You may hate me. I am surprised but I really don’t care if you do. I used to. A lot. Which is part of the reason my life was hell. I was trying so hard to get everyone’s approval. But I’m not anymore and it is so damn liberating.

I have done a ton of therapy and continue to reveal and examine parts of myself I never knew were there. Like the part of me that is brave and started this whole snowball in the first place. The part of me that crossed that line with Jackson. The part of me that knew it was more than sex, more than an affair, but an awakening that simply started that way.
I feel your judgment as I write those lines but what I know is that I was a prisoner. Yes, I put myself there in the first place but I was no less trapped. And, for reasons that still allude me, Jackson held the key to my escape. I saw myself through his eyes and, for the first time in my life, I let myself just be
For now Joel and I co-exist. We maintain a facade for convenience, I guess. And out of laziness and a fear of the unknown we bury the rest. We both know it can’t last but until we figure out how to move forward separately we do this. Mostly I don’t think about it at all. It just is. We are civil, we share pleasantries about the kids and our day but the underlying truth is always the elephant in the room. 
For now I am discovering myself. For the first time ever I know I am on the right track. I have fumbled and I have fallen but I have gotten back up. And now I continue to move forward toward a life I can only imagine. A life based on contentment and living and love without conditions. I am making my way slowly toward a life without fear where I am strong and stable on my own two feet for the first time.
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  • Candace

    I am glad you are not trying to live up to other people’s expectations of you and that you are refusing to define yourself by others approval. That said, as you experience this liberation from other’s expectations, I do wish you’d hold some standards and expectations for yourself. Though it is really important to listen to your heart and your needs, it is NOT okay to hurt or use other people in the process of seeking what you feel you need. I would hope as you’ve learned the importance of your own sense of self, you would be awakened to how important each person’s individual dignity and sense of self is…and also how fragile.
    Lyla, you have this one best life to live, and if you truly do not love Joel, and you feel being with him is a mistake, of course you should leave.
    But if you truly knew from the beginning that what you shared with Jackson was more than just sex or an affair, then why did you need to do it in a clandestine way? Why couldn’t you treat Joel with dignity and leave him before you consummated this love and made his life a lie? Finding out your spouse has cheated absolutely shatters your sense of your own reality, and your sense of self. Discovering yourself doesn’t give you free reign to stomp on others.
    More importantly, why have you not left now? You talk of figuring it out and I’m puzzled at what you have to figure out. You have to tell Joel you do not want to be with him anymore. It will be hard…but time isn’t going to make it any easier to break someone’s heart and see their vision of their life fall to pieces. If you are able to talk maturely, you split up your assets through discussion, and more importantly you work out a plan for how to ease this transition for your children and work out custody. If he can’t discuss this because he’s too hurt…you go through lawyers (and you will both lose dearly for it).
    But when you say that you both know it isn’t going to last, you are lying to yourself and disregarding Joel’s feelings to protect your conscience so you don’t have to shine a light on what you’ve done. To say your affair was brave is inflammatory. Facing the truth and leaving would have been brave. Leaving and NOT running into the arms of another man and living on your own and taking care of yourself and focusing on your kids while you figure out who you are would be strong. (Not saying you couldn’t date Jackson…just don’t think you should run from one pair of arms to another…even if they are more alluring arms.) Skulking around and cheating in posh hotel rooms your mate is paying for is the opposite of brave and strong (and it also lacks any sense of class). Joel told you he has always loved you. He cried by your side in the hospital even as you saw in his eyes that he knew about your affair. He DOESN’T know it isn’t going to last. He’s walking on eggshells trying to find a way to get you better and hoping your love will come back and he can hold onto you! How cruel that you are stringing him along while letting yourself off the hook saying “We both know it won’t last.”
    Finally, I agree with Heather that you need to focus on your kids through this. For those of us who have read your whole blog, it is very apparent that your kids get very little attention from you, and that they seek it. When Joel blew up at you he referred to how you ignore the kids, and you recognized it was true. In your last blog you finally dropped the excuses and admitted you are not a good mother, and took a laissez faire attitude that hopefully you would figure this out. Clearly, you have not chosen to dive into figuring it out. News flash: you chose to have these kids, and as Erin and Heather say, of course they know something is horribly wrong! They may not understand what an affair is, but they see Daddy hurting, and when the only family they know breaks up they will hurt too. And if their mommy does not learn how to make them a priority, they will feel they are being rejected, too. (In fact, I’d hazard a guess they will either rebel or spend their lives as attention and approval-seekers themselves, as they search for attention and love from a mom who just can’t be bothered with them.) Tragic.

  • heather

    Ummm infidelty is pretty clear for most marriages. You make a vow to be faithful and you stick to it. If you want to “find yourself” by sleeping around, you leave your marriage first. If you need to “reawaken yourself” you can do that without the infidelity.
    My issue isn’t so much with her sleeping around – she is what she is. It’s about how very little her children figure into any of her considerations or decisions and that concerns me as a mother.
    I don’t think she’s shielding them. I don’t believe they register for her. You don’t shield your children from the impact of your infidelity by blogging about how your lover is the only true love you have ever felt, while still living with your husband and children.
    Seriously people. Why are you all making excuses for this woman. She’s a champion at making them for herself. She doesn’t need your help.

  • Devin Koussa

    The facts are really incredible, the stakes are typically huge, it can be tricky to discuss and even more challenging to deal with it. Technology, counselling, communicating… all of them compete with human nature. And also every scenario is unique.

  • Nan

    Lyla, so glad you wrote again. I was wondering what had happened to you. I continue to be surprised that people focus on the sexual aspect of your story – like all this was only about fulfilling a sexual need. Infidelity is not the black and white issue our society makes it out to be. I see your story more as a reawakening of the self, after years of slumbering, believing you were leading the life you were supposed to be living. I also think you’ve chosen to not write about the children as a way of shielding them, because ultimately this blog was about your journey and not theirs. THere are ways to separate that minimize the disruption and distress on children and it looks like things are reasonably amicable between you and Joel. I hope you can find that balance between you to transition into successful co-parents. I also believe all the self-knowledge you’ve gained can only make you a better parent.

  • Laura

    Thank you for continuing to share your story. Most people don’t/won’t get it. They are forming an opinion based solely on what you choose to tell them through your words in your blog. They’re not living your life. There could be a lot more to the situation that what is being written. They can judge, make comment even but until they’re right in the thick of things they’ll never really understand. I can relate to this blog & you more than you know.

  • Heather

    You completely missed the point. And I think you may be the one doing the projecting.
    Her kids do know, or they will be able to put it all together soon. She was in the hospital. She’s having an affair. She’s documenting it on a blog for Pete’s sake. Kids aren’t stupid. And I agree with you that it is the parent’s responsibility to put their children first and behave responsibly. But that isn’t what appears to be happening here and Lyla certainly doesn’t seem like the type to be able to act with discretion. Can you imagine the fallout if husband or her kids figure out the source of her income and see how little they figure into her thoughts and concerns?.
    The bulk of divorces in Canada happen to previously divorced people. First marrriages have almost a 70% chance of lasting a life time. And while kids are touched by lots of things Lyla is making a choice to insert this incredibly painful type of stress and betrayal into her children’s lives. She is deliberately hurting her kids.
    She wasn’t in a repressed marriage. She had so many resources at her disposal including a husband who wanted her to grow and find herself (he paid for her photography class, tried to lighten her daily load). She could have made hundreds of healthier choices than the one she made and the ones she continues to make. The only thing her income guarantees her were opportunities. Clearly it doesn’t make her a better parent.
    I love this quote from Jackie Kennedy. I think it sums up my opinion of this situation completely “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much. ”

  • Sara

    Okay I NEVER comment on this blog and frankly, I never really read it – my choice…I just don’t relate to anything in it or the way the author writes it. BUT – Anonymous…I actually yelled at my screen when I read that they are ‘upperclass citizens’ so they know better than to deliberately hurt their children?!??!? What does class have to do with it??? I don’t care if kids are 3 or 14…they know something is up and Lyla or whoever is kidding themselves if they don’t think that they do. To bring class into this is sort of ridiculous and so totally insulting. (ugh I can’t beleive I just added to the discussion on this but I’m enraged).

  • anonymous

    Heather – nowhere within any of Lyla’s posts does she mention anything about her small children knowing about the affair. In fact, most children only learn about affairs because of malicious and scorned parents dragging their kids into their marital problems. From the sounds of it, Lyla and Joel are managing to keep their troubles private and the children seem to be faring just fine. They are upper class citizens and know better than to deliberately hurt the children. Please don’t project your negativity and personal past experience on this situation. It’s unfortunate in your past that infidelity in your family became public knowledge and destroyed relationships but 50% of marriages break-up for many reasons (or don’t break up but go through rough-patches and recovery). Whatever those reasons for separation, it is the responsibility of the parents to shelter their children from the causes of separation until the children are old enough to understand that their parents were not a good fit for one another or had to go through a period of self-enlightenment about who they are and what they truly need in life. It would be medieval of you to think that in today’s society all children are not exposed to some family challenges. Lyla and Joel seem to be doing just fine co-existing and the children seem none the wiser. Her blog is about discovering who she is, finding clarity in her past mistakes and carving out her future path. Liberated women are on this journey every day of their lives and their children reap the benefits because they see an exemplary pillar of strength and intelligence. If Lyla had stayed in a repressed marriage or not confronted Joel about her indiscretions, her children would find her weak and pathetic. If she had not started the path back to becoming her own woman, her children would have seen only a trophy-wife. Everything Lyla is experiencing and sharing is for her audiences benefit – to help each of us (happy marriage or not) to see the woman we could be and reflect on how we make these changes.

  • Erin

    As the title of this post suggests It’s Her Life. I believe the writer has owned up to her misguided decisions and is trying to find a balance that she can live with. I wish her continued success, as this road is not only hard for her but her decisions on how to move on will affect her children and finding that balance may be the key to their happiness.

  • Heather

    There’s no indication her children are even registering in her reality. I have walked in the shoes of her children, and in the shoes of her husbands family and friends. I don’t need to walk in her shoes to know about the impact of her choices, or understand the nuances around them. I’m not ganging up on her. I get that she’s struggling with big things. And that relationships can be hard – they are a hell of a lot harder if you choose to sleep around. I get that she’s immature and self absorbed and needs to figure things out. What she doesn’t seem to get is the depth of the hurt she is causing to those around her and the fact that there are ways to do what she needs to do and to mininize and help heal that hurt.
    She’s choosing not to. She’s in fact defiant that she needs to put her sexual needs first. She celebrates it in fact.
    She doesn’t need to be cheered on, or celebrated and frankly she doesn’t need her choices supported. She needs to be held accountable for her choices and the life long impact those will have on her kids.
    And so yeah – she’s a shitty mother on a whole bunch of levels – starting with the fact that she doesn’t seem to even acknowledge that anyone besides her has needs in this situation. And she deserves to be called out on it. The entire purpose (if you believe the rhetoric) about why this soap opera is being posted here is so that we can “discuss” this openly. So I am discussing. I have no sympathy for women who try to “find themselves” through an affair when there are children on either side of the equation. None. I feel the same way about men who do that – Jackson’s equally reprehensible in this situation. It’s weak. It doesn’t work – your “self” can’t be defined through or by someone else. It’s selfish in the worst kind of way. It’s immature, self absorbed, unethical, incredibly damaging. It’s narcissistic, passive aggressive.
    If she’s not prepared for the discussion and the fallout for herself and more importantly for her CHILDREN she shouldn’t be here. It’s that simple. Urbanmoms is presumably paying her for her story. And they are presumably getting some level of compensation from their advertisers. I don’t personally consider this entertainment although I am sure many do.
    I feel truly truly sorry for her kids. I’ve been there. And I know the impacts of what she’s doing. Sadly she either can’t see those impacts, or more likely she just. doesn’t. care. Poor kids.

  • http://www.clovesandcinnamon.wordpress.com Charmedone17

    I don’t judge you at all. And those women and men that do, shame on them also. How can someone judge another without ever have walked in their shoes. Without experiencing it firsthand how can we say what is right or wrong.
    As for Heather above who said those poor children…geezz….nothing like women ganging up on another and making another woman feel like shit.
    Good luck, move forward and don’t worry what the world sees, do what is right for you and your kids.

  • Heather

    Your poor children.

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