Here’s a letter from Ann, and my answer is perhaps “harsh” – and sometimes that’s what we all need – another perspective from someone who doesn’t know you. And that’s what we’re all doing for each other here!
“Rori, Well, I have been reading just about everything I can find at this site and others and have found some “ah ha” moments in everyone’s comments. . . I just wanted to throw my situation out here and see what others, an especially Rori’s, opinion may be:
I have been with the same man for 24 years, married for 22 years, we have three grown children that I stayed home and raised. During the course of the years I have ventured out and mostly finished my schooling while raising the kids, taking care of our home, and being there for my husband when ever he was at home, (he drove over the road for several years and just quit doing so about 8 years ago).
Over the years I had learn that while he was gone he had what he calls a “private life.” This private life consisted of various degrees of porn but I never thought he ever became physically or emotionally involved with anyone other then me. Over the span of 12 to 15 years I believed everything my husband ever told me. Ranging from very important topics to very minute discussions because he was always a man of integrity to me and our kids. He lived by the saying, “I don’t like liars and don’t have any time of day for them.”
Well, as I began to grow and change I found out that during his brief stays at home and eventually when he was home full time that when we were talking just about anything that he would only tell me incomplete stories, or the half truth of a situation so I, in his words, wouldn’t have to deal with the problem or what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
After catching him several, several times over the years regarding his half truths, I could not longer believe a word that came out of his mouth and became very bitter, angry, hurt, and shut down in our relationship. I also became very suspicious of his every movement and lost the “trust factor” in our lives. I felt like I was being replaced by the porn, be it magazines, vhs, dvd’s, or what ever he could find free on the computer. I shut down even more and so did our sex life for the last 5 years.
In more recent events I thought I would give our relationship one more saving grace, and instead of taking a vacation alone that we would go together. This was a huge dilemma on his part and he just had a real hard time committing to going but finally did. I thought we had a great week . . .the first time we have been alone for entire week without our kids . . .
Three weeks after our vacation things were back to “normal” no communication, half truths, and complete seclusion from one another. He works third shift in a “factory” and I was up very late working on a paper for work and decide to reach out and do what I thought at the time was a thoughtful jester and take him lunch. As I got to the parking lot I saw my husband getting into his car with a female co-worker.
They sat and talked, laughed etc . . .I was shocked and ended up sitting in my car the entire night trying to believe what my eyes just saw. I never told him . . .I kept it to myself. A week later he approached me and told me that he still loved me but wasn’t in love with me and asked me how I felt. I told him that I loved him and was still in love with him & I had to leave the discussion because all I could envision was him in the car with her . . . Two days following I asked him if we could talk some more and that I thought maybe if we could look at our relationship and try to date one another that might help . . .he agreed! I was happy and thought that this might work for us.
The next morning before I left for work and he was coming home I could see rage in his eyes and asked what was going on . . .”Some guy at work approached XXXXX (female co-worker) & asked her if she and I were having an affair.” I kept my mouth shut because I was wondering the same thing . . .I then stated, “I don’t know what you want me to say, but all I can tell you is if you approach this “guy” and say anything to him then you will be admitting to having an affair w/XXXXX.”
All I have ever asked for in our relationship have been 5 things that tie together and one doesn’t work without the other: Communication, The Truth not Half Truths, Transparency, No Hiding (shut down), and to be 50/50 in all Major Decisions.
Two more days later, that morning as my husband began to leave work he called me and asked if I wanted to meet for caffee at the cafe in town! i thought great maybe he is going to try this dating thing . . .Sure I will be right down. Then he said, ” well XXXXX is going to go with us since she wants to go over her notes from work and I only have a $1 on me so can you bring the checkbook with you?” I said “NO! Enjoy your morning I have better things to do!” and hung up! He came home an hour and a half later . . ..I had already left the house . . .They weren’t at the cafe . . .I drove by there.
Later that night holding my composure as we where out with our daughter and getting back into the car, she heard/saw her Dad’s cell phone go off and told him that someone was calling: He had a major panic attack!!! He said it was work and that he was off that weekend and wasn’t going to answer. Well our youngest son also works there and was working that night. I told him to call back to make sure he was okay . . .My husband hesitated, and didn’t want to, took his sweet time to compose himself thinking that I or our daughter didn’t see the panic in his voice or demeanor. He finally called work, the supervisor said our son was fine but maybe he called and he would check. My husband hung up the phone and guarded his phone like a pit bull in heat for the rest of the night . . .He even slept on his phone that is how panicked he was.
The next morning, as my husband was in the shower, I heard his phone ring from underneath his pillow. It was actually a text message under the name of the company that he works for. . . .A factory doesn’t have texting compatibilities . . . Odd, So I picked up the phone and the message simply read: “sooo sorry!” I looked at the number and jotted it down quickly and found it to be a cell number that you can’t trace on like to the owner. I called the number and the XXXXX answered the phone. I quickly hung up put the phone back where I found it. I got all the kids out of the house and made it look like to my husband we had the whole day to ourselves. After he got out of the shower . . .He was happy go lucky and there was not a sign of panic in him at all. And had to calm down I was shaking like a leaf and so many things were running through my mind.
Finally, after I reached my calm and we were driving down the road, I exclaimed, “So tell me when you jumped into XXXXX car yesterday and drove off from work doesn’t that make it look like something is gong on with you two?” He said, “I never thought of it that way.” So tell me I said,”What does it look like or mean when you hid her phone number under the company name and she text you “sooo sorry”?” he slammed on the brakes of the car and tried to turn around and go home . . . I wouldn’t let him. You see if we would have gone home he wouldn’t have talked to me he would have only hidden in our bedroom for the remainder of the day.
To finish this long, long story, I took his phone and began texting her . . .As soon as I said (acting like I was my husband) that I needed to make a decision if I was staying or going this marriage I need to know where I stand with you . . . .She ran as fast as a cheetah!!! She said she needed to give her marriage a shot one more time, made the point that his kids were grown and how would you deal with helping raise mine (He would run because he didn’t raise his own kids) . . .Once I told the F*&%$ B(&^%$ that she was talking to me not my husband. She simply replied “I C” Then about ten minutes later she text again “well maybe if you would show your husband some affection we wouldn’t be in this mess!” Well, she pushed my button and I sent all the text messages to her husbands phone with an explanation of the situation. She hasn’t texted or spoke with my husband since!
Right at this moment I know that all the things I have ever asked for in my marriage he gave to XXXXX female co-worker, and only kissed her once. If I hadn’t found the phone that morning with her text . . .they would probably be sleeping together. We are trying to work on our marriage. . . .I am still on the fence if I should stay or go . . .Or will the future just continue to be riddled with half truths . . . Any and all opinions are welcome . . .
Ann, Welcome, and you’re not going to like this.
Don’t read if you don’t want to hear.
Your letter is fabulously dramatic, movie-worthy, and for every half-truth he told, so did you.
Truth isn’t something you withhold because the other person is.
To withhold sex and affection from your husband because you don’t trust him is no less insane than what he was doing with this imaginary relationship he developed in his mind.
To snoop in his phone because you can’t speak plainly to him is all within your control.
If I was uncomfortable with what a man was saying to me because I believed there was something else going on, I’d talk with him about it. And if talk wasn’t enough, I’d consider leaving at that point.
To drag on a marriage that is not a marriage for 5 years because you can’t get at the truth is not a good option for anyone of us (and yet – I hear about this situation happening all the time).
If you are now “working” on your marriage TOGETHER – then all this was a GOOD thing. Thank that woman.
Someone in an emotional logjam has to go first…and that’s YOU.
Learn here how to speak in Feeling Messages. How to Listen at Level 2 (in the ebook) to a man.
And most of all: to replace your instinctive defense system with compassion for yourself and love for yourself.
This is not about what “he did” or “didn’t do.” It’s not about his lying, or your avoidance of the truth and, therefore, emotional intimacy, about all the anger between you…it’s none of that.
It’s all about fear, and habit, and upbringing, and letting your subconscious, traumatic patterns take you over and run you and steal your life from you.
Now’s the time to dig into yourself. Find out who you are – and let him see who you are. Get counseling if you think that might help – anything to get you talking TO and WITH each other – not behind each other.