Not ready to make nice

Image via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

Image via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

One of the most shocking things my husband did during his affair was simply something he said about me. I have not forgiven it.

Here’s the context.

I think I came out as an atheist around the same time I decided two things: I really, truly was one, and it was time I admitted it. I believe that was around January 2012. Maybe a little earlier.

You need to know that to understand one of the texts that my husband and his fuckbuddy exchanged shortly before I found out about their affair. He made some mention of me and our younger daughter, and his amused “friend” texted back, “Oh, your daughter and your atheist wife?” There might have been a “LOL” after that, but, if not, it was implied.

The presumptuous cunt.

I found out later she’d been silently following me on Facebook, reading my exchanges with friends, skimming bits of news I found interesting or funny or outrageous, and snooping on my page, where I could tell people who I loved something that was important to me.

Being honest about my atheism was important to me. It still is. Not out of any effort to convert anyone else (not even my own children). But if I am embarrassed to admit who I am, maybe that’s not the person I should be. I want to be a person with integrity from top to bottom and through and through.

So I’ve been open about my atheism since it became a reality for me. I don’t rub people’s noses in it, but when it’s appropriate and meaningful, I’ll include it in the conversation.

So his fuckbuddy, his spare snatch, his extra cuntalicious gal-pal — she had followed my baby steps online as a newly out-of-the-closet atheist. She found that funny and/or repellant.

Apparently, so did my husband. The next text I read below her snark was a comment from him.

It took my breath away. Still does. He said, “Oh, that’s just Effie being dramatic.”

That rings in my head like an epic movie echo: DRAMATIC, Dramatic, dramatic …

Something that was at the center of my being, a vitally important realization about myself that I had arrived at after literally *decades* of soul-searching. That was apparently a whim of mine and likely to change as my frothy-light and inconsequential butterfly-intellect flitted away to something else.

He knows that I am a passionate person. When I try something new, I jump in the deep end and splash around noisily to see how much I like it. Sometimes I stay in the water. Sometimes I hop out and do something else for a while. Sometimes I come back, and sometimes I don’t. I’m seldom a lukewarm person.

But just because I do shift my views and my passions doesn’t mean I am INSINCERE at the time I declare them. (I guess to him, rigidity of thought implies sincerity? Nope. It implies intellectual laziness.) And that’s what he saw me as: Insincere and manipulative. That’s how he’s always used the word “dramatic” in reference to me, at least. It is belittling and demeaning and ignorant and unloving. And he said it ABOUT ME when he was speaking TO HIS MISTRESS.

It hit me like a brick to the face.

This was piling insult upon injury. I can’t overstate how shocked and hurt I was by this comment, on top of the affair. God knows what else they said about me, because I didn’t read more.

One of the times that he and I talked about this, I was trying to explain that this was not just a throwaway comment of his — it was clear evidence of how he had gotten used to thinking and speaking dismissively of me. He just wasn’t getting it as I tried to explain to him how devastating this was to me. Eventually, I shook my head and said it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, knowing that my husband didn’t really even know me. Or value me, it seems.

I have not forgotten this. And I have not forgiven him. The healthiest thing I have been able to do is to put this pain on the shelf sometimes instead of carrying it around every single day. Even so, I go back every now and then and pick it up again briefly. That’s when I do the extremely unhealthy and hostile thing of saying to my husband, “Oh, is that just me being dramatic?” while giving him the cold eye and holding the gaze. Because I feel like my heart’s crusted over with ice when I think about the disdain and mockery for me that he shared with his girlfriend.

Fuck her. Fuck him. Fuck them. But mostly him. Fuck him times infinity, with ghost pepper sauce on top.

To this day, he has NO IDEA how much bravery it takes for me now to confide anything in him, to tell him something that truly matters to me, to passionately express what I feel passionate about. My small steps in that direction are huge leaps of vulnerability and risk for me, knowing that he has harbored secret contempt for me, even laughing about me behind my back.

He has NEVER been as brave as I have been in trying to pick up the pieces of our marriage. I doubt he ever will. Remember how much he values rigidity of thought.

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