How did you find out?
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|Tue, 08-06-2013 - 5:27pm|
Mid July, 2008. My spouse invited me to go for a walk. I was doing my normal thing, watching TV even though we had dishes and cloths that needed washing. My spouse was a full time student and was getting good grades. Our kids were starting to do well in school. I would often take the kids to the local dollar movie to get them out of my spouse’s hair or pull them all into my bedroom to watch a show together while she studied in the livingroom. I thought I was helping, later she said that she felt abandoned when I did this. These were not the worst of times, nor the best of times. I felt life was on hold till she finished school the next semester.
On our walk that night, my spouse asked me to move out. I felt sideswiped. I tried to talk to her but was like there was this invisible wall between us. When we got back to the house, I told her that I would not be leaving. If she wanted to go, she would be welcome to visit our five kids anytime, but if and when she began seeing another man, that would change. This was my house also, we had just paid it off, and I didn’t really understand. She said that she would not be moving out and that we would just get by. She soon began to get ready for work shortly after this conversation. The next day, when I got home from work and she woke up, we talked again and she was adamant about divorce. I asked her what I could do to make things right. Interesting she began listing things. #1 was that our TV needed to come out of the bedroom, dishes, laundry, quality time, and so forth.
She began to leave for work again; I was devastated and hurting when she walked to the door. The wall she built between us was so thick and impenetrable. I was sitting alone in the living room hurting as she began to leave, but she stopped, she kissed her finger and gestured it to me. She was in there. That girl I know and love was in there somewhere. I walked to my bedroom and pulled the TV from the wall and walked it to my little office placing it face down. I didn’t know exactly what to do, but face down felt right. Me and the kids got busy and washed cloths and cleaned the kitchen. My spouse was so surprised when she got home that the TV was gone. The wall between us got a little thinner that night. She didn’t work that day and we talked and she admitted that she was talking to some man at school in inappropriate ways. “Seth” was his name. Later I found out that there were two men at school and Seth was a phony name. Over the next few days, we talked and began sorting some things out between us.
In the meantime, I found the hard copies of the phone records and began looking for the men from school. What I found were these very long phone calls to a number with a prefix from her hometown. I knew her Mom’s cell phone. Who was this? Instead of calling it, I confronted her. She instantly said it was her high school boyfriend. Their 20 year high school reunion had been in the spring and she said they had been talking. Personally, I had thought for some time that she needed to reconnect with him and sort out their stuff so on the surface, I wasn't entirly allarmed. I asked if they met without me knowing. I got silence. Then she said they went for a motorcycle ride. Stunned, I asked if they kissed, she nodded. I asked if it went further, I got silence. Then she began telling that she had been sleeping with him.
That was five years ago today.
Two days later, my co-worker sent me home from a very big tradeshow because I kept bursting into sobs when I saw clients whom I felt were friends. One of them pushed me to the corner of my booth and just stood in front of me to shield me from public view as I cried uncontrollably. I didn’t even show up for the following weeks trade show. By September I used up all my carefully saved up leave, I lost thirty lbs. There were lots of twists and turns, the indignity of telling men to stay away from my spouse and in one case, telling his spouse what had been going on. I would occasionally wake up with this feeling that “Oh, it was only a bad dream!” But it wasn’t, and in the weeks that followed, I struggled to make sense of the unfamiliar sound that was coming from me. I simply could not stop crying and I began to analyze it while it happened like this was some kind of new normal.
Her plan had been to move me out and to move him in. She hadn’t told him yet, in fact, she had told him goodbye. She had strong feelings for him and was considering returning to the relationship. I demanded that she get rid of any clothing or items associated with him. I work with, and collect, valuable books so I sold some of my prizes to a local dealer and took her shopping for replacement clothing. We had a really good talk about things and when we got home, I asked her to see me in the back yard. When she came outside, I put my sledgehammer through my TV. I know that sounds like I was becoming unscrewed, well, I was, and I wanted her to know that I would never pick something like a TV over her. Shocked at first, she locked eyes with me and soon I saw her face soften. She asked me to stay there while she went into the house. She returned with a stack of his letters addressed to her from him back in high school and she tore them up in front of me. I know this sounds melodramatic, but symbols can be powerful.
We have come a long way in five years. The woman I am talking to right now, is not that person I was talking to back then, nor am I the same man.
Writing my discovery story down today was cathartic. May I invite you to add your story? How did you find out and how is it going? Sending good vibes to you and your families.