He thought he had gotten away with it. For six years, he had carried on an affair with the woman who had been his first love. I never suspected a thing. Oh, the telltale signs were there – I just always attributed them to other things. The family all thought he was perhaps developing clinical depression. He was often distracted, irritable, tired, withdrawn, frustrated with even trivial things, always ready to jump all over me for things which were often beyond my control. He had always been a workaholic and worked long hours, but it got to the point where it seemed that he just never could get everything done, and he was always at work, even on weekends. But he had worked his way up the ladder by being a great company man, and I had always trusted that he was true to his word. He didn’t have any vices. He didn’t drink, he didn’t smoke, he didn’t carouse around with other women – or so I thought. He was fond of telling me that I would never find another man who was so totally devoted to his family. He said he never made a move without thinking of us first. I believed him. I thought he was a man of such integrity that he would always find the right thing to do, and do it, even if it was difficult to do so. So foolish…
I posted previously that after The Unveiling, I was a wreck. The truth was so utterly opposed to everything I believed about my life, so complete was the annihilation of my spirit, that I was traumatized, and the trauma sent me into real physical shock, as often happens to betrayed spouses. I could not think clearly – I couldn’t make sense of what was happening to me. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do anything. I wanted to just close my eyes and die right there.
The final Unveiling took place around 6 am on Monday, October 17, 2010. It was our first day back after our big trip and neither of us could really afford to take the day off. My husband pulled himself together and went to work. He didn’t get much done, but he went and made it through the day. I also went to work, but I couldn’t function. I couldn’t even see straight. I went and told my boss what was going on, and she told me to go home and to take as much time as I needed to get myself together. I will always be grateful to her for that. I went home, and just cried and cried all day. I remember looking around and thinking that it didn’t seem real. I knew I was there in my own house, but I felt like I was somehow on a different plane of existence. It seemed like a dream. Did I really have to live through this awful event? I wanted to run away. How could I run from my pain? How could I get out? I couldn’t go on like this! The pain was overwhelming. My mind was fuzzy. The pain seemed like a cloud, surrounding me, pressing in on me, suffocating me. I had no heart – there was just a big hole there now. I envisioned my heart like a piece of glass that had shattered all over the floor. I could see it there, tiny shards – some red and some clear, all over my floor. It would never be possible to put all those pieces back together. How could I live like this?
My husband called me several times to check on me. I answered but couldn’t talk. He came home early and tried to get me to eat some dinner, but I couldn’t. He kept apologizing and apologizing. He never thought he would have to deal with this, but he also never imagined it would be so devastating to me if I ever found out.
I thought divorce was the only option, but I didn’t expect him to go to a hotel. I told him he could stay in our bedroom until he found a place. I stayed in the guest room. As I lay there in bed, I could not imagine going on with my life. The pain was too much to bear. I could not get away from it. There was no way out of my pain. No way out of the nightmare my husband had created. I thought, “Maybe I should just end it. I’ve accomplished all that was really necessary in my life. I just cannot go on in this pain. It’s too much.” I thought of several different ways to commit suicide, but none that would spare my children the grief of dealing with it. I couldn’t stand the thought of creating pain for my children. That would be selfish… like he had been selfish. So damned selfish! I figured I would have to think more on it before coming to a decision. My mind was too fuzzy to make sense of it and I didn’t want to mess it up. Thank God I was clear enough to know that I shouldn’t do anything in that state of mind.
Then my husband came to the door. He asked if he could come in. I didn’ t care. He sat on the bed beside me and told me that he had never intended to leave me. Was that supposed to make me feel better? He said he had been trying to break it off for quite some time because he realized that he loved me, and not her. That didn’t help me much, either. He said, “Think about it. Has our sex life suffered? It’s actually better than ever, isn’t it? I took you on that trip, didn’t I? I was trying to start over with you after breaking it off with her. We just bought this beautiful house, didn’t we? I would never have gone into a long-term deal like this if I intended to leave you.” He kept talking about how he had never intended to leave, but that was not what I needed to hear. The thing that hurt the most was that he had been in love with someone else while married to me… married to me and sleeping with me and lying right to my face.
As he talked, though, I looked at him and saw the man that I have loved for 30 years. He was my first love when I was 17, and the only man I have ever loved. We have been through really difficult times and some really wonderful times, too. He was a great father to my children. But who was he, really? I had a sudden urge to reconnect with him, to be a part of him, of whoever he really was. I wanted to take back what was mine. He also felt the need to reconnect with me, to show me he loved me, and he reached out for me. We held each other for a long time, and we felt our love for each other way down inside our souls. I’ve read that this is also common among betrayed spouses, but whatever it was, it was fierce. It was passionate and deeply emotional. I still didn’t know if I wanted him to stay in the house, or if I still wanted a divorce, but for that moment, we needed each other intensely.