Last month I posted about the differences between reality and what I sometimes feel I should have done. I know how I handled it. I was pissed but pretty calm, I think. I demanded that he end it. Honestly, I didn’t think he would and I was prepared to start divorce proceedings. I figured I wouldn’t come back from my home state. He must have thought that, too, because he told me he planned on driving out there to come get me.
But I wonder what would have happened if after confronting him and him admitting to loving her and wanting a future with her I had said: Fine. Call her up and let her know you’re free to be with her. Don’t bother coming home tonight. I’ll tell the kids you’re on a business trip and tomorrow I’ll tell them we’re getting divorced because you’re in love with someone else and you want to marry her. I’ll take my car to the airport on Friday morning and while I’m in my home state I’ll figure out what I’m going to do about all of our stuff and how to get it out there to us. CLICK.
Would the end result have been the same with the only difference being I wouldn’t feel like such a doormat? Would he have jumped at the opportunity to be with her? Would he have too much pride to fight for me after I told him I was leaving? Would it have sent him into a panic? Would he have, in fact, driven to my home state to come get us?
I could ramp this little fantasy up. He panics. He realizes he’s about to lose everything for some fantasy whore that he really doesn’t want if it means losing us. He calls her and ends it. He calls his mom in a panic, crying that I’m leaving him because he’s been having an affair with Harley and I found out. Maybe even texts his dear sister with the news. Of course, she’s no help. She’s good at helping people leave marriages but she’s at a loss on how to rebuild one. The news is spreading back in his home state like wildfire. She’s leaving Zack! He had an affair with Harley! I come home after the party and find him there. I ask him why he’s here and he tells me he won’t leave. I say fine and go into the bedroom to pack. I tell both of the kids to pack a bag. When he tries to interfere I ask him if he wants to tell them now. They are frantic now, wanting to know what’s going on. Of course he doesn’t want to say anything but I calmly tell them that he’s in love with someone else and wants to marry her so we will be getting a divorce. We probably won’t be coming back from my home state and we’ll probably be moving in with Nana.
Ok, honestly, I don’t see the part involving my kids happening. The last thing I wanted to do that day was ruin the memory of her party. I remember thinking that this would be her last good memory before her world came crashing down. I would hate to throw the discovery of her father’s affair and the fact that she was going to lose all of her friends and teammates basically overnight on her that night after having such a great day.
So, if he came home against my wishes I would probably have just ignored him, told him to go talk to his future wife. Hey, it’s all out in the open now. Call her. Text her. You’re free to be together now without all the hiding. Maybe he would have been begging me to talk to him, to reconsider. Maybe he would have told me he ended it right after he got off the phone with me. Maybe he’d be begging me for a second chance.
I’d like to think the outcome would remain the same. Eventually I would agree to work on this marriage and to not run off to My home state and file for divorce. We’d make up. I’d forgive him. He’d answer my questions. The only difference is one of pride.
Can it be said that a person is too rational, too calm, too focused on the goal of keeping the marriage together? Or is that a good thing? I sometimes wish I had made him grovel more. I wish I had been more hot-headed, less rational.
I know he went through hell (well, let’s face it- his own version because hell is finding out your partner’s been cheating on you) even without me tearing him apart. I know he thought I wasn’t coming back and he was prepared to come get me. I don’t know why he thought that because as I’ve said many times I never told him I was filing for divorce. I never said I wasn’t coming back. I know he was frantic in October when I found those Facebook messages and I told him I wasn’t coming home after I dropped off our son and dinner. I know it hurt him to see me cry.
In the end what’s done is done. Regardless of what actions I took or what actions I wish I had taken it is in the past. He banished her. He chose me. We are still together. Despite my last few entries we are happy. God willing we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in 30 years and wondering if I want to acknowledge our 20th won’t even be a blip on the radar.
Clarity. Yes, at our 50th anniversary celebration this will all be so far in the past. If you look at our marriage, our life together, as one long winding road then this will be a huge pothole along said road, but only a pothole nonetheless. There will be beautiful waterfalls, and canopies of trees, and plenty of beautiful flowers and wildlife along the way as well. There will be hills and sharp turns and straight stretches and rough patches. There will be mountains and red rocks and countryside scenery and congested cities. Rivers and oceans and streams. And sometimes it may just be barren land that goes on for miles like I-80 through Nebraska or I-57 through Illinois. But those desolate drives always take you where you want to go. You have to look at the entire road and not concentrate on the potholes, the flat tires, the rough patches.
So, I may just go ahead and celebrate our 20th anniversary. In a big way. Hell ya we made it. We may not have made it perfectly. But who does? I won’t let some whore define us. I won’t let some whore take away our happiness and prevent us from celebrating a huge milestone. We may not have made a huge fuss in the past but nothing prevents us from adjusting and learning and applying what we’ve learned to the future. We’re not condemned to be stuck in the past. We can celebrate our marriage and make it a priority, even if we didn’t in the past. If we were miserable and just hobbling along then there might be cause to ask, “Why celebrate?” But we’re not. We’re good. We’re better than we’ve been in years.
I think that’s the point of the quote I wrote about. You can keep dwelling on the past but that won’t help. In fact, it usually does damage. But if you resolve to make a better future and you do exactly that it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. If you focus on the future, and the future is happy, then there is no reason to confront the unhappy past over and over. Or to put it another way: You can choose to concentrate on the past and be unhappy. Or you can choose to concentrate on the future and be happy. I choose to be happy.
Present Day Sam Says: I should have left his ass back then. I should have done exactly what I wrote about- told him it was over and I wanted a divorce. I wouldn’t have disrupted my kids lives. I wouldn’t have bought a new house. I wouldn’t have moved half way across the country for that disordered nitwit. I would be done with him by now. I would have been supported by all of my friends. I would have had a support network. But no! I had to fight for the damn relationship! I had to give him a choice!
The biggest irony is that I didn’t want to cause a scene for Rock Star that day back in 2013 after her birthday party and yet in 2015 I ended up telling her and her brother about our impending divorce right after a pool party she had at our house with her cheer teammates.
I think the saddest part of reading this, aside from the excuses I would make for the asshole, is how I had hope. I was so busy putting a positive spin on all of this and convincing myself that the worst was behind me. Oh, Sam, if you only knew how bad it was going to get in a few months. I should have kicked his ass out after I found out about him and Harley the first time, even if it wasn’t a physical affair (and I do doubt that at times). I should never have agreed to move across the country and disrupt my kids’ lives. I should have told him the kids were settled and I didn’t want to go. I made so many mistakes. All I can do is do better from here on out.