Every woman asks this question when the affair comes to light. The emotional roller coaster you begin to ride is not one of choice, but nevertheless, you must ride it until the end! During the aftermath of the affair you can feel different everyday. One day you may feel hope, the next you may want to make your spouse disappear, then the next thing you know, your emotions bring you to complete and utter hopelessness! One thing is for certain, all women will at some point question themselves. What did I do? What can I change about me? Those are some really hard questions to ask yourself, but it’s even harder to answer them truthfully.
I went through the normal roller coaster ride of post-affair aftermath. During that time I did a lot of questioning of myself. Most of these doubts were spurred by my estranged husband. I remember in the beginning of what I now know was the end, we were sitting at the marriage counselor. She was asking us to tell her why we were there. I explained to her I thought he was seeing someone else. She questioned him and he denied seeing anyone. He called me crazy. He said I was insecure. He said I had lost it. He had “no clue” why I was doubting him, but I was pushing him away. He said “She is needy, she’s weak…I want the strong woman I married back!!” At this point I was feeling pretty low about myself. The counselor looked at him and said, ” I need my husband, but that doesn’t make me weak!” At that point, I knew we were on the same track…she knew he was being untruthful, now if would only admit it!
But I am not without blame. Like I said, I had to dig deep within myself and try to figure out what I could’ve done to make things different. My first two marriages ended out of my control, but I needed to know if I had any control in this one! I came to a conclusion….I expected too much! I had high expectations of marriage and how a man is a father.
When our baby girl was born, she was unexpectedly admitted into the NICU. It was the hardest 8 days of my life. I just wanted my baby to be healthy and home where she belonged. Instead of being supportive, my husband left and went back to work. This left me alone with 3 kids, pumping my breast around the clock, and going twice a day to the hospital which was a 45 minute drive from our house. I wasn’t allowed to drive since I had a tubal ligation the day she was born, so I had to depend on my parents to drive me to and from the hospital, as well as care for the other kids. My husbands parents left town the day after she was born because they weren’t allowed to visit her in the NICU. With him working 24 hour shift, it was all a little too much to deal with alone…but I did it! I survived! We all did…and I thought our marriage would make it through anything life had in store!
Our daughter was diagnosed with asthma within her first year of birth. She was in and out of the hospital…anytime she got a slight cold, we were back in the hospital! October 2004, right before we separated, she was admitted. I was working Home Health at the time and didn’t have “time off” with pay, so if I didn’t work, no money. My husband on the other hand could take one day off and be off all week. So the plan was for me to work during the day and he would stay with her. Then I would come back and stay all night with them. She spent 6 days in the hospital, including Halloween. I tried to make the best of it. I dressed her up as Snow White on Halloween and let her pass out candy to others! She had fun, that’s all that mattered! I won’t lie, it was stressful. I was working, coming to the hospital, sleeping in the bed with my 2 year old and being woken up every 2 hours when they would come in to do breathing treatments. Then back to work the next day! One of the last couple of days we were there, when I arrived at the hospital after work, my husband informed me his mother would be coming to the hospital to stay, he just needed to go home! I was so upset! My daughter didn’t know his mom that well. They didn’t live in town and didn’t make an effort to see her often enough to form a bond with her. 2 year olds are clingy…sick 2 year olds are EXTREMELY clingy! There was no way I wanted to leave her with his mom as sick as she had been! She didn’t know everything about her like we did. This is an example of me expecting too much out of my husband! I expected him to want to be there just as much as I wanted to be there! It was all I could do to walk out of those doors everyday for work, and if our livelihood didn’t depend on it, you can bet I would’ve been right there with my daughter the entire time! Looking back, I should’ve just let it go. Men are weak…especially men who keep everything locked up emotionally….they are the weakest. I guess I should’ve realized he was struggling with her illness and couldn’t deal with it, but I am not a mind reader! At the time, my daughter was my first priority and I didn’t have the time or the energy to try and analyze what was really going on in his head! I just needed him to be there for his daughter….I just needed him to be there for us…..but he couldn’t, he wasn’t!
In November that same year, my oldest daughter had a district cheer competition. She asked my husband to go. He told her he had to work, but he PROMISED her if they made it to Regionals in Orlando, he would go. Well, they made it! Regionals were in Orlando Thanksgiving weekend. We had planned to go to his parents for Thanksgiving dinner, then we would leave to go to the competition from there. He decided he didn’t want to go to the cheer competition. As a matter of fact, he refused! I begged, I pleaded, I got angry, I got sad, I cried….we went alone…just my two oldest girls and myself! He stayed with his parents and other two kids. When we got home after the weekend we had a huge fight! I was so mad at him! I knew my oldest daughter needed a positive male role model in her life. I assumed when we married he would be that guy since her dad was deceased. Needless to say, the argument was a big one. He made the comment that she didn’t need him there at the competition! I was trying to explain to him that she needed a dad figure in her life and I thought it was going to be him. He said she has a dad! When I spoke, I misspoke and he has never let me forget it!! What I said was “She would be better off if you were dead!”….what I meant was “If you weren’t there because you were dead, she would be better off!” Meaning…she wasn’t upset with her biological dad for not being there…it wasn’t a choice. But her stepdad made a promise and was now choosing to not see it through! Once again, this is something I could’ve changed! I can’t make him be a good father…I can’t make him be a good person….all I can do is be me! I needed to fight fair, but when I see my child disappointed, all logic goes out the window!
After I found the Panera receipts for breakfast for 2, I was fairly certain he was having an affair, but I needed to be sure! I needed cold, hard proof, and I intended to get it! You know what they say….A woman scorned does better work than an FBI agent! So off to work I went! Since I had set up his cell phone and voice mail password, I helped myself to his voicemail. I had it set up to when someone left a voicemail on his phone, it also left a duplicate….on mine! 🙂
One night in January I had a marriage counselor session alone and then he had one following mine. Then, he was coming home to eat a family dinner (he was living with his sister at this point). I was at home cooking our dinner. Right when he was due to walk out of the counseling session, 6:01 to be exact, my voice mail pings! I stopped and stared at my phone…did I really want to know? What should I do? OMG….what if it’s ….HER!!!!!
I bet you can guess….