Five years ago, on an early July morning, the bottom fell out of my world.
I woke up to find my husband (now ex-husband) gone. For good. Not coming back. Ever. He left on a jet plane for another state with another woman.
I knew for 8 long months prior to that sunny July morning that my husband was cheating on me. A lot of people ask how I handled knowing my husband was cheating. Knowing for that long. I honestly don’t know.
I knew that I couldn’t change the events that were happening. Tried that and it failed miserably. I carried the burden of his affair in my heart, didn’t share it with anyone, and dealt with it privately. I tried every day to show love, compassion, and forgiveness to him.
In return, he continued to cheat even while saying he wasn’t. You see, he had addiction problems. Women, lies, and drugs. This affair wasn’t the first of our marriage, but it was the first one that I could prove and confront him about. In retrospect, I believe there were about 8-10 women over the 4 years of our marriage.
How did I get my proof? I overheard a phone conversation and him saying “I’m married to a nice girl, but it’s you I want.” Seriously? “Nice girl”? This nice girl decided that she was going to fight for her marriage and entered the lioness’ den.
It took me about two months or so to put all of the pieces in place and finagle my way into the “secret” part of his life. He tried to throw me off track and make me believe it was another woman that he was rendezvousing with, but I wasn’t as dumb as I lead him to believe. I might be quiet, but last I checked, quiet doesn’t mean stupid! I easily recognized the looks, the quick disappearances to another room, the excuses to visit without me going along. I figured I may as well know what was going on so I could work against it somehow.
Anyway, things plugged along as usual for a number of months. About 6 weeks before he left, he started to set his plan in motion and things became volatile. He told countless lies to his family to turn them against me. (To this day, I still hear stories about lies he told people about me and how they can’t believe I am the person that I am.) He began doing the things to irritate me. He would disappear for hours on end. Supposedly he was fishing or doing some other guy thing. (Later the truth came out that he started doing some hard core drugs around that 6-week mark.)
At the end of June that year, I cooked my own birthday dinner and ate by myself. Ate my cake alone too. He didn’t even have the decency to show up. Two days later, he pulled the spark plugs on my car to disable it, and he started driving to Oklahoma. I hitched a ride with the other woman’s husband and chased after them for about 15 miles. We caught up with their vehicle at a gas station, where my significant other made a number of rude gestures, spun the tires, and left.
The next evening the phone calls started. “Come to Oklahoma and get me. I made a mistake.” Well, guess what? Sorry, dear, but you drained the bank account and sent it into the negative. Call your momma if you want to come home. Sure enough, she bought him a plane ticket home.
July 4th I had the pleasure of picking him up at the airport. Somehow he was penniless. Blamed it on a baby spitting up on his shorts and soaking the money. Whatever. (In retrospect I now realize why I still have occasional issues with my birthday and July 4th. Some day maybe the subconscious memories will disappear.)
He stayed home for 5 days, weaving his web of lies. Then came that morning when I woke up and he was gone. It was crushing. While I hadn’t believed 100% that everything would be okay, there was that hope.
I distinctly remember falling to my knees in the yard when I realized he was gone. I’m not entirely sure of the happenings after that point. I tried contacting him a few times. Talked to him briefly on the phone once or twice. After some serious thinking, I filed for divorce about a month later.