January 18th, 2016
“I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind” – AD
January 18th, 2014 – D-Day. I panicked. What the hell was I supposed to do with the new found knowledge of his girlfriend? He was terrified, that’s for sure. For me, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Actually, I could. It explained so much of the found, yet denied, physical evidence over the last two years. It explained his painfully, obvious lies and his irrational anger.
He had desperately locked his fingers tight on any information, unwilling to release anything unfound. I handed him my ring and demanded his phone. I knew no other way to make this habitual liar come forward than to make big, terrifying statements. He rushed through his answers, always wavering in the story. He was clearly unwilling to admit the severity or any details. But I’d read enough to know, by his own words to her, that “if he couldn’t have her, he’d have to make it work at home” and I didn’t want to be his second choice. It’s been over two years since I read those words. And between my bold threats and pronouncements, his skittish attempts at disclosure, warnings of suicide, false reconciliation and gaslighting – I feel like he’s never understood all the ways and times that I wish he knew:
I wish he knew how devalued, unsafe, and hopeless I felt in those first few seconds and all of the seconds thereafter. Everything said before and since that discovery was negated in the way he scrambled to protect her and not me.
I wish he could see what he took from me as a mother when he praised her mothering skills, beautiful children and sought her advice. When he cast before her our daughter, to seek her declarations of adoring admiration for him as a father.
I’d lay bare my mind for him to inspect all the ways that his crying, then screaming, then backtracking, then conceding impaired my ability to ever fall safely back into his arms…but also, to ever fall safely into my own.
I wish he could watch with me the playback of *our* life now messily integrating with the reality of his *other* life. I wish he could see how these new revelations made foggy the once lovely memories of our life together.
I wish he could understand how I mentally process knowing how he cheered on, validated, and gave praise to two separate women as they shared, in pictures, their post-baby body transformations, while I tortured my body into a better version of the woman he married after our own baby. And how I now hang my head in shame at the realization that *she* and I were simultaneously sharing our progress pics with him and I’ll always wonder how I measured up and if that’s why he didn’t choose me.
I wish he would remember my desperate attempts to draw near after the first D-Day. How I begged for his truths and loyalty. How I desperately apologized for my failures as a wife. And how I eagerly went along with his false attempts at recovery.
I wish he could feel the nights I spent on the floor, mornings in the shower, and countless hours on my knees so desperately alone and broken while his mistresses remained in the arms of their husbands.
I wish he could feel the overwhelming heartbreak each time his name was mentioned, or with each of the millions of triggers that now tiptoe throughout my day reminding me that he never really chose me.
And why couldn’t he see what lay before him each time I asked him to just show me he could be trusted. If he could only trust me with his demons, wouldn’t it feel so much better to have me walk by his side? Could he not see the further disintegration of my being each time his promise of no more lies was negated by a phone call, a text message, or yet another horribly played lie.
I’d love for him to hear me struggle though telling my preteen son how indulging in pornography can hurt for so many years and people to come. To hear me plead with my son to value and praise women for being so much more than pretty.
And I wish he could help show our daughter all of the things that make her beautiful. That she is beautiful for her kind heart and hands that lift others, a capable and insatiable mind, wit to rival any court jester, and above all else, the integrity to honor the greatness from which she came. I wish he could see how very hard this is when *he* didn’t value those things in her mother.
I wish he could see that he’s already lost two years. Two unbelievably glorious and precious years. But more than that, I wish he could see what *she* has lost. Two Christmases that she didn’t get to excitedly show *both* her parents her gifts. Sunday mornings that aren’t spent snuggled in between mom *and* dad. Family vacations spent Facetiming one or the other parent instead of delightedly walking between us as she wondrously sees Disneyland for the first time. Because I know, that in the years to come, nothing will equal the joy and the fulfillment of being everyday dad and husband. And oh how my heart hurts for his soul when that realization comes.
But most of all, I wish he knew that I see him. That in spite of his devastating attempts to fill his life with any quick and easy feel good, I see the guy that wants to love and lead a family. The one that wants to be loved for all the parts of him. I wish he believed that if he allowed that guy to shine forth, he’d have a place in our lives forever.
I wish he felt the agony of having your former partner, lover, and friend, become nothing more than a stranger.
And finally, I wish he understood that it is he who held the power all along. The power to stop at any point and say, I choose this. To grab my hand and rush towards treatment, recovery, honesty, and healing. The power to confidently declare that he was taking back his family and was willing and more than able to be vulnerable, to right *our* wrongs, and to courageously fight, hand-in-hand, every temptation that arose along the way to deter him on his life path. I wish he knew that he is the author of his story. Until The Very End.
As he moves forward on the least resistant and bumpy path, I lay before each of you, all the ways that I wish I could show him what he left behind.