58: After the storm

I didn’t leave town because I wanted to leave. I left because C asked me to leave. What she wants and needs matters to me, contrary to my deceptions.

I left because she told me she needed space, was too “broken” and “codependent” to see me. I was told by others she was being treated for PTSD and might need to be hospitalized. I tried to take responsibility and give her space.

I stayed away because she was working on herself and I was struggling with my own anxieties, fears, and shame. My requests to meet were rebuffed with a simple line: “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

I’ve come to realize while she was telling me one thing, she was doing something else entirely.

I’m not saying my betrayal, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies didn’t harm her. I’m not saying what I did doesn’t matter. I’m not saying there should be no consequences.

Her first words to K was “Good! I’ve been looking for a reason to kick him out!” When I tried to get to the truth of her feelings, she responds with the silent treatment.

I had no idea that was how she felt. Of course, like so many other times in our relationship, I am left to guess and fill in the vacuum. Is everything about my betrayal? Is it really what she wanted anyway? Is the truth somewhere in-between? Her statement and several others she apparently made to K in the immediate aftermath of discovery may or may not be true.

If it is how she felt she lied for a long time about what she needed and wanted. Were there other things she never had the willingness to confront or talk to me about? As I’ve learned, infidelity and the subsequent behaviors are only one form of betrayal. None better or worse than another except what we make of them.

Leaving created a vacuum. A vacuum others filled with an angry storm of revenging, rumormongering, a toxic mix of truth and half-truths, and the self-serving ghost stories of would be Heros, armchair psychologist, and suitors. All happy to fill in the vacuum left by my departure. All looking to be the next Hero in our Drama Triangle. Sharks feasting on the chum of our demise.

I never planned on being gone for four and a half months. I never planned on abandoning my home, C, or my life.

But here I am in Pittsburgh 130 days later listening to the wind howl outside my sixth-floor hotel window at four in the morning. The wind gusting into the vacuum created in the aftermath of a spring storm.

When I look at C’s behaviors I realize she is simply doing what she knows how to do. She has been abandoned over and over in her life too by people she loves when she needed them most. Her high school boyfriend when it got complicated, her father after the divorce, and even at times rejected and judged by her own sisters, friends, and family.

Ending the relationship is about loving herself. I know that. Perhaps my betrayal – and the details of my betrayal – were about cutting off what she figures I would have done eventually.

The other things? I don’t really know.

I would never have left her but now, given the opportunity, I’m not sure I could go back but I’m leaving my heart open to the possibilities. Four months later she is still finding small passive aggressive ways to lash out at me. She hangs onto her anger but never confronts me with it.

I always saw her as a self-sufficient and powerful woman when in reality she is often a scared girl hiding behind an easel and canvas. It is why she relies on men to keep her safe and protect her instead of leaning into the pain herself.

I get that.

I hide like a little boy too in my own ways. Maybe that is why she always described our sex and love in terms of teenagers.

She is doing the best she can based on what she knows how to do. If she had experienced different things she would have done different things. If I had experienced different things I would have done different things too.

We have that in common too.

Her behavior isn’t personal. For a long time, I took it that way.

Her silent treatment and team building, her Lancelot, trolls, and fish tales were never about me. They were simply howling in the vacuum left in her heart by my betrayal.

5 thoughts on “58: After the storm

  1. My marriage was in a bad place and I was actually planning my exit strategy which involved paying off debt and trying to stick things out until the boys finished school. When I learned of the affair, the first person I told was my cousin. I told her good, now I have an excuse to get divorced.

    When I made the statement, I really did mean it at that moment. I wonder if C actually did mean that or was it said out of anger. It’s too bad you have not had the opportunity to have a conversation in person with C not necessary for reconciliation but at least for closure if ending things is her decision…

    1. Wanders – #Infidelity is an outcome of an unskillful coping mechanism, everything else is a story someone imagines. Sharing thoughts and letters with those the men and women that #betrayed their Loves, lives, and selves too. What you do today matters most. All anyone can do is own the experience and practice doing better.
      A Reformed Cad says:

      True or false my perspective on why we aren’t speaking is tainted by the actions of interlopers.

      I can only discern what happened by how several people have responded to by betrayal of C. I’ve been told in multiple trolls that I tried to steal her identity, her mail, hack her emails and phones. I’ve been accused of hiding behind multiple alias to spy on her.

      None of it is true and I don’t know if this is what she believes or has simply been sold by people projecting their fears and ghost stories. Regardless, the damage is extensive. Which, with trolls, is the purpose.

  2. Hmmm, lots of conflicting stories there. You may never know the truth. For me, once trust is gone it’s gone. It cannot be fully repaired. There will always be some doubt. I fear that if you did go back and she accepted you, that you would spend the rest of your life paying for it from her, and from everyone else no doubt. Every time something went wrong or she didn’t get her way it would be thrown back in your face. Do you want that?

    That you are already considering whether or not you would go back is a good sign. You’re starting to glimpse a world without her. That’s a good thing.

    1. Wanders – #Infidelity is an outcome of an unskillful coping mechanism, everything else is a story someone imagines. Sharing thoughts and letters with those the men and women that #betrayed their Loves, lives, and selves too. What you do today matters most. All anyone can do is own the experience and practice doing better.
      A Reformed Cad says:

      April 22.

      And then I know I’ve done what I can based on the information I have…