My story starts over 2 years ago, right before Mother’s Day. My STBX seems to have a thing about ruining holidays and special days for me. Oh wow- I just had an epiphany writing this actually. My STBX always complained about holidays and how he didn’t enjoy them. I swear, if we could have ordered in pizza and done nothing on any major holidays he would have been content. To be fair, he did get a little better once the kids came along. Anyway… right before Mother’s Day he was having what I thought was a panic attack. I asked him what was wrong and he replied that he couldn’t tell me. He then said, “You’ll hate me.” My next question, of course, was, “What did you do?” At this point he tells me he has been texting other women. He didn’t say what he was texting. For all I knew he was confiding his problems in these “women” and it was something totally innocent. He goes on to tell me that he doesn’t know two of them but he does know the third person and he tells me who it is. She was his cousin. Um, ok. I was in such shock I couldn’t really think to ask him any questions. This had come completely out of the blue and I had had absolutely no idea that anything was going on. There was the obligatory: Do you want a divorce? To which he responded: No! Tell me what I can do to make this up to you! I won’t contact any of them anymore!
Spoiler alert! I’m going to jump ahead in time to tell you what I found out along the way. There were no “women”. There was one woman. He included women he had responded to on an advice board in his total tally of women he was inappropriately corresponding with. These interactions were innocent. It was an open forum. But his cousin? Oh, not innocent at all. They were texting and sexting and she was sending him naked pictures. They talked about a future together, told each other they loved one another. Yet another spoiler alert! In October of that year I found messages between him and his nephew dating back to before he confessed to me where he was bragging about marrying her and they were planning on getting tattoos together. Isn’t that sweet?
The incident was pretty much swept under the rug. What the hell do you say to that? I was in shock. He said it was over. I tried to “improve” myself, be more aware of my own faults, you know, those things that drove him to cheat on me. Plus, I really had no idea at the time what he meant when he said he was texting other women. I still thought he was a good guy. I still honestly believed he could be so wracked with guilt over having confided his troubles to another woman. I told myself I didn’t really know what he had done and it could very well have been completely innocent. I told myself I didn’t want to know, that I didn’t need those images in my brain. Oh, you poor, sweet stupid woman!
You have to understand- when I married my husband his mom and sister both said they thought he would never find anyone to marry him. They joked about what a loner he was. He has always been rather quiet and introverted, sort of socially awkward. Our daughter even told me one time, “Mom, if you ever leave him he will be alone for the rest of his life.” Not to mention he was all about honor and duty. I honestly would have bet my life that he would never cheat. I figured maybe he could one day leave me, but I never ever thought he would cheat. Obviously, had I made that bet I’d be dead now.
Over Memorial Day weekend his sister had posted a long rambling thank you to him for his service and included his picture. I noticed that the OW liked all of this on Facebook. I thought that was very strange. Maybe it’s just me but if I got dumped by someone who was insisting he loved me the last thing I would want to do is “like” anything having to do with that person. As I told myself, “I don’t care how patriotic that bitch is, this just doesn’t seem right.” Add on to that all the Facebook sleuthing I had done and I could see where she was liking everything his sister would post, including her hokey quote about happiness vs. doing the right thing. Naturally, she was in the camp of doing what makes you happy vs. doing what is right. I found all of it very strange. Why was she so invested in his immediate family? Why wouldn’t she go away? No, no more spoiler alerts at this time. You must continue reading if you want to find out.
He leaves to go to a wedding and my neurosis is out of control. My gut was screaming and I was terrified that they were going to meet up at this wedding. I admit it. I went a little crazy when he was gone. When he came back home he found her profile picture posted up around the house in several locations. It was my lock screen on my computer, as well. The very next day she blocked me. Hmmmmm….. now that’s strange, don’t ya think?
I told a friend about it and she said that was not good. She advised me to meet with a lawyer and to open up a separate bank account. I did neither. I called a marriage counselor instead and made an appointment.
For his part he would throw the pictures away once he found them. He even changed my lock screen. I also remember him coming upon yet another picture that he had missed and him asking me, “Are you about done with this?”
It took me a week to work up my courage to tell him about this appointment and as expected he refused to go. We got into a huge fight. I was crying. He was looking on dispassionately. I asked him what they had talked about. He refused to answer. I asked him why she blocked me. He told me that was between the two of us and he had no idea. He denied he was in contact with her, swore he hadn’t seen her when he was at the wedding, and denied that there had been any plans to meet up. Liar, liar, pants on fire! Later that evening I told him I thought we could be happy together. He told me he thought it would be too “weird” to be happy with me after all these years of living “like roommates”. He told me he wanted everything to go back to the way it was where I would do my thing and he would do his; he tacitly threatened me with divorce if I wouldn’t drop it. I reminded him that only 6 weeks prior he had sent me a text telling me he loved me, he had always loved me. “Do you still feel that way?” I asked him. “I don’t know. I care about you,” was his reply. Plucky little me told him, “I’m not giving up on us!” In hindsight, that deserves a big ol’ blech!
I proceeded to spend the rest of the summer doing my best to “win” my husband back. I would go out to the garage and listen to music with him. Rap music. I’m not a big fan. I know more lyrics to L’il Wayne songs than anyone should. Trust me on this one. I consider it a source of shame that I can actually identify him by his voice. To add insult to injury it was a record breaking scorcher of a summer. So I was out in a hot garage listening to awful music with him. I threw myself at him, walking a delicate line between offering myself up to him and not pressuring him. I went to counseling alone. I watched Facebook to see if the OW would make an appearance. I never pushed him to say he loved me. I never said it to him either because I didn’t want to put him in an awkward situation. I did my best to keep the house clean and the laundry done. I made an effort to put make-up on and have my hair done. He made another trip to visit his family and his sister posted a picture of the two of them. I waited to see if the OW would like it but she never did. I finally let out a sigh of relief.
About three weeks later as I’m walking into the store to get last minute items for my daughter’s birthday party (I told you he had a knack for ruining holidays and special events!) I get a message from the OW’s husband. Yes, not only does she find it perfectly acceptable to chase after MY husband, but also she finds it perfectly acceptable to cheat on her own husband. It was a very short message. Short and to the point. Have you found a good divorce attorney yet?
I calmly called my husband at work and asked him if he was free. When he said he was I told him about the message I received and then asked him to explain this. He admitted they were still talking and that they “really really liked each other.” Oh, well, if you really really like each other then that’s ok! I told him he was living in a fantasy and nothing about their relationship was real and then asked him if she was worth losing his wife and kids. “I know I don’t want to lose my kids,” was his reply. That should have been a huge red flag. I demanded to know what they talked about and he tried to turn it around on me and asked me what I thought they talked about. “I think you talk about sex, and how much you love each other and how much you want to be together.” Silence. “Do you want to tell me I’m wrong?” No, I wasn’t wrong. He then goes on to tell me that I knew he hadn’t been happy for a few years now. I reminded him that I begged him to go to marriage counseling with me but he refused. I had asked him to do things with us as a family but he didn’t want to. I reminded him that I had suggested a date night but his response was: Why would you want to do that? I also pointed out that having an affair was not exactly a way to improve your marriage. I reminded him of everything I had done for him over the years and everything we had been through. Finally I asked him how long he thought I was going to put up with this. I reminded him that I deserved to be happy, too. With that I told him to get his head out of his ass and make a decision. Either end it with her, send her a text and let me see it, or we were done. This whole time I’m dumping ice into coolers and loading them up with drinks for the party.
After I finished getting ready for my daughter’s party and had loaded everything into my car I drove out to the party location to set up, all the while thinking I was headed for divorce. I was convinced he was going to choose her and would never send the text as I had requested. I tried to call my mom to let her know what was going on but I guess she was too busy making funeral arrangements for my step-father to answer the phone at the time. By the time I finished setting up I had received two text messages from my husband. The first one said he didn’t want to lose any of us. The second one said he would send the text to end it.