After the confession of May 13, including the unbelievable admission that HUSBAND had fucked someone when we’d been married merely two years (but NEVER any contact or other dalliances between that and the affair of the prior ten months) I went into high gear. I now had a picture in my mind that my young marriage had been scarred by a one-night stand with an old high school whore…HUSBAND had repented and devoted himself to me and our family…until the same whore reappeared at a reunion 25 years later. My mind teetered, struggling, trying to figure out if there was any truth in any of his words, in any of our life or MY LIFE for virtually all of my marriage.
I know there is a great debate amongst counselors, the betrayed and certainly the betrayers about the bounds of disclosure – what needs to be told, what is healthy. For me, the truth had to be discovered and uncovered. I wrote questions every day, used my iphone to record them as they came to mind. HUSBAND was incredibly patient, willing to endure the most minute of details that I wanted and needed. He tried to answer honestly, although sometimes claimed he could not remember. Our counselor encouraged meeting me where I was if HUSBAND wanted healing for me and potential healing in our marriage. Initially the questions were the obvious ones, but they transcended to things related to their conversations, and whether he shared intimate details of our daily life, our children’s lives, moments of fun and times together. But was any of that real, or just my illusions of a life?
The way I made sense of it, this desperate need to reconcile life and LIFE was that I had a filmstrip imprinted in my brain, that when I slowed it down, could sometimes see frame-by-frame-by-frame various moments and times. Now, I was realizing, that the filmstrip did not tell the whole story. Instead there was a broader picture, another camera capturing other parts of the set of my life and I needed to see the whole picture. I needed to reconcile the film I knew and could see with what the REAL film showed.
I went on a diligent search to gather all our pictures from every frame and nook and cranny…cards…letters…children’s art and notes from camp and programs and awards…what is real…what is not…I researched insatiably, about betrayed spouses and their responses. I saw myself over and over and over again and knew that I was now bound forever into a fraternity of universal devastation and pain with very common responses. The pain was so present, so real, so inescapable yet somehow I kept waking up and going to sleep and it was another day. As patient as HUSBAND was, there were a couple areas that he got defensive about…going through his paypal account…a couple small details that he slightly but consistently recoiled at…and the pit of my soul thought there HAD TO BE MORE.
No. No more, he insisted. I knew it all now.
My questions and digging continued, my begging him to be honest and his promises that he would and that he would not lose patience and that he would do whatever it took to help get us through this and make me whole. This was a literal LIFELINE for me at this point…there was something that seemed to destroy the bond between SW and HUSBAND as he opened up about the details of their relationship to me. Somehow it had less and less power over him and over us – if there could be an us. The more his AFFAIR could be a story that HUSBAND was confident in sharing with me, the less I felt like he was protecting her or holding on to something and the more I could believe that he was not hanging on.
The intimacy between us was unbounded, constant, but seeped pain and tentativeness (if that is a word). I lived those days trying to reach the ground and stop feeling as if I was falling falling falling…tried to hang on to the belief that someday, the pain would deaden some. Tried to believe that maybe one day I wouldn’t think about HUSBAND and SW and promises and talks and plans and sex and pictures and texts and phone calls and distance and memories putrefied and and and and. I begged Lord please heal me. Please heal us. Please deaden the pain. I am so terribly sad and hurt. It is so big. God help me see it isn’t bigger than you.