Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

16 May 2009


A day like any other, right?

The popular press was focused on people like Eva Longoria. Do we even remember her? Swine ‘flu was front and centre of many people’s worries. Rachel Alexandra  won the Preakness, the first filly in 85 years to do so. British retailers were up in arms about Manic Street Preacher’s latest album cover art. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the pressing governmental issues of the day … ohh Gawd, hey, it was a Saturday – was one of our long-term MPs, addressing a dental health conference! Hahahaha! Not doing much for the cause of us being a vibrant, and global nation ;-).

Yes, it has actually been EIGHT years since my life imploded. The OW, Leanne, a woman I once considered a friend, someone I had known since middle school years, sent me a text, at 8.57pm, whilst I was attending a 40th birthday party that she was also supposed to be attending. The text outlined that she had been sleeping with my most beloved partner, Roger. There was little in the way of detail, I didn’t keep the text, and cannot recall the exact wording.

I went back to the party, and carried on with the evening. Smiling, dancing, completely numb inside. Then drove the half-drunk Roger home in the wee, small hours. When we were about ten minutes from home, I leaned over with my phone, and showed him the text. He was completely bereft. Head in hands, he eventually looked up, as I drove into the darkness, and said, “I will pack a bag when we get home, and get out of your life. I am incredibly sorry, so, so sorry.” I think I actually floated away somewhere far, far, away. I don’t know if I have ever come back entirely.


Time does blur things, fading the edges of memory. But it has never eradicated the pain I still feel, not the “two to five years” later when I was supposed to feel a lot better, get my life back.

It is eight years. Eight pain-filled and unnecessary years. There isn’t a lot to add. I just wanted to mark the day somehow, as it passes by in every other sense.

The first ‘online’ person I ‘met’ – a woman who is different to me in so many ways, a US-Southern Baptist, 50+ year old, home-schooling SAHM, who voted for Trump – we couldn’t be politically, ideologically, etc, further apart – is still someone I ‘chat’ with regularly. Who knew? Six and a half years after her D-day, she is filing for divorce. He didn’t do the work, he is an passive aggressive, narcissistic arsehole, and she is (reluctantly) divorcing him. Finally. She has been through the mill. She messaged me today, to reiterate that cheating is a “life sentence” – her words.

I am currently seeing a lot of emotional exhaustion in the blogging community. People who are now three plus years out from D-day. The hope is fading. The magic pill of time is not making things any better for most.

I know that feeling well. I think there is a LOT of detritus bandied about – by counsellors, churches, people hawking self-help books, the general public – about being able to build a ‘new,’ ‘better’ version of marriage/partnership. That infidelity is actually an OPPORTUNITY! Lucky you!

The truth is, it sucks. And it will always suck. For the rest of your life, it will suck in some way, together, or apart.

And that, my sweets, is my take-home lesson from eight years of the pain of ‘surviving’ infidelity, together, or apart, it makes no difference.

‘Happy’ antiversary to me!


22 thoughts on “16 May 2009

  1. Eight years? I’m so sorry for your loss Paula. For it is a loss, it’s the death of the life you had whether the relationship survives or not. Motherfuckers!!

  2. Ah, Paula…this is hard to read. My DDay is May 17 and for me it will be two years. Yes…the pain is sometimes still so fresh and raw. But, it is mostly softened around the edges and tempered by time with family and new memories and glimmers of the new man Will is becoming. You are right that it will always hurt and it will always suck. My hope is that as time goes by it will hurt and suck less and less. Take care of yourself my sweet friend. No matter what else happens in your life or to your life, YOU are the most important and the most precious thing in it. Much love.❤️

    • Hi Leigh. I think it depends on what the old relationship looked like. We had a very special one. I grieve its loss very deeply. Every day.

      I’m pleased you and Will are doing well. Long may it continue ❤

  3. Oh Paula. It might sound really cheesy, but I sometimes feel as if I have lived your story with you. I first found EAJ about 2 years ago and speed-read every post and every comment. You were the person I most identified with as my OH and I aren’t married either. Your story touched my broken heart to its core as your ongoing pain was so palpable, so present. Although my DDay was end of March 2014, I didn’t confront OH fully then. DDay 2 was mid April, when I realised it was still ongoing and the shit hit the fan. The date I call DDay 3 is 14th May which, for me, is possibly the worst as that is when I found all the pages of yearning poetry he wrote about her (although at the time he told me some of it was about me. I never believed that. Took him over a year to admit I was right and it WAS all about her). Puke!

    After surviving the other 2 antiversaries reasonably OK this year, I had a meltdown on 14th May. The memory of that puerile doggerel was triggered and I just flipped. OH didn’t know what hit him! The memories of what he did and all that he threw away is all still so forefront in my mind. Every fucking day. I am exhausted by my pain after 3 years. I can’t even begin to imagine how you must feel after 8 years of this soul-destroying shit!

    I will stop rambling now. Sending much love. X

    • Goodness, Ash! EAJ. I haven’t been there in SO long.

      I am sorry this year’s date was tough. But it’s in your rearview now. Although I am still sad, I am better. Much better than I once was. Yes, life has lost some gloss. But I am even deeper than I once was. I care even more than I once did. I think in many ways I am an improved human? But also a very, very dented version of me. I guess this is my clumsy way of saying you will survive. You will find your path. I promise xxx.

  4. Paula,
    “It sucks and it will always suck”, no matter what.
    Yes, that is my experience too,
    I am grateful for you and all your posts. You have helped me through validation and by leaving out all the “fluffy” things.
    Betrayal stinks…and I know that all who are betrayed in some way or another can relate. Those who were betrayed by their own partner feel it the strongest.
    Thank you for all your support and wisdom,
    love 🙂
    …and keep on swimming…

    • Thanks, E. I feel a little guilty that my posts are so often quite negative. But as I have explained quite often, this is the place I have to set the load down from time to time. To share it just a little. The need to do so is reducing. I like to see how long it has been since the load started spilling every time I do post now … aaaaand stroke, breathe….

  5. I so, so appreciate your continuing honesty. Two years is coming up for me in a little over a month, and guess what? I feel better then I did in the last six months of 2015, but not better than I did prior to D-Day. I’m not expecting it to get a lot better as time goes on. “A life sentence” seems like a good, realistic description. 😕
    I can’t blame those who have built an industry around trying to give us hope – after all, there is a huge market of betrayeds, looking for any light in the tunnel we’ve found ourselves in.
    Thank you again for sharing your story, and for continuing to check in.

    • Oh yes, I agree, sunshine. The ‘industry’ built is generally a caring one. There may be some who see an opportunity to make $$$, but I think in general, people do want to help. It is awful to see the suffering. I just think most are on the wrong track – but I don’t really know what the right one is, except that I now believe – and this will not be popular – that you are, in general, unable to heal with the person who betrayed you so deeply. That is not to say it isn’t worth trying! We tried, so hard.

      My ‘thing’ still is this. How the hell does ANYONE think that cheating on the person who totally adores you is going to end well? Is going to enrich anyone’s lives?

      Roger and I had that conversation yesterday. Just a quiet, kind, short chat. He says that because he ‘survived’ cheating, he thought that you just move on eventually. Yes, he was really cut to pieces when he found out she was cheating on him, but he ‘got over it’ – he acknowledges he was young, did not live in the same city as her, had not thoroughly invested his future in her (kids, promises, mortgages, one career sacrificed for the other, etc) and did not have any mitigating factors influencing him (eg, my parents’ divorce had an effect on me that neither of us fully understood prior to the cheating, my rape, and general mistrust of men in certain situations, fear of STIs, etc.) He also framed Leanne’s cheating as this: she lived in a large city, was 20 years old, and he was a farmer in his mid 20s, living in their small hometown, and when she came to visit, or he went to her, he feels he ‘neglected’ her, not paying her enough attention. I have pulled him up on that since. If that was the case, then why were they still going out? She could tell him it was over at any stage, or talk to him if she felt ‘neglected.’ I think that is a bit of the self-blame that betrayeds all put on ourselves. I also told him, for the first time, that one of the reasons I fell in love with him was because he had been cheated on – and he expressed how hurt he had been. Now, I see that he later took her back, and that is now a giant red flag for me – he did NOT feel as devastated as I have since this happened to us. He admits that now that he has seen what this has done to me. He accepted cheating as ‘just something that happens.’ I don’t. There is no need for this. There is no argument that makes cheating okay. Ever. You just don’t need to do that to either yourself, or the person who loves you. Or even the slapper that agrees to cheat with you!

  6. “How the hell does ANYONE think that cheating on the person who totally adores you is going to end well? Is going to enrich anyone’s lives?”

    This is exactly my question to OH at the weekend. He said that, at the time, he was so embroiled in selfishness, thoughts of how it might affect me never even entered his head. And anyway, I was never going to find out, so what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me! Sheesh!!!

    • Roger says he was lost. I say unwell. I think once upon a time people would have said he had a ‘breakdown.’ He thought it unlikely I would find out, he was damn good at the deception, VERY careful, very thorough. Very believable the two times I almost stumbled onto his secret. He did realise that she wasn’t going to let him go. The claws tightened as he tried to ease away. He deliberately tried to annoy her near the end, missung hookups, talking about me kindly, etc, hoping she would get sick of it all and disappear. But that was never going to happen. He told her that he would not be with her if she ever told me. She did it anyway. Because she is a bitch. And just wanted to burn everything down. He should have known that, and confessed, before she told me.

      He tells me that originally he had convinced himself that I was over being with him, so catching him cheating would give me a good ‘reason’ to leave him. (He knew me so well, right? 😉) I was perfectly capable of speaking up. I always was. That is who I am. More justification and bullshit!

      Out of his ‘breakdown’ he is horrified at his bullshit. He knows it was all a way of justifying doing whatever made him feel good. That selfishness. Entitlement. The thing is, he even knew DURING the affair that it didn’t make him feel good. He would get the adrenaline rush setting up hookups with her, and want to drive under a truck afterwards. But he still couldn’t stop it. It is like addiction. The pull of the thing you know is so bad for you.

      He did know. But faded it all down in order to carry on.

      • OH also played the “lost” card. What drugs are they on FFS?

        Initially post DDay, when he was still trying to play it down, OH claimed the reason he kept it secret was because he thought I wouldn’t understand him having a close female friend. Oh so it was all my fault he cheated and lied to me for 8½ years, was it? 😉

      • Of course it was Ash, you silly! 😉😉😉

        The thing is, Rog always got on very well with women. I am better with men. I put it down to him only having sisters, and me, brothers. It never bothered me in the slightest that he was quite good friends with many women. I have never felt guilty or weird about my male friendships. I am not a flirt. I don’t play silly games. I just assumed the same from him. For over twenty years he did very little wrong. But this woman was different. I kinda knew that. But I am so straight up, I assumed if I was her friend, there would be a clear boundary. It set me up to be the world’s biggest chump! I had total faith in him (and he spoke so derisively about her often, I would defend her, ugh.) I knew she was not to be trusted, sorta. But I believed in friendship. That the sister code would protect me. D’uh. What a brilliant set up for them, right?

  7. “I think there is a LOT of detritus bandied about – by counsellors, churches, people hawking self-help books, the general public – about being able to build a ‘new,’ ‘better’ version of marriage/partnership. That infidelity is actually an OPPORTUNITY! ”

    The other irritating self righteous phrase I’ve read – there would have been signs in the marriage that were missed and ignored that could have resulted in the affair.
    Almost as if it were the responsibility of the betrayed spouse to attend to the signs. That’s like a double blow. The bottom line is that whatever the troubles one spouse chose NOT to have an affair.

    There WERE signs. I was well aware of them. It was a second marriage with all the baggage that brings. I flagged up the issues as I saw them, suggested Counselling and strategies. He was too manly for Counselling. I felt I tried in the only way I knew how by talking. He shut down. I was unhappy. I even stated that if we couldn’t resolve things then separation might be for the best.

    So – for him, the short transatlantic affair (til I discovered it) was in response to what he called a ‘perfect storm’. That’s what I’ve struggled with in the main. For him also to recognise that there were problems and to refuse to address them: that if he leaves things alone they’ll sort themselves out. THEY DON’T.. To then compound problems by having an affair is such an insult that I cannot come to terms with it. A marriage cannot rehabilitate without doing massive amounts of soul searching and work. Intermittently I’d hear “well you’ll never get over it will you?” as though my pain was spoiling things. I’ve felt it’s always been more about his emotional self-comfort than nurturing me. Conflict avoidance. All his own stuff impacting which he doesn’t want to look at.

    Our on-going marriage would never be more than superficial. Important issues always skirted around. I now feel conflict avoidant! It’s worse than before the affair because then it was crap communication and now it’s crap communication overlaid on resentment and infidelity. Now it’s about loss. Loss of husband, familiarity, loss of a future together, ultimately home when it sells, loss of financial security, the social infrastructure and all the other stuff that surrounds a relationship. Now starts the clawing back to a healthier sense of self and worth (elusive). Keep going through the motions in the hope that the synapses will find new circuits. There WILL be a better future once the losses are processed. Life is preciously short and better to go forward alone than to stay living a half life which is what it would be for me. I applaud those who can go forward and have agonised over why I can’t but it’s my individual differences and I am just not able to.

    • Ditto, Nuthatch. I also felt something was ‘off’ – I had zero idea it was affair related. But I did know we weren’t right. And I begged him to talk to me. To get counselling together. His answer always came in the form of a tight hug, and him telling me I was being over-sensitive. To the point where I was thinking there might be something wrong with me. I even made counselling appointments, going alone because he refused! That threw me. He is not usually one to deny my reality. Again, I thought it must be me. I was somehow, subtly losing my mind! Turns out he was scared. Scared the counsellor would see through him, to see what I was unable to. To cut off is cake supply in the form of his affair. He is embarrassed and disgusted he didn’t accept that help when it was offered, and that he denied me my reality. I wasn’t losing my mind, I was (unbeknownst to me) onto something. Onto him.

      Yes. The relationship became worse, yes, resentment became a factor. Loss was the biggest one, though. Grief. And having to swallow that what we had wasn’t special. Wasn’t worth fighting temptation and … just evil … for. He did not value it the way I did.

      And I never ‘got over it.’ I never really will. But I do accept this. This lesser life. I can place good things around the pile of shit. But I will never be rid of the original pile. That is my acceptance. My life is different, and not in a totally good way. I would have preferred honesty and for what I felt was very, very deep love any day.

      Rog is better. He has accepted his flaws, and works every day to be a better man. I see it. I admire it greatly. But I can’t allow that vulnerability again. And by God I’ve tried!

  8. I’m so glad that Rog is working on himself. You sound pleased with his insight however I would find it unimaginably difficult to see his self-improvement yet from your posts feel that you cannot benefit from this ie what could lead to ‘a new improved version of the marriage.’ I write that feeling similarily to you.

    For some of us including me, the ties that bound have snapped and the additional loss to me of my worth in his eyes (he never even admitted he was married – the divorce to his first wife was clear as he mentioned his two children), but he hid and then removed his wedding ring and I was removed from his memory banks with it. Compartmentalising. Something was telling me things didn’t feel right early on but I brushed aside my doubts and queried my own insecurities. I can’t forgive that along with his ostrich mentality.
    He’s not a bad man. Affable and a gentle soul in many ways yet I’ve felt like I’ve been towing a child to somewhere he would rather not be. I think he believes that he is ok. Still the ‘leave well alone and things will sort themselves out’ attitude. That’s taken a long time for me to come to terms with – that I’ve felt not good enough for him to truly work at helping me or to modify his behaviours and open up. Too superficial. Far too little and left too late. He just doesn’t talk which is the most frustrating thing to contend with. Interesting your earlier comment that after 3 years, betrayed spouses often get to the end of the line. 3yrs 5 months and yes…………….

    Interesting also that you sensed something was wrong. It puzzles me that many bits of writing suggest that an affair can often be slipped into a marriage and buried. People still advocate it as helping to maintain a flagging marriage. . He had a female friend who wrote what a shame I found out as these things should just be buried. Astonishing and I boiled when I read it. She is no longer a friend of his. I think most people are aware of the subtle nuances in changed behaviour when an affair is underway. Many people may feel something is awry when a spouse is having an affair but for their own feelings of safety prefer not to question or if they do are unlikely to get to the truth which is I think cruel beyond belief. I was lied to and ultimately sleuthed like a terrier after a rat to expose the truth. I couldn’t live with that sense of uncertainty.

    The bottom line for me is that he let me down. With what went before and with the affair which was his prescription for whatever he was feeling at the time and for everything he refused to address or to take responsibility for. He could have initiated communication at any time or at least when I was proactive met me half way with a mediator but no. His affair has changed nothing in the marriage but it has changed me. He’s never going to communicate.
    An affair is 100% unnecessary as a wake-up call for a marriage. It’s a dangerous game to play. There may be no second chance,

    Gut instinct and listening to the inner voice are what I advocate now.
    My thoughts are with you.

    • Thank you, Nuthatch. Your experience sounds similar in some ways to mine. Unsurprisingly. These guys did not do anything unique, new or forge new paths. People have done this forever. It just feels so disloyal and personal when you believed in them. That is my position now. I thoroughly believed in him and had his back. He did not reciprocate. He exposed me to danger, (diseased and a sociopathic bitch) and heartbreak. I’m sorry, but I can’t let that be okay. It is personal. Even if it was never ‘directed AT me.’ And interestingly, although he spent years denying it was, he now admits that maybe there was an almost subconscious need to punish me. He never thought it. But yeah, he was angry at me about something I had no idea about! Hard to make changes, if no one tells you you have done something that annoyed your partner. I had no idea.

      As for that inkling that something wasn’t quite right? I really could not put my finger on it. We seemed to still have the fun we always did, sex was still fantastic and very regular, we talked, we planned our future, we parented together, I was perplexed. I didn’t feel it constantly, but conversely there was a kind of pervasive something. Just below the surface. I think I felt it as very mild resentment? I dug and dug sometimes, trying to expose the problem. He denied there was anything wrong. Which was why I ended up in couples counselling, for the first time ever, twenty plus years into what had been a truly fab relationship that I had felt very fulfilled and validated in – on my own! I never really connected any dots. When I look back, there were three occasions that I queried whether he was doing something ‘inappropriate’ with Leanne. Specifically her. And I never noticed I had asked three times. I didn’t heed the red flags. ‘Hey, Paula. You asked him about this before. That seems a sign of something you should be paying more attention to.’ Nope. I blindly trusted him when he replied/answered/reassured/JUSTIFIED! I never thought he would lie to me if I asked directly. I put my own values and reactions onto him. I may have been able to lie by omission, but if confronted, I would sing like a canary! I assumed he would be the same. And we were all friends, right? I mean, other than in bad soap operas, who does that? Not us. He isn’t that cruel. Riiiiiiiiiight?

      I assumed. And you know what they say about that!

      I agree that cheating cuts some very magical, invisible ties. The magic leaves, and you are left with the pumpkin, mice, etc, and the fairy godmother has left the building. I don’t know how to fix that. I have tried really hard. And I believed in magic. I believed we could. Somehow. Until around five years. I think that was when hope trudged out behind the fairy godmother through the same door.

      Gosh! A novella of a reply! Apologies. I guess it still bleeds a little, this wound. Thanks again, Nuthatch. I am sorry you are feeling this, too.

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