Karma

“You lose them the same way you got them.”

It’s a random comment left under one of Eniko Hart’s instagram photos, but I can’t help but feel like it holds truth. Why else would that one, out of the slew of other similarly spiteful comments, seem to jump out of the screen at me in big bold letters? My husband has strayed from our relationship twice now. Both times, eerily similar to the way that I got him.

I met him when I was 19. I was fresh out of a toxic relationship and still dealing with the aftermath of the break-up. We started out as friends. He gave me an outlet to vent about my ex and in turn, he would vent about his girlfriend whom he’d been dating for about 6 months. They were fighting a lot, barely getting along. He felt like there was a disconnect. The bond we developed through our shared relationship struggles sparked romantic feelings that, I’m sure, we could both sense were looming. I never mentioned them, but he did. I don’t remember how I responded to his admission of wanting more, but I do remember telling him that nothing would happen while he was in a relationship. A little over a week after he broke up with her, he was with me.

I don’t know if this is Karma or just the results of the nature of his character. I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point. But both times he’s sought solace in another woman during our roughest of rough patches mirror how our relationship was conceived. So I can’t help but to think that this is just something he does and will continue to do or, I’m being punished for playing a part in ruining another woman’s relationship.

If it’s the former and it’s a matter of character flaw. Then, wtf? If it’s ingrained in a person to run away from conflict, how do you combat that? Is it even combatable? If that’s what he knows, will he always be running? Because I can’t keep chasing him. No matter how much I love him. I just don’t have it in me to do this again. If it’s the latter and the universe is like, “You reap what you sow, bitch,” …then, okay. I get it. But like, when am I done reaping? Is this a “til death” type deal? Like, how do I get my Karma back in good standing? Don’t get me wrong, I accept full responsibility for my part in all of that and I’ll always harbor guilt about it. But is there ever going to be a point when I can finally unwind? Or does the unwinding happen when he’s gone for good?

I could very well be overthinking things. Since this Kevin Hart cheating scandal thing broke, my head’s been spinning. I don’t even particularly follow celebrity gossip so I guess it’s empathy, more than anything, that’s piqued and kept my interest. I know her pain so how could I not have a special place in my heart for her and anyone else experiencing something similar. Regardless, the whole thing is dredging up a lot of familiar feelings of concern and worry. It’s making me wanna sift through all aspects of my marriage with a fine tooth comb. And, that’s never a good thing. Not for my mental health anyway. I’m already feeling on edge…

Acceptance

My husband and I went out to dinner last night and ended up stumbling onto the topic of his affair. I’m can’t even really recall what led us down that path but to be fair, it’s always in the back of my mind so I’m almost certain I subconsciously steered us that way. Regardless, I mentioned to him that while I’ve certainly come to terms with everything and seem to be handling the whole situation much better, I’d probably always be sensitive to it. I couldn’t give any particular reason why, just that… it had really hurt me. I told him that I was waiting for that day when I would just be okay with everything.. be indifferent to it. He said something sort of profound to me then. He told me that he doesn’t think I’ll ever be okay with it, and that I shouldn’t be. It wasn’t okay what happened. I need to accept that what he did was inconsiderate, selfish and irresponsible. And then, I could move forward from there.

It didn’t click with me then. As far as I knew I had already done that. I’d accepted that he’d hurt me, that he’d betrayed me, abandoned me. That nothing said or done now would ever change that, so may as well deal with where we are now. But in retrospect, I guess maybe he’s right. It’s not that I’d ever been oblivious to his character flaws at that time, but I think I have always been passive about it. I make excuses for it, and really, there was no excuse for him to treat me the way he did. Even in composing this post I didn’t want to label it an “affair.” As a matter of fact, I think I use the word very sparingly throughout this entire blog — throughout the entire affair and it’s aftermath. It’s because I never accepted that’s what that was. I figured, well… they never fucked so maybe the label doesn’t apply. I’d even thought it was insulting to other women whose husbands’ had “actual” affairs. Like I might somehow be taking light away from their actual marital problems with my “almost” problem. Except “affair” is defined as a ROMANTIC or sexual relationship outside of your marriage. So it wasn’t an almost anything. My husband had an affair.

I’ve already forgiven him for the most part. So it doesn’t hurt so much now to admit, but I’m sure had this been several months to a year ago, I’d have been in shambles all over again. So far though, I’m okay. And by “okay” I mean… my life hasn’t ended as a result. Neither by realizing/admitting he had an affair or by the affair itself. That brings me to my next point, or his rather. I will never be okay with it. He’s absolutely right. An affair is not something you look back on, shrug your shoulders and give a “shit happens” kind of smile about. It should never have happened. I’d always credited the way he acted and the decisions he made to whatever inner conflicts he was suffering with– because I’m certain he was troubled by a few. But the thing is, so was I. And that’s BEFORE I suspected anything was going on well into me discovering (little by little) the truth. And yet, I didn’t push him away. I didn’t neglect him. I tried my best to be considerate of the fact that he was going through something. Even when he told me it was feelings for another woman… when he told me it was about him not knowing if he still loved me… I was there. I stood by him. I was understanding and supportive. I didn’t have to do that. Especially given all the things he was doing underhanded. I could have just been selfish and only worried about how hurt and betrayed I felt and that would have been okay. But what he did wasn’t.

I’m not angry at him. I don’t want it to seem that way. And at no time during that discussion did I get upset with him. I’m just developing a different understanding and it’s bringing me a little more clarity. I’m grateful for that. It’s making me far more appreciative of where we are now, because it’s evident that he’s gotten a little more clarity on everything that happened as well. Early on I couldn’t get him to admit any type of fault outright. Not even the shit that was blatantly obvious. So for him to not only point out where he went wrong, but to understand my point of view… that’s HUGE. Not to mention, that whole conversation we had was an actual CONVERSATION. At no point did either of us get upset, offended or defensive. We didn’t try to win, justify or prove anything. We just wanted to understand the other person. Which is interesting considering that period of time when we were always fighting/arguing, all we wanted was for the other person to understand us. Funny how things work out…

I sat across from her (Final)

This was never about Jackie. I realize that now. She was simply another piece of the puzzle we were fashioning. She wasn’t even a signifcant piece. Maybe one of the many pieces that make up the grass, water… DIRT. But with or without her there the picture would still look complete. It would still make sense. It would still be brilliant because the important pieces are the events that led us here, our actions, our words, our commitment, forgiveness, trust and understanding. They’re the pieces that make up the focal point, the whole purpose of the puzzle. And that focal point has always been my husband and I. We’d been skirting major issues that were festering beneath the surface for YEARS. So whether it was Jackie, or some other nameless/faceless, messy skeezer with poor morals and values, we were bound to hit that wall. And to be completely honest, I’m glad we did.

That night, after we’d gotten home, I literally cried for HOURS. I just lay there, sobbing uncontrollably. My husband stayed up with me for as long as it took to calm me down. Once I was coherent enough he apologized for putting me in that situation and told me how guilty he’d felt about it, which was a complete surprise. He said he’d wanted me to go so that I wouldn’t sit at home and worry or stress. He never suspected I’d end up in that messy situation. I told him I wasn’t upset with him, then went on for several minutes about how much I wanted to throat punch that bitch. He just listened, occassionally egging me on and chuckling, which made me feel better. Then we fell asleep.

I waited a few days before bringing the situation back up. There were still a few things I needed clarity on pertaining to their friendship now that he would be at a different company. Would they still be hanging out? Meeting for lunches? Would they be talking on the phone again? If so, all the time? I needed to know what the expectations where and what/if there were any boundaries in place. And though I try to remain supportive of their friendship, I needed him to know that it still made me uncomfortable which was why I was bringing it up. To my surprise, he told me he had no intentions of seeing her. That even if she did invite him to hang out, she lived in a different city and wasn’t worth the effort or drive. He told me their friendship was one of convenience because they worked together and shared common complaints and interests regarding that company, but now that he no longer worked there he didn’t see them talking as much, if at all. Then he told me that if I wanted, he would end all communication with her because he didn’t want to make me uncomfortable and their friendship wasn’t worth hurting me.. That she was never worth hurting me.

I was speechless. It’s been so long since he’s expressed any real adoration/appreciation for me. And that day he did it tenfold. Everything he uttered being something I desperately needed to hear, have been DYING to hear for so long. I won’t go into detail because it’s all sacred, something I want to keep for myself. But the one of note that I don’t mind mentioning was his willingness to let her go at my request. I know it seems petty but I don’t mean it to be. This isn’t about the satisfaction of him dropping her… it’s about him acknowledging me. I never did ask him to end that friendship. I would never do that because I don’t want to control him. I don’t want to HAVE to control anybody. I just wanted him to see the pain it was causing me and care enough to do something about it (even if that just meant occassional reassurance that nothing’s going on). At first he was so resistent, giving explanations, excuses and justifications for continuing to have her around. Sometimes even getting defensive, lashing out and making it seem as though I were making a bigger deal of it than need be. Those moments when he couldn’t understand, refused to understand why I was so uncomfortable with them being “friends”… those were the ones that hurt the most. Because I knew he wasn’t thinking about me. And it fucking sucks to not be thought of by the one person that you’re always thinking of. So for him, to finally say those words to me… Jesus. I needed to hear that from him more than I even realized. And it finally made me feel like… yeah, we’re gonna be okay =)

For anyone wondering how I responded, I told him it was up to him. And I meant it. I just asked that if there were anymore get togethers where she’d be in attendance that he let me sit it out. I’m not sure what he decided to do and I don’t feel the need to ask. I do know I haven’t heard anything about her since that night. And that’s certainly enough for me. However! If her name were to pop up again in future conversations, though I might feel a bit uneasy about it, I wouldn’t let him know that. I’d just listen attentively. Because I’m realizing, that’s all he wanted from me.

Jackie.

I plan on concluding the “I sat across from her” series in the next several days (maybe…) but to be honest, the entire situation has stirred up some very deep rooted feelings. I’ve been meditating on those feelings and think I’ve finally come to understand them. It’s kind of sad, right? I’m just now understanding feelings I had about an instance that occurred over 2 years ago.  But, let me just jump into it.

I’ve pretty much come to terms with every other aspect of my husbands “infidelity” (I use the term loosely because as far as I know, it wasn’t physical – I think maybe “betrayal” is a better description?). The only aspect I still struggle with is… her — Jackie. I’m being completely honest when I say that I, 100%, do not like her. In fact, I fucking DESPISE her. My reasoning extends far beyond the inappropriate interactions/relationship they shared, but it certainly starts there.

I know a lot of individuals argue against blaming the “other woman.” Your husband is the one who made a vow to you, they say. He’s the one that married you, he’s the one that broke that vow. Be angry with him. And I was. In fact he was the FIRST one I pointed the finger at (aside from, naturally, myself). Her involvement doesn’t nullify his responsibility to me and our marriage in the least. I know that. The thing is, we’re all responsible, consenting adults. And how do you judge a person’s character, if not by their actions? By how they treat other people? By how they involve themselves in other peoples’ lives?

I did not blame her at first, but I did hate her. And I hated her because I was jealous of her. Because everything that I was supposed to be for him, that I wanted so badly to be, she took on. She was his confidant, his breath of fresh air, she was that smiling face he looked forward to every day… that he couldn’t wait to escape to… from me (which even to this day brings me to tears to even think about). And because she was all of these things for him, he wanted to be them for her. So of course I got left alone, all by myself, in the dark. I didn’t blame her for that.

He wouldn’t be honest with me, or couldn’t be honest. I don’t know. Either way it was LITERALLY driving me insane. So much so that I did something very much out of character. I found out the passwords to his social media accounts and every now and then I would monitor them. I’m not proud of it, but it happened and I eventually confessed all of this to him. But not before seeing and confirming all of the reasons that have caused me to hate her because she is a SHIT person:

I won’t go into detail about every instance I found because it’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that she’s manipulative. Here was a man at his lowest point, experiencing inner-conflict, conflict about his current environment, conflict within his marriage, conflict about this new person he’s met and come to admire. A man who was struggling to figure out where he was and how all these different parts of his life fit together. She took advantage of him. What kind of person does that? It makes me SO angry because he truly valued her as a friend and as a person. Meanwhile, she was just using him.

He would always tell me, no she’s a good person. She always tells me that she doesn’t want to cause trouble and if our friendship is a problem she’ll back off. Except he did tell her and early on. He admitted he had romantic feelings for her and that he was struggling with them. There’s the problem. So why the fuck did she stick around? It’s because she benefited from that friendship. She’s an opportunist. He was someone to shoot the shit with when she was bored, someone to “help her with” (aka “do”) her work projects when she got overwhelmed, someone to shower her with attention when her bf neglected her, someone to cry about her problems to who would genuinely listen with concern. But what happened when he needed her? Slowly but surely she became less and less available to him. He ended up realizing this the hard way, but I knew all along.

You know what the most infuriating part was? It was when I saw him try to put an end to it. He told her he needed to distance himself from her so he could fix his marriage and focus on me. He felt guilty about how he’d been treating me, and what it was all doing to me. SHE TRIED TO TALK HIM OUT OF IT!! Even making some random statement about how attractive she thought he was. Anything to convince him otherwise. God, I fucking hate her!!!

Look… my husband’s not perfect. But deep down, he’s a genuine good guy. Despite how he hurt me, I know that he wanted nothing more than to avoid that. He was going through something and didn’t know how to handle it, but nothing he did was malicious. He’s always had good intentions at heart and I know, to this day, he feels guilty that any of this even happened. But Jackie… no, she likes to play coy. Comes around and acts as if nothing occurred. Hey guys! We can all be friends now!! I don’t think so. I don’t respect her and I don’t like her. Not because she’s the woman my husband “cheated” on me with, but because she’s the kind of woman who would take advantage of a man who is at his most vulnerable and think nothing of it. Not even consider the impact she’s having on other aspects of his life… or the people connected to him.

As much as I’d like to be a grown up and be cordial and civil about her, she can go FUCK HERSELF. And anytime I refer to her for however long I continue to refer to her, it will be with a “she can go fuck herself” attitude. One day I hope to be indifferent because I’d rather have no feelings at all than negative feelings about anyone. But until then… well, you get the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sat across from her (Part 2)

So we found out that night that this bar, famous for it’s karaoke nights, DOESN’T god damn do karaoke on Fridays. They didn’t even have the floor open for dancing. So I was stuck sitting across from this goofy hag that I literally DESPISE, for the rest. of. the. night. Digressing..

As soon as this idiot sat down across from me, I could sense my husband tense up. He hadn’t expected her to be so damn stupid. Honestly, I had an inkling but gave her the benefit of doubt (never. again). When she spoke to me he deadpanned, analyzing me. I knew he was concerned that I was either upset with him or going to hurt her. In retrospect,  I very much wanted to dart across that table and choke her out. In the moment, however, my defenses shot up and I was numb. Numb enough to look at her. Numb enough to smile and politely say hello back. Numb enough to casually avert my gaze elsewhere and continue conversation with any and everyone else. Numb enough to just get through it.

Soon after she sat down her weird ass boyfriend came drunkingly strolling in. My husband introduced us then told him to pull up a chair beside him. I knew what he was doing. I knew that he knew that I didn’t want her anywhere near him. So he used her boyfriend to distance himself. Kudos to him. I could tell this was really uncomfortable for him as well. He kept asking me if I was okay, if I needed anything. Telling me we’d just hang out for a little bit then we could go. I insisted I was fine, told him to just have fun. I’ll be okay.

The remainder of the night went on in similar fashion. I was as cordial and polite as possible but made sure to avoid having to interact with her too much. And she just kept pushing my buttons. At one point I was talking to two of his co-workers (neither of which were her dumb ass) while hey were educating me on drink choices since I’m not much of a drinker. I told them I don’t like the taste. She took the opportunity to jump in and tell me what she was drinking, then proceeded to ask me if I wanted a sip. I WANTED to throw it in her fucking face. But I smiled, shook my head and said no thanks. She made a few more attempts to draw me in. It was NEVER going to happen.

Finally, we were getting ready to leave. The night was still young so we were going to walk one of his male co-workers home that lived in the area and hang out a bit. As we were leaving she stopped him. I knew better than to stand there and listen, so I went to the bar and watched the game instead. I did unintentionally hear bits and pieces, her saying something along the lines of hanging out again or having lunch sometime. Bitch… like hell. Anyway, he wrapped it up quick and called me to leave. As I was walking by, she and two other girls smiled and told me it was nice to see me again. I smiled back, said the same and waved goodbye. He waited for me at the steps, watching my face as I approached, looking for any signs of trouble. I held it together though.

On the drive home, he was the one to bring it up. He couldn’t believe how careless and inconsiderate she was. I didn’t say much. At that point my defenses were down and I was finally processing everything. And it all came rushing back to me so fast that I was too overwhelmed to do anything other than breathe and count backwards from ten. It was no use, though. By the time we got home I was in the midst of a full blown anxiety attack. It lasted a while, but he stayed there with me the entire time trying to hold me and calm me down. I knew he thought I was pissed at him. Surprisingly, I wasn’t. I was irritated as shit with her but I was more mad at myself for letting it get to me. For still being so bothered by it despite how far we’d come, how much progress we’d made. And that just wound me up all over again. The thought that I may never get over this. Why have I still not gotten over this? Will I ever?

 

I sat across from her (Part 1)

Last year I confessed to my husband that as much as I wanted to be supportive of his friendship with bitch-face, it was really difficult for me. I put aside my anger and pride and explained to him the best I could, how and why this was hurting me. He listened intently (a first) and seemed to really take it in. As a result, he decided to distance himself from her. He would instill boundaries and only converse with her professionally. Any lunchings had would be in a group setting but he would never be alone with her again. I was completely okay with this.

Fast forward a few months to his company Christmas party. I could tell he was focused on being attentive, making sure I was comfortable. He paid her very little attention aside from making sure to keep her away from me. She, on the other hand, was constantly glancing his way. I caught her wave a couple of times though he didn’t see, or if he did he ignored her. When all else failed she made it a point to wander over and stand in his line of sight. Me being… well, a woman, knew EXACTLY what she was doing, knew that it was intentional. But the rational side told me to stop being ridiculous. I was just being paranoid. So, I let it go.

Last years’ Christmas party she went a step further. While we were in line waiting for drinks she sauntered over with her boyfriend intending on greeting me. I only discovered this after my husband and I sat at our table and he mentioned it. He told me he stopped her and told her not to bother me. I couldn’t understand, for the life of me, why she would think it acceptable to speak to me given our circumstance. Either way, I tried not to give it anymore thought.

Then, when we were leaving, she made yet another stab. He was walking a few steps ahead of me and in passing congratulated her boyfriend on winning a raffle. She was several feet away in the drink line while her boyfriend waited by the wall. In seeing this she rushed over, hopping in front of me so closely I had to stop abruptly to prevent us crashing into each other. All this so she could tell my husband “Congratulations!” on the raffle he won. The paranoid bitch in me KNEW she saw me and that she did it intentionally either so I could see her get his attention or so she could get mine. The rational part of me couldn’t dispute that argument. I was irritated. But I didn’t mention it. I let it go. Especially since all he did was give a lackadaisical “Thanks,” and kept it moving.

That’s twice that she rubbed me the wrong way while under the same roof. I wasn’t sure my temper could handle a third. So when my husband mentioned his farewell party for his last day at that company (thank GOD!), I was hesitant. Sure enough, he warned me bitch-face would be there since it’s a big group of his co-workers and they’re all friends. I hadn’t mentioned her first two strikes because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of them but figured I should give him a heads up about why I’d be uncomfortable. He assured me he understood and basically said she’s an idiot. She’s really messy and clueless, she doesn’t know any better. He didn’t want me to worry or let it upset me but he understood if I didn’t want to go. He said if I did, if I wanted he would tell her to stay away from me. Apparently the place was a karaoke bar and he assumed that so much would be going on that we wouldn’t cross paths either way. I didn’t want to put a damper on things so I told him not to worry about it. I’d put my big girl panties on and go.

When we got there, two of his female co-workers were already there sitting across from each other at a table for 5. He sat me by one of the women and then took the seat at the head of the table. There was one vacant seat left. Next to him. Across from me. Had the stars been aligned that night and things in my favor, ANYONE ELSE would have walked through the door next. But just my luck, bitch-face came strutting in. And what does she do? Sits ACROSS from me and NEXT to him, proceeded to smile in my direction and say hello.

 

 

 

 

 

A Year.

I’m very stubborn. In fact, I always have been. I’ve experienced droves of hurt, rejection and disappointment throughout my life and by the people closest to me, the ones I thought were supposed to be protecting me from those very things. These were pivotal moments early on that would take an overwhelming toll on me that I could have never accounted or been prepared for. Over time I would become guarded, distant, detached… cold. I remember a lot of my exes complaining about how awkward they felt pursuing me when I didn’t really seem to care to pursue them. And it was true, I didn’t chase them.. I didn’t chase anyone. Not to gain their affection, nor to keep it.  It’s not that I didn’t care about them, it’s just… who has time to play chase when they’re busy building impenetrable walls?

But in the spring of 2005, by chance, I met a guy who would change everything unbeknownst to me. He would not only penetrate those walls I’d so carefully built, but eventually, he would tear my entire world apart sending it crashing and crumbling around me. He would break me in a way no one has ever been able to, in a way I didn’t even realize I was terrified that someone might. He would be my worst fears realized: Fear of abandonment, rejection, of being unworthy/worthless. But even broken — open wounds, scars and bruises, agony in every breath — I would love him. And that would break me even more.

That’s where we left off with my last post here: A fragmented woman asking the man who shattered her, “Why?” And that’s precisely why I stopped posting. The content I had to offer was no different than what I’d already given. The same shock, hurt, anger and questions being rehashed with every post, and then being re-lived every time I would click submit. As long as I kept living in that vicious cycle I would never find resolve. And so I let it all go…

I won’t recount every little detail of the past year, but I will say that I have gained clarity. The one question that plagued me I now have an answer to.

Why did he do this to me; to us?

…because he was broken too. I’m sure most won’t find solace in that answer but what difference does it make? It’s the reality of the situation, of life. Who we are is a direct result of all that we’ve experienced. I’m broken because of my experiences, been that way for a long time and I most certainly was already broken when I met him. Likewise, he was a corroding mess hiding behind a very well put together, over-confident, know it all facade. We were two damaged people just trying to find a way to not only love each other, but figure out if we could love ourselves as well. We just didn’t know that yet.. we didn’t even realize we were broken.

I’m not saying that justifies his actions. I’m saying I’ve stopped seeking justification. I’ve stopped asking, “Why.” It doesn’t matter. What’s important is discovering what led us down the paths we took, both as individuals and as a couple. Things we’re both working towards, and gaining leverage on in my personal opinion. That’s all we can do, is keep trying.

I guess the underlying theme of this post is, we’re all a little fucked up. We’re all a little stupid, a little mean, a little scared and a little (or in my case a lot) broken. So why waste time trying to condemn someone for being more or less fucked up than the other? What does it prove? Nothing. The time would be better spent trying to figure out how to rebuild, and whether you should rebuild together or separately…

So, in closing… here’s a little update on my life, my marriage, on everything: We’re both still broken, less so now than before. We both still love each other, more genuinely now than before. We’re both still trying to rebuild, both as individuals and as a couple. We’re much further along than we were when I last posted. And honestly, I’m okay with all of that =)