Trickle truth returns with a vengeance

If you’ve read through my posts thus far you know that until now the general timeline of Handsome’s affair was that it all started by texting in very early 2016, that sometime in the late Spring of 2016 he and the Whore had their one and only hotel tryst (although he struggled with remembering exactly when the hotel occurred, but insisted the affair didn’t start in 2015), and that from June 2016 through late November 2017, it was purely sexting and voyeurism. We worked hard together to pin down those broad dates over numerous conversations. Call it a 2-year affair, start to finish, 17 months of which was not physical. I was slowly coming to grips with that. It sucked and it was wretchedly painful, but I was getting by, willing my damaged self through each day. Wait… not so fast.

A few posts ago I made reference to our finances. We do not share credit cards. My bills are an open book (often laying on the kitchen counter), but his seemed to disappear from the house immediately after arrival. After DDay he agreed to be more open and transparent about them – and everything else – and insisted that he had nothing to hide. I realized a few days ago that I was still not seeing those bills. I know he didn’t use online accounts for any of the cards, so I set them up myself for him last week.  In doing so, I accessed his statements from 1/2015 to the present. Amidst the gasoline charges and medical co-pays and the amusement park trips with the kids, there it was… the charge for the no-tell-motel… on July 1st of 2015. I found that four days ago and I don’t think that I’ve caught my breath since.

What real difference does it make? It matters to me in two ways. First, it means that the affair started pretty close to a year (a YEAR) before he said it did. It didn’t start with the hotel.  It started months before then.  In turn that means it was well underway at the time of our 10th wedding anniversary, and was ongoing throughout another year of milestones and vacations and experiences, all of which are now tainted too. Second, he previously admitted to being at the Whore’s house as late as May 2016. That means that the physical portion of their affair was probably more like 12-16 months, not six months. To me, both of those are real and material differences.

Handsome’s reaction to this newfound information? “Well, I told you that I really couldn’t remember when that was.”

How does an otherwise intelligent man not remember what YEAR he started an affair? Is that a legitimate subject for confusion? How does he not remember screwing his whore in a fleabag motel just days before his  summer vacation with his family? If he felt as guilty as he says he did, why wasn’t that on his mind throughout the entire trip (thus burning it into his brain)?  How can someone “forget” that?

Thinking this mess went on for two years is bad enough, but another year on top of that? Our youngest was in preschool then, which seems like a lifetime ago when I look at him now. He was still enough of a baby to sleep with his butt up in the air back then, and now – three years later – he’s my super cool surfer dude/ Minecraft expert. His growth is a painful, heartrending illustration of how very, very long the lies and deceit went on. I feel suffocated by the duration of this deceit.

Which wife will I be today?

Before DDay I’d have described myself as stable, grounded, even unflappable. I juggled pressure and stress like a circus star. On those days when I was in the midst of the tornado that is life with a crazy full time job, two kids, an elderly mom, and a law enforcement husband, if my fuse got short I was more likely to become forgetful than to snap in anger. (It’s a weird coping mechanism, and not really helpful at home or at work, but for me it beats flipping out.) These days, I’m on a much less even keel, and it’s scary and unsettling.

Say, for example, that Handsome and I manage a decent day together. Maybe we make some progress in our discussions with one another, or we have a legitimately good day.  At night, we get into bed, kiss each other goodnight, and I fall asleep thinking that we’re surely going to get through this. Perhaps I even managed a decent night’s sleep for once. Then, the next morning as the sun peeks from behind the horizon, I find that I can’t bear to look at him or hear the sound of his voice.  What happened in the middle of the night? Nothing. Did I learn some trickle truth or have a flurry of intrusive thoughts? Nope. And yet the disgust, rage, and hostility that I feel is real and palpable. I feel it in my chest and down through the soles of my feet. Sometimes these feelings last throughout the day, and occasionally they bleed over to the next day as well.

These mood swings (is that what they are?) are frightening for me and I’m sure they’re confusing and scary for Handsome. He doesn’t ask for much these days (so he’s not completely dim), and he is trying. I make a point to acknowledge that with some kind words of recognition when I can, and he appears to really want and need that. So he goes to bed with a hurt but reasonable person, and he wakes up with a Tazmanian devil. That has to screw with his mind. I know it’s screwing with mine because I feel like I have zero control over my emotions.

Does this sound familiar to anyone further out from DDay than I am? Do these waves dissipate over time? Or at least become more predictable? Do you just ride them out and roll with it?

Why did he cheat?

A commenter recently asked – in relation to a different post – why, from my perspective, Handsome cheated. I thought it might be helpful to post my answer here. I  am certain my answer to this question will evolve, but two+ months out from DDay, this is what I think as I stated in my reply (edited slightly):

We are working on the “why” and trying to figure out how we got to a place where the affair happened. He says it’s because he was a selfish, narcissistic asshole, which is certainly true but not the root of the issue. Handsome has been in individual counseling for a month. (At 55, for the first time ever talking to someone about his innermost feelings.) I have my own theories though on what led him to seek attention elsewhere. I cannot, however, explain how he picked this wretched person to seek that attention from or why he wasn’t repulsed by her (which would be his normal reaction).

Handsome comes from a very patriarchal family. His dad is king. His mom had a good professional job at a time when many women didn’t, but his dad still dictated everything. I earn about 3x as much as Handsome. His job pays for utilities and, thankfully, provides our very necessary health insurance, and he pays for his car and his credit cards. He also makes a modest monthly payment on my student loan. I pay for everything else (two mortgages, everything related to the kids, all groceries, my car and my credit cards, vacations, dining out, entertainment, and all of the expenses for our second house). While I think he likes the trappings of our lifestyle, I know the shifted power dynamic gets to him. (I say “power” but I don’t control his finances or anything…. it’s more the lack of control he has over me or mine.) I think perhaps he wanted to feel more needed, more in charge.

I also think the dynamics of our intimate life played a role. Several years ago he developed E.D. issues. I never got upset in front of him or did anything other than try to reassure him I loved him and it would be okay. But a cycle started. We’d try to have sex, it wouldn’t work, and so rather than trying and failing he just about quit trying. In retrospect, I thought I was handling that okay by stepping back and giving him some space to work through that frustration. I didn’t think I should try to force the issue (he already had a Viagra prescription that barely helped). I was actually proud of how understanding I thought I was being. Whereas I saw “helpful, supportive space” I think he saw “disinterest” and “she must not care.”

To me, there are still a bunch of steps between “she must not care” and “seems like a good idea to have an affair.” I’m haunted by how many fairly simple conversations we could have had that might have made a big difference in where we are today. If he had ever asked “Are you still in love with me” I would have moved heaven and Earth to assure him I was. I was certain he loved me, but I didn’t realize that might not be enough.

My post DDay frantic internet searches were the first time I stumbled upon the phrase “cognitive dissonance.” I do think it played role for us. It helped him justify or come to terms with his otherwise deplorable conduct. He firmly believed that cheating was bad, but yet he skewed his perceptions of our marriage to make it okay (“she doesn’t care” “she doesn’t want me”). He doesn’t admit this yet, but I do think it’s coming. It would also tie to the porn and masturbation in lieu of actual intimacy. His belief being both that he could quit any time – I don’t think he could – and that it wasn’t hurting our marriage because I didn’t want him (utterly untrue). It’s as if he compartmentalized his life and created an alternate reality where he convinced himself he had an unattentive wife and was justified in his conduct. Outside of that compartment he still acted as if our marriage was great, save for the small issues everyone experiences.

I remembered today that we had an argument about a year and a half ago. Truth is, while we occasionally bickered we rarely out-and-out fought. In this particular instance, I don’t recall what it was about, but I remember that I said something to Handsome about him “checking out” of the marriage. I vividly recall him looking at me as if I had slapped him. He appeared sincerely hurt, confused.  He said he didn’t feel that way about the marriage and that he thought we were in a good place and he was happy. Even today, as doubtful as I am about almost everything, I’m convinced he was sincere. I felt so badly at the time that I think I backtracked on my comment and apologized. Here’s my point – on that very day he was in the midst of the affair  and likely in the 6+ months where it was physical. How could he say – and apparently believe – that our marriage was good, while he was cheating? I cannot get my head around that.

I don’t think I’m alone in my confusion on this issue either.  Handsome tells me that it has been the subject of many discussions in therapy.  The “why” someone cheats is generally understood in a bad marriage. When it happens in a “good” marriage, it’s difficult to reconcile how the cheater could truly love the betrayed spouse and yet do something so clearly bound to gravely injure them. When we get to the bottom of that “why” – or even part way down that rabbit hole – I’ll feel like we’re making progress.

On a side note, I made it through Valentine’s Day relatively unscathed and just focused on my kids. Our trip to New England was okay 98% of the time. We actually had some fun together. Best of all, our first affair recovery session with Brian from Beyond Affairs went well. Handsome was practically doing jumping jacks trying to reduce his stress level throughout that session, and I found myself largely unable to look at him during much of it, but we managed it and have good, helpful homework to do over the next few weeks before our second session.

Agitation or fear (or both)?

Things are happening this week that have me on edge.

First, Valentine’s Day. Screw that this year. Handsome will get lovely cards from the kids, but not from me. I’ve told him not to get me anything (and assured him it wasn’t a test… that I truly want nothing). Maybe next year or down the road things will be different.

Next, later in the week we are heading to our summer home in New England. We had some pipes freeze there and need to attend to that damage. It will be my first time in the house since learning that he spent a yard-work weekend alone there last May sexting the Whore the entire time. Hundreds of texts and a bunch of photos and videos. That house has always been my happy place and my safe haven – since before I got together with Handsome – and I’m scared I won’t be able to see it in that light any longer. Part of me may actually be glad some of it needs to be torn apart, rebuilt, and redone as it might get rid of the taint from what he did there. (As I write that it sounds crazy to me and yet it makes perfect sense at the same time.) The church where we got married is nearby too. I’m not sure how I’ll deal with seeing that.

Finally, on Friday we have our first affair recovery session with Brian from Beyond Affairs.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this for a few weeks, but now that it’s upon us, I’m nervous. I don’t want to blow it out of proportion, but I do want it to go well. I want Handsome and I both to feel like it will be helpful. I have no reason to believe that anything other than that will happen, but I’m unsettled about it nonetheless. In short, it’s something new added to the “new normal” of our life, and at this point new=scary.

I expect it will be that way for many months.

Two months post DDay – a long, strange trip

Some days, I truly wonder if I’m losing my mind. If I manage to sleep, which is no sure thing, I might actually awake and have a brief, fleeting moment where I forget. I forget for a nanosecond what Handsome did. In that moment my life is like it was pre-DDay, and it feels safe and comforting. Then reality flashes in and I wonder if I had a bad dream. A split second later I realize it’s all too real and the feeling of profound loss washes over me and consumes me in an instant.

Two months ago, I was a certifiable wreck. I have no idea how I made it through a two week family vacation or Christmas. Sadly, the good times with my mom and kids among those days are such a blur they are lost to me…one more casualty of Handsome’s infidelity.

I’d love to write here that I’m getting better. Some days I feel as if I am. Not every day has been 100% awful. The affair is clearly over. Handsome started individual counseling, is working hard at it and has dialed back his drinking significantly. He is doing a good job controlling his angry outbursts. He tries in his own somewhat clumsy way to talk to me about what happened. We start marriage counseling next week. He tells me multiple times a day that he loves me. (I mostly believe he thinks he loves me, but I am very uncertain whether he is actually in love with me. How could he be if he did this awful thing?) We have had days where we laughed, had fun, had great sex (hysterical bonding!), and/ or talked about our future as if it was a certainty.

And yet on other days there is no light in the world and the very sight of him, or the sound of his voice, is both repulsive and hurtful to me. I spend days with tears dripping out of my eyes at work (it’s not exactly crying… tears just flow forth for hours on end… WTF?), and the waves of grief that wash over me seem never ending. I think of the deliberate deception (the burner phone), the duration of  his involvement with the Whore (years), how he made believe he was being a good husband and a good dad, and generally how he flitted around our home acting like nothing was going on when he was actively destroying our marriage and our family. It sickens me.

I’m tired of the emotional seesaw. I want to get off. I didn’t get on willingly or of my own volition. I was dragged onto it by the narcissism and selfishness of the person I love (loved?) most in the world. That realization alone is devastating. While I have good days and bad, every single day I’m aware of what Handsome did. It is in my head permanently. The mantra running through my mind is “He did this to me. To us.” It was intentional, disrespectful, disgusting, and dishonest. Two months in, I’m still not certain how to come to terms with that.

The Other Woman

“What’s she like?” That was the question my best friend asked me today. How do I answer that?  I’ve only seen her in pictures and heard her cigarette-weathered voice on my voicemail. I do not believe that he could have found someone more different from me (from both of us, frankly) if he actively tried.

While we were on our vacation Fire Dude included a picture of the Whore in the texts he sent me.  He was sincerely lamenting the loss of his “angel” at the hands of my husband. To him, she was his world. To me, she looked like a cross between a Russian hooker and a clown. Heavy blue eye shadow. Lots and lots of mascara. Pancake make-up with rouge.  (Seriously… rouge.) Hair she clearly dyed and highlighted herself, and poorly. Clothing two sizes too small. She was my age, roughly, but in fairness thinner and more petite. I’m going to date myself here, but she truly looks like a thinner version of Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show. (Google it)

I do not smoke. Handsome absolutely detests cigarette smoke. It repulses him. He hates it with the fire of 1,000 suns… and yet the Whore smokes.

I am educated. Handsome reads voraciously, and is big on proper English (we both are even if that may not be evident from this blog), and yet many of her texts seemed to be written by an illiterate dunce (“was you just up here?” by way of example). Her voicemails were equally lacking. Fire Dude says she barely completed high school.

I have worked constantly since I was 16. I work full time now to help support my family. The Whore lays on her couch all day and drinks. She hasn’t had a job of any kind in over 7 years despite pleas from Fire Dude to get even a part time position.

I have never used drugs and drink only occasionally.  According to Fire Dude, the Whore is an alcoholic who also uses and occasionally sells opiates.

I have never been in trouble with the law in any way shape or form. The Whore claims that everything started with Handsome when she asked a question about a warrant for her arrest. Separately, during the affair, she was arrested for punching her 11-year old son in the face. Handsome was not the arresting officer, but he apparently had to fingerprint her. There are texts from her regretting how bad she looked in lock-up (not for beating her child) and replies from him that she looked “YUMMY and delicious…like always.” I really struggle with how he could possibly have continued the affair after that particular incident, but he did.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I’m not saying that any of this would be easier if he cheated with someone from our neighborhood or our country club, but the fact that he chose to imperil our family, his job, and everything about our life for such a complete piece of trash is inexplicable to me. If she appeared on our doorstep applying for a job to clean our toilets, either one of us would have shooed her away in an instant. And yet he slept with her.

How does that even happen?

“I don’t remember.”

At this point it’s likely helpful to know a bit more about Handsome and our marriage. Handsome is in law enforcement, and he’s funny and outgoing at home, but can be shy and awkward in certain social settings or around new people. He has learned to schmooze with my clients at a hockey game, but if I take him to a cocktail party he’s likely to take refuge in a corner near the bar. I would say that he is confident at work, and at least somewhat insecure elsewhere. He has a quick temper, but a deep heart.

For as long as I’ve known him, Handsome’s preferred beverage has been a fancy, cold beer. We have mandatory recycling where we live so I thought I knew how much he was drinking. He loved a beer or two with dinner (rarely more) and one before bed. I thought that was a lot, but he was never intoxicated. So I stayed silent. Since DDay he has disclosed that he  concealed the extent of his drinking from me. Six to ten beers a day was apparently not unusual, most of which were consumed when I was out of the house or after I went to bed. The excess empties were apparently tossed elsewhere or hidden in the trash. One more thing I didn’t know. (Since we returned from our family vacation he is down to one beer or less a day, and not at my insistence. I’m pleasantly surprised and proud of him for that. It’s a bright spot in the otherwise dark depths of these days.)

Handsome works rotating shifts which means that we are often at complete opposite schedules. My job is a steady but long lawyer schedule, and he can work daylights, nights, or overnights.  It changes every week. So, some weeks we see each other a lot, other times we have to make the most out of seeing each other in passing. But that has always been true. I think (thought? believed? should it be past tense now?) it’s why we love to travel… we know we’ll be together and it gives us something to look forward to together. Whenever we’d have a stretch where he was on daylights – so we’d have all evening and night together – it was my favorite shift of his because we got to spend time together after we both finished work. I only learned recently that it was also his favorite shift with the Whore because they could text/ sext with impunity during the day since her husband was also at work.

In mid-January, Fire Dude called and asked to meet me. I told Handsome that I was going and while I think he was sad about it, he did not try to stop me. In short, Fire Dude handed me the Whore’s burner phone. He asked if I could somehow get the phone mirrored or copied for him and, if so, he was willing to lend it to me for that purpose and so I could read through it. (On DDay Handsome told me that when he found out Fire Dude had the Whore’s phone, he broke his burner phone into pieces and threw the pieces away in multiple places.)

I’d read all the blog posts and websites about the destructiveness of intrusive thoughts and knowing too many details, but my personality is such that I need to acknowledge and then move on.  My imagination is likely much worse than reality. Plus, Handsome had told me that he never took the burner phone on vacation with us, either on long or short trips. It was important to me to confirm that. So, over the course of a few evenings I read through all 12,000 plus text messages, and compared dates with our calendars. Handsome had told me the truth. He never took the phone when he traveled with us. He did, however, often start texting her the very minute he was alone outside our house after we got home. He also texted her hundreds of times during two weekends he traveled alone, including one weekend from our home in New England… a home where I had gotten dressed for our wedding and where our son was likely conceived. He sent the Whore dick pics from our bedroom there. And there were texts on my birthday and my kids’ birthdays and our anniversary. And Mother’s Day.

I tried really, really hard to be calm and rational. Or at least not completely irrational. But I had a lot of venom in my system after I was done reading the phone. So I started to ask more questions. We would sit at our kitchen table and I’d ask anything and everything I felt I needed to know. I didn’t want to know the color of her skanky panties or who was on top, but I did want to know exactly when it started and how long the physical affair lasted (it does not appear from the texts that they were together alone or physical from roughly August of 2016 forward… just rampant sexting). The answer: “I don’t remember.” There are not three more frustrating words in our language. If he doesn’t remember, how am I to know and get closure?

There are things that he can and did answer: how many times they had intercourse (once); where (a cheap hotel); how many times they had oral sex (likely 8+ – far more than the one time he admitted to on DDay); where (her house); was she ever in our house (no); did she ever meet me or the kids (no); did he love her (hell no). Those answers are helpful, but I’m haunted by what I do not know.

I do not know, as I write this, with any degree of specificity when the affair started or how long the physical affair lasted. I continually ask “How is the very day, or even the month if not the day, that you decided your marriage vows no longer applied not burned into your brain for eternity?” He has no answer.

Handsome does not respond well to ultimatums. He’s likely to do the opposite and take pictures just to prove it. But I need an end to the trickle truth and an end to my wondering.  I cannot spend the rest of my life with doubts about what occurred and when. So, I asked him to take some time – a few weeks if necessary – to put together his story, from beginning to end, what exactly happened and when (as near as he can recall). I told him to use all of the resources he has available, his calendar, his work schedules and overtime records, and anything else he can gather to help him tell me everything. I don’t want him to make things up just because he feels he has to… that’s not what I’m after.  He can talk through things with his therapist or with our cat, for all I care, but when he is done talking I want nothing to be left unsaid.  No other shoe to drop. No more trickle truth. I do not want to hear anything from Fire Dude or the Whore or anyone else that he could not have told me himself. I hope he takes this seriously, because I feel like my whole world is hanging on what he has to say.

Surviving Christmas

We returned home from our big trip late on Christmas Eve.  With two kids, ages 8 and 12, it was important not to delay Santa any longer than necessary so we slogged ahead with the celebration the following day.  I occasionally had to step away to cry. I was looking at my family around the tree and wondering if it could be the last holiday we’ll all be together.I wondered if my kids would have to shuttle between homes on holidays and weekends.

Do I want to make my marriage work?  Yes. Am I sure it will happen? Not at all. I wasn’t sure then, and these weeks later I am still not sure.

I know that I don’t need to decide right now. (And I don’t think that I could make a good decision if I had to.) If I need or want to leave, I can leave later, when I am ready. I don’t need to rush to do anything now.

For me, there’s normally a trailing off to post-vacation and holiday cheer. Not this year. December 26th I was back to work and trying to deal with my new reality – the wife of a cheater. The betrayed spouse.  What was he doing while I was at work? Was the affair that he assured me was over truly over? Was I paranoid? It was the first time he’d been out of my sight since DDay, and I was utterly unable to function. That was the first time I fully realized how every single day moving forward would be just a little bit harder for me, and how his disclosure had changed me by stripping away my trust.

While I have great relationships with a lot of colleagues and acquaintances, I have few close friends. Very few. Handsome was my best friend. Why “was”?  I’m still trying to fathom how one person in a supposedly loving, caring relationship can intentionally act in a way that will certainly, knowingly result in the complete devastation of the other person. I understand that I was never supposed to know, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t damaged while it was going on. Eight weeks post DDay I will tell you that my best friend isn’t who I thought he was. Maybe, hopefully, he’s still in there somewhere – the Handsome that I fell head over heels in love with those years ago – but the version that existed these last few years can screw himself. He is not my friend.

Taking a family vacation when your family is falling apart

The morning Handsome, our two kids, my 84 year old mother and I were to leave for our long awaited two week holiday trip to Europe, I logged into my work email from home.  There, in my in box, was the message from my secretary: “A gentleman named Fire Dude called for you. He asked for your voicemail.”  He had left a polite but agitated message stating that Handsome had been sleeping with his wife and that they had been sexting each other since at least some time in August of 2016.  He said there were over 10,000 texts between them, including photos and videos, in the 17 months of data on her burner phone.  Sexting? over 10,000? WTF? What happened to “keeping in touch?” Trickle truth.

I called Fire Dude back.  He was kind to me. He believed that some of the contact between Handsome and the Whore occurred while Handsome was working, so he told me that he had shown the phone to Handsome’s boss. Then I gave up any remaining dignity and I begged him, literally, to please not get Handsome fired as we would likely lose our home and we would certainly lose the health insurance we need so desperately for our kids. He agreed to stop pressing the issue with Handsome’s boss. I told him that we could speak again when I returned from the trip. I was physically ill when I hung up with him.

I do not think that I looked at Handsome throughout any of the flights to Europe.  I tried very hard to be excited, enthusiastic, and attentive to my kids and my mom.  Meanwhile, I felt like I was dying on the inside. As if at any moment I would stop breathing or fall over dead.  I’ve lost people in my life that I dearly, dearly loved.  I’ve experienced profound grief.  This was worse. Correction, it IS worse. As I write this I am 8 weeks removed from DDay and the damage has not diminished.

A day or two into the trip I had a small epiphany. Most betrayed spouses likely have to go on with business as usual after DDay. Work, kids, school, etc.  I made the choice to try to make the most of my extraordinarily crappy situation.  I did not have to worry about work. I did not have to do laundry or cook or clean. And, most importantly, Handsome didn’t either.  He was, literally, stuck with me. For two weeks. I decided that we would take the time after the kids went to bed each night and talk to each other… try to work through as much as we possibly could before we got home. And we did.

It was brutal and I was averaging 3 hours of restless dozing a night and barely eating. I swear like a sailor and there were f-bombs dropped all over 4 countries. I yelled occasionally and assailed him. I was often snarky and mean. He kept saying he was sorry. He kept saying all the things he’s supposed to say. That it was the biggest regret of his life.  That he’d go to individual counseling. That he’d go to marriage counseling. That he’d do anything to keep his family together (the fact that this did not include remaining faithful in the first place is not lost on me…). I cried. And cried. And cried.

While we were gone Fire Dude forwarded me about two dozen screen shots from the Whore’s burner phone. The texts were explicit. Handsome said many of the same things to her that he said to me routinely. He called her by my nickname. There were dick pics taken in our basement, masturbation videos from our master bath, and he told her she had the most beautiful pussy in the world and that no one excited him like she did. She reciprocated in every way imaginable. I was crushed. One night I made him sit and listen to me read those texts to him. He wept.

Much of our trip is a blur. I look at my photos and they’re very scattered and disorganized from my usual.  There are lots of pictures of my kids and my mom- and we posed together for them – but I have only one or two pictures from the entire trip of us in the same frame.

By the time we started our long journey home on Christmas Eve, I knew a few things that I didn’t two weeks earlier: that my inclination was to see if the marriage could be saved, that he was honestly remorseful, and that Handsome was not who I thought he was for a very long time.

The day after DDay – trickle truth

Less than 10 hours after disclosure, life had to go on.  Handsome got up and went to work.  I had kids to feed and a trip to pack for. (A trip… how on Earth was I going to be able to go on vacation with this man?) I feel like I was alternately shaking, crying, or just in a fog the entire day.

Handsome came home. We sent the kids off to their friends for a bit. I yelled and cried, and he just kept saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” like a broken record.

On this day I got my first dose of what is often referred to as “trickle truth.” I knew that I could not possibly have been told everything the night before. I started to ask question after question.  Some things Handsome could answer.  Other things, he could not or would not answer.  It was exhausting, and frustrating. I hadn’t read any affair related blogs or websites yet. I did not know that this was just the beginning. I did not know that facts and details would continue to drip, drip into my life, each one inflicting a new wound as it arrived.

My main take-away from the day though was what led to the disclosure in the first place. His affair partner (I’m going to call her “the Whore” here because, well, it’s my blog and I can…) is married.  With three kids. Her 12 year old son found her burner phone and told his father. That was on November 20th.  My DDay was December 9th.  Handsome knew for weeks that the cat was out of the bag, but he never willingly disclosed.  It was not until her husband accosted Handsome at his job on the 9th- after figuring out that he was her affair partner – and specifically told Handsome that he intended to call me, that Handsome realized that he had to tell me about the affair.

To hear Handsome tell the story, he says he didn’t disclose earlier because he didn’t want to ruin our big trip or the holidays but that he knew he’d need to tell me. Maybe, but I doubt it. I do not think a day after the holidays would have ever come where he would have just suddenly decided to confess. I owe the Whore’s husband (he’s going to be Fire Dude herein) a debt of gratitude. If it weren’t for him I’d still be living in a lie of a life. As painful and soul-shattering as the last several weeks have been, at least I know. I can take steps to protect my health, my finances, my children, and my future. I will not be caught off guard again.

I couldn’t sleep that night, or for many nights thereafter, and I had no idea whether I was actually going to be able to get on a plane with him the following day.  How could I even fly when I couldn’t stop crying and I felt like I couldn’t breathe?

D-Day – Deceit as a Lifestyle Choice

One thing that I have come to realize since my own Disclosure Day (DDay) – December 9, 2017 – is that all betrayed spouses have had to experience such an unfortunate day.  I’m not alone in that.

If you had asked me at 11:17pm on that night if my husband would ever have an affair, I’d have told you that you were out of your mind.  By 11:19pm, my life as I knew it was forever altered. It’s not that I thought it impossible for Handsome to behave inappropriately, but rather I thought he would never cross THE line…the line between monogamy and infidelity.

To give you some background, my husband – I’ll call him Handsome in this blog – and I met in 1997. We were colleagues first, as we were both in other relationships, and eventually we started dating in 2001.  We fell in love and, between then and our eventual marriage in 2005 we lived at various times both in the same city, as well as a long distance from one another, but our relationship was solid despite that disruption. After we married we settled down in a small house on a lovely quiet street in our borderline Mid-Western city. Two children followed – a daughter in 2006 and a son in 2009. Life was, I thought, good.

Flash forward slightly to 2012.  Handsome and I shared a single home email account.  On that account I started to notice a number of emails from a woman I did not know. He volunteered that she was an old girlfriend and that they had met for lunch and exchanged a few emails. Her husband was supposedly gravely ill.  The emails were, indeed, platonic.  Until they weren’t. After seeing two fairly flirtatious emails referencing the merits of his butt and her chest, I hit “reply all” and suggested that if she was lonely she should to talk to her own husband instead of mine. He wasn’t happy with me and called her to apologize for my over-reaction. She was never heard from again and he later (over a year later, in fact) apologized and said that he did not want to be shady or for me to ever think he was anything less than transparent.

Flash forward to the end of 2013.  I log into my cable account to put parental controls on our TVs and learn that Handsome has been secretly ordering and paying for porn a few times a month for a year (the cost of which we could ill afford at the time). I confronted him and he denied, denied, denied (“we were hacked!”).  It was not until I printed out all of the detailed cable invoices showing all of his purchases that he finally fessed up.  I figured that he felt ashamed, and I didn’t want to further embarrass him by pressing the issue. While there was no further porn ordered on our cable account, I always assumed that he switched to free online porn.

Between then and DDay life had ups and downs. We both lost parents. Our beloved pet died unexpectedly of cancer. Our daughter had multiple serious health issues. But we also became more prosperous as strategic job decisions began to pay off. We could travel, and we did. We closed on a long awaited purchase of a summer home in New England. We both worked really hard, but we seemed to live life to its fullest. In fact, we had a two week family trip to Europe planned for 2 days after DDay.  That trip was long awaited and several years in the making.

On DDay night, we took our kids and a group of my clients to an NHL game.  My kids had a ball, and Handsome is a huge hockey fan and he does a great job of chatting me up to my clients. It was a fun night. Later, with the kids tucked in and asleep, Handsome came into our bedroom, stood next to the bed and told me he had something he needed to tell me.  He went on to disclose that “roughly three years ago” he slept with a woman in the town he worked in and that he bought and used a burner phone and that they had “kept in touch” since then.  He might as well have taken a shotgun and shot me.  I felt absolutely shattered.  Obliterated.  After those words I have very little recollection about the specifics of the rest of the conversation. I do recall:

Burner phone


Oral Sex (“just once!”)

and the word “years”… I just could not get that word out of my mind… this wasn’t an “accident” or a “mistake” or a “one time thing”.  No.  The life I had been living was a lie.