Hi, this is my first time posting on here, but I have been following this forum for a year now. There is going to be a wall of text, but I just wanted to write this all out somewhere where I feel like people will understand me. Even if no one reads this, I just wanted to get this out from my brain and fingertips and into open space.
I married my college sweetheart in 2010. We started dating in college and shared so many mutual friends and memories. We even traveled the world together for almost three years after college. It was an amazing adventure and I don't know if I would have been brave enough to do it if he hadn't had happily agreed to come with me.
When we came back to the States, things were difficult. It was hard to get a job, even with a good college and work experience on my resume, and I ended up taking a retail position for which I was way overqualified. It involved really intense hours, little time off, and I ended up becoming very obsessed with the work culture. When I wasn't at work, I was texting about work, replying to work emails, or talking about my co-workers. He was busy, too--he got a job at our old university in the department where he received his degree. Things were not spontaneous and crazy like they had been before, but money was tight and we tried to enjoy this new domestic lifestyle.
After working at the retail company for a year and a half, I started receiving phone calls from the corporate office, asking me to interview for a corporate position. My old district boss was at HQ at that point and was angling for me to get a position under his department, as he wanted to hire someone he had trained and trusted. It was very flattering, as the position was a massive step up from my current one and is impossible to get in another company without having extensive experience in that field. At first, I kept denying the opportunity to visit because I knew how much my husband loved his job. But after six months, he suggested that we at least go visit. If they were more than happy to pay for the flight and the hotel, what would be the harm in visiting? He insisted that he felt guilty about his nice, comfortable job while I was slaving away in retail for half the salary.
So we flew across the country, I interviewed and was offered the job. We flew back and I was unsure if it was the right thing. But after many nights of us listing out the pros and cons, we both agreed that our lives were in serious need of a shake up and it was time to get of of the suburbs and move to LA.
After the contact was in writing, we had just a month to move. I threw myself into finding new renters for our apartment, selling our furniture on craigslist, organizing plans for our arrival in LA, etc. He was...weird. I thought at the time he was just stressed about moving and was nervous, as he wouldn't have a job immediately waiting for him out there. But it kept getting weirder.
See, he had a co-worker that I had never met and they had become friends. I was never the jealous type. His friends were stunned when they initially met me and throughout the years, continuously told my husband how incredibly lucky he was to find such a beautiful, intelligent, and talented lady. He would always beam with pride and say he had no idea how he got a girl like me. So yeah, I was trusting--very trusting--as I also have male friends and he was the least likely person you could imagine to cheat.
But this friend was always texting. Sometimes, she called him up in the middle of the night, crying about some issue. She said one of the dept heads was stalking her and was obsessed with her, so what did my husband do? He went to the university and got the guy fired. After that, she seemed to think he was her white knight. It really tore him up inside, though--this dept head was his close friend and mentor. He never even got that guy's side of the story, just went into protector mode and ran to her side.
Anyway, he freaked out the day before leaving. I had never seen him have a panic attack before, and it came out of nowhere. He mentally shut down and started sobbing, and then had to be taken to his mom's house nearby (she is a RN). His mom gave him meds but sternly told him that he needed to still get on that plane and make the move with me. He sullenly agreed.
The entire first week after the move, he was like a different person. He was on the phone constantly and ran our phone bill up an extra $300 , saying he was talking to the new dept head who needed him to come back to finish one last show. I was staunchly against it--he had left the job, and I needed him here to help look for an apartment and a job while I was at work for 12 hours a day. We argued horribly for a week, not seeing eye to eye on any of it. In the end, he left, promising to be back in a month.
So there I was, alone in a company apartment, no friends, no husband, a job for which I was so unprepared for, and I needed to somehow start my life. My parents ended up flying out to help me apartment search while I was at work, and they found me an amazing place. I would call my husband every day to update him, but there were days where I couldn't get ahold of him at all. I went to bed with my stomach in knots, just knowing that something horrible was happening.
And it was. I found out the week after he returned. He initially showed great enthusiasm and sudden affection--he bought the furniture and arranged it while I was at work, then covered my eyes and led me into the apartment. We spent a beautiful weekend at the beach, sipping cocktails, shopping, and people watching. And then, one evening, while he was sitting right next to me, I looked on his phone messages (he thought I was looking at pictures of our cat on his phone), and the first thing I saw was an enormous message chain with his co-worker. She talked about how she couldn't wait to have his babies, but why wasn't he calling as much any more? Did he not love her anymore? Why did he have to come back to his wife?
I FREAKED. At first, he tried to lie (what an idiot), but gave that up awfully fast. He spilled everything--how they had gotten drunk and had sex at work, how they had gone out drinking again and ended up having sex at her apartment, how he had spent the last month playing house with her before realizing he needed to come back to me.
He said everything he could think of: it was my fault for looking and everything would have been fine if I hadn't snooped, that she was insane and lonely and didn't want her to try to kill herself (she had done it earlier that year for attention), that he had no intention of having a future with her, etc. But I was completely broken. I'd never cried so much in my entire life. It felt like I had broken up into thousands of pieces and was slowly evaporating into the air. No matter how hard I tried to cling to some sort of foundation, there was nothing left to grasp.
A week later, he was gone. He left without a note, without saying goodbye. And he went straight back to her. As for her...well, we had enough mutual friends that I heard that girl called every name in the book. As soon as I would mention her name, people were horrified. This girl has had a huge history of sleeping with "taken" men--fiances, boyfriends, husbands, whatever. One girl from college I talked to walked into her boyfriend and this girl having sex on their bed. Another guy told me about how she had dated him for months without telling him that she was sleeping with his friend on the side. As one girl summed it up, "dumb as a bag of bricks and thinks she is the hottest thing on earth." And the truth? I saw pictures of her. She's very, very average.
His family was absolutely horrified. I received a barrage of phone calls from his mom, sister, and brothers, demanding to know why he had left LA, and I flat out told them everything. His mom in particular was disgusted and saddened--her husband had cheated on her years before and she never got over the grief, and couldn't believe her son would make that same mistake. They pleaded for me to try to work things out, but I said there was nothing I could do. Over the phone, he had become cold and callous, still blaming me for ruining our marriage. He said that I was too much of a "feminist" and that he didn't feel like a man when he was with me. He mentioned that multiple times.
I tried to talk to him for maybe two weeks before I just threw in the towel. Even though I had loved him so much, any romantic affection I had for him was slaughtered when I heard about his affair. Imagining him touching someone else, kissing someone else, going to bed happily with someone else was repulsive. I thought it was something we could work through with counseling, but when I realized he was too much of a coward to do that, I just stopped being interested. Cold turkey. Finished.
Every month, I would call and ask that he file for divorce. He kept saying he would do it next week, and this went on for ten months. Finally, a month ago, I called his mother, we had a great talk, and she said she would force him to meet with a lawyer to start the process. She said that it had been a hard year--the family wanted nothing to do with his son because he was so insistent on wanting to bring his new girlfriend to family events, and as a result of many screaming arguments, his family just stopped inviting him out. His mom coldly said that she did not want that "sl*t" stepping one foot inside her household.
And me? The year was...better than I could have ever imagined. It just so happened that my roommate of 4 years and best friend ended up moving to LA for six months and she became my roommate again. Another college pal moved out a week after I did, and the three of us had a fantastic time roaming this new city together. And along the way...I met an awesome guy. I didn't want to date at first, and just wanted to keep things casual, but it didn't work out as planned. We enjoyed each other's company too much. He knew what I was going through and was supportive--ready to listen, or to make me laugh, or to make new memories together.
So now here I am...one year and one week later, feeling pretty good about myself. I have had two promotions since starting this job, have a lovely apartment, a great boyfriend, a ton of new friends, and am not torn up about my failed marriage anymore. I still talk to him on the phone sometimes, and I've adopted this cheerful, "old me" voice. When we talk, he sounds sometimes sad. He's said that he sometimes wonders what would have happened if he'd stayed, and said that all he wants some days is to just pick up and leave everything behind. I have bluntly told him that he can't trust his girlfriend and that a relationship built on lies and deceit is doomed to fail, and he said he knows. But he sounds trapped and beaten down. I don't feel sorry for him, but I'm not happy about it, either. It just...is what it is.
So there is the wall of text. I just wanted to post here for a while and never did. A year ago, I remember falling asleep, wanting so badly to wake up and realize that a year had gone by and that I was fine again. I'm glad that didn't happen, because I would have missed out on an amazing year. But I'm awake now and will never let this happen to me again.