Anatomy of Infidelity, Part 5

Just looking back through the life of my infidel…looking at gaps and patterns and moments and experiences and ways-of-living that could give us both clues into how. Into why. This isn’t a treatise for explaining cheating; rather a process of working through for both of us…so we never end up there again.

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Our wedding…was magnificent. Sort of.

At the time, it was everything I’d dreamed of. I wore a stunning dress and long-white gloves (it was a thing, honestly). My attendants looked gorgeous in their deep teal, ankle-length, satin dresses (that they could wear again – lol) and all the flowers were white, only white. The groomsmen looked distinguished in their black tuxedos, and the flowers…the setting…the band…the food…it was overwhelming. I remember looking at my dad and telling him I felt like a princess. Thank you.

I’m not sure why, but at the altar with my groom, I talked. I kept saying things like, “we are really doing this, getting married. Can you believe it?”

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I think the reality is I couldn’t believe it. I think maybe, deep down in my gut, there was a little turmoil that I just could not allow to come to the surface.

That blind eye thing…even though I couldn’t see it, my gut may have had some insight that just disconnected before it hit my cognitive faculties. It’s hard to go back here, it’s hard to admit. But if I am ever to heal, ever to ensure that I’d never be in the same position again, I have to go here. Putting it on paper and owning my silence…I’m trying to be kind to this girl. I hope you will be too.

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The first thing that I can now see that was really discordant but I just breezed right past at the time? HUSBAND and I had gone out of town together with friends for a couple days. When we got back to town, we went by his house where I had left my car. We walked inside and his roommate told us that he’d had an unexpected visitor the night before, actually, in the early morning hours. Seems HUSBAND’s former girlfriend that had once been his fiancé had been dropped off at the house expecting to slip into HUSBAND’s bed and resume their up/down relationship. Odd that she felt the freedom to show up. Show up and expect…but I justified it in my mind that they’d had such a pattern in the past…

Several weeks later, after HUSBAND had reportedly called former girl to tell her to never come by again…that it was permanently over, and he was moving on, he picked me up. We were headed to a ball game, and we always took his dog with us. When she wasn’t it the car, I asked where she was. To my great surprise, he told me former girl had her.

????Former girl, who doesn’t drive. Who he’d told there would be contact or ongoing anything????

He was surprised that I was uncomfortable with this. You see, they’d both loved the dog. The dog had been part of both their lives for the four years of off-again on-again relationship and he couldn’t really be expected to keep the dog from her, could he?

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After the ball game, he took me home and I didn’t say anything about the dog incident. I did, however, disappear for several days. This was pre cell phones, and I made sure my assistant answered my phone at work. I went to a friend’s to spend the night directly after work. On the third day I came home to my apartment, and he appeared within minutes. I explained that I was not interested in sharing him with another person. If he wanted an ongoing we-are-going-to-share-dog-time-or-any-other-time with her, then I was out. He pledged his heart and apologized and I thought she was gone for good.

And she was, until he told me a few days later that she thought she was pregnant. Ended up she wasn’t. And I just kept plugging along.

Another day we were relaxing in his home, talking about our upcoming wedding. HUSBAND then decided to let me know that he hadn’t paid his taxes for the last three years. BOOM. When I asked why, he boyishly explained he’d just not quite gotten ‘round to it. And what does any smart, confident, independent young woman do when she finds out such a thing? Surely, she insists that he get it straightened out immediately…that he cleans it up and files and deals with whatever penalties and interest and admonishments that may be due. Right?

That is unless she turns a blind eye…justifying that he isn’t as skilled in finances as she is…that he didn’t mean to do anything wrong. And then SHE promptly digs through the past years, gets all the information together on his behalf, gets it all cleaned up. I did ask him to pay the accountant, which he did, and to pay the required financial penalties…at least that is something. I worked hard to clean up the mess. He said thanks.

Then there was our wedding night. I’m not sure what I expected…I was certainly influenced by romantic movies and thoughts of long-drawn out intimate moments and awe of consummating the commitment we’d just publicly made and being a wife. His wife. I guess I thought there would be a beautiful suite, and flowers, and candles, and champagne, and tender touches and…

But what there was instead was a regular hotel room (my folks said why waste the money on a special suite?) and taking his own clothes off and getting into the bed (okay, so I guess I take mine off too) and a self-satisfying romp (for him) and then roll over and proceed to a snoring sleep. Yes…there had been a crazy full day of festivities and food and spirits, but I was stunned. And sad. And got out of my brand-new marriage bed and went to the bathroom and started the bathtub and got in it, alone, and cried.

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Yes. A blind eye. I had it, but it is open now.

 

 

 

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Betrayal Decided.

 

Wednesday (or the third day) of Holy Week. Not much happens on this particular day, or at least I never realized it in the same way I did today. Wednesday was the day that somewhere around two-thousand years ago, a man named Judas decided he would betray the One whom he had loved, and followed, and dedicated his life to over the prior years. The One to whom he had listened intently, shaped his understanding of his past, and the direction of his future.

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I find it astounding that God chose to let us see a window into the heart and mind of Judas…not just the action of his betrayal the next day, but that he chose betrayal before he acted. That on the day before he moved into the action of pointing out Jesus to his captors, he considered it, saw the “reward” of thirty pieces of silver, and decided to betray his Lord.

HUSBAND and I have talked incessantly about how the betrayals happened within our marriage. The last affair began immediately following his HS reunion. As we were standing toward the exit, talking with another couple and preparing to leave, HUSBAND’s body jolted a bit and I glanced over, only to notice someone had bumped into him. It was a non-moment, a non-event with a non-descript person that I hardly noticed. But as HUSBAND turned to say “I’m sorry,” he now tells me that there was a fleeting moment of eyes meeting eyes that went beyond two old friends. I didn’t see it, or sense it, or have any idea it had happened. The next morning, HUSBAND sent a brief text…are you heading back to Atlanta…and SW answered…why…what do you have in mind…

The affair began.

BUT…what HUSBAND now sees is that isn’t really true. The affair began with his own inner pain and personal disdain, with small thoughts and little justifications and tiny moments for the months prior. It began with HUSBAND rejecting the good that was us and making us bad so that he could seek the bad and make it good. It wasn’t thirty pieces of silver that his whore offered him, but it was a quick path to momentary pleasure of the body and mind that led straight to a deep plunge into destruction. And he had sold out to the lies along the way long before he accepted the trade, long before he did away with the journey of the real for the mimicry of the false.

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How wise is the God who reveals the path of betrayal so clearly, both for the betrayed to be able to see they played no role, and for the betrayer to be able to learn his foolishness was his alone. Jesus…so pure and kind…betrayed and laid out for his betrayer…

I am humbled to read this story with new eyes. And to grieve with Jesus with a broken heart. And to thank Him for showing me that betrayal, and death…in a way that only God can make happen…can be a path to freedom, and life.

Freedom

 

 

 

 

The Squirrel. God. Me.

Ten years ago, my youngest son was playing outside in our back yard. Suddenly he was at my side excitedly working to get my attention. Follow me, mama…you need to see something…

We went out back, and he held my hand, pulling me to a corner where our off-grade house foundation came together. There was a tiny squirrel, squawking and pressing his little body into the structure as best he could, obviously terribly disturbed by the presence of looming and large humans.

Mom…we need to save him…can we, mom?

I went inside and got sturdy leather gloves and a shoe box with a lid…and we got the poor, scared little critter. Immediately I went to my trusty source of all information, google, and quickly read about the likelihood of the age of the little squirrel, how/what to feed him, how/what to put in his enclosure to help him feel safe and secure, how/what to help him potty…

My precious boy didn’t leave my side…helped to scald the milk…said soothing and comforting things to the scared little squirrel…found all the items we needed and put them in a big box…filled the syringe with the milk…and quickly calmed the squirrel to the point that he could hold him and feed him.

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Meanwhile I went back to google where I learned tons about wild, abandoned squirrels in no time at all. I found squirrel rescue sites and read their advice and information, and learned about the potential of re-releasing this little guy back in the wild after he was old enough. My son was completely captivated, and the squirrel seemed content to curl up in a nook or cranny of his body and sleep.

It was really sweet.

This went on for four days, with all of the family enjoying the antics of the baby squirrel and regularly talking about how and when we would release him. We each enjoyed holding him and feeding him, but it was the youngest son who adopted him for his own.

Until day four.

Day four, the baby squirrel was obviously not feeling as perky. He barely ate, he just wanted to stay curled up, and my mama heart knew we were in trouble. I went back to google, and frantically searched for some answer, some resource. I emailed several of the rescuers and tried calling a few more, leaving messages. Meanwhile, the baby squirrel was failing fast, and I held him, frantically willing him to continue living. I ended up in my living room where I have four large windows, two which look out into our back yard. Tears began to stream down my face…and I began to pray…no…PRAY…God…please God…please save this baby…I know, I know you have thousands of squirrels out there, and I know, squirrels don’t live that long anyway…but I am asking you to save this squirrel…God please save this squirrel…

Before I knew it, I was sobbing, and from deep within came this.

God…You are supposed to love us, not just “us” but me…God, please…please let me know that you hear ME…that you love ME…please God…save this squirrel…please let me know that you care at all about ME…

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The squirrel died.

HUSBAND had come into the living room midway through my begging. He had stood by me, put his arms on my shoulder. I begged him to pray, too, and have a vague memory of him doing so in some stilted fashion. But even with him there, I was alone. I was alone with him, and I was alone with God. We were there, the three of us, but we were there.                    And there.                     And there.

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A little of me died that day too. As the story of my life unfolds, however, it ended up not being the end of the story. In a very odd way, it was the start.