There are so many things I love about my husband. He makes me laugh. I know him so, so well. I make him laugh. He’s kind. He looks at me with such warmth in his eyes. I like how he thinks; he’s interesting. He’s a good father. He’s steady at work. He still surprises me with things he says and thinks, even after 21 years. He touches me tenderly. He holds my hand and he wants a kiss when I pass by him in the house. I like how he looks and how I feel when I look over at him sleeping beside me. He’ll watch chick flicks with me when a WWII movie marathon is on. He will go BACK to the store if I forgot to ask him to get milk too. I love every member of his family. If there’s one cookie left in the bag, he’ll hand the bag to me. His eyes are a faded blue, like comfortable old blue jeans, when he’s tired or discouraged or sad. They’re a merry bright blue when he’s happy. When he’s in the mood for sex, they’re a smoldering blue-green. He cries. Not often, but enough to let me see when he’s moved.
I feel like I would be throwing THAT man away if I divorced him. The man I want to divorce is the one who carried on a four-year emotional affair, sitting right beside me on the couch, texting her. The man who told her I’m a verbal bully. The man who mocked me for being an atheist in his conversations with her. The man who discussed parenting OUR child in conversations with HER. The man who talked about our negligible sex life with her (and I suspect all that was talked about was negative to me, not to him). The man who gave me his “friend’s” resume and asked me if I would mind proofing it and giving her some suggestions, and which I did out of love for my husband, with no knowledge this was his girlfriend. The man who listened to my agony over problems at work and lay beside me as I cried, and who undoubtedly shared my insecurities, fears and failures with the woman he was spending so much time talking to. (I know they talked about me at least some of the time because I found out about the affair when I stumbled across their sexting. I resent the affair AND the knowledge that she intruded on my life while she was also poaching my husband.) He’s the man who was texting her dozens of times on my birthdays, our anniversaries, and other special times over the years. The man who read “50 Shades of Gray” with her and then had the gall to pass the book to me. The man who “didn’t sleep with her” but who suddenly (after 18 years of marriage at that point) had a whole new repertoire in bed when we began trying to reconcile and renew our sex life. The man who knows how very, very badly he hurt my self-esteem, destroyed my trust, and made me question my perceptions and judgments. The man who gave up on me during a long depression and began moving on to someone new without technically divorcing me, moving out, or even telling me.
The man who is so, so sorry these days.
Part of me wonders if I am still being blind and all his “regret” is not real. I mean, I trusted him while he was lying to me before. I can’t tell any difference right now.
This is the saddest part of betrayal. Not truly, fully believing them even when they seem to be trying to love you again.