Hypocrisy. Again.

Two years ago, I madly searched for any insight into the last woman HUSBAND was fucking. As the sordid details of his 25 years of deception and cheating and double life and, what I eventually learned, sex addiction, were unfolding, I was desperate to try to find out everything I could about this woman.

I read the things she had written to HUSBAND again and again. I watched the videos she had made for him several times (only a couple of what he tells me were hundreds). I read her facebook postings and comments on HUSBAND’s page, on my sisters-in-laws pages, on other friends pages. And I began to get a glimpse of this woman who had so willingly played a role in the drama of my life without me knowing.

The perversion of her sensibilities became obvious. Obvious on her posts that talked about all kinds of things from a crass perspective, and from an “it’s-all-about-me” viewpoint. Obvious when she posted a shocked response at the reported theft of some items from a mutual friends’ store: “How dare he…they should throw him over the boat” (it involved some fishing equipment). Seriously? This other woman who was stealing and destroying parts and pieces of the unit of our family thought she had the right to stand in judgement of another thief? Could she not see that she was a master thief?

Well…I thought I’d long gotten over this madness, the impact to me of her hypocrisy. I certainly have gotten over the searching, looking for her or “stalking her,” and think about and of her less and less. But today, today when looking at a mutual friend’s facebook, there was a short video showing a homerun hit and the subsequent fans-in-the-stand reaching for the baseball of a recent game. The disturbing portion of the short video is when the ball is caught by a little girl and simultaneously snatched, literally out of her hands, by an older woman…likely in the general age range of HUSBAND’s last whore. Of SW.

snatching

WELLLLLL…on that post….SW posted a response that caught me by surprise.

“Wow. Heartless.”

No words from this betrayed.

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Going Back in Lies

I often contemplate how I married HUSBAND. How I chose a man who would begin cheating on me a mere two years after we married. A man who artfully hid his double life from me as it ebbed and flowed in and through his original life with me and I was not-so-blissfully unaware.

What was wrong with me that I couldn’t see it? That I didn’t know?

blinders

My family valued honesty. I was told as a young girl that honesty was the premium value…that breaking a lamp while breaking rules would be not so good, but breaking a lamp while breaking rules and then LYING would be AWFUL. My parents were meticulous about keeping their word in so many ways: always paying bills on time, arriving at appointments, events or work early, and certainly never lying to us kids or each other.

And I believed that was the reality of my home, and my life. We were defined by our H O N E S T Y.

honesty

Except it really wasn’t. We really weren’t.

I’m prefacing this by saying I have stellar parents who defied so many odds. They overcame myriad challenges individually and as a couple, and they were really fantastic parents using all they knew how to do and dealing with all they had to deal. But they were the offspring of their own parents and they of their parents and so on. I was raised by beautiful, hardworking, dedicated and loving parents who knew how to parent me as they had been parented, and to understand honesty as it had been defined for them and it ends up it wasn’t quite as black and white as I had been made to believe.

I began to have glimpses of the confusion between truth and sort-of-truth and not-so-much-truth and out-and-out-lies a couple days before our oldest son’s second birthday. My parents were headed up to spend a few days and celebrate with HUSBAND and me and 10 or so other little two-year-olds and I got an early morning phone call. Mom told me they wouldn’t be making the trip. My uncle, my dad’s brother, just 15 month’s his elder, had committed suicide and they had to go to be with his widow and children. The processing of that event left me overwhelmed…and I decided to go to a therapist to work through some of my confusion.

It was there, on his proverbial couch, that I found out that my fantastically honest parents might have lied to me – and I was only just seeing it – although I’d known it. See my dad’s side of the family was the bad side – included alcoholism and abandonment and now suicide. Mom’s side – the good side that did no wrong – until I began to recall the stories. The stories I knew that had been presented as rosy and pretty but when I shared them with the therapist I stopped myself part way: Wow…they are pretty screwed up too, huh? That side of the family included adultery and separate homes and an adopted child who never was told he was adopted although we all knew and were told to keep the secret (that wasn’t a lie) even when he asked us to our faces. So I wasn’t allowed to lie except when I was told to lie and it wasn’t a lie in that case.

innerselfouterself

I was so confused.

I shared all this with HUSBAND who listened with his very young and distracted mind, nodding occasionally and thinking I was thinking too much. Thinking it was good I didn’t see lies since he’d already successfully completed his first marital affair and lied brilliantly and I was none the wiser. Of course I would not know about that lie of his for another 25 years…

Funny thing is because the surprise of discovering the inconsistencies within my own childhood I decided I would be hyper-honest with our children. I tried very carefully to tell them truth as best I could based on their maturity. But there is something about someone who grows up lying and that is they don’t see the lies. They don’t see how wrapped around truth they are, and how their (my) very default position is lying, justified in hundreds of ways…by sparing one’s feelings, or it not really being their business, etc. So even though I determined to not lie, I continued to lie, unbeknownst to me, but fairly consistently. Not about things that mattered, but instead about things like why my child couldn’t go spend the night with a friend (truth is I didn’t trust that friend’s judgement on movies and bedtimes and food choices, but I said we had another commitment). Things like why I was late to an appointment (truth is I was habitually a wee-bit late, but I said something happened with the dog or the kids or the car). Things like how glad I was that HUSBAND was able to __________________ (hunt…fish…play…leave me…. – fill in the blank – ) because it made me happy for him to be happy (truth is I was lonely and sad and felt like I had no value, but it wasn’t polite to say such things and they would get better, right?? RIGHT???)

BigorSmallLies

Yes…it is very hard for a person who has learned that the way to deal with pain or fear or shame or sorrow or sadness or regret or guilt or abandonment is to lie through it and pretend it wasn’t so to stop lying…mainly because I just could not see it. And that is how I married a man who could do this to me…

The real question is could I have married a man who was any different? A man who was honest? I don’t think so…

It was really tough to consider these possibilities. It was a new kind of pain and hurt, but it is the path that has led to me discovering I could be free from the bondage that engulfed me. And it was my path to take, or not. That’s where and when I thought I just couldn’t do it, and I saw Christ in the garden telling His Father…God…please, please take this cup from me. Yet even then, even when He didn’t want to, He still took the path. Despite all the odds, despite it making no sense at all, it led to healing. To freedom. So I took it too…

foreststonepath

 

Her.

Ok, so today is H and that is Her.

Her the wife, me. The her that loved him imperfectly perfectly, bound in covenant and for the long haul. The her that stood beside him through the escapades of younger days: drinking too much. Sneaking around with old friends and pot. Setting up some private bank accounts to spend money without her knowing. The her that kept believing better days were coming and that better days were here and meanwhile bore him babies and kept the house and started a business and knew that one day we would have time together that was about her. The her that held the bucket for him to pee in when he’d had surgery and bought his clothes and floated the money when there wasn’t any and made sure there were presents under the tree for the children from him. The her that listened to stories about things she didn’t care about involving people she didn’t know doing things she couldn’t imagine. The her that always seemed to want to talk at the wrong time…either he was tired or he was getting ready to do something or he had to get to work early…and her waited. The her that believed everything was really okay and told herself all the good and the bad really wasn’t very bad and reminded herself how blessed she was. The her that didn’t care about emerald rings or diamond earrings or houses on the river or expensive trips, but yearned for being desired and cherished and valued. Her the wife, me.

family

Her the mistresses. Them. The hers that saw him as being able to provide them with something they were lacking and beckoned him to join them in play. The hers that were willing to meet in secret, to be a secret, to live in the shadows. The hers that sent texts and emails and cryptic notes that were erased and destroyed. The hers that helped him believe the real her wasn’t able to see how really great he was and the hers helped him believe they were the road to happy. The hers that gave him an outlet of fantasy and moments of sex and words of allure and a false road to freedom. The hers that lied to their friends and their families and their bosses and to him and to themselves. The hers that began pretending it was all for fun but quickly declared they were real and wanted more and then the hers wanted to know when he would give them more. The hers that were okay being part of the plotting and creating destruction and pain and devastation and believing that there was good anywhere in that plan. Her, them, the mistresses.

mistress

Her the honorable. The her that served HUSBAND while out of town, with kindness and engagement. The her that brought him beer and food and wiped the table. The her that the other men encouraged HUSBAND to approach because the her seemed to think he was interesting. The her that looked up when HUSBAND came over, and when the her heard his question “So what time do you get off?” the her that lifted up her left hand and pointed at her fourth finger. The her that responded to HUSBAND’s puzzled look and responded “You’re married. I don’t do married.” The her that the real her holds in high esteem, honors.

honorable

H is for the hers in my journey.

Decisions

I’ve always been a fairly good decision-maker. A person who can discern between the time when deep thought and consideration need to be considered, and when it is okay to move quickly and with little thought. I don’t typically get overwhelmed or bogged down with decisions – don’t stress too much if the reds in the stripe on one material match precisely with the floral on another. Food tasting before an event is more to ensure the overall mix of selections than the specific ingredient of an individual item, and whether to attend one barre class or another is based solely on my schedule, not the teacher or the content of the class.

RedStripesFlorals

I puzzle about people who struggle incessantly over some decisions – like how to wear their hair or what shoes to buy. Those types of decisions can be so easily changed…hair grows out, there is always another pair of shoes if you return the ones you ended up not liking…

Shoes

Some decisions, no matter how carefully considered, just are beyond our ability to completely control. Like college acceptance, when – and if – to have a baby.

And whether to marry a cheater.

HUSBAND came into our marriage with a past he chose not to share. To hear him tell the story now, he didn’t think I would marry him – decide on him – if I knew who and what he really was, so he pretended to be the person that he thought he had decided to be. Except he really didn’t know how. He didn’t know how to quit being the person with the choices and habits and ways that he’d been for the years before we married, but he knew how to talk as if he was that person.

So I decided to marry him. Even though, looking back, a couple people gave me little pieces of information that I could have delved into…I decided because what I saw, and what I heard from him, and what he acted like were just the man to love me forever, to walk with me through the ups and downs of life, to help me become the best me I could, and work toward the same in himself with me at his side.

The decision was made without some important information. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and for a long time, HUSBAND kept it all from me. Within two years he had slipped into old ways, hated himself for it, and I was none the wiser. A few years later, he repeated the cycle and again, I didn’t know. I was moving along in and through life oblivious that the decisions I had made on some very important issues were based on some blatantly missing information.

liar

HUSBAND danced a lot, creating diversions to keep me from being able to discern the spaces between truth and lies. He used lots of humor, always the nice guy, and tripped over himself to make sure his lies stayed hidden. He kept me away from some people, out of sorts with others, and at bay emotionally from himself. Meanwhile I – we – kept making various decisions but only he knew what the deck really looked like. It was exhausting for him, and crazy making for me and never really satisfying for us both.

So after affair three got revealed, and the woven in lies and infidelities and porn and sex addiction and pre-marital deceptions all came tumbling down, I got to make some decisions.

These were tougher than some of the decisions in the past. But at least I was now able to understand the missing pieces in my own life, and in his.

So what did I decide? Stay tuned, and we will find out.

AHEAD – A-Z Challenge, Day 1

During the month of April, I am taking the A-Z alphabet challenge. Each day except Sundays, my blog will feature a letter, beginning with A. I will examine a specific word, and how it is interwoven into a moment, a portion or part, or all of my life experience. Join me on this journey through the alphabet of life!

A to Z Badge

Ahead. I have always wanted, or needed, to know what is ahead.

Years ago, I attended a retreat for the soul annually. A small group of women gathered at a magnificent mountain home for a week where we were challenged to consider deeply a few things about our lives. We spent time in solitude, time together, time in Bible study and time in prayer.

Each morning, we joined our leader for a walk through the neighborhood. Fast paced and invigorating, we followed D, our leader, who knew the area intimately and never paused. One morning on year three, as we walked in our pack, we were approaching an intersection and I quietly said, “D, which way up there?”

whichway

D never missed a step in the brisk walk, but she said, “S? Did you realize that you are the only one who asks which way next?”

She was right. I was the only one who asked, prior to getting to every intersection, which way was next. I was startled, somewhat embarrassed.

Ahead…I wanted, needed to know what was ahead.

That resonated in my soul…for years…and in reality if I’d known what was ahead, I would have opted for a different direction. But ahead, although fraught with searing pain and crushing struggles, outlined in beauty and joy and amazing humans…ultimately led to a place I never knew existed, and that I would definitely not want to miss.

Ahead…in retrospect, I didn’t want and couldn’t need to know, but I’m glad to be going there.

Ahead

 

Early Fractures

I married my dream man and couldn’t wait to live the rest of my life with him. And he with me. Our pictures of that night are still magical…with so many friends and neighbors and family gathered around to care for us, to cheer for us, to love us and support us.

What fractures were there in those early days that I was unable to see or to detect? Were there any?

Through digging and digging and digging, HUSBAND and I have found many things now that were little fissures in the outward cover of perfection we wrapped ourselves in.

fissuresandfractures

Things like the reality that HUSBAND invited a woman with whom he had had an indiscriminate sexual relationship with a couple times some years prior…to our wedding. A woman that I did not know, and had asked who she was and why she was on our invitation list. He’d answered me only a partial truth…telling me that she was always present in the mundane as a member of his home-room all years of high school (true) and part of his group of high school friends (true-ish) and of course, no one that he had ever considered dating (okay…he never dated her, but does fucking count)?

Looking back…maybe that was a little crack?

Or possibly it was a fissure that he had given me a pretty PG rated version of his actually XXX rated growing up years, all the way to the weeks immediately prior to our beginning to date, that I accepted fully? It wasn’t until 27 years later and the revealing of his double life that I finally found out he’d always had a double life when it came to me…that the man I thought I’d married was really a shined up version of the man I’d married – regarding his drug past and his sexual past. A fracture?

Then…there was our wedding night. I’m not sure what I expected, but romance definitely figured in there somewhere. After our large wedding in which we spent lots of time shaking hands and hugging necks and dancing and laughing and toasting and drinking ended with us darting out to jump in the back of the limousine, I pictured being wrapped in intimacy, entering our hotel room – the bridal suite of course – scattered with rose petals and candles glowing, perhaps. I anticipated my new husband drinking of the beauty of the moment, and making me feel like I was his perfection in the way he looked and touched and tasted me. Instead, we came into a regular room (why spend money for one night on anything else?) and had rather perfunctory sex and a brief cuddle that resulted in HUSBAND sleeping quickly. I got up, went to the bathroom and filled the tub…got in…and wept. A story I never told anyone until after I discovered HUSBAND betrayed me time and again.

weddingnighttub

Could that have been an early fracture?

 

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.