I wrote this post some days ago, but didn’t post it because I knew I was struggling with telling the entire story. It’s so hard to tell a c complete story in a decent length blog post and not bore all of you.
I’m going to try, but I am certainly missing much too much nuance regarding my x’s past behaviors….
As this story unfolded, I found myself in that weird sort of out-of-body place, watching and noting my emotional response as if it wasn’t happening to me but to someone else entirely. I was fascinated by this feeling. What would have sent me into a massive emotional tailspin that could last for God knows how long was simply noted with a pointed *hmmph* on my behalf. I am pleased as punch with myself that I see and understand these triggers and how wonderful it feels not to have them controlling my life anymore.
On occasion, I wonder what my kids think of the failure of my 22 year marriage to their Dad. They are not especially communicative boys and I don’t pry. I had a notion in my head that if I was patient and demonstrated tolerance and understanding with them (as it relates to their Dad) eventually they would want to understand my side of the story. I have no desire to come between my kids and their Dad despite the fact that he held me emotional hostage for 22 years while I loved him with a desperation that I can only recall because of its intensity.
The first day of our beach vacation, which is a family tradition for as many years as I can remember, we settled into the hotel and took a walk into town. The first two years here without their Dad wasn’t easy, but now it’s familiar and they settled in to enjoy their vacations. This year there was no discussion around their Dad and they had their entire itinerary mapped out before we arrived. The boys settled quickly and chose their favorite lunch spot. Somehow, during lunch, the discussion of a friend of their Dads came up and my radar went on high alert. I wish I could recall how it started, but I don’t. I make a point of almost never asking questions but some spidey-sense of mine needed more info.
The long and short of this story is that their Dad is still “seeing” a woman he has known for many years, meeting her in an old job more years ago than I can count.
To provide a brief history: around the middle of 2013, before I had an affair and before I chose divorce, this woman’s name was suddenly cropping up randomly. I saw some of her paperwork in my home and I saw her name on my x’s phone. I became curious. Several weeks after I saw these things I snooped on his unlocked iPad and found porn with white men and black women (the woman is black, my x is white). I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was going on as my x had expressed, multiple times over the course of the marriage, his distaste in biracial coupling.
His racism was a point of contention in our marriage. This was an interesting turn of events.
I confronted him, loudly (as I didn’t know any better back then how to communicate), and he denied it. By then I knew I was starting to let go of the marriage, I simply wanted to make him squirm and realize that I knew what he was up to. He had cheated on me early in our marriage and always maintained nothing ever came of it. However, even if he didn’t have sex with the woman then, he told me he fell in love with her so it was a strong emotional attachment. By this point my head was so far out of my marriage that I truly didn’t care, but it gave me the freedom I needed to finally go out and find myself. This was the last straw.
So, to hear her name randomly at the lunch table with my kids definitely set off my radar detector. After several slow starts the kids finally told me several things that had me chuckling to myself at how in-tune and aware your own children can be. Utterly fascinating.
Their Dad says he isn’t dating her but they keep telling him to come clean already. He keeps saying they are just friends.
He has brought her to family events as “just a friend”
He told my au pair that she is his only friend. Separately he told the au pair that the first woman he slept with was black and in her 30s, exactly where this woman is, but neglected to say it was the same woman (maybe it wasn’t, I will never know). Perhaps they dated and called it off because he can’t give her what she wants and now they are more FWB. I don’t know. But I do know she’s been around a long time.
I questioned the kids. My divorce agreement states we both must discuss with the other parent if any “relationships” are introduced to the kids. They haven’t met her but there have been several instances where he has offered for them to meet her. He has never discussed this with me.
During the questioning is when I found this out-of-body experience happen. My middle son claims he heard the argument in which I told my x he was a cheater. Since my x has the favor of my middle son, the kid figured he better check it out to see which one of us was right or wrong. He claims that I always say his Dad is lying (I do because it’s true) and his Dad always tells him I make stuff up (he does to protect himself and appear like the poor hurt man).
So my middle guy takes it upon himself to snoop. He spends a little time looking for clues to see if his Dad is lying. Sure enough he begins to uncover similar things that I found, this woman’s sudden presence in his Dad’s life. Then he comes across an unlocked phone and reads text messages. Not only does he read hem but he takes photos! This whole story unravels at lunch and I can only sit there and listen to how the boys knew all this time their Dad was lying to me and it’s why they never blamed me for the divorce!
He showed me the photos of the text and my x is saying he loves this woman and that he can’t wait to be back in her bed. Definitive proof he was cheating. Utterly definitive.
I asked son #2 what he did with this info. He said he would never tell his father because he expected his father would just lie more to cover it up. This is when my jaw hit the floor.
As much as these boys love their Dad they are finally old enough to see his flaws. And they don’t admire them.
When my son originally tried to talk to his dad about it his father threw back that “someone” saw his mom out with another man before they were even divorced (how crappy is that to protect himself and divert attention). My son got confused by his fathers fast talk and was upset about the divorce so he didn’t pursue further conversation.
I had my first opportunity ever to explain myself.
I slowly and clearly explained the timeline of the divorce. I explained how those text he found were before we separated (he knew that) and that I asked his father for a separation about 6-8 months later in April/May 2014. I also explained I told his father that after the day I said I wanted a divorce I planned to date someone but the marriage was over.
We didn’t tell the children until July.
My x used that little nugget (the fact he knew in April, but the kids didn’t know til July) to lie to my kids that I was cheating on him!
But I explained, again, that their Dad and I had the discussion in April and I started dating someone openly in May. When they got the timeline and realized this had nothing to do with the divorce, their eyes lit up. They said “we knew he was lying!”
Their Dad had confused them that he never cheated (they couldn’t reconcile the text) and I was the reason for the divorce, because I had a boyfriend.
They claim that although he tried to do that they still knew, once this woman stayed around, he was really lying.
What’s the point of all my rambling?
I feel vindicated. Nothing more. It doesn’t affect me one way or the other except that I watched my children gain a much better and more clear picture of their mom and the fact that I am genuine and honest with them.
I told them they can ask me anything and I will tell the truth. They said they will some day confront their day, when they are like 30, but expect him to lie anyway. It’s so sad to me that this man can’t see the forest for the trees. He will always lie to everyone around him.
I explained to the kids to always be very careful with questions they ask and any snooping they may do. Once things are seen or heard they cannot be unseen or unheard. The funny ending to that? My eldest says “yea mom, I saw a story you wrote once that you left open on the computer and I wanted to kill myself…!”