My Path continues…In early October, 2014, Husband had just retired when he auditioned and was cast in a small theater company’s Christmas play. The good news for me was, when I came home from work, he was at rehearsal. This gave me some time to myself before he came home. Most nights we would talk and/or I would cry and ask a million angry questions he didn’t always have answers for (Some of those answers came later.). We would then retreat to separate rooms to sleep. On the weekends, one of us would go to our place at the beach. One of our many blessings is our beach home, it’s always been our place of rejuvenation and peace. After the play ended, Husband would stay at the beach for extended periods of time. We would stay together about once a week or so, until we realized we weren’t going to make progress on our relationship living apart.
A VERY IMPORTANT NON-NEGOTIABLE WHEN TRYING TO SALVAGE A DAMAGED RELATIONSHIP, THERE MUST BE COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY, NOTHING HIDDEN, NO MORE SECRETS!!
One night in early November, Husband stopped at a taco bar for a bite to eat before his play rehearsal, when he saw the other woman. She was with a small group of people so he didn’t think she saw him. He knew he had to get out of there so left his taco and ran out. He told me what happened immediately when he got home, as he should. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I got on the iPad to check his Facebook (FB) account. He gave me access to ALL of his passwords. As I opened his FB account, I noticed a “friend request” from a man I didn’t recognize. I looked him up and saw he was friends with some of the people Husband and I both knew. OK I thought, looks legit. Then I noticed a private message from this guy….only it wasn’t from him…it was from the other woman. Yep, she had set up a elaborate and phony FB account specifically to try to reconnect with my husband! In her message she asked him to “friend” her and meet up again. I woke Husband up and he was shocked she would go to this extreme to contact him. He wanted nothing to do with her. We reported the fake account to the FB authorities. I then did something I felt needed to be done. The next morning, with Husband sitting next to me, I called her husband. I was under the impression he already knew about the affair, but turns out, he didn’t know a thing. After a difficult conversation he said he would do his best to keep her away from us. I felt bad for him, his hell was just beginning. It wouldn’t be the last time we heard from her.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS ~
Another bombshell came when Husband and I were at the beach together to see if we had a chance to salvage our marriage. There were other women I had suspicions about and needed to know if there had been other affairs. One woman in particular I was thinking about. I had asked him years before if something was or had been going on with her and of course, he denied it. This time when I asked, after a false start, he admitted that 20 years ago he had a brief affair with her. I knew it!! The others? There were flirtations, but no full-blown affairs occurred. This was all confirmed when he agreed to take a lie detector test. I felt this was the only way I was going to get to the truth because so far, I was still getting lies and trickle truths and that wasn’t healthy for either of us. Every time a new lie came to the surface it was like being stabbed in the heart all over again. Couples can only start rebuilding when the entire truth is known, as painful as it can be. I was confident there weren’t other affairs but the entire truth still wasn’t known to me. My instincts were right on the money, but sadly every time I was suspicious, I didn’t listen. My counselor told me it was easier for me to believe I was jealous or insecure than it was to believe he would be unfaithful and lie to me.
AS ZEN AND OTHERS TEACH…HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB.
There are a few things I didn’t think I would ever do in life…#1 was to stay married if my spouse cheated. That was something I was always so firm about, he cheated and I was out the door. I surprised myself when I didn’t slam that door shut and triple lock it when it happened to me. That is exactly where I thought we were headed. Another, and this is tough to admit, was to go on a dating website. My ego was so badly damaged and my head so fogged up, I was afraid of being alone in the world. I thought I needed a man in my life to take care of me and make me happy. Needing a man, or anyone, in my life to make me happy is a BIG, FAT lie!
With my foggy brain and crushed self-esteem, I signed up for Match.com. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but for me, it was a wake-up call and, honestly, a nice ego boost. The ego boost came because I received a fair amount of interest from some men on the site. I met several of them for coffee/tea, always in the daylight, always in a public place. They were nice, pleasant and interested in meeting again. The wake-up call was they weren’t my husband. I just couldn’t do it, as pleasant as the men were, they didn’t have his wit, intelligence, humor and years of building a life together. I also realized how fragile I was. I would barely get out the door after coffee (tea for me) with a man and start crying. I was brokenhearted and angry to be in a position I didn’t deserve or want. The good news was the relief I felt after I realized I needed to focus on healing myself and not trying to meet the next man in my life. I closed my Match.com account and got serious about getting the help I needed.
FIND A JOURNAL THAT SPEAKS TO YOU AND START WRITING, YOU WON’T REGRET IT ~
November 29, 2014 I started writing a journal. It was before I started seeing Dr. Parker and we hadn’t started couples counseling with Dale yet. I was reading a lot of books, but as helpful as reading was, journaling was very therapeutic. I wrote almost every day back then. Writing in a journal allowed me to pour my heart out about what I was feeling, whether it was sadness, anger or an occasional glimmer of joy. My journal writing has slowed down, now that my life is calmer, but I still write often and recently started my fifth volume. Today, when I read back to the start of this journey, it amazes me how far I’ve come. Back then I didn’t think the pain and sadness would ever end. Today, it’s a whole different story. There are so many pretty and cool looking journals, it makes writing feel special. I like journals that have a pocket in the back to save articles, cards or fortune cookie predictions. Powell’s Books has a great selection of journals at reasonable prices, as does Amazon. Or go the Resources section of this blog for a link to view some great journals.
When I read back in that first journal and remember back three years, it was a time of the lowest of lows. Counseling with Dr. P and Dale couldn’t have come soon enough . My husband and I didn’t have the skills we needed to get through this on our own. I was so confused with a lot of back and forth thinking…do I try to stay married to a man who cheated or divorce him and start a new life without him? At the time, we had been married for 30 years and together 32, there was a lot of history and although I couldn’t see it at the time…love. I didn’t understand the depth of my strength or the determination my husband had in making significant changes in himself. We kept trekking down that path, filled with roadblocks, broken glass and fire to find a smoother path to our courage, strength, compassion and love…
EVERYTHING YOU NEED, YOUR COURAGE, STRENGTH, COMPASSION AND LOVE; EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS ALREADY WITHIN YOU. ~BUDDHA~
Till next time…
Peace & Love,