One month in the making and now the real work begins.

Just over a month ago, I left for my sister’s home in southern Utah. It was there that I finally confronted the fact that The Husband had lied to me. And not for the first time. I didn’t understand it. I was confused, hurt, angry… and desperately hoping I had misunderstood something. Surely this couldn’t be happening again.

On the day I returned home, I left him. I thought a divorce was inevitable. My faith in him was gone. I didn’t believe it wouldn’t happen again. I spent a couple nights at my dad’s, completely devastated. I asked my sister to come spend the night with me, to distract me… and then I proceeded to sit there and cry and tried not to let her see it.

But it was at my dad’s that I realized I’d never be able to live with myself if I didn’t try. The thing about lying is… it’s not so cut and dry. At least, not to me. If he had hit me, had an affair… I would’ve been out the door in no time flat. Those are some serious deal-breakers. But lying… I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Was he acting out in unhappiness? Was he trying to fulfill something that he wasn’t getting from me? No, those things don’t excuse the action, but I couldn’t help wondering if our relationship… our marriage… was salvageable. I had to know for sure before I could walk out on a man I had vowed to be with forever.

As I’m sure anyone can imagine, life was not the same when I went home. The first week was awful. It was like I was living with a stranger and I didn’t want to do or say anything that might scare him away. We were both walking on egg shells and I hated it. But I couldn’t figure out how to get us back on even ground. All I could do was show him, over time, that things could be different, that we could make this work.

On Friday, not quite a week after returning home, I suggested we go out. Maybe a night out, some cocktails, a little fun and we’d start to remember that we actually like each other. Turns out that what I thought would be a good time turned into an ambush. I went with the intention of eating, drinking, laughing, having a good time… he went with the intention of flogging me for my sins. I was shocked to hear that he was still so unsure of our relationship and whether or not he wanted to be a part of it.

As much as I wanted to stand up, toss my beer in his face, and say fuck this… there was a bigger part of me that knew we just needed time. It was an interesting evening, to say the least. When he stood up for us to leave, I told him I wasn’t going home. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to watch TV, alone, in our bedroom while he stayed in the den. So, he suggested another bar.

I would regret the margaritas the next day, but certainly not the evening itself because it turned out that we had a good time. Yes, it took a number of cocktails to get us there, but it was fun nonetheless. And I felt more hopeful about our relationship than ever. (Thank you, Mr. Cuervo.)

The next week was both wonderful and awful. I was trying to be more involved in his life, trying to include myself in the activities that were important to him… but there were a couple of nights when that heavy blanket of depression came over me and all I could do was lie there and wallow in it. I couldn’t shake the hurt I still felt when I thought about the lies and the lack of trust I now held for him. Despite my best intentions, our marriage was dangling by a thread and I didn’t know how long I could continue to put in the effort when that effort wasn’t reciprocated.

I knew he was leaving before he told me. As soon as he woke up that Sunday morning, with my heart thudding in my chest, I asked him and waited for the worst. I felt a surprising wave of relief when he said he needed a week away to clear his head and think about what he wanted. Maybe it was that he was only leaving for a week that made me feel better. The separation didn’t feel permanent.

Until he left. As I watched him begin to pack, the anger came. His decision to leave was so incredibly unfair. I felt like I was being punished, but hadn’t done anything wrong. And he expected me to just sit there and wait for him to decide what was best. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to tell him not to bother packing, I’d leave. It was obviously over.

You know what happens next. A week alone, depression, anger, hope… trying to stop myself from hoping… tears.

We finally saw each other on Saturday. We met at Starbucks, our usual place for difficult conversations, decision-making, card-playing, and warm summer mornings. He took a seat next to me and asked how I was, but I didn’t want to chat and I didn’t want to exchange pleasantries… I just sat and waited. And when he said he didn’t want to lose me, I felt afraid.

Could we possibly make it through everything we had experienced in the last month? With so little trust and so many insecurities, I briefly wondered if staying together was the right decision for either of us.

But love and five years of marriage is a powerful thing. Looking at him… as worried as I was, as hurt as I had been… I knew this was the man I was still in love with. This is the life I wanted.

It’s been three days since he came back home and, although I realize we have a lot of freaking hard work to do, it feels good. It feels right. The awkwardness of a couple weeks ago is gone. That stranger I was living with has moved on. And I’m happy.

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14 Responses to One month in the making and now the real work begins.

  1. TheresaG says:

    Well Written Stephanie. Marriage is hard work. My parents have been married for 28 years now, and I remember well a time when they were on the brink. Once they passed through the awkwardness of rebuilding the foundation of a relationship they came through that rough time stronger. We do all our big talks at Starbucks too. And small dates, and summer evenings…

  2. amhealy says:

    I'm glad he's back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

  3. rory says:

    Good on ya Stephanie!Too many couples throw in the towel too easily. Marriage can be hard work but it's a ton of fun too.

  4. You have such a way with words!For the record. I’m happy that you’re happy.

  5. Gayle says:

    Hard work it is. Beautifully written.

  6. Marchelle says:

    YAY for you two! Glad things are good for you again.

  7. Nobody ever told me marriage was easy. It isn't. My husband and I have had our fair share of battles to face, roller coasters to ride. Add kids to the mix and well once in awhile you wonder who the hell you married. It is all about compromise between a husband and wife. If one cannot deal with that then expect many issues ahead. I'm so relieved to hear you are doing better and back in tune at least a bit with your husband. Keep up with the counseling or at least make it a priority for date nights or go off and take a drive somewhere so you can just focus on each other and talk. Well, I am rattling off here. I just know where you've been and have climbed out many holes before too. I'll let you in on a little secret. Laugh together more often! Make each other laugh! It does wonders for your well being!

  8. Dot O says:

    I am so sorry you've been going through all of this. Even seemingly wonderful marriages have their glitches a/k/a head butting and major differences in viewpoint. At times, you sit and wonder how the heck you got where you are and will “till death do us part” really ring true. But, when two people both want the same thing – to work hard at making it work – it's definitely such a big step in the right direction. What DVM Wife said above is so true. Laughter is such wonderful medicine and it does make you feel so much better. Take care and I hope things keep on looking up for you.

  9. Alias Mother says:

    Oh, oh, oh. I wish you such luck and strength. Work it baby, work it. And don't forget to make him meet you in the middle.

  10. Violet says:

    I'm so very glad to hear this! I'll keep praying that you both have strength, patience, openness, and always love.

  11. I will continue to you worry for you… you friend in cyberspace that I will probably never meet. You have a wonderful way with such horrible news. I was RIGHT THERE with you, crying, worrying, waiting, getting pissed… (maybe because I was there once? possibly) Anyway, from one Stephanie to another… Good thoughts…good thoughts…good thoughts.

  12. I want to hug you. Hard.Be strong, chica. Don't sell yourself short.

  13. cog says:

    does this mean you're not going to marry one of us?

  14. MichelleSG says:

    Good for you two. Marriage is a pain in the ass but we do it for a reason. Sometimes we forget the reason and have to go back and recreate, rewrite, play do-overs what have you but ultimately we wouldn't do it if we didn't think it was worth it. Good luck!

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