After 18 years together, 16 of those married, we started having problems about 3 years ago after I had a run with some minor cancer. I won the cancer battle but guess I also won (to my surprise ) a husband who decided that he needed some fun in the midst of my turmoil and treatment. He needed the excitement of seeing new women and proceeded to move out into the dating world. Yes, pretty much right in my face.
I spent a while in denial, despite his blatant moves, things spiraled and he moved out last winter following all the fun pretzeling, games and jerky things every chump knows so well. I’ve slowly came to terms with the pending divorce and am holding my own while caring for two small kids.
So my question is how do I keep myself from rewriting history?
I look back on our relationship and I’m starting to doubt more things. I worry that my review isn’t healthy and may not be accurate. It’s frustrating to know that I will never know what was real and when I was a just helpful piece for him-working, cleaning, organizing, caring for kids. We were best friends and had a lot of fun. Now I wonder, was he only there for the fun nuggets and I never noticed that he wasn’t all in? I’m seeing more and more how he just wanted the good parts for himself. I remember how he used up all his time off while I was pregnant with our first and then had to go straight to work when baby arrived. I remember all the things he asked me to buy for him. The dinners, the vacations, the concerts.
Was it ever really about us or was I a side car and didn’t notice because I had a different dreamy picture swirling in my head? It’s scary to see the lens get clearer and clearer? How can I know what was real or whether I’m just a scorned woman justifying my bitterness? How do I stop myself from rewriting?
Moving on (apparently while looking backwards)
Dear Moving on,
Your husband cheated on you while you had cancer and abandoned you to raise two small children. You don’t need to justify your bitterness — it should be your birthright. You get the platinum Scorned Woman card (accepted internationally wherever shit sandwiches are served).
Your question is — how do you give him credit for the good times? You know, so you’re not bitter and scorned?
Think of it this way — you’re sitting at the trading table, handing him poker chips for all the good times. Here’s one for Christmas 2012, and here’s another for the birth of our first child, and here’s one for that great night on September 17…. and then a giant elephant sitting astride a Steinway grand piano falls from the sky and FLATTENS THE TABLE. Oh, and the elephant has irritable bowel syndrome. And in the excitement from the fall, he’s had an accident. A large elephant-sized accident.
Now, in the rubble, find the “good” poker chips.
How good are they, covered in elephant shit?
How nice a life was it if it got flattened?
Only, Steinway elephant accidents are (aside from being fictitious) mysterious acts of God. Nothing personal. Pianos and elephants fall from the sky. Unlike your husband who made a DELIBERATE CHOICE to flatten your, and your children’s world, when you were all at your most vulnerable.
Hey, “best friend” here’s your poker chip!
Moving, you have a right to be angry about this. It’s traumatic and horrible, and he fucked you over. It’s okay to recognize the injustice. That doesn’t make you scorned or bitter — it makes you lucid. You’re not spackling, you’re seeing him for who he is — a selfish coward. He was your friend, until he wasn’t.
There are better friends out there. Go find them.
The answer to “what was real? does it matter?” is always YOU were real. You brought your A game. You committed. You loved deeply. The only reality we control is our own.
You’re going to look back for awhile. That’s normal. You’re processing the hurt and are grieving. But don’t forget to look forward too — to a brighter future without him. (((Hugs)))