Cashing Checks

“You write checks with your words, and cash them with your actions.”

Profound statement, and one made by a beautiful young wife, pregnant with her first child, whose husband has struggled. The majority of his infidelity has been electronic relationships – porn – however he also reached out for a flesh person a couple times.

The brave young couple has chosen to work toward recovery (him – from sex addiction) and healing (her) and reconciliation (them). They have a long journey, but have made smart strides: individual and couple counseling. Recovery groups. Intensive marriage weekend. They have hope right now, and as coaches walking alongside them in the journey, HUSBAND and I have hope with them. And for their unborn child. And for all those who follow after their new marriage, their covenant of love.

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Back to the quote.

You write checks with your words. You cash them with your actions.

Therefore if your words are worthless, the check bounces.

bouncecheck

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

What Was It Like

I am in Atlanta on a business trip. On Monday, I boarded the crowded plane with no thoughts of anything other than the work ahead. My mind was occupied with the scheduled meetings, and I glanced at the itinerary, reviewed emails and planned the events during much of the flight.

As we began to descend and I could see the city below me, it hit me. Just over two years ago, another woman, literally, an OTHER WOMAN was on another flight into this same city, having just come from a tryst with HUSBAND. As I stared out the window, I tried to imagine what it was like. What it was like to be her. What she might be thinking and feeling and planning.

atlanta

Was she thinking about how she had lied to her live-in-lover about where she had gone, and how she would cover her tracks? Was she thinking about how she had lied to her boss and co-workers about her missed days at work? Was she gloating at the thought that she was one step closer in getting her man by taking mine? Could she still smell his scent…feel his touch…hear his voice…

What is it like to be a woman who can purchase a plane ticket…drive to the airport…park her car…walk to the gate…board the plane…buckle her seatbelt…make small talk conversation with her seat-mate…to a destination of secrets and evasion and deceit? What lies does she have to tell herself to keep the façade going – the fantasy that she is valued by her illicit lover in any real way – that she is anything more than a momentary illusory stopping point in the life of man who has created an out-of-sync fictional chapter in the true story of his life?

Then I thought about what it was like to be me. Me then, me now.

Me then was an oblivious wife, also on a plane headed back to my home which was HIS home. I was on the plane, thinking about the past two days in DC and all that had been accomplished…and all that remained to be done. I was on the plane, thinking about the laundry I would have to do when I got home, and hoping HUSBAND would be on time to pick me up. I was on the plane thinking about going to watch our son play soccer and whether we would have time to eat before his game and hoping HUSBAND had reminded him to get his uniform.

plane2

Me then was okay with a few functional messages with HUSBAND during my time away as long as he took care of the things he needed to take care of. Me then was okay with a brief hello and perfunctory peck on the cheek upon my return, with conversation focused on kids and what had gotten done while I was gone and what needed to be done now that I was home. Me then was a strong me who lived in a detached manner with a strong him in which we knew our roles and duties well, did them well with little dissension. But also with little passion, guarding our deepness and wounds and wishes lest they get trampled on.

Me now is stronger than ever, and HUSBAND is a man who has embraced his strength like never before. Me now is dedicated to my own work and that of HUSBAND and even more so, the extra work we embrace together to bolster ourselves and our marriage. Me now isn’t worried about HUSBAND picking up on time…me now knows he will be waiting and will have taken care of all that needed to be taken care of including things I had not even considered.

Me now is in constant touch with HUSBAND…receiving texts and phone calls and emoticons expressing his mood-of-the-moment. Me now is anxious to get on the plane later today, to return to HUSBAND knowing that I will be enveloped in his embrace. Me now looks forward to his hands cupping my face, his eyes locked on my eyes, his voice telling me how much he missed me, and me now knows this is true. Me now still knows my duties well, as does he, but me now sees these are secondary, they are only functions of life. Me now knows that real life happens in the intimacy of our us, that it is because we, because I, no longer guard my deepness, and have seen his wounds and showed him mine…many which bear his mark…that real passion burns between us.

The counterfeit may be close, and fool some, but requires one to deny inconsistencies, to turn away from flaws, to ignore blemishes. That’s what it was like. I’ll opt for me now.

embrace

 

Reflecting on Deception

I am awake in the wee hours thinking about a large community event tonight. It is the third year my non-profit is hosting this event…the third year that we have the privilege of engaging with an amazing group of young talent to spread our message…the third year that I will be on stage to thank the leadership and to encourage thousands of youth to choose health & opportunity & freedom.

YOUTHcrowds

Through the years, HUSBAND and my children have always played an important part in events like this, assisting my small staff through volunteering to set up, shoot video & photos and any other way they can help. Three years ago, HUSBAND was fully engaged at this event despite the reality that he was also fully engaged with SW and contemplating ending our marriage and going off into the sunset with her.

That’s what woke me…thinking about the reality that he had so easily deceived me by remaining my helpful partner and doing anything he could to help us pull off a-really-big-event with a really-small-staff. He never showed me a crack in the façade, never let me see that he wished to be anywhere but there with me, doing anything else but helping me, wishing he could be with someone else besides me. He played the role so smoothly of supportive and proud HUSBAND, interacting with friends new and old, acting as if he was excited about the work my non-profit was doing, and honored to be by my side. All an act…all a deception.

I was thinking about him taking pictures that night…being on his phone to post some things to our instagram and then to send some chats to SW. That while I assumed his phone time was all about us it was really a lot about him-about them-when there was a them that wasn’t us.

SecretTexts

It is painful, and hard to remember. It just crops up inside my soul and travels up to my brain sometimes…triggers…thoughts…memories. Memories that looked one way then, but look very different now.

I remember HUSBAND telling me that during his affair with SW, he had attended another event and taken a picture of me while I was speaking. He sent it to her, and she replied back DID YOU JUST SEND ME A PICTURE OF YOUR WIFE? HUSBAND discovered then that the little whore was sensitive – she put him on silence for a few days – to punish him? Nipping at the bubble of the fantasy world she had created in which I didn’t exist appears to have really pissed her off.

This is one of the most wearying parts of affairs and recovery…and I imagine it is hard for the betrayed whether they reconcile or don’t. These moments of remembering the lies, the deception that we were so blissfully unaware of at the time, that now distort the beauty of memories…kind of like a photo that has gotten burned and the image is still there, but the edges are curled up, and a dingy layer covers it all dimming the colors and distorting the original image. That is what memories are like for me from during HUSBAND’s affairs. I want to unfurl the photo…to wipe away the tarnish…but I can’t. It remains ragged and damaged.

So tonight, I will press on. I will press on with my taped-together-heart and my very-sorry-HUSBAND and we will work on making memories that don’t need any revising. One step…forward.

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Road to Reality

inlovewithpotentialvreality

Girl met Boy. Fell in love. They bared their souls, dreamed dreams.  Had the wedding, made babies. Did the good and bad of life. Thought they were on a road to grow old together.

And mixed in and out and up and down and through and through were others. Others who caressed Boy’s body and distorted his mind and twisted his thoughts. But Girl didn’t know.

One day…the truth came out and Girl looked at Boy. Who was this Boy that had shared her life but hadn’t really?

This is the short story of a long marriage…nearly 30 years now…

So when I look at our lives together, and I look at his life apart, and I consider the profound healing that has happened in a little less than two years, what I realize is I was in love. I was in love, and stayed the course of love even when the in-love part waned but it was with the potential man, not the real man, because the real man was deeply hidden. He was hidden under piles of lies and shame and hurt-turned-nasty. I never was in love with his reality, because there was no way he was going to let me, or anyone else, see that reality. It was too awful, too flawed, too unlovable. The real man was not willing to be known – even by the man himself – much less his wife, or even his whores.

The shattering of his carefully created self…and my understanding of life for 27 years…was the beginning of going to a place that I never knew existed. I couldn’t know, it had been hidden.

But the place we are now is more than anything I could have written in a fairy tale. Have you ever noticed that all the love stories in print and on screen end with the “and they lived happily ever after…” Our imaginations create beautiful lives of bliss, no-work-or-conflict-and-everything-is-amazing-and-lovely-and-perfect…He always remembers to call, and bring flowers, and write love notes, and tell us we are beautiful, and senses our every need, and treats us with kindness even when we are not-so-kind…

My marriage now? Well…it is reality. Two real, broken people who have become safe for each other in our wretchedness. Two real, broken people who used to take care to never touch in the bed at night, and now never break contact, ever, all night long. Two real, broken people who have no subjects that are off limit, no words that are not allowed, no thoughts that are shunned. Two real, broken people who have learned to dream together, and don’t have to know the end of the story to be determined to write the story. Together.

As painful as it has been, I choose reality.

 

A Marker.

Two years. Two years ago, HUSBAND picked up his slut-whore (SW) at the airport and let her sit in my seat of our car. Two years ago, he drove off from the airport and headed to a neighboring resort town, pointing out sites along the way to a woman who had no business being with him, other than to fuck.

Two years ago, he walked on the beach with SW, and they ate the lunch he had packed in our kitchen in our home. Two years ago, he got a phone call while on the beach from my mother, arranging kids since I was out of town.

Two years ago, SW and HUSBAND went into a local famous watering hole, asking the bartender for a good eatery suggestion. Two years ago, they walked down the street of the town holding hands til they got to the local spot…and two years ago, HUSBAND called that bartender back to thank him for such a great recommendation.

Two years ago, HUSBAND and SW returned to the hotel and fucked, and in the morning, after another fuck, went down to eat some breakfast…SW wearing a fake wedding set since she ‘knew HUSBAND would not take his ring off, and didn’t want to look like a (ready for this) mistress.’

Two years ago, SW asked HUSBAND ‘how he’d liked it…being a real couple’ and pushed him to take the next steps. Two years ago, as they drove to the airport and sat in the cell phone lot, SW prodded HUSBAND to make the appointment with the divorce attorney and to remember, ‘they’d come too far to turn back now.’

Two years ago, SW got on the plane and flew back to her life of lies, and into the arms of her live-in lover. Two years ago, HUSBAND picked me up at that same airport just a couple hours later, and I got in my seat of our car oblivious that the filthy DNA of a whore was present and that HUSBAND was cloaked in illicit sex and deceit and false smiles and pretend greetings.

Two years ago, someone saw HUSBAND and SW.

Two years ago, the carefully crafted house of flimsy cards was poised to fall.

Two years ago. A marker.

LoveMagicalandCutting

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.

Mixed Threads

HUSBAND had been having a fully-engaged, big time affair. For a while. With slut-whore (SW). I did not have any idea what I should do. Whether I should scream from the mountaintop, or crawl into a hole and die, or tell him to take his lying self out of the house. At that moment, HUSBAND was with his dad at their vacation house helping repair a window, planning to head straight to his alone counseling session at 5:30. I had no idea what to do, no resources, no tools, a dying father in the room next to me and then mom walked in and asked me if I could read over the Hospice stuff she had just received. I told her no. I told her I was in a crisis, I could not breathe, and I did not want to be hugged. She was so dear…said its okay…and I continued in my confusion, in my horror and shock and humiliation and hurt and sadness and shame. My husband. An affair.  Where they were talking about naming boats and staring at the stars from “their” house and marriage. My husband. My children’s Dad. I did not know what to do. I could not think. I could not move. I could not breathe. I began to look at all our phone records…and searched her on facebook…she had deleted her facebook…I had the flash memory of a comment or two she had made.

I did not know what to do, so I would not react. That’s right, not react. I would wait and see and pray. There was no way I could be in the house with my parents and our son who would be home from school soon, so I mustered up the strength to call HUSBAND with my best voice giving no hint of devastation and suggested we meet after his counseling session at a store to exchange something we’d bought. He agreed – telling me he would call at 7 when he left the session so to find out where to meet.

I could not sit there, so immediately left the house and drove to the Town Center praying praying praying praying praying praying praying praying. Praying that God would cover the counseling session. Praying that HUSBAND would decide he wanted to be committed to our marriage and not be strategizing about how to exit our marriage and smoothly transition to SW. Praying for guidance. Praying. Crying. Praying. I walked in the store, paced, pulled the printed copy of the LETTER out of my purse, read it, put it back, paced the store, went outside, back inside, read the LETTER again and again and again. I’m certain any security was monitoring me closely thinking I looked like a loose cannon.

And at 7:01 I began to wait for HUSBAND’s call…7:05…7:10….7:13…7:25…7:33…OMG he is done! My mind SCREAMED that he had dumped the truth on our counselor and they were figuring out the best way to let me know! Finally he called at 7:34 and said he was on the way. Right before getting off the phone, he said, “Hey – I just want to let you know – I think our marriage can make it.”

WHAT? HUSBAND, liar, cheater…he thinks our marriage can make it? This man who has been lying to me for the past ten months is now telling me he thinks our marriage can make it?

Somehow, I kept from SCREAMING INTO THE PHONE HOW DARE YOU and just said, “Really? Why is that?” And he said that he realized during his session that we both loved each other and if so, it might take some work, but we could do this.

In an odd way, this one statement shifted things so much. Now it was him talking of saving our marriage, the man who had been fucking another woman and lying to me and everyone else; the man who had the audacity to look at me THAT VERY MORNING and say he was committed to the process, but not our marriage, was now saying he wanted to save our marriage.

BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE. He got to the store, we walked through, looking for the item needed. I was sweating…my heart was pounding. I said nothing, was kind, even-keeled. He was clueless, CLUELESS and I was there dying. I suggested we go eat…I had no idea what I was going to do…no real plan…but KNEW I had to do something and going home to parents and son was not an option.

We sat down across from each other, ordered beers and looked at the menu. HUSBAND was almost jovial, big menu covering his face. I told HUSBAND I wasn’t too hungry and probably would just order another beer – very unusual for me. Then, with his head still buried in the menu, I asked HUSBAND if he had been honest with me. He said YES! I said, “Be careful, HUSBAND. There are some things I know.” He did not say anything. He lowered the menu. He looked me in the eyes. Then he said, “Things about what?” And I softly answered, “SW.” His face was dumbfounded. There was a long long silence, he looked down and back up. And I said, “Please tell me the truth.” And he did.

Denver-girl was never in the picture. She was a decoy that he put me on to take me off any trail of SW. He immediately told me he was so sorry. He told me that he loved me. I asked him if he had slept with her and he said yes. That one night. When I was in Washington on business. He was so sorry. He loved me. No idea how I got through that meal – did not eat and did drink another beer – and then got in my car, with him trailing me so closely I thought he might hit the back of my car. As we drove over one of the bridges required to get home, I had a moment of thinking it would make sense to drive off the bridge…let my car plunge into the river…get scratched up and bloody and  broken on the outside so it would match the ripped up heart on the inside…

For the next four hours, he answered any question I asked and gave me details. Details of how they got together. Details of how they were communicating without being detected. Details about it getting too intense and slowing down but starting back up. Details about talking about a future together but then saying STOP. Details of one in-person encounter with NO SEX, and details of their overnight in a nearby beach town WITH SEX and life just went on. HUSBAND picked me up at the airport a couple hours after he dropped off SW at the same airport after their tryst. I was clueless. I sat in the car in the seat that only hours before his slut-whore occupied. We came home together. He came into our house with a penis that had been in another woman, with her caresses on his body, with her words in his ears. And I knew nothing. I washed the clothes that he had worn when that woman had her hands and lips and legs and breasts against HUSBAND. And the AFFAIR went on and on. I was sick to my stomach. He gave me details that she’d told him she loved him. And he told her he loved her too.

What can I say? Where do I go from here? I’m so overwhelmed. I still can’t breathe. I don’t think I will ever eat again. I feel so utterly stupid. I feel so dreadfully humiliated. I feel so shockingly naïve. I feel so deeply sad.

HUSBAND asked me to forgive him. I just couldn’t yet. It was too raw and fresh and painful. He told me it was over and would never happen again. He told me he loved me and wanted me to be his girl forever. He agreed to any and all counseling. He promised to be truthful. He said he understood that I have a HUGE process to work through. He told me that he did not realize how very much he loves me…and how much he was in love with me.

So at 2:20 am I sat in bed, completely unable to sleep at all. I knew that we had mountains of work to get through. Knew that I was overwhelmed. And I still couldn’t breathe. And I just pictured him in the hotel room with his arms entwined with another woman, that woman, slut-whore, SW. I pictured kisses and caresses and whispered words and moans and orgasms. I heard I love you. And then I threw up.

But I felt, deep inside in a little space in my soul that somehow, someway we were going to get through this. Then I curled back up in a ball and cried again.