I’ve been giving some thought lately as to how I might have acted differently in my marriage knowing what I know now. I’ve been considering how I behaved when I found myself married to a man who had become a shell of the man he used to be and beginning to question my own sanity. I’m not talking about my D-day and after. I’m thinking about the period of time before this, the lead up to D-day, the time when the betrayal was occurring right under my nose. When I think back now (2 years since D-day) I recognise that for almost a year I was living in a state of constant anxiety. I had a sense that my life was unravelling but could not locate the loose threads. It’s as if I was powerless to do anything about it. This is what I find disturbing.
It is difficult to piece together the jigsaw of that year of betrayal. I can’t recall when it started. I think that it must have been gradual. I know that for his birthday I went to a lot of trouble to purchase him lovely things that he would like and designed a stunning card for him. His birthday is early November. I haven’t noted anything but the day fell over the weekend so we would have gone to a restaurant to celebrate. Everything was OK (I thought). However, by this time he had shagged Pig Shit once. Two days after his birthday he had his second shag (8 weeks after the first) and as a treat for him Pig Shit wore her Ann Summers black body stocking! Funnily enough I took a day off sick that day. This must be a sign of something because I so seldom take time off work. In the previous ten years I had two weeks off, all at once due to an infection. So, I wonder if our bodies sometimes try to tell us what we sense unconsciously! It’s all very weird.
So when did I begin to suspect that something had changed? I really am stuck here. I know that I had started to focus on my work situation. I had an opportunity to request a substantial severance package from the job I had had for 13 years. My husband and I had discussed this and decided it would be a great opportunity to pay off our mortgage. It meant a bit of uncertainty for me with regard to future income but I thought that together we would be fine. These discussions started before he met Pig Shit, but by the time I signed the papers he was well and truly a liar and betrayer. Added to this my employer did not make it easy and I was shunted around quite a bit which affected my self-confidence and self-esteem. So I guess that some of the insecurities that I was feeling, I put down to this.
However, and creepingly, I started to feel a coldness from him. Difficult to articulate but deeply felt. Whereas he had always been kind and considerate to me, now his attitude was very cavalier. Sex started to feel mechanical. In fact everything that we were doing (on reflection) was on auto-pilot. We’d been together for ten years so this wasn’t difficult except there was a hollowness in the middle. Increasingly, I found myself weeping whenever we started a meaningful conversation and instead of him putting his arms around me he would just look at me, which made me feel terrible.
So, my questions started. Can’t recall exactly when or how but I do know that they got increasingly demanding of him and increasingly tangled. Previous to this we were not a couple to quarrel. We have always found it very easy to get along with each other but now we were having arguments over nothing! Unsatisfied with any of his responses I would just repeat the questions in different formats and obviously this was driving him and I nuts. BECAUSE, the truth is, he did not want me to find out! He didn’t want to be with Pig Shit in any type of relationship, he just wanted a dirty desperate pig on the side! However, he was telling her a bunch of lies and keeping her sweet so that he could get his bit of booty every month or so!
On the other hand, I wanted DESPERATELY to know what was going on so that if necessary we could make plans. I was so anxious. In a couple of months I would have NO JOB. Was I still to pay off the mortgage? He reassured me that this was the right thing to do. Why did I just go along with this?
I continually asked him “is there someone else?” I now realise the futility of that question. As if he was going to admit it??? He would say, repeatedly “How could there be anyone else, I’m hardly ever away from home. We spend most of our time together” Of course this was true – we work together from home. We have a fabulous loft space that we share. He was seldom away from home and when he was he was always in touch with me. I never thought for one moment that there would be a woman on the planet who would accept so little. How wrong I was!!!! I came to the conclusion that it must have been prostitutes but he was adamant that he would never pay a prostitute. So I then started on me. What was wrong with me? He said that his feelings had changed for me. Did he still love me? Yes, but it was different. In what way? Couldn’t say, just different! He said he found my questioning unbearable – that I was unbearable at times.
I came to the foolishly wrong conclusion that he was anxious about the reduction in our income. I have always earned more than him. So I reassure him that I will find work (I had planned to develop a freelance portfolio but thought if he was anxious it would be best to abandon that idea), but he pleads with me not to look for work but to develop my other options. He was adamant that it was not a financial issue. But… couldn’t give me a clue as to what the problem might be!
He goes on to book us a holiday which I’m not too happy about but he insists that the rest will do us good. I foolishly agree. Obviously, and unbeknownst to me Pig Shit is raging her end and putting pressure on him – so he is texting and ringing her whilst we are away. It is just auto-pilot. It was such an empty and lonely experience. I wanted to weep all the time. I would look at him and he would look away after looking blankly back at me. Yet I still carried on. I continued to ask what was wrong. I begged him to explain what was wrong between us and he just would not answer. It was getting worse each day. But I still carried on. Why?
The night that he broke down was a few days after my birthday. My birthday is 5 days after Pig Shit’s birthday. He had a photograph of them framed (a photograph he took of the both of them on their first shag-fest, in the gardens of the hotel they stayed at) and arranged to visit his mother in Derby as an excuse to see Pig Shit. They went out for drinks with friends (our friends hahahaha joke) and then stayed at the friends cottage overnight. Nice of our friends to facilitate the adultery. He then had to be my husband for my birthday and it really wasn’t him. He didn’t know what to buy me or what to do. We went to a restaurant in the evening. He had a day’s work so went off and didn’t even ask what I was doing that day. I cried and cried on my birthday and actually considered cancelling the restaurant. I didn’t and I don’t know why. I think I was exhausted.
The night that he broke down was very strange. It started with me talking to him about us and whether we should remain together (Durgh…. why didn’t I talk about this EARLIER!!!). I openly said that if he felt the need to leave I wouldn’t stand in his way. He just collapsed into tears saying how much he loved me and how important I was in his life. We kissed and held each other and for the first time in months we connected. It was my husband who I know and love so dearly. That night we held on tight to each other, both crying. By the morning that had all evaporated. I left the house knowing something was wrong but lost.
That evening I found him sitting on our sofa telling me that he “can’t be here” over and over again. I asked what he meant by ‘here’ – he didn’t or couldn’t elaborate. I was exhausted and went to bed. Later, he came upstairs and told me he was going to sleep in the spare room. I asked him why. He couldn’t answer, yet again. Some pathetic mumbling about needing some space. As he closed the bedroom door it was like a set of scales dropping from my eyes. For the first time in all that wretched time I started to think about ME. Not HIM and not US but ME. It was then that the runway lights just showed up. It didn’t matter anymore what his problem was, I could not accept his behaviour anymore. From that moment on, the tables turned completely and I began a personal journey that I am still on today. At that time I knew nothing about Pig Shit and so my journey has taken a number of detours to handle the experience of adultery. Nevertheless, I know that until I stood up for myself – fearless (remember, I was facing no job, no home as it would need to be sold and there wouldn’t be enough for us to each purchase a home, and no husband) and ready to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship. I realised that if I didn’t actively do something to change MY circumstances I was heading for a life that I didn’t want.
So, what I would do differently next time is take this lead much earlier. I would definitely not ask if there was someone else because that would be a waste of time. If he was going to disclose he would do so without my begging or asking. I would not waste time looking for clues as to what he might be up to. The bottom line would be that I am not prepared to accept his behaviour in our relationship. I would communicate, as always, and ask what he thought the problem was. However, I would lay out my demands in terms of what I needed from the relationship. If he could not step up to the plate and meet my demands then I would start separation proceedings.
I may be making this sound easy. It wasn’t, it broke my heart to force him to leave but it was no worse than being treated so coldly and indifferently and it started to give me back my self-esteem. I was worth far more than what he was giving.
It was clear that his strategy did not include disclosing his affair to me. He was clearly distressed by it all and deeply ashamed and didn’t want me to find out. He has told me subsequently that his plan was to slowly get rid of her. He had already started seeing less of her and thought he could wean her off of him without the danger of her telling me. So, left to his devices, he would have just made my life even more of a living hell. I can’t imagine how awful that would have been. Plus I don’t think he was going to be able to wean her off because she was just too desperate.
When he left me he went to live with Pig Shit and her two teenage children. Didn’t last long. 10 days was all he could muster and then he was on my doorstep begging to come home. I didn’t let him return immediately, so Pig Shit got another couple of weeks of my husband. I had thought he was having a midlife crisis so eventually took him back. He still didn’t tell me about Pig Shit. She did that. 48 hours later, she texted me. Scorched Earth Policy. What a car crash of a marriage!
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