The Truth Really Does Set You Free

Last night I went to see Philomena (Nebraska is only being shown late at the art cinema now). When I was done I texted my husband because he told me he had met with his attorney and I wanted to get updated. I also hoped that I’d be able to see him.

He texted back that he was out. That he was at the store with his friend. Suddenly I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was lying, and that he was with another woman.

I drove right to his house, and as though he were expecting me, he walked out to the curb. He asked me why I was “stalking” him and I said it’s not stalking if I come by only once unannounced.

He said he didn’t want to be with me anymore, that he couldn’t “risk” it. That I may say I’ve changed, but I really haven’t. He can’t take that chance.

I asked him why he can’t be honest with me, why can’t he tell me he’s with another woman. Why, when I’ve asked him to be honest because I won’t want him back if he’s been with another woman. He wants me to leave him alone, so why not tell me the truth? Shame, I guess.

I said, “Who’s in the house?” He said his friend and his friend’s girlfriend. I said, “No, they’re not here. Their car isn’t here. Who is in the house?”

He asked me why it was any concern of mine. I said, it is a concern of mine. “I have a right to know. Be honest.”

So he looked at me, and after several more appeals he said, “Yes. There’s another woman. Do you feel better?”

And I said no and I began to cry but then I looked at him and thought of all the things he was trying to blame on me when he is the one whose heart is taken by another woman. It was strangely freeing. I felt a release that I didn’t expect.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m mortified and I’m humiliated. No doubt his new girlfriend is in her 20s. For some reason everyone he hangs out with is in their 20s. As a 56 year old woman I feel extremely old right now, but I just can’t hate myself for my age or my weight, or the number of times I’ve been married. I need to be gentle with myself. I’m not a bad person. I’ve lived a life.

The old me would have taken this news and gone right to the pill bottles and taken a good ol’ huge overdose and then spent 7-10 days in the psych ward, but that old me is gone. The new me is trying to figure out a new playbook, one that involves taking care of myself, and learning how to reach out to others. I’m tired of being lonely.

I wish things could have been different, but I know I did the best I could and I no longer want him back. I pray that he will leave the state once he gets his settlement. I pray I never run into him and his girlfriend.

I have to force myself not to think about how young and thin and pretty his new girlfriend is. It doesn’t matter. I’m glad that he has to carry around his shame like a weight on his neck. He took every penny I had, left me with nothing, and cheated on me. Wow. What a jerk.

I pray that I don’t get blindsided by horrible emotions to come and I wonder if I’m just numb right now. In shock. Yet it’s not really a surprise. In the last couple of months that we lived together he was gone seven nights a week. I began to think for the first time in our marriage that he might have someone else in his life. I felt bad for thinking such a thing and of course he made me feel stupid and paranoid. I feel like some dumb story from the true life movies my mom watches. But it happens and it happened to me.

For some odd reason, for at least this moment, I feel optimistic that I will be ok. That I will someday meet someone special to share my life with. I’m sad that I wasted eight years of my life with someone with questionable ethics (I have spared you the sordid details), at the same time he did teach me a lot about myself and I am now a better person than I would have been if I hadn’t turned to examine myself.

The other day I saw an ad for the Polar Plunge coming in February. It’s a fund raiser for the Special Olympics and I looked up their website. They need volunteers for the local event and I considered contacting them. Now I know I will contact them. I need to start doing stuff.

I will look forward to Spring and buying some hiking boots and finding people to hike with. I look forward to Summer and buying that summer dress.

The last time I saw my psychiatric nurse practitioner I told him that my husband thinks I’ll spend the rest of my life just being my mother’s caregiver. He said something interesting to me that stuck with me. He said, “That won’t last forever.” And I thought, that’s true. There’s hope for me to have a life and if I’m lucky it might involve a bit of travel. A little warm water. My dear family. And some good friends.

Meanwhile I woke up at 4 a.m. over a dream of the good husband I let get away, the one who was truly my best friend. I felt like sobbing. Then I thought about my current ex and wondered how on earth I would cope.

But I went to the pool and had a pretty good workout; better than the last two days.

I feel as though I’ve been kicked in the stomach but I have been freed by the truth.

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