The Monday before last my husband sat me down and said that he had something to tell me. He said that it was going to be really hard to say and to hear, but that he loved me more than anything and he wanted me to know that this was not about me, but about his addiction and his failures. Then he proceeded to tell me that almost fifteen years ago when we were still dating he had carried on a year long affair with a friend of ours who was dating one of his best friends. At that time in 2000 she eventually ended the physical affair when she became engaged to her boyfriend, though the emotional affair continued on for several years.
This was a woman who I had always had suspicions about and asked my husband about because of her close friendship but with whom he had always denied having a physical affair. Since D-Day he had acknowledged he had an emotional affair with her, but he repeatedly denied having a physical affair.
Despite my suspicions, I had thought both of them were better people than that. I had thought they would have the decency to think about other people besides themselves. My husband was one of her husband’s groomsmen for fuck’s sake! And her husband was one of ours! My husband said that it was for this very reason that he had always hid this relationship from everyone, but that now that he was going to therapy for his addiction and going to group meetings, that he didn’t feel right talking about it with them and not with me, his best friend to whom he owed the utmost honesty.
I have not been sure how I feel about all this. It is a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am glad that he had the guts to finally come clean and be honest with me on his own. On the other hand, I am devastated that he slept with this woman for over a year while I was living with him and going through some very difficult things such as my mother being in jail and my 13 year old brother living with us. On one hand this affair ended years ago and on the other I am having to deal with the destruction and betrayal of the memories of that time now. There are so many things in our house and about that time that remind me now of how I was betrayed.
We have been together for over 17 years and I wonder if it means anything. I used to brag about how long we had been together, because most of our friends haven’t experienced that, but now I realize that it was all just a fantasy I made up in my head of this man loving me so much that he would never do something like that or like any of the affairs he’s had. I now count three physical affairs and five online affairs. Who knows what he hasn’t told me or hasn’t remembered? He says that’s it, that I know everything now. How do I know, though?
The first week after he told me was still good though. He was proud of himself for telling me and I was glad he did. Then the weekend before last we went on a camping trip with several friends. We had a good time for the most part. I could feel things weren’t completely right, though, and he started to do his usual thing of spending a weird amount of time with other chicks and away from me. I know he didn’t have the time or space to do anything, but I know that it gives him a high to flirt with other women to get them to feel better about themselves. He also has a real talent for doing this. He’s a great charmer. On our way home, I said something to him about it, but he didn’t take it well. I said that I felt neglected and rejected when he would spend a lot of time talking to other women, leaving me to do things on my own (like pack the tent and make breakfast). I appreciate that he’s trying so hard to work on his addictive behavior, but this is a part of his behavior that I wasn’t sure he was aware of. He became angry and antagonistic. We ended up just getting into an argument.
I also feel like I can’t trust anyone to behave with any sort of decency. I feel like so many people I know are incredibly selfish, willing to do things that they know will break the hearts of other people, even the ones they care about. I know that there must be some good people out there, but I don’t feel like I know a single one who can be trusted to behave with integrity.
This is such a confusing process. I am feeling good about setting my boundaries and asking him for the treatment I know I deserve for once. I feel like he is being so selfish though. He is often depressed, resentful (of everyone, not just me, but most especially himself), and angry now. He mopes around feeling like he’s been such a shithead, which of course he has, but it feels like he isn’t spending much energy on doing anything about it, about making things better, about finding ways to show me the love and respect I deserve for once. Sometimes I feel like slapping him across the face and telling him to grow the fuck up, but I know it’s difficult for him. Growing up is hard for everyone.
It makes me wonder though if he’ll ever grow up. I have seen more signs of maturity since he admitted he was a sex addict, but I wonder if he will ever fully become a man and take responsibility for himself and his actions. Will he ever grow up enough to have empathy for and to think about people other than himself? How long do I give him to let him grow up? When do I move on?
To add to the difficulty of figuring out when enough is enough, I realize I don’t want to have children with a child. I want to have children with an adult man who will be responsible. But my time to have children is quickly running out. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that it may end up that if I stay with this man, I will never have children. Children may never be a part of my life. That’s a hard thing to come to terms with.
I feel like I never should have started dating or married him. I feel like I should have just avoided any relationships with anyone completely.
I feel trapped. I don’t want this. I don’t want to have to deal with any of this.