Ugh-I don’t want to even go here. But writing and hearing about the experiences of others has been like a healing balm for me. So very many people experience this. It is nothing new to the world; and yet, when it personally affects you, your perspective completely changes. Sometimes I wonder if there really is a couple that has been completely faithful to one another through the test of time. Yes, I am a bit cynical. I’m working on it.
Infidelity wrecked the world that I wanted…but it also set me free.
Only once in the 25 years of our marriage (I’m not going to count this past year) did I worry about Code Red being unfaithful. My word, he was an impressive liar and manipulator. Twenty-two (23, if you add in this past year) years of being unfaithful and I never once had a clue. I trusted him completely in that area.
I’ll go back to the emotional abuse and explain a little how that happened. You see, Code Red used covert methods that were extremely controlling and manipulative. There were words shared in confidence and intellectual discussions that made me feel smart and important. Gradually, those words pulled me into a bubble created with fraudulent trust. Those conversations encouraged a feeling of false intimacy. And then there were the thousands of text messages…including anything from silly photos to suggestive innuendos. I trusted him in this area because of the illusions of intimacy that he created. This trickery camouflaged what was really happening and caused me to toss my gut instinct and doubts out the window.
Infidelity occurs. A spouse finds out. A heart aches and a deep feeling of insecurity and rejection fills that spouse’s soul. The automatic response seems to be to try and figure out why this happened and how can you recover and save the marriage.
All of this was a bit different for me. While my heart did ache, the sense of rejection was complicated. It was mixed with sorrow that Code Red couldn’t live with his truth. It must have made him miserable and as a result of that, controlling. I hate that he allowed his actions to get so out of control that he damaged his family. I loathe that his decisions became more and more reckless and honestly, just plain stupid.
And yet, even with all of that, I did not want to divorce. My thoughts were a bit wonky: “Get out. I need time to figure all of this out. I want to save the marriage. Let’s go to counseling…you go to yours, I’ll go to mine. I sure as hell don’t want to go with you. Scratch that. I hate you. I think I want a divorce. I don’t want anything to do with you. Get away from me. No, wait. Yes, maybe I do at least want friendship. But can I even trust you as a friend?…” I was pretty much a crazy person. The only consistent rational thought was that I wanted and needed space.
I know that I didn’t make a lot of sense last year…my mind felt like a ping pong ball, bouncing around and voicing my truths to see how they all added up. I rambled a lot.
In the last year, I learned to trust myself and to be ok making mistakes. And even if this appears to be a bit arrogant, I don’t think that I made very many serious mistakes…I personally feel as though I found my feet and any mistakes that I did make simply turned into stepping stones that led to my freedom.
As discovery after discovery occurred, and the shock and horror of realizing what was hidden under the surface of my marriage, I believe that his promiscuity came as a relief. It catapulted me into doing something that I would have NEVER had the courage to do. It gave me permission to leave. For years I had wanted out of my marriage. Unfortunately, due to my strong (but misplaced) convictions, I do not believe that I would have ever left if the infidelity had not become known.
The best gift I received was the teaching, coaxing, and encouragement I received from my therapist to trust myself and God to lead me step by step through this whole mess. After all, this unfortunate path is mine alone to walk. I have many people beside me, but none can actually walk this out for me.
And now, thirteen months since the discovery, I feel liberated and unburdened. I had no idea what an incredible feeling it would be to live in truth!
**It’s my Spring Break! There will be no more posts this week!