TL: “Tell me five more things.”

When we returned overseas, MindlessCraft started going in later and coming home earlier, in time for dinner every night. HIs workouts were reduced substantially, he started really spending time with me and our children. In the past, I had planned activities and travel, he just came along for the ride. I was done. If he wanted our family, our marriage, I wanted to see him taking the initiative. And, he did.

The first trip out-of-town, was to a luxurious hotel. He got us a fancy suite and arranged for several dives. Years ago, I had talked him into learning SCUBA, but we had not done it in a very long time. That trip I asked him all kinds of questions, but his answers did not always make sense. I am a very logic based person. He would tell me I am trying to find logic in the illogical, when he could see I was not convinced with his answers. We had a lovely time in many ways, but I could feel a wall between us still. I wanted all windows and no walls and I refused to let-up until I KNEW all the walls were down. I kept imploring him to be honest with me. I felt like I had to interrogate him to find the answers. I felt like he was playing word games, the definition of “is” is.  . .I wanted him to just voluntarily spill all. I came up with a little mechanism to help this along. It started with “tell me three things I don’t already know.” He would claim he couldn’t think of any. I would tell him “surely there are three small, inane details you have not yet shared, and maybe those will help you remember a bigger detail. Just three, any three, I am not letting this go until you give me something.” He would strain and think and strain some more, and then come up with a few. I would be satisfied for a few days, then again feel like there were still walls and again tell him “tell me three things I don’t already know.” This went on for a couple months. Of course, then it was “I’m out of things, you really do know everything,there is nothing more, nothing” blah, blah, blah.

I had seen e-mails between MC and his AP, but did not have access to all of them. One day, I went to meet him at his office. I was early, he was still working on other things, so I sat down to “play” on his computer. His e-mail happened to be up. Hmmm, I thought, let’s just take a look. I searched his in-box and sent messages, there was nothing. I then had a thought; I clicked into his delete folder. There were a bunch of old, pre d-day, messages from his AP. I also saw a bunch of old messages from our former housekeeper. She had been trying to persuade me to bring her to our new local to work for us. I stupidly said out loud, “What are all these messages from our housekeeper?” MC abruptly stated, “We need to go, we’re going to be late.” I said, “No, I see a bunch of messages that I want to read.” He said he would transfer them back to his phone, so I could read them on the way. He only transferred those messages from his AP. I saw several messages that portrayed his interest in her more romantically than he had previously described. I was so utterly crushed!

I was so used to 18 years of his work coming first, that it didn’t even occur to me to tell him we absolutely could not go. We arrived at the event. Upon arrival, I immediately got myself a Gin and 7 UP and found a quiet hidden corner to go drink and quietly cry. I would pull myself together long enough to go get another drink. A colleague of my husband’s, looking for the bathroom, saw me, but I think I had dried the tears before he saw, maybe. I went up to MC and said, “I need to leave NOW!” We walked to a local park and I said, calmly as I could muster, “TELL ME five things I don’t already know!” He told me one, but it was enough. He replied, “I lied to her and told her that there had been numerous others.” My heart sank, it all started to click. He then confessed to two other APs (the housekeeper and a colleague in his first job out of grad school), prostitutes and four chat room hook-ups, all over the course of our entire marriage! He also shared details of his last affair that he had lied about, obscured or withheld. Previously, when I felt he was playing word games, I was right! My world crashed in all around me. I made him take me back to his work to read ALL of the e-mails! I forwarded the most despicable examples to my own e-mail. My plan was to have those when I contacted a divorce attorney.

We went back to the house and called Phil, telling him everything. Phil told me, “I support you no matter what you decide, you have every right to leave this instant if that is what you want, come home and I will be here to help you through. But, you do not have to decide this instant. He talked about MC telling me everything, things I could never have known about, as being a very good sign and step.” He talked to Mindless. Mindless was frantic, “What can I do, I’ll do anything, what can I do?” Phil chastised Mindless for not coming clean when we were “home,” he told him that holding onto lies was the worst possible thing to have done. Regardless of whether or not I left, truly loving me meant from now I on, MC needed to put my interests above his own. We made appointments to call Phil often for counseling. Phil suggested a polygraph. MC was ALL OVER IT! Phil gave him the contact info for an examiner he trusted. Mindless contacted the examiner and set-up an appointment for the moment we returned “home.”

I was a walking zombie, walking around dazed and confused. I had no idea what I was going to do. We were overseas, we had no home of our own back “home.” The kids had started back to school already. The plan already was that the end of the school year, we would be returning “home.” Mindless would come with us for a visit, but then would be off for a year to a job that did not include family members. I told myself, I will let the kids finish out this school year, and then go “home” to have a year without him to figure out what I want to do.

I was in such great pain. I had always had a smile on my face for everyone. It was gone. I was on the verge of tears at every moment. I had been very involved with the kids’ school. There was an event that weekend that I could not get out of doing. People could tell something was very wrong. People who barely knew me could tell something was very wrong. I was stumbling through, but not very well at all. At one point during the event, I went to the basement of the school, to the end of a hallway, far away from everyone in a dark corner and just cried and cried. I lost 3 kilos in less than a week.

Of all the things I’ve been through, struggled through in this life, that by far was THE WORST!

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2 thoughts on “TL: “Tell me five more things.”

  1. Oh, Tiger Lily. I am slowly going through your blog – it is so helpful, thank you both so much for sharing – and this post in particular resonated with me. The first few weeks after DDay were so horrible. Everyone knew something was wrong with me, as well. I am holding on to your ‘butterflies’ post to remind myself not to dwell on that despair, as I continue to do more often than I would prefer!

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    1. Julia, thank you so much. I am glad that this blog might actually be helpful to someone else out there.

      I will admit that at times I do still feel pain, but the intensity of that pain has changed. I no longer feel like the walking dead. It is strange, on a day-to-day basis, I don’t really see the changes in myself in this regard. But when looking at larger chunks of time, I can see and feel the difference. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time. I hope your husband is holding himself accountable and doing everything possible to give you the safety you need to heal. TL xx

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