The way way back: I met my WW as a freshman in college. She had just gotten a breast reduction two months prior to us meeting and was in recovery. She hadn't spoken to her dad in over a year and was an emotional wreck most of the time when we first met. She idealized me and I was intoxicated with the amount of love she had for me. We started dating and spent all of our time together. I even moved into her dorm room since her roommate was always staying with her boyfriend. We were inseparable.
She always had certain quirks about her. She was either hot or cold to others and kept others at an emotional distance. I was at the center of her world and she never treated me like that, which felt really special. I felt like a million bucks around her because of how infatuated she was with me. My love for her blinded me to some of the patterns of interpersonal interactions that continue to this day.
Two years after we started dating I proposed. Two years after that, we got married and moved to her home state about 500 miles away. Two years later we got pregnant (after trying for 14 months) and I started my doctoral program in clinical psychology. We had to make some significant sacrifices to make it work, but we were doing it well......or so I thought.
Last fall, my WW began to withdraw from me. She had just started a new job in an inner-city school where some children were in foster care, many without father figures, and some with parents in jail. They all had intense behavioral issues. She often times came home crying because of how difficult they were to manage. I consoled her as much as I could and tried to offer her advice regarding how to manage problematic behaviors in the classroom.
You see, while she was taking on this new highly stressful job, I had the most difficult year of my doctoral training yet. I proposed my dissertation in the fall (a project that took over 150-200 hours) and this spring I had to work on my comps (or Clinical Competency Exam; a project that easily took 100 hours). Needless to say, there were many weekends when I would have to bury myself in my schoolwork.
When I wasn't buried in my schoolwork, I spent time with my family or enjoyed some time with a newfound hobby. Late last summer I developed a new hobby that I really enjoyed: foosball. There was a bar around the corner from our apartment that housed one of the biggest foosball tournaments in my area. They had tournaments every Tuesday and every Saturday. I never went without first asking my WW. She encouraged me to play and told me that she thought it was great that I had a hobby for myself.......or was she BSing me?
One afternoon last fall on her way home from work, she crashed into the back of another car on the highway. The airbags deployed and she was really shaken up, but no serious injuries. I helped get the car back home and insured that she was ok. She knew that there was a foosball tournament that night and told me that she wanted me to go play. After dealing with the stressful situation of her wreck, I went out to the tournament. This is the night she defines as the turning point in our relationship.
Christmas. She told me that she was not in love with me anymore and that she does not know if she wants to be with me. I reacted in a defensive manner and got angry that she would say such a thing. We had always told each other that we were soulmates and that divorce or not being with the other person was never an option. Having both been from broken families, we always told each other that we would never do that to our daughter. She acted funny around me unlike she had ever acted before. She seemed detached. She was detached.
When we got back from Christmas break and my stepmother fell ill. She was placed in the hospital and my wife urged me to go and be there with her (even though I was never that close with my stepmother). She encouraged me to stay as long as I needed. When I returned, things just felt cold. She told me that she had a coworker named “Amy” who she really enjoyed girl time with. She would go out late with “Amy” while I stayed at home with our daughter. This happened a total of maybe 4 times. Being the trusting person I am, I didn’t question it. Even when WW never paid for anything (I am a budget king – always keeping an eye on our account for budgeting purposes), I believed her spoon-fed lies that “Amy” had a gift card here and paid for WW’s salad there, etc.
Around this time, I had to begin my massive comps project. I completely stopped playing foosball. I told my wife about how big the project was and she explained that she understood as long as she knew ahead of time about it. Well, 2 months pass of me solidly working on this thing and on the day that it is due I had a psychology conference at which I presented a professional poster. It was truly a relief to have turned in those materials and to have presented this poster. I thought about how grateful I was to be done with the hell of the hardest year of my life.
I get back and I take my wife out for a pottery painting where I picked up our favorite pizza and got some beer as well. I thought we were having a great night and at the end of the night I asked her if she felt anything for me. She said, “no.” I asked her if she was committed to this marriage or if she was going to give up on us. She said, “I just have to see what I want. I don’t see how you fit into my life anymore.” The next week, I showed her how great of a husband I am and just in general how—with the weight of this project lifted off my shoulders—I would be able to be there.
The following Saturday (March 15, 2014 – D-Day), we woke up and were getting our day planned. I had just bought a full-sized coffee pot so that we could enjoy coffee together instead of brewing individual k-cups. I put in our first brew and sat quickly beside her. She was in the middle of a text and quickly moved her phone away and sat it down. I asked her, “You were in the middle of a text, why did you put your phone down?” She said, “I am just having a conversation with my mom.” So I replied, “Can I just see?” To make a long story short, she finally fessed up that there was another guy. She told me that she met him two months prior when I started my comps project in TJ Maxx. She first told me that they just kissed, but after prying more I learned that they first had sex ON THE NIGHT THAT I TURNED IN MY COMPS AND WENT TO THE CONFERENCE!!
The woman that I always cared for and loved betrayed me while I was out trying to better myself for our family. Her knee-jerk reaction to getting caught was that she wanted to be with him because she really liked him and that he has “been there for her.” I left and went to a friend’s house. I called my mom (who had been a WS before) to get advice on how to save my marriage. My mom advised me to basically do the opposite of a 180. So that’s what I did. I stuffed my feelings as much as I could, gave her space, and that night we had planned a date night. She told me when she got into the car that she told OM that it was over and that she wanted to be with me—that all of her hopes and dreams were with me. She said that she never wanted to talk about it again and that she wanted to move past this.
Once she told me that she chose me, I lost it. I went berserk on her ass. I bought an audiobook and insisted that she listen to it with me, I wrote several poems the first night when I couldn’t sleep and read them to her to convey my hurt, I shared with her other people’s pain from how much damage this causes, all the while I was wanting her to have sex with me all the time. I would wake up crying in the middle of the night and ask her to hold me and she just said, “I’m right here.” I seriously lost it. Two days of hell for me and I found on her cell phone account that she had still been texting him and calling him. I confronted her about it and she denied it (even though the call record was bona fide evidence). I asked questions that I never wish I had asked. I learned that they got a hotel room together that night and that she drove our daughter an hour away to her parents house and told them that she had to go “take care of some things,” came back to our town, got a hotel room with him, had sex with him, then picked up our daughter to head back home. I asked her if he lasted longer than me and if he was bigger. She said yes to both of those questions. God.
A few days pass and she is just completely absent and removed from any affection she has for me. I asked her to give me 3 months to show her that I could be the husband that she always wanted. She agreed to that. I planned a big date night for her the following Friday and took her out to a nice restaurant. I could tell that she was annoyed at the idea of her having to go out to dinner with me, but she agreed to it. So, I told her before we even left that the night was going to be a celebration of our time together and the ending of our marriage together. I took her to the restaurant and we chatted for a while. With her defenses low, she told me that she continued to talk to him and text him. I took her ring off her finger and placed it in my pocket. She asked me to keep it for our daughter and I told her I would. She took my ring off and placed it in her pocket. We both sat there and cried.
Afterwards, we went to an art gallery. We walked around and chatted and had a drink. I asked her if she would ever reconsider being with me. She told me that she feels like we have grown in two different paths and that she just does not see it as an option to be with me anymore. I pleaded with her and told her that I thought it could work. She had a different plan. On the way home, I was in complete denial. I told her how well we have always worked together and how our divorce would be a smooth process. We talked about child custody arrangements and agreed not to fire at each other in court. We talked about our specific sticking points in custody and agreed.
The next morning, I drafted up a separation agreement with all the agreements we discussed the night before. We went to the bank and had our account split. That night, she told me that she was going to meet up with “Amy.” Well, she texted me at 1:15 AM and told me that she would be staying at Amy’s. The next morning I check my account and see a charge for a hotel room and a $35 dinner. I confront her about it and she tells me that she was so “emotionally distraught” that she needed to get a hotel room to stay in because she didn’t want to put “Amy” out (who, by the way, lives nowhere near the location where the hotel and restaurant was).
The next week was awkward hell. We were stuffed in our small apartment and she was sleeping on the couch and I in the bed. I was going through ups and downs and doing the 180 then pleading with her the next day, just all over the place. That Friday I decided to finally move out. I couldn’t take it anymore. Since that time, I have implemented the full 180. She has not been sitting on the fence at all—something for which I am thankful. I know that I didn’t follow the recommended steps following D-Day.
To be honest, I didn’t find out about this website until it was too late. However, I have no regrets. I know that I did everything from my heart that I knew to do. In a way I am thankful that I may have screwed up my chances because of how I handled myself following D-Day. I am in the process of healing and I feel like I have made a lot of progress. The only time we ever talk now is because of finances or talking about our daughter.
BONUS CONTENT: When I told my mom about my WW’s infidelity, my mom put two and two together about a situation last fall. My WW called my mom crying and told her that I was going out to the bar every night and coming home drunk. She told my mom that I had so much liquor in the freezer and beer in the fridge that she could not fit food in there for the family. She begged my mom not to say anything to me because she didn’t want my mom to get in the middle of it. ALL OF THIS WAS FALSE. I never came home drunk and I never went out more than two nights out of the week to play foosball.
CONCLUSION: My wife was trying to set me up to make it look like I failed the marriage and she could exit gracefully. She encouraged me to play foosball every chance I got and wanted me to go ahead and take my comps this semester so that she could make it look like I was completely emotionally detached from my family. She. had. it. all. planned. out.
THE UP SIDE: My WW has always been a bitch that nobody liked. She has kept so many people at a distance that she never had any close friends. My family did not like her, my classmates could not really get a feel of her, and our couples friends were fickle friends because of her temperamental attitude constantly. I was blind to all of this because of my love for her. I am blind no more. I see her clearly for what she’s worth: nothing. I have busted my tail in grad school and have worked so hard to please her over the years that it is finally nice to be working on just me. Don’t get me wrong—I have my low points—but I know that I am going to be a stronger person because of it and an even better clinical psychologist after having experience this depth of pain. I will heal and move on. I will live a value-driven life. I will live to love again. I am fine.
Thank you for reading.