Over time, I’ve come to realize that a good number of my conversations with my husband regarding his years of acting out have seemed an awful lot like a sadistic round of the “Never have I ever…” game.
Absent a betrayer who vomits forth disclosures, we partners are left to ask question after question, trying to get answers. We have a million questions, and we also ask the same questions multiple times. Nonetheless, we only know to ask certain questions based on the limited sphere of information we have at hand. I, for one, cannot ask what I cannot even fathom I should ask. I’m left with seemingly random guesses or barely educated stabs in the dark. “Have you ever…?” or “Did you ever…?”
As an example, Handsome did not volunteer that he was pic collecting from the “massage services” section of Craigslist (which should really more appropriately be called the “prostitution services” section) from places clear across the country. In talking about Craigslist he happened to mention the word “massage” by accident, I think, and that led to me asking if he pic collected from massage services postings. Until that point he had always insisted that he only perused the Woman Seeking Men section of our local Craigslist ads because he was “looking for criminal activity” where he worked. (He had admitted that he would save some of the pictures). When I asked, he admitted utilizing the massage services ads as well. Then I remarked “Really? It seems unusual to me that you would limit yourself to those postings in _________ [where we live], because there aren’t that many of them and I understand that many pic collectors search postings from all over the country.” He then answered casually, “Oh well, yes, I did that too… from basically everywhere Craigslist has a presence.” This statement was an admission that his pic collecting was a much more pervasive part of his acting out than I had previously imagined in that it included both the massage services and the dating/ hook -up sections of Craigslist (and probably Backpage), and he was in touch with women all over the country. It totally undermined his whole “I was mostly on Craigslist for work” BS – not that I ever bought that for a second.
Does he get a thumbs up for finally being honest? Sure. He could have lied and claimed he never did any of that. I’m mindful though that had I not done any reading or research on pic collecting, I never would have known to ask the question that I did. It might squeeze its way into the definition of an admission, but it sure doesn’t seem like rigorous honesty to me. I shouldn’t have to guess at what he’s done. Otherwise, maybe I’ve got the wrong game in mind. Perhaps this disclosure process is more like Battleship, where I just randomly toss out the most hideous things I can think of that he might have done and see if any hit their mark.