You better tell me everything…
After my husband told me about his infidelities I became fixated on needing to know every single detail he could recall about what he’d done, how he did it, how it felt, what his emotions were at the time, how did he feel afterwards, what was the other woman’s body like, was sex better with her, what positions did you do it in, how long did it last, would you do it multiple times in one night, were the strippers pretty, how did you have sex with them, what did the prostitutes look like, how old were they…. my questions were endless. I felt I had a right to know everything, he was my husband and this time that he spent with other women should have been spent with me.
He expected me to be 100% accountable to him. Everyday that he was out of town he would ask for an explanation of what my day consisted of. He was never left wondering who I was with or what I was doing. I was expected to tow the line and I did. He on the other hand lied to me every single day for 7 years. Never telling what he was really up to or who he was with while he was out of town. Every week before he would travel he would send me the dates and usually his flight and hotel information. Every once in a while the hotel information would be missing, I’d ask him why, it was always the same excuse, that his assistant had made the reservations and he’d not gotten an e-mail. He would verbally tell me where he was staying. I took it all at face value. I have since found out that those were the times when his AP would make his hotel reservations, he’s told me that she would request their rooms be close together for convenience. He said sometimes they would be next to each other, across the hall or right down the hall from each other.
They only spent one night together in the 6 years that he had an affair with her. He said there was a half night when he’d fallen asleep and left her room at 4am but only one full night. If you can even call it a full night. He said that he was on a 3 day trip in ATL and had been with her the first night and gone back to his room, the second night he went out with his buddies to a strip club, he said he thinks he got in around 2am, he went to her room had sex and passed out, he said he woke up the next morning in shock that he’d fallen asleep, she initiated sex and he left immediately after. He told me he felt awful and strange after having spent the night in her room, he said he worked until lunch and then found a bar so he could get fucked up because he was so sick about it. I guess in his fucked up addict mind that sex was one thing but spending the night was crossing a line.
When my husband wrote me his repentance list he was very detailed about the things that I was most concerned about, the things I wanted the most detail about. It was gut wrenching to read it.
I was thinking about the list the other day after he’d asked me if I would renew our vows. I thought, I need to read the list one more time, I need to know if I can really stay with this man, if I can renew my vows with someone who could do these things to me. I almost got the list out of its hiding spot but then I paused and thought better of it. I already know everything (I think) and what I don’t know I’ll assume its because he can’t remember. He was often black out drunk and high during his escapades.
Last night we were both exhausted but still in need of that physical connection, he asked me if I would get on top of him and do all the work. I complied… We fooled around and had great sex. Afterwards I started wondering if he did things with the AP that he does with me (obviously I know he did a lot of the same things, it’s sex right) I mean specific things. Things that up until he’d met me he’d never done, things that I introduced him to. Like a dumb-ass I asked him “did you do xxx with her, this way or that way or before or after?” I already knew the answers, I’d asked before. It’s like I expect the answers to change. I think that’s because he lied so much in the beginning. He said, no to part of it because she was to big, I wonder if that means he tried at all, I did not ask, I don’t want to know. Then he said “please God don’t make me rack my brain trying to think of the details, I don’t want to remember that shit, I hate that I ever did it. We just made incredible love, do you really want to talk about this?” My answer was no, I did not want to talk about it. I just wanted to cuddle up and go to sleep.
In therapy today I told our counselor about sex last night and how it triggered me into thinking those things and asking questions. He understood completely and told us both that those are “Why?” questions and to stop asking them. I already know why, I already know how. Now I need to know how to heal.
Letting go, a little….
Today I thought a lot about memories and I realized that I don’t want my husband dwelling on the memories of the worst things he’s ever done. It’s less important what details he remembers about drunken sex with women he cared nothing about and much more important he remember the details of our life together. When I ask him specific questions about sex with other women I’m putting him in a position to think about the actual act to generate an answer for me. I know this had its place in the beginning of recovery, I needed to know everything, but now that I know I need to stop asking the same questions over and over. I needed to ask the same questions until they no longer had an impact on me, that happened last night. When he answered the first question it did not faze me at all, but it did affect him, that’s why he asked me to stop. I want to let this part of it go, I want to let myself be happy, if only a little bit. I deserve happiness. I deserve to let myself let this one thing go.
Memories worth remembering…
I want my husbands memories to be of us together.
I want you to remember that before our first date you went to three flower shops looking for tulips (they were not in season) because I had mentioned once in a phone conversation that they were my favorite flower. After that you always got me flowers from that shop, until you became an addict and clicking a few buttons on 1-800-flowers.com became easier. I still appreciated the flowers but it was not the same.
I want you to remember us breaking my bed during rambunctious sex when we were dating. Me pulling a mounted light over a hotel bed out of the wall while I was riding you on our first night away together. Us laughing hysterically about it and wondering if the hotel would charge us for the light. That same night we saw a shooting star while waking on the beach, the next morning you asked me to be in an exclusive relationship with you. The first time we took a bath together and how it became our thing to bathe and shower together almost every day, we’ve done that now for almost 13 years.
I want you to remember our first Valentines day, you had court that day for a custody hearing and were in a bad mood after so we decided to stay home and cook instead of going out. You gave me beautiful earrings and a bracelet. I gave you a gift bag, I don’t remember what was in it except a pair of panties. I’d planned to give you the bag during dinner and then tell you that I was glad you’d found my panties…. I was pregnant on that day but we didn’t know it yet.
I want you to remember us getting filthy doing yard work on a hot summer day and collapsing on the bed, our proximity was enough to stir us, we had filthy sex and loved every second of it.
Remember the crazy fight we got into because I was mad when you did not help me get a pizza out of the oven? Like you should have read my mind!!! I threw pizza and then you threw pizza, then we laughed our asses off. We found specks of pizza sauce on walls and on our books for a year!
I want you to remember the things you said to me the night you had to leave me in the hospital before I had surgery to take our baby. I was hysterical and you demanded the nurse give me something to sedate me so I could sleep. I want you to remember the things you said to me when you insisted they let you walk beside my bed all the way to the operating room. I remember the look on your face when they took me away to save my life and take the one we had created. There is rarely a day that I don’t think about what we lost.
On our second Valentines day you got me gifts I don’t remember what, except for two movies, this would become our tradition, for you to buy me two movies every year, you stopped when you started being unfaithful. I had delivered to your office a beautiful blue-bottle containing a scroll with song lyrics printed on it, the bottle was in a cork container. We again stayed home and cooked dinner. You put artichokes in the garbage disposal and backed up the sink. We had to call your Dad to come over with a drain snake to unclog it. Again we laughed hysterically about it. We were always laughing together. I love that you’ve always kept the bottle safe in its container and always where you can see it.
I loved every gift you’ve ever gotten me, but our traditions meant something. I like familiar and comfortable with you. I expected those movies every year and was sad when they were replaced by other things. The best was after our trip to VA, when it was freezing out we went to the movies and saw “Ray”, the next year on Valentines day you got me the movie.
Remember in Virginia Beach the no cursing signs everywhere. It was winter and the place was deserted so we cussed up a storm when we walked down the streets laughing hysterically. We took pictures on the beach in 30 degree weather. I loved that trip.
I want you to remember all of our trips to the beach together, how you loved to pull me around in the ocean on a raft. How when I got sick the first thing you did was book us a weekend at the beach thinking it would make me feel better. You were the most thoughtful man I’d ever met.
Remember when you invited the Mormons who came to the front door in to debate religion with you. I knew when they entered they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. I watched silently as you schooled them on theology. They never came back!
Remember us sitting in the grass, your legs wrapped around me, us watching the kids play and ride bikes.
When we were sufficiently in love we’d play the 5 years, 10 years game. I’d ask you or you’d ask me what does our life look like in 5 or 10 years. We came up with all sorts of clever scenarios. We never came up with the one we ended up with.
I want you to remember all the great adventures we’ve been on, all the places we’ve traveled, everything we’ve seen together. Oh Canada eh!!!
Remember when we went to the beach and I told you to put sunscreen on your legs and you said no my hair will filter the sun? You spent the day with a book in your lap studying, you ended up with 3rd degree burns and were in so much pain you missed work. You were not in so much pain to as to avoid sex and asked me to mount you without putting any of my body weight on you and not touching your legs. That took a lot of thigh power on my part but I did it!
You made a similar request when you broke your leg in 6 places a few years later. Telling me you had to be close to me, that we had to be together.
Remember the first bonus you got from work, it was only $5000 but we thought it was incredible. Your boss had written you a letter telling you how great of a job you were doing and how impressed they were with your talents. We kept the letter and the check stub in the top drawer of our dresser for years. I was so proud of you. That was before life got to big, before you could dream away $5k in your sleep. God how I wish we could go back to that day, how badly I wish you’d remained only an engineer.
I want you to remember grabbing me in our dining room of our house where we were happiest, you know what house I mean. You grabbed me and told me that you’d figured out how many days we would be together if we both reach our life expectancy of 82 years, you told me that it wasn’t enough days, that you needed more. You told me that we would be together forever in this life and in the next.
We once talked endlessly about superstring theory and what our lives may be like in other dimensions. We wondered if in another dimension maybe we’d met earlier and neither of us had ever been with anyone else, that our baby had lived and that we had a simple happy life. In one of the letters I wrote you while you were in rehab I once again visited this theory, hoping that somewhere in a different dimension that this is not our life, that we did things right. That you were faithful and had not become an addict.
It’s hard for me to think about our memories while you were being unfaithful. I question if they are real or not or if they meant anything to you. By all accounts you included me in every aspect of your life except for your infidelity.
I want you to remember when we bought this lot, the lot our house sits on now. We’d come out here one day to walk around. We marveled at the beauty of it, not believing that it was actually ours. I remember you and I standing in the middle of the lot where our house now sits, you embracing and kissing me telling me that you were happy. That was real, wasn’t it?
Or the happiness when we bought our boat, the big boat. How you were so excited to take me on a test drive before we bought it. Or when we bought our beach house and then celebrated making love on an air mattress in the living room. You went to the store and bought us an assortment of mini desserts and fed them to me. All of that was real, right?
There are so many memories between us, so many things I don’t want you to ever forget.
I so badly wish you would have had the character and moral wherewithal to tell “R” that you were happily married and that you refused to follow him down the rabbit hole. I wish when the other guys had bragged about their women on the side that you would have called them on their bullshit instead of feeling inferior and thinking you had to join in. I wish you would have told that whore from work that you were happily married and that your life was filled with romance, laughter and love and that you would never do anything to jeopardize it, and then walked away.
I wish you would not have stopped pursing me after you knew you had me lock stock and barrel. I wish the things in our life that had transpired between us before you were ever unfaithful would have created a bond that was unbreakable, that what we had would have been enough to make you resist temptation. I thought because you came up with all the rules for the relationship and I followed them that you did too.
I know you can’t undo all the things you’ve done. I don’t want you to forget the pain you’ve caused me, or to know that my pain is equal to how much I loved you. That it hurts so much because I loved so much. You were the love of my life, my hero.
I’m willing to let you be all those things again. I love you too much to let you go.
Please stay the man who you are today, the man you’re becoming in recovery. The man who is so much like the man I fell in love with so long ago. Please be a man of your word and keep your promises. You swear to me every day that you will never hurt me again, that you will be faithful for the rest of your life, that you will never lie to me, please keep your word. I am so filled with fear because of the things you’ve done. Please prove to me that you are not that man and never will be again.
I’m giving you permission to forget the bad things you’ve done but not the pain they’ve caused. Remember instead the good things in our life, all of our fabulous memories. I’m ready to make more wonderful memories with you for the rest of our lives.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi