THE OTHER ROOM.

In August, 2013, HUSBAND and I had a fight.

We didn’t fight very much. Not to say we had a fantastic marriage but we didn’t fight much. We were just sort of plugging along as really good co-parents and not-really-so-good lovers. We shared passionately our vision for our children’s health, faith, education, future and didn’t talk about too much else with any depth or care, so we didn’t fight much.

But this particular day ended up differently.

As a consultant, I had several different clients and one was a very large youth sports club in our city. My role was managing the vision and mission, developing a strategic plan and connecting the club with various strategic partners. The club had an annual, regional tournament and I agreed to volunteer, and HUSBAND agreed to help also. Our jobs included distribution of the awards to the various fields around our region that were located at six sites spread over 20 miles. The boxes of awards were already packed and labeled and while this may sound simple, because there were gender divisions, age divisions and level designations, there were thousands of awards packed in nearly 100 boxes and each site could be hosting vastly different combinations of those variables.

We made the distributions and my cell phone rang. One of the sites reported missing one of the gender/age/level awards for their location. We returned to the headquarters, assuming we had missed gathering the box when we packed up. It wasn’t there. I was puzzled, concerned. HUSBAND was oblivious, disconnected. I considered calling site managers but knew how in-the-weeds each of them were with other issues, and decided the better plan would be to just go back by each and look ourselves. I got no feedback from HUSBAND, other than he started the car, and started driving. We went to site 1, then 2. On to 3 and 4 and 5 and 6. No box that matched the missing stats. I was beside myself. I had no idea how or where or when or what…just a missing box of awards that would leave some young kids without their medals and the tournament looking bad. Not so good for developing strategic partners.

HUSBAND remained detached through the whole process. He sat in the car and played with his phone while I ran in to each site, looking for the missing box. When I returned, increasingly distraught, he said, “What’s next.” I was definitely in this one alone.

As we sat in the parking lot of the last site to visit where hours earlier we had made the delivery, he suddenly said “I wonder if it is the box I put in the other room?”

“Other room. What other room,” I asked.

“The other room, here. When we first walked up, I took a box into another room. No one was in there. When I took the second box up, I was directed into a different room with the box,” HUSBAND answered.

“Did you go back and move that first box into the different room?”

“I don’t know.”

HUSBAND sat in the car while I got out and walked up to the “other room.” There it was, the missing box. The one that HUSBAND and I had just spent three hours retracing our steps to find. The one that he had left in THE OTHER ROOM. The one that was left in THE OTHER ROOM that I didn’t even know existed because I hadn’t seen him put a box in THE OTHER ROOM and then be so obtuse/lazy/disconnected/downright MEAN to not move to THE DIFFERENT ROOM.

I took the box from THE OTHER ROOM to THE DIFFERENT ROOM, handed it to the site manager and profusely apologized and began to walk back to the car where HUSBAND was sitting, texting. I began to flash back to delivering to this site earlier that day. I remembered how right after we got all the boxes delivered, the volunteer had come in and we had begun to open the boxes, and discussed the awards and how best to segment/display them. And HUSBAND had disappeared, and I had glanced around, found him sitting on the couch area with his nose in his phone, texting and completely disconnected from the situation. I remembered being frustrated, because while the client was handled by me, the consulting firm was OURS, and I was handling the lion’s share of our client work at that point. I began to reflect on how incredibly wrong it was that I had been in a panic over something that was completely, utterly AVOIDABLE if HUSBAND had been even remotely in-the-game that day…as he was the ONLY ONE who knew that he’d put one box in THE OTHER ROOM.

So when I got to the car, got in, told HUSBAND that indeed, the missing box had been in THE OTHER ROOM and I’d found it and delivered it safely to THE DIFFERENT ROOM…and nothing…just a blank stare my way…no apology or even a “wow…wish I’d remembered”…the conversation went something like this…

Me: Why didn’t you mention there was THE OTHER ROOM and that you’d put a box in there?

HUSBAND: I don’t know.

Me: Didn’t you think it was important? That it might be the missing box?

HUSBAND: Not really.

Me: Not really? Come on, HUSBAND. We just drove around for three hours and I’ve been in a panic thinking I’d majorly screwed up, and you had the answer the whole time!

HUSBAND: It’s your fault; you’re the one who told me to carry the boxes up there.

When we got to the site earlier that day, I noted an open door and while I was getting out the list, etc, had said something like “Why don’t you look for SITE MANAGER (who he knew) and ask him where to take the awards. He’d taken a box with him to look for SITE MANAGER, going through the open door into THE OTHER ROOM and set down the box. He saw the site manager on the way back who told him to go into THE DIFFERENT ROOM. I didn’t see any of that as I was getting all the documentation together, etc)

Me: Are you seriously saying it was my fault that you took a box into THE OTHER ROOM and left it there after being told about THE DIFFERENT ROOM?

HUSBAND: Yes.

Me: In seriously, the loudest, most desperate, most god-awful voice that has ever been uttered out of my chest, borne of complete desperation and exhaustion and frustration and shock at how he could turn this into something that was my fault) – I didn’t even know THE OTHER ROOM EXISTED! YOU ARE BLAMING ME WHEN I DIDN’T KNOW YOU PUT A BOX IN A ROOM AND SET IT DOWN AND THEN EVERYTHING ELSE WAS TAKEN INTO THE DIFFERENT ROOM AND I HELPED SET UP THE AWARDS WHILE YOU SAT ON THE COUCH AND PLAYED ON YOUR PHONE AND YOU CAN TWIST THIS INTO MY FAULT? OMG!!! YOU MAKE ME CRAZY!!!! TAKE ME HOME, TAKE ME HOME NOW!!!

fighting2

We drove home in silence. The tension was like a thick wall between us and I don’t think I made eye contact with him for another 24 hours as I was so hurt and angry and confused.

Confused. The whole incident was so completely unlike the person HUSBAND had been through our marriage. The way he’d sat in the car as I looked at each site, very unlike the helpful nature of HUSBAND, the problem-solver. Lack of suggestions along the way, not recognizing the role he’d played and not mentioning earlier in the process about THE OTHER ROOM. All of these were uncharacteristic of how he’d shared a life with me for 26 years. Looking back now, both of us recognize this was a sign. He was already deeply engaged in his last affair, and preoccupied with his affair partner, SW, that day. His mind was on her, his attention on exchanging messages all throughout the day while I ran around like crazy. He was present, but not present. I could sense it, but had no earthly idea what was up.

The distraction. The lack of presence and intentionality. The disconnection. And meanwhile, the case he was making up to justify his betrayal, his cheating, was being lived out in my confused, angry response. As he saw me lose it, his brain said, “Yup. I deserve more. Look at her. She’s crazy, she’s a bitch.”

No, SW. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t a bitch. I was living with a cheater.

 

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44 thoughts on “THE OTHER ROOM.

      1. Yep. I do. I can recall a few arguments that escalated out of proportion to hinder my sight of her wrongdoings. In fact, the more deep she was in to adultery, the more angry, erratic and explosive she was towards me.
        I always thought it was a way of her throwing dust in my eyes to prevent me from acknowledging what was REALLY going on… but, maybe she was just feeling miserably for acting miserable. And your attention span can only focus on one lover at a time? I dunno. But clearly those emerged and multiplied the more deep she was with the affair, not because I had done or said or acted differently.

        Liked by 4 people

  1. Thank you for sharing. This is very well written. My mother is going through something very similar. After 26 years of marriage and four children, my father had an affair. He left my mother and married the other woman. It has been a trying time for our entire family. Looking back, the signs were always there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! I totally get this.. I recall so many mind boggling conversations over the years with my husband.. Wondering what was going on..

    I wish I could recall in such detail!

    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know.. But I truly have and do question my sanity.. I see my husband so much differently now, and I’m not sure that I want this person sometimes.. My story is so complicated and I’ve not written most of it out.. I just sometimes don’t know where to start..

        But .. I’m truly questioning if my husband is a narcissist .. He meats a number of the criteria.. But them again we all do sometimes…

        I wish there was a betrayed wife hotline.. Sometimes I just want to expunge all the fucked-up choices I made that lead up to the mind numbingly fucking choices my husband made.

        Hugs my wounded friend ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh RAC…it isn’t your fault. No fucked up choices you made lead to his cheating. He cheated and that is something that HE OWNS and nothing you did right or wrong made him do that. If he was unhappy in your marriage, there were a thousand things he could have done that may have helped…and cheating was NOT part of that list. We were crazy when they were cheating…they were living double lives and while we didn’t know, we knew they weren’t present. But they did not let us know, and their big old physical selves were present…so… Have you tried writing your story more? Just write a sentence…and then another one…and then another one. Maybe it will help you – i know it is helping me. HUGS and more HUGS.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Your story is complete…that is how it is!
    Indifference to you, the kids, the home, your activities…totally self-absorbed and in his own cocoon. That is also the only way he could keep that up…disconnecting from you…connecting to his “distraction” and being absolutely devoid of all feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “present but not present”‘that’s it perfectly- they just go through the motions and convince themselves that is more than enough for us, while at the same time, justify their affair to themselves because they’re not getting enough love, sex, validation, fill in the blank, from us!! It’s aggravating how thick they’re blinders are!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SH – I had this exact experience at Christmas … I asked Matt to track down a long folding table that I lent out to XXX. Unbeknownst to me, he knew he lent it to ZZZ. He didn’t man up and get the table so I strapped on my man balls and texted XXX about my table.. We shared a few terse messages and I was left with no table. I was sharing the exchange with husband that evening, and was a bit upset, because I knew I lent it to her…. And my selfish asshole of a husband that thinks he’s gods gift says.. Oh, ZZZ has it. I’ll see it Son can grab it on his way home from hockey. totally mind numbing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your post here because it totally sums up the disjuncture we experience whilst the betrayal is going on. With your example it is possible, in hindsight, to recognise the symptoms. But of course, it was all the time and the smaller events that we don’t remember were also creating an ever growing sense of disjuncture, difficult to articulate. How many times did I think that H was just having a bad day when in fact he was having a good day but his head was not with me! I remember on one occasion, on holiday, I attempted yet again to get to the bottom of what might be wrong. It started out a gentle discussion, sitting on the balcony of our hotel room. I tried to explain how difficult it was for me to navigate my way around our marriage if he wasn’t prepared to discuss what he thought was wrong. Please, I begged, talk to me, let me know what you’re thinking. His response – ‘You’re unbearable!” and a storming off. Me, unbearable. I felt totally lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know I’ve had similar conversations, where I had no idea how they ended up going the direction they did. And you’re right, you end up believing you’re being bitchy, or crazy, when whatever happened made no sense to begin with. At least if it happens from now on, we’ll know better…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just on principle, cheating husbands should be kicked in the cajones at least once a day…….whether they need it or not. Think I read someplace that it helps their memory, and if not they at least get exercise rolling around on the floor…..All good.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Looking back you always see so much that couldn’t be seen in the moment.

    Also remember years ago being told that when a couple says “we don’t fight,” what it really means is they’re not really talking about the deeper things and one of them is probably suppressing their thoughts or opinions to avoid breaking the peace. Doesn’t mean constant fighting is good either though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So many of us have been in this same place. This could be my story.
    I can see that my trust in my husband was so strong it stopped me from seeing what was really happening. They did such a good job of making us think we are crazy…….or unbearable……or unloving. You would think they all had a manual on this but I guess it is just human nature actions as shown by cheaters. Thank you xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So been there, done that! Only Our marriage had been looking good after two previous separations. I had gotten comfy thinking maybe this time, it’s going to work, then I found out there was a HER. HUSBAND had the gall to say she was the reason. HUSBAND, out of guilt made a point of being nicer and more solicitous because of HER. It wasn’t US that was better but HER that made it better. Grrrrr I won’t tell you what I did from that point, but it could have been worse. I could still not know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Jolie. That is a crazy story. So were your previous separations due to infidelity? I am dumbfounded…am I reading right that he claimed he was a better him because of HER? Yes…still not knowing would be worse.

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  12. Both previous separations were for other reasons. The first time, he’d undergone a serious surgery that he nearly died from and decided he needed to “live life to it’s fullest”. The second time, we had filed for divorce and it was a week or two from being final when he happened to drive by the house I’d bought, and a young man from across the street was working on my car and he got jealous. The next day, he and his friend picked up our girls while I was at work, moved everything back to our previous home and I come home to an empty house and no kids. During that separation he had called telling me I may have contracted an STD from him, I had gotten other things before but he always claimed they were from other sources, toilet seats and the like. At the time I didn’t know any better, but he would never admit to infidelity. He proceeds to make his claim and tells me he’d be good from then on. So, for the girls, I tried. I was angry for the first couple of months, but he did seem to be making progress, going to church with us and all so I relaxed. Then one night I thought I’d surprise him with a sitter for the girls and a nice cozy sweet romp with just the two of us. I had candle’s lit, champagne on ice, a sexy nighty and he comes home, see’s me and acts all happy. Then before undressing he says he has to make a call, because he had to cancel an appointment with some guy interested in a plane he had. So, I tell him to hurry. A few minutes later, he still hadn’t come back up, so I go down and he’s in the bathroom talking quietly. RED FLAG. I listened and I could tell by the tone that he was talking to a HER telling HER that he would get back to her as soon as he could but he just couldn’t get away just yet. Why it took him that long to get to that point, I have no clue.
    That’s when the shit hit the fan. I wrote a screenplay about it, but I just found out I can’t use it without legal ramifications while everyone is still alive; not without their permission anyway. But it felt good to write. (He did go on to marry her after she divorced her husband – yes she was married too and they divorced a few years after that for the same reason- cheating) She may be dead now, last I’d heard she was quite ill. I think she would give permission, but I know he wouldn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pain and rage I felt as I read your story… I’m so glad you have written the story, and that it helps. Isn’t it all so convenient that the story can’t be told…it is one of the reasons I think this filth and sub-world exists…because we are shamed or legal-issued or manipulated into silence. Hugs to you.

      Liked by 1 person

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