Well it’s been a painful, and yet a beautiful week/weekend. With anyone who is familiar with my story, I confessed 6 weeks ago to old affairs going back 21 years (read my post in WW titled - The Full story, long but necessary). The first infidelity with my husbands best friend. And then a litany of betrayals after that. One confessed affair 7 years ago that was never really dealt with. To make it trickier, my H had written messages on fb to an old flame a couple of years ago, as he had continued contact with her our entire marriage under the guise of “just friends”. Last year I began to try and get to the bottom of those messages, because as I felt more and was looking at my own shocking behaviour, hurts, and pain, I saw them for what they were -an ongoing EA (with help of SI). It took my husband until this weekend to finally see what he was doing in that relationship.
It began early this week because my husband had taken the week off work and was planning on going for a hike on the Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday he seemed very upbeat, looking forward to his hike and he was back commenting all over fb, as though nothing has been going on these last few weeks. I felt absolute despair that this too would be rugswept, as besides when he was drinking, he was not bringing much to me about it at all. I felt on the point of leaving when I saw him go back to old habits, and then saw that he had searched for another old gf’s work place. My heart broke. The same old fucking shit. I realised deep down that I could no longer live like this, that I was more afraid of this disconnection, than living by myself in a flat with a mattress on the floor. I have learnt now the places we need to go to truly heal, the sheer utter “down on your knees” grief that needs to occur, and saw him just going back to old strategies to cope.
And then the shit hit the fan.
On Friday, I raged, I cried, he raged at me, but was still not talking with his heart (there is a big difference between speaking through our mouths only, and not heart talk, it has a whole different feel/tone/message). I was pouring out my pain about those messages, how I don’t trust him, that I had seen him search for another old gf, and he looked shocked/guilty/ and tried to lie and minimise. But I wouldn’t let him. My heart was talking, and he saw the grief and pain in me. At everything, our entire life, marriage, kids, everything. How shut down he was, how lonely Ive been for so long. How Ive used absolute shitty coping skills to deal with pain, and old ones too that go way before him. We went back and forth accusing each other of our betrayals. But the hurt was still not revealing itself from him. He was relaying facts.
And then he got it. He had not been honest with himself or me. He had gaslighted me for years when I expressed jealousy and hurt at the ongoing contact. He saw that if he didn’t start looking at himself, at our marriage, at the pain in him at my betrayals, at why he doesn’t feel much unless he is drinking, why he never shows himself to anyone (including our boys), why he hides, why he has to go to others for validation of him being a “good man”, well, pretty much who the fuck was he?
And then on Friday night he wrote to his ex gf (who had been sending him fb messages after he defriended her at my insistence last year) and he wrote what I had always suspected. It was never “just friends”, both of them had always left the door open a bit, that he realised he had inappropriate longing for what could have been, that they had arranged to meet when he was back home 6 years ago, and he was intrigued and scared by the possibility, but didn’t end up meeting her.That he had never been able to fully love me because he always kept a part of his heart away. How he’d hurt her, himself and me by not being honest. It all came out. And then he said goodbye.
My heart broke all over again at reading what I had known, suspected, I felt shattered. As I collapsed with the grief of it, he finally really saw how much he had hurt me. He initially tried to say he had done what I wanted, why was I punishing him. I told him that I had confessed old affairs, but he had ended his LTEA only last night. And even then, how did I know it was over, as these things reside in the heart and thoughts, hidden, kept secret. I had felt his distance our entire marriage, been crazy with not being able to get close, and to finally know I wasn’t crazy, was in part a relief (BS would get this) but also the sheer utter grief at having never felt totally loved. I have never cried so hard in my life. I was raw with it.
I saw my husband cry (sober) for the first time in 7 years. We held each other and bawled out our grief at our betrayals of each other, our children, and the hurt we have inflicted on one another and ourselves. His face looked so open, vulnerable and beautiful to me, I wept with seeing it. For the first time in a long time, we could look into each eyes, as everything had been stripped bare, laid open. No secrets, no lies, no gaslighting….just two people in absolute pain. It’s hard to describe.
I told him that this will be a rollercoaster for us, that sometimes we will feel sad, angry, hurt, numb, want physical touch and then want the person as far away from us possible, but that when one of us brings our hurt to the other, we need to be kind to one another, compassionate, listen and be open to any questions, and have turns at bringing it forth. That no one is better or worse than the other, no comparisons of who has done the worst, just knowing that whether EA or PA, the hurts behind them, the lack of initimacy in our relationship, and terrible coping skills to deal with our loneliness and pain, come from the same place.
So now how do I feel?
I feel hopeful, I feel wary, I feel hurt, I feel frightened that things will slide away back to avoiding, and that it will be me that needs to keep bringing things up, and I feel scared to see my husband’s old distant face come back in what I can only describe as his hidden self sitting back in his head, keeping everyone out, away from him. I feel hopeful.These feelings come in waves, and change from minute to minute, hour to hour.
But right now, at this very moment as I am writing this, all I feel is love and pride at the courage we have shown in wanting more for ourselves, for us.
And that’s enough for me right now.