So here it goes. I have been partaking in many of the infidelity blogs as of late, in order to find reason in my recent world of madness. They have helped me, greatly in fact. There is something to the adage that misery loves company but perhaps not for the reasons one might think. I have found information, humor, and the steadying knowledge that others have and are feeling the same irrational thoughts. I have been amazed to read that there are patterns to infidelity. As much as our stories are all unique, the threads of sameness exist for all of us betrayed. With this blog I hope to get all my feelings and thoughts out, rather than burst at the seams while they fester and bubble inside me. I hope to find some insights that help my fellow travelers. We are all on this hellish train ride for which we did not buy tickets. Together and at some point, I hope to heal enough to get off.
My wonderful husband cheated, not once but with four different women….why am I still here? I ask myself that most days. The feelings of shame are so deep, shame for not leaving is a huge issue for me and it stops me from moving forward. I am obsessed with the “why” but even more daunted about the “how”. How does a person who loves (or loved) you lie to your face thousands of times? How do they come home and put their head on your pillow after screwing someone half hour earlier and act like things are completely normal? Violate the space of your marriage (his truck, our summer home). How do they partake of your love and caring when they are taking a jack hammer to your very foundation? Before anyone screams “run the other way and don’t look back!!!” let me explain.
I met my husband at 38 and married at the ripe old age of 40 (now just shy of my 53rd birthday). Had a busy life, successful creative type, never had problems attracting a mate, wonderful, wild and storied single years (no did not sleep with any married men but enjoyed a very healthy dating life). Marriage was never really a huge goal of mine but I met my H and was ready, I felt I was making that choice with a sizeable amount of life and relationship experience. MY WH (honestly I hate that cheating is so fucking mainstream that we have these familiar tags..OW, BS…WTF?), handsome, sexy, intelligent, small town manners…a gentleman. It was just that easy. Families came together, in-laws were loving and wonderful. What could go wrong? Nothing..in fact for the first seven years. Life got busy, we bought and refurbished properties, worked, the usual stuff…and I felt every day that in the shadow of all my friends marriage difficulties that I had found the unicorn, the perfect balance of love, sex, understanding and support. I thought we were the perfect blend of brains and know how…barfing yet? What the fuck was I thinking???
I marvel at how naive I had been to think that marriage just plugs along, I knew there would be rough patches, and felt we both had the skills and intent to weather them together (wrong). Enter 2009 t0 2011, both his parents die within two years of each other. His father after a long sad decline, his mother after being diagnosed with cancer. Devastating news, difficult and sad years of watching two of the most wonderful people, wither and die. We walked that path together, supporting each other. Did you know that death of a parent or other catastrophic event can jettison a person into infidelity? I think there are many layers to cheating, it is never simple. Childhood issues, previous experience or lack of in relationships, emotional maturity, moral code perhaps, it sounds like a crock of shit, but I have read it so many times in so many books, it is finally sinking in. Misunderstandings, miscommunications, diminished sex life…blah blah blah, yeah it happened to us too, big fucking surprise. But I was in love, and I thought he was too and that we were just hitting a rough patch….until he started to change.
In MarriageRecoveryBlog (which is by and far the best out there) I had to stop reading her post about her life while her husband was cheating and she did not know, it cut too close to my heart and it hurt to read it. In the time before she knew of the adultery, he became argumentative, finding fault with everything, she could do nothing right. She knew instinctively something was off, but could not place it. I had the exact same experience, he became colder with each passing month, small issues became big ones, impossible to solve no matter how hard I tried. I twisted myself into a pretzel, trying to be better, different, passive, assertive, and apologized for things I did not understand or agree with, just to make it go away.
In April 2012, he seemed even more off and quiet for about a week and I was worried about him, was he depressed about his moms passing? I asked, I tried to be loving and affectionate. The day he told me he was unsure if he wanted to be married anymore, I had spent the previous half hour trying to help him, and talk to him gently, asking if there was anything I could do for him. By that time he had cheated with two women. One for six months on and off, and another for 7 months. He never let on there was someone, even when asked he denied it, it was that I was impossible to live we, we fought too much, we had nothing in common….was I having a completely different marriage and never noticed???? I was BLINDSIDED! This upheaval/torture went on from April to August, five months of the most horrific treatment at the hands of the man I loved. He was so cold in fact that people who did not even know us commented. It finally got to the point, for him and myself that I asked my H to move out, have a trial separation until we could sort it all (the week of our vacation and our anniversary), rather than put up with emotional abuse. We agreed to separate but not see any other people (fucking joke yes?) My self esteem was shattered and he did nothing to help me. I withered down 65 lbs in three months, cried rivers. I was skeletal, he held the marriage over my head from April to November, attending marriage therapy putting in no effort (except to beat me down). All the while he was with OW and then another OW. Little did I know the change was in large part him comparing me to them and their offerings of sex with no strings*. His affair(s) cast our troubled but decent relationship under a black cloud that made him angrier than I had ever seen him. He now realizes the anger was within him even before we met but he took it out on me…because who the hell else would have put up with it? We did have our issues, I won’t deny but I felt none were deal breakers…we just had to find the ability and I was in for the long haul!
*The OW number two who lasted the longest (I have thought of many titles for her, pig shit (taken), pig vomit (too Howard Stern), whore, loser. Lets just call her Holly because that is her name and I am in no way invested in preserving her dignity or protecting her). More on the OW(s) later.
I wont ramble on in this post, the story is long and exhausting, but just suffice it to say, more to come, lots to say, and I want to hear from all of you if you find me, together we help each other…..that is my goal…understanding how to navigate feelings I didn’t know I had…sorrow I did not know I could feel so deeply and a renewed belief in my own moral code. I am two months out from D-day, three of his episodes of cheating happened three years ago, and one this past year, but the news is fresh and I am reeling….