What did I know and when did I know it?

photo(9)We had gone to Pennsylvania to a family wedding.  My husband was absent, remote, not present.  He was physically there, of course, but not emotionally.  This was years before he announced that he wanted a divorce.

We were strolling along the streets of the small town we were visiting.  I can’t remember exactly what had passed between us in the previous short span of time.  What I can remember is a brief dialogue we had as we walked.  Apparently I had not received the reply I expected to some comment or question.  I stopped, looked him in the eyes, with puzzlement in mine, and told him, “You act like someone who’s having an affair.”  In hindsight, I realize the look on his face said it all.  I continued with my accusation, “You are, aren’t you?”

At this point D did what he has always done best.  He put on his poor-pitiful-me look, donned his best salesman cloak and presented a spiel like I had never heard before, and hope I never hear again.  “No,” he insisted, “I’m not having an affair.”  I don’t remember the rest of what he said to convince me of his innocence, but I do remember my queen of denial kicking in to the extent that I felt the need to apologize to him for thinking and saying such vile things. And I did.  My jaw is gaping as I write and I have an enormous urge to kick my own ass.  What was I thinking?!

Here’s the thing, I had never accused him of infidelity.  I know I didn’t just blurt it out without some considerable forethought.  Why didn’t I trust my gut?  Why did I second guess my instincts?  Today, the answer is obvious: I didn’t want to know.  It didn’t seem so simple at the time, though.  Matters of the heart are complicated.

This story gets even better.  After we had established that D was not guilty, we shopped and window shopped at our leisure for quite some time.  I saw and admired a rather expensive watch.  He insisted on buying it for me.  I still wear it today.  A logical, thinking person would have recognized he was paying me for buying what he was selling that day–that he was a really good husband and he had done nothing wrong.  In retrospect, I think I did recognize his so-called generosity for what it was.

Today I’m neither sad nor happy.  I’m not angry.  I’m idling here in neutral, just remembering.

Here’s a delightful, laid-back Christmas song for you, if you’re so inclined.  I heard it at my granddaughter’s recital this afternoon.  Jingle Bell Jamboree by Keb’ Mo’.

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25 thoughts on “What did I know and when did I know it?

  1. How I can identify with what you went through – and with the comments from others above. And like you, I asked myself how I could have been so blind and deaf and unaware – but often we don’t want to accept the unpalatable truth and when the other person lies and says it’s all OK (or “it’s not you, it’s me – I’ll sort things out”) we do cling to straws. But hey, look where we have got to!!

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  2. Matters of the heart…yes they are complicated. Your candor is awe-inspiring since I know from previous things you’ve said, how hurt you were. The heart is a sturdy little muscle. It breaks and heals itself so we can carry on, like you did. I know how much you love being with your granddaughter. Thanks for that tune. Made me smile.

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    • Hi Susannah. Glad you liked the tune.

      The heart is indeed a sturdy little muscle. I had the good fortune to have a really good doctor when I entered the divorce process. When I started to lose weight and stay awake for days at a time, he said to me, “Your heart is broken. But it WILL heal.” He was right.

      BTW, my daughter and I saw “Lincoln” yesterday. We loved it. I will try to comment more on that later. Getting late. I’m going to bed. Take care. I hope you’re well.

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  3. Ah… hindsight! I know what you mean…

    In 2008, I was uncomfortable with the “friendship” between Ex-BF and the OW. I had no proof, only a hunch. I went so far as to confront her about it (at the time, I thought she and I were friends)… I explained that I wasn’t making a direct accusation, and I knew that Ex-BF was a good friend (she was under a lot of stress at the time). I was sobbing tears of insecurity as I explained that their relationship just *didn’t feel right to me*. She listened patiently and thanked me for talking to her. Yet, she never denied what I thought might be happening. What she said was, “I have no intention of altering my relationship with him.” Looking back, I see that comment as the competitive invitation that it was… but at the time, I felt awful about myself for thinking such terrible things. I put my tail between my legs and scampered off into the darkness to hide my shameful instincts. …Live and learn, right?

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    • Oh, wow, Tara. What a tough confrontation that must have been. I might have done the same thing, though, had I known who she was. D traveled for a living and she was in another town.

      “I have no intention of altering my relationship with him.” What gall! What a jerk she was. I’m sorry we both had to learn these painful lessons, but learn them we did.

      You’ve managed your separation extraordinarily well. I admire you tremendously for that. You’re a great role model for others facing similar situations.
      .

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  4. I have a lot of ‘gifts’ too!….
    What surprises me as I read yours and other blogs is how similar our experiences are.
    Sometimes I cannot believe how similar. Do cheating people read some manual or something and then follow the guidelines in the book?
    And along with their life partner and fidelity; they let go of truthfulness, integrity and trust. Is that written in the manual as well? Don’t those things mean anything to them anymore?

    I agree with the others comments, you have come a long way.

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    • Hi Elizabeth. It does seem like they have a manual, doesn’t it? The irony is that they think they’re special or unique or something. As in, no one else has felt this way until I did.
      Now that I have some distance, I recognize that the marriage may have run its course and perhaps we needed to divorce. But I probably will never get over the way my ex chose to end it. I have written only a small fraction of that part of the story.

      BTW, I am regularly reading your blog. I apologize for not commenting more often. I still have some of them in my active email in the hope that I will get back to them. What can I say? It’s the holidays and I have nine grandchildren. Please know that I very much appreciate your writing and your sharing.

      m

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      • Thanks for your lovely lengthy reply. I too have not told all in my blog. There are some things best left for my private journal. I am amazed at how some people let it all out In their blogs! For some strange reason I still hang on to keeping the confidences of what went on between us. (Not that he has shown me the same respect, as I gather he has shared all with “her”, and this breaking of confidences is an added pain).

        Nine grandchildren! Wow! I have one (and another on the way), However, I am kept busy with four kids in 3 different countries and my mother and three siblings in other states.

        I am glad we have found each other. Thanks for your cyber- friendship.

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  5. Hello Pat…First time I’ve read your blog and I must say you are special and I admire your guts! This morning one of my daughter-in-laws told me one of her co-workers (a long time close friend) was in shock. Seems over the weekend (while she was away from home all day) her husband cleaned out their bank accounts, took everything out of their house and poof…left her. They had been going for counseling and she thought things were much improved. While I suppose he was ‘planning his escape’…fooled her didn’t I routine. How ironic I would read your post today. Her man didn’t buy her anything ~ how sad.
    I admire your survival…applause for you! I love your writings.

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    • Hi Vasca. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. More than fifty per cent of marriages end in divorce in the US. Each one is unique, yet also the same as all the others. And always a shock. At least my ex didn’t try to make off with all the money. But we are both much poorer than we would have been had we stayed together. It’s all so sad.

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  6. I agree with all the other comments. You have come a long way.

    What I find so sad is that some men feel that lying is OK. As someone once said

    “It isn’t being lied to that I mind – it’s the fact that I wasn’t worth the truth.”

    Your Ex bought you a watch. Mine bought me a wi-fit!! I sold the wi-fit the other day!!

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  7. You say:’Matters of the heart are complicated.’
    This is what it is all about. Your story sounds highly dramatic. It’s amazing how you can see it all so clearly in hindsight. I feel happy for you that you have now the strength to make the most of your life again. Wishing you much peace and happiness always. I know you have a very loving family and still much love to give. Good on you. I am sure you are happy you found some peace in your life again. Thanks for sharing. I love to read what you are writing.

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    • Thanks for your comments, Uta. I think it was a defining moment (although I didn’t know it at the time) and that’s why I remember it so well. I am happy now to have found peace and some degree of serenity. It’s good to have family, especially grandchildren nearby. Keeps me young.

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  8. Look, I have to say you are one of the most loving and thougtful people I have come across in Blogland. That being the case it is really hard for me to understand how any man who had acquired your loyalty and hand in marriage should abuse it in this way. I am sincerely baffled.

    That you have come out of it with your generosity of nature still intact does not surprise me, but makes his actions still harder to understand.

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    • Thank you, Ducks. Your comments always bolster me and make me feel better. I know that readers get only my angle on a very complex story, but it’s the only angle I’m capable of producing. I hope I don’t come across as Saint Patricia. I’m nowhere near sainthood and I don’t mean to sound as if I am. In fact, as I was pondering your response to this post, I was thinking that if you were to meet my ex, and didn’t know he was my ex, you would probably like him. Most people do.

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      • Sometimes people are crippled by their sense of fairness. He’s still a plonker for mistreating your emotions in my opinion. Every time I look in the mirror I am reminded that we are all full of failings, and in my case unecessary cake, but the heart of love is understanding, and you certainly show a lot of, and deserve a lot of it.

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