Night of Hell…Digging MATTERS…and Morning Has Broken…

We continued our journey of New Marriage History. HUSBAND and I went to counseling and due to my undefined, niggling sense he agreed to reach out to another local therapist who had a reputation for getting to the heart of things. We went, told our story, got some encouragement that we were approaching things right and decided to embark on a “marriage intensive”  (a two-day marathon session of delving deep into our marriage…HUSBAND, me, counselor) in early June.

At the initial session with new therapist a couple things happened…therapist looked HUSBAND in the eye and said, “have you told her everything?” Yes, Yes, Yes HUSBAND declared with emphasis, looking pleadingly into the eyes of the counselor.

For Memorial Weekend, we went to spend a couple days at our ranch. On the road to the lodge, I gasped when I saw three young deer right in the middle of the road. The elusive creatures were not usually so bold…we stopped the car…I took pictures before they bounded away. I saw it as a sign…we were healing…seeing things we hadn’t seen before…

We settled in the lodge in the late afternoon, drinking craft beer and eating munchies while watching soccer on the big screen and I typed away in my journal where I worked out feelings and kept timelines and compared what I knew to what I didn’t know. Here came another question…was she ever with you when you bought condoms (because he had answered 13 times previously that of course he always wore condoms). One time, he answered. Which time, I asked. The last time, he answered. After you picked her up from the airport, at that little quick-stop place, I asked. Yes, he answered. Did she go in with you, I asked? No, I told her I was going to run in and get some water, he answered.

At that point, the game ended and he walked out to the porch, working on a broken floor plank. I continued to journal, and then BOOM.

This might be a little hard to follow, but THIS IS WHY…FOR ME….FOR US…DIGGING MATTERS. I’d seen a video message SW recorded to him right before coming to town the last time and she’d said, “Don’t forget my cup, and a tshirt to sleep in.” I’d asked him what cup…WHAT CUP…and he had told me the cup he’d taken with him, filled with ice water (and a matching one for him). He’d also declared over and over that he’d worn condoms, and I asked crazy questions like how many did he buy and he’d answered he bought 4-packs and when we were at Walmart, I noticed that condoms did not come in 4-packs, but I hadn’t said anything at that time although it was bugging me. And suddenly, it all came together for me, and I knew that he wouldn’t have stopped at the quick mart and said he was getting water, BECAUSE HE HAD BROUGHT WATER FOR EACH OF THEM AND IT WAS IN CUPS IN THE CUP HOLDERS AND I KNEW HE’D LIED AGAIN. I ran outside where he was working on the plank and I screamed

YOU LIED TO ME! YOU LIED TO ME AGAIN!

He looked completely and utterly shocked and said about what? What are you talking about?

AND I SCREAMED (THIS IS ALL CAPS BECAUSE I WAS SCREAMING…LOSING MY MIND…) YOU DIDN’T WEAR CONDOMS! YOU LIED! YOU DIDN’T WEAR CONDOMS DID YOU?

And he was pale and looked awful and guilty and shitty and he answered No. No. I didn’t wear condoms. I never wore condoms. And I lied to you about something else.

OH MY GOD! WHAT ELSE DID YOU LIE ABOUT? (SCREAMING…MY GUTS WERE SPILLING OUT OF MY SOUL THROUGH MY MOUTH IN CRIES AND WAILS) DON’T YOU SEE THAT YOU AND THE SLUT ARE ON THE SAME TEAM AND BY LYING YOU HAVE LEFT ME ON THE OTHER TEAM???? IT IS THE TWO OF YOU OVER HERE AND ME OVER THERE??? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS???

His voice raised a little, to almost a panic…the hotel…the hotel…we didn’t stay at XX hotel, we stayed at YY hotel…and I did pay for it…

This started an evening of utter and complete and devastating hell in which hour by hour, HUSBAND revealed one incident…that’s it, no really, now you know everything, that’s it…and then another incident…and another incident…I vacillated between tears and fetal positions and pounding him with my fists and threatening him with losing his reputation and his children and his stuff. All night. By 5:00 am, we sat across from each other on two couches and he drifted off to sleep and I typed furiously in my journal. By this time, I knew that the one-night stand with SW 25 years previously had actually been an affair that included him cooking her dinner at her apartment, sneaking off to fuck on our boat, meeting her for drinks at the local beach hotspot and the crowning glory of revelations…he had flown her to be with him on a business trip/convention in New Orleans. While lying in bed with her, he’d rolled over, called me and told me Happy Valentine’s Day…I love you…and I thanked him for the roses he’d sent. Apparently that hurt her little slut-whore sensitivities, because that was when SW-1 (as I now refer to that first affair) ended.

So about 6:00 am, I’d written SW a scathing email (remember my gracious initial letter to the slut?), challenging her with the filthy and vile actions that she had engaged in with a new marriage…one in which SHE HAD ATTENDED THE WEDDING…and ending with I was praying for her soul…

I moved to a chair next to HUSBAND’s couch and said his name. He looked up at me, groggy, and I said I NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO THIS AND MAKE SURE I HAVE NOT MIS-STATED ANYTHING…and I read the email that covered all the incidents (briefly…I just was DESPERATE for her to know that I knew it all now – that she had NO SECRETS with him any more). He confirmed yes…I said I’m NOT ASKING THIS TIME…and I pressed send.

At that point, I started crying, sitting on that chair. And he got up and stood in front of me, looking forlorn as he had the whole night, no tears, but regretful and I looked up…and I said, You don’t love me, do you? He answered softly, I don’t know what I feel…I don’t know anything…

So I stood up, closed my computer, and softly said, “well…it’s time to close this chapter of our lives…this marriage. I’m going to shower, and then move on without you.” I walked to the bedroom quietly, calmly, and heard HUSBAND walk out the front door.

I began to undress, start the shower.

And I had an unbelievable prompting to go out to him. It was from my soul, from God, and I answered no. No God. I am at peace. I tried. Your Word tells me I can leave this marriage, and I’m at peace now doing so.

Go. GO. And I knew from deep inside that it wasn’t about me anymore.

So I put my clothes back on and walked outside. HUSBAND was there, sitting on a rocker, looking like living hell. I honestly can’t explain how/what happened next, but I sat down on the rocker next to him, and touched his arm (I had not allowed him to touch me all night except when I was hitting him). His head was dropped, he stared at this knees. Tell me the rest, I said softly.

I can’t, he answered. You will hate me.

I won’t hate you, I answered. Just tell me.

No. I can’t hurt you like that, he whispered.

Look at me…I am at peace…I’m covered in the Holy Spirit. HUSBAND, tell me.

I asked him to pray, he tried, he couldn’t. He asked me to pray for him, I did. I have no idea what I said. I have no idea how I was sitting there, or what words were coming out of my mouth, or how I was looking at his face.

And he said, ok. I will tell you. And he told me about a whole additional affair that lasted a year with a coworker. He told me about a one-night stand with a whore. And he broke…he sobbed…he cried out from such a deep place how very sorry he was. He reached for me and we held each other in a sweaty, tear-covered embrace as his body shook.

HIS STORY: HUSBAND later shared with me that when he fell into the sleep on the couch, he began to have a dream-like conversation with two entities. The first said, TELL HER. The second said, No way…don’t tell her…she already knows as much as she needs to know. The other voice said, Tell her everything. The second voice said, She is going to divorce you anyway, she doesn’t need to know it all. The other voice said, Do you know who I am? And husband said, Yes. And that voice said, Then Trust Me.

At that moment, I called his name and he woke and looked up. He said that where I was sitting on the chair and the way the rising sun reflected I looked like an angel. And he knew what he had dreamed was true. But he couldn’t do it then. He couldn’t tell me everything then. But he knew he needed to, he had to, more for HIM than for ME.

So…for us…DIGGING MATTERS. HUSBAND will tell you that if I hadn’t dug, and questioned and kept asking, he would have continued to hide and lie and cover truth justifying it that it was saving me from more pain. But the truth of the lies is they had a hold on him. A dreadful and complete and utter hold. HUSBAND had “confessed” his early transgression with someone one time, BUT NEVER TOLD ME, AND NEVER REALLY DEALT WITH IT. It stayed hidden, deep in his soul, calling at him, taunting him until this night of hell that turned into a day of glory as the sun rose in a magnificent fashion all around and we were one step closer to freedom.

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Trickling…and why digging matters

ComfortwithLie

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.

 

 

 

 

A Tapestry of Lies

The next moments and days are seriously burned into my brain like no other time period in my life. My brain struggled to catch up to what my heart was hearing. I had no basis to receive the information, no baseline of response or action or reaction. The only way I can try to understand how I processed is to go through the moments – so I apologize if this is tedious – but it is real.

When he looked at me and said It Was True, I didn’t know what he meant. As the hustle and bustle of my full household went on around me, I could only see my husband and quietly I asked him What Was True? I think I remember him saying that he had dinner with a woman – did you sleep with her – NO! What woman? Where? Let’s go sit in the living room…

We sat on the couch-him, facing outward staring ahead, and me facing him, curled up with my feet under me. I watched his face carefully and he carefully watched anything but my face. I asked him who she was – an acquaintance from a former business a couple years prior – and if he kept in touch – not really, but for awhile, just a few emails and a call or two – why did you have dinner with her – she had come to town for a conference – are you having an affair – NO! Why did you meet with her and what did you talk about – we talked about our marriages and…

And then he told me that he was miserable, and wanted a divorce. That he was going to tell me a few weeks later after our son’s high school graduation, while we shared our early-morning-coffee at the breakfast bar-

I told him I had been pretty miserable lately too. That I understood how he felt, but as I thought about our beautiful children, it was important to me that I could learn how I, how we, had gotten to this place. I told him I was stunned and saddened that he would tell another woman that he was miserable, yet never tell me, and that was pretty unfair. I asked him if he would agree to get some counseling so we could figure things out – no matter the outcome – and that I loved him. He continued to look straight ahead and my pulse pounded in my throat.

He agreed, sort of, and I went on to the shower. The shower, where I sat in a sea of my friends who had walked alongside me all 27 years of my marriage. Friends who had shared birthdays and anniversaries and child births and parent deaths and ER visits and marriage seminars and parenting classes and summer nights and vacations and fireworks and THEY HAD NO IDEA MY HUSBAND WAS MISERABLE AND WANTED A DIVORCE, AND HAD TOLD ANOTHER WOMAN. Tears welled up and trickled down my cheeks, and I was alone. In the midst of all these precious friends, I was so very alone.

That night, in the oddest of responses, he reached for me. I responded. I wanted him, I wanted to feel him on me and in me and around me, and it was completely amazing, yet painful. My head knew nothing yet about hysterical bonding, but my instincts did.

The next day, we asked our church for a referral to a counselor. And I began a quest of research…investigating the impact of divorce on older children…reading about infidelity…researching emotional affairs and learning a whole new language that included affair partners and other woman and D-Day and HEA and betrayed spouses and wayward spouses and I printed articles and created a notebook and searched his facebook and linkedin. I asked him questions, and he answered, telling me they had met in a bar in Denver, shared a meal – NOTHING ELSE – then kept in touch for a few months in a flirty kind of way – and that was it. Until February when she reached out again because she was coming to town. He admitted they considered sleeping together, but just couldn’t go through with it – shared a kiss in the parking lot (which is certainly what the author of the anonymous email must have witnessed) and then parted ways. I asked her name, showing him articles that discussed how important transparency was, but then I remembered he WANTED A DIVORCE.

We continued to make love, tenderly, passionately, beautifully, and in the light of day, he would stroke my face and say I Am Committed To The Process…Not The Marriage. He was clear that he wanted out, but wanted to understand why he had gotten to this place.

Ten days after Sid Breeze (the email), we were at a counselor’s office. Husband was hostile, but present. Counselor asked if he was having an affair – NO! Counselor asked if he had ever had an affair – NO! And recommended that we work through his brand of Emotionally Focused Therapy to discover if we could connect and have a marriage. He asked to see me alone the next day, and husband the next week. Those days were long…lonely…filled with research…learning…seeking…things were beginning not to add up so well…husband’s answers were beginning to subtly contradict themselves…more hysterical bonding…

The Tapestry Begins to Unravel…

April 29, 2014

We woke up together, treating each other with the careful kindness that characterized the days since Sid Breeze. Getting ready to leave for my office, husband looked me in the eyes and said, “I know you want me to tell you I’m committed to the marriage, but I can’t give you that. I’m committed to the process.”

I left, and remembered that later that day, husband would have his “alone session” with our counselor.

A little later, husband called me. My parents had moved in several months prior – my father had a terminal illness. Husband told me he was concerned about my dad, and I should come home. The only time that ever happened.

I did, within an hour. Husband was gone to work on a project, then to his appointment. I got the crisis with my dad settled down, and had an unbelievable urge to check husband’s computer. Husband had given me access to his phone and his computer several days prior, and I had searched deeply…found nothing…so when the urge came, I fought it. But it was overwhelming, and eventually, I gave in. I went to our room, opened his laptop which was hooked to a large monitor, and began to search, again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then a little 2 by the NOTES section of his email. I remembered when I looked a few days prior, there was only a 1, and it was a benign work note. So I clicked on NOTES.

My eyes saw this:

——-Forwarded message ——-
From: Husbands Name and Email
Date: Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 5:48 AM
Subject: Empty
To:

Empty
Sad
Choices made
Price unpaid

Barriers not broken
Words not spoken
Obligation
Responsibility

Irony everywhere
Do I even care?
Sowing pain
I can’t explain

Mountains
Oceans
In front of the fire
Liar
Can it really be through?
Is it true?

I Could Not Breathe. The unraveling began.

First Post Is The Hardest

It has been a year and 1/2 since I began to uncover the reality that the life I’d lived for twenty-seven years wasn’t really the whole story of my life. My life – MY LIFE – had a sub-story going on, and I was (not-so-blissfully) unaware of the other story the entire time.

It was a SHATTERING experience. An experience that left me curled up in a fetal position for a time. An experience that caused me to want to be damaged and bleeding on the outside so it would match what was going on in the inside. An experience that ripped the very soul of my being, that left me flayed and exposed and RAW.

As I slowly began to lift my head, and crawl out of a darker space than I ever imagined, I began to see light. Filtered through the jagged shards of my shattered life, I began to see new images and colors and beauty. The process has been deeply painful, unbelievably frightening, daringly challenging and ultimately, the most incredible journey for me, and those crazies who have stood nearby, or in my face, or with their arms around me.

Healing from the devastation of betrayal is possible. Real, deep, amazing healing that brings with it the precious, tender softness of a healed wound that never stops being slightly sensitive, but carries its own kind of lovely. I am compelled to share but only from a place of utter honesty that will not always look pretty, and continues to challenge me as I commit to wholeness for myself and those I love so dearly. If you have been betrayed, or want to understand betrayal from my perspective, please come visit from time-to-time.

So my story begins…

April 12, 2014

Beautiful north Florida morning…an early workout with my daughter…getting ready to head out with her to share the joy of a dear friend’s wedding shower…with a few minutes to spare decided to check emails…

I found this:

From: Sid Breeze
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2014 8:54 AM
To: undisclosed recipients:
Subject:  My Husband’s Name 

Hello My Name,

CONFIDENTIAL!

I am an acquaintance of Husband‘s and would like to remain anonymous. This may be inconsequential, but I wanted to inform you that on February 3rd, my wife and I encountered husband and another woman in what appeared as a very close relationship. We are aware that an extended amount of time that has passed. My wife has become unyielding about us not notifying you earlier and we agonized over the decision to send you this email. Do not mention this email, but I would suggest that you perform discreet research (phone, credit card) on your own.

Be Watchful,

A Friend in City

Let marriage be held in honor among all…

Hebrews 13:4

Thinking it was a joke, a spam email, I did NOT follow the advice of the writer, and immediately printed the email, chuckling, and handed it to my husband when he walked in the room. He read it, looked down at me and said, “It’s true.”

My story begins.