living a well tended life... at any age

a matter of trust

Eight years ago today, two became one.

Or, more accurately, four became one.

wedding day, 2004

My first marriage ended in December of 2000,  the result of a devastating and unexpected infidelity that rocked the very core of my being. By then I was underweight, in compromised health and using every ounce of strength I had to take care of my children and home as best as I could.

As you can well imagine, dating was not high on my list of priorities at the time, but my family and friends had other ideas. I was resistant at first, but having suffered the pain and humiliation of my ex-husband’s affair, the idea of getting dressed up and going out for a pleasant dinner actually sounded kind of nice (is that strange?).

The challenges of  dating were not small, as I was still trying to balance the emotional wreckage I was feeling on the inside with the façade I was intent on presenting to the rest of the world. But I was determined, and it paid off. No matter what the cause or circumstance, when your trust is betrayed, you can’t help but feel in some way like “damaged goods”. So it was gratifying to get affirmation – through a compliment, flowers or a home-cooked dinner. And it did a LOT to help me in the process of rebuilding my self.

When I met Mike I knew right away that he was special. Different from the others. And he felt the same. Although he had never been married – and didn’t even know if he wanted children – he wanted to meet me as much as I wanted to meet him, and we were committed to one another right from the start.

And the question I got asked more than any other – and still  get asked even today – was, “How were you able to trust again”? Which is a reasonable question. My ex’s betrayal was so ugly, so horrible, that one could rightly assume that I would be a Fort Knox of trust and emotions.

To be honest, I was so thoroughly eviscerated at first that I didn’t even think about trust, or future relationships, or anything more than just getting through each day. I was able to “put on a happy face” and get out there, but I wasn’t thinking about how what happened to me might impact future relationships. I think if I did, I probably would have never left the house again.

But when things got serious with Mike, I had to give it some thought. How WAS I able to be so present in a relationhip so quickly, and so soon after what had happened? And how COULD I ever trust again? And I realized a few very important things:

First, I had actually been experiencing the aftermath of the end of my marriage during the last 9 months that I was still in it. I watched my husband turn into a lying, hurtful and emotionally absent stranger, which was pretty much the most devastating thing I had ever experienced. When I discovered that he was cheating,  my heart and soul were totally leveled.

So by the time my marriage officially “ended”, I felt like I had done my grieving and was ready to move forward, toward finding happiness.

I also felt a tremendous obligation to my children. For Conor, this meant breaking the cycle of infidelity amongst the men in his family. If I could not actually prevent him from cheating I would, at  least, do everything I could to make sure that he knew how unacceptable it was. And that I would never condone it, or look the other way.

For Chelsea it was a little different – and led to my most important revelation. My daughter was watching me, looking to me – for clues, for signs, for wisdom. I was compelled to make sure that she would grow into a woman who could trust others, as well as her own instincts.

So I explained to her – as I was discovering this very truth for myself – that trust was not something that someone gave to you, or could take away. That your trust was a gift for YOU to give. And this subtle shift in thinking changed my entire view of my future. It made me feel calm, empowered, in control. Not because I felt impervious to it happening again. But the fact that I knew that it COULD was truly liberating. It allowed me to be open to future relationships, and to trust myself first and foremost.

Which is just where Mike comes in. Mike is probably one of the most ethical, honorable men – people – I have ever met. He immediately instilled in me the sense that “doing the right thing” was not just a cliché, but a way of living his life. And he has proven that every day that we have been together. Our marriage has been through many trials and crises, but he has never faltered, never blamed, never walked away. He has stepped up – and continues to step up – for me, my children, and now for our little Noah.

Of course I didn’t know that this is how things would work out when we first met. But at some point I simply decided to trust him. That he would be there for us. And if, for some reason, it turned out that I was wrong,  it wouldn’t be the same as last time. Because just the knowing that it COULD happen again was the very reason that I could be open to giving that trust away. And I’m grateful every single day that I did.

Happy anniversary Mike – you truly saved my life.

But only after I saved it first.

florida, 2011

I love you.

24 Comments

  1. Leslie on May 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Happy Anniversary and what a beautiful story. I’m sorry for the pain you went through to get to this place, but am so happy that you made it there. Mike sounds like a wonderful man.



  2. Elizabeth on May 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

    What a wonderful, heartfelt post. I am so glad you shared your story. Wishing you, and Mike, a very happy anniversary.



  3. Caroline on May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I loved this so much and cried when I read it.

    I tried to comment earlier, but I don’t think it went through (my Family Protection thingie on my computer is all out of whack and it keeps blocking random pages)

    Anyway, here goes again–I could relate with SO much of what you say here (I too am on my 2nd marriage–the only differing details are that we did not have children. I’ve often thought how I would have handled that had we. I have so much admiration for you AND I am so happy YOU are happy. Sounds like you both found a great catch! Happy Anniv



  4. Sarah on May 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    You are so amazing, Sheri. Thanks for sharing your story. Your point about trust being something YOU are in control of… i can’t tell you how that resonates with me. Thanks again, and Happy Anniversary! ; )



  5. jodi on May 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Seriously, Sheri, this is my favorite post of yours!



  6. Kate on May 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    This is the most honest, raw thing I have read in a LONG time. It brought tears to my eyes. Sheri, you are such a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing – you made your pain seem so real to me, so no doubt it still stings for you too, even though it was 8 years ago. Your kids (and Mike) are lucky to have someone who is so thoughtful about trust.



  7. Caroline on May 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Sher! Please feel free to delete my duplicate comments–I am trying to post them but I’m having trouble.

    It was important for me to comment and for me to tell you–I LOVED this and it brought me to tears.
    I too am on my 2nd marriage and although we didn’t have kids, it was devastating for me. I’ve often thought about how I would have approached the subject with our children had we had any. I love the way you approached the topic with yours and the example you set, You are such an amazing mom!

    Happy Anniversary!!



  8. Jenna on May 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Happy Anniversary Sheri and Mike! As always, love your posts and especially this one. Doesn’t it feel both empowering and liberating to write about something that happened in the past and that you’ve overcome? I think so.

    I hope you are having a wonderful day celebrating each other. You make a very beautiful and strong couple! Enjoy your day!!!!



  9. Claudia on May 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    This is absolutely beautifully and honestly communicated, Sheri. I am very moved by it. Happy anniversary.



  10. Jennifer Cullen on May 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Of course, I love your take on trust. Thank you for sharing. I can totally relate to finding the importance in modeling a healthy relationship for our kids, particularly our daughters.

    I hope you and Mike have a wonderful anniversary. I knew that you were really special. And now I know that he is too! XO



  11. Hotly Spiced on May 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Happy Anniversary Sheri and Mike! You’ve obviously been through some challenging and difficult times but it’s so lovely you recovered then met a wonderful man and had Noah! I bet your older children are thrilled to have a baby brother. I love the new look of your blog by the way – it’s a lot easier to read xx



  12. sherisilver on May 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you – ALL – so so much for this outpouring of love and support. You are the best readers I could ever ask for, and make sharing my stories that much easier. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! xo



  13. Kerri Warner on May 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Beautiful post, my dear friend. Truly. XO



  14. Lisa on May 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Happy, happy anniversary, Sheri! Your post touched me deeply and I love your take on trust – what a valuable lesson to pass along to your kids (and us readers, too :))! Wishing you a wonderful celebration with your husband and family!



  15. allison carmen on May 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Sheri, I admire your strength and wisdom. Trust is a gift to give. Brilliant!!

    Also, Happy Anniversary!

    Best,
    Allison



  16. Lisa on May 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Great article. Sorry for your pain . Your honesty is truly refreshing. Your kids are lucky to have such a strong, wonderful mom! So glad you found love…



  17. Meg on May 31, 2012 at 6:46 am

    8 yesrs, already? that was beautiful, my dear. as someone who was with you before, during, and after the space in between, I couldn’t be prouder of you for the way you got through it. you, mike, and those beautiful kids deserve all of the happiness that you have. happy anniversary!



  18. sherisilver on May 31, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I’m so blown away by the response to this – from those who knew me “when”, to those who’ve known me “since” and, amazingly, those who have never met me in person. I’m truly humbled today. Thank you!



  19. Lisa on May 31, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve read this three times now and each time it’s a little more amazing. I love how your shift opened a new world, admire what an amazing momma you are and want to thank you for being a living, breathing beacon of hope that love CAN happen after despair. Big virtual hugs coming your way (as always).



    • sherisilver on May 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Love you – thank you! xoxo



  20. Punky on June 1, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Happy Anniversary and wow, Sheri. Thank you for sharing this. I am so happy and humbled to learn more about you and the things you’ve experienced in your lifetime. I’m sorry for the pain you went thru, but sounds to me like you are a pretty strong lady. Much like my own mom, and I can say that your children are very lucky to have that to take after!!

    I LOVE what you said about trust being a gift that YOU give, rather than something someone can give or take away from you. I’ve never heard it put in such terms, and it makes so much beautiful sense that way. Thank you for your wisdom!!



    • sherisilver on June 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you my friend – so much. xo



  21. Jackie on June 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    How fortunate to have found you via a guest post you made on my daughter’s blog . Immediately I knew we had a lot in common ( I also design/build gardens) so I knew I would enjoy your blogs . Well this story popped up and again I am surprised and pleased w/our shared experiences . I have finally shed the ” lying, hurtful and emotionally absent ” person that has ruined my life and nearly made me end it . Bravo to you ! You gave me hope .



    • sherisilver on June 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Oh my – I am truly speechless. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Needless to say, a piece such as this did not come quickly or easily, but a response like yours means the world to me. Thank you.



css.php