The ensuing days in the aftermath were a complete roller coaster. I had this fantasy that everything would return to normal; that my expression of forgiveness plus delusions that my husband wanted to save the marriage would “all work out”. I assumed he’d end the relationship with the 24-year old and we’d pick up the pieces. I chose to believe his “one time” story and tried to move forward in the marriage. I ordered self-help books on the internet: books on how to survive an affair, books on “Sacred Marriage” and “Love Languages”. I read the books from cover to cover. I highlighted paragraphs, wrote notes in the margins and studied like I was taking the Bar Exam. Later, every single one of these books would find a new home: the garbage can.
My emotions ran wild. I had no control over my anxiety or my thoughts. I felt ugly, unloved, stupid, foolish, naïve and lame. I also felt completely and utterly rejected. I wanted to trust him but he gave me no reason. He told me he would end it with her but didn’t want me to ask him about it. I suspected his every move. Every phone call, every text — was it her? What was he saying? Did he miss her? Did he still love her? He certainly couldn’t stand the sight of me. He wouldn’t even touch me. I practically threw myself at him.
There’s nothing more unattractive than a desperate, needy woman.
I was standing right in front of him, loving him, giving him a second chance. I wanted to take him back in my arms even after he had betrayed me and desecrated our union. I don’t know many people who would have done that, but I didn’t care. I believed we were special. Our love meant something. How do you throw away ten years of marriage in an instant?! I wanted to do everything I could to save it. I was prepared to give up my dreams, hunker down and figure this whole thing out. I had clarity, or so I thought. I blamed myself for placing my career above my marriage, regardless of the fact that we had prayed about and made the decision for me to go to New York as a couple. I also glossed over the fact that my husband had, for years, traveled extensively and sought out dangerous excursions in the Middle East with his buddies. He left me for weeks at a time without contact or financial support.
Regardless, I wanted to reverse the damage. Plus, I still loved the guy. I couldn’t shut off my heart. At the same time, I couldn’t understand how it had been so easy for him to cease loving me.
To be fair, my husband was willing to try. I couldn’t walk away when there was a sliver of hope. I wanted to see what God was going to do. The potential of “beauty from ashes” kept me going.
To compound the relationship problem, neither one of us had jobs. Our separate bank accounts were empty. We both started looking for work. Our loyal next-door neighbors came over one day and generously wrote us a check for $1,200.00. The memo line simply read, Heal. We were able to pay our mortgage that month.
And then, two weeks after the “big reveal”, I discovered that my husband had not ended his affair.
The shit storm continues, I scribbled in my worn, green leather journal.
Not only has he texted her, he’s been doing it for the past four days. I can’t take much more. He’s trying to “end it well” with her. What a CROCK OF CRAP. Why am I enduring this bullshit? God, I am LOST. I CAN’T DO THIS. PLEASE SPARE ME! RELEASE ME!
I want OUT.
He just couldn’t stop. I freaked out. I got in my car, drove to AT&T and canceled his phone service. I had to take control of this idiot situation. I got a new phone line for myself. I loudly proclaimed to the employee processing my transaction that, “MY HUSBAND IS HAVING AN AFFAIR AND JUST CAN’T QUIT. APPARENTLY 24-YEAR OLDS ARE ALL THE RAGE THESE DAYS! “
He kept his head down and mumbled, “Okay, ma’am.”
I drove back to the house, stormed up the cement stairs, pushed past my poor, sweet (remaining) dog, flung open the door and started gathering my husband’s belongings. In a rage, I scattered them out the front bay window, onto the deck. The F word was my new favorite, so it accompanied each heave of clothing, book, paper and toy. I am positive the entire block could hear my expletives. Talk about cathartic. Violence came naturally to me, and it felt good.
My diplomatic, generous neighbor came over to try and calm me down. My husband accompanied her. He had gone to her for help. Her response to him was, “Well, what did you expect?!”
Still, he stared at me with a blank, confused expression as I continued to scream like a banshee throughout the house. My exposition of craziness extended to now throwing things AT him.
Finally, somehow, my neighbor was able to get me to sit down. I think the three of us were relieved that I hadn’t quite made it to the kitchen, where sharp objects were within easy reach.
After taking a few deep breaths, I asked my husband to leave. He slowly selected a few pair of underpants, socks and T-shirts from the mess on the deck and went to stay with his parents. I needed to get away. I had friends in Orange County with a boat. They also had Jack Daniels.
When I returned after the weekend, my dog had wisely taken up residence at my neighbors’ house. I was surprised to find my husband in the front yard, weeding. He wore nothing but his favorite pair of dirty shorts and old flip-flops. His toes sunk into the dirt as he flatly spoke to me. Occasionally he scratched at his new, fresh tattoo.
He wanted to know where I had been, who I was with and what I had for dinner, I wrote on September 28th.
At the same time, he wouldn’t tell me who he had been texting all day (HER), and then got defensive. He said he didn’t understand why I had to be so “black and white” about things.
BECAUSE I WILL NOT TOLERATE ADULTERY.
He is unable and unwilling to cease his relationship with his adulteress, therefore causing the blindness and confusion about me, HIS WIFE.
I want so much for him to wake up but he has not. After I said it was so sad that he was making this choice to end our marriage, he replied, “I ended it three months ago.”
I told him I was shocked and humiliated that he wore his wedding ring while daily committing adultery. So, he took it off and gave it to me. I asked him to leave. He did.
God, I am filing for divorce. I still believe You can intervene, but I am open to your will. He has a lot of growth to do before I can even agree to speak to him, so I pray that You would protect me and comfort me and help me move forward in life. Oh, Father. I want a loving husband and a family so very much. Why did I take _____ for granted? And why did it take this horrible tragedy for me to wake up? Forgive me, God. Forgive my years of cruel selfishness. I am so humbled and ashamed.
I went to sleep in my marriage bed alone that night, with determination. My marriage was over, and I would take the first step to end it.