I was totally blindsided by my husband a year ago. (Before D-Day I’d say we were a happy marriage, you heard it thousands of times…) He cheated, I was shocked (perfect life we had, right?), antidepressants, reconciliation, later it turns out he was still in contact with his co-worker, then he fell in love with her. (I found letter with “I love you, I regret I have been born 10 years too early…”).
We even went to therapy, during which I found out he was still having business lunches with her (his version) and bought her shoes for Christmas 2019. (His version — he only “lent her money” as they were coming back from lunch and she saw them in the window.) I don’t have to add we were in therapy then, and it was obvious to me they shouldn’t have ANY contact…
Anyway, now we are proceeding with a divorce (which I of course had to initiate) — but talking to him I still get the message that he was unhappy in marriage as I was “shouting at him.” He claims he really felt as if I was always attacking him and his affair was an escape. And later after D-Days (plural) he tried to fix us, but I didn’t let him fix it, as I was always coming back to the infidelity…
Well, I was discovering new things every 3 months and was holding so much grief, disappointment, pain — that I was in fact “coming back to the infidelity.”
The problem is I really don’t remember our marriage as he pictures it. I am rather determined and very straightforward, honest — and I always say what I think. But I don’t shout as a rule, we had just normal marital quarrels about daily issues. Now I hear I was behaving almost like a monster, he had depression and I didn’t see that (because he was acting normal!) and in this perspective it is me who mostly contributed to breaking our marriage.
The worst part is that I am starting to think that maybe I am too harsh, too determined, maybe I didn’t show him the warmth, I was too demanding… I know it is classic blameshifting, but maybe he is right at the same time? I am very empathetic, I am people person, I have friends and I am easy with people, I value honesty — but with my direct attitude maybe I shouldn’t be in any relationships…?
My head knows it is a blender, but my heart has these doubts…
What do you think Chump Lady?
I think if you’re correct, all of us free-thinking, direct, determined people are going to die alone, unloved and unmourned. Flinty and feral, we’ll spend our last days shouting curses at the wind, and eating cat food. Having no one to be cranky with, we’ll have to invent imaginary partners to scold. “THAT IS NOT THE WAY YOU LOAD A DISHWASHER, MEREDITH!”
Meanwhile all the two-timing, lying, backstabbers will be frolicking about celebrating one another at lavish parties, which they will document in exhaustive detail on Instagram. “Debbie, that is a sensational centerpiece. What is it made from? Porcupine quills?” “No, Roderick, ogre shavings. We’ve compressed all the bitter, ugly people into blocks. The crafting possibilities are endless!”
Sorry, my imagination is running away with me.
With my direct attitude maybe I shouldn’t be in any relationships…?
Ssssh! Don’t tell Mr. CL! Have you READ this blog?
Come to think of it, he’s pretty direct himself. (Ask anyone who’s ever sat opposite one of his depositions…)
OMG WE’RE UNLOVABLE!
Free_Soon, I’d just like to say on behalf of all the harsh, determined, demanding Sons and Daughters of Bitches out there — partnering is possible. Love is possible. All these qualities are HUMAN. Heck, some of these qualities are even, in the right context, noble.
Determined people change the world. Don’t you want to be a determined person?
Why are you letting a fuckwit set the price on your worth? Who cares what he thinks? He’s a liar and a cheat.
His cheating has nothing to do with you. It’s about his shitty character. You didn’t MAKE him cheat. He did that. We don’t compel people to abuse us, no matter how unlikable we sometimes are. And EVERYONE in EVERY relationship EVERYWHERE is unlikable sometimes.
Oh! You know what else is unlikable? Cheating on your wife. And letting her invest in your relationship further with therapy. While continuing to cheat on her. THAT IS UNLIKABLE. So, which co-worker did you fuck?
Anyway, now we are proceeding with a divorce (which I of course had to initiate)
Of course you had to. He was enjoying cake with unlovable, impossible you. You’re just so awful he couldn’t untether the bonds of your oppression.
He was unhappy in marriage as I was “shouting at him.” He claims he really felt as if I was always attacking him and his affair was an escape. And later after D-Days (plural) he tried to fix us, but I didn’t let him fix it, as I was always coming back to the infidelity..
Do you see the circular insanity of this?
Let’s try it another way.
He hits you with a hammer and you cry. He’s unhappy because you’re always crying. You there, with your fractured fingers. Hitting you with a hammer was an escape from your crying. He tried to fix your fingers, but you wouldn’t let him, because he kept hammering your fingers to “fix them.” Stop crying!
He is NOT the Real Victim here. He’s blameshifting. You already know this, but yes, it’s hard for the heart to catch up. You blame yourself, and skein untangle, because that’s less scary than feeling the total vulnerability of being abused by someone you love. “I suck” is more understandable than betrayal. If you suck, then you can fix the suck (therapy!) and everything will be better!
Except it isn’t. Because you were never the problem and this was never yours to fix.
Please, Free_Soon, rock on with your honest, direct, harsh self.
And from me, to your ex — fling a shoe at his head. Make it a stiletto. If it punctures his eye, it’s just a loaner. No crying.