Anatomy of Infidelity, Part 1

First…a note about my absence of late. I was winding down a big project at work and excited to blog on several things: forgiveness, unexpected trigger, new life. And then came Hurricane Matthew that forced HUSBAND and me to deal with our respective businesses/clients, our home, family…and to evacuate to safer space. Returning to our home we encountered a felled tree magnificently missing our home or any other home, but making serious disaster of our neighbor’s brand-new and beautiful workshop/office. hurricanmatthew2

And my office also was the victim of a large tree falling. It is requiring removal with a crane and a delicate positioning to avoid the master-power lines. hurricanematthew

Yes…it has been a crazy last ten days but we praise God for the safety of so many, while we grieve deeply at the horrific loss of life in Haiti, and to a far lesser extent, the US. Please…join me in praying with fervor for these hurting people…

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Infidelity. The word obviously means unfaithfulness between two partners in a committed relationship. But it also means disloyalty, breach of trust, a transgression. From my personal experience, no one really expects it, and no one – NO ONE – can imagine the intense pain that sears through every fibre of your being when you become the victim of infidelity. As I have embraced my personal path of healing, I’ve become dedicated to trying to understand how it can occur…how it happens…what are the root causes, what happened to HUSBAND along the way to enable him to make those choices, and what role, if any, did I play? It has haunted me…sometimes with self-blame, other times with he/she/them blame, so I’ve decided to start at the beginning of the one case study I know intimately, HUSBAND. What follows, for as long as it takes, is the Anatomy of Infidelity.

The Anatomy of Infidelity, Part 1

This is about infidelity. My infidel. My husband.

I’m not pretending or purporting that this is a profile, or what all cheaters look like. But it is the story of my partner, my spouse, and the road of life that lead to him becoming a cheater in our marriage.

At the end of the day, I believe no one wakes up one day while in a committed relationship and just ends up in bed with someone else. Long before I knew I was a betrayed spouse, ironically, I used to say to our children as they got to their teen years that very thing. That it is myriad decisions, choices, wrong thinking and justification along the way that leads to the BIG ONE. Oh, such prophetic words.

So back to the anatomy of my infidel.

He was born into an appearingly loving family with strong traditions of just that: loving family. His mama had a rougher childhood in the 50s…her mom was married several times when it was pretty taboo to do so, and her stability came from her hard-working but devoted grandparents. They, and especially her granddaddy, were hero-worshipped by her and carried saint-status as she began to raise her children including my husband. HUSBAND’s father was second-oldest son of (eventually) six children. FIL’s daddy was smart, hard-working and diligent and founded a very successful business. HUSBAND’s father joined him in the business early on, working side-by-side to build a mini-empire. Along the way, HUSBAND was born, along with four other siblings in close order and everything was hunky dory.

Early family life included week-end trips to the tiny but beloved home of the saintly grands where HUSBAND and his siblings learned to fish and whittle and brush away yellow flies at certain times of the year. The trip included the purchase of white milk and chocolate milk, mixed together, for the kids and a six-pack of beer for the parents to drink on the way to the river. These are some of HUSBAND’s earliest memories.

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He also recalls fondly having to sneak his great-grandma cigarettes even when they had been banned due to her health, and watching the beer crack open at day break. He learned about plants and still has seeds from those days that he cultivates every year, passing on plants to all of our children along with the stories of his great-grandad after whom our oldest son is named.

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HUSBAND’s home he was born to was a cute bungalow in a darling neighborhood not too far from where he and I live today. By the time he was in first grade, there were four children and his parents decided they needed more room. They made the move to the other side of town and into a much larger home with a pool. He remembers being perfect in his mama’s eyes. And yet, he remembers being anything-but-perfect in his mama’s eyes. He remembers being told he was strong and smart and yet why did he do such a stupid thing and go cut himself a switch and stop doing that. He remembers that his mama took him to church faithfully but that his dad didn’t go with them and he never questioned that and she never said anything about it, but there was no option for him. He remembers that he got to go to the woods with his dad, and he got to fish at the river, and he thinks things were pretty good. His report cards indicate that he was learning well, and getting along with kids well, and the writings we have from those early years show he was progressing.

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Such were the early years of a little boy that would grow up to be a man that one day would get his wires crossed and do things he didn’t want to do but didn’t know how not to do and didn’t know why he did them.

The anatomy of infidelity. Part one.

 

 

 

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Nauseating Nostalgia

We all know what nauseating means…and probably nostalgia too: a longing…sentimentality…yearning. And a sneaky little creature that sometimes tugs at the edges of our emotions luring us into rewriting times and events into something they really weren’t in the first place.

My dad was military and we lived all over the place. I remember how I thought of one of our houses in my mind’s eye…a really nice neighborhood, mid-size home, pretty yard, other homes that were lovely and spaced out too. I returned to the area of that house as a young adult and nostalgia hit…so I took a detour to drive by that home that loomed large in my mind and memories.

But it wasn’t so big. As a matter of fact, it was really really small. And all the houses in the neighborhood were small. Honestly, they weren’t nice houses in a small neighborhood, they were shoddy and poorly constructed utilizing minimal materials with small yards and very, very close together. Definitely not what I remembered…what I’d clung to all those years.

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It happens with people too. Some of the people who loomed large in my mind’s eye – physically and in esteem – upon revisiting just – didn’t. Perhaps it was my younger age, smaller size and perhaps it was also my stage of life and experience, but when we met again later, it just wasn’t as BIG as I’d remembered.

And that’s how it is with Affair Partners. Statistically, most affairs start one of two ways: at the workplace, or someone from the past. HUSBAND’s affairs were both. His “past” affairs followed high school reunions: of the three he/we attended, affairs were birthed from two. And he sees now how nostalgia played a role…painting a picture of a past that really wasn’t…and enticing him to take a journey – which he was already working toward in his sex addiction – but this made it easier.

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I talk with Other Women who have reconnected with friends, boyfriends or lovers from their past. They are determined, almost to a one, that fate messed up. That they were always meant for each other. That their MM (that would be married man) just married the wrong girl, and if they got married, it happened to them too. It really wasn’t anyone’s fault…that they are soul-mates, or twin-flames and that’s what justifies them having an affair now. Because it is really bigger than them…out of their control…the heart wants what the heart wants is what they say.

And I say nostalgia is playing its grand trick on you. It’s making that time, that friendship, that relationship more than it was. That through the years of reality and hard knocks and life, nostalgia helps you believe it was all good even when, upon closer examination, those early years were also fraught with fear and pain and uncertainty. Oh, there were good times back then – but bad times too. Ironically, much like the present, perhaps?

While submerged and engrossed in his journey down nostalgia lane, HUSBAND agreed to a point with SW’s urgings to recreate the past, to make it something it never was. She made music play lists of songs and he shared songs back from the early days…and they listened to them again and again. She spoke words related to events from high school, reminding him of his youth and virility and he gladly rewrote history. As he moved into recovery, and stepped out of the fog, he began to talk to me about high school – the real memories – and they weren’t all so great. Actually, there was fun…but also lots of pain, and angst and rejection. Yet while wrapped in the figurative and literal arms of his reminiscent lover, those memories took on different form, nostalgically pulling and drawing him and promising him a future that would look like the past that really wasn’t.

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Nostalgia. Not the same as fond memories, or a smell that reminds us of a moment in time or picture that takes us back to an event. Nostalgia for things that really weren’t but we thought they were, perhaps also called foolery, can play a role in justifying infidelity in the minds of cheaters. And that kind of nostalgia? Nauseating.