Today is, for me, yet another one of those days where getting up and moving about is a tremendous struggle. I think I’m hungry but feeding myself seems to require too much effort. As does dressing, washing, and brushing my tangled hair.
He’s gone off to work, hours ago actually, and it usually takes me several hours to shake off the negative residue. Then he’ll return shortly before midnight and it starts building up all over again. I spent twenty minutes this afternoon insisting again he has to leave me alone, he cannot keep hurting me, it’s wrong, cruel, loveless, and I absolutely do not deserve it. I cannot live with him and be even slightly content. He makes sure of it.
But he loves me, he says. He will be better, he pleads.
No. No he won’t. He chooses not to, that’s only for strangers who he so desperately wants to capture.
Valentines’ day is approaching. I never thought anything of it until last year, when it happened to be the day I retrieved him from the hospital. I expected him to be different, being locked away the 10 previous days and medicated. It was just before that I communicated with her and found out the truth, not his twisted version of it that he fed me the month before. She forwarded me his emails to her. She couldn’t believe he was lying, he was so sincere, she said. She never knew anyone to lie so much.
Neither have I.
I never told her the things he said to me about her. The first lies that she was his friends girlfriend, that they offered him a place to stay, that he had a nervous breakdown at work and went for a walk in the woods where he got lost for 2 days. That later he said she crawled on him while he was half asleep, exhausted, and had sex with him. That she was psychotic and followed him at work afterwards. That she bought a bracelet like his to appear as if they were a couple. After the truth came out it was far worse. He constantly called her a whore and said she was easy. He said she was stupid and would believe anything. He liked controlling her. He thought she was beneath him and worthless.
I didn’t buy any of it at first. He’s lied too much before. I knew he was fooling around but I didn’t know the truth, just my own soon to be revealed as correct, suspicions. The latter I still find deeply disturbing.
Reading those emails… I don’t know. I remember feeling detached. Shocked. Destroyed. He seemed obsessed. Sometimes he’d write every hour. I could remember what we were doing together at the time, where we were, and the lies on the nights he had to go into work as I’d later read his messages asking if he could see her. How he missed her. How he loved her. How lucky he was to have someone like her. He was the luckiest man alive.
It wasn’t past the third message that he was telling outrageous lies. He was from another country and travelled the world. He always made everything out to be more grand. If I went to the post office to mail my friend a package he’d tell her he was sending things to his long distance friends. If we stayed in and watched a movie, he travelled to another friends place, the nearest big city, to hang out. In reality he has no friends. Not one. He dumped them when he attached himself to me. He used to tell me how they used him. I never saw how, I’d inquire how but he would never explain. All his ex’s did too, and they all cheated, of course.
Pity plays. He loves them. In the beginning I didn’t know. I didn’t understand. I didn’t comfort him. I didn’t buy it. I remember thinking how odd it all sounded. I would just listen and wonder how it was possible. Yet we were so happy, so in love, it drifted from my thoughts. I didn’t see the red flag waving boldly in my face. I was blinded.
He would write to her that I was jealous. He would write how my family hated me and liked him, that we attended a Christmas party and what a joke it was how I tried to get him drunk and get back together with him. A family party, in reality, that he begged me to attend, where I’m absolutely not hated nor do either of us drink. With her though, he drank and smoked.
They went to bars, dined out at almost every meal. He painted me as his deranged ex that he was trapped with. He slept on the couch, he said (for 15 years?) and the kids weren’t even his. He was just here to protect them from me, being a lunatic and all.
The lies started out enormous and grew bigger all the time. He had it all covered, why she couldn’t come over or call his phone. He painted himself a saint and me a demon.
Near the end he was telling her he was looking for an apartment for them. I sent her a text message one day from my phone. That’s what sparked it.
I thanked her for helping care for my husband and I shared how I was grateful he stayed with such good people. I asked her to have her boyfriend call him, and let her know he had been fired.
Of course she already knew he was fired days before, he told her so. In reality he got fired from his job for taking off all those nights when he’d fake going in and was with her.
I checked our phone records and saw him using massive amounts of data “while at work”. That was the closest thing to proof I could get. She messaged his phone directly only twice, and by doing so gave me the number.
When I sent her my little fishing text she asked where I got the number. From my phone bill of course. She was amused he was married, you know men, she said. I knew then she didn’t know the truth about me and his story was about to shatter. I found out later she started saying he needed to tell me about her or she would. That’s when he concocted the lie about her attacking him as he slept and stalking him at work. He wanted to forget about all of it he said. It was a mistake. He said he felt trapped after she let him stay there. He was confused because of his nervous breakdown and she took advantage of him because she was lonely and psychotic.
I was absolutely upset. I tried to keep calm at first but once my mind started racing I lost control. I raged for an hour. After I found sense and he begged to stay with me I insisted he tell her it was over.
He handed me his phone and we sent her a text, my second text to her, saying “I told her. I choose my wife. We’re over. I’m sorry.” Just so she couldn’t misread anything.
She replied he just told her yesterday he loved her. That she was pregnant, and thanks for being a friend, with a sad face. We didn’t respond.
I tried to address the pregnancy. He said she was lying. I asked why she said he told her he loved her, he said it wasn’t true, he told her clearly they were friends and she was deranged.
In secret he sent her an email later saying he didn’t mean it, he loved her. He was going to get away from me and find a place. Every day he would write for the next month and make up seeing apartments. It had to end on his terms of course. He couldn’t stand to feel like he was no longer in control. Why she bought it was beyond my understanding. I wouldn’t accept him or anyone, telling me they faked breaking up with me for his wife to be content.
He didn’t actually look for a place to live or really care. He was just afraid of the possible pregnancy. She was a bad mother, according to the lying, cheating, hypocrite. She had a son already that she didn’t care for, who lived with his father, her separated husband.
I read her emails, one saying “that wasn’t my period last night” and the same date a month later of her “miscarriage”. He wasn’t the only one playing games. She wrote how she called her doctor and he said since she had an appointment later in the week he’d check her miscarriage then. Right. In what country? She would have been told to go straight to the ER. He may not have figured it out but I knew she was lying.
Not that it mattered, as she was pregnant two weeks after. So much for true love. She had another baby boy this fall.
I learned eventually that the week before I sent her my first message, he had been going so far as to go in work and clock in, and leave. Not play sick but simply walk straight out. Later he’d complain he was working and there had to be something wrong with their computer when another paycheck was “wrong”. He went back and got them to pay him for working when he wasn’t even there, he convinced them he had clocked in on time and it was their faulty time clock. Anything so that he had proof for me that yes, he worked and how dare I accuse him of anything.
Mind you he had new clothes and jewelry, overdressed for “work”, showered excessively, money was disappearing, gas in the car was magically vanishing too, and his previous paychecks were mysteriously “incorrect”. I even noticed him using new phrases in his normal vocabulary as if he was spending a lot of time with one particular person.
I’d point it all out and eventually started asking him about his “secret girlfriend”. He had an excuse for everything. I had no proof. He laughed in my face, sometimes he screamed, but I knew he was lying.
In the end the truth came out and he was gone again. I instigated it, I knew then I needed her to tell me what really happened and I hated that he ignored her possible pregnancy. I messaged her for the third time, this time secretly from his phone, and at first she replied “we don’t communicate this way” and gave me his secret email address. I logged in with his normal password and read a dozen recent exchanges. In the meantime she sent a message saying she was sick of the games and the crap his ex was pulling, which she said caused her to miscarry. I responded how amusing she was fed up with sleeping with my husband and let her know we were never apart. That’s when she didn’t hesitate to tell me everything once she found out I was not his ex.
I learned how long it went on, where they went, awful lies he said, she shared as much as she could recollect and forwarded every email. He deleted all but the recent ones.
I learned she even saw me with him out shopping and it was “awkward”. She didn’t want to start a problem and he said he wished she said hello. Later he admitted he was terrified then but at the same time he wanted it to be over.
It was an agonizing night. I screamed. I cried. I threw things. I slapped him. I was out of my mind in pain.
It took me 2 or 3 days to even think. Eventually I said he had to get out or I was calling the police to remove him that’s when he went downstairs and ate several bottles worth of pills. After I had him vomit I took him to the ER where eventually they gave him an ambulance ride 100 miles to a mental health hospital.
I was left writhing in pain and confusion, having gone through an existential breakdown of my own, not eating or sleeping the 10 days he ran off with her, believing he had an accident or was injured during some terrible crime. Then a month later to find out the truth. The affair, the love letters, the lies. It was a thousand times worse than every bad thing I ever endured before.
It’s almost a year since I learned it all. I’m still trying to escape it. I’m only just starting to find myself again.
Now, with not feeling emotions, I’m so lost. Some days I think I’m some sort of doll. Comfortably numb.
I don’t experience joy or sorrow. Not much of anything. No excitement, not fear. It’s like I’m already dead.
The thing is, I don’t want to be.