She makes me think of this book I read where a creepy neighbor dresses up as a woman so he can spy in people’s windows and not be caught. It’s about this vibe of mental illness mixed with probably learned narcissism and the world view of a three year old that it’s all about me. At the same time, I recognize that we have similarities, we both want to be loved, loved in a way to know that a man would love us enough to forsake all others, to focus on us, be patient, kind, thoughtful, and cherish us. The difference is how we try to go about filling that desire and/or how we interpret that desire.
The painful part is that someone can look you in the face and bold face lie to you. Over and over. The first time this happened, it was like my brain went on auto replay of the past 7 months of my life figuring out all of the inaccuracies and intricate details of the lies I was told and the lies I believed. There is nothing like trusting someone to find out what an asshole you have been for believing them. Let me be clear here, I’m not calling myself or anyone who has been lied to an asshole, the meaning is that I felt like a royal, top of the line, grade a asshole for believing some of the stupid, idiotic lies that my husband told me during the first affair.
Going through that process felt to me like an endless loop of my brain reviewing software code looking for glitches, finding a glitch replaying the code until the glitch was explained. It was a terrible feat to get myself out of that and also to allow it to happen to some extent. The second affair didn’t bring that on as much, for one because he got better at what he chose to lie about and when he chose to screw around during the day or other times he was “supposed” to be gone. Plus, after the first time around, a part of me died toward him anyway, it’s like I could check out easier.
So – if you are reading this and feeling like you identify with being a dumbass let me tell you this. You are not a dumbass. You loved someone. You trusted someone. You thought he or she had your best interest at heart. You were wrong, they didn’t. It doesn’t mean you are stupid, it means you were lied to by someone you loved.
Then there are the kids, you look at them and you see how much burning love they have for their father and you think, I can make this work. It can work, we can be one of the couples who “makes” it even though he cheated and lied. Years go by and you let yourself accept a standard that isn’t you, a standard of life that you would not have previously accepted. I fooled myself into believing we could make it better. I was wrong. We were not meant to be one of those couples who makes it work and learns from an affair. Special note to those couples – I congratulate you for doing the work and being open to perceive your partner in a new light, with fresh raw honesty. I think there are many people who learn and become more real post affair. I did. My other half did not.
I think there is a stigma sometimes that I am too open with my story. It’s almost like married people don’t really want to stay close to you when you were cheated on. Like it’s contagious. Perhaps it is, who knows, well, I’m sure we could search and find someone who does know! We are all just humans doing the damn best we can. Shit happens to us, we react in some way, good or bad, and we move on. We either hold on to what happened like a dung beetle holding fast to a fresh find or we let it go like the dandelion seed blown by the wind. Either way, hopefully we learn.