It was just so ironic and bizarre that our friend David chose to tell us his story when we are struggling to get through it ourselves. Here was a living example of someone who chose the wrong path again and again. He chose adultery. Then he chose to leave his family. Then he chose not to ever face his wife and deal with it. Now he sees that he has ruined his life. His old life is damaged beyond repair, and the guilt has not abated after five years. Triggers still lurk everywhere for him. My husband and I are triggers as he watches us struggle to keep our marriage together. I pity him.
Daniel and I fought about it later. He was angry with me. He asked how I could be friends with someone who I knew had cheated on his wife. I hurled my retort back so hard it almost seemed to hit him. “Well, I’m still married to you, aren’t I?” And in my heart I wondered if this was proof that I really couldn’t get past it and live with it. I thought that maybe I would never be OK again as long as I was married to him.
But Daniel was not the only one receiving messages. Our serendipitous events didn’t stop with our friend. Just two days later we had another one of those encounters. We went to a charity fundraiser, representing his company. We sat next to a woman about my age who seemed to me to be ADHD – extremely ADHD. After the dinner and formal program were done, a DJ started up with dance music. The woman had no date so she latched herself onto Daniel when I went to say hi to an old friend. Daniel will not dance with anyone but me, so they talked.
When I came back, she launched into her life story. She never came out and said that she had been the OW, but it was obvious from her story that she had been. She had an affair with a married man with two kids. He left his family and married her. The ex-wife and the kids do not accept her to this day, although it has been 17 years. She lamented about the difficulties of living with divorce and ex-spouses and stepchildren, even though they are now grown up and on their own. It was a lot of serious stuff, but she laughed and made a joke of everything.
She asked us how long we had been married and Daniel told her that we celebrate 30 years this year. I showed her a picture of our baby granddaughter on my iPhone. Then she said, “I hope you never have to deal with divorce. It’s not an easy way to live.” Daniel looked at me. I met his look for just a moment and looked back at her. She made some more jokes and we all laughed and our whole table left at the same time and walked to the parking structure together. When we got off the elevator on our floor, she congratulated us again for staying together for so long.
We were silent all the way home, but we both knew that the woman had made an impact on us. The air was heavy with the overflow from our over-burdened hearts.
So was it just serendipity? Was it the universe urging us to stay together? I personally think it was God. God sees that we are making the wrong choices here and we wanted us to see the end results of the things we are thinking about.
I hope my husband sees that he needs to face me and deal with it. And I think it came through loud and clear that I need to work on my marriage and not work on plans to leave.
If you’ve been with me here for a while, you know that it has been a roller coaster ride. At times I have been sure it would work. At other times I have wanted to leave. I have doubted him. I have been touched by his acts of love and hurt by his insensitivity. I have come close to trusting him, only to have it dashed on the rocks again by some really stupid things he did. Is it really worth it to continue?