How Could She?

In my desperate pursuit to put order into the chaos of my life, I spent hours and hours and hours researching the Other Woman. It started with a pursuit to hate them, to be able to categorize them into one neat little package of filth and desperation as they claw and fight their way into the lives of others.

I read articles and books authored by these women on how to be a good mistress, how to please their man, the rules of being a mistress. I visited websites and read blogs. And then found various forums in which other women share.

Before I knew it, I began to grieve. To be sickened and saddened about and for these women. Nearly all OW claim some version(s) of: I didn’t mean to fall in love with a married man; the heart wants what the heart wants; I didn’t know he was married; he pursued me relentlessly; he told me he was separated/divorcing; we are soulmates/twinflames/long-lost loves/always should have been together; he married the wrong person. Ultimately…all deceptions, all lies either made to themselves or by the MM. I found myself wanting to cry out to women about to delve into affairs, or newly in, NO! STOP! This will only lead to heartache…MY HEARTACHE…YOUR HEARTACHE. There are certainly outliers – women who are complete narcissists and manipulate and pick up and drop at and for their own pleasure. But the majority of the women that I was able to research are women who want love and somehow, they end up with a man who loves someone else. All the statistics show that it is rare for the Other Woman to end up with the MM, and when that happens, it lasts even more rarely. The odds are completely against them, yet OW are rampant amongst us. So how, how, how does it happen. How do affairs really start…how does the deception occur, who does what…I started with HUSBAND’s first OW, and asked how…

The first night with the first OW was his tenth high school reunion. HUSBAND had been married to me for a little less than two years. We had a darling 8 month old baby boy and (unbeknownst to us at the time) I was pregnant with our second child. I did not attend the reunion with HUSBAND…he had gone fishing that day and gotten home hours later than he’d promised, and was already feeling the effect of numerous beers. So off he went to the reunion and what he remembers is:

Talking with specific people. Dancing with specific girls. Standing at the bar talking to a specific guy who had always looked down at him, and did so that night too…to which HUSBAND just drank more. HUSBAND does NOT remember dancing with SW (slut-whore, his first and last OW), although she told him later that they did. He does not remember going to his car with SW, or getting in the passenger seat, or any of the 25 minute drive to SW’s apartment, except when he woke up as they stopped in the bright lights at the toll booth with her at the wheel. He does not remember walking into her apartment, or going to the bedroom or fucking her. All of which he did.

He does remember waking up, seeing his clothes on the floor, realizing he was not in his bed at our home, jumping up “in horror” and quickly dressing and driving home…devising his lies on the way there.

HUSBAND has been shockingly honest with me about all his encounters, intimate words spoken, promises of futures, etc. He does not have any recollection of the anatomy of the first-fuck…did he tell SW he was married to a raving bitch? Maybe. Did he tell her he never got sex at home? Perhaps. Did he tell her she was hot and he wanted her body? Could be. Did he tell her he was too drunk to go home and that wife would be mad? Possibly. He doesn’t remember, and any or all of the above are possible.

Liesnotworthtruth

But here is what I KNOW, what is indisputable.

He was at his reunion, having driven himself, which was between our home and her apartment, each being 15 or so miles away in opposite directions.

Whatever happened that night at the reunion…whatever words my lying HUSBAND poured on SW, she knew he was married – she had attended our WEDDING.

She got into his car, in control – she drove.

She invited him to her apartment – that is where she drove him.

She offered her body to him – they fucked.

She had so many choices…no matter what words he said (assuming he was the pursuer – he has no recollection, but is willing to consider that possibility). She could have offered to call him a cab, called me, had one of his male friends take him to their respective homes, driven him to our house and dumped him on the lawn, left him there to be dealt with by someone else…she could have reminded him he was married…refused any advances by a man who was married…

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But instead, she drove him to her apartment and allowed him to fuck her.

Who is the woman that makes that choice? Is she seriously thinking this is going to turn out well…lead her to the love she is seeking?

I try to imagine that even being in the realm of options…and it is not. I try to imagine how you feel as you are driving the car with a married man in it, knowing full well you are planning to be part and party to deception and betrayal. I try to imagine what it feels like to see him wake up, jump up and throw his clothes on, and rush out of the house. I try to imagine what it is like to get into the shower and let the water run all over your body that has just been felt by and connected to a man’s body that is going home to his wife. I try to imagine how you look at yourself in the mirror and don’t see embarrassment and shame. I try to imagine that there is any pretense that there is anything remotely like care or compassion or hope or love in this…

And I can’t imagine. So after it all, I’m left with how could she?

 

Unexpected Response.

So by mid-June, HUSBAND had disclosed all…multiple affairs beginning 2 years into our marriage. One night stand with a hooker. An on-again, off-again and more-on-than-off-over-the-last-five-years-of-our-marriage relationship with porn and self-satisfaction. A sex addict.

Life. Life was going on, and there was no way I could stop it. I tried at first. I stayed home from work, holed in my room, vacillating between denial and tears and rage. I searched every possible record I could find, frantically gathered every evidence of the life I thought I’d lived for 27 years, laying pictures and letters and notes out and begging HUSBAND to tell me what was real and what wasn’t. And how could he do this? And how could I be so stupid? And how could these sluts, all of whom I KNEW, fuck married men? I read blogs and forums and asked question after question after question. And asked them again. And HUSBAND answered, never getting impatient, never getting angry.

I cringed at the thought and the site and the touch of the man who’d betrayed me, my children, everything I was. Yet, yet…he held some of the answers I so urgently sought…and I craved his answers, his insight, his truth. Cringe, crave. Cringe, crave.

The cause of my pain, yet the source of my healing. Wickedly cruel twist of reality.

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But I had to begin to step back into life as much as I had no idea how to. We signed up for orientation at our son’s upcoming college campus and booked a hotel. Son was staying on campus for the two-day process, and we dropped him off then headed to check-in. We parked. We walked through the doors. HUSBAND walked over to the clerk – and I froze. I could not move. I literally sat down on something, my suitcase at my feet, and thoughts and visions and memories flooded into my brain at such a pace there was no processing. I saw pictures of hundreds of times we’d come to hotels alone and with various or all of our children and flashes of laughter and pools and breakfasts in the dining rooms and room service and then I heard HUSBAND saying, “come on honey…are you ready…are you okay?”

I mumbled something and got up and followed him, still in some sort of haze and then we were at the room and he put the key in and opened the door and went through. I could not go in the room. I stood there, with some kind of look of terror on my face. “i…I…I just can’t go in there,” stumbled out of my mouth.

HUSBAND came back outside the door, and asked what was wrong, and what could he do, how could he help.

I didn’t know, I wasn’t sure, but I just couldn’t go through the door.

After a few moments, I put one foot in front, and the next and then I walked in. The door shut behind me, and I stood, frozen again, looking around at the predictable mid-price lodging: two beds. A dresser sporting a coffee maker. TV. Desk, chair, mirror. One single reading chair. A bathroom.

I went to the single chair, sat down and stared in front of me. And quietly began to speak and to ask the things that were now running through my mind, tears falling the whole time. Women, these whores throughout our marriage, they came to hotels with you. They walked through doors of hotels. Did they stand by you at check in? Did they have the audacity to pretend like they belonged there? Was there a moment, a hint, of shame for either of you?

woman in a hotel

Where did they put their suitcase? Did they unpack things and put them on the sink in the bathroom? What about their clothes…put them in the dresser? Hang anything up? Did they walk around naked? In bra and panties? Did they wear lovely negligees? They acted like they belonged here with you. They took my place. They had no right, they had no authority, but they did it. How could they? How could you? How could you pull down the covers and let them get in the sheets? Was there ever, even just a brief moment of shame, of some inner voice crying out NO! STOP! Did you have to quiet a voice?

HUSBAND sat at my feet by the chair. He listened, he answered, he cried. Some of the answers stung…especially the ones that told me I wasn’t even considered in those moments. By either of them. There was no shame then. By either of them.

But then he told me there was shame now. Overwhelming and horrific shame that confronts him constantly. That sitting at the feet of his broken wife was a picture of the damage he’d caused and he was so sorry and he was willing to do whatever it took to help me find peace and healing.

Everything and anything, even telling me things he didn’t think I would want to know or hear.

I sat in that chair for a long time. He sat at my feet for a long time. Eventually, I said I would get in bed, the same bed in the hotel room with the man who I thought had kept sacred vows and with whom I had kept sacred vows. I got into that bed, and laid there. And after a bit, I moved closer to HUSBAND, who wrapped his arms around me. The irony of receiving comfort from the one who had shattered me was huge for both of us. I laid in HUSBAND’S arms, and we both wept, and somehow, one more piece of brokenness with a jagged edge was put into my box – my new box – of memories. The box labeled The Other Real Life Box. One day, I hope it is filled and after I go through it a time or two or ten, I will be able to put it up on a shelf where it can gather dust.

One day.

 

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

Going Back In Order To Go Forward.

Resolutions. Made with fanfare, broken in silence.

It seems that the habit of some of us humans is to make grandiose gestures of great promise, then to quietly walk away from any direction that may take us closer to realizing those dreams. At least that has been my habit. Over, and over, and over.

New Year’s Eve/Day is such a profound example of this, and we do it year after year. We make our declarations, and within days, weeks…or if we are one of the real persistent ones, months…we have broken our intentions of loving more authentically or eating more healthy or exercising more regularly or or or or… Why? Why do we repeat this ritual despite it not bearing the fruit we pretend to desire?

Maybe one of the problems is we fail to reflect back before we try to move on. If you consider physical laws, it takes backward pressure to launch forward…a runner rocks back slightly before the sound of the gun, a basketball player bends his knees downward before he leaps in the air, the quarterback draws his arm backward before launching the ball in a pass.

I know for me, when I began the journey of betrayed spouse, I was immobilized. For the first time ever in my life, my type A personality was completely shut down. Frozen. I had no earthly idea how to do anything other than breathe, and even that was difficult. Then, I was compelled by something bigger than me and I looked back. No…I really LOOKED BACK, trying to see not what I thought I had seen, but what was really there. Slowly, it began to unravel…as one layer peeled off, I looked into the face of the man that had shared my life for 27 years and realized I had no idea who he was. The man I thought I knew could never ever do the things this man had done. I LOOKED back, and questioned every part of my life, gathered all the pieces of the puzzle that I could find and began to try to put it back together. So much of it was tarnished, and chipped, and off-kilter…but I couldn’t see that before…but I could see it now…

Painful. Excruciatingly painful to look back with new eyes, revealed eyes.

They say we know. Other women declare that we must know they are fucking our husbands. One of the women I follow said recently that she goes to a counselor who’s been dealing with infidelity for over 35 years and THE WIFE ALWAYS KNOWS.

No. I. Did. Not. Know.

I would not have been afraid to confront. I would not have quietly stayed in my marriage knowing my husband was a cheater because I was afraid or needed his financial support or thought the kids would be better off or any other reason.

I stayed in my marriage because I never dreamed that he could or would cheat on me, and if things were tense or there was space in our relationship, I believed it was life, and we were life, we were married, we were in it together. Relationships ebb and flow, good times/bad times, intimate times/disconnected times. It literally never remotely occurred to me that my husband contacted, called, texted, video messaged, met with, slept with, planned with, dreamed with another woman. Ever. Even writing these words now takes my breath away, because it is hard for me to believe.

Before I knew of infidelity, I stayed in my marriage even in hard times because I loved him.

So…looking back…there are so many missing pieces. I can’t even complete the edges, put the border together, because the very foundation of the person I was married has holes. Initially, I became desperate to figure out those gaps, desiring to understand what the picture REALLY looked like, and I sat in that place for a long time.

I am not desperate anymore, although some of the pieces have not been easy to find, and honestly, there are still holes that I want to fill.

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So on the threshold of a New Year, I will continue to look back, but am also moving forward. I’ve learned that for me, I want to know – I want to confront – I want to look at the good, bad and ugly – and I want to dream in real-color of what the future can be. That is what I am looking forward to in 2016, as odd as it sounds: grasping in truth the missing pieces that I need to be whole, and creating the more beautiful future in which I play a role in shaping the puzzle pieces.

I hope, for you, an astounding 2016.

Trickling…and why digging matters

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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.

Early Days of New Marriage History

Those first days…so painful, so instinctual, so desperate, so surreal. I vacillated between sadness and anger, between commitment and fleeing, between love and hate, between blame and self-blame. I read voraciously, printed out pages and pages of articles, spent hours and hours talking. I spent much time in my room, in my bed, but eventually HUSBAND made me get up, get dressed, get out. I felt like I was an actor in a play – nothing was real.

HUSBAND and I had an appointment scheduled together with our counselor the day after D-Day. On the way there, I asked him not to tell. Not to tell our counselor that he had LIED to him and to me and was a cheater. I was just too raw, too blown away at that point to let anyone else in. I’m not sure how we got through that hour and 1/2, but I guess we are both good liars.

I did reach out to one person. My dearest friend, the one who knows me to the point that she sees through me at hello. She was amazing. Steady. Careful. Pained but not judgemental. I’m grateful for her heart, her response, her support. The first time she saw HUSBAND after she knew, I said, “Ok…just so we all know that we all know…” And she said, “I love you, both of you, and I’m fighting for you.” She also made it very clear that she would support me in whatever decision I made in and for the future – a decision I was not ready to make. I could only see the next moment in front of me.

Over the next days, I asked so many questions. I was desperate to understand the HOW IT COULD HAPPEN. This woman, the OTHER WOMAN, the Slut-Whore/SW…she was invited to our wedding twenty seven years prior. I had written her an invitation to my WEDDING, and she attended. I searched out my wedding book and found the gift she had given and destroyed it.

I investigated every aspect I could of her life, was appalled at so much, sick at some others and in shock at her audacity and intrusion. She was a bit older than me, HUSBAND’s age, had never married, no children. How DARE SHE invade the life of a family…four children…a marriage…and try to make what I had built, what we had built, and make it her own. THIEF.

HUSBAND answered my questions about the trip to the nearby town with her – told me they’d walked on the beach together. I had a desire to walk on the beach. Walk on the beach with my husband and establish that we belong there together. Not SW on the beach, holding HUSBAND‘s hands and kissing his face. ME. It is MY PLACE. We planned to drive out to the beach to do just that…but it rained. Instead, we went to a tiny wine bar and talked. Talked about our lives past, our lives future. What we want. A vision. We talked about sex. He told me things he’d never told me before. And that night, we had an intimate night and SW was nowhere in the room. She was not on his body, or his ears, or his feet, or his penis. She was gone. I was there. It was love, faith, covenant, commitment. It was experimentation and soft touches and mutuality and love. Oh, so special. All through the night – all night – there were touches, and responses. And morning came, and we both knew a certain level of healing had taken place.

I would come to find out that this was a fleeting sense. We, I, had a long way to go.

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.