute basics. Instead of that rushed shower you normally have, take a long bath. Instead of the microwave dinner, think about making yourself something fresh. It’ll take effort that you’re not sure you have but it will be worth it.
I did discovery day and the aftermath all wrong
I didn’t eat properly for about three months. Lost 20lbs. I felt sick when I ate. It was awful. I didn’t want to care for myself because I was so consumed with hurt and anger, but I should have done. Would have made it easier. It would have found me some time to really focus on myself rather than my cheating husband. Thats what I should have done and I never did. I wish I had.
I wish I had painted my nails.
Had my hair cut.
Gone to the gym.
I wish I had thought about me. Really things started getting better for me when I started detaching from him for a bit. Instead of obsessing about him I started caring about me. It took a while to get me there, you can get there quicker. FOCUS ON YOU. CARE FOR YOU (and your kids if you have them, but they can cope with the basics too).
You will find yourself asking a lot of questions and this is where it’s vitally important for your partner to be answering them. You are trying to find the new real. As your previous world feels like it’s been shattered (it hasn’t it’s just different to what it thought it was and it’ll come back), you have to build your new reality and you need to know whats real to do that.
Disclosure is very very important as soon as possible after discovery day.
If your partner, the unfaithful spouse, needs to read something to help them understand why disclosure is important I would like to suggest they head to my husbands post on the subject here. Life is difficult. It’s so so difficult at this point in your recovery. You’ll find it hard to get up some days and it’s ok to wallow a bit, just don’t unpack and live there. See step one.
Do not make decisions. Outside of which ice cream you want or whether or not to shower today (do it water helps a lot).
You are impaired right now. Traumatised. Your world is upside down and that is no time to make any kind of decision. No one will be damaged if you don’t make a decision immediately. Take your time. Most guides say 6 to 12 months before you know really what you want. With some serious hard work, I was able to commit back to our marriage at the 7 month marker. I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t ready to make the decision until then.
Decisions which change your life shouldn’t be made a) in haste 2) in anger and iii) through tears.
Discovery day will change your brain.
It will change how you look at your relationship, your world, it will make you question everything you believed about your life. Now is not the time to make life changing decisions. Now is the time to simply care for yourself. That’s important.
Set some boundaries.
Not just about your relationship but about how you talk about the affair.
I wrote before about boundaries (here) for exit planning, I made an exit plan which I didn’t want to use, but that I needed. I needed to set boundaries in my relationship because I hadn’t before, it was actually part of our problem. Setting boundaries around his infidelity helped me heal a great deal. He knew where he stood and I knew what I was willing to tolerate. I knew where my limits were. It was incredible and empowering to know that.
Discovery day sparks a very active mind
More importantly, in those early weeks, your mind will be completely consumed with the what and the why. You’ll have so so many questions. Disclosure is a vital part of the process. Amazingly important. You can read all about disclosure in my husbands post here, and his upcoming post is about how the betrayed can help with that. I’ve talked about marathoning here and how to set boundaries about time out and not having long and unproductive conversations about the affair.
Conversations about the affair are the most important healing point and it’s important that BOTH parties get it right. Unfaithful need to answer fully and honestly. Transparency is now the only way forward.
Make the affair partner irrelevant to your life. The quicker you do this, from both unfaithful and betrayed point of view, the more able you are to focus on your marriage.
The affair partner, is irrelevant. They should be no longer part of the situation or the discussion. NOT better than you. Definitely NOT more special. They are NOT the thing you have to deal with. It’s a well documented thing that often people affair “down”. They find someone that matches their own poor self esteem. The affair partners are often eager to please, easy targets for esteem boosts, and easy validation. They are as empty as the affair. I suggest if you’re struggling with this you read the posts here and here on Limerance.
Start erasing them from your consciousness. Deal with yourself. Your children. Your partner. Don’t concern yourself with them. When thoughts of them enter your head, ask questions, but don’t let them unseat you. Don’t let them undermine you. They are not important.
Try not to contact the affair partner.
I did. It was not pretty. Not the right thing to do. Prolonged the agony. I told her husband too. It came back to bite me down the line too.
She is a cunt. In our case he did affair down. Most definitely. But I didn’t let her go easily. She made me angry. Continues to actually. Plays the victim. Cries on cue. Stupid. Vapid. Bitch. BUT. I barely think about her anymore. And I feel free for it.
Leave the affair partner behind.