Around Day 22 I had just picked up my things from our house.
I packed most of them and hauled them to the thrift store and threw away the rest. According to my Fitbit I was averaging 3.5 hours of sleep a night for nearly 22 days. The humiliation, pain, the stress of moving and the lack of sleep created a chronic state of emotional and mental exhaustion making sound decision-making nearly impossible.
C probably wasn’t getting any more rest than me but I’m guessing.
I had asked C if she would spend time with me so we could talk and she told me she was a “codependent” and “broken” and couldn’t spend time with me “right now.”
First, lacking any clear instructions I was left to guess how to take responsibility and I decided to write a post on Facebook and send it to my inner circle of friends. In hindsight, this was probably one of many mistakes I made in the first 70 days.
Around Day 67, C initiated some emails and accused me of sending out a mass email and humiliating her. I accused her trying to humiliate me. I denied doing it. She denied doing it. She said it was another lie. I said she was lying. She accused me of gaslighting her. I accused her of gaslighting me.
We did all this in emails.
However, tonight around Day 120, I was journaling and suddenly I remembered this post below. It took me a few minutes to find it.
I think this is what she was talking about…but again, I’m guessing.
If this is what she was referring to I realize now neither of us was lying. We were just not clear with one another and both angry, hurting, and defensive. C feels I was intentionally trying to humiliate her. Looking back at 4 months I can see how she interpreted it that way even if it wasn’t the intent.
And because we aren’t speaking she was left to guess my intent – with help.
Emails are the obstacle to communication and not a tool for communication.
When there is a crisis my first instinct is to try and play the Hero. From her perspective, it made me a Villian and opened the door for armchair psychologists to swoop in and be the Hero.
This whole Facebook post is a perfect example of how we fell into a Drama Triangle hyped on Red Bull. And probably several AMP energy drinks.
SIDEBAR: I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster I am NEVER going to mediate a serious issue by email or text message in my next relationship.
Secondly, C repeatedly asked me not to ghost on her, to be available. Then she ghosted on me and gave me the silent treatment. She thinks I’m a narcissist and that is what you are suppose to do according to the internet.
For a Pursuer, the silent treatment drives an almost OCD response for closeness with someone we love. For her it’s not a silent treatment, it’s a healthy reponse to a sick person.
This is why Interlopers are dangerous. They cloud every conversation with their own agendas and ghosts.
No matter how angry you are, don’t leave your partner guessing. Get professional help if you need it.
Regardless of why, a vacuum fuels a Drama Triangle. Because I’m a Pursuer, I take the silence personally (which is the intent of the silent treatment) and adopt the role of a Victim. C becomes the Villian in my story and my pursuit becomes harasing and plays the Victim in hers.
And guess who gets to be the Hero again? That’s right, the armchair psychologists.
It’s all messy.
Lastly, guessing forces people to fill in the vacuum. Guessing will make it worse and drag things out. It will allow interlopers to reframe the story based on their own perceptions and agendas as opposed to what is best for the people in the situation.
Guessing creates drama. Guessing will screw with people’s heads.
Here’s the thing, I’m a mess. So is C.
No idea what to do or how.
I can compartmentalize well and focus on work but I cannot over compartmentalize in such a way that I fail to learn the lesson and not be do selfish again in my next relationship.
Being able to compartmentalize is why I was able to lie so long and so consistently about my infidelity. I’m a high functioning liar.
It is my understanding that C is sharing everything from my affair including the lies, the emails and the evidence of my deception. She is emailing lots of people looking to learn how deep this ran. How many other affairs are hidden. How many other secrets.
Some of you have taken to see this as part of some kind of long con game I was playing. Not really sure I understand that perspective but it’s your perspective.
Others have taken to the monster narrative. As in only a monster behaves that way. This was demonstrated by the threatening text I received from a would be Knight looking to protect her from me, the monster.
I don’t understand that perspective either.
How you look at this is colored by your own experience and expectations. No one expected this from me based how I talked about her, acted with her or how I treated her.
As a true friend said, “WHAT THE FUCK SEAN!”
She was angrier than it reads. Still is…
My preference was that we could keep this between Us, her counseling, my counseling, and a handful of friends. This is not what is happening. Apparently, that is not what we are doing.
First of all my affair was something I did and not who I am. Secondly, my affair was none of your business.
Not everyone is going to agree with those views.
..but the rumor mill has started and it isn’t appropriate for C to carry alone.
I’m maybe an adulterer but that doesn’t mean I’m without a conscious. I know what is appropriate…which is of course, the motivation behind all lies.
As someone pointed out to me, “This is private. Why is she telling so many people?!”
The deception to maintain the secrecy was pretty extravagant and long term. So I understand C’s need to find validation, support and dissect for other lies – which she won’t find because this was The Secret. It just was an enormous and painful secret.
There are no others. Some of you won’t believe that.
That, I do understand that. One lie like this ruins all capital.
She hasn’t spoken to me in 23 days. Based on what I know I don’t expect her to talk with me in the next 23. As such, the secret she is carrying she is forced to carry alone…much to her humiliation.
My lie caused her:
– to lose her identity as a partner in a committed relationship
– to suspect everything about our relationship was a con
– raises internal issues of how she couldn’t have known making feel stupid
– creates a financial crisis at the holidays
– humiliates her in front of her sisters that warned her anyone you meet online is a monster
– embarrass her in front of her children and ex-husband who was also abusive (my secret keeping and lying is also abusive)
There is more…but that is plenty. I can’t begin to fathom her pain and loss. We both lost a great deal from this secret.
As I said she is carrying it alone. That is her choice on how she decides on how to carry the load and with whom. It’s none of my business except it keeps growing legs.
I’ve done everything she has asked me to do. I left. I’ve stayed away. At this moment in time it looks like I’m moving out of Wisconsin.
I’m not doing any of this out of shame. I emotional, physically and intellectually in my life in Luck with C.
Shame is self-absorbed and once the secret came out shame loses it’s power.
What I am is guilty of much of what C thinks she knows. Some is suspect because of who she learned it from but separating the chaff from the wheat will take C time.
Me trying to force her to speak with me only reinforces a false narrative. Me trying to prove something to her is meaningless.
She sees me. She knows me. She either forgives me or not.
It’s a choice…
I kept the secret of the affair for lots of selfish reasons. The affair was selfish. There is nothing noble about keeping the secret or the affair. Romanticizing the secret creates a false narrative.
However, I know the weight of the secret. It is soul crushing. I know because I carried it everywhere. It was constantly creating self doubt, fear, shame, feelings of inadequacy and a host of other emotional and intellectual damage. I carried it a long time.
Which is why I’m glad the secret is out.
I haven’t publically addressed this because I’m private. I originally told 6 people in general terms. I’m still disappointed in the broadcasting of our pain to people on the periphery of our social circle. As such, I’ve been mostly quiet.
But now, as I see how C has decided to publically process this I’ve decided that I need to take the burden off of carrying the story I need to own it up to people that I called me a friend.
We aren’t Partners but for the time being the burden is on both of us. If you have a question or you want more information ask me.
Lastly, thank you for looking after C.
You can also learn more here: Check out Confessions of a Cad (@CadConfessional):