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.