I'll be honest, when the first reports that the group that hacked Ashley Madison did, in fact, release the user data, I was downright giddy. Having watched my own marriage fall victim to the site and it's purpose (though, honestly, it would have fallen sooner or later as obviously things were not as fixed as I believed and no website or lack thereof was going to replace the work needed from both parties) I felt slightly vindicated all these years later.
And for the record, yes, I checked for his email. It's there. So I'll suppose his payment information is as well and ... it's really not my problem anymore, now is it?
Anyway, so for about a full day, I was as self-righteous as ever as reports of minor reality stars and other creeps were revealed and I could nod my head knowingly and give thinly-veiled comments and responses on my friend's Facebook walls and so on.
But the next morning, I saw a marked increase in self-help-like articles not directly about the data breech, but more about things such as how to handle being cheated on, how to survive a sudden break-up, when do you know it's time to get a divorce, etc.
And my heart sank into my stomach as I realized I was being triggered not only by my own memories of discovering an affair twice over, but by the realization that the world over, so many women's hearts and lives were being shattered to bits, the rugs pulled out from under them so suddenly, their dreams obliterated with little to no warning.
Then the messages came. The emails, the texts, other private notifications from people wanting me to tell them what to do, now. Because I talk so publicly about being cheated on in my marriage, and now about being the third person in someone else's marriage, I must look safe. My smugness must have come across as confidence and now, there are real faces with heartbreaking questions looking to me for guidance, the ones brave enough to speak, at least.
But what about the ones who don't feel that brave? Or the ones who feel they have no one to talk to?
I was lucky, forever ago, to find women going though the same things. Not everyone is or will be as lucky.
And in talking with someone of those women, who are the fiercest #squadgoals you could ever aspire to, we realized that we all had things we wish we could say to our former selves, to help us through the moment. We all had the advice that was handed to us by someone who had walked the path before, told in hushed whispers behind closed doors, that we wanted to impart upon the thousands of women now treading that same path behind us.
We all never wanted anyone to feel as alone as we did.
And so, I decided to start a vlog series on, essentially, surviving infidelity from a real, gritty point of view -- and doing so without losing your sanity. At least as much as possible.
And here's the beginning of that.
There are three more videos over on the YouTube page, with a couple more in the pipe when I can get to them. I know it's not uber professional looking, but the point isn't how shiny it is. It's about helping people facing some tremendous and terrifying circumstances to do so with some grace if at all possible.
I don't have a schedule yet on how often I'll be able to post, but hopefully pretty regularly. In the meantime -- I don't usually ask for shares and likes on things, but if there's anything I know, it's that for every singular person who speaks out, there are five more suffering silently due to shame, fear, lack of resources, what have you.
So if you are willing, please share the videos or this post where you think it might do the most good. And please, keep sending people my way -- I'm always up for answering questions, talking more specifically about certain topics, and virtual hand-holding. Just remember I'm not legal or psychological counsel -- just another lady who's seen both sides of this coin and lived to tell about it and hopefully help others limp through it slightly less damaged.
We'll all make it through this. It's just easier when we can do it together.