Tonight is a hard night for some reason. It has been 11 months since D-Day. And since then stories of other affairs and how long I have been a chump has been trickling in. I finally said I can’t take anymore information and stopped all the asking of how many and how long.
We have been married for 22 years. I thought if I knew when and how and how many that the pain would lessen, but now my thoughts are even more clouded with, “Oh WOW! So this is why this happened, and so this is why he said this and did this.” It’s a never ending of trying to make sense of something that I can never really make any sense of. I am so tired and wish so much to put all this behind me.
The kicker though is even though with all the lies and the extent and length of the affairs, I am still waiting for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.
What is wrong with me? Why can I not see him for who he is and kick him out of my life? Why do I wait for him to call or text me to tell me that he misses me and loves me? I am a total chump and can’t seem to know what is real and not real anymore. The pain continues because I am choosing it and then I ask him to stop my pain by being caring and nice to me. I am so confused and messed up that I feel as though I am going to lose my mind.
Why can’t I understand that he is the root of my pain and that he cannot help me stop the pain? I need help. It’s like all logic goes out the window and I become this pathetic, needy, illogical person. I don’t like myself when I get low like this, but it’s like I am not in control and this other weak person takes over.
My standard answer to “When does the pain stop” is Tuesday. I don’t know which Tuesday, but I assure you that Tuesday is out there and it’s pain-free. Because this infidelity shit is FINITE. I know it doesn’t feel that way now. I know it’s a kick to the gut every time you learn of some new horror. I know it feels like soul death every time he doesn’t comfort you.
But I’m telling you as someone years out from her D-Days, that if you told me my ex was a bisexual, white slaver who held orgies in Sunday schools — I would simply shrug. This is what “meh” feels like. I know he’s a freak. I don’t really need to know how much of a freak. It’s not really central to my life anymore. I trust that he sucks.
Of course, it was a long time coming to this place and like you I spent a lot of time grieving and puking and getting horrifying details. I spent a lot of time longing for the person who hurt me to put things right. And he didn’t.
Marj, I can’t tell you how many pathetic emails I sent, how many wailing phone calls, how collapsed in grief I was. Let’s start with the emails, because I’m a verbal gerbil. I would send these detailed reconciliation missives. (Because of of course, he didn’t want to divorce, so I thought that meant remorse. I didn’t understand cake then). Just vomiting out my soul to him. Lengthy diatribes in which I would note how very UNsorry he looked. And what we could do to fix that. (I’m sure I cross referenced several Amazon purchases.)
He would reply with one or two sentences tops. Generally along the lines of my grief was very inconvenient to him right now and he had pressing work issues to attend to.
The only time I got emotion from him, was when I made a move to leave. And then he commenced with the wailing and crying and the “remorse.” So then I thought, oh he really is sorry, and that set me up for the next round of D-Days.
Like you, I was waiting for for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.
Here’s the sucker punch, Marj — I already had my answer. I was just in denial about it. His actions very clearly demonstrated that he did NOT love me, he was not going to “wake up” — because he wasn’t in a dream — that is who he WAS. And sure, he did “want me” — but that’s because I was of use to him. And wanting someone is not the same thing as loving them.
Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.
So a couple things had to happen to get past the pain. First, I had to wake up and pay attention to his actions (not his words) and draw the painful conclusions. Second, I had to assert my self-worth.
You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. Especially after they just GUTTED you. Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.
Never match a cheater’s misdeeds with your vulnerability. When they hurt you? NEVER show them more of your tender underbelly and hand them the harpoon. No — PROTECT YOURSELF.
Your pain is kibbles to him. He may not want to continue the relationship, or he may stick around to eat cake, but trust me, he is enjoying the centrality and the drama. My how powerful he is! How desired!
And Marj, that shit should piss you off. Do NOT give him the satisfaction of your grief. You want the pain to stop? You start drawing boundaries with him this minute. You take back control. You go see a lawyer. If you feel you can’t assert boundaries, you go find a therapist who will show you how.
It’s okay to feel weak, it’s NOT okay to not feel in control. As hurt as you are, you are still the master of your ship. You still control you. You still have choices. It’s time to start exercising them. Assert your self-worth. You’re not kibbles, you’re a fucking woman — his spouse of 22 years and you deserve respect! And if he doesn’t have the decency to treat you with kindness and caring, especially after he BETRAYED you? He can find his shit on the lawn in Hefty bags.
You are going to grieve 22 years, no question. But don’t do it in front of him. You can’t properly get past this until you go no contact with the man who is hurting you. And you can’t start to heal until you start to protect yourself. So my advice to you is start bagging his shit for the lawn. Take a little of your own back. You’d be amazed how it lifts the spirits.