That best friend.

The collateral damage from betrayal is an odd an inconsistent thing. As the months wore on in New Marriage History, there were additional peripheral discoveries that sliced off little pieces of my heart and forced responses.

The life-long best friend of HUSBAND had planned a visit to our home while the last affair was in progress. We had traded dates, and shared excitement at his upcoming visit. The trip included fishing with HUSBAND and two of our sons. At the last minute, it was interrupted due to a serious illness within best friend’s family. During the year of the affair, best friend intermittently sent me encouraging facebook messages which I happily responded to.

HUSBAND had promised me that no one knew of his affairs…any of the affairs…NO ONE, ANYTIME. Anyone who has been cheated on understands the multiple layers of pain and of shame and of embarrassment and of anger and of disbelief and of so many other things. I took comfort that no one knew…that at least HUSBAND had kept his filth to himself.

But…HUSBAND told me that he HAD let best friend know that our marriage was in a tough place, and he wasn’t sure we were going to make it. Per HUSBAND, he had asked best friend about his divorce and best friend had STRONGLY encouraged him to work out our marriage at all costs…that divorce SUCKS and that “we could work through anything.” I was grateful for best friend’s support of our marriage, and sent him a facebook message saying “I know HUSBAND shared we had been going through a tough time. Thank you for your faithfulness…for being a rock for him in hard times…for your encouragement. Not sure if it’s possible, but we are trying to work toward reconciliation…” He’d responded with words of warmth and reassurance about our love for each other, and our future. I was thankful for best friend.

A couple weeks later, out of the clear blue, best friend sent HUSBAND an email suggesting HUSBAND come up for a visit for a few days…to get away and get his head cleared. He even went so far as to say that he would pay for the flight, and that he wouldn’t “corrupt HUSBAND’s morals.” Here came that niggling feeling again…

So predictably, over the next few weeks, it came out that best friend was a confidante for HUSBAND’s slime, a safe place for both HUSBAND and SW to go with their thoughts, feelings and plans for the future. That best friend was the one who “sent HUSBAND that shirt” and willingly became the standard cover. That best friend, opening a new company, had invited HUSBAND and me to attend the festivities and let HUSBAND know if I could not attend, SW was welcome too. SERIOUSLY? That best friend was sending me sweet little facebook messages and planning to come stay at my home and go fishing with my sons and meanwhile, that best friend was complicit in the fucking AFFAIR my husband was having with the slut-whore? That best friend sent HUSBAND and email, months after the affair was in the open, saying “contact me asap on the D.L. It’s impotant to you.” I saw the email. HUSBAND called that best friend in front of me, and that best friend said SW had reached out to him the night before and asked him if loved her. IF HE LOVED HER. GOD IT JUST DOESN’T END! The pain of betrayal RIPPED through my entire being all over again. HUSBAND had allowed me to, not only believe that best friend was supportive of our marriage, and an encouragement when HUSBAND was in the dark-fantasy fog of affairdom, but he sat right there and let me send him a thank you. A THANK YOU.

The utter and complete humiliation of it all. The SHAME cloaked me in a bizarre combination of guttural despair and bellicose fury. Somehow this went beyond just the abhorrent indignation of my own betrayal, it now involved best friend and his willingness to be part of my life, our family’s life, while harboring the dark secret of treachery. Oh. The pain.

That best friend. Collateral damage.

 

 

 

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Night of Hell…Digging MATTERS…and Morning Has Broken…

We continued our journey of New Marriage History. HUSBAND and I went to counseling and due to my undefined, niggling sense he agreed to reach out to another local therapist who had a reputation for getting to the heart of things. We went, told our story, got some encouragement that we were approaching things right and decided to embark on a “marriage intensive”  (a two-day marathon session of delving deep into our marriage…HUSBAND, me, counselor) in early June.

At the initial session with new therapist a couple things happened…therapist looked HUSBAND in the eye and said, “have you told her everything?” Yes, Yes, Yes HUSBAND declared with emphasis, looking pleadingly into the eyes of the counselor.

For Memorial Weekend, we went to spend a couple days at our ranch. On the road to the lodge, I gasped when I saw three young deer right in the middle of the road. The elusive creatures were not usually so bold…we stopped the car…I took pictures before they bounded away. I saw it as a sign…we were healing…seeing things we hadn’t seen before…

We settled in the lodge in the late afternoon, drinking craft beer and eating munchies while watching soccer on the big screen and I typed away in my journal where I worked out feelings and kept timelines and compared what I knew to what I didn’t know. Here came another question…was she ever with you when you bought condoms (because he had answered 13 times previously that of course he always wore condoms). One time, he answered. Which time, I asked. The last time, he answered. After you picked her up from the airport, at that little quick-stop place, I asked. Yes, he answered. Did she go in with you, I asked? No, I told her I was going to run in and get some water, he answered.

At that point, the game ended and he walked out to the porch, working on a broken floor plank. I continued to journal, and then BOOM.

This might be a little hard to follow, but THIS IS WHY…FOR ME….FOR US…DIGGING MATTERS. I’d seen a video message SW recorded to him right before coming to town the last time and she’d said, “Don’t forget my cup, and a tshirt to sleep in.” I’d asked him what cup…WHAT CUP…and he had told me the cup he’d taken with him, filled with ice water (and a matching one for him). He’d also declared over and over that he’d worn condoms, and I asked crazy questions like how many did he buy and he’d answered he bought 4-packs and when we were at Walmart, I noticed that condoms did not come in 4-packs, but I hadn’t said anything at that time although it was bugging me. And suddenly, it all came together for me, and I knew that he wouldn’t have stopped at the quick mart and said he was getting water, BECAUSE HE HAD BROUGHT WATER FOR EACH OF THEM AND IT WAS IN CUPS IN THE CUP HOLDERS AND I KNEW HE’D LIED AGAIN. I ran outside where he was working on the plank and I screamed

YOU LIED TO ME! YOU LIED TO ME AGAIN!

He looked completely and utterly shocked and said about what? What are you talking about?

AND I SCREAMED (THIS IS ALL CAPS BECAUSE I WAS SCREAMING…LOSING MY MIND…) YOU DIDN’T WEAR CONDOMS! YOU LIED! YOU DIDN’T WEAR CONDOMS DID YOU?

And he was pale and looked awful and guilty and shitty and he answered No. No. I didn’t wear condoms. I never wore condoms. And I lied to you about something else.

OH MY GOD! WHAT ELSE DID YOU LIE ABOUT? (SCREAMING…MY GUTS WERE SPILLING OUT OF MY SOUL THROUGH MY MOUTH IN CRIES AND WAILS) DON’T YOU SEE THAT YOU AND THE SLUT ARE ON THE SAME TEAM AND BY LYING YOU HAVE LEFT ME ON THE OTHER TEAM???? IT IS THE TWO OF YOU OVER HERE AND ME OVER THERE??? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS???

His voice raised a little, to almost a panic…the hotel…the hotel…we didn’t stay at XX hotel, we stayed at YY hotel…and I did pay for it…

This started an evening of utter and complete and devastating hell in which hour by hour, HUSBAND revealed one incident…that’s it, no really, now you know everything, that’s it…and then another incident…and another incident…I vacillated between tears and fetal positions and pounding him with my fists and threatening him with losing his reputation and his children and his stuff. All night. By 5:00 am, we sat across from each other on two couches and he drifted off to sleep and I typed furiously in my journal. By this time, I knew that the one-night stand with SW 25 years previously had actually been an affair that included him cooking her dinner at her apartment, sneaking off to fuck on our boat, meeting her for drinks at the local beach hotspot and the crowning glory of revelations…he had flown her to be with him on a business trip/convention in New Orleans. While lying in bed with her, he’d rolled over, called me and told me Happy Valentine’s Day…I love you…and I thanked him for the roses he’d sent. Apparently that hurt her little slut-whore sensitivities, because that was when SW-1 (as I now refer to that first affair) ended.

So about 6:00 am, I’d written SW a scathing email (remember my gracious initial letter to the slut?), challenging her with the filthy and vile actions that she had engaged in with a new marriage…one in which SHE HAD ATTENDED THE WEDDING…and ending with I was praying for her soul…

I moved to a chair next to HUSBAND’s couch and said his name. He looked up at me, groggy, and I said I NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO THIS AND MAKE SURE I HAVE NOT MIS-STATED ANYTHING…and I read the email that covered all the incidents (briefly…I just was DESPERATE for her to know that I knew it all now – that she had NO SECRETS with him any more). He confirmed yes…I said I’m NOT ASKING THIS TIME…and I pressed send.

At that point, I started crying, sitting on that chair. And he got up and stood in front of me, looking forlorn as he had the whole night, no tears, but regretful and I looked up…and I said, You don’t love me, do you? He answered softly, I don’t know what I feel…I don’t know anything…

So I stood up, closed my computer, and softly said, “well…it’s time to close this chapter of our lives…this marriage. I’m going to shower, and then move on without you.” I walked to the bedroom quietly, calmly, and heard HUSBAND walk out the front door.

I began to undress, start the shower.

And I had an unbelievable prompting to go out to him. It was from my soul, from God, and I answered no. No God. I am at peace. I tried. Your Word tells me I can leave this marriage, and I’m at peace now doing so.

Go. GO. And I knew from deep inside that it wasn’t about me anymore.

So I put my clothes back on and walked outside. HUSBAND was there, sitting on a rocker, looking like living hell. I honestly can’t explain how/what happened next, but I sat down on the rocker next to him, and touched his arm (I had not allowed him to touch me all night except when I was hitting him). His head was dropped, he stared at this knees. Tell me the rest, I said softly.

I can’t, he answered. You will hate me.

I won’t hate you, I answered. Just tell me.

No. I can’t hurt you like that, he whispered.

Look at me…I am at peace…I’m covered in the Holy Spirit. HUSBAND, tell me.

I asked him to pray, he tried, he couldn’t. He asked me to pray for him, I did. I have no idea what I said. I have no idea how I was sitting there, or what words were coming out of my mouth, or how I was looking at his face.

And he said, ok. I will tell you. And he told me about a whole additional affair that lasted a year with a coworker. He told me about a one-night stand with a whore. And he broke…he sobbed…he cried out from such a deep place how very sorry he was. He reached for me and we held each other in a sweaty, tear-covered embrace as his body shook.

HIS STORY: HUSBAND later shared with me that when he fell into the sleep on the couch, he began to have a dream-like conversation with two entities. The first said, TELL HER. The second said, No way…don’t tell her…she already knows as much as she needs to know. The other voice said, Tell her everything. The second voice said, She is going to divorce you anyway, she doesn’t need to know it all. The other voice said, Do you know who I am? And husband said, Yes. And that voice said, Then Trust Me.

At that moment, I called his name and he woke and looked up. He said that where I was sitting on the chair and the way the rising sun reflected I looked like an angel. And he knew what he had dreamed was true. But he couldn’t do it then. He couldn’t tell me everything then. But he knew he needed to, he had to, more for HIM than for ME.

So…for us…DIGGING MATTERS. HUSBAND will tell you that if I hadn’t dug, and questioned and kept asking, he would have continued to hide and lie and cover truth justifying it that it was saving me from more pain. But the truth of the lies is they had a hold on him. A dreadful and complete and utter hold. HUSBAND had “confessed” his early transgression with someone one time, BUT NEVER TOLD ME, AND NEVER REALLY DEALT WITH IT. It stayed hidden, deep in his soul, calling at him, taunting him until this night of hell that turned into a day of glory as the sun rose in a magnificent fashion all around and we were one step closer to freedom.

Trickling…and why digging matters

ComfortwithLie

April 29: and the overwhelming urge to check HUSBAND’s computer again and finding the poem and letter and HUSBAND ironically deciding “our marriage can work” and then learning that I knew he was a liar and a cheat –

One day. That happened in one day. Actually, in just a few hours.

After I finally began to get out of my bedroom and step toes into the world, it looked so different. The sky was a different color, people’s voices were not the same. Every conversation I had with every person it was like there was one of those bubbles over my head that said WAIT A MINUTE! DON’T YOU KNOW? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MY HUSBAND IS A FUCKING CHEATER AND I AM A BETRAYED SPOUSE? I DON’T CARE-I CAN’T CARE-ABOUT YOUR LAWN GETTING A DISEASE OR YOUR FRIEND’S PREDICAMENT OR ANYTHING. I’VE BEEN BETRAYED. I felt like it showed on my body or my face, like my walk was different and the proverbial red letter was boldly imprinted on my chest. STUPID. DUPED. BETRAYED.

But that isn’t how it went. The world did not stop. No one knew, no one cared, nothing changed, really.

Life just went on.

I had begun to breathe again, but had absolutely no idea of how to go on. The basis of everything in my world was shattered, no foundation, no undergirding upon which to stand. So for me, it made sense to begin to dig deep, to search for the foundation, to try to figure out what, if anything, was real.

INSERT SIDEBAR: Counselor one whom we had been meeting with prior to initial disclosure was fabulous. Although I did not want to tell him 24 hours after discovery because I was too emotional, too raw to even venture to speak the words to an outsider, we did share in the next session. His response was to say “OK. This changes everything.” He looked me in the eye and asked me if I wanted to stay married and I said I. DON’T. KNOW. He affirmed that response, and told me it was a healthy response.

Yay me. Something healthy in the midst of all things destroyed.

He then went on to say the first step regardless of what the long term outcome was for the marriage was for me to feel safe. He looked at HUSBAND and said from this point forward, it was all up to me. I got to make all the rules, and if HUSBAND did not like it, he could make his own decisions. Our counselor told me to make lists that included what I was sad about, what I was mad about and what I needed to begin to feel safe. He then worked with us to clarify the feelings, and to sort through feeling safe. He helped us understand I was not prying, or being mean, or seeking to punish (although that is a tough line not to cross sometimes) but I NEEDED TO FEEL SAFE. 

Our counselor helped both of us realize that my entire understanding of life, of reality, for at least our marriage had been shattered, and that is the definition of trauma. He helped us realize that recovery for me, personally, would be difficult and for our couplehood, was absolutely NOT a given. He helped us understand that trauma recovery often involves three different kinds of symptoms:

  • Reliving the trauma in some way such as becoming upset when confronted with a traumatic reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do something else – TRIGGERS
  • Either staying away from places or people that remind you of the trauma, isolating from other people, or feeling numb
  • Feeling on guard, irritable, or startling easily

What I later came to understand is that HUSBAND was deeply in the fog on April 12 when SID BREEZE sent the anonymous email and HUSBAND vehemently denied any affair, but admitted being unhappy and wanting a divorce. Those next 17 days, prior to real Discovery, HUSBAND was still planning to exit our marriage, connect with SW and ride off into the sunset (literally, read the letter). I was oblivious that he was still seeking connection with her during that time, desperate almost to not lose this fantasy lover that would take him down the path of happiness and love (actually death and destruction) for the remainder of his life. BUT THE FOG LIFTED…and by the time real disclosure happened, HUSBAND was shaking the remnants of shit off his body and was all in to help me recover and save our marriage. How did he demonstrate that?

I asked endless, seriously ENDLESS, questions. He patiently and consistently answered. I asked the same question again and again…but are you SURE that you didn’t have sex with her in the car when you saw her in August? Are you SURE you didn’t take off your wedding ring when you were with her? Are you SURE you wore a condom every time you had sex? Are you SURE you didn’t give her a Christmas present? Are you SURE she didn’t wear pretty lingerie? And though he answered patiently, I continued digging and searching and one by one, little things began to be S-L-I-G-H-T-L-Y different than he had said. I found a receipt for a watch he’d purchased…clearly delivered to her name and address…on December 23…so you DID GET HER A CHRISTMAS PRESENT? YOU ARE A FUCKING LIAR!!! YOU ARE A LIAR!!! WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL ME THE TRUTH???

And I wailed in grief and pain as the knife of betrayal and deception went in again and again and again as I uncovered these little lies. Each one was a setback to healing, to finding a place of sanity.

On May 13, he drove me to work. HUSBAND was so possessive at that time, hardly letting me out of his sight. On the way there, he talked about the speed with which he was realizing how precious our life and love was, and how empty and false everything with SW was. An illusion, a fantasy, and one in which he’d played a willing role but how he was quickly wondering how and why he had ever gone there. And again, I asked a question…are you sure you didn’t have sex when you met her in August at the restaurant? Even oral sex? No! NO! Hmmmm…so hard to believe…but okay.

That night, we sat on our bed, and I read him another article I’d uncovered. An article written by a psychologist who’d treated 1000’s of wayward men, and he created a “compilation” of a cheater and the progression of an affair. Along the way, HUSBAND several times acknowledged how on-target the descriptions were – oh, yes – that was me – wow.

At the end, he took my hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.”

My heart beat, I wanted to hear, I didn’t want to hear, I could not take more, but had to know all.

Ok.

“Remember when I did not come home after my ten year reunion when we’d been married about two years?” I stared at him blankly, desperately trying to remember. Reunion. Ten years. Right, we had a 8 month-old baby, and HUSBAND had gone fishing that day, telling me he’d be home by noon. Instead, he’d returned far later leaving only a short time to shower and change and head out-and he was drunk. I was angry. I chose not to go with him. I remember he’d come home very late. Very late. Like 4-5 am late, telling me he was so drunk, he’d slept in his car in the parking garage rather than risk a DUI.

I stared longer. And then I said, I asked, I pleaded…”Were you with HER?”

His answer/non answer gave me the truth. How, where, when? He told me a group of them went up to her hotel room after the reunion and one by one they left, drinking, and then before he knew it there he was with her and they were and really all he remembers is waking up in her bed. And he threw his clothes on and came home.

What else. WHAT ELSE is there?

Well…I did have sex with her when she came in August. I spent the night at a hotel with her in Palatka. I told you I was going hunting…AND I TOLD YOU HOW WEIRD THAT WAS…ASKED YOU WHY WHEN IT WAS SO HOT…you looked at me like I was crazy and told me of course you were hunting it was opening weekend for private preserves and you always hunted that weekend…

More. HUSBAND said there was more. He went to Cherokee, NC with her in July. My head was spinning, my mind was SCREAMING how??? How would I not have known? Cherokee??? What???? And HUSBAND said, “when I took SON-3 on the college recruiting trip…I dropped him off…and went and met with SW.”

As I write these words, I go back to the place of sheer and utter horror that those moments brought. The tender wound that had such a tiny amount of healing was RIPPED OPEN AND EXPOSED AND ALL THE GUTS WERE GUSHING OUT. And now, now I realized he USED OUR SON to carry on his filth. I wailed, curled back up in a ball, and wondered how I could close my eyes and never open them again.

25 years of betrayal. TWENTY. FIVE. YEARS. This man had been deceiving me for 25 years, and the same woman he fucked when we had been married two years, he had fucked when we’d been married 27 years. The high school whore had been interwoven in our lives for the whole of our marriage.

 

 

 

 

Trying for Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving. One thing I am absolutely thankful for is this community of insight, support and mutual journeys. You all are a beautiful group of people…I am unabashedly grateful and thankful for you. But on other fronts, on the relationship with my husband front, there are so many things running through my head…so many thoughts.

Thanksgiving, 2013, was magical for me. I actually posted on social media…”everyone I love is right here in this room!” with a picture attached of the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. HUSBAND was prominent in the photo…having just taken the huge bird out of the oven…and all four of our children were in various stages of food prep assistance, along with some of the grandparents and a visiting friend from France. It was a year I went all out with decorating, with food, with goodwill. My heart was FULL…so full…it felt like it just might burst with love and thankfulness. It would end up being my father’s last Thanksgiving…the last year he would sit at the seat he’d occupied on special occasions for 27 years. He had mustered up strength that day, and joined in the conversation and laughter. We ended the day with a series of pictures outside…all of our children…HUSBAND and me…I was happy, content and thankful.

How different, Thanksgiving, 2014. That day, I recalled the images of the year prior, going back on FB and IG and trying to remember the love, the trust, the naive belief that I had a husband who, despite his emotional distance, loved me and loved our family and loved us. It was a shattering experience trying to figure out how he could have smiled for the camera, and prayed for our meal, and acted like a part of a system of commitment and love when between moments he was texting SW and negotiating when and how he could make a call to her.

I wrote, last year in 2014, in my journal about the difficulty trying to integrate the two realities…the reality that I lived and believed and the reality that was happening despite my lack of knowing. The words are piercing, painful. But here they are, from my journal:

Oh, my aching soul. It has dulled some, but it is aching so badly. I can’t believe that the last Thanksgiving I will ever have on this earth with my dad, and all my babies here, is now tainted with the reality that HUSBAND was in love with another woman. He was here, but not HERE. He was sitting in his chair, cutting the turkey, helping serve, saying the prayer. But he was not present. He was thinking of HER. Of SW, the woman who had niggled her way into our lives again and again and again. The woman that I did not even know about.

How is that? How is it that he could be so involved with her, spending hours every day in communication or pursuit of communication with her and I did not know? How could he have sent hundreds of pictures and videos to someone and I was absolutely CLUELESS? Am I just so stupid? And he never mentioned her? Accidentally, whether he wanted to or not? So as he had these regular, constant intense conversations with her and they discussed things…vacations…marinas…next steps in life…personal faith…weather in respective cities…work…old high school friends…health…suicide…ancestry…  HOW DID HE NOT SLIP UP AND MENTION HER? Or things related to her? That is one of the things that puzzles me most, and worries me most. He was so incredibly good at deception and hiding.

So what the hell makes me think he can’t do it again? Or isn’t right now?

I sat around my dining room table last Thanksgiving looking at my family and thinking that my problems were few, and only financial pressure. That otherwise, we had love. We had unity. We had peace. Mom. Dad (no longer with us). Sister. Brother. Niece. Nephew. HUSBAND. Me. Son1. Daughter. Son2. Son3. Friends. And yet, SW was sitting right there at the table with us and I DID NOT KNOW. How can that be? How can it be that HUSBAND was anxious to speak with her, to connect with her and I did not know?

I see the pictures of myself from Thanksgiving 2013 – from the whole time period of his affair with SW, and know I was completely and utterly unaware that my husband was figuring out times and ways to meet with that slut-whore and get his penis hard and stick it in her. I picture the act between them – her grasping at him, him kissing her breasts, the entry and the motion. The aftermath. Did they cuddle? Did he say comforting and nice things to her? Was it all sexual…and what is that like? Do you say things like you do me like no one else? Your body is so hot and makes me hotter than anything? How do you edify the filth? How do you come home, or inside the house, or from a tryst and talk normally? Ask about my day? Meet me at a soccer game? Cook dinner, or sit at the table?

HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW

I just don’t know if I can keep on keeping on.

HUSBAND is so tender, and so kind now. But this all still exists, and is still present. And I don’t know how to make it go away.

Trying to figure out how to have a Happy Thanksgiving, but am not there yet.

I made sure that HUSBAND and I are making new and very distinct memories now. This year, we are 800 miles away from home, traveling in the mountains with two of our four kids…and I am trying hard to pretend that those nasty thoughts are far away. But truth is, there are triggers everywhere. Triggers in the names of places that now have double-meanings. Triggers in a book displayed at a bookstore. Triggers in a type of cup. So, 800 miles and a year and seven months later, I’m still trying to figure out how to have a Happy Thanksgiving. But I am not there. Yet.

 

Comparing Moments of Betrayeds and Betrayers

What He Said Before the affair was uncovered:

Yes, I spoke with another woman. About us. About me. About being miserable and wanting more. I did NOT have an affair. I did NOT sleep with her. I did think about it, but I couldn’t do that. I was going to tell you I wanted a divorce, one morning, drinking coffee with you, after our son graduates in a few weeks.

What He Said Between the mini DDay (as affair partners call partial DDays) and real Discovery:

Yes, I will go to counseling. I want to figure out how I got to this place. I’m not committed to you, or to our marriage. I don’t think I want to go forward. But I am committed to a process of figuring things out. You are the better part of this marriage. You would be better off without me.

(MY THOUGHTS: Such a lie…I had spent more than half my existence with HUSBAND, had 27 years of shared life with him and our children. I was caring for a dying father, had a mountain of debt, little savings and a job that depended on government funding that could go away at a moment’s notice. BE VERY CLEAR: I would not be better off without him, and if he left me, it would be abandonment plain & simple. He would be walking out on me at a time when things were very precarious – a time when we could begin to enjoy some freedom together and pay attention again to ourselves, and to US. I would be devastated in every way. There was no part of my life that would be better without him – maybe HIS life would be better, and if so, he should be honest with himself).

What I DID Between mini DDAY and real Discovery:

I beat myself up for how hard I had been on HUSBAND. He had floundered a couple times, professionally, and my career continued to soar. While I did not throw it in his face in obvious ways, there were moments and decisions and directions and ways that I communicated my disappointment. I had told him I was lonely in our marriage…his walled up self would respond “I’ll do better…” As he wanted me less and less physically and I died a little more inside, I responded in anger with bitter words. Yes…I was to blame. SIGH.

Along with self-blame, I began to dig…he had given me access to his computer and to his phone, and I looked several times. I found some subtle things that began to cast doubt about whether he’d told me the whole truth about the dinner incident…that his find-a-phone had been turned off the night she came to town. That he’d “spent the night at the ranch” and not told me, but called my mom at the last minute to let her know so she didn’t worry. Since my mom was at the hospital with my dad all night, that left our son home ALONE…something we had never done through four children. NEVER. But when I questioned him, he met every question with a (sort of) consistent response. I had niggles of doubt, but no way. This man was always upfront, I could tell if he was lying, he wasn’t clever enough to make this stuff up.

And I RESEARCHED. I began the research with the impact of divorce on adult children, and was astounded to find heartfelt blogs and articles and quotes from children of later divorce who were still struggling five, seven…ten years after their parents’ divorce. My heart broke as I read words from these wounded people who spoke of “not knowing if their entire life was a façade…” I yearned to tell our kids, to gather them in my mommy arms and let them know that for me, it WAS NEVER A LIE. That I loved being their Dad’s wife, and their mom. I loved hanging out in our rental condo at the beach, watching movies on the king-size bed. I loved going to soccer games and ballet recitals. I loved college trips and going to our dear friends’ beach house and learning to play Mexican Train dominoes and having two Christmas trees some years. I loved going to our ranch and building a fire in the pit. I loved having the Party Ponies and the Snake Man and a crazy big ‘ole train for birthday parties at our first house and our second house. I loved Easter egg hunts in our yard, pictures in the park and Church and family nights with our closest friends. I loved going on boat rides on any boat with HUSBAND at the helm and our kiddos on deck. I loved watching them play on their riding toys on our big driveway and DAUGHTER singing in her loudest voice as she swung to MARS! I loved our first house and I loved our second house…loved chipping paint off and repainting and hanging cabinets and tearing down walls and building new walls and putting up trim and making it a home. Our Home.  For me-it was ALL REAL.

What HE DID Between mini DDAY and real Discovery:

What I knew – HUSBAND was gentle. He answered questions when asked. Over and over he said he’d not had an affair and that he was just approaching middle-age and thought there should be more. He told me gently that I was a great mother, and had always been supportive. He reached for me, at night, and by day was thoughtful in small ways that he had not been in years. But he was guarded, and distant in a way I could not pinpoint.

Later, I would find out that he was mourning…he was in a fog…THE fog. He was searching for his affair partner on social media, hoping she would be getting messages to him, hoping she decided to come to town as she had mentioned. They were in contact some, carefully, as he carried out their plan: NO CONTACT (which turned out to be low contact) while he got me off the trail, went to counseling where we would discover there was nothing left for us to try and MUTUALLY agree to part. And that months after we were in the divorce process, he would “run into” SW. They’d hit it off…you know…old friends and all that…and that way our kids would not blame her for our divorce…nor his family…nor our friends…

Why This Matters:

As I floundered through this process, I wanted to know what it should look like, what it should feel like. I wanted to know the “STANDARD” for how to deal with affairs, for what my actions and words should be and what his should be. I found many sources that talk about one side, or the other, but little that dealt with both – their journey – and gave insight into the heart, mind and actions of both the betrayed and the betrayer.

If it helps one betrayed spouse to hear my story, our story, then that’s why this matters. If one woman whose heart is now ripped in little pieces and strewn across years and memories can get an ounce of sanity or hope from my words, that’s why it matters.

I am NOT pretending to have any insight into illicit affairs other than that of my own marriage. But I can, with honesty and authority, share my story. Gratefully, as you may have noticed when HUSBAND commented on my last entry, I am sharing OUR STORY. He may choose, from time to time, to write on this blog. We are devoted to healing, we are on a journey of wholeness and we are not ashamed to share it – the filthy and ugly and scary and disgusting and deceiving  – and then, the baby steps and small gestures and breakthroughs and stitching and healing – if there is ANY WAY it can help even one person. That is why it matters.

New Marriage History

In the first 24 hour darkness of Discovery, I searched out articles and help between tears and journaling and begging for answers and digging for information.

Somewhere, someone said that no matter what happened after infidelity was discovered, the story of your marriage was irrevocably changed. That you would forever have a new history, regardless of whether your marriage survived or not. That day, my journal became Day 1 – New Marriage History.

So on Day 1 of New Marriage History I asked HUSBAND to write an email to SW telling her I KNEW, and that IT WAS OVER. As I look back, it was hard for him to write that email. Hard to get the wording just right…that struggle was so difficult as my gut told me he was trying not to hurt her – NOT. TO. HURT. HER. I was buried in a mound of pain and he did not want to hurt this WHORE – oh, the bleeding just didn’t stop. I had written her a letter in the wee hours of the morning…after reading and re-reading and re-reading and then speaking from memory the letter I had found from her…I wrote a response. HUSBAND attached it to the NO CONTACT email and I felt better as he pressed send. But not really.

Here is the email, followed by my letter to SW:

From: HUSBAND/HUSBANDS EMAIL
Date: Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 8:01 AM
Subject: finality
To: SW/Slut-Whore (her name and email)

SW,

I’m sitting here with MY NAME-WIFE, our affair is in the open. I’m attaching a letter which we felt was important to deliver to you. I have realized through this painful process how wrong I was to go down this path with you. I have realized how precious my marriage is and I am dedicated to restoring it.

I am sorry, this is a terrible situation for all of us. Please honor this decision and there will be no contact in the future.

HUSBAND

Next is the letter- the attachment to the email above – which I wrote to the whore eleven hours after discovering my husband was a liar. A cheater. A deceiver and had ripped out every fiber of my heart and soul. It is a direct response to SW’s letter to HUSBAND which I had found, and had been the beginning of the truth. Reading this now, it is obvious I was in utter shock, and I have no idea how I found these words.

April 30, 2014

Dear SW,

It’s 2:20 am and I’m wondering if you are sitting up unable to sleep and thinking of HUSBAND. My husband. That’s what I’m doing.

You see today I got some information sent to me and the details of your affair were relayed. I know about the trip to Palatka and FB messages and FB message calls. I know about talking about divorce and talking about marriage and deciding to stop and starting again. And I know about the trip to Fernandina and the sex you two shared. I know about more texting and calls, and an email HUSBAND received from Sid Breeze.  And I know your affair with my husband continued, and then I know that you know I got an email from Sid Breeze and HUSBAND shared with you that he was going to go to counseling and work on our marriage. And that you two needed to stop, but you still didn’t for 3 more weeks. And then I know you sent him a letter with your thoughts, so now I want to tell you some things you probably don’t know.

When you came to our wedding on October XX, 19XX, HUSBAND and I were very in love. The kind of love you describe in your letter to HUSBAND regarding the wedding you attended that brought you to tears so many times.  The kind of love that (to quote you) “obviously and boundlessly in love with each other, and no doubt, they will be together for eternity…” That was us, and that was what we believed. Life happens, and families happen, and job loss happens, and sickness happens, and school plays happen and soccer trips happen and caretaking happens and economic hardship happens and holidays happen and…the love doesn’t die. It doesn’t stop. Sometimes it gets a bit hidden under the heap of life-stuff, but it is there. And in some bizarre way, I thank you for your affair with my husband, because it slowed us down and got us to really look deeply into each other’s eyes and to see the incredible bond, the covenant, the love, the commitment, the forever.

Now about a few other things in your letter. First, I pledge to not trash you on facebook, linkedin or any other electronic means. I won’t go to your employer. Frankly, I don’t care about you, and if you are prone to this behavior, at some point some very nasty woman won’t deal with you with the same class and deference that I will. I do ask that you never contact my husband again. In any manner, for any reason.

Next, you mention a little piece about God and him knowing what you have done. This is true. I hope you find God’s forgiveness and healing, and I hope you show your love for God in the future by honoring commitments that He is also a part of. That is what the covenant of marriage is, SW. God is part of the whole deal. Your affair with my husband was sin against God, not me or the rest of my family although we are devastated and certainly affected. If you think you believe in God, please spend some time getting to know him, and next time you are faced with the temptation to get in the midst of someone’s relationship, flee as far and as fast as you can.

You mention that the bride and groom were “meant to be together.” For a woman your age, you seem to have a misguided understanding of love. I knew a couple once who were “meant to be together” as they stood up at the altar and declared for better or for worse. Two days later, on their honeymoon, a car crash resulted in the groom becoming a quadriplegic for life. The kind of love that stays the course in a situation like that is not the “we are meant to be together” kind. It is the I CHOOSE LOVE kind. And when YOU CHOOSE LOVE what happens is that despite the bad or the hard or the messy or the dirty or the painful you find each other all over again. That is real love. That is enduring love. That is the love that HUSBAND and I share.

A few general comments on pieces of your letter:

  • You won’t be marrying my husband in Montana and riding away on horses wearing jeans into the sunset. We hope you can do that with a single man you discover.
  • The things HUSBAND told you ten and six and even one month ago were momentary and not true. That’s what happens sometimes when we get caught up in something. We find ourselves acting and saying and doing things that are out of sync for us and for our dreams and visions. The assurances that you heard were those of a man doing something that he was not proud of and that he now regrets.
  • Please do not cling to hope of a life with my husband. He is a fantastic man, a great lover, a terrific dad, and wonderful person and we are so thrilled he loves us. Be very clear, SW – there is a whole family system involved and you can’t pull away one little piece without damaging the whole, and we are all committed to the wellbeing of each other.
  • In terms of your saying, “I don’t want to be that person.” Well, you are that person. You are the woman who had an affair with a married man, with my husband, with the father of my children. It’s pretty fantastic that you would even say this from where I’m sitting.
  • While you thank HUSBAND for “awakening love in you,” I’m pretty confident it isn’t the kind of love that will take you where you want to go.
  • HUSBAND and I have been to some far away places, and plan to go to more. We also love hanging around watching futbol and football and will visit our son at college games this coming fall. We often watch movies…together and with all the kids or whoever else happens to be around piled in together. HUSBAND and I have been to some of the best restaurants in the world but I’m with you…anything cooked by HUSBAND is fantastic and I am thankful for his skill. HUSBAND and I have laid on a boat, looking at the stars, in St Augustine and Daytona and the Keys and the Bahamas. And we will not invite you to share in the starwatching in OUR backyard. We, too, love the simple things, including our family.
  • I’m pretty thankful you never met our kids. I don’t think it would have been a happy occasion.
  • I hope you will make a real effort to stop thinking about HUSBAND’s eyes, his voice, his touch, his kisses…all of him.
  • HUSBAND is thinking of you, and is not proud of what he did. I’m hoping both the memory and the cloud fades quickly.

In closing, SW, I love my husband with an undying love. I’m committed to him and together, we will do the hard work to not only have a good marriage, but to have a relationship that is tender, mutual, loving, strong, vital, real, honest, and honors God. We won’t be conversing in conversations that are erased daily and meeting in secret when we can get away with it, because we are married, we are love, and we are forever. Please honor this, and do not ever contact HUSBAND in any manner again. It would be best if you found someone else to be your Sunny Day.

My Name-WIFE

Hidden Threads

Once we got home on April 29, I immediately retreated to the bedroom. Fell onto the bed, cried deeply from places so buried I didn’t know they existed. I rejected touch…curled up tightly…sobbed. The night ran into the next day. Curled up, unable to sleep even a moment, but unable to go anywhere except in the cocoon of my bedroom. So many things were instinctual, guttural, unscripted reactions, yet through the next weeks as I found the sister-hood of betrayed spouses and read their words…their responses to this pain…I realized how very alike we move. I journaled, wrote SW a letter in the wee hours with HUSBAND sleeping next to me some, holding me close when I would let him. When he woke up, I asked him to let her know that he would never speak with her again (now I know this is called “no contact”) and he agreed…and then he listened to the words I wrote to her and his eyes filled with tears. And yes…he agreed to attach my letter to his NC email. At one point, he played my favorite movie ever…Life As A House…and we laid in each other’s arms remembering a happier time we had watched it…and we cried together and then, unbelievably, made love. I felt raped – I felt like SHE was there – but somehow I had to do this and I shuddered as my body betrayed my heart.

By afternoon, my eyes were blurry. I’d eaten a piece of toast and had one cup of coffee in two days. I was sick to my stomach. I had chest pain. I was distracted, couldn’t get any work done. I wept, then I began to get angry, then I began to get self-angry. How could I be so stupid? Now that I look at the phone bills, how did I not see? (In reality, I didn’t see because I didn’t look-completely trusted HUSBAND, never even occurred to me to check our phone bill). Beginning three days after the reunion, for the next several months before they started using FB message phone, there were 25, 35, 45, 55 minute calls nearly every day. Nearly every day. There are numerous at 7:00 pm or 7:00 am; there are some even as late as 9:30 pm. How was he making these calls? Where was he making these calls? And why did I not see this incredible pattern? Why am I so incredibly stupid?

Much of the day we went over various steps in their relationship, and the words they used to each other. SW told HUSBAND that he “deserved love and happiness, and that they were soul-mates.” She told him that they were “meant for each other” (echoed in her “parting” email—which was anything but parting). She had the audacity to post on FB in response to an article about a thief caught stealing that “he should be thrown to the sharks.” Seriously? This whore thinks she has moral authority to make a judgment on stealing? She was stealing my husband. She was stealing my children’s father. She stole our son’s senior year. She stole she stole she stole she stole she stole and I hate her. She is a liar. She filled HUSBAND with lies and empty promises that were urging him down a path of pain. AND HE WAS GOING TO GO. It was just unfathomable. I had many very angry moments…I felt so incredibly deceived and betrayed. Our intimacy had been astounding but today, I felt nothing. We fucked. I felt dirty. I felt used. I felt – actually I didn’t feel. I was so confused.

From my journal: God, I hope you are all over this. I need the groanings of the Holy Spirit right now. I need you to intercede and pray for me because I don’t even know what to pray, what to say. I don’t know what I want, I don’t know how to heal, if I can heal. I partly want to confront SW and I partly hope she dies. I hope she feels betrayed. I hope she knows that everything they “built” was just a bunch of bull shit. I want her to hurt. And I want HUSBAND to somehow make it all up to me. This is so hard. So hard. I’m not sure I can make it. I can’t breathe again. I can’t seem to find my way to the surface. My head is a jumble of nothingness and everythingness. I just want to curl up in a corner and go to sleep and never wake up. I’ve been so cheated…my last baby’s last year and this was ever-present. This was the distracting issue that was boiling beneath the surface at all times. HUSBAND was texting her at 5:30 in the morning when he woke up while sitting in the bathroom. He would text her with me sitting right next to him (FB text of course – no trace). He was texting her when sitting with his children. He texted her on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Christmas and New Years. He sent her flowers for her birthday. And do you know what else is insanity? SW has been with her live-in lover for 16 years. HE KNEW. Her Lover Knew. He was fighting to keep his relationship together with SW…and he knew that SW was dating a married man. MY HUSBAND. Oh this is all so incredibly sick. It is overwhelming and I’m just not sure what to do. Please God. Please God. Please God. Please God. Please God. Please God. Please God. Please God. Help.