I tried to keep this as short as possible… but…
So 3 years ago, acting the part of a KISA my husband starts an affair with an old friend’s sister, a hard core abusive alcoholic woman with serious FOO issues. Lies, lies, and more lies. Almost exactly a year later, the affair over by this time, she pisses off her roommate, who in an act of revenge against her and, I believe, compassion for me, calls me and puts OW on phone, forcing her to admit that her relationship with my husband was far more than I had been led to believe.
I immediately contacted my husband, who was working out of town at this time, advised him with that she had finally spilled the beans, and the truth that I had come to suspect over the past year was confirmed. He absolutely refused to discuss any part of it with me… no denial, no confirmation, no apologies, no nothing. In frustration, I insisted that we either put this thing out in the open and talk about it, or he could consider our 30+ year relationship over. We had celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary while he was most involved with her. He chose silence. Fine!
I stewed for about 3 weeks alone in our home as I looked around at the life we had built together and thought about the overwhelming task involved in separating our lives. We already had our home of 17 years on the market in hopes of selling and moving back to our hometown. After realizing that I didn’t have to decide on divorce right that minute, I finally reached the decision that felt the most right for me. I hopped on a plane and basically showed up on the doorstep where he was staying as he had refused all contact with me after the initial confrontation.
I proposed that since our home was on the market anyway and I really needed his help to manage our property (we have a few acres), I was willing to shelve the threat of divorce for the moment until our property sold. At that time, depending on how life played out in the interim, I would make the decision about whether I wanted to continue in our marriage… at least as far as my choices were concerned. I knew that he really didn’t want this whole ugly mess to end our marriage but he also knew he had crossed way over the line while accomplishing his KISA mission with this OW. (She was on the brink of homelessness, a frequently arrested raging, violent alcoholic. He helped her secure SS disability benefits and let her live with him for awhile or as I see it, they "played house together" for about 4 months, under the pretense of being only roommates.... ummm... NOT!!!)
He agreed to my proposal under the condition that I was not to throw how badly he screwed up in his face at every possible opportunity. By then I realized that, like many BS, that while completely justified, I had come to regret how I had handled the actual confrontation when my long held suspicions were finally confirmed. However, 30 years together has allowed us to get to know each other from inside out so this was a workable solution.
My FWH has a classic passive/ aggressive personality and is deadly afraid of conflict or having to face the error of his ways. At that moment, I am certain he would have been more willing to go thru a divorce rather than to admit how badly he had screwed up and how much pain he caused. By that time, he had already cut off all contact with OW on his own. I think he had come to realize that the OW was far more damaged than he was equipped to handle. Although he did a good thing to help her in a time of need, as an unavailable, married man, he had allowed a relationship to develop that ultimately ended up hurting her deeply as well. She knew from the onset that he had no intention ever of leaving me for her - but that didn’t stop her from falling in love with him. As for me, classic logic… what I don’t know won’t hurt me… or him!
Fast forward 2 years to now… after changing my approach, he did finally break down and admit to the affair, answering most of my “what happened” questions. There are still some lingering questions I have that I think are some of the most important ones of all… mostly involving the emotional aspects of their relationship… which he has consistently stonewalled on. He is extremely defensive if I bring her up, even if it is obvious that I am not attacking him. Not long after he ‘fessed up, he took the stance that he was trying to forget the whole thing and I should be over it by now too… I should forget about it right along with him. I didn’t exactly reach the same conclusion and until recently, had pretty much decided that if our place actually sold while I still had unresolved questions, I would either get my soul satisfied or it would be the best time to go our separate ways. Over the past 2 years, I have had to frequently remind myself that there is a point when the time will come for that decision to be finalized, but it hasn’t come yet. Meanwhile, lots of things can happen until that time so we might as well live together in peace and love until then. I am old enough and strong enough to realize that my needs count also, and that love has many forms, some of which do not include being married to one another.
Well the time has come, it looks pretty certain that we will be finalizing the sale on our place next week.We will have until the end of the year to move. And lots of things HAVE happened meanwhile… namely that he was diagnosed 4 months ago, and is being treated for one of the most aggressive types of cancer there is. There are always exceptions and miracles… and from the bottom of my soul, I certainly hope he will be one of those… but the statistics are grim. The median survival time once the cancer has been diagnosed, is around 14 months, and a longer survival time usually favors the younger, physically fit patients. He just turned 64, is far from physically fit, and has already survived one heart attack, leaving him with 3 stents in his heart. He is very weak from the cancer treatments and needs occasional help to attend to his basic needs.
Yesterday in particular, and to a lesser extent, today as well, have been triggers for me. (I think writing this has helped.) I met her for the first time 3 years ago yesterday, the day after my husband’s 61st birthday. Then the involvement between them was already deeper than I was aware of, but at that time he was still honoring our marriage vows… if you don’t count that he failed to mention how much time they were spending together. He had portrayed her as our mutual friend’s sister who was the alcoholic village pest so I didn’t think that much about her at the time. Events unfolded and over time I had plenty of reasons to doubt that he was being honest with me, yet I chose to trust him. And as luck would have it, the phone call confirming my gut feelings was 2 years ago today. Even more painful was the confirmation of lies upon lies. The coincidental timing around his birthday of those 2 events makes it impossible for the day(s) to pass without notice.
So here we are… I know that no one here can give me the answers I seek, and I know that in the big scheme of things, my lingering pain pales next what he is facing. I haven’t brought it up with him since his illness has presented, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been on my mind constantly. Always defensive when I bring the subject up, he has never apologized to me or expressed any remorse at how deeply his actions hurt me. To date he has never answered the questions that concern me most. So how long will it be before I can truly release the pain/anger as a result of his selfishness and truly forget about it? Any thoughts on how - or even if - to approach this with him given our current circumstances?