I’ve been wearing a self imposed scarlet letter.
No, I never cheated on my husband.
I wasn’t the one who ultimately turned away from my marriage in the end.
Yet still, I have branded myself in my own mind.
I am the one worth leaving. The ugly one who pushed away my husband because he wasn’t “loving me the way I wanted”. Of COURSE he would leave me. I was ugly toward him. Someone else was more appealing and could be better than I was/had been.
Then my rational brain takes over…
“WHAT??? ARE YOU F*$%ING KIDDING ME??? You ASKED for him to be present for his family and not work so much. You asked him to listen and REMEMBER when you talked about things…especially plans or important events. You asked him to help lighten your burden by doing X, Y, Z if he could…HE NEVER TRULY DELIVERED ON ANY OF IT!!! He gave you morsels and excuses to explain away why “of course he couldn’t do that”… and he made you feel bad for wanting a better marriage, a better father for my kids, a better partner, a better friend.
He cheated on you.
Not just once.
Remember that time you found out about the cheating that happened when you were dating? Remember that time 10 years into your marriage when you found out that he really HAD slept with the one girl you suspected was pursuing him, but he convinced you otherwise, and you confronted her and told her to back the “ef” off…”
I often wondered in the years that followed the revelation if I would have ever married him had I known the truth back then. It didn’t matter that I had not suspected nor do I believe that any activity of any questionable nature occurred for the beginning parts of our marriage. I think his guilty conscience about the first act drove him for awhile. But often I suspect that NO, I wouldn’t have married him. When I found out, I felt cheated. I FEEL cheated. But it was BEFORE we were married…right?..so I was supposed to just forget and move on. Besides, it “wasn’t like we were married yet…like before God and all…you can do those kinds of things when you’re young, stupid, and only really ‘dating’ someone”.
Except I wasn’t given a choice. Back then. A choice to say “I’m worth more than this!”…
So I married. And my belief about my marriage partner deteriorated over time. Marriage wasn’t AT ALL what I had thought it would be/should be. I had wanted a partner and a best friend. Someone to be silly with – my true self and feel comfortable and accepted and LOVED.
That’s not how I felt much of my married life. I often wonder if it was all in my own head, my own doing, or if it truly was the relationship that caused me to fail myself and my marriage.
He cheated, yet I still wear the scarlet letter…
…the big letter “D” with the side of “adultery” that screams to others that I was not worthy to remain loyal to…that I was not worth fighting for…that I was not good enough.
It affects meeting new people. I don’t consider myself a viable option for married couples, and I’m not really “single” and free with three kids, and I don’t know many other divorcees. Who would really want to be friends with me anyway? All I do is wallow in my own failure as a wife. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t still with her…if he wasn’t planning on someday in the foreseeable future marrying her. Slap me in the face, knock me down, then kick me in the ribs while I lay there…
Lucky guy. He has found “the one” and I am left to wonder why I wasn’t good enough for him to love.
He feels free and clear. No scarlet letter holding him back. He does what he wants in his new life and I’m not a part of any of it (thankfully) yet I still have to allow him to be an integral part of mine because I have the kids 70% of the time. Yoked for life because of the shared children. With someone I have no respect for.
I hate that I worry about what others think of me. More importantly, I HATE that I still consider what HE thinks.
A friend and I were discussing the possibility of taking a nice little vacation to some tropical location this summer…during a week of “Disney Dad visitation” for the kiddos. I want to go. I have a little money saved up.
Here’s my argument…I’m currently trying to sell the marital house this spring. I may have to pay to get out from under it…if it even sells…which will require all my savings. I will recover. I will recover and still have enough to do this little vacation treat. I still have enough for the kids to all do their own activities all summer and keep up with everything.
Seems a no brainer huh?
Except he pays for it all. It’s truly HIS money. I am only afloat because he has agreed to make it so. I’m a third year teacher for heaven’s sake! I stayed home for 12 years raising the kids and keeping the household running. He could potentially make me feel guilty for spending money in this way. The money is meant for the kids to maintain the lifestyle they have…sports activities, clothing, entertainment, etc. This is a trip just for me…I wouldn’t have enough to make it a family vacation anyway. Still, he may use it as a secondary argument to try and get his alimony reduced (after I no longer pay the mortgage on the marital house, I am anticipating his request for reduction).
He could also surprise me and be totally supportive – he really likes to look like the good guy. And he would love to take credit for me being able to do something extra.
I truly don’t know which response will be the one he chooses…they are both equally likely.
But then on top of it all, that scarlet letter comes into play…
…what makes you think you deserve to be frivolous and go on tropical vacations?
I realize this is all my own doing. I have made a decision to see myself in this way. I hate that the strong woman I used to feel like is feeling utterly powerless to changing my own ways of thinking. I know Dr. Phil would say I must be getting a payoff somewhere.