Category Archives: Bad Behavior

…But My Heart…

We fought extensively over email.

I read an article that my husband had written, covering an after-party of an industry event in Australia.  The pictures posted on the website that accompanied his story were of people partying, naked women, women kissing one another, and general debauchery, drugs (one can only assume) and mayhem.  He talked freely about all the women.  He described their clothing, their beauty, their eyes, their lack of clothing…

I hopped right back on the train to Crazytown.

I told him he made me sick, that he had manipulated me, and that I was done.  He defended himself and said he had done nothing wrong. He had written the article with me in mind.

YOU WROTE IT WITH ME IN MIND?? — THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT.
How about TELLING ME ABOUT IT FIRST???????
THAT is how you build trust.  But what do I know?  I’m just petty and small.

I was irate.  I was also referring to a previous email where my husband had explained to me that he needed the “literary storyline”, and wouldn’t apologize for living life at the “small and petty” level.

We yelled and screamed at each other – as much as you possibly can — over email.  I tried to Skype with him, but he would not answer.  I called him a coward, and told him I was filing for divorce.

In essence, he said that he was done, too, that I could do whatever I wanted, and, “goodbye goodbye goodbye.”

I challenged him to come home and do it himself.  But I knew he wouldn’t.  He had left, on a one-way ticket to a foreign country.

The next day, I sent him an emotionless email entitled “Business”, wherein I laid out my desire, and plan, for a divorce.  I told him I was willing to hold off on filing until March 16th, which was the date we had agreed upon in counseling.  I asked for his input about our official date of separation, what to do with the house, and offered that I was willing to negotiate some credit card debt (however, I would NOT be paying for his hotel rooms, flowers, gifts and whatever other shenanigans he had been up to over the past year and a half).  I also asked him if he wanted to save money and not hire a lawyer.  We didn’t really have anything to fight over.  The only thing I had cared about was my beloved piano, and I had to sell it — months prior — to pay the mortgage.

I wanted our divorce to be clean, simple and amicable.

Note: Divorce is never “clean, simple or amicable.”

He told me he didn’t want to talk about responsibility in divorce.  He simply didn’t want to talk, at all.  He suggested we take a week off from each other and reconvene later, to “see how we feel”.

And, like that – poof! – he was gone.

I was left with unpaid bills, our impending mortgage payment and property taxes, and no money in the bank.  In fact, my husband would not contribute financially to our household ever again.

I pulled myself together and figured out how to prepare our taxes on my own.  Thankfully, I got it done quickly and received a large enough refund to be able to pay the mortgage.  I also met with Kathy, my good friend and realtor, and started the process to put our home on the market for lease.  There was no way I would be able to pay another month’s mortgage on my own.

I realized how God was taking care of me.  Even though my husband had abandoned me, I knew God would never abandon me.  I clung to Him. He never let me go.  (He still hasn’t let me go!)

Zephaniah 3:17 ~ “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I was seeing evidence of God’s faithfulness, yet still in the thick of the new storm.

Nights are so hard, I wrote. It is when I am most alone.  The fear of the unknown; the fear of losing everything.  The rejection.  The fact that, as each day passes, my husband continues to choose everything contrary to our marriage.  His cowardice is maddening.  He sticks me with all responsibility.

God, I cried, I want to look at life from a different perspective.  To trust that moving forward with divorce is Your best for me; that You will make it clear…whether I should file…not out of anger or malice…I continue to pray for my husband, that You would wrestle with him.  Of course I do not trust him at all, and his absence and silence only confirm what is inevitably true: he is untrustworthy.  Running.  Running from responsibility because he wants to be “great”.

 I don’t know if I could stand seeing him in the future; in another relationship.  That would be most painful.  I guess I have already experienced it, so…

I am starting to wonder if my entire marriage was a lie.  I was just a pawn in the game.  I simply do not believe him, nor do I believe in him anymore.  Maybe I failed the patience test, God? 

Life still goes on…but my heart, Lord.  My heart is his.  My heart belongs to him and he tramples on it, turns his back on me and laughs.  He walks away with it, crushing it between his palms as he interlaces the fingers of his left hand between another woman’s.

Foreshadowing is an amazing, literary gift.

“An Affairs”

My husband asked me out to lunch.

He drove, and even paid for the meal.  I was shocked.

At our favorite pho restaurant, my husband looked me straight in the eye and explained to me that he had purchased a ticket to France, and his flight was leaving at 8:40 p.m.  He was planning on being gone not for two weeks, but the entire month.

I started to interrupt, but he continued.

He said he had done a lot of thinking about the trip.  Something about it hadn’t seemed “right”.  He then took a deep breath and shared his revelation with me: the way he had been planning his trips had not taken me into consideration, at all.  He realized he had been acting as if he were a 22-year old, very single bachelor.

Well, shit on a shingle.  He gets it.

Furthermore, he realized that if he left on the plane that night, I would leave him.  He didn’t want our marriage to be over.

So he told me he wouldn’t go.

He then asked me to “partner” with him in his career.  He wanted me alongside him.  He didn’t want to be without me in any capacity.  He wanted to try harder.  He wanted my support.  He wanted to include me in everything he did.

That is what I had been wanting, all along!  I almost couldn’t believe that I was hearing it.  Maybe God had, indeed, changed my husband’s heart overnight.

Hope, Part Four.

We made a deal.  I agreed to be his partner.  He had gone out of his way to take a step forward, a giant leap towards a life together.  He still had to fly to Australia in a couple of weeks, but would keep me posted on every detail.  I was dubious but agreed, since a paycheck from one of his recent stories had come through.  We needed more like that to stay afloat.

A blessing and RELIEF, I wrote.  I truly would have left him, I believe, had he gone to France.  I am so glad I didn’t have to make that decision today.

I did not journal for an entire day.  Our exchanges were light-hearted, and full of inside jokes.

The day passed.

Soon after, I found my husband’s unused plane ticket, crumpled up in his backpack.  My heart sank.  His itinerary did not reflect France, at all.  The flight had been headed to Portugal.

Feeling massively disappointed, yet not at all surprised, I calmly confronted him with the evidence.  He made up some cockamamie excuse, but I knew he was going back to see the “investment banker”.  Still, I didn’t want to believe that he had had an affair with her, too.  It was so brazen, so blatant, and SO in-your-face that it couldn’t have been true!  I was officially the biggest, bloodiest fool in the entire universe.

My husband had “an affairS”.

Oh, God, even through my daily disappointment, I know deep down that You are by my side, holding my hand and walking me through this.

Broken.  Human.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  ~Hebrews 12:3

The next day was a good one for me, personally.  I got a lot of work done, then treated myself to a swim at the Rose Bowl.  Feeling strong and confident, I impulsively decided to join the diving team for their nightly practice. I hadn’t been coached on a springboard since competing in high school, so it felt really good to do something fun and productive.  For me.

I went home exhausted, proud and happy.  I walked in the door to find my husband affixed to his usual spot on the couch.  He kept his eyes on his computer screen as I entered the living room.

“I’m hungry.”

Immediately, I felt myself shutting down.

We went to dinner at a BBQ restaurant.  I pushed the chicken and beans around on my plate and verbalized my feelings — the same old, crappy, tired feelings.  How many ways can you wonder if your marriage is going to survive?

My husband didn’t want to talk about it.

I was silent on the drive home, and when we arrived, my husband went to bed.  I had plans to go hiking with my friend, Andrea, in the morning, so I went to bed, too – in the guest room.  I hadn’t slept many nights in my marriage bed.  It was too difficult.

As I lay on my creaky twin mattress, my thoughts started to spin out of control.  I became angry, so I got up and started banging around.  I stormed into the Master bedroom where my husband slept and started to “pack” my belongings.  He woke up and sleepily asked me what I was doing.

“I’m PACKING!” I flailed about the room, wildly.

I shot my mouth off for several minutes, and then stomped back to the guest room, slammed the door, and locked it.

A few moments later my husband pounded the door with his fists.  He was livid.  I opened it, we screamed in each other’s faces, and then I tried to slam it again.  He stopped me.  He pushed his way into the tiny guest room, screaming, “STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!” — through his teeth.  He then grabbed me with all of his strength, and violently threw me down on the bed.

A moment passed.  We stared at each other in horror.

I got up off the bed, rubbing the already-sore spot on my arm where he had grabbed hardest.

I picked up my bag, and moved towards him.  My eyes were flashing but I kept my voice low and steady.

“If you ever touch me again, I’ll kill you.”

I Don’t Want to Be Married to This Person Anymore

January 25, 2010
(I got the year wrong in the picture)

Father.

I just found a recent writing of [my husband’s] that was extra descriptive of a sexy girl – maybe it didn’t have to elude to anything other than describing another woman just to sell clothing but it HURTS SO MUCH.   MY HUSBAND who CHEATED on ME STILL THINKS ENOUGH ABOUT OTHER WOMEN to FREELY WRITE (about) THEM EVEN THOUGH IT HURTS ME, EVEN IF IT’S “NOTHING”.  I CAN’T DO THIS, GOD.  I CAN’T.

I told him to move out.

Without MISSING A BEAT, he said, “Ok.”

Lord, I just feel nothing.  No emotion, nothing.  I am so tired.  I want someone better.  I want to live.  I don’t want the daily pain of a noncommital, cheating husband.  I want to be done.  I am done.  And I know, deep down, he’s done, too.  He won’t change.  I do not matter enough to him for him to stop hurting me.  I will not tolerate it.

January 26, 2010

I’m at the end of my rope, and so is he.  Last night didn’t go so well.  He was gone all day with a photographer, scouting locations for a shoot.  It most certainly didn’t help when [my mother-in-law] came over in the midst of me being angry.  She was “checking in on me”, seeing how I was doing. I showed her the article he had written, and, again, it didn’t faze her.  I tried to explain why it upset me so much, until, finally, I erupted.

“Your son is a piece of shit!”  It felt so good to say that.

She edged forward on the couch across from me, and her eyes narrowed.
“Don’t you dare talk about my son that way.”  Her voice was cold.

“Don’t you dare come over here, uninvited, and pretend to know how I’m feeling.”  My voice got louder.  “I can say whatever I want to about my husband because he’s my husband.  I know him better than you do.”

I could feel the adrenaline pulsating through my veins as I got even more angry with her.  [My husband] finally came home, with blood on his white T-shirt.  He just stood back and observed the madness.  I threw his article at him, and told [my mother-in-law] to LEAVE MY HOUSE.  I yelled and cussed at her – obviously not good behavior – but I just can’t take her or [my father-in-law] anymore.  Leave me alone!  Things escalated and got even uglier, when she grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me up against the wall.

I did not touch her.  I moved forward, off the wall, using the threat of my body weight to make her back away.

I opened the door.  “Get out.”

She tried to slam it on me and then left, screaming, “You’re making the biggest mistake of your life!”  — and — “I’m DONE with you!”
GOOD.  BUTT OUT AND STAY OUT.

Oh, Lord, I just can’t do any of this very well.
Am I proud that I lost it and cursed at his mother?  No.
Am I right by throwing papers and his infidelity at him over and over again?  No.
Does it solve anything?  No.
Do I feel worse?  Yes.

IT MAKES ME RAGING ANGRY to think about the way he stood and watched his mother physically assault me, and then take her side.   Did she apologize to me?  Nope. I was the one who apologized to her.  My therapist AND marriage counselor asked, “WHY?”  Ha, ha.  Touche.

I can’t talk to him about it, because he will forever and always defend her – she is his mother — and whatever fucked up Oedipus complex he has with her.  The truth is that his parents are way too overinvolved. EVERYONE can see it, even the neighbors.  I can’t even talk to him about it because he matches my catastrophizing with statements such as, “I’m sick of you.”

I give it to You, God.  I give You my anger.  I am extremely angry with his parents, maybe even more so than him at this point.  I need to forgive them for the hurt they have caused me for years.  I have felt “unworthy” of them and their love for years, unworthy of their “golden, summer son” who STILL can do no wrong in their eyes.  The point is to not get angry with them, it is to accept it and move forward.

From this day forward my relationship with my in-laws must change.  That is true and necessary.  I cannot change them but I can change with Your help, Lord, and I pray that You would release me from my anger towards them.

God, forgive me.  I am ashamed at how I behaved last night, yelling and screaming.  It does no good.

I am to accept that my husband will always write about women.  He will always look at them, think about them, etc.  I thought for the first 9.2 years of our marriage that he didn’t do that.  I was wrong.  I thought he would always be faithful and always love me.  I was wrong.

I hate who I have become: the jealous, miserable, insecure wife who will never be as exciting as the lover.  I will never be as exciting as the story or the description that he writes.

While watching the rerun of the Golden Globes, one writer won Best Screenplay for “Up in the Air”.  He dedicated his win to his wife and said that, when asked how he wrote women so well, he used his wife as his inspiration.  She was his everything.  She inspired him.

My husband shakes his head, and peers at me through those identical blue eyes that his mother possesses and says, “You don’t want to understand.”

I truly do not know if we will make it. After dealing with the incident with my mother-in-law, I just want AWAY from these psychotic, fundamentalist, judging, enabling and hyper-involved people whom I can never please.  Even if I’m doing something right in their eyes, it is a temporary good.  I will never be good enough for their salty, tall and tan, blonde baby boy.  BARF.

Clearly I could go on and on but I am getting worked up again and I want today to NOT begin with anger and malice, and a cold heart.  I can’t do it any longer.

He is actually 100% right about me wanting things to be “fixed” my way.  I release that burden to you, Lord.  I can’t deal with it.  And it isn’t about MY way, it’s about YOUR way.  It will only be good and right when done YOUR way and in YOUR timing.  Not his nine months, not my “today”.

YOUR WILL BE DONE.

God, I earnestly pray for Your guidance in pursuing a separation.  This situation doesn’t work and I want to not be so crazy.  Everything has changed and I’m desperately grasping at whatever I think or thought was left of the old _______ and Leslie.  They were naïve and happy.

My heart is so heavy.  I’m shutting up now.  Help, God.  Please, please help me.  I am so lost and confused.

Please, Lord, fill me.  Be the love that I so desperately need, that my husband cannot give.  Lord, You are all I need.  I have to believe that, and trust it, even when I seek human love and approval.  Oh, Lord, I am such a fool.

January 27, 2010

Lord, I know I need to calm down.  He makes me so angry.  He criticizes me for “my rotten behavior”, yet he sits on that stupid couch all day long, doesn’t do the dishes, doesn’t deal with life.  He sits back and criticizes.  He hurts purposefully.

I DON’T WANT TO BE MARRIED TO THIS PERSON ANYMORE.

I can leave and maybe I will.  He broke the marriage.  Oh, and it’s my “rotten attitude” that is keeping it from being “fun”.  NO, it’s the fact that he is a LAZY person.

Ugh, I am overreacting.  I am impatient.  He makes me so angry; his whole “deal”. It’s nauseating.  He doesn’t want to “deal” with anything.

I want out I want out I want out

I WANT OUT!!

Die For Love

For weeks, I had asked my husband to join me in Baltimore for Thanksgiving.  He was back in Portugal, covering some sort of car race for his magazine.  The race ended a few days before the holiday.

It wasn’t long before I started to get the sense that my husband had, indeed, gotten back on the “trouble train”.   He hadn’t ever actually given me a straight answer about joining me in Baltimore, much less spending a week on the road with me.  When the time finally came around, he didn’t have the money for a plane ticket.  He had only asked the magazine for a one-way ticket to Lisbon.  He had “gambled” with making something out of the car race story, but it wasn’t looking too good.

He asked me to cover his ticket to Baltimore.  I couldn’t afford it.  I had been paying all of the bills, and our property taxes were due in a couple of weeks.  We would not have survived financially had it not been for my tour.  Money from my husband’s stories had started trickling in, but it certainly wasn’t consistent, or substantial.

To be fair, I did understand that my husband was trying to make something of himself and his career.  He certainly couldn’t return to teaching, especially since he had crossed professional lines and slept with one of his students.  Furthermore, he had dreams of becoming a writer.  Every chance he got to cover a story, he took.  I was supportive, and wanted to be moreso, but the damage had already been done.  I was wary of the content of his articles.  I didn’t trust him.  I didn’t know whose company he was keeping.  I felt like he was giving his career way more effort than his marriage. And if all of this meant that he was going to be traveling extensively over the next year or so, I didn’t want to have any part of it.

I was sitting on the leather couch in my swanky tour bus, unpeeling a banana for breakfast as my husband and I emailed back and forth.

I’m not staying in a long-distance marriage, my thumbs pounded, furiously.  Nope. Won’t do it. Not when there are prettier women, more exciting people and parties, more alluring countries, sights, smells, sounds, food…I won’t compete because I just shouldn’t have to.

I shouldn’t have to feel bad for wanting you around. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for being mad that you can’t get your ass to Thanksgiving on time. You should have booked your return ticket from Lisbon to Baltimore when you bought the ticket in the first place. But, no, you had to keep your options open just in case a better opportunity came up. For what? Money? Really? 

Your actions have spoken deafeningly louder than any of your words.

He didn’t want a long-distance marriage, either, but he was writing to me from almost four thousand miles away.  He just wanted me to understand, and not place myself in competition with his career.

My blood started to boil.  I stood up, and threw my banana as hard as I could.  It narrowly missed hitting a trombone player square in the face. He ducked as the banana splattered on the window and sank to the floor.  Everyone in the front lounge stared at me.  Still, no one knew of my relationship troubles, so I tried to pass my behavior off as PMS.  One of the guys jokingly offered me a beer.  I cleaned up the mess, crawled back into my bunk, and quietly cried myself to sleep.

A few hours later, we arrived in the next city.  I wrote a more lengthy reply from the privacy of my hotel room.

Greetings from Wausau, Wisconsin.  I am staying in a hotel that is nothing short of the midwestern version of “The Shining”.  The crisp, white bedding and the worn carpeted halls scream death!  It’s fun to be in the midwest.  I realize how great my life actually is. I have profusely thanked the Lord that I do not have to work at the Walmart nail salon in Waukegan, Illinois.  I think I have issues with the entire state of Illinois.  Sufjan Stevens would be sad.

Regarding our earlier exchange of emails (the new way to conduct a marriage!):
I’m sorry for sounding unsupportive.  More than anything I want to support you in your career.  And I really DO. I DO, and I know I don’t show it well.

I think that anytime I lose my focus on the Lord, I start going insane.  I’m not used to this type of insecurity.  I know you think I’m crazy, but sometimes I feel like you will just dump me because you get tired of my reactions; you’ll dump me because I’m not excited enough or supportive enough of your new venture.  The fact that you had an affair opens every single door that is available.  If you were able to fall in love with and have sex with another girl so easily and quickly, why not dump me over the tiniest matter?  Especially when the door is open for a new, more exciting life?

I keep asking God, “Is this why he had an affair?  So that he could have a successful career?”  It’s not that far-fetched.  You started intensely focusing on your career mid-affair.  It has paid off.  

It feels like our marriage got in the way of your career in the first place, and when it was at its worst: shattered, destroyed and hopeless, you were at your best, getting your career off the ground.  

I know I am just speaking from my dumb, idiot, messed up, emotional heart…I’m trying my best to think before I speak.  But this is me, and I am a passionate person. 

 I want to know that you aren’t going to leave me because I piss you off, or because I mention UKR’s name for the millionth time.  I don’t want to mention her stupid, lying, manipulative, evil, destructive, blood-sucking, husband-stealing name ever again, actually.  I have to forgive that bitch.  I have to forgive you.  I want her dead.  I sometimes want to become Dexter and wrap you both up in your favorite brand of condoms, real nice and tight, and then stab you both in the heart.  Multiple times.  Murder you both dead, and make you watch each other scream, bleed and die.  Die for LOVE, you infidel mother fuckers.

Yeah, that’s the hate in my heart that I carry for you both. Not pretty.  I have to control it.

I have to forgive her.  I have to forgive you.  I have to forgive as the Lord forgave me.  An excerpt from today’s devotional:  “If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross.  Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love.  This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.”

I have to remember that, even if you do dump me, I will be OK.  God will carry me.  But that’s insecurity talking.  Beyond that, I have committed to being your wife.  It’s extremely difficult.  It never was that difficult before.  I know that I am not easy to be married to, either. I truly do not want to have this affair define our marriage forever.  I need your help.  I need your patience.  And if you can’t do it, then let me go.  I know I keep saying that, but I truly cannot live like this, in hopeful expectation only to be devastated again.

I am committed to being your wife.  I DO support you in whatever you do.  I am sorry I can’t be more excited about things right now.  I know that with God’s help, I can get there.  I am truly committed to trying.  I am sorry if I go bezerk and/or project worry into the future.  That’s my sinful nature.  I lose focus on the Lord.  We are in the midst of doing this, and it’s hard, but we’re doing it.  I just miss you and I want you to miss me and want to be with me more than you want to be in Portugal, or Lebanon, or Yemen, or Hawaii.  But I can’t make you do that, and I have to be OK with it if you don’t feel that. 

GOD is in control, let us not lose our focus on Him.  Forgive me, forgive my rants and raves. I am human and I am hurting.  I know you are, too.  God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.  Let’s ask him to help us.  We can do this.  We can, but only with God’s help, guidance and direction.

My husband showed up in Baltimore, the day after Thanksgiving.

Pull the Trigger

Deeply frustrated with my husband’s apathetic response to my (admittedly funny) experience at the gynecologist, I started to act out.  I was fueled entirely by my unstable emotions, insecurity and fear.

I went ballistic, I wrote.  The divorce papers came out, [he] revealed that he doesn’t quite love me enough.  [He’s hoping] feelings will follow because he’s doing the “right thing”. 

Painful, hurtful, hopeless, awful.

And then, another piece of the puzzle fit into place.

A few weeks earlier, while I waited for my husband to return from Portugal, my dear friend had “accidentally” been forwarded an email.  It was a conversation between my husband and his best friend.  This was the same person from whom I learned of the initial affair, via a candid Skype chat on my husband’s computer.  In addition, the two had traveled extensively together throughout the years, and shared the same ideas and beliefs.  The friend was divorced.  In this particular email, they casually discussed the “investment banker”. My husband called her a “half breed”, and they evaluated her age, background, and how “hot” she was.  My husband’s BFF asked if they had been “shacking up.”  He evaded the question.  BFF went on to detail plans of meeting his new, model girlfriend in London after she recovered from her breast enhancement surgery.

Then, my husband wondered when he should “pull the trigger” — end our marriage.

I was glad my friend summarized the content of the email for me.  It would have been too painful (not to mention familiar) to read the actual exchange.  I absorbed the shock, and then exploded.  I grabbed the big file folder, angrily labeled “DIVORCE”, and fled the house again.  Since my husband had no cell phone, he tried communicating with me via email.  It had oddly become a new form of texting between us.

He wrote and asked me where I had gone, most likely from his permanent spot on the couch.  His laptop was always glued to his knees.  I would go to work every day and he would sit and write. Oftentimes I would come home after a long day and he would not have moved.  His writing seemed to consume him: mentally, spiritually, emotionally and now even physically.

“To pull the trigger,” I emailed back.  “I am done.”

He asked why; why today, why now.

You are free…goodbye.

My heart can’t take any more.  I don’t think I’ll ever be patient enough to wait for you to come around.

I think you got what you wanted, anyway.  In five months, five years, you’ll be glad.
I’m tired of being dramatic, I know you are tired of it, too.  This is the most cinematic way to blow it all up.

He asked again where I was.

I’ll be back later to get my stuff.
Kathy will be in touch with you about signing the lease papers for the house.  You just have to sign, she’ll do all the rest of the work (finding a tenant, etc).
I’m thinking we can find someone to rent starting in January.  I don’t want to lease the house before I get back from tour because I want to go through, sort and pack it up.  I’ll re-post furniture, etc. on Craigslist.
I’ll pay the rent for November and December so you can stay in the house.  Unless you want to move out, that’s fine, do what you need to do.

He wanted me to come home. He understood my frustration, and if we were to end things, we should do it face-to-face.

Sorry.  Talking face to face doesn’t work.  Nothing works.

Fuck it.
I give up.

You got what you wanted.

He reiterated that, no! – this was not what he wanted.  He wanted to talk.

You don’t even know what you want. I don’t fit into your life.
You don’t talk.  You just sit there and listen.
I’m tired of talking.  Deep, deep down, you don’t want to be married to me.  I know it.  I feel it.

I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO BREAK MY HEART
I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE

A simple line: Please.

BANG BANG
MY BABY SHOT ME DOWN.

Portugal and the Picture

My attempt to woo my husband through my love letter(s) was met with tepid response.  He wrote back, first reiterating that the Investment Banker and French Cigarette Girl (WHO WAS SHE!?!?!?!?) were just “elements of the story” that he was weaving through Europe.  He wanted to make his journey sound “Aristocratic” and “Bohemian”.  He admitted to being consumed with his writing, and hoped that it would become lucrative so that there wouldn’t be such a financial mess back home.

His next few paragraphs softened.

He said that my email about our past, and what we had together, bent his heart.  He wanted for us to be OK, but he didn’t know how to make that happen.  He felt so far away.  He felt horrible.  He felt pressure.  He felt fear.  He felt alone, and very much on his own.

And then he said he loved me.  I should know that.

did know that he loved me.  And I suppose it was enough to keep me going.  Yet what was this talk of his “bent” heart?  My heart was broken, daily.

At the same time, I somehow understood the difficult personal journey that he was on – how could I beat him while he was down?  I had, after all, offered him forgiveness.  I wanted to extend grace.  He was expressing love for me, and even appeared to begin dealing with himself.  He confirmed over and over that his affair was done, and even offered his email password as proof.

I never used it.

The positive emails continued to flow.  It seemed as if my husband was slowly turning back into the sweet, humble, loving man I had married.  At the same time, however, he was spinning a different tale to his readership.  I read every one of his daily stories, and the Investment Banker with the BMW was becoming more of a central figure.   Still, I chose to believe that my husband was writing fiction; portraying himself as a harmless character.

He wrote again to tell me that one of the magazines had asked him to stay on and cover the next leg of the tournament, which would be held in Portugal.  We were out of touch for 40 hours.

And then, a picture of him and his Investment Banker surfaced.

It was a candid shot.  The two of them sat in a golf cart, comfortably close together.  The woman appeared to be in her early 20s.  She relaxed into him, her left arm draped lovingly over his right shoulder.  She was dressed casually, in jeans and an off-the shoulder T-shirt that displayed a busy, silkscreened image of James Dean.  I immediately noticed her thin frame, and how tragically small her breasts appeared to be. Her long, dark hair was pulled loosely back in a ponytail. A few stray pieces covered her small, heavily lined eyes.  Her fiery red fingernails gripped at the Blackberry in her free hand.  She concentrated on the screen, frosted lips slightly parted.

My husband leaned forward, his arms resting over the steering wheel.  His head was turned in her direction and his lips mirrored hers.  He had gotten a haircut and new sunglasses.  The colorful, grassy green background contrasted the heavy, dark ink on his biceps.

I peered closer.

His left hand was completely naked.

I Want Out

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.