Though Rick tried to persuade me to seek help from Surviving Infidelity's online support group, I didn't go. Go ahead and say it, "Kay, you were a doormat!", because you'd be right--I was a major doormat. I even went so far as to tell Lee I would trust him going out if he wanted because I thought I was being too controlling which may have contributed to his issues. Over the next several months Lee was a bit sweeter with only a few occasional blowups over minute things. He came home for lunch and immediately after work and he wasn't going to the gym anymore.
One day Ryan said, "Mom, I don't believe Dad. I think he's still cheating on you." His comment threw me for a loop and I instantly defended Lee and chastised our son for not trusting his father. Ryan stood his ground with me though--he was adamant that despite his father being here all the time except to go wash his car every other Saturday night and go to work that Lee was still engaged in affairs. And our daughter, through her own observations (though we hadn't told her about the affairs or emails) felt something was wrong with Dad too.
I sold our children short. I should have known, the signs were all there: (1) Random conversations about suicide and saying that he doesn't deserve me. (2) His cellphone was glued to his ass--including when showering or using the restroom. When he made or received calls he went outside to talk. (3) Distant. He was present physically but not mentally. Trying to get him to do family things was like pulling teeth. (4) Wham, bam, thank you mam style sex with rarely any foreplay. (5) Quickly shutting down the computer windows and logging out when I came to the bedroom. Computer history constantly deleted. (6) Two hour trips to wash the car. I should have known that my children were right but I was in denial.
However, once again email would play a huge role in me discovering the truth. I went back to check my email on August 15, 2009. Lee forgot to logout of his account and just as I was about to sign him out I saw, "I love you Baby. Here you go.", in the sent preview window--it was addressed to a woman and dated July 18, 2009. I opened it and saw pictures of Lee attached that I had taken the day prior. Instead of reacting in the typical way I went cold. I calmly walked outside and told Lee that I wanted a divorce. The look of shock on his face when I told him why was priceless. He tried to talk his way out of it but I was tired of the excuses. I was tired of being a perpetual doormat.
An Unusual Ally and A Huge Can of Worms
In the months prior to that August morning I had forgiven Liz and we actually became friends. I saw something good in her, I saw a truly remorseful woman who loved her husband but made one really bad choice (affairs are not mistakes--they are choices) and I forgave her. At first we mostly exchanged emails but on that day I called her and left to meet her at a coffee house. She brought with her a list called the '180' that can be found at Surviving Infidelity and gave it to me.
The 180 is designed to help the betrayed spouse become stronger and includes steps such as: Don't pursue reason, chase, beg, plead or implore. No frequent phone calls. Don't point out "good points" in marriage. Don't follow her/him around the house. Don't encourage or initiate discussion about the future. Don't ask for help from the family members of your WS. Don't ask for reassurances. Don't buy or give gifts, etc. In other words...don't do as I've always done in the past!
Liz encouraged me to read it everyday and let it sink in but I didn't. I read the first few lines and determined, "This is not me, I cannot do this. It seems mean." However, I wasn't about to let Lee's behavior go again. We didn't make love and I barely let him touch me, but we were not arguing around the house, in fact we had regular, normal conversations. I'm glad I stuck to my guns for two weeks because due to my friendship with Liz, a huge can of worms was opened on August 29.
She and I were discussing Lee's coworker, Jennifer. Liz said, "Oh my. She is so funny! Today she was talking about her great sex life with a fairly new guy at work who is ten years her junior. But, don't tell anyone." I'm a stay-at-home mom so how could I not share this juicy piece of gossip with Lee? I blabbed immediately and warned Lee not to say a word. Later that evening Lee said, "I'm going for a walk, alone." Since he would be in the neighborhood I didn't protest. But, after an hour went by I started getting suspicious to as why Lee was gone so long. He finally walked up the driveway and I let my gut lead me to ask, "Did you call Jennifer?" Lee said, "No." I didn't believe him and I let it go until the next morning. Lee and I were drinking coffee in our bedroom and I checked my email; there was a message from Liz--"Call me when you get this", it was unsigned. I immediately glared at Lee and uttered, "Oh. My. God. You called Jennifer, didn't you? You told her about what Liz told me. Why? And why else would Liz leave me a message like that? She always signs off on her emails (turns out it had nothing to do with me blabbing)." Lee admitted to calling Jennifer and after an hour of listening me to accuse him of sleeping with her and after goading him to tell me the truth because I don't deserve to be treated this way, Lee finally caved. "Kay, lets go for a walk", he urged, "There's something I have to tell you."
To be continued...
The emails I accidentally discovered scanned just over six months--the most recent one written while I was gone at the store that same morning. I went through each one to see if there were any references to "Great time last night" or something along those lines; thankfully there weren't, but there were plans in the making. I demanded Lee close the email account immediately and he did. However, the damage was already done. I already was ashamed of my body but to read those words coming from the man I loved and devoted myself to for over sixteen years made it worse. Aside from my initial reaction, I didn't get angry, I was extremely sad. Lee and I spoke for weeks on end over his online betrayal and it was then that he told me, "Kay, it was never about how you looked, it was your attitude. I tried to support you on your weight loss endeavors but you constantly moped around the house, doing nothing to help yourself. I tried to be kind but you took it wrong...I couldn't talk to you or tell you how I felt because you immediately shut down." He's right, I did and he was right too in that I constantly moped. I brought about my own misery concerning my weight. He also informed me that he felt unattractive because I didn't want him as much anymore and that although we sat and watched our favorite shows together, I spent too much time in the bedroom writing and away from him.
Over the next few months Lee called me more than he used to from work to let me know he loved me. He flirted with me and showed a lot of affection. However, I would not make love to him at all. It didn't matter how many times he said he didn't mean what he or wrote, or how often he said, "I love you." I was too embarrassed and couldn't bear the thought of him seeing me without my clothes on; fat rolls on top of fat rolls. Moreover, I couldn't get over the words I saw on the screen that day written about me to complete strangers. Not forgotten also was the fact he was so close to actually meeting up with internet strangers. Deep in my mind I knew damn well that he would have gone through with those encounters had he not been busted. Lee's attitude changed for awhile after email incident; he was more attentive and went out of his way to be nice. He still came home from work on time and the only time he went out alone was to wash his car every Saturday around seven p.m. He didn't bother asking for a guys night out.
Around January of 2009 I decided to go on my own weight loss program. The pounds started melting away slowly. I didn't do it for Lee, but for myself and to be a better role model for my children. Also, in the back of my head I felt so insecure about my marriage that getting physically fit became a priority in case we ended up divorced. I did not have the strength to leave my husband back then, I felt trapped--normal for someone who is codependent on their partner. Even though nothing was resolved, Lee was asking to give me foot rubs nightly. He was so affectionate I started believing all was going to be okay. Until the Saturday morning, the day before our 17th anniversary, when my gut started screaming that something was wrong.
"Lee, how about I go to the gym with you this morning?", I asked lightheartedly and filled with hope, "I think it'd be great if you could show me some weight lifting exercises."
"Maybe next weekend Kay, I've already got plans to play racquetball with a guy from work." he replied.
My husband loved playing racquetball and worked out early daily so his reply didn't upset. But, when he still wasn't home by 10:15 a.m. after leaving at 7:00 a.m. my stomach became knotted. I was so troubled over him being gone so long that I wrote "Lee gone over three hours to workout?" on our calendar. I called him afterwords and he told me that his friend forgot to reserve a court so they didn't start playing until 9:30--he came strolling through the door at 10:30 a.m. I insisted he explain where he was that morning prior to playing his favorite court game and he told me he and his buddy lifted weights while they waited. Our anniversary came and went. We went to eat at T.G.I.Fridays, had a nice dinner and came home. I still was not having sex with Lee and my feelings didn't change on our 'special day'--he was fine with it and said he understood why I didn't want to.
It was a lovely Friday afternoon in April 2009 that I was chatting with my mother on the phone while still logged into Facebook (Ryan was at my mother-in-laws and Nicole was vacationing with her best friend's family in Tennessee) when suddenly a message from an unknown man showed in my inbox, "I have some information about your husband and it's important you know." From the very depths of my being I knew that I was in for some very, very bad news and that it would involve my husband being unfaithful. I shared the mail with my mother who promptly told me that she'd be there for me after I found out the information. I told her what I thought it would be and she agreed--thank goodness the children were gone because we were both right.
To be continued...
Hubby and I recently had a heart to heart talk about our marriage. We even discussed the benefits of being a husband and the benefits of being a wife. It seems like the husband gets the bulk of the benefits, so hubby and I shared our individual needs and wants to ensure we are equally satisfied with our benefits package. We even agreed to have weekly meetings to discuss met and unmet needs and desires. Our jobs and businesses have weekly meetings to discuss progress and lack of, so we decided to do the same thing. Why wait until years down the line and end up frustrated and bitter because one feels taken for granted and unappreciated - usually the happily married wife.
This is usually what happens in marriage. We invest so much time in our jobs, ministries, personal goals, children, to-do lists, and even...blogs. Just think, if we poured a portion of that time into our marriage instead of punching the clock of spousal satisfaction only at the end of the day or during periodic date nights, we'd have more happy in our happily married.
I'm guilty of this, but no more. I desire to maintain a level of excitement and happily in my marriage - even after 15 years.
This morning, hubby had a few minutes to sit before going to work and as I sat next to him, I imagined our early years when we couldn't keep our hands off each other and when his deep voice would make me melt, and his touch would literally make me squirm....oh my goodness...This IS THE SAME MAN!
It's amazing how our honest, open, and bold talk with each other this week stirred up the excitement again. Stay tuned because I'm working on putting some more happy in my happily married life.
The Word says when a man finds a wife, he finds a GOOD thing. Am I my man's good thing? Have I always been my man's good thing? Am I supportive and loving? Do I encourage and uplift? Am I forgiving and understanding? If I died and my husband remarried, would that woman have a hard time filling my shoes?
Today is my 15 year wedding anniversary and I can honestly say I'm more in love today than I ever was. Has it always been this way? Absolutely not! We've had some rough years and it's only by the grace of God that we celebrate this day today. Marriage is a job and if you don't put in some overtime, the marriage suffers. The trials and struggles in my marriage have helped me become that GOOD thing.
Being my husband's GOOD thing is...
•Loving him through his unlovable moments
•Removing all expectations from him
•Accepting him in spite of his faults and shortcomings
•Being there for him in good times and bad times
•Serving him in humility
•Being extraordinary obedient to God
•Realizing our marriage belongs to God
•Allowing God to mold, prune, and groom me into the wife my husband needs and desires
Celebrate your marriage today and everyday and be your husband's GOOD thing
Set me free! Free me from my mind, my thoughts, and myself, so I can heal and move forward! You just can’t seem to shake it, so you’re forced to hide behind your makeup to cover your pain and tears. You’ve had thoughts of walking out, yet thoughts of your children encourage you to stay. You probably even think you’re a fool for staying. How do you deal with this from day to day? You just go through the motions not realizing you’re living your life from the outside looking in. You want to play a more active role, yet can’t. You involve yourself with your family, yet it’s just your body;your heart is dormant. You’re exhausted from acting as if everything is okay and upset that your husband believes the marriage is just fine. You pray for strength, yet your faith is shaken, your spirit is bruised and you wonder if you really want to save the marriage.
How do I know this? How did I describe you so well? I’ve been there and this is how I know PERFECT PEACE. I’ve been through a long, intense storm not knowing if I’d survive, yet I’m here! God saved me from the storm, restored my joy, and placed my marriage on solid ground. No, it wasn't easy, yet the only way you lose is if you give up! I KNOW only a living God is able to set you free from your pain, negative thoughts, and yourself. As a spiritual woman, I can’t express enough the awesome power of prayer. Just because you don’t see signs of change or improvement, doesn’t mean God isn’t working. Marriage isn’t easy and we don’t have the strength, energy, or power to change anything or anyone, yet God has ALL POWER and yes, HE IS ABLE.
As awful as my husband was acting, we were still there for each other when it came to things like financial woes, planning for the future, deaths in the family (he lost his stepfather and father to cancer between 2004-2007), child rearing, etc. And, we did have a sex life...during the Summer '07 a practical fest because the children were visiting my family in Michigan. Not everyday was spent walking on eggshells. Even through the tough years we still did family things in and out of the home. I started going to the beach for walks, though I refused to wear a swimsuit, and we still took Ryan and Nicole to the park, mall and on weekend camping trips. I even went to one of my hubby's company Christmas parties. Lee and I still had a lot in common that brought laughter to the home, especially when it came to his humorous personality and watching our favorite comedy, Seinfeld, together. Still, when it came to specifics about us, in the here and now, we didn't talk about our marital problems. Oh, I'd put my foot down over his outlandish behavior and he'd typically work on it for a month or so before needing a reminder, but we didn't go deep into speaking about our problems.
Still in the depths of my self-created esteem problems, I began having dreams of Lee having affairs with faceless women. They were so 'real' that I would wake up and look at my husband with hateful eyes, wanting to pummel him with my fists. They were always the same and occurred almost weekly; him leaving me with another woman while laughing as I called after him crying. Also a factor was the ordeal at the gig, trust was already on shaky grounds but made worse and I grew even more uncomfortable with him going out but since he didn't ask often, I reluctantly gave in.
So, there were we were, still a family, still a husband and wife. I just figured we were normal for a couple married for over fifteen years. But, an email discovery on October 2008 was the beginning to the most excruciatingly painful time in our marriage....one that by far outweighed the Cuba affair.
'David J' and His Troll Wife from Michigan
My dad came down to visit from Michigan and was staying in my mother-in-law's guest room; she moved from Virginia earlier that year to be closer to us. Several days later Ryan and Nicole spent the night and had a blast playing cards and going out to eat with their grandparents. Lee and I used the opportunity to chill out and have a much needed date night. That crisp, cool and sunny Sunday morning we woke up in each others arms and made love. All of our problems seemed to just disappear. We were smiling and happy, goofing around like the "olden days". After lying there for awhile we got up and Lee broke out study materials he needed to brush up on for his Captain license upgrade and I went to the store to buy food for breakfast. I came home, put the groceries away, and told Lee I was going to check on an email I was expecting regarding home schooling before cooking. I clicked on the browser icon, clicked on Yahoo! mail and was set to sign in when I noticed the name 'David J'. David J? Who the hell is David J and why is this man showing logged in from Yahoo! on my computer?
Curiosity got the better of me because I thought someone hacked into my computer and I wanted to know who it was. I clicked the view mail icon and started scanning subject titles in the inbox. There were a ton of Craiglist titles and I started seeing the words guitar and stratocaster. "No, it couldn't be? Could it? Was David J my husband? No, surely it's just a coincidence." But it wasn't. My heart began racing and even more so when words like naughty, nasty and sex came before my eyes. Shaking, I clicked through to the next page and saw tons of emails from a woman named Karen. I didn't call for Lee, instead I started opening the emails and I started with those from and to Karen: "I hate my job, it's so stressful and to top it off I have to live with my troll wife from Michigan....Love, Lee." There it was in black in white, my husband was having an emotional affair with a woman who lived in another state online. The last email from her was saying she couldn't continue the emails because she loves her husband and she was sorry she ever started. That didn't relieve me though. I began reading through the Craigslist Personals emails and read my husband inquiring about how to go about having a threesome (it was the most recent one) without getting caught and the rest were sexually explicit...in them he trashed my body, very descriptively, and complained to numerous strangers that I was terrible in bed. Mortified, I went to confront Lee.
All he could do was sit there when I came storming out from the bedroom screaming and hollering and crying uncontrollably. After he gathered his marbles he tried denying the emails, until I made him get up and look. I could tell he was ashamed and embarrassed. The guilt on his face was evident and the next words out of his mouth were, "I am so, very, very sorry. I'm a different person online and I meant none of those horrible and disrespectful things I wrote."
As if this change of behavior wasn't enough my husband asked me to consider a fantasy of his to have a threesome. I'm ashamed to say that I wanted so badly to make him happy that I considered it. I asked if he had anyone in mind and he said, "Yes." When I asked who he mentioned a woman at work I'd met one time. I was shocked he choose her because she's a somewhat butchy gal who he wouldn't look at twice had he not known her. She's a huge flirt but the wives were never worried and considered her "just one of the guys." He suggested I go out with her and the lead singer's wife, I did. I remember the car ride to Alabama to pick up the singer's wife. Lee's coworker went on and on about how her common-law husband was screwing around on her but she's okay because she was screwing around on him too. After we picked up our friend in Alabama we hit a few clubs and it was clear she wanted other men as she openly flirted with several throughout the night.
I thought the coworker was cool but I knew if I "grew a pair" and went through with the threesome that it'd only end up badly. Lee tried to push it a couple of times but when he saw I was serious he finally dropped the subject. I didn't think much more of his coworker, I didn't feel threatened at all, until the night he showed utter disrespect for me at a gig that she attended...
Mr. Rockstar Personality Rears His Ugly Head
When Lee belted out his guitar solos, Eddie Van Halen's Eruption in particular, it drove the crowd--and especially the ladies--wild. One fifty-something biker chic once told me at a gig that she called her husband to come up after my husband's solo made her "cream in her panties." I just laughed the comment off because it seemed hysterical coming from an older gal. Needless to say my husband's ego was swelling due to all of the attention.
Usually the guys stuck with drinking beer but one night mine was downing rum and cokes left and right; he was completely wasted. In attendance that night was my husband's female coworker, she was there with her best friend and boyfriend. Lee came to visit me in between sets but he also visited a lot with her. Near the end of the night my husband and his coworker were flirting and my blood began to boil. I went to get up and yank her away from Lee when my girlfriend said, "Kay, she's like that with everyone. You don't have anything to worry about. Look at her? Do you really think Lee has something for her? She's just 'one of the guys'?" I stopped in my tracks but after watching it continue for a few minutes I pulled Lee aside and told him, "Keep your hands off of her. I'm your wife! And if she touches you or you her again there will be a scene." I stood there, frozen, as Lee walked over and put his arm on her shoulder. Call it shock if you will but I couldn't muster the strength to make a scene. As soon as he wandered away from his coworker I gave him a dirty look and with wifely authority exclaimed, "We're leaving. Now!"
Lee refused to give me the car keys at first. I was so upset over his drunken state that I argued with him about who should be driving. He angrily and reluctantly pulled to the side of the road and threw the keys at me--then he walked off into the night. I called the lead singer and he and his wife tried searching for him, as did I. We all tried calling his cellphone and couldn't reach him. It wasn't until a few hours later that we learned he was sleeping on a park bench just around the corner from our home. Neither of us went to bed after he came in the door at 8 a.m., we argued heavily the whole day. His actions the night before were totally disrespectful, not to mention cold and cruel. It wasn't until Monday that Lee apologized and I told him I wanted his friendship with his female coworker to end. He promised he would only speak with her on work related issues--I believed him because he appeared to be truly sorry and I excused his actions somewhat hastily because it was done while totally inebriated.
Lee never bashed me for being 230 pounds (to my face anyway). I was finished with God talk but my new obsession was my weight. I whined and whined about how heavy I was and Lee told me that I was still beautiful and that he loved me. He coddled me often and made suggestions for losing weight. I didn't want to hear it though. There he was, trying to help me and his nice comments made me get defensive. Eventually he just listened and didn't speak because each time he did I'd throw the Pam affair in his face. It'd been eleven years since his affair by now and for the first time in years, I allowed what happened then to control me. All of a sudden I didn't trust my husband again. He'd ask to go out now and then and I'd freak thinking he was looking for another. My husband asked me to go to the beach with him and the kids or to a company picnic or party and I always turned him down; I choose instead to stay home and wallow in self-pity. I took our children to home school functions and would go to the mall or camping but anything requiring me to be around those we knew or wear a bathing suit, or shorts for that matter, I would have nothing to do with it. We did have fun at home, but it wasn't enough.
No wonder my husband stopped asking me for dates, he grew sick of being turned down. We were back to cutesy names, foot rubs and tickles, and cuddling but it just wasn't the same. I brought up my weight issues on a daily basis, happy one minute and down the next. And, at the same time, Lee started talking more frequently about his childhood issues, saying he was not a good person, thinking the children and I would be better off without him (in a suicidal way), and he became very short-tempered-- often. He dealt with depression a lot differently than me. I would lose it and scream occasionally when the children bickered and got on my last nerve but he was throwing mantrums over silly things like me buying the wrong cereal which resulted in an entire gallon of milk being thrown out to the driveway along with the cereal box.
Something was off, something was wrong, there was a deeper issue with Lee. Had I not been so wrapped up in myself for three years I would have recognized the signs earlier...
We were both 36-years old in 2006 when my husband began to change. He started fretting about hair loss and wanted to feel young again. An awesome and talented guitarist, he wanted to join a rock band. Considering the ordeal I'd put my family through, I felt obligated to let him. I loathed his band mates as they were single, twenty-somethings and seemed very self-absorbed. I worried my husband would want to live the single life being around these young single men, yet I didn't stand in his way. The next thing you know he's asking about getting another tattoo in addition to the ones he had previous to us marrying. I love his skin and knowing he wanted a monster-sized one bothered me, and I told him so, but I wanted to support him--he ended up with a dragon on his arm.
Although Lee and I supported each other emotionally, we started arguing more. I began resenting him for being in a band because now he seemed self-absorbed, life was now all about him and what made him happy. I bitched about practices, I griped about the time he came home after gigs, everything. He expressed feelings of being smothered and mothered. Even though I wasn't happy about it, I "allowed" him to go out with the guys more often and hit the bar after work once in awhile. We'd have a huge fight when he came home drunk off his ass at 2-3 a.m. but make-up within a few hours.
Lee started jumping on Ryan for practically everything that came out of his mouth. Poor Ryan couldn't do or say anything right. When he and Lee would play football, catch or frisbee Ryan was back inside within a few minutes because his father made him feel stupid for missing the ball or throwing it wrong. Their relationship was never close but now it was getting worse. Mine and Lee's relationship was getting worse too, I started having to walk on egg-shells in fear of pissing him off over even minute things like burning dinner or not having the house clean or having crazy legs (restless leg syndrome) at night. His mood swings were so often that even Nicole, a true Daddy's Girl, found herself in fear of setting him off, i.e., he'd lie down for a nap without telling anyone and she'd run down the hall and wake him with her footsteps or he'd have a headache and her loud, happy speech annoyed him. Instead of saying, "Baby girl, could you please keep it down, I have a headache", he'd scream, "Damnit, Nicole, be quiet! Why do you have to be so loud?!"
Who the hell was this man taking over my husbands body?
To be continued...
One morning early in 2003 I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to begin reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. I don't recall how long it took but I read a chapter from the Old Testament, one from the New, one Psalm, one Proverb, and a chapter from James religiously each day. Joyce Meyer became my godly heroine because she was a doer of the word, she didn't just give God lip service, and I watched her every chance I got. At first my studies remained set to specific hours and I was still a laid back Christian. We enjoyed the holidays, watched the latest movies and television shows, drank now and then, etc. In other words, I was still fun. Sadly, I started questioning whether I was a "true" Christian or not. Every time I read the Bible I felt terrible instead of uplifted, I felt as though I was betraying God and started worrying about going to hell and about my friends and family going there too. Instead of working on myself though, I thought God was "speaking to me" and wanted me to share my enlightenment with others. I shared it alright, but made others feel condemned.
Suddenly I didn't think Lee was being "godly" enough because he swore occasionally and I did not crave sex as much. I started getting pissed off with my best friend for saying, "God damn it", and voicing my dislike of her word choice--we started growing a part. I started judging my fellow church family and tried weeding out "the wolves in sheep's clothing." Soon my studies started running in to family time and I quite often left Ryan and Nicole to their own devices while I frantically scoured the internet for interpretations of scriptures. The more I studied and remained unsettled, the more I became a Christian of the law. Lee did everything I asked but we started communicating less. He voiced concerns but I was so determined that I was right no one could stop me from pleasing God.
The gatherings with our married friends both inside and out of the church started dwindling. No one was good enough except mature Christians who I saw following God's commands. I thought anyone who was not following God's instructions from the New Testament was a threat to my families eternal well-being. I didn't want an iota of a chance that someone would lead them astray. It wasn't long before I was on the computer and in the Bible from eight to twelve hours a day. Lee and the children would go to the beach without me because I didn't want to go--one I was studying and, two, my sedentary lifestyle caused me to slowly and steadily gain weight. I didn't care, I only cared about pleasing God. My little family would spend hours watching tv, going to the park, and missing was me (I wish I could get that time back). I was there in body only. Oh, I continued to cook and got up with Lee to see him off to work and make him lunch, breakfast and dinner, and took our children to home school functions, but as soon as my duties were done I was right back to reading.
By 2004 I probably could have been classified as insane. ALL I ever talked about with anyone, including my husband, was God. I canceled cable, wouldn't allow any ungodly movies, and I asked Lee to throw out all of his rock CDs--he did. I no longer allowed our family to celebrate the holidays because I was convinced we'd go to hell for celebrating pagan holy days as God's Holy Days. My husband agreed to all of my demands and though he was worried sick, he told me he trusted I knew what was best because I was "in the Word." Actually, he was worried sick and felt helpless watching the woman he loved disappear from his eyes. The love he had then was that reserved for a dear friend--Kay (I) was so far gone that no one recognized me. I cried daily and worried about going to hell. Lee was not the only person concerned about me, my mother was too and I even caused that once close relationship to be severed. Despite my behavior my husband was loving though I didn't deserve it.
Three Years of a Wife He Didn't Know
Everyone changes, it's inevitable, but my change was so drastic that Lee wasn't the only one who didn't recognize me. My children saw me struggle daily and didn't know what happened to the mother they've always known. As if that wasn't bad enough, my mother (sick with worry for her grandchildren more than anything) and stepfather couldn't understand why Lee didn't put his foot down. Frankly, they were both surprised he didn't divorce me. My bout with religious fanaticism lasted just over two years. The breaking point was a week before Easter, 2005. I sat my family at the table and said I wanted a divorce. Lee, seeing the children with tears swelled in their eyes, bowed his head and replied, "Whatever you want, Kay. Know that I do not want a divorce, I love you." I looked at my small family really hard and removed myself from the table. I walked into the bedroom, read a scripture about being a true follower of Jesus, and shut the Bible while exclaiming, "F*ck you Jesus, I choose my family." I've never looked back.
Though I was finished as a Christian I spent another year on a message board for Ex-Christians and continued to neglect my family--I was there physically but gone mentally. I needed to heal from the pain of leaving the faith I held so dear to my heart for over thirty years and reaching out to others who left Christianity was of tremendous benefit, but I spent too much time doing it.
Lee listened when I needed to talk, he comforted me when I needed comforting. However, though I'd left the faith, my conversations were still all about God. My political views changed around this time also which just added to the distance when it came to connecting physically. We snuggled, but not as often. We said "I love you", but not as much. We were not having fun like we used to. I was an unbeliever (still am) but fun-loving and easy-going.
It wasn't until March of '06 that I came back to my senses fully; except I'd grown huge from my sit-down lifestyle and my self-esteem was shattered and the focus shifted to my weight.
To be continued....
"Pooh-pooh face", "Babydoll", "Bear", "Honey", "Beautiful", "Baby", "Big Daddy", and "Handsome" are just a few of the numerous pet and silly names Lee and I have had for each other over the years. Tortured by unwanted tickles, soft kisses to the neck, and play fighting has always been a part of us. Lee did the same to our children but in a fatherly way. I looked at my husband with pride as those times always made me smile and cry happy tears. Lee never made me feel bad for not being comfortable with him having alone time with the guys, it just became accepted over the years. We weren't without our problems but we always worked through them and we rarely fought. And, although we didn't have a lot of money, we did the best we could by enjoying affordable fun at home, going to the beach, camping, and visiting our families in Michigan and Virginia now and then. By all appearances, we were a couple to be envied even behind closed doors. We'd endured so much together and through it all, we had love, true love.
Lee, like me, was a Christian his whole life but we weren't practicing the faith. We tried a couple of churches in our first eight years of marriage but never felt comfortable with any of them. After my thirtieth birthday in December of 1999, I decided it was time to find a church family and steer my family in the right direction. I wanted to live for God and my children to know Jesus. I never expected Lee to go with me but was thrilled when he wanted too.
A Happy Church Family
Before we even stepped foot into the church we found, Lee and I were closer than ever and we were a very happy family. Things never felt better, my husband retired from the military and had a merchant marine job with a contractor for the military (same building he worked at in the Navy, ironically) we were complete minus our relationship with God. Once we found Liberty, we felt even better about our lives. Our children, then one and four, were making friends and we made a few new ones too. We'd come home each Sunday and discuss the teachings in depth and then just relax and do whatever the rest of the day. After the first year we decided to become more involved with activities offered. We joined a discipleship program and volunteered to be on the bread delivery team (after much persuasion from the Outreach pastor). We did everything as a family, and I do mean everything.
Both of us griped about bread delivery. Lee wanted to quit and I felt obligated to continue so that did bring a bit of friction to our relationship. After I was fed up with it though, we did end up quitting and joined a Life Group with other married couples with children. Lee played the guitar and I always bragged about how good he was. The Life Group facilitator as well as others asked if we would lead worship; we happily obliged. It took my husband no time at all to learn new music and since I loved singing we spent a lot of time practicing throughout the week together. Everything we did drew us closer and made our bond as husband and wife and mother and father stronger. I truly loved my husband, children and my life.
Over the next three years we changed Life Groups, began home schooling, I taught Wednesday night Kids' Church, and Lee played on the church's main worship team as well as coached Nicole's T-Ball team. We were even asked to facilitate a Growing Kids God's Way group because our children were so well behaved, though we turned down the offer. One couldn't have asked for a better, more fulfilling life, but deep down I felt that I wasn't pleasing God enough and my passion for the Word of God was the beginning of major marital problems.
Lee and our precious Nicole truly had a "Daddy's Girl" relationship and he played with Ryan also--though they never really bonded. It bothered me but Lee was with our son only four months before going to Cuba and considering the turmoil surrounding the year following it seemed natural that he was a "Momma's Boy." In my mind, Lee was still a great father and he was outstanding husband, the past was forgotten. By this time we owned three rental properties but our lives were about to go through financial hell--all of our tenants decided not to pay their rent. Hurried to get people in and have money flowing, we did not do proper credit checks so the problem was self-created.
We were totally stressed out. Our small home was less comforting because the anxiety made us feel on top of each other, we hated it. To keep the mortgage companies and bill collectors at bay I was paying the mortgages on the rentals with credit cards. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that we ended up in bankruptcy. Fortunately, in 1999, we made the decision to move into one of our properties doomed for foreclosure, a 1650 sq. ft. home with a pool, and let the smaller one go. It felt so nice to get rid of the smaller house even though we suffered a financial pitfall. The extra footage allowed us to have space and it was a lot less cluttered so we were actually happier despite everything going on. Lee was still enlisted in the Navy and we were able to "get by" even with a larger mortgage and another child.
Our close family friends still did weekend gatherings and it was even better now, thanks to the pool. Three years out from the affair and having complete trust, my best friend's husband and mine thought it'd be fun to have a guys night out. Who was I to say no? I said, "Sure you can have a guys night out." Boy, did I come to regret it. The next morning while preparing clothes for laundering I pulled a receipt from a strip club and my husband's wedding ring out from his pockets.
"Just Wanted to See if I Still Got It...."
Yep, that was his excuse when he came home from work that afternoon when I confronted him on the findings of his pocket. I gave him the major stink eye over his excuse. Not only was he in trouble for going out sans his ring but he knew before saying, "I do", that strip clubs were unacceptable in my book. We fought, big time and I threw his affair from '95 back in his face. He told me that my friend's husband was the one that wanted to go to a strip club (my friend was fine with her hubby going) and he didn't want to be considered a "pussy whipped" husband so he went. After a few drinks at the strip joint he told me they went to a club and both got the lame-brained idea to see if women would hit on them without wedding rings--they did but nothing happened, no dancing, no dates made, no phone numbers exchanged. It was only after talking to my best friend later that evening that I believed the story because she and her spouse were arguing about the offed wedding ring too. I chalked this incident up to manly idiocy.
We got over the ordeal fairly quickly and were back to family life as normal. My friend and I treated the whole thing as a joke and would make comments to our husbands if they went to the store together for beer, like, "Don't forget to put your rings on before you come back." We all snickered. Joking aside, even though we made light of it, Lee had to deal with the fact that it'd be a long time before he got to go out again without me--trust was once again an issue.
Do you remember the song by Cinderella, You Don't Know What You've Got (Till it's Gone)? We'd barely stepped foot into my mother's home before the phone rang; it was my husband asking if we had made it okay. I really did not want to speak with him so I kept it brief with a simple, "We're fine", and hung up promptly. Lee called every day, sometimes several times a day, to apologize and say how much he loved and missed our son and I--and wanted us to come home. Still reeling from his statement about choosing Pam over me, I chose to ignore his cries--though I broke down after each phone call. I could hardly function but I did manage to get my old job back as a cashier at our local grocery store within the first two weeks.
Each night in my head I thought about Lee and our marriage. Aside from the affair, he was a good husband who treated me well even though he was a bit immature--like many married and unmarried men I know. He made me laugh regularly, he always showed affection, we always talked, we had fun together, we enjoyed each others company, we could sit for hours in comfortable silence. There were other areas, too, that kept me focused on the positive. We made a great team sharing the same parental, financial and political views. Lee was always a great provider and I managed our small but livable income. He never made me feel inferior for being a stay-at-home mom, in fact, he was proud and respected me for doing it.
Nearly a month after receiving Lee's never-ending phone calls begging me to come back, saying he didn't realize until I left how much he truly loved me and wanted to make us work, Ryan and I were on our way back to Florida. I felt loved and wanted by Lee again in the same way I did when we courted. Moreover, Lee was the love of my life I couldn't imagine life without him--so I was willing to give him another chance.
Our reunion with Lee was wonderful and it felt good to be a family again even though my life as a single mother was short lived. We spent a lot of time discussing the affair and how it happened, as well as my feelings on not being able to trust him and why. He agreed to not going out with the guys until I felt more secure--something we both would have benefited from much earlier on had he been willing to listen to and accept my fears instead of having "mantrums" (an adult male temper tantrum) and feeling as though he were being punished. We both needed to deal with the affair aftermath, regardless of the uncomfortable factor, and we finally reached a place where we could. Or so I thought for years to come--we'd truly only dealt with the one I knew about.
Weeks turned into months and almost a year and half after the Cuba Affair we bought a small, 950 sq. ft. home. Lee, true to his word, never asked to go out with the guys. I was always invited to work picnics and holiday parties. My days at home with Ryan were typically spent walking him to a local park and chatting with other mothers. Even though I was meeting people I never felt drawn to anyone. Then one day my husband came home and said, "Honey, there's a new guy at work and he's married and has children. They're 'your age' (lol, I'm only five months older than my wisecracking spouse) and he introduced his wife at work today, I think you'd like her." Our families became really good friends, the wife and I became best friends, and over the next few months we went to the pristine beaches in the area together, gathered on the weekends to have barbeques, and enjoy other family orientated activities quite regularly. Life was going so smoothly for Lee and I that we decided to get pregnant again and our timing was extra special because my new friend was pregnant too!
During the time I was pregnant we also decided to try and earn extra money by giving the Real Estate market a try. Though I worried about the possible outcome I knew how badly Lee wanted to be an entrepreneur so I gave him my complete support. Our future was something we always discussed and having him retire early so we could relish in joy throughout our Golden Years one day and offer financial support to our children meant the world to both of us. I felt secure, I felt safe in my relationship and in February of 1998 our daughter, Nicole, was born. I didn't gain nearly as much weight as I did with Ryan and I once again worked hard to shed the pregnancy pounds. Not once while pregnant or after did I feel any animosity over my weight coming from Lee. He was attentive, giving, helpful, supportive, and desired me sexually. It took over two years but I once again trusted him completely, until....
While most men he labored with all day headed to the bars after work, Lee came home. We'd talk about the days and current events, eat, watch tv, take Ryan to the park, go on dates, relax, and enjoy life. Lee tickled and massaged my feet nightly just like he always had (and still does to this day), and we showed each other a lot of affection. For the most part, we looked and acted like a very happy couple. Unfortunately all the good in our marriage didn't help me heal or help me trust my husband again. On the rare occasion he would ask for a guys night out, I panicked and expressed my feelings to Lee which eventually led him to feeling as though he were smothered. We had quite a few intense arguments about him going out. He acted like my feelings were meaningless, as though I were treating him like his mother and not his wife.
About eight months after affair discovery day I called my mother and asked how I could know Lee wouldn't screw around on me. She made the following suggestion, "You need to ask that if Pam were here right now and in great physical shape and you were still heavy like you were back then, who would he choose?" I didn't understand my mom's reasoning behind such a question but trusted her advice. I asked Lee when he came home; he bowed his head and replied, "Pam."
To Lee's credit, at least he was honest; to his discredit, he was also a callous, insensitive, selfish ass. The weight I carried pre and post birth disgusted him to the point that he would choose fit over love. I worked hard to rid my weight and although my body didn't look the same at 150 (the weight he met and married me at), I was still the same person, still the same loving wife. Needless to say, hearing those words come from his mouth stabbed me to my very core. I remember crying and then grabbing the phone. First I called my parents and asked if Ryan and I could move back in with them until I was financially stable, next I called the airport and purchased a one-way ticket to Michigan.
Lee begged me not to leave, he told me he could change because he loved me...I didn't think he was capable of it. He told me he wanted Ryan and I to stay, that he wanted to work on our marriage...I didn't want to hear it. When it finally dawned on him that I was out, he wished me and our son well and promised to make financial and custody arrangements. He drove us to the airport the following morning, choking back tears the whole way. By the time it was time for Ryan and I to board the plane Lee could no longer contain the flow of water from his eyes. It was the first time since me learning of the affair that I actually saw a remorseful man. Even so, I was cold, stone-faced, on the outside at least.
I was a hot mess the whole plane trip to Michigan. If a flight attendant told me how precious Ryan was or inquired as to whether I was okay--I totally lost it and started crying. I never shared the why behind the tears with those kind-hearted women but I did thank them for asking. When my mother and step-father picked the baby and I up from the airport, and I saw my mothers welcoming face and felt her warm embrace I came unglued. Neither asked me anything on the way home, I just sat in the back with Ryan and stared out the window thinking about how I would make it as a young, twenty-five year old single mother and how much I would miss Lee in my life. I still loved him.
After contemplating the entire ordeal I decided I could not be with this man who committed marital infidelity and told him I wanted to leave. The rest of the afternoon was spent in silence. My husband sat in a zombie-like state on the couch and I went to Ryan's room and held him close; with the phone in my hand at the time, I called home.
"Dad?", I said to my stepfather who I grew close to after living with him and my mother for a year while Lee was in Cuba.
"I want to leave Lee. May I stay with you and Mom until I can find a job and get settled? Can you come and get me?"
He knew about the affair because my mother was the first person I called when I found out.
"Are you sure?", he asked with skepticism.
"Yes.", I answered, bawling.
"Okay, but I better not drive a hundreds of miles to get all the way down there only to have you change your mind. I'm asking again, are you absolutely sure you want to leave?"
"Alright, I'll head out first thing in the morning."
My stepfather left as promised early the next morning and drove in blizzard conditions when he came through Kentucky and Tennessee so it wasn't until later that evening that he arrived. Lee went to the store when my stepfather called from a local gas station to get directions to our apartment because he was afraid my stepdad would punch his lights out. Turns out Lee had nothing to fear. When he came back home my stepfather asked my husband and I to sit down.
Looking us straight in the eyes with a serious tone in his voice, he asked, "Do you two kids love each other?"
Lee and I looked at each other through teary-eyes and then simultaneously replied, "Yes", to my stepfather's question. He then spoke the following words, "Then you should at least stay and try to work things out. People make poor choices, and regardless of how bad Lee's choices were he still loves you and you him. He's a good man who mad a poor decision. Nothing would make me happier than to drive back to Michigan without you and Ryan."
I couldn't believe my ears. As a then Christian I was astonished to hear those words stem from the mouth of an agnostic, regardless, I allowed them to sink in for awhile. Lee, my stepfather and I had a long discussion about the good things in our marriage and our love for one another. After a few hours I decided to go ahead and give our marriage a chance. My stepfather ate dinner with us, slept a short time and then left early the next morning. After that evening Lee and I hugged and kissed a lot and made arrangements to have a babysitter once a week so we could go out.
I still cried often but nearly as much over the next few months. We were communicating and flirting with each other like we did earlier in our marriage and Lee and Ryan were beginning to bond. However, we pretty much swept my husband's wrongdoing aside after the talk with my stepfather....a HUGE mistake so fresh after what had happened. Trust was broken and the result was me becoming a controlling wife.
To be continued...
I've always taken care of the bills and maybe because Lee didn't, he wasn't aware that phone calls actually show on the telephone bill. When I saw the country code for Cuba on it, my heart sank. Lee was at work so I couldn't confront him and I also had to take into account that he had male friends too. Maybe he called one of them? "No", I told myself, "it is hers." I developed a plan before calling; I was going to pretend to be Lee's younger sister. I then picked up the phone with shaky hands and sweaty palms and dialed.
Me: "Hi, is Pam there?"
Friend: "No, I'm her friend Emily, she's on leave at her parents. May I take a message?"
Me: "No, this is Lee's sister. Lee asked me to call Pam and get another number to reach her at because his wife found out about the affair."
Me: "Could you please give me the number to her parent's house? It's very important."
Friend (reluctantly): "Yes, the number is...."
After she gave me the number I immediately called the other woman. Her father answered the phone and as soon as he said, "just a moment", my heart began racing.
Me: "Hi, Pam. This is Donnie's wife. Please do not hang up on me, I need to ask you a couple of questions."
I verified all the affair details and learned Lee was truthful with the time frame and how they met. I assured Pam I was not angry with her but rather my husband because who knew what lies he fed her. She began crying and said, "I'm so very sorry. And, you know, whenever I came back from leave a friend of mine told me that Lee was seeing another person each time." We chatted a bit more and she said that she would never contact Lee again or answer his calls.
After I hung up I was both relieved and hurt. Relieved to learn that at least some truth came from my husband's lips and hurt because not only had he contacted her but that there was a possibility of another other woman.
Needless to say all hell broke loose when Lee arrived home from work later that evening and it lead to a special visitor from Michigan to come and take Ryan and I away...
Did you miss Part VIII? Click here
When I woke up the next morning it was the beginning of an emotional roller coaster that would not be ending any time soon. Anger filled me. "How he could strip me from those who loved me and bring me down here to deal with this shit?! He should have NEVER came and got Ryan and I. He could have ended it in Cuba, it would have hurt but I could have learned to move on." In the kitchen making coffee stood my solemn husband, I glared at him and screamed, "How fucking could you? How could you do this to me? To us?", and then I smacked him hard across his face. He didn't strike me back, he broke into tears--not because I hurt him, but because he hurt me.
Then he was off to work--leaving our son with his emotionally unbalanced mother who was coming unglued at the seams.
In hindsight, I think I was going through depression. Due to the major rift in his life of only having me now, Ryan was a bit clingy--and I found myself resenting him. I went to the doctors about two weeks post affair discovery day and told her I was getting really irritated with Ryan because he always followed me everywhere. She knew I'd never beaten him but could obviously see my frustration and suggested I close the door to his room and ignore his cries. I did. Poor little Ryan, I was a complete wreck. I didn't want to rock, hold or cuddle him. Hell, I could barely muster a smile even when he smiled at me sweetly with his small round face and green eyes. I fed, clothed and bathed him but instead of picking him up, I snatched him up. Instead of holding him gently with warm and loving arms, I basically just let him be on me. He was a good sleeper, but my behavior inadvertently affected him and he wasn't going down so easily anymore because he was upset. Not everyday was like this. On days I was sad I found comfort in my little man. But, he didn't know if Momma was going to look at him lovingly or with hate.
I wish I would have told my doctor what was going on at home; perhaps she would have suggested counseling or anti-depressants. Since I kept my mouth shut though, I dealt with it the only way I knew how. It was almost like I was punishing him for his father's affair. What's done is done, I cannot go back and change my behavior. I've forgiven myself for treating Ryan so poorly, I had to or the guilt would eat me alive to this day.
Did you miss the previous post? Click here
The drive down was uncomfortable to say the least. We listened to the radio, mostly, and were right back to having the typical, "You're driving too fast" followed by "Don't tell me how to drive " arguments. We always made up at rest stops as we've done for years when on road trips. When we got to our destination we stayed in an economy hotel until we found an apartment two weeks later. It was miserable being cramped up and then adding to the misery was the fact Lee seemed distant again, as though he were sad to be with me, and our son.
We moved into our non-furnished apartment, waiting for the military to deliver our furniture. I was happy, Ryan was ecstatic (when we pulled into the hotel on the last day he cried upon seeing it) but Lee was just there. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. On December 25, 2005 (my 26th birthday), without any warning, I looked at him and asked, "Did you love her?" With a long face and tears in his eyes he replied, "Yes." My world was shattered....
Before continuing I'd like to express to you at this time that I have not cried over this moment in years, until now. The emotional devastation from actually hearing those words stem from the mouth of the man I've loved with every ounce of my being, and still do, is buried so deep within me that writing it out makes it seem fresh again.
At first I sat there and calmly questioned him. In my mind I already knew between the dreams, his behavior, and the scratches in particular, that he had an affair--I wasn't shocked, yet. I asked him how long, "since February of this year", he replied.
The pieces of the puzzle that would explain my husband's behavior were now falling in place. I learned her name, that she was a coworker and the day after they had sex at a party is the day Lee and I spoke on the phone and he mentioned contemplating suicide. He felt like he was with another woman because it was her body and ways in the hay he'd become accustomed. In essence, I was the other woman to him now. My last question was "Do you still love and want to be married to me?", "Yes", he replied, "but...."
Did you miss Part VI? Click here
Once again I started having dreams of my husband with a faceless woman and they became more frequent. I spoke with Lee many times and he reassured me that his lack of communication on the phone was because he was depressed and sad, missing us so badly. It was also the first time he mentioned wanting to kill himself, February of 2005 to be exact. I begged him not to do it, that I loved him so much and as soon as this was over we could be together again. He calmed down and said it was "just a thought."
He had leave twice that year, once in March and the second time in August. Of course the initial sight of each other was a time of much hugging and kissing. Ryan lit up at the sight of his father and vice versa. After about two days on leave though, Lee's distant side started appearing. Often he was solemn and quiet. Though he held my hand and we spent time together, he didn't seem "there." In March I determined it was due to him being sad that he had to go back and he didn't hold Ryan a lot because he wasn't used to changing diapers and comforting him anymore. We made love a few times, but not as often as you'd think considering we hadn't seen each other for three months. In August my husbands changed demeanor really stood out, as did two scratches on either side of his back, equal in length...
I don't remember "the" day, but I'll never forget what happened on it. Lee came to my mother's in Michigan for Ryan's first birthday. Back to my married weight of 150 pounds, my hubby couldn't stop telling me how terrific and smokin' hot I looked--nor could he stop flirting. But, we couldn't make love when he first got there because "Auntie Flo" was visiting.
Several days later my cycle ended and after feeding and changing our son my mother took charge so mommy and daddy could have some special alone time. We passionately kissed and started ripping each others clothes off. Smack dab in the middle of what I thought was a hot love making session, Lee stopped..."Honey, I can't finish. I'm sorry, I feel like I'm with a new woman." Not surprisingly, I was bewildered.
Lee proceeded to tell me that I had lost so much weight that he wasn't used to me anymore. It was then that he sat up, all sad and depressed, and I noticed two scratch marks equal in length across both sides of his back. With tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach I asked if he'd been with another women and he said "No." I suppose because I loved him so and was so happy to have him there that instead of going with my gut, I believed him when he told me he had brushed up against something at work.
His vacation came and went in much the same unusual manner as it did back in March. The only difference is that when we said goodbye this time, we knew he'd return to get us in December, our family would be together, and we were going to move down south where he'd be stationed next....
To be continued...
Did you miss Part V? Click here
Many adultery experts will tell you that it is never the fault of the betrayed spouse that their partner chose to have an affair, and they're right. Counseling, divorce and separation are healthier choices. However, I think it's important that I at least accept my share of the blame as to the downfall of our marriage.
We shared spectacular superficial conversations together and were always there for one another through hardships and believe me we've had them, i.e.; deaths in the family, bankruptcy, loss of jobs, business ventures and failures, child rearing issues, etc. But the one thing neither of us were good at was discussing our lack of happiness with the other. He dreaded my over-the-top reactions and I didn't want to risk him having a bad day. This is something we will never do again and we're working really hard at being able to do so in an effort to fix our completely broken marriage.The dreams of my husband running off with a faceless woman continued on and off during my pregnancy. I questioned Lee numerous times and he denied the allegations and comforted me by saying he loved me and was just nervous and out of sorts about having our first child...Ryan was born August 7, 1994, just two and half years after we married.
Happy days followed and my dreams of infidelity had come to halt as we were now proud parents of a healthy baby boy. Lee re-enlisted with the Navy for four more years and we chose Cuba for his next tour of duty. Our house had a for rent sign up, Ryan was four months old and we were excited about the opportunity. But then we received word that there was a prisoner crisis in Cuba and military dependents were being sent home and those scheduled to come, couldn't.
We were devastated and tears of happiness turned to those of pain. As unfortunate luck would have it, an offer was accepted for our house and papers signed before we learned the news. Lee, Ryan and I had no choice but to move into an Econo Lodge until December when he was scheduled to and Ryan and I were set to live with my mom and stepfather in Michigan.
No sooner than Lee had his foot out the door, the dreams of him committing adultery resumed....
To be continued January 30th
Did you miss Part IV? Click here
One of Lee's biggest fears (I didn't know this until years later) was that I would gain weight and become a "frumpy" housewife. His stepmother and best friend (at different times) asked, "Lee, are you sure you want to marry Kay? I know you love her but she has the potential to be a 'big girl'." Secure in his love for me and confidant that wouldn't happen, he replied, "Yes, I'm sure. Besides, Kay isn't the type of girl to let herself go."
My weight has been an issue my entire life but when I met Lee I was in pretty good shape; I wasn't tiny by any means though at 5'5, 150 pounds. I gained about twenty pounds before getting pregnant with our first child. Lee used to encourage me to go for walks and take time to exercise but he never teased me or made harsh jokes. And, as irony would have it, around the time I was trying to get serious about losing weight, I got pregnant--and I grew huge. Something I would learn years later made my husband feel embarrassed and ashamed of me and was one reason he used to stray.
Lee and I touched, hugged and kissed on a daily basis, even as I became a virtual balloon. Both of us made sacrifices and were appreciative of one another. I willingly gave up having a career and he willingly supported us on his own. We communicated regularly about current events, work, home life, and all things general from movies to the lives of family members.
I was not the best housekeeper but we didn't live in filth. Everyday when he came home from work he was greeted with a smooch. I cooked his dinners and made him lunch and breakfast each day. I've always enjoyed doing that for him and since I stayed at home, what kind of wife would I be not to? He was not a chauvinist pig, I didn't feel as though I "had" to please him--I wanted to.
Lee's never made me feel guilty for staying home--not even to this day. But, perhaps because he always told me he loved me and showed it through touch, and that we were still communicating, I built up a false security. We didn't have a perfect marriage, but I chalked up my dreams (nightmares) and the slight distance as "normal." What we were missing though was a deeper level of communication. Lee is a conflict avoider and his gentle gestures to help me want to lose weight were actually his first cry that something was about to go wrong, and it did....
To be continued January 30th
Did you miss Part III? Click here
Before we married Lee and I had discussed children. Both of us were products of divorce and were still hurt because we missed our mothers as children. We wanted better--I depart the military and would stay home; he would be the bread winner. It wasn't a religious decision, it was one based on our thoughts of what having a happy family entailed.
We bought our first home when we were twenty-one. The love between Lee and I was still very much obvious but we did argue a bit more due to the stress of home ownership and bills. We also had quite a few petty arguments, nothing major, but what married couple doesn't? Our sex life was amazing and we communicated often. In 1993, we decided to try to get pregnant--we succeeded in November.
I woke up in sweats, glaring at my husband through tears because the dream felt so real. He was with a faceless woman, they laughed at me as I cried after him--it was the first in a sequence of nightmares to become reality....
Part II - Drawn to Cheaters
Part I - Support For Those Who've Decided to Stay
I was greeted with a smile and for the first time ever I actually made the first move and asked him to dance and he said, "Yes." And that is where our whirlwind romance started. We began dating regularly, doing all the things young people do and then some. A short while later we professed our love for one another and moved into an apartment just four months after meeting.
Lee was due to go on a six month Med Cruise for the Navy. We'd only been living together two months. A week before he was due to leave he asked me to marry him. Without hesitation, I jumped at the opportunity and replied, "Yes!" Lee and I were going to marry the following June.
Looking back, I realize both of us rushed things a bit. Perhaps that was one of our downfalls--we really didn't "know" each other. Between my dad not picking my sister and I up often, after living with a stepfather who shattered my self-esteem with emotionally abusive words, and the fact that every boyfriend I'd ever had cheated on me, I wanted to feel loved--and Lee gave me what I needed.
When I lived in the barracks during our dating period, Lee called me several times daily and would drive forty-five minutes to see me on the weekends, on his motorcycle no less, and despite freezing temperatures. He was gorgeous (still is 19 years later); Lee could have easily spent time with a girl much closer if all he cared about was a piece of ass. In essence, his love for me felt genuine and it was.
He proudly introduced me to his parents, step-parents, half-sisters, and grandma. When he was gone for six months his family took me in. They used to go on about how they were so happy to see Lee finally happy and how excited they were to have me as their daughter-in-law. But, there was one person who questioned the kind of man Lee was--my then best friend Ellen. "Kay, you'd better be careful, he's one of 'those' guys and he will end up breaking your heart." Unfortunately, at the time I thought Ellen was just jealous and didn't give her warning serious consideration. It wouldn't be long before her concerns were justified...
To be continued...
Dreams of Betrayal....coming January 25th
Did you miss Part I? If so, click here
Those, like me, going over repeatedly in their minds:
- What went wrong?
- How could I have prevented it?
- How could my husband possibly love me and do this?
- Am I responsible for his actions?
- Can we really work through this?
- Do I have to forgive to salvage my marriage first?
- Should I spy?
- What are his responsibilities?
- Should I get revenge on the woman or women?
- How do I deal with this hate?
- How do I make it through triggers?
- Should we tell the children?
- Will I ever be able to trust him again?
- And so much more.
Staying or leaving your partner when they've committed adultery is a personal choice, neither are easy decisions. My trust in my husband has been shattered. I'll be frank with you, I don't know if we will stay married. Only time can tell. For the time being, both of us want to try and reconcile our marriage. Make no mistake though, we are not rebuilding our marriage, for it was built upon lies. We need to build from the ground up. But first, a history of Lee and Kay.
Stay Tuned for Part II - Young And In Love... Drawn to Cheaters