The Dance I Now See

I took the red-eye home from Vegas last night. Left a little before midnight and connected in Atlanta with literally just time for a quick bathroom stop between flights.

I suffer from motion sickness, so always need to be at a window seat. When I boarded, the aisle seat occupant was already there, so I had to ask him to please let me in. He was wearing professional clothes, not unusual for a 7:00 am flight out of Atlanta, and when I got there, his head was bent down intently looking at his phone screen. After I spoke, he glanced up, got out and let me in…all was well.

ManTextOnPhone

Immediately, my 50-ish seat-mate reattached himself to a furious texting conversation, and I got out my headphones along with my phone and texted HUSBAND to let him know I’d made the tight connection. We shared a few back-and-forth texts, and I was glad to know I’d be back in his arms within two hours. It was a sweet moment…yet the complete and utter intensity of my seat-mate’s phone communication drew me to glance…where I saw this that he had just texted:

“Last night was amazing. I’m crazy about you.”

I felt sick to my stomach. I saw the telltale band around the ring finger of his left hand, and began to watch his behavior in earnest. He was completely unaware of all that was happening around: the other passengers loading, people placing things in the overhead bins, the flight attendant asking people to be seated. I thought about what HUSBAND had told me he said to his affair partner, and “being crazy about you” was a common phrase between them. I thought about HUSBAND’s admissions to the nonstop texting, the obsessions with fantasy talk. Attention poured and lavished between them in the illicit relationship unlike the pittance of attention offered in our real relationship.

ManWeddingRing

I thought about a wife sitting somewhere in Atlanta, knowing her marriage was disconnected, aching to understand why her husband seemed to care about all things except her and their marriage. A wife who washed and folded the underwear he wore the night before that his slut had removed with her dexterous fingers so she could make his night amazing. A wife who made sure his kids had their school supplies and were taken care of when they get sick or got their hearts broken. A wife who showed up with bells on to greet a family member or client at her husband’s beckoning, even though she had worked a 50 hour week. A wife who invested so much of who she was wondering desperately why he felt like she expected so much from him, what was wrong with her, why couldn’t she just be happy…

lonelywoman

I texted HUSBAND what I’d seen, what I was observing, realizing I never would have even had eyes to see this before, or understand the secret dance that I was now part of, and that is so often danced all around me. HUSBAND responded, telling me he was so sorry that he had put me in the situation to grieve what I could now see. He told me that he was so thankful for my grace…for our life now.

I struggled with wanting to grab my seat-mate, tell him to look me in the eye and that I knew what he was doing and he had to STOP…that he was killing, no KILLING a woman out there, that he was stabbing and slashing and hacking at her heart and her life and that of his children. I fantasized about standing up in the cabin and telling the whole flight that I was sitting next to a cheater. I waited for the moment to ask the right question to let him know slyly that I knew utilizing innuendos and hidden meanings, that he hadn’t hid his smut from me.

But none of that happened, and I didn’t do any of those things.

I just grieved.

Right after we landed, making that long taxi around to our gate, my seat mate finished the trip in crowning glory. He pulled HER up on his phone, scrolled quickly down a long series of messages, seemingly rereading them at a fast pace. Then, quickly in a well-practiced pattern, he swiped and deleted, swiped and deleted, swiped and deleted message after message after message until there were none.

Delete-Button

Evidence gone.

Just like that, his transgression was erased.

Except, not really. The dance? I can see it now. Everywhere. And for that, I weep.

dance

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42 thoughts on “The Dance I Now See

  1. The ether got my post. You needed to confront him in a kind way and ask what he would feel like if she was doing the same thing. Don’t be Switzerland. Too many people keep secrets. Look how long your husband’s lasted. Too many people don’t take sides so the bs is betrayed all over aging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, I should have. I am unbelievably grateful for the person who dared send the anonymous email to me on 4/12/14…even though it opened a can of pain and devastation and desperation that is overwhelming and will never really go away. HUSBAND and I are open about our situation, and I don’t know why I did not confront this man. Thanks, Let Go. I will next time. HUGS.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh the pain I feel for this unknown woman and the anger I feel for this unknown cheater! Like you, I wish I could just grab these cheaters and shake them and tell them STOP!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH HARM YOU ARE DOING! I want to slap and shame the women who willingly, knowingly cheat with married men. I wonder if they care at all the damage they are a part of. The unabashed selfishness and greed of the cheaters sexual desire is staggering. And heartbreaking. Hugs and kudos to you dear Susan for your restraint and your strength. I don’t know if I could have held my tongue…which would have made for an extremely long and awkward trip..😏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As LetGo pointed out, I shouldn’t have remained silent…although it appeared he was so deeply involved that I doubt his ears would have heard me. HUSBAND and I have talked at length about the process of his affair (the last one in particular). He sees now a systematic disengagement from people who shared his core values of love, commitment, loyalty, etc and a moving toward his friends who had divorced, were cheaters, etc. He sees now that he found reinforcement for his wrong thinking…articles in men’s magazines that support everything from porn/masturbation to affairs even touting medical benefits. He thinks if he was at that place of deep engagement he would have scoffed at someone trying to point out anything different. BUT THAT SHOULD NOT STOP ME. I regret not engaging… HUGS to you!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is easy to say, but in the actual situation it is difficult to know what we would actually do. I wish someone would have told me decades ago. I wish JUST ONE of Will’s friends would have sat him down and talked to him if they suspected something. Who knows if it would have helped? But there is always a chance. For me, I just don’t know what I would do but I don’t judge anyone in that difficult situation. All I can think of is how triggering it was for you and how devastating it is going to be for that unknown betrayed spouse when she inevitably reaches d-day. Same shitty story with different players….so, so frustrating for all of us.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Is the juice worth the squeeze?
    Gosh. That recounting gives me chills. I’m sorry that you, that I, that anyone has to see these things, and more sorry that she doesn’t see them. And him. What a fool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A total and utter fool. I wish I had snuck a picture of him. Of the foolish look on his face as he madly texted. Seriously…this 50-ish semi-executive looking like a 14 year old keeping a secret that is now so incredibly obvious. Any one of us betrayeds would have seen it in a heartbeat. And when I saw the words confirmed on his text screen…I threw up a little in my mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup…quite obvious this was his routine…swipe/delete…swipe/delete…swipe/delete. HUSBAND always deleted, but apparently his AP did not. He said she would frequently refer to a past conversation and sometimes re-text it to him to remind him of something he’d said, or promised, or indicated. I imagine that somewhere there is a big box of printed out text messages and emails and cards and crap under a bed…and one day that may come my way. I’m prepared…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. HUSBAND’s words were good, weren’t they? And his actions for the past two years are even better. When I got to the airport, he wasn’t just waiting outside…instead he had parked, and was there right past security where he scooped me up and just held me. It was so healing, so validating, so good. I do regret now not saying something, even though it was likely to fall on deaf ears… HUGS to you!

      Liked by 6 people

  4. I apologize for judging you. Betrayed spouses have so much pain to deal with you don’t need a stranger telling you what to do. I go on Chump Lady blog often because of something that happened in my extended family years ago. I thought I had put it away but anger is a mighty force and mine showed up. I have been able to unload some of it there. The blog is for deserted spouses, or ones married to awful people. It isn’t for those reconciling but one thing I learned from all of you who post. I confront. I did it last year. Your sorrows, your pain make it impossible for me to keep my mouth shut.
    I was talking to an old friend the other day about another friend who had two long term affairs with married men. I told her if I knew then what I know now I would have contacted the wives. She said it was not our business to interfere. It was the first time in a long friendship that I was disappointed in her.
    You probably did exactly what all of us do….just want to get home.
    I hope your summer is going well. My new “hobby” is watering thirsty plants. A benign pastime that does not involved melting in the Southern heat.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wasn’t offended…promise. I appreciate the encouragement, and absolutely am on the “tell the spouse” side of that argument. I am so grateful for the person who had the guts to reach out to me. Painful, yes. But did the sham stop…whether I stayed in the marriage or not? Yes.
      Oh…this Southern heat is KILLER!
      Hope you don’t melt…or the plants either!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Do you really think he would have given a shit…or do you think he would have told you to mind your own fucking business? Men like that don’t THINK about anybody but themselves. If he cared about what he was doing…he wouldn’t be doing it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Laurel. Completely…and no I don’t think he would’ve cared. But that is what I want to change about me. I still could have told him, and not worried about what he thought or if it changed his behavior. I’m excruciatingly honest now in most of my encounters and relationships…I practice honesty…but I didn’t then, sitting there in that airplane seat. I wish I had. HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You know, it’s funny. After I read this and thought about it, I started thinking about sending somebody a note telling her to ask her husband about this other woman. I guess she can do with it what she wants…which will probably be nothing…but I sure wish she had sent me a note about that pig-shit Loser puppet…because I’ll bet she knew.
        BTW…get out of hiding…and respond to the awards! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 😦 This is terrible. And yes, you wouldn’t have seen it before all this. You would have seen him going home after a tough week of work to his family, maybe you would have caught a glimpse of his wife picking him up at the airport in her SUV. And now, you see the betrayal, his dark side. Your husband. My husband. So, so, so very sad. There’s a woman out there who will sooner or later enter our Shittyland and has not even the slightest idea. Sigh. 😦

    Don’t beat yourself up – I doubt you interfering would have changed anything, sadly. But I know the feeling of being disappointed in myself for not speaking up. It’s hard when you are in the situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for this. I had my husband read your post as so often your words resonate so strongly to what my life is now and what it was. I hope he will start to “get it.” For a time I was the wife in Atlanta wondering what the hell was I doing wrong. You wrote so clearly about that wife it could have been my old life.
    Hindsight is 20/20. Why you did not speak up this last time may be the reason you do speak up next time. Maybe your words to a cheater are meant for another marriage. Or maybe your words were meant for this post today. You helped me yet again : )
    Thank you for giving me clarity and as always making me feel vindicated in some way.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am reading your response while laying in my bed…and tears are rolling down my face. Oh this shitty place we are, yet the amazing women I find here who are persevering through the pain to find peace, healing, wholeness…we are a strong tribe, and we are not going to stay asleep any longer. Thank you for sharing that my words have helped you. I, also, have read the words of other betrayed wives blogs to my husband…please…listen to this…she has captured my heart, my feelings.
      I am so grateful for you, TakingBackMyLife. Even your name…gives me strength. HUGS!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. ” Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”………Adultery hurts, even when we don’t know the innocent spouse. Reading your great post makes us hurt for her. So very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remember being so surprised at what I could now ‘see’ going on around me. The telltale signs become so very obvious. It is heartbreaking. I do think you need to take care before engaging with a stranger. I believe in speaking up, but your safety is important. I’m so glad your husband was waiting for you. Hugs, Jules

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for asking. Our daughter’s wedding is upon us. Very busy, but still pretty flatline about the festivities. I hope it doesn’t all show up during the ceremony! Thankfully I do love the young man she is marrying, and I do know they are entering with eyes wide open. Perhaps that is the silver lining in being honest with our kids. They’ve seen devastation and rebuilding. Hope you are well! – Jules

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes…it is a big silver lining, at least we are hoping… Our daughter’s wedding was 16 months after final DDay. We told her we would pay for her wedding with one caveat…that she and her fiance attend the weekend that we had attended that is typically for married people. They reluctantly agreed, however as the weekend unfolded, they became more and more grateful to have attended. We have the joy of watching them start their marriage so much better equipped than we were, and aware of pitfalls along with past patterns that could trip them up individually, or as a couple. I hope the wedding goes well…please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support!! susan@unboundedlife.org

          Liked by 2 people

  10. To stop it, the wife either plays detective and confronts or someone gets it leaked. There are a few safe opportunities to anonymously send a message. I rather believe in the open and honest method.I will tell, but probably not a stranger.
    At a workshop I asked who wants to be told and ALL wanted to be told. When I asked who would tell, many put their hands down. So is society…
    Of course we want the wife to know….but the harm has been done..it cannot be undone. It is too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does suck. But HUSBAND’s response was a smooth salve on the wound. Hard to believe he is the same man who could have cheated again and again…but he works on his new man every day. For that…I am grateful. HUGS.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What is seen can never been unseen, yet before it you are blind. Personally I hate the me before, the me that was naive enough to be blind. I hate that I will never be that blind and naive again, but I’m also grateful – irony?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This was so hard for me to read. As have been the stories of so many others. In some ways I feel like I’m reliving my story and I ache for you and this man’s wife. As I have tried to be present for other women in my real life I find myself re-experiencing my own hurt. I also now struggle with books or movies that detail affairs. I am grateful for the way your husband responded. I wonder when the day will come that this won’t have such a visceral affect on us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder that also. In a way, as painful as it is, I hope not. I hope that I remain stunned, saddened and grieving. But I also hope the subculture that is so present has light poured on it so others, too, can see. Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Can fully relate to this post. After my D Day #1 I looked around at others and for some reason a lot of couples looked unhappy and distant…as if they too were going through what we were going through. I sat next to this man at a dinner party and he was messaging someone and sharing a pic of himself in the black tie suit…and I had thought to myself…”him too?!”…of course I may have only assumed this because I was in that state of mind. I feel like we are all walking around with this imaginary scarlet letter “A” lingering above our heads. Indicating that we are all Affair Affected souls! The good, the bad and the ugly!

    Liked by 1 person

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