It took me awhile to figure out the "ropes" for the website, and I just wanted to be able to refer to something I hope is coherent to give the story I've been living. There have been times that I haven't been up to writing here, and other times I have felt I needed to respond because the hurt I felt from the writer.
My H and I met when I was a freshman in high school, he also. We were just friends for those two years, then in our junior year we started dating. He had just been "dumped" for the second time and was feeling sad, and I felt good that my being there with him cheered him up. I fell fast and hard, even though I was only 16, the feelings were the same. I was VERY attracted to him physically and I felt grateful that he would even notice me (I'm average looking). I had applied for and got a placement overseas as an exchange student for the summer. I knew I would miss him, but was shocked when he suddenly, with no discussion, announced to me he wanted to date other people. I was hurt, but did tell him when he made overtures about coming back, that I was going to travel and enjoy myself (probably more false pride than any real confidence). He was dating someone else (he never let any moss grow under his feet, or more to the point, went it alone), but wrote to me and convinced me that I should come back to him when I returned. I was ecstatic.
I'm going into detail, because looking back, a lot of the patterns he exhibited early on were harbingers for the future. We were together, him promising we'd always be together. The problems revolved around his mother being very threatened by his attention to me and he would not stand up to her him my defense. We got married, but I always had this nagging feeling he felt pushed into it, and I realized later he used that to make me feel even worse, he wouldn't refute it or take care of it on his end. He was a "blow in the wind" sort of personality.
After 7 years of marriage and 2 beautiful baby girls, one 2 1/2 and one 8 months old, I found out he was having an affair with a nurse at the hospital where we both worked. I was so devastated. I had felt something wasn't right and had gotten articles about being a father and the adjustment it was and tried to talk to him and everything I could think of. I had the house clean, the kids taken care of and also worked. Nothing was EVER good enough for him.
After an absolutely HORRIBLE summer, thinking I was going to go crazy, I finally blew up and threw him out of the house because I couldn't take his emotional abuse ("I wouldn't have had an affair if you had kept closer watch on me" and "I'm fine, it's all YOUR fault") and other wonderful gems. He would tell me not to cry in front of him "because I don't need to see that". Can you imagine, I guess a lot of you can.
After a month of trying to get him to work on things, he got the flu and came home only for me to nurse him back to health (couldn't possibly let me think it was because I was someone he WANTED - that would make ME "win"). Then he finally told me at our MC insistence, that all the answers to all my questions were lies, and that it wasn't an affair that ended that spring, but had gone on all summer, and the name, description, story, the whole thing was a lie. I felt like the world had been pulled out from under me, I was just reeling. And the OW stalked me, calling our house with hang up phone calls and following me around at work, laughing at me. And he did nothing to protect me from it. He just cowered.
More counseling. I decided I couldn't be dependent financially on him, so went back to college and got my nursing degree. He seemed to try to a point, but there always was this component of I was the one that needed to prove myself to him, or he'd do it again. If I was angry, I was a "b****" and poor little him. It always had to be about him, and he was never to blame, accountable or responsible. And I was supposed to know what he wanted, even if he told me the opposite because he didn't have the balls to say otherwise. After about 30 years of this, it was really hard to not believe that I wasn't to blame.
We went along with life, raising kids (I had a bonus baby in nursing school, just in case things weren't difficult enough. She's a gem, though). We built a new home, literally doing all the interior work ourselves. I was looking forward to having an empty nest and having time to devote to ourselves and do some traveling. College tuition took a lot of our money, as well as the usual braces etc. I started to notice that old feeling of "flashing red lights" going off in my head, especially when he talked about a certain co-worker. Even though he had cheated on me, I wasn't especially nervous about him having female friends, because I knew he felt more comfortable with women (he was a mamma's boy).
Then phone calls started from her husband, even telling my 14 year old daughter her father was having an affair with his wife. When confronted, he would say she was going through a really bad time (poor baby) and her husband was a lunatic. He would never answer me how he even knew who my H was, or where we lived or how he got our unlisted number. I guess at this point I allowed myself denial, I wasn't ready to hear it. Then he started a series of serious physical ailments. First he had a grand mal seizure out of the blue. Took care of him for that. Was dismayed to see the OW peeking at him in the ER, but I couldn't deal with her at the time. A year later he nearly died from a massive blood clot from ankle to him and I held him screaming in pain in ICU when the clot buster took effect and the circulation started back. And I found a love note from the OW dated from the year previous. He tried to tell me that SHE cared for him, but she was "just a friend". I told him either me or her, and he supposedly told her they weren't to have contact again, and made a big deal about how difficult it was FOR HIM, like I was supposed to feel sorry for HIM.
Then our middle daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a serious disease mostly affecting the digestive tract. When we were just getting the diagnosis, he walked away from me and our daughter, down the hallway to the OW, and obviously was giving her the poor me dialogue, and they walked off. This was after he supposedly kept his word to have NOTHING to do with her again. Again, I was too distracted to really deal with it.
The year after that, after more and more bizarre behavior on his part (my things would be "oops" broken, things I could never replace), he had a serious infection because he was digging and gouging himself at any pimple or whatever. He ended up having 2 surgeries to clear the infection. Again, I took care of him, did his IV antibiotics so he could come home. I had found stuff in his office in the past that was obviously from his OW, so I had wanted the reassurance that part was past us, so while he was an in-patient I wanted to "do a spot check" (stupidly I thought things were better, and that he actually appreciated what I did for him). He made some lame excuse about putting it off until tomorrow. The red flags went off. The next day he suddenly was all for it. But I realized he had money in his drawer (hospital room stand) and had obviously gone to his office alone to "prepare". I was devastated. The start of the real end.
I then also found out he had a sexual problem on top of everything else that I never even heard of, never mind suspecting. He had a fetish about women smoking. He would steal equipment from work, download photos of women smoking, (and it was eery, it had more to do with how the smoke was shaped than the women being undressed) He would create smoking "machines" and look at the photos and "jack off". He could have burned down our home. The stupid idiot had asthma, could have gone into status asthmaticus. He had tried to blame our daughters for photos I found on the computer (like why would a teenage girl download that?) and tried to pin the smell of smoke on one of our daughters sneaking a smoke. What a jerk. At my insistence he saw a counselor specializing in sexual deviation, but I'm sure he wasn't honest, and all I got out of it was that "I'd just have to deal with it" which I'm sure wasn't what was said.
So, it finally came down to my again just showing up at his office one day, and sure enough, there was a painting I didn't recognize in front of the family portrait he put there to placate me. I went to the other room where he was, and asked him "is that painting from OW?" And he stuttered and blurted out stupidity such as "well, I couldn't put it on the floor so I put it up there" which made NO sense. I asked him again "Is that from OW?" and he finally said yes, so I told him to pick up his stuff that I would have out on the lawn for him. That was the last we ever lived together. Stupidly I STILL tried to work things out with him, we went back to marriage counseling. The counselor got so frustrated with him and his lies she blurted out "All you love is getting your needs met". She said that in her 20 years of counseling she had never met someone so devious and unwilling to take accountability. He promised he'd work it out, we'd be together forever. Then I found he had been re-routing our cell phone bills to work. He wrote OW's name on our box of Christmas ornaments. He would wiggle the antenna on the cell phone whenever he didn't want to hear what I was saying, to make it static-y. Then he promised he was coming home the next day at a certain time. The kids and I were anxiously waiting, and no H. The kids were devastated, and I was so angry, hurt and upset. I was so messed up I couldn't even reason for myself that if he truly was coming home, now would be the time, not tomorrow. And the worst part was he did it AGAIN. This time I didn't tell the kids. He called hours after he was to show, and was "crying" and "just needed to hear my voice". I told him to cut the BS, and lo and behold his voice was normal. How pathological can you get?
So, the last "marriage counseling" we had, he finally made the comment with a real arrogant, smug look that "this wasn't where he wanted to be". So I said, "so you understand I'm going to divorce you?" He actually looked startled. I had to go over some finances with him, and he was so smug. He told me once that the only way he could feel any warmth towards me was if I was crying and upset. That is sick, and sick of me to have lived that life. I wish I had been stronger, and a better role-model for my girls.
So after 34 years of knowing each other, 32 years of being together, and 27 1/2 years of marriage, it was over. And looking back at how he treated me, I can't understand why I've grieved so hard for that marriage. Just what it could have/should have been, I guess. And when his mother dies just before our divorce was finalized, he called my daughter who handed me the phone because she wa crying, and he was horrible, even though I tried to be sympathetic. He even made a comment that was seen as a thinly veiled threat, that he has "found a loaded gun in his mother's old bedroom, wasn't it odd what you find". So I didn't go to her funeral, which I'm sure he had his own story to the relatives as to why. Even though it was always me that helped his parents out and encouraged contact, he never helped until he needed a free place to live (off his father).
I know this ramble on. One thing I have gotten from this site that a lot of what happened to me I thought no one else had ever gone through, I had never heard of such deviousness, hurtful behavior, but unfortunately it is more common than I ever imagined.
I am married now, a second husband that probably wasn't the best choice for me either. Anyone know that song by the Indigo Girls that has the phrase "how long to my sould gets it right?" I feel like this marriage is another hard lesson. Still more in that chapter.
Best to everyone else in this "earth school"!