The next moments and days are seriously burned into my brain like no other time period in my life. My brain struggled to catch up to what my heart was hearing. I had no basis to receive the information, no baseline of response or action or reaction. The only way I can try to understand how I processed is to go through the moments – so I apologize if this is tedious – but it is real.
When he looked at me and said It Was True, I didn’t know what he meant. As the hustle and bustle of my full household went on around me, I could only see my husband and quietly I asked him What Was True? I think I remember him saying that he had dinner with a woman – did you sleep with her – NO! What woman? Where? Let’s go sit in the living room…
We sat on the couch-him, facing outward staring ahead, and me facing him, curled up with my feet under me. I watched his face carefully and he carefully watched anything but my face. I asked him who she was – an acquaintance from a former business a couple years prior – and if he kept in touch – not really, but for awhile, just a few emails and a call or two – why did you have dinner with her – she had come to town for a conference – are you having an affair – NO! Why did you meet with her and what did you talk about – we talked about our marriages and…
And then he told me that he was miserable, and wanted a divorce. That he was going to tell me a few weeks later after our son’s high school graduation, while we shared our early-morning-coffee at the breakfast bar-
I told him I had been pretty miserable lately too. That I understood how he felt, but as I thought about our beautiful children, it was important to me that I could learn how I, how we, had gotten to this place. I told him I was stunned and saddened that he would tell another woman that he was miserable, yet never tell me, and that was pretty unfair. I asked him if he would agree to get some counseling so we could figure things out – no matter the outcome – and that I loved him. He continued to look straight ahead and my pulse pounded in my throat.
He agreed, sort of, and I went on to the shower. The shower, where I sat in a sea of my friends who had walked alongside me all 27 years of my marriage. Friends who had shared birthdays and anniversaries and child births and parent deaths and ER visits and marriage seminars and parenting classes and summer nights and vacations and fireworks and THEY HAD NO IDEA MY HUSBAND WAS MISERABLE AND WANTED A DIVORCE, AND HAD TOLD ANOTHER WOMAN. Tears welled up and trickled down my cheeks, and I was alone. In the midst of all these precious friends, I was so very alone.
That night, in the oddest of responses, he reached for me. I responded. I wanted him, I wanted to feel him on me and in me and around me, and it was completely amazing, yet painful. My head knew nothing yet about hysterical bonding, but my instincts did.
The next day, we asked our church for a referral to a counselor. And I began a quest of research…investigating the impact of divorce on older children…reading about infidelity…researching emotional affairs and learning a whole new language that included affair partners and other woman and D-Day and HEA and betrayed spouses and wayward spouses and I printed articles and created a notebook and searched his facebook and linkedin. I asked him questions, and he answered, telling me they had met in a bar in Denver, shared a meal – NOTHING ELSE – then kept in touch for a few months in a flirty kind of way – and that was it. Until February when she reached out again because she was coming to town. He admitted they considered sleeping together, but just couldn’t go through with it – shared a kiss in the parking lot (which is certainly what the author of the anonymous email must have witnessed) and then parted ways. I asked her name, showing him articles that discussed how important transparency was, but then I remembered he WANTED A DIVORCE.
We continued to make love, tenderly, passionately, beautifully, and in the light of day, he would stroke my face and say I Am Committed To The Process…Not The Marriage. He was clear that he wanted out, but wanted to understand why he had gotten to this place.
Ten days after Sid Breeze (the email), we were at a counselor’s office. Husband was hostile, but present. Counselor asked if he was having an affair – NO! Counselor asked if he had ever had an affair – NO! And recommended that we work through his brand of Emotionally Focused Therapy to discover if we could connect and have a marriage. He asked to see me alone the next day, and husband the next week. Those days were long…lonely…filled with research…learning…seeking…things were beginning not to add up so well…husband’s answers were beginning to subtly contradict themselves…more hysterical bonding…
The Tapestry Begins to Unravel…
April 29, 2014
We woke up together, treating each other with the careful kindness that characterized the days since Sid Breeze. Getting ready to leave for my office, husband looked me in the eyes and said, “I know you want me to tell you I’m committed to the marriage, but I can’t give you that. I’m committed to the process.”
I left, and remembered that later that day, husband would have his “alone session” with our counselor.
A little later, husband called me. My parents had moved in several months prior – my father had a terminal illness. Husband told me he was concerned about my dad, and I should come home. The only time that ever happened.
I did, within an hour. Husband was gone to work on a project, then to his appointment. I got the crisis with my dad settled down, and had an unbelievable urge to check husband’s computer. Husband had given me access to his phone and his computer several days prior, and I had searched deeply…found nothing…so when the urge came, I fought it. But it was overwhelming, and eventually, I gave in. I went to our room, opened his laptop which was hooked to a large monitor, and began to search, again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then a little 2 by the NOTES section of his email. I remembered when I looked a few days prior, there was only a 1, and it was a benign work note. So I clicked on NOTES.
My eyes saw this:
——-Forwarded message ——-
From: Husbands Name and Email
Date: Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 5:48 AM
Barriers not broken
Words not spoken
Do I even care?
I can’t explain
In front of the fire
Can it really be through?
Is it true?
I Could Not Breathe. The unraveling began.