One thing I could improve through tangible steps was the amount and quality of time I devoted to our relationship, as opposed to work, fitness, sleep, or personal endeavors. I set about making sure, as much as our schedules allowed, that each weekend TL and I had a date night and that we also had a family night. I made it a point to be home for dinner every night. There were few exceptions. I tried to plan trips away, for the family and for TL and I without kids, whenever kids’ schedules allowed. By the way, I struggled to maintain the momentum of these dates, family events, activities, and trips after our recent move to a sleepy town with few babysitters. But, I’m working to regain momentum on that front.
TL and I had what was probably our first weekend away without kids. We drove to a town about four hours away, stayed in a nice hotel, did some scuba diving together, and generally spent every moment together working on our relationship. I will always remember that weekend fondly. TL is troubled by it, I think. Here’s why. We did have a lot of difficult conversations that weekend. She questioned me about the affair. I made promises, commitments, and apologies. But, selfishly, I continued to lie in order to hide my previous adultery.
I did not lie to hurt her. I lied out of the cowardly, selfish desire to protect myself from her anger and to stave off the chance of her just leaving me immediately. Yes, that was not the right way for me to help my injured wife and heal our relationship. Even after committing to put her first and to never hurt her again, I was still hurting her. Second D-day was awful. But, it was absolutely necessary, in order for me to really put TL first, ahead of my childish, primitive self-preservation instinct. It was necessary in order for me to begin my long journey toward learning empathy and acting with love.
Second D-day almost destroyed us. Looking back on it, I think it actually saved me. It freed me to be completely honest and gave me a totally fresh start. But, it destroyed TL.
She met me at my office one night, and we were going from there to an event. She went through my e-mails at work. I tried to hide certain e-mails that I thought I had deleted. She saw more details about the affair. She also saw that there was another series of e-mails, to our former housekeeper. I whisked her away to our event before she had a chance to look at those. Later, at the event, it was too much for TL. We left together, early. We walked to a nearby park. Her understandable onslaught of anger and questioning broke through to my other secrets. I revealed my two previous affairs. I also revealed my series of illicit encounters with prostitutes and people I had met online. TL knew that I viewed porn in the past. During our conversation I also revealed just how frequently I had used porn, and that I had used it compulsively.
TL and I were in hell together. We called our counselor, Phil, for emergency help.