I Don't Believe Dad, I Think He's Still Cheating on You
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...