What NOT To Do When You (Try To) Reconcile

I’m not sure how much information I have to offer.  I tried reconciliation the first go round.  I actually thought we had achieved that.  Apparently I was mistaken.

Choosing to reconcile or to divorce is a very personal decision.  I don’t attempt to sway anyone in either direction, but I will try to offer some helpful tips on what not to do if you’d like it to be successful (and even these things might not be enough).

  1. Don’t let the cheater give you a list of things to do so that you may improve.  I think that’s probably my biggest tip.  I made it too easy on my cheater, my little shit eating chimp.  Way too easy.  He felt no shame in asking for various changes on my part. He felt quite comfortable telling me how he wanted me to text him all the time- like she did. Send me pictures- like she did.  Come sit outside and watch me as I mow the lawn.  Maybe bring me something cool to drink- like she said she would.  Come sit beside me.  Just touch me when you pass me by.  Text me just to say hi- like she did.  Did I have a list for him?  Of course not!  I was just so thankful to get another chance at making my marriage work it never occurred to me to give him his own list.  I’m sure that if I had given him a list I would have heard the same thing I always did:  That’s just the way I am.  Having been through this already I can tell you that you shouldn’t be the one doing all the work.  The cheater is the one who should be winning you back, not the other way around.  Don’t fall into that trap.  If the cheater is trying to get you to win him/her back, giving you a list of things to improve so that he/she is not tempted to cheat again, or trying to convince you that this is all your fault while conveniently refusing to take responsibility for any of this mess then chances are this is not going to be a successful reconciliation.
  2. Don’t let go of your anger too soon.  That’s another one of those things I did.  Again, you want so badly for everything to go back to the way it was.  Everyone tells you to get over it or to not be bitter.  Everyone wants to preach about forgiveness.  Let me tell you- I can hold a grudge like no one’s business.  I’m good at it.  But hating someone takes absolutely no time or effort on my part whatsoever.  I’ve always said that if holding a grudge takes a lot out of you then you’re not doing it right.  My philosophy for long term grudges is this:  I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.  But then again I’m not going to seek you out to see if you are on fire, nor am I going to try to burn you alive. The popular opinion seems to be you should forgive someone who has wronged you for your own benefit.  Screw that!  Jesus might forgive Cousinfucker and Harley but I sure as hell don’t have to!  They can kiss my ass.  And here’s the thing.  If your cheater really loves you and wants to make things right with you then he or she will take your anger.  They will realize they deserve your anger and will rightfully ride out the storm instead of whining about how mean you are and how sad they are feeling because you won’t let them off the hook.
  3. Don’t let the cheater tell you to “focus on the future” or try to make you feel guilty if you are still angry or get triggered by things.  Focusing on the future just meant my shit eating chimp didn’t have to face his shitty behavior.  Let’s not focus on the fact that I lied and cheated and deceived; let’s focus on the future.  How well do you think that would go over if I took his whole pay check and spent it on a Disney cruise?  “Baby, let’s not dwell on the fact that we don’t have money to pay the mortgage or the utilities; let’s focus on the future!  We’re going to have so much fun on that cruise!”  Cheaters want to change the narrative.  Don’t let them.  Let them know you need to fix the problems from the past before you start focusing on the future.
  4. Don’t operate from a position of fear.  I know it’s scary.  I know change is hard.  I know no one gets married thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to be married for about 20 years and then get a divorce and start my life completely over.”  Unfortunately you’re going to have to confront all of this shit head on.  You cannot operate from a position of fear.  You need to feel like you are in charge.  If your cheater insists he or she is in charge then you should probably dump their ass and move on.
  5. Don’t let them get away with not sticking up for you.  Another big one that I was guilty of.  I believe I’ve said before that Cousinfucker never stuck up for me.  I told him almost immediately that it was very painful to watch as people in his family continued to fawn over that white trash whore.  His response was that he couldn’t control them; they were adults. His mom would act confused about why we were no longer close and his reaction was to act equally bewildered.   What he should have done was confronted the issue.  Hell, the first time any of them liked Harley’s pictures or complimented her after they learned of his affair he should have put his foot down.  Fuck this idea that they are grown people and he can’t control them!  It’s not about controlling them, CF.  It’s about sticking up for your wife and letting them know that if they are going to continue to have a relationship with your whore that you will no longer be able to have a relationship with them.  If your cheater can’t put you first then you are doomed.
  6. Don’t believe in coincidences.  The list I have is fairly long.  The first time around it was solely the fact that once he returned from a visit to find her picture put up all over the house I was mysteriously blocked on Facebook.  Naturally he knew nothing about that.  That was all between her and I.  This time around there was the refusal to take either of the kids the first time he was going to “visit his mom”.  I have no idea if he was truly going to visit her, or if this was going to be the first time he went to see Harley, but either way he didn’t want the kids to accompany him.  There was also Harley liking his mom’s post about having a handsome son (one of those annoying “Share if you Agree” posts), liking her post when she asked for prayers for him, liking his picture on his sister’s page, and suddenly developing a desire to advocate for vets with PTSD.  Finally there was his staunch refusal to take our daughter to a funeral with him and the fact he was sleeping with his phone. All huge red flags.  And all things I refused to see as such.  Don’t dismiss those red flags as coincidences!
  7. Don’t be afraid to confront the cheater.  That was a biggie for me.  I didn’t want to rock the boat.  I didn’t want to bring things up again.  I should have.  I should have questioned and raged and made his life a living hell.
  8. If you have a list of things your cheater needs to do in order to stay married to you stick to it!  This is another area where I went wrong.  My list was fairly small and straight forward:  Get rid of the whore/maintain no contact, give me the passwords to all electronic communication, get the passcode off your phone, attend marital counseling, let me know if she ever makes contact with you, stop discussing our marital problems with your sister.  I also let him know that this was not going to be an overnight thing; it would take time to rebuild.  Yeah, right.  See #2 and #3.  The big baby was frustrated within a month after DDay if I asked questions or had a bad day.  Bad sign!  That meant he wasn’t willing to do the work. Get rid of the whore/maintain no contact?  Hmmmm….. he was supposed to send a text letting her know it was over.  Instead he called her.  I didn’t want a phone call; I can’t *see* a phone call.  Instead, what he sent as proof that is was over was her text to him, telling him how she couldn’t do this anymore.  It just wasn’t right; it was killing her to hurt her husband and children.  She begged him not to call or contact her ever again.  And my little shit eating chimp replied that her husband was right to tell me what was going on and gosh darn it he was going to be the father and husband and man he needed to be!  It was disgusting.  I never once got the satisfaction of actually seeing in black and white the words:  We’re done.  I choose my wife.  Get out of my life.  Nope, I got to read about honor and duty and sacrifice.  Let me tell you- that really warms a girl’s heart and doesn’t leave you feeling insecure at all!  As for no contact or telling me if she ever makes contact again… yeah, we all know that didn’t happen or this blog wouldn’t exist.  He did give me the passwords and got rid of the passcode on his phone, even offered to put my thumb print in on his phone when his company supposedly ordered them all to password protect their phones.  But then he began sleeping with his phone.  Plus he had already deleted Facebook when I tried to download the archive history.  Said Facebook made him feel bad about himself but I figure he was just afraid I would find something he didn’t want me finding.  Marital counseling was a joke.  He went but didn’t really participate and as I believe I mentioned before he was expecting it to be all about “focusing on the future”.  And finally he went all passive aggressive with the whole “do not discuss our marital problems with your sister who encouraged your affair”.  That obviously meant I didn’t want him to have a relationship with her so he was just going to cut her off altogether.  Except he didn’t because then how could he moan and whine to her about how I hated him?  Not only did he break our agreement he flat out lied about what was going on.  Double betrayal.
  9. Don’t accept being second best.  Don’t accept your cheater putting the whore’s feelings, comfort and safety above your own.  If she’s still his main concern you and your marriage are in trouble.  When I look back now I’m appalled at how much I put up with.  As I said above about the text… Her with her:  Oh, Cousinfucker, I just can’t do this anymore.  It isn’t right.  I can’t stand hurting my kids, hurting the one man who has stood by my side through good and bad.  We just can’t break up two families who have done nothing wrong.  Let’s just walk away. Go home and repair the damage.  Please, I’m begging you, don’t contact me- don’t call or text.  I’m deactivating FB. And him with his:  You are so right!  We can’t do this to our families.  I’m going to do my best to be a better husband, a better father, a better man. Don’t contact me either.  PUKE!  This came on the heels of our conversation where I asked him point blank if she was worth losing his wife and kids and he replied that he knew he didn’t want to lose his kids.  He was actually very honest about the fact that he told her from the very beginning that he would never leave his kids.  Apparently, he has rethought that, or maybe having them 20+ hours away wasn’t acceptable but being 6-8 hours away is ok.  I digress.  For all I know he had no intentions of ending it with her.  Maybe he called her and told her, “Hey, baby, the coast is clear!  My wife knows so now we can be together!”  Maybe she then realized it wasn’t going to be that simple.  Maybe he really did think he couldn’t liquidate his assets and move on out with her.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that none of that was what I wanted.  I wanted to hear him tell me he was sorry.  I wanted to hear that I was the one.  It wasn’t until after I told him that I deserved to be happy, too, (this was still before the lame ass texts he showed me) that he finally realized he might lose me and that he might need to up his game.  I will say that in our many conversations he did tell me that I was the one he wanted; she was a mistake, a midlife crisis, a cliche.  But those first two things that occurred?  Those colored my entire so-called “recovery”.  I always wondered if I was the second choice.  I think that if you really are going to reconcile that there should be no doubt that you are the FIRST choice, the ONLY choice.  A few days after DDay I told him I wrote back to her husband, letting him know that CF had deleted all the naked pictures his wife had sent to mine.  CF was crying I believe and begged me to leave her alone and just concentrate on us and our family.  “Let them heal and deal with all of their stuff, while we do the same!”  Oh, boo hoo.  I remember hissing at him, “Do not beg for mercy for your whore!”  Again, lots of concern for the whore.  Not quite so much concern for the wife.  That is a no-no.  I don’t want to portray it as though he never tried to prove I was the one he wanted.  We went out on dates.  We spent a weekend away.  He told me how much he loved me and did at times say Harley was a huge mistake and she wasn’t the one he wanted; she was simply a cheap substitute for me.  In the end, though, those things he said in the beginning wouldn’t go away.  They always left me insecure.  His talk of happiness was always a huge trigger for me as well because he admitted that he had told his sister that Harley made him happy.  I felt like she could do something I couldn’t no matter how much I had tried for years and years.  Maybe if we had talked about these issues a little bit more instead of trying to bury them and “focus on the future” something good could have come out of it.  But that’s not what happened.  Don’t do what I did!  Don’t accept being second best.
  10. Don’t accept this idea that your spouse needs to grieve the loss of their co-cheater.  This is not something that I personally dealt with much but I think it’s important.   About a month after DDay Cousinfucker was visiting his mom (by himself, of course) and I was questioning him.  I asked if he missed Harley and he admitted that he did sometimes; however, he went on to say that he didn’t think it was her that he missed so much as it was what she represented and the fact that she filled him in on things that were happening with that side of the family.  Yet another unacceptable answer.  It should have been:  Of course not!  She was a huge mistake and almost cost me my marriage.  I don’t even think about her anymore. At the time I was busy reading reconciliation websites and blogs; common wisdom seems to be  that this is natural, that your cheater has had an intense relationship with this person.  I’ve read blogs by cheating men where they are lamenting the loss of their whore.  I’ve read them by women justifying their affairs with their man-whores.  They seem to always think that by saying they were in love that excuses their treacherous behavior.  I’m not speaking of it excusing the affair.  They seem to think their “love” excuses the continued wistful thinking of the co-cheater.  It doesn’t.  The last thing any betrayed wife wants to hear is how her husband truly loved the woman he was fucking behind her back, and because of that, please be patient with the poor guy because he’s really really sad.  For any men that may be reading this please substitute the correct nouns and pronouns.  Yeah, if your spouse is still grieving the whore things are not looking good.  It’s not natural.  If you feel guilty about what you’ve done you don’t have time to miss the person who is inducing that guilt.  You are far too busy trying to make up for your misdeeds
  11. DON’T MOVE ACROSS THE COUNTRY SO THAT YOU’RE CLOSER TO THE WHORE!  That’s a biggie!  If the cheater is suggesting a move further away from the whore- you may possibly be safe.  But don’t agree to a move that will put you closer to the whore.  That was my big mistake.  I was way too confident and trusted my shit eating chimp way too soon.  He wasn’t worthy of all that trust.

I’m sure there are undoubtedly more things that should appear on this list but this is all I’ve got for you today.  There are many things I wish I could have done differently but this list highlights the main things I would have changed.  I needed the anger.  I should have confronted him, questioned all those coincidences, and made him stick up for me.  I suppose that would have entailed being very explicit with what I needed him to do.  I should NEVER have allowed him to railroad me into dancing for him.  He should have been dancing for me.  And it goes without saying that moving across the country closer to Harley was an undeniably stupid move.  But you know what?  Even that I won’t allow the blame to be placed on me.  I was a good wife.  I trusted him.  I put his feelings and his wants and desires ahead of mine all the time.  You are SUPPOSED to trust your spouse.  It is NOT my fault that he wasn’t worthy of my trust.  Or me.

Why Didn’t You Take the Deal?

I’m a big fan of Criminal Minds.  Anyone else out there a fan?  Do you remember the first episode that had the Reaper in it?  They discover he made a deal with the sheriff or police chief, I’m not sure which.  If the chief stopped looking for him, he would stop killing.  Now, the chief is dying and the deal is going to end.  He tries to broker a new deal with Aaron Hotchner but Aaron won’t take it.  This ends badly.  Very, very badly ultimately because SPOILER ALERT eventually, many episodes later, he ends up killing Aaron’s wife.  But in this episode he ends up boarding a bus and slaughtering a group of innocent bus riders.  He calls Aaron and tells him, “You should have taken the deal!”  Or was that the cliffhanger when he confronts him in his apartment?  Anywho…

Now, I’m not about to go out and hunt down a bus full of innocents.  I do, however, sometimes wonder why STBX didn’t take his out when he first had the chance.  Why didn’t he take the deal?  Two and a half years ago I caught him in an emotional affair and demanded he choose between the two of us.  If you want her, go to her, but I will not be your safety net.

Her answer is, of course, he couldn’t liquidate his assets quickly enough, so he stayed with me (and dumped her).  Oh, you stupid, stupid little bitch.  Do you not realize it doesn’t matter how quickly he can liquidate assets because they are already marital property?  He can spend every dime but he still has to cough up half to give to me.

Maybe it was because he hadn’t had time to move us across the country and he figured I would be willing to stay put if he left.  Hell, maybe he was going to leave but she chickened out at the last minute.  I don’t know.  I suppose it’s not important.  I just keep thinking (well, not really; occasionally it pops into my mind) about how he told me he was ready to hop in his car and come get me and the kids if I didn’t return home from my mom’s house.  If you recall, my stepdad died days before I made my discovery.  We had already purchased airline tickets to go out for the funeral.

He could have left then.  He had the perfect opportunity.  Instead he told me he didn’t want to lose any of us.

A few months later I find out about his plans to marry her.  Again, he could have left but he chose not to.  Hell, he wanted to renew our wedding vows!

A year and a half ago we were moving across the country.  The house was sold, bought out by his company, a sure thing.  Things were looking rocky between her and her husband.  He could have got out then.  Said, “Sam, I think it’s best if you and the kids don’t come on out here with me.  I’m in love with Harley and despite our best efforts I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to put our marriage back together.  The house is sold.  Let’s split the proceeds and start the divorce proceedings.”  But no!  We buy an even more expensive house, fill it with new furniture, get a new car, put a pool in the backyard… He systematically dismantled my life and the lives of my children in order to get us out here.  He could have been free but he chose to keep himself entangled.  Why?  Why didn’t he “take the deal”?

I realize I’m trying to understand that which cannot be understood.  I’m trying to explain that which cannot be explained.

It’s just that I look back sometimes and I think, “WTF were you thinking?  Why?  Why did you do half of this shit?”  He could have stopped construction on the pool.  He could easily have said, “Sam, I’m not willing to get a loan.  I think we should wait until next summer.”   Or, when we found out that excavating the rocks was going to cost another $11,000 he could have said, “Sam, that is way too much money!  We budgeted x amount and now you’re telling me it’s going to be y amount.  We don’t have it.”   BAM!  $57,000 saved!  No, instead he says, “This better be worth it!”  He reignited his affair with his whore of a cousin as he watched the construction all summer long.  Even sent me pictures. How fucked up do you have to be to do that?  Or even better, once the affair was already underway I asked him how much stock we had to sell because I was getting worried about the cost; whatever wasn’t covered by cashing in stock was going to have to come out of savings.  He assured me we had plenty.  I told him in that case I was going to go with the more expensive stamped concrete.  He never said a word!  Hey, asshole, that might have been a great time to say something like, “Sam, the other stuff is fine.  Let’s not spend anymore than we have to.”  But no!  Carry on with your whore while we spend a few thousand more.

Our cats died last year.  My daughter begged me to let her take home a stray.  He could have put his foot down.  No more cats!  He didn’t.  This was much earlier in the year so perhaps he wasn’t cavorting with Harley at the time.  But I’m pretty sure they had established contact by the time Memorial Day rolled around and she wanted to bring home a kitten.  I told him about it.  He could have said, “No more cats!  This is crazy!”  But no, he just let it happen.

Of course, when you’re willing to walk away from all of it and leave your betrayed spouse to pick up all the pieces and take care of everything I suppose you don’t really care what happens.  It sure would have been nice to have that extra money, though, instead of sinking it into a hole in the ground.  Hey, Cousinfucker, most people don’t put a fucking pool in their backyard only to move a year later.  It’s not really profitable.  Dumbass!

The only thing I can think of that makes sense is that he had his own very personal time table and he didn’t want to show his hand.  If that cost him a bunch of extra money… oh well.  I suppose it was worth it to him.  Me?  Well, I sure as hell wish he had “taken the deal” and gotten the fuck out of our lives before all of this went down!

Facebook & TiVo- The Beginning of the End

I remember reading a Sidney Sheldon novel years ago.  I don’t remember the title but it dealt with three women who were all in medical school.  One of them had a brother who was working for the Mob and she became sort of a Mob doctor to pay his debt.  Anyway, that’s not the important part.  This is:  One of the male doctors was a real player and one of the three main characters was a very straight shooter.  There was a bet going on about whether or not the cad doctor could bed the good doctor.  The three female med students made some kind of a bet and the line at the end of the chapter was something like:  They didn’t realize it but they had just signed the death certificate for one of them.

Obviously, this has stuck with me.  It’s been well over 25 years since I read the book.  But that line comes up sometimes when you start to put two and two together and realize <here> was the moment it fell apart (or came together, if you are feeling positive).  For me, TiVo and Facebook were the precursors to the death certificate for my marriage.

Let’s begin with the seemingly benign TiVo.  I bought it for my husband one year for Christmas.  Couldn’t even tell you exactly when except that it was sometime after 2002 and before 2006.  Lost was airing, if that helps.  He loved it!  Loved being able to skip the commercials.  Loved being able to record things that he would miss otherwise.  Loved, loved, loved it.  As far as gifts go, it was a good one if the recipient’s joy is the only measure of a good gift. In looking back, however, I can see that it was the beginning of the end.

You see, when he got TiVo, television became more important than the family.  We used to eat together, even if we watched tv while doing so.  Once he got TiVo he ate his meals downstairs in the finished basement.  I would bring the kids downstairs to see him (and they were at most preschool and toddler age), perhaps even try to eat with him, but he would complain about how he couldn’t watch his shows because of the kids and the noise they made.  Shocker- toddlers and preschoolers make noise!  I remember several times he would pause the tv, look at me and say, “I’ve been trying to watch the last five minutes of this show for the last twenty minutes.  Do you think you can take them upstairs so I can finish this?”  Of course, Your Majesty!  Care for a quick blow job before I head upstairs?

The kids and I began to live our life on the main level, more and more, while he lived his life, alone, in the basement.  He even took to sleeping in the guest room downstairs so that I could have the queen sized bed with the kids, instead of continuing to sleep on a twin sized mattress and a trundle bed.  He slept down there, showered down there, took his meals down there (remember, I would fix his plate and bring it to him every night!), and lived his life down there, i.e. watched tv.

I cooked and cleaned and watched and interacted with the kids.  I fed them; I bathed them.  I got them ready for bed and I got them ready for preschool.  I didn’t watch any television until the kids were asleep because I didn’t have TiVo; I knew I would end up missing half of what was being said if I tried watching anything while they were awake.  My TV viewing didn’t begin until around 9:30.

In other words, I lived life with my kids while he was stuck in front of a TV.  I didn’t have a partner.  My kids didn’t have a father.  We had a live in roommate.  I did the adult stuff, the parent stuff, and he did whatever he wanted.  He says we grew apart after having kids.  I say, “Hell ya, we did!  He never grew up.  He just wanted to be one more person I took care of, instead of him stepping up and being an actual partner to me and helping out with the kids.”  To be fair (and I am nothing if not fair!) once I got our son ready for bed, Cousinfucker would rock him to sleep.

Things weren’t any better when we moved.  Instead of him hanging out in the basement, though, he now hung out in his bedroom.  He would come home, say hello and then head to the bedroom where he sat in the bed and watched television all night long.  I again brought him his damn dinner.  Even went in and collected his plate some nights, although to be fair, most nights he would venture out of the bedroom to put his plate in the sink. He did have a brief period where he would play on the Wii out in the living room, but then again, any time he showed any initiative he would get pissed if we didn’t immediately kiss his ass and thank him for his efforts.

This is how we lived.  And of course, by now we have Dish so we both had a DVR!  But again, I was out in the living room.  I was with the kids.  I was present.  I was running them to activities.  I was volunteering.  I watched a whole lot of Disney and Nickelodeon in my day!  Occasionally he would call one or all of us into the bedroom because there was something he wanted us to see, but then we were usually promptly dismissed, especially if the gathering ended up with us *talking* or *laughing*!

It’s hard to connect with someone who has made television his whole life, someone who has decided he’s going to live out his life in the bedroom.  But feel free to blame me and let me know how this is all my fault.  Because that’s his story.

Now, as if all of this isn’t bad enough along comes Facebook. I will preface this by saying there are an awful lot of good things about Facebook.  I have moved many times over the course of my life and it’s so nice to be able to stay in contact with people that I’ve met over the years.  I love seeing all the kids as they’ve grown.  I love seeing the baby pictures and the wedding announcements and all the achievements of my friends and of their kids.  I like the high school graduations and the kindergarten graduations and the puppy school graduations.  I like it all.  But as they taught us on The Facts of Life:  You take the good, you take the bad…  Facebook can be an amoral cesspool of infidelity.  This was my “She had unknowingly signed her own death certificate!”  Only in my case it was, “She had no way of knowing she had just led to the demise of her own marriage!”  For you see, it was I who created a Facebook page for my husband.  He didn’t want one, saw no need for one.  Who would be his friend?  I thought it would be funny to create one for him, propel him into the current century.  Oh, it was hilarious!  It didn’t take long for skanky ol’ Harley to become his “friend”.  Yes, I remember sitting there at Thanksgiving creating the page for him and by April, a mere five months later, they were “in luuuuurrrrrvvvvveeee!”  Ah yes, Little Miss My-Marriage-Isn’t-So-Rosy met up with Mr. I’m-Just-A-Handyman-And-A-Paycheck and it was a match made in Facebook hell.  All those furtive messages, longing to be together, knowing that only the two of them understood one another, the private agony they had both endured in their loveless, non-rosy marriages.  Ah, it was one soliloquy shy of Romeo and Juliet.  Facebook led to texting and texting led to sexting and that all led to phone calls and naked pictures and dreams of a life together.  Funny thing, they never counted on outraged children or spousal support.  Affairs are funny like that.

I got rid of her the first time.  Maybe I should have let her have him then.  It would have saved me and my kids some heartache.  I wouldn’t be living where I’m living.  I’d still be surrounded by a large network of support.  Nonetheless, the facts are the facts.  I got rid of her.  He supposedly chose me and our family.  But Facebook continued to let her have a ringside seat into our lives.  Thanks to everyone in his stupid family who didn’t see what the harm was in continuing a relationship with her she was able to observe us and swoop in.  Hell, his mother was the one who encouraged her to do so.  “He’s so sad!  Why don’t you get down on your knees and give him a nice blow job and make him feel all better!”  OK, quick disclaimer here.  I don’t know that she encouraged a blow job.  That’s entirely made up.  But, she did encourage the whore to call him.  Because he was so sad!  Because his wife (that’s me!) hadn’t completely forgotten about the events that had happened less than two years ago where he had betrayed her with a white trash whore. Because I hadn’t killed all those thoughts and buried them deep where no one could see them.  Because I still wondered and reflected on occasion.  Because I could still be triggered by certain events and names.  And because I still had a hard time forgiving his family for their support of Harley.  However, I had forgiven him.  I had stood by him.  I had fought for him and our marriage.  I had moved across the damn country for HIM and his dreams.  And once I was away from my entire support system and completely dependent on him, I got to deal with all of his issues- his supposed PTSD, his supposed anxiety, his supposed social issues that were magically reappearing, his driving issues.  Oh, and his drinking.  That was a new one.  But what I hadn’t done was I hadn’t forgotten, and let me tell you, that apparently was a deal breaker and worthy of him cheating on me AGAIN.

I know better than to blame TiVo or Facebook for the demise of my marriage.  But I can certainly say they both contributed to its decline. And as far as Facebook goes I did pretty much sign my own divorce decree when I signed him up.  I’m not sure she ever would have been able to get ahold of him otherwise.  Then again, if he’s so easily led astray do I really want him?  No!

Why Do I Feel Guilty Some Days?

I talked to someone who knows him the other day.  Serendipity.  She texted with some information and I ended up calling her and telling her the whole story.  Long story short:  She’s glad I got out.

I do still struggle with the idea that all of this is my fault and I sometimes feel like I need someone who is impartial to be able to tell me if I’m right or wrong. So, I have a therapist I see a few times a month and she’s helping me to work through those feelings of guilt.

This is how I blame myself.  I think:  Gee, if only I *had* focused on the future.  If only I had left well enough alone.  If only I had embraced his family after the huge betrayal and accepted the fact that they would never cut ties with her.  If only I had stopped snooping on her, stopped focusing on her.  If only I hadn’t lost my shit upon seeing my MIL tell the whore how pretty she was, knowing full well that they had had an inappropriate relationship.  That is what sparked the creation of the Facebook page which I used as a blog.  That, of course, leads to if only I hadn’t created that Facebook page.  If only I hadn’t used the name I used.  If I had kept it bland and generic instead of getting snarky I probably never would have been found.  As long as he believed that I was happy and had forgiven him things were good. Hell, I *had* forgiven him; I moved across the damn country for him!  I think it’s more appropriate to say that as long as he believed that I was 100% happy all the time and that I had completely forgotten any and everything having to do with his emotional affair then things were good.  Things were good as recently as Thanksgiving last year.  Hell, I really didn’t know there were problems until after Christmas.  If only I had let go of all the hurt and pain and concentrated only on the happy parts of life.  If only I had made more of an effort to acclimate to the new town.  If only… if only… if only…

I sometimes think that I drove him crazy, or at least to suicidal thoughts.  That if I had forgotten all about the whore and focused only on us and what was going well in our lives then none of this would have happened.

I wonder what would have happened if I had spoken up.  If I had approached the elephant in the room.  Would things have been different?  When should I have done this?  When he was hospitalized?  When he was home?  When he was crying?  When he was having a rare good day?  When?

Was it something I did?  Should I have given more?  Should I have sat upstairs with him in the bedroom? Should I have insisted he come downstairs and sit with me?  Should I have checked on him more?  Should I have been more adamant about him joining in on family activities?  Did I not love him enough?  Was I not sympathetic enough?  Did I not do enough when he was supposedly going through all of his anxiety issues and PTSD?  Was I not patient enough?  Was it my fault because I fell asleep on the couch even though I knew how important it suddenly was to him that I sleep in the same bed after years of being unwanted there because of my snoring?  Was I not available to him sexually enough?  Could I have saved our relationship somehow through plentiful sex?

I sometimes feel like I deserve this.  Or asked for this in some way.

And I know that’s all kinds of fucked up.  Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat.  They cheat because they have poor character.  They cheat because they are cowards.  I had said soon after the first affair ended that I worried about what would happen the next time he was feeling neglected.  Turns out I was right to be worried.  He did exactly what I feared.  Intellectually I know that no amount of sex would have kept him faithful. No amount of checking up on him or sitting with him while neglecting my kids would have kept him faithful.  Sleeping in the same bed every damn night no matter what wouldn’t have kept him faithful.

He cheated because she was a fresh start- someone who doesn’t see his faults, someone who promises to be everything to him that I’m not, someone who will “appreciate” everything he does for her.  He cheated because he was convinced that I hated him and I was going to leave him.  He was a coward with such poor character that he decided he would strike first and leave me for the mistake he made two years prior.  Why do the difficult work of rebuilding with your wife when there’s a whore willing and waiting?  Why risk having your wife leave you because she can’t pretend you never betrayed her?  Take the downgrade; you’ll never have to worry about her  throwing your affair in your face.  He cheated because he couldn’t face the facts and instead wanted to pretend that he had never done anything wrong with the whore- ever; he wanted to pretend the first affair never happened and that that period of time never existed.  No, scratch that.  He cheated because he wanted ME to pretend he had never done anything wrong.  He wanted ME to forget how he betrayed me.  And when he realized it wasn’t as easy as saying, “Oops!  My bad!” he took the low road.  He pouted and he stomped his wittle feet and he went crying boo hoo hoo to anyone who would listen because HOW DARE I NOT FORGET HE CHEATED? HOW DARE I NOT CONCENTRATE ON HOW INCREDIBLY LUCKY I WAS THAT HE CHOSE ME INSTEAD OF THE WHORE?  DIDN’T I REALIZE I SHOULD BE THANKFUL EVERY DAY THAT I STILL HAD AN INTACT MARRIAGE?  Hmmmph- he’ll just have to go find someone who does!

The truth of the matter is I doubt myself despite everything I have just written because if there is some *reason* he did this, if there is something I did or didn’t do to make him do this, then I could have fixed it, or at the very least I won’t have to worry about doing that same thing with someone else. Sadly, nothing would ever be enough. I know that.

I know he could have talked to me instead of talking to everyone who encouraged him to leave me.  That might have been difficult though and fair, delicate CF doesn’t do difficult.

Hell, he could have left instead of spiraling downward and then starting up yet another affair with the whore.  My 13 year old knows enough to know that’s the proper way to do things.  Leave.  Then start up a new relationship.  It’s not the other way around.

No, instead CF decided he was entitled to cheat on me.  He was entitled to get his new life up and running while I was still thinking we were married and committed.  Instead of telling me he was hurt or disappointed by what he saw, instead of asking me about any of it, he just found and fucked a whore.  And then turned around and gave her a whole bunch of money.  I think that may be the worst part because I knew at that point there was nothing left to salvage.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I pretend to be brave.  I know people say, “Oh, good for you for divorcing his lying, cheating ass!  Don’t put up with his crap.”  And I will tell people who ask or comment that yes, I marched my ass down to the lawyer’s office less than 48 hours after finding out, and filed for divorce not long after that.  The reality is I didn’t have a choice.  I had to file in order to protect myself and my kids; I was afraid that he was going to quit his job, take or blow all of our money, and leave the state to be with her.  I could see the writing on the wall.  The first time around they never met up, or if they did they had 2 chances since we lived so far apart.  He wasn’t funneling money to her.  He didn’t have a separate bank account.  This time around, though, he was meeting up with her- every weekend.  They were having sex.  He was giving her money and told her he would pay for her divorce.  He was meeting her kids and making them all sorts of promises of grandiose gifts and treasures.  He was cashing in stock and putting it into his new separate account.  Even if I wanted to stay and try to work things out I know he never would have agreed.  So I filed.  I wasn’t brave; I was practical.

He then turned around and accused me of stealing every dime he makes and told others that I only stayed for the money (Satan talks as though he has a healthy trust fund somewhere).  He once told me that he felt like nothing more than a wallet and a handyman. Well, he’s tossing money around like it’s candy.  He’s reducing himself to a wallet.  Maybe he realizes that’s the only thing he has to offer.

The Whole Sad Story, Part 2

I think this part of the story, though the most devastating, will probably be the shortest.

He was having more and more difficulty dealing with every day life.  He would retreat to our bedroom and not interact with any of us unless we went to the bedroom to see him.  He talked about his “anxiety” quite often, including how much he hated driving.  He said even making the short drive to work was taxing on him.  He told me he didn’t think he could go on vacation with us; it was too far from home and he needed to stay close by.

As luck would have it, the same week that the kids and I left to go on vacation he supposedly had a business trip about 6 hours away.  Stupid me with all my pluckiness helped coach my darling husband through this upcoming drive.  I was right there, cheering him on, telling him how fabulous he was and how he could do this!  Great news- he made it!  He was able to get in his car and drive.   Bad news… spoiler alert… he fucked a whore.

While on vacation I found out he had sent his mom yet another $500.  He had been sending his mom money all summer long, helping her out with groceries.  It was a little frustrating to see that he had sent a huge chunk while we were on vacation but I let it go.  The day he was supposed to return home I checked on him to ask him when he was leaving.  “Oh, I have to stay an extra day.  They couldn’t get the machine to work.”  He later told me since he was so close to his mom’s he was going to go see her, especially since he had just regained his new driving skills.  “Are you mad?” he asked me.  I assured him I wasn’t and told him it was his mom and how could I say no.  In retrospect, let me count the ways!  Then I discovered a debit payment from a store in the whore’s town.  I immediately asked him why there was a charge to Whore Town.  He had no idea!  He had given his mom his card information so she could make a purchase before he got into town but she had gone to a different city.  He had no idea why it showed up as Whore Town.  Does anybody see the red flags here?  Yes, I was an absolute idiot.  I guess when you want to believe something badly enough you’ll excuse away almost anything.

He seemed a little distant once he came back home but he explained it away by saying he was having some bad days and wanted to shield me from them.  For my part I told him that I was his wife and we were a team and I wanted to be there for him.  We would work through all of this together and it was going to get better.  I told him how proud I was of him for being able to make the drive; that was such a huge step!  The plucky heroine kept insisting she was going to love him through this!  Things were going to get better!  You can drive again!  Now we’ll just tackle that social anxiety and the PTSD and we’ll be on the road to happily ever after!

About ten days after he got back he found out a cousin of his had died.  Now keep in mind this cousin is about ten-fifteen  years older and he hadn’t seen him much, if at all, in twenty years.  Nonetheless, he was determined to go to the funeral.  When I told him our daughter wanted to go with him so she could see her grandparents he immediately vetoed that idea, saying that it was no place for her to be and she didn’t need to see that.  He tells me the funeral is on Friday so he’ll leave Thursday and come back on Friday after the funeral.  Short visit, right?

Oh no!  I ask him on Friday if he’s still coming home and he proceeds to tell me how they’ve switched the day of the funeral.  He swears up and down that they told him it was one day at one time and now they’re saying it’s the next day, at a completely different time.  So he’ll be staying until Sunday.  Then Sunday comes and I ask him if he’s leaving so he’ll get home before it’s dark.  No!  He wants a new challenge so he’s going to drive home when it’s dark to see if he can do that!  I then get a text message around 11:30 telling me that he had his mom’s keys in his briefcase and he had to turn around and take them back to her so he’ll leave the next day.  He finally gets home around 5:30 the next evening.  Again, anyone else seeing the incredibly huge red flags?

Here’s another one for you.  His sister posts a picture of the two of them together.  Once again the whore is liking his picture.  To make matters even worse the whore’s sister mentions how she saw him at “the family reunion” and it had been years since she’d seen him.  I’m thinking, “What reunion?”  Darling husband never mentioned a family reunion.  She had seen him at this family reunion?  Maybe she was talking about a reunion 20 plus years ago and that damn auto correct changed ‘had’ to ‘has’.  It HAS been years since I’ve seen him.  And to add to my paranoia there was yet another charge in Whore Town.

My gut was screaming at me the entire time he was gone.  I walked around like a zombie, telling myself that I was overreacting.  I told myself that I was just hypersensitive because of what had happened before.  “He loves you!  He wouldn’t do this to you again!  You just moved here!” I told myself.  I barely ate.  At one point I went down to my daughter’s room to see if she wanted to get something to eat and she told me she was terrified that her dad and I were going to get divorced.  When I asked her why she thought that she told me it was because her dad hadn’t shown any emotion lately and I wasn’t acting like myself.

I got a message from her husband the evening that my husband got back home.  He told me that my husband had been spending the last two weekends with the whore in Whore Town and he thought I should know.  With that the bottom dropped out of my world.  I held it together though.  I asked him if they were still married and he told me my husband was paying for their divorce.  He gave me his number and we talked for about 30 minutes.

I found out that he had been giving her money all summer long.  All that “grocery money” was actually going to his whore.  Wow- now all of a sudden it makes sense why he didn’t want to send a check.  Those charges to the store in Whore Town were purchases for her.  My husband was making pancakes for her kids, throwing money at them, promising to buy them a dog, promising to buy her oldest child a car.  His MOM was the one who encouraged her to call him and make contact since he was “so sad”.  Yes, encourage his former mistress to call him and cheer him up.  That sounds like a great plan.  What could possibly go wrong?  That family reunion?  That happened the first weekend he went to go see his mom.  Yes, pretty much a year to the day that our furniture was being delivered to our new house my darling husband was fucking his whore of a cousin.  The funeral?  Oh, his mother and his whore went with him.  I’m so glad he had lots of support.  I was also told that according to the whore I knew about their affair and I didn’t care.  I think my favorite part has to be the story she tells about how he would have dumped me the last time but he couldn’t “liquidate his assets” quickly enough.  Those were both things she had told her husband to rub salt in the wound.

I later found out that the phones he had purchased for his mom and stepdad weren’t for them at all. Yes, he laid that trap quite nicely.  As his mother’s birthday approached he told me he was thinking of buying her and his stepdad new phones and putting them on his plan since they only had pay as you go phones.  When a letter came in from his phone carrier letting him know he had been approved for new phones he explained that away by saying it was for his mom and stepdad.  What a good son!  It turns out he instead bought new phones for his mistress and her daughter when her husband took them off of his plan.  He’s currently paying their phone bill on his corporate card.  Again, so many things make sense now.  When he kept making reference to getting phones for his parents I asked him why he didn’t just put them on my account.  Oh, he got a discount through his work which made it more practical to go with this other provider.  Incidentally, my cell phone carrier is much less expensive- probably $100 less expensive. Nothing but the most expensive for the whore and her kid, I suppose!  I’ve also since learned that he has indeed put a deposit down on the damn dog and his whore is wearing a diamond ring.

When I dug a little deeper I discovered withdrawals from our savings account, withdrawals that occurred throughout the summer.  My husband *never* takes money out, and if he ever does it’s certainly not the maximum withdrawal amount.

He got back home on Monday, I found out he was cheating on me later that night.  On Tuesday I called around to make an appointment for a consultation and on Wednesday I met with the first lawyer to see what my options were. On Thursday I sent him a text asking him when he was planning on going to see his best friend.  Oops, he was already on his way.  He thought he had told me and he was going to say goodbye but I was gone so long he didn’t have a chance.  Mmm hmm. This turned out to be an exciting weekend.

I confirmed with her husband that my darling husband was planning on spending the weekend with her and I had him tailed to her house. Even got pictures for my lawyer.  I also found out he had cashed in the last bit of his stock and had it wired overnight.  Now that was strange because there wasn’t a deposit in OUR account. Oh, lightbulb moment- he’s got a secret, separate account.  The coup de grace though must have been when I was told he was interviewing for a job about thirty minutes away from her, which obviously meant in another state.

This whole entire time he is playing it off like he’s at his friend’s house.  He had problems with his debit card and I offered to drive it to him. Actually, what happened was I knew he had a separate account at this time and he had just received a new debit card in the mail.  I asked him if his had expired and when he said no I put on my thinking cap and said, “This must have been a mistake!  I’ll call the bank and see what’s up!”  When I later went to the bank I used his new debit card to see if there was a separate account.  Turns out once the new card was activated the old card was useless.  He had tried to buy gas and his card was declined and confiscated.  Oops!  He was pissed.  I tried to soothe things over and that’s when I offered to drive to Best Friend’s House with the new card.  Oh no!  I’m good.  I’ve got cash and I’ll use my credit card.  He actually had the audacity to try to get me to send him naked pictures!

He got back early Monday morning (like 3 am) and I met with my lawyer on Tuesday and signed the papers to set the divorce in motion.  I didn’t figure I could wait any longer.  Who knows what the hell he would do in the next few weeks?

This is the best part though.  Everyone I’ve ever told this story to has looked at me like, “WTF?”  A few have even said exactly that.  We had a large amount of money in the checking and savings accounts for the pool we had just put in.  Our contractor hadn’t been paid yet.  When my darling husband wasn’t home by 1 am after I had discovered the stock transfer and the job interview earlier in the weekend I figured I really couldn’t wait any longer to protect myself and the kids.  He had given her thousands of dollars over the summer and I didn’t want to give him the chance to take all that money and run.  As I was driving to sign the papers at my lawyer’s office he asked me if I had paid the pool off yet.  I replied that I hadn’t.  He then goes on to ask me why I transferred all the money out of the accounts, to which I replied, “Because you’re fucking the whore and giving her money.  I figured I needed to protect myself and my kids.”  Without missing a beat he says, “Ok, I understand then.”  About thirty minutes later he sends me another text.  I swear this is true; I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  He says:  Where are you?  Are we still having spaghetti for dinner or do I need to make something?

The End