My BH initiated our second D-Day by saying that he had some things to ask me about the A I had 29 years ago. He told me that he basically already knew the answers but needed me to confirm them. I had a good idea of what was coming. I knew he had been thinking about the A again; I attributed it to some midlife crisis discussions we'd been having over the last two years. About a month earlier, when we were on a romantic getaway weekend, he had said that "If there's anything I don't know about the A, I don't want to know." I guess the relief that washed through me was physically visible. I had significantly minimized both the EA and PA details, and while I convinced myself that I was protecting him, I still felt guilty about the lies. Of course, seeing that reaction make him wonder what I was so relieved about, and we'd been dancing around the subject ever since. On D-Day 2, he very calmly stated that he knew I had had sex with OM more than one time that night, and in more than one position. I said yes. That yes was the single most difficult syllable I had ever spoken, but at least I got it out. I don't think I would have been able to manage whole sentence by myself.
I wish I could say that opened the floodgates, and I came completely clean. Instead, I got stomach cramps. He was driving me to work, and we had to stop so I could use a gas station bathroom. I stood there looking in the mirror, and the whole world felt surreal. He knew. After 29 years, he knew. I thought I was taking this information to the grave. He would never have known, never have had any WAY of knowing if I hadn't admitted it. Had I just made the worst mistake of my life? Was there a chance he'd leave me? Or stay, and just hate me? Note all the me, me, me in these questions.
Over the next few weeks, understandably, BH's two primary concerns were dealing with the implications of my disclosure and finding out anything else he needed to know. It was tricky because he was trying to develop coping mechanisms at the same time that he was dragging information out of me. He wasn't sure how much detail he could handle, so he asked me to give him the "high water marks," anything that would change his understanding of the nature of the A. Alas, this was far too much discretion for me to handle responsibly. I spent my entire adult life ignoring his right to understand the nature of the A. I had depicted the night I slept with OM as a last minute decision, practically an accident, a single brief instance where even my consent was a misunderstanding. In fact, I agreed to it ahead of time, helped plan a getaway, used extra contraception, exchanged romantic declarations, actively invited him to do the deed, and engaged in sex in multiple positions for the entire night. EVERYTHING I had been withholding would change BH's understanding of the nature of the A. That's why I withheld it. But instead of acknowledging that, I told myself these details were just details, unnecessarily painful ones that didn't change what he knew. He knew we'd had sex, that it was a PA. He knew we exchanged I love yous, that it was an EA. That was the nature of the A, right? So he knew. Yeah, right.
The way I got to coming clean was not a single thing my BH said or did. It was the domino effect of TT. Each time the guilt resurged, each time he said "If there's anything else, I just need to know it," I gradually let go of whatever the next-worst element was. And I'm so ashamed to say, I would announce "That's it, that's everything," because in my fucked-up rationalization, it was. It was everything I thought I'd ever dare to admit. The rest was double-locked in a file cabinet labeled "Don't look, didn't happen." But that file cabinet wouldn't stay ignored. It would rattle and creak over the course of several days, and the next time BH would ask, I'd find that one of the locks was now weak enough to break.
It was somewhere along in here that I finally found it in myself to stop looking at me, me, me and see what this was doing to BH. To consider that if the outcome of all this TT was for him to decide he had to leave me, that could possibly be the best thing for him. It was a terrifying but oddly freeing moment. It was no longer "What if this breaks us?!" and instead "Dear God, this may break us." I finally accepted the obvious, that what I had done 29 years ago, and the lies after it, were real and consequential whether I admitted they were or not. The outcome wasn't actually my decision to make, and I could put that responsibility down. It was awful that the decision would then become his responsibility, but I had to believe him that he wanted it and trust him to make his own choices.
I did finally break the last lock (which, for me, was the phrasing of the invitation), and of course, the $100,000 question for any BS is how to tell that their WH's "last lock" is really the last one. I wish I had an answer. I know my BH desperately wishes I had an answer. He believes me, but he doesn't. How can he? For so long, I couldn't be believed. I couldn't believe myself.
I don't know if that's any help. I'd like to think that I'd have had the sense showed by Mrs. Walloped, that if BH had said "now or never, one lie and I'm gone," I'd have come clean all at once. I just don't know, though. I'm scared that I'd have had more faith in my ability to lie than in my ability to stop lying, and I'd have rolled the dice.
[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 5:44 PM, April 14th (Sunday)]