Background (sorry to those who have heard this already): my WS and I were apart for several months this year due to work. We did the long distance thing (visiting when we could) and I was about to "come home" to begin a job in his office. A week before he was supposed to fly out and drive me across country, DDay happened (long story-- he wasn't going to tell me, but got cornered). OW was a coworker. I immediately 180-ed and we went back and forth with how to R (we both went into IC, looked around for a MC, he was preparing to take a leave from work).
Three weeks later I found out he had broken NC and taken the A underground. I had made it clear that that was a deal breaker for me. We had one last confrontation in which he told me everything that had been wrong with me for the last 10 years, I got the ILYB comment and he told me he felt "free and liberated" without me. I calmly told him that he was going to feel "really free and liberated" and I quit the job, demanded he ship my things out to me back on the other coast and I initiated NC.
Save forwarded and/or impersonal emails re: cancelled accounts, division of assets and whatnot, we haven't spoken since. Anything of mine that he kept is replaceable and I'm not sweating it (fine, keep the bike I rode once). I certainly have plenty of his stuff as well (I'll keep the flat screen, thanks). I got a new job, new place, new car, have stuck with IC for myself. I've been spending time with friends and family. Yesterday I unceremoniously "unfriended" him on FB (our last direct connection) because I was sick of seeing his little green light on "chat" and thought having that continued tie to him was making me a little neurotic.
This may all sound "right" or like I've been strong or something-- but, believe me, I've been a wreck. This has been the worst experience of my life. Tears everyday. Chest pains. I'm now a size 0/2 (I *was* a size 6/8). Until recently, I've rarely slept more than 2 hours in a row. From the start I've had terrible nightmares. I was diagnosed with PTSD and, for the first few weeks, even had amnesia! (Most of my memories are back now, thank god).
The first month after DDay#2: if he had called me crying, apologizing and wanting to R, I totally would have taken him back. I was praying for it. He's the love of my life. I never saw this coming (I'm in the category of BS convinced we were going to find out he's bipolar or had a brain injury). I wanted my life back!
Month Two: as my memory started to return, I was able to reflect back on the period of the A (which he claims started in February) and began to put together the depth of his betrayal and lies. I began to accept that the things he said to me in the course of our breakup and his lack of remorse were, in fact, forms of emotional, mental and verbal abuse. The last time I saw him (about two weeks before DDay #1) we were "together" and it had been an awful almost aggressive experience that I stupidly attributed to him being "out of practice" (ha!). Sparing you details, now that I know what was really going on, sadly, I think that I would have grounds for considering what he did to me a form of assault.
With the help of IC, I am also now starting to put together that there were points in the last 10 years that he demonstrated some of the lack of character it takes to have an A. Trouble at work. Rarely completing important or difficult tasks. Perhaps having some co-dependency issues. I'm by no means trying to say that the last 10 years sucked-- before DDay I loved him with my whole heart and was as happy as could be-- but, I have to admit that I often rationalized some of immature or bad behavior.
And I also underestimated the power of his FOO. Dad abandoned the family when he was a kid. Mom and brother diagnosed with serious mental illness. Sister put into foster care. A few inappropriate sexual relationships in the past (when he was in positions of power). A fiancé that he left shortly before the wedding and never spoke to again. For some reason, I didn't take any of these "red flags" seriously as evidence that he is more at home with drama than stability.
Deep down, I still love him. If I let myself go there, I'll cry like a baby. I HATE that this has happened. I HATE that he did this. It feels like such a waste. I HATE what it has done to my life and my finances and my family and friends. If I had a time machine, I would love to go back to any one point in time in the last 10 years before this happened and relive just sitting on the couch, cuddling with our puppy, telling him how much I love him. I doubt I'll ever be that innocently happy with someone again.
But, here's the reality: dude cheated on me. I know his "we were mutually using each other, it's only been going on for a couple of months" story has to be bullsh*t. I can't even imagine how horrible the truth must be and speculating just makes me insane, so I don't do it. He claims he isn't "replacing" me with her-- but, come on. Maybe he isn't planning on marrying her, but he was bringing her back to our place and to our bed after work when I wasn't there, having dinner together, running errands on the weekend, listening to her advice about our relationship, playing daddy to her toddler. I gave him a chance at R and, ultimately, he showed no real remorse and chose his job and his new life out there with her to coming back home to work on R with me. I may have been the first one to initiate 180, use the word "breakup" and insist on NC... but when your partner of 10 years suggests that you get a sublet and you can see each other "twice a week at meetings" at work... you just got dumped.
Add onto it what I’ve outlined in terms of truly and really being a victim of all kinds of abuse as a result of this and, I can love him all I want, but how much does he have to do to me before I accept that he is toxic for my physical, mental and emotional health? This may have been the first time he did anything like this-- but it's like he saved up a decade of evil for a spectacular fireworks display of maladjusted and abusive crap for the very end.
Sometime last week I took another major dip and spent two days in my room just sobbing, completely crushed by this. My interior monologue was "I can't do this" over and over and over. But, slowly, I told myself "well, you're going to have to." I didn't ask for this. This isn't what I want. But this is what I'm faced with. A man I loved who abused me. An act of betrayal so heinous I suspect it will remain the central tragedy/trauma of my life (hopefully there won’t be any more!). An emotional wounding so traumatic that, at times, I could understand why people just end it all to escape the pain.
Could I ever take him back? Some part of me may want to... but it's a part of me that is in denial. First of all, denial that he will, at any point, feel remorse. Denial that this experience hasn't substantially changed both of us to the degree that we are probably wouldn’t even recognize each other. Denial that I could ever explain to him the pain this has caused me and our family/friends. Denial that I could live a life that involved becoming the A police. Denial that I could ever look at him/trust him the same way again. Denial that I could ever start a family with him and feel safe. I could go on...
I went to IC today and went over all of this, more or less. I told my IC that I'm starting, even after only a little more than 2 mos, to feel somewhat "normal" again. That I want to keep looking at the signs I missed, how to get in touch with my feelings more, how to navigate a world without a partner... but that I'm beginning to think that permanent NC is okay. That it's okay to move on without all of the "answers" about what happened here. That I can feel my sadness, but I don't have to keep swimming in it to the point that I'm not getting my work done and not moving on. If I walk away now, I have 10 years of mostly fantastic memories of a great guy I loved to death and can remember fondly... and only three weeks of absolute hell that, in time, perhaps I can simply accept as sad reality of life.
And I told IC that I refuse to confuse my love for WS as a justification for accepting his abuse or entertaining a notion of taking him back. And if he doesn't want to be with me and work it out-- for whatever reason-- fine. What other choice has he given me but to accept that?
I told IC that beginning to come into this stage of "acceptance" of saying goodbye to my WS and realizing that life is going to go on whether I like it or not has left me feeling a little "flat". Letting go of the drama and pain is like letting go of a connection to WS in some sense, and it leaves me all alone for the first time in a long time. It feels a sad and empty, although, in a strange way, it is still a warmer and safer place to be than attached to my WS and all of the pain that brings.
My IC says that he's glad I'm feeling better, but that I'm rationalizing again. I'm still letting WS dictate the terms of my emotional life. That I'm denying my feelings and "accommodating" WS as I’ve done in the past.
I'm still so confused by this. What other choice do I have but acceptance? I have to let acceptance win or I'm fighting a losing battle. What’s the alternative? What exactly am I missing here?