The Elephant in the Room

Cheaters suck.

Discovering my husband’s yet-to-be-defined affair (emotional, physical “just sex,” old friends, ex-lovers…) that has gone on for an undetermined number of years has been the most painful event in my life. I’m sure most betrayed spouses agree.

Before October, I had read very little about infidelity, beyond the mainstream media. It wasn’t something I ever expected to need a better understanding for. Why would I?

Since October, I have scoured the internet. My iPad has become my refuge. It’s one of the very few places that I’ve found support and validation as one who’s been betrayed.  I don’t believe anyone can understand the overwhelming emotional shit-storm that infidelity and betrayal unleash, unless it’s something we’ve  have personally experienced. Only then can you truly identify with it’s madness.

I started my initial reading and searching after Dday on a message board that I never joined.. Just lurked for hours. Then I found personal blogs. I’ve since read hundreds, searching for someone that has affair story similar to mine.   I’ve read blogs of betrayed wives and husbands. I’ve read from the perspective of the cheater and the other woman. I’ve read support blogs of professionals, experienced in infidelity and affair recovery. I have compared my experience with each of your personal experiences that I now follow. So far, mine is different, but only the details and background. We’ve all been handed a scripted affair, and here we are. Sharing our scripts. Here’s more of mine…

I believe that for the majority of married, committed or “exclusive” relationships, homo or heterosexual, that monogamy is a choice. A choice made by cultural, societal and histororical and familial influences.. It’s engrained in our subconscious and so we seek exclusivity with our sexual partners. I don’t believe that we, as Mammals, Homo-Sapiens, are monogamous creatures. There are certainly exceptions, but I really don’t want to write about my theory and belief in this post. I’ll save that for another blog post “Monogamy vs Polyamory!” But stating that gets me to where I need to be in this script…

My husband and I had monogamous marriage by choice. The short story goes like this… He and I met and quickly entered into an exclusive relationship (by exclusive I mean my theory as tated above.) I was 28, had recently  experienced a major crossroad in my life and was ready to settle down and start a family. I really wanted to be married. To this point in my adult life, I had been in an immature and  premature marriage, doomed from the start.  We had both cheated on each other within weeks of getting married… Craziness. Separated in less than 2 years and divorced at 3.5 years. After we separated I moved around frequently  for Military training, the 1st Gulf War, and eventually returned to my home state.  I had an amazing dating life!  My heart was broken a couple of times but I always moved on. Rarely were any of my relationships “exclusive.” They each provided something. Some had more depth and emotional connection. Others were just mind-blowing sex. But for whatever reason, none manifested into the subconscious “exclusive” monogamous husband. Until I met M.

We met (18 years ago this past Monday…) and 8 months later our son, a 10 week preemie was born. We bought a house, suffered a miscarriage, got married and found out were expecting our daughter #1 the following year.  By our first wedding anniversary, I had a toddler and demanding 3 month old. (remember this is the short script…) By our second anniversary I was pregnant with our daughter # 2. Yep… We where living the socially, culturally and historically defined “politically correct” monogamous relationship and the American dream.

I started to question monogamy after 5-6 years of marriage and at about 7 years together, I proposed the idea of open marriage to my husband. After months of reading, research and discussion, we agreed to try an open marriage. In hindsight, I was probably more persuasive than he was in accepting of  the concept. But we tried. I really tried. I really wanted it to work, but M morphed into a giant green eyed-monster.  It got to the point that as much as I wanted the open marriage to work and believed that it could, I had to accept that it wasn’t going to work with M. His jealousy was making us both miserable and me crazy. I decided (and together we agreed) that we needed to return to a monogamous relationship, and  a “closed-marriage.”

He had a really hard time accepting the whole concept. He tried and as miserable as it made him, he was unwilling to quit trying. He’s competitive that way. He was fine with his outside partners, not so much so about mine. He was always suspicious that I was seeking to replace him.  I was unable to make him understand and believe that he was the man who I wanted to be married to and grow old with. That he was my dream come true and my happily ever after.  And he was… I wanted to grow old along with him, raise our family and share our life. I also wanted  for us to be able to enjoy the attention and companionship of other partners. I wanted this for both of us. And it would have essentially eliminate the opportunity for either of us to “cheat” or have an “affair.”

For the past 6 years our marriage has been closed, or so I believed… Now here I am, trying to find someone who has an experience like mine. See my asshole husband could have avoided and spared me this shit storm, mind-fucked, post Dday hell. He could have spared himself whatever shit he’s going thru because he did this to us, because he couldn’t manage an open-marriage and cheating on me seemed like a better option than communicating his wants and needs.

Enter the elephant…

We made a choice, a very conscious and deliberate decision to be exclusive  and monogamous to and with one another. We made that decision together. Not just vows and promises.  We were vested in what we were committing to.

And he had a full-blown-fucking-affair. I don’t think it will ever be less mind-blowing.

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9 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room

  1. Totally. Totally monogamy is a cultural choice. And yes. You made that vow at least twice to each other. Hmmph. Just because you unsuccessfully – and very openly and honestly, after much thought – tried an open marriage doesn’t make cheating hurt any less. And I’m not surprised you wanted to try it. Three kids two years after meeting. Holy hell! You never got to fall in love without responsibilities. We had five childless years. They were awesome! We got to know each other. Play with each other. Learn about each other. As people. Not someone’s mother. Or father. It was fun, and we fell more and more in love.

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    1. Today I don’t even have the words to describe what his affair has done to me.

      What will be a post sometime soon, is how my husband compares his feelings from open marriage (and his major struggles with it) to what I am feeling now.

      For instance..all the texts… And I only know the numbers because of the phone pill. I don’t know the words that were exchanged. He’ll tell me those messages don’t matter, that I should know that, (from texting male friends when our marriage was open.)

      So he tries to make the struggle he went thru with our open marriage experience the same as what I am going thru since the discovery of his affair.

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  2. Fascinating! One of those moments I wish we had a chat option in WP. Have a million questions.
    Would you consider open marriage again? Would that help even the score for you? Did you enjoy it? How did you guys keep your open life separate from your private marriage?
    I too think monogamy is tough. Not because I really wanted someone else during our marriage but because temptation is hard! I also think you can desire someone else but still love the person you’re with. Not sure how sticky it gets if you’re actually in the situation. I think I’d be too jealous to be cool with it. Not judging at all, by the way! I’m truly curious.
    Makes you wonder, also, why people have to lie given so many opportunities to come clean. It would be soooo much easier to be up front than have to deal with the hurt afterward. My soon to be ex same thing. I have him so many opportunities but he just couldn’t be honest. Like they don’t want to face it themselves. Ultimately, that’s why we can’t make it work. I am frank and seek honesty while he’d rather lie and avoid judgment. But the truth always comes out…

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    1. Well, I had a long typed out response only to have my iPad die. WP apparently doesn’t auto save responses…so, I’m going to rewrite a response on my laptop to save time.. Stay tuned…

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      1. Real time chat would be an awesome feature! Writing takes too much time, sometimes… Other days it’s just too much energy and is emotionally draining. So.. A much delayed response for you…

        “Would you consider open marriage again?”
        No. Just no. It was always an option up to the point that my husband had an affair. When we agreed years ago to “close” our marriage and remain monogamous, it was with the understanding that “someday maybe we can reevaluate this topic.” Now, in light of his infidelity, I cannot foresee any way that I would ever feel it was safe. My husband has proved he can make shitty choices. Open marriage requires an incredible amount of trust. I don’t know that I’ll ever have a level of trust in him that would allow him to go off an be with someone else.

        Interestingly, just last week, my husband got a text from a couple (Jim and Stacy) that we are friends with in a casual sort of way. By that I mean, they were friends when we had an open relationship. Stacy and my husband were lovers. We all hung out a number of times; Super Bowl parties (how about those Pats!!!) Friday night drinks, various holiday parties and events… We’ve hung out together with all our kids (my 3, their 2…) They are a wonderful couple and family. You’d never know that they were non-monogomous. So Jim texted my husband.. I was there when the text pinged. He was inviting up to a night out with a number of other mutual friends. Not sure why, but it was a HUGE trigger, not that my husband recognized it of coarse… But he asked me if I wanted to go… Yeah, about that.. hell fucking NO! My heart is racing just thinking about it. And now my palms are sweaty thinking about it…

        “Would that help even the score for you?”
        Revenge sex. I have spent many hours considering doing just that. But that’s what it would be. Revenge. Honestly though, it’s not something I could do. When I’m having my crazy-lunatic-pissed-moments-because-my-husband-had-a-fucking-affair, I absolutely want to fuck someone and then flaunt it in my husbands face. It would only hurt me though. Matt may get pissed, but it wouldn’t hurt him to the depth and breath that he’s hurt me. Besides, I’m not vindictive. Generally, I’m not even a fighter.

        “Did you enjoy it?
        From a personal perspective, I absolutely loved it! By personal, I mean when I was with just myself and living in my heart and mind, what I felt and believed. I still do believe in…
        That said though, my husband came home after work everyday. And then it became challenging… He was ridiculously jealous of a partner and friend I had a relationship with. That green monster reared it’s head on a regular basis. It actually moved in with us. As a result, I made the difficult decision that we needed to close our marriage. My husband finally agreed. He made those years incredibly difficult. He was convinced that I was trying to replace him. I was unable, regardless of what I said or did to convince him otherwise. It was apparent that it was not going to work for us.

        How did you guys keep your open life separate from your private marriage?”
        We had rules. Our open marriage was not public knowledge. We had (have) friends that knew, but we didn’t share it with just anyone. It is after all polygamy. And at least in our families, most of society really, it’s frowned upon. Illegal even!

        To navigate the treacherous waters of an open marriage, you need to trust. I trusted my husband. He didn’t trust me… Another failure in our open marriage experiment. His mistrust and jealousy actually made me feel like I was cheating on him. I think he truly believed I was. Ironic, eh? He just couldn’t t grasp it.

        “I too think monogamy is tough. Not because I really wanted someone else during our marriage but because temptation is hard!

        It is tough! History proves it. Infidelity is everywhere. I believe it’s likely the norm. I don’t believe that statistics about infidelity are accurate … Remember, cheaters that are answering these surveys, and cheaters lie.

        I don’t think we are meant to be monogomas. We choose monogamy because it’s instilled in our belief system. I do believe there are highly successful and satisfying traditional monogamous marriages. But we really don’t know what are neighbors are doing….

        I also think you can desire someone else but still love the person you’re with
        Exactly, sex is an awesome experience! It doesn’t have to be about love. Really, it’s not. We just associate them as one in the same. Sex is a highly pleasurable physical act. Love is … Huh, what is love? I don’t have a neat concise answer, but feel it’s many things, one being infinite. I believe we can share and experience and infinite amout of love, but we restrict ourselves. Society has established a norm. It’s normal to love your parents, children, various family members & friends.. But that’s it. Beyond that, we have less tolerance.

        When I was pregnant with my second child, my biggest fear was that I would be able to love her enough. How could I possibly love another child as much as my first. He was my most amazing accomplishment and I was totally taken with him. But when she was born, and I heard her gasp her first breath, I loved her with every ounce of my being. The same happened when I had my third. I didn’t have to divide the love that I had for them. I didn’t love the older ones less. The love I feel for them is boundless and infinite.

        I live in southern Maine. We have been hit with a crazy amount of snow over the past few weeks. Last week, I went shopping at the beginning of a storm.. So, snow covered everything! Slick and slippery everything. I was pushing my heavy cart out after I was finished and was struggling. I mean I couldn’t get that friggen’ cart to push for anything! It was slushy, freezing cold and windy. It was snowing like mad! This amazing lady pulled up and tried to help. Together we couldn’t move it! She stayed with my cart so I could pull up my car, and then she helped me load it all into my car. I loved her in that moment. It was genuine. My heart felt good. So although that may be a weak and cheesy example of love, but it is what I felt in that moment.

        So my husband had an affair. And I hate, absolutely hate that he has done this to me. To us. He didn’t have to. He has a better excuse than most men. But I still love him. That love didn’t just melt into the puddle of tears that my life has been for the past 4 months. It’s not absolved. So now, back to figuring out what love is!

        I love him, but now don’t know if I want to continue in this partnership. This commitment. This marriage that he cheated on. That’s what I’m trying to sort thru.

        There’s a good book “The Ethical Slut” about poligamy and monogamy. Interesting and inciteful reading!

        xo..

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  3. Wow.. I have to say I agree with you chick open marriage never for me but I was clear the door is open M if you want another have at it and I want no part in it. But alas.. nope cheating was his answer to his problems?
    Oh hell.
    I get the betrayal the utter lack of boundaries you clearly set together that your husband most rudely betrayed you.
    I am quite angry about that in my marriage.
    Why? When you could have left, left this marriage left me! You know I don’t share, you know I wouldn’t want to be with someone like you who lies, deceives, betrays a complete fraud!
    So I definitely can see how your pain is just utter disbelief that your husband had options that would not betray you, your relationship yet what do these people do??
    Yeah.. it’s quite shocking..
    It’s also shocking that I am able to still look at him, and claim I love him. Which I do very much. But more of a sister love (I know sick right) but that’s how I equate that because I care what happens to him.
    I really am not a fan of others putting him down.
    I don’t want to touch him.
    I’m so sorry this has happened to you.
    I constantly question my husband’s ability to care about what I say and what we chose to build because of this affair nonsense.
    Because he has proven he’s a liar and he will be a fraud.
    And me what I want doesn’t matter it’s all about him..
    So sad 😦

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  4. I haven’t figured out what I feel for my husband right now. I know I love him. We’ve been together 18 years and have a beautiful family. I thought our life was beautiful too. Not perfect, and certainly marred, but still beautiful. I don’t find it that right now. It’s stained and damaged. I don’t know if it’s repairable. Until I know what coarse were taking, I’m staying here, floundering and wallowing sometimes. And then some days, like today, raging fucking mad. It’s a really bad day. He just doesn’t fucking get it. Days like today I have to remind myself I love him, but question and doubt that it’s enough. Walking away would be so easy.

    So much senseless pain..

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  5. Oh Rac.. it sucks both ways I think i mean because I fantasize about leaving M alot.. I mean A LOT! I’m so sorry today is a bad day.. Today isn’t a bad day, but it isn’t a good day either.
    At least we both have one thing to stand on that we love our husbands.
    Here’s to better days Rac..
    ❤ NH

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