The last few weeks have been confusing for me. Even though I really wanted to, I chose not to write about the events until I was sure I understood what it all meant to me. Today, though some things are still up in the air, I seem to have a firm grasp on what I think about this last dramatic year.
Chef’s girlfriend, T, left him a week ago. They had been in a relationship with each other not quite a year. The overlap with my marriage was about four months.
As women tend to do, the girlfriend and I did compare notes, and T was able to answer a lot of the questions that had burned themselves into my soul, and while they still caused some pain, the truth has laid them to rest for me. No more fevered-brain stories I’d spin for myself deep in sleepless nights, all because I just didn’t know for sure. Did he ever love me? Does he despise me? Did he cheat with her for years and I was too stupid to notice? I’m sure every person who’s ever experienced this has pondered sadly and fearfully some of the same ones.
But when I was able to ask T, and she was able to ask me about my perspective, a lot of those questions just evaporated. I knew I was hearing the truth, and that truth had set me free.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly (and sometimes, not so secretly) hope they weren’t very happy from the minute they moved in together. I was so freaked out in the beginning of this mess, I’d have thrown a party to celebrate every single tear they shed. I felt so miserable, and it seemed from my vantage point, that they were peacefully playing house and flippantly unconcerned about how me or the kids, or our friends, and even our pets felt about any of it.
Betrayed, I tortured myself with hope, despaired over every good and bad memory, and let my imagination envision them happily building their new life together, unencumbered by their pasts and confident in their future together. Dreams of them having babies, dancing slowly to music I loved, or just snuggling on the couch watching a movie would dance mercilessly through my mind, and a lot of my tears were shed over those vain imaginations as well. I won’t even go there about thoughts of them in the bedroom! The whole situation was just horrible… I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, even Chef.
My imagination can be my very worst enemy in situations like these, and I tended to work diligently to find out the truth about this affair, just to dispel the myths I knew I would come up with if I was left to my own conclusions. The problem was, I changed their dynamic with each other whenever I was around, so I knew that my presence was “tainting” the evidence. I’d try to feel out Chef whenever I could, but as usual, Chef pretty much only told me what he thought I would want him to say, and not the actual truth.
If he was mad at me, he’d sing T’s praises, and rub his happiness in my face, dropping out key words to barb me with like love, companionship, and comparing her to me.
If he was feeling sentimental about me, the opposite was true. He’d find ways to paint a picture of himself stuck, martyr-like and full of regret, in a hopeless situation he’d accidentally launched us all into. Here he was, longing for the beautiful wife of his youth, who had been torn away from him by the demon drug and a midlife crisis.
Yet, in an act of penance, he’d live the rest of his life with this new girl, knowing he was caged in by his mistakes, but ultimately not able to extricate himself from the situation because T would be unable to care for herself. He’d be responsible for ruining her life as well, he’d lament, and after ruining mine, he couldn’t do that again to another human being.
Basically, I heard: “I want my cake, and I want to eat it too.”
Also, “Womp, womp womp. Poor me. Womp, womp, womp. Not my fault. Womp, womp.”
You can trust me when I say this: whatever, dude. I was born at night, but it wasn’t yesterday night!
I wasn’t fooled by these kinds of statements, though I have to admit that in his condition these days, Chef might have actually convinced himself this was indeed the case. His timeline is completely ludicrous, his memory very faulty, and his lies too many. Even he has admitted now that he just can’t remember how all of this came to happen. His lies had been told enough times, however, that they were beginning to become the truth as he knew it. And maybe if I hadn’t been writing about all of this both on-line, and in my journals, he might have lapsed happily in those revisions. I wouldn’t let him, though, dragging out journals, and pulling up posts feverishly at every turn, because his revisions always make me or to a limited degree, T the ones that caused this mess, and allow him to hide from his own conscience. I don’t want to be his fall guy..not for something this crappy. Everyone sucked all the way through this experience…Chef, T, and me. I’ve got my own sack of garbage to carry around. Don’t pile yours on me, as well.
Though it was easy to get lost in the fear and humiliation, I was smart enough, even from the beginning, to know that every thing that goes around, comes around again. Still, I worried they’d be the exception.
I’d always heard “men don’t leave their wives for their mistresses”. Mmmm, mine did.
I’d heard that the other woman is the rock that men throw away the wives that are diamonds for. Mmmm, T was pretty much a diamond herself. Yes, she cheated with a married man, and she took the occasional pot shot at me. But, I have to admit, she really hasn’t been all that easy to really, truly despise. I’ll go more into T in another post. I don’t want this one to be as long as Gone With The Wind.
From the very day I moved out of the house up until a week ago, Chef was reluctant to let me go. The main reason I struggled so hard letting him go was because he would say or do something that would melt my anger away, and when I’m not really pissed at him, all my defenses droop like dead flowers. Decades of living with each other had taught both of us how to effectively get what we wanted out of each other. Well, let’s say it did for awhile, that is. Even though we saw each other rather disconcertingly regularly for separated people with no minor kids, we were both changing subtly, and somewhere along the way, words or actions that were guaranteed to work in reaching the heart of the other person, just didn’t work at all anymore. Reactions, especially from me, could be different from minute to minute, and I can say on my part, even I had no clue what something said might trigger in me. For a guy who’d become a professional at NOT looking deeply inside of himself, that made this whole thing unstable and explosive, and probably easy to pin on the psycho wife.
I’ve pondered a lot of stuff, and there’s just too much to write about in one post.