Lying to Yourself is Never Good

Bennett spoke to his wife.

Yep.  Caught me by surprise too.

Here’s what happened.  We had mostly stopped speaking and seeing one another and it was pretty hard on both of us.  His 22 year wedding anniversary was April 29 and I knew in my head that if that date came and went and he never had the talk with her that I would just be waiting forever for nothing.  I had set my mind to finally moving forward by early April.

I wasn’t doing terribly good or bad.  I had some days where it hurt if I missed him and other days that went by without much thought.  I decided I wasn’t ready to date, so I had stopped.  There was plenty to fill my time and I felt pretty good about life in general.

The short version is that he called me the morning of his anniversary crying.  I had never heard him so broken and it was upsetting.  We continued to talk or text throughout the day but my stance was clear, no more after today.  I was done.    I became more upset and he became more erratic causing an argument and me telling him I pretty much hate him (I know, childish, but there it is).  The text stop in the evening and I didn’t hear from him until the next evening.  The text read:

“I spoke to my wife, are you awake?”

I thought I would hear bells of joy but instead I was more curious than anything.  He explained their short conversation.  He started with their anniversary passing by with “no notice and no love, and he was gravely unhappy, didn’t she feel the same?”

Well, no she didn’t.  She felt this is how he wanted things.  He didn’t want romance, or sex or anything.  That his ED problems were because he wasn’t attracted to her therefore making her not want sex.  She was caught off guard and blindsided entirely.  They stopped the conversation because she was too upset.

Unfortunately, Bennett chose a horrible time to tell her because her mother (whom she has no good relationship with) is in town and staying with them for a week.  He admits he should have told her before but he was so panicked about losing me (it finally sunk in, I guess) that he seized the courage and ran with it.  They can’t really spend time together talking until after next Tuesday or so.

But, talk and text a little they have.  Enough to drive him into even more desperate confusion.  He expected her to say “yes, this isn’t a good marriage and you are right we should call it quits.”  But that’s not what she’s saying, she’s saying “how do we make this work?”  She’s showing feelings for him that she hasn’t shown in many, many years.  Her entire existence is being threatened and she’s not about to let it go without a fight.  he thought this was going to be much more black and white.

I can’t blame her.  This comes as no surprise to me.

The love each other, perhaps they have forgotten how much.  It’s a shame how that happens in marriage.  We grow stale when we don’t work at it.  They have never had good communication, this is only the second time in many years that he admitted to being unhappy.  The first time it happened she begged him to stay as well (and obviously he did).  They are both relatively passive, and neither wants disruption to this level so it’s most likely they try at it a few months, or years and it all slips back to where it is now.

Or not.

I don’t know.  No one has that crystal ball.

He isn’t running into her open arms, it’s not that, but he should explore how he feels about her and if there really is opportunity to save a 22 year marriage and make a new one, a healthy one out of the destruction it is.

When he began to cry on the phone last night, I knew he was crying because he needs to let go of me and he’s finally realized he can’t have his feet planted in both worlds.

He needs to determine where this marriage is going.  And if he stays, he needs to invest.  Bobby did it.  It seems I am very good at showing men what they should have in a good relationship – within their marriages.

He insists he is unsure she is actually capable of going it on her own and he feels responsible for that.  Part of me believes this because she was totally oblivious to their disconnect over the past 5-10 years, she admitted this to him.

If they connect emotionally, the sex will follow.  Regardless that he’s not currently attracted to her, for Bennett, most of that has to do with emotional connection more than physical connection.  If she can tap back into his heart/head, the rest will follow for him, even if it’s less sexual than he prefers, as long as he feels he is being loved and getting attention, I believe he will stay.

I know the feeling in my chest.  My heart has finally broken now.  I was lying to myself since the original break-up in January and hoping against hope that something might change.  This time I wasn’t blind to the things I was doing to myself, but did them all the same which was foolish.

Some healing had started, but not the real, true, deep mourning that needs to happen in order to move forward.  I guess it’s time for that now.

We said our goodbyes this morning.  I can’t be part of what’s about to happen in his life.  If they ultimately land on separation (which I doubt) then he can call me and tell me and we can go from there.

Otherwise, my only priority it to heal my heart and move forward.

The weather outside here reflects my current state of misery.  Cold and rainy. 😦

 

What Does Your Judgment Look Like?

Warning: Following is a rant.  It rambles and probably doesn’t make a lot of linear sense.  I don’t do this often but once in a blue moon a thought gets into my head that I can’t get out until I write it down.  This is simply my opinion on this subject and not meant as an attack on anyone else’s opinion or moral code.  And let me caveat, when I say judgment I really do mean judgment not advice giving in a caring manner meant to help.  There’s a vast difference. 

……………………………………….

I dislike judgment.

A whole hell of a lot.

Especially because I was (still am) judged so heavily by my x and his family.  Because of my own experience, I have swung my pendulum to the far side of non-judgment as frequently as I can.

This post is generated at the responses I received over the Bennett posts. I knew that they would get some negative feedback because he is married and living at home. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with people having their opinions.  Creates interesting dialogue on a blog for sure.

What I’m not ok with is the fact I lived through what Bennett is living through and was lucky enough NOT to have surrounded myself with non judgmental people in my life who understood my situation both from a close inside perspective and from a distant outside perspective. I count myself very lucky that I created this network of wonderful people because without them, I may never have left the marriage for fear of being stigmatized as a “divorcee.”

These were friends who watched a deteriorating marriage and prayed I would see the light to get out because I was stumbling around in the dark.

It’s so easy to judge and say “married means married.”  That means you do not ever step outside your marriage. You made a choice to be faithful. But no one, and I mean no one, knows what goes on between any two people in their private marriages. Or why things happen like they do.

It’s not always the man who isn’t faithful. If I am to believe Bennett, his wife was unfaithful more than once and doesn’t seem to care about repairing their marriage. I feel so deeply for this story because it was mine too.  At some point we hit a wall in a bad marriage and know it’s time to exit.

I cheated after my x cheated. It still doesn’t make it right.  I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. I made my decisions for reasons that today seem weak but they are the only ones I have.  Those weak reasons got me out of my marriage, at least.

Had I been a stronger person I would have left my marriage years and years ago.

This is not a post in defense of Bennett. Not at all. In my opinion he has to live with himself for his choices. I do not view my intimacy with him as contributing to the breakdown of his marriage. His marriage is already broken.

And I don’t think it makes me immoral either.

I do not think that having an affair makes you devoid of integrity or a moral code. I think it makes you confused and lonely and seeking answers.  Maybe you make the wrong choices and go down your path sideways and backwards and flopping all over the place for a while until you find the right way. But I don’t think it means you are a horrible person.

For my part,  I am with Bennett for the moment because I am lonely and he fills a need.  I am horrible. Shoot me.   As every single betrayed spouse would say to me: I am delusional because I have to take responsibility for his adultery.    Hey, I don’t think so.  I know what I am doing, as should he.   I am single and free to make this choice.  If he is not, then he can stop at any time.

People make choices and some of those choices are bad. Some of them are just poor choices.  Some are weak.  I think, when you are intentionally hurting another human, that’s a problem. So if Bennett is not being honest with me about the breakdown of his marriage and is, in turn, going to hurt his wife…then I see that as a weakness of (his) character.

But it is not a definition of a human.

It is not the be all end all of human integrity.

I make mistakes every day. I made them in my marriage, my career and I’m significantly struggling with my motherhood right now. But mistakes I made in the past are the building blocks for a better me in the future. I actually resent the thought that someone would think I am devoid of a moral code because I:

  • Cheated on my husband
  • Knew my husband cheated and didn’t leave him
  • Had an affair with a married man who wasn’t planning to leave his marriage.

Yes. I did those things. Not things I sit here and say “hey I’m proud of myself for doing these things!” But hope the choices and experiences I made helped me to grow and made me a better person today.

And…are these the only things that make up my moral code?  Are these the only things I can be identified as forever more?

  • What about sitting by my best friends bedside, when we were 21 years old, while she was dying and all her other friends left her alone because they had more fun things to do?  I sat with her every single day I could that last year.
  • Or how about nursing my mother through the end of her life while my brother watched helplessly and my father ignored the fact she was actually dying?
  • Or maybe the time I organized a food drive for a friend with cancer to ensure she had enough food prepared for her family to get her through the worst part of her chemo without having to worry about cooking?

I suppose, to those people where adultery is the only thing they see in the Bennett posts that none of this part of me matters.  I am forever identified as an other woman.

We are all humans who make choices. I do not view Bennett as a bad human because of his situation. Because if you sit in such judgement, by God, you had better be perfect and whiter than white.

So while Bennett actually does gets defended in his post it’s really all about me (like everything else on this blog) I did what he’s doing and I learned from it. I had a long affair with a married man and I will NOT  allow that to happen again because I got hurt.    I need to let Bennett go because I shouldn’t be hurting him, not because he still lives in his home and is still married.

So if my choices define me for the rest of my life, I’m doomed.  I’ve already been admitted to hell permanently and I might as well be making poor choices forever and maybe even raise horrible children in the process, right?  Because that’s where I feel the judgement of those not involved goes to… there is only one side to every story and those that are perfect can say “don’t engage with a married man.”

I wish for all people more understanding, live and flexibility. Life is fluid. We are humans and born into sin. We can course correct and hope that we all find peace and understanding of the human condition at the end. But I know my course is crooked and most possibly even wicked.

And I’m ok with that.

Rant over.

A postscript: unlike every post on my blog, I may not engage in comments on this subject just because it is so painful to so many.  We all have our opinions, I am simply stating that no one has all the answers and we should all be less judgmental of others.

Vindicated

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.

Fucking asshat.

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…!”

Uh oh.