Brian read yesterday's post and though he was okay with the content and how it was written, he said, Great. Now I look like an asshole. I assured him the next part of the story would include my assholery as well. So without further ado...
There we were in our little Ford Escort on the side of a dirt road, and he answered yes to the most hideous question I'd ever had to ask. Can I explain that even when I asked, I still didn't expect him to say yes? In the five years we'd been together, almost two of them married, we hadn't experienced any problems one would think would've led to this. We didn't argue very often and when we did it wasn't over anything major. Money was our biggest concern, with him being in school and only able to work part-time and me earning pitiful pay at my full-time job. He was (and is) a very kind and respectful person who though I sometimes push, has never disrespected or said a mean word to me. As I said before, he isn't the lying type. He certainly isn't the screwing-around type. But then again, I didn't think I was either and it was me who technically broke our vows first.
Ouch. That still sucks to admit. What's that saying, "Pride goeth before a fall?" Yeah. I don't usually throw the word "goeth" into everyday conversation, but I can relate very well. I so naively assumed we would never be one of *those* couples. We'd had a great time dating, fun living together and were both really excited and happy to get married. People still tell us how much fun they had at our small, casual lakeside wedding almost ten years later. We had eighty friends and family members drive and fly a long way to watch us get married. I don't think one person there that day thought it would ever come to this for us, and certainly not a month shy of our two-year anniversary. Including the two of us.
At the time he didn't know I'd been physical with another man, but he was keenly aware of how far emotionally removed I'd been in recent months. I worked at the college he was attending and had made some really good friends, some of them guys. Young, funny, witty, smart guys. You know - the good-for-the-ego kind of guys. One in particular led me down the path I never in a million years imagined I'd go. Not that I place a lot of blame on him. I was aware of what I was doing every step of the way and I've never been one to blame someone else for my mistakes. I was very open with my friendship with this guy in front of Brian and though he had made some comments here and there, I thought he was cool with it. Lying to yourself is very easy sometimes, as is coasting along with your relationship on autopilot. We did not fight any more during the months leading up to this than ever before. Which, as Brian pointed out later, was a problem in itself. Indifference can be just as poisonous as waging war and in our case it was the death sentence.
I'm not planning on getting too far into our sex life here (yes, I actually do have some boundaries, believe it or not); let's just say it was normal enough so that I didn't notice anything different in that area. The biggest red flag for me was the fact he'd started going out at night without me. A close friend of ours had moved back into town after HIS divorce and needed a friend to commiserate with him. Though I'd known and been close friends with Jody years before Brian knew him, as soon as I introduced them it was instant full-on Bromance. Not literally, dude; they just became BFF's really fast, okay?
Jody was a nice guy, but unlike Brian he was both a pathological liar and heavy drinker. Which were most certainly two reasons for the divorce he was practically suicidal from after eight years with his high school sweetheart. We weren't the type of couple who did a lot of the "Guys'/Girls' nights" where one spouse goes out with friends and gets wasted without the other. But Jody was in a bad place and it was much easier to deal with his shit by having a bud (and many Buds) and who better of a candidate than Brian, who was unhappy and bored and feeling distant from me? Whether it was going to a bar, playing cards, fishing or playing golf; they were spending an obnoxious amount of time together but I guess I was distracted with my own sneaky situation to complain too much.
The ride home and that night was rough. With the unrelenting 9/11 coverage (which provided a surreal and appropriate background - both my world and the world had cracked wide open), we started to get into the hows and the whys. I asked him how long it had been going on - About six weeks. I asked him who - You don't know her. Well NO SHIT, fucker! I wasn't exactly picturing you and one of our friends screwing!! Ahem. Sorry about that; that old pesky rage still rears its ugly head sometimes, even after all this time. Either way, he didn't tell me who it was that night. All I got out of him was that he'd met her at a bar one night when he was out with Jody. Oh. Oh, really. Brian was quick to defend Jody and tell me it was all his fault, and for me not to be mad at Jody. Even though Jody just so happened to be seeing and staying with this woman's sister at the time. And the two sisters lived together. With their six kids. Can I stress again how evil this town is where we spent almost three years of our lives? Evil, redneck and ghetto, all at the same time.
But yeah. This was the worst, ugliest, shittiest, most messed up part of the whole thing for me. This woman had three kids. (Do I even have to tell you they were all from three different fathers? Or that the youngest was just six months old?) I'd already been off of birth control for two years without getting pregnant. While it wasn't a major concern yet, it had already become a sensitive subject for me. Call me crazy, but I was sort of looking forward to having my husband's baby. Then here comes Looce Lucy with a ready-made family, just looking for the next sucker to become Daddy. And that's where it got real bad. That first night when all the nightmarish details started getting revealed? He told me he was very attached to her and to her kids and didn't know if he could stop seeing her.
The room tilted on its side and time stopped.
So where the hell does that leave us? I asked.
He looked down and shook his head. I don't know, he said.