The long way home

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Exactly a year ago, we were on a long-awaited family ski holiday. I hoped the clear mountain air, and children’s laughter would dissipate the cloud T had been living under for weeks, give him a chance to relax and discuss whatever aspects of “us” were making him so unhappy.

One evening, as he was still miserable, as my attempts to make him laugh, relax and to cuddle him seemed to bring more pain than comfort, I confronted him. Given his revelation the previous week that he believed “we” had a problem, this took some courage, and the desperation of someone who can no longer bear helplessness in the face of their partner’s misery.

The result was a freefall into terror as the full extent of his disengagement came to light. First, he no longer thought he loved or trusted me, leaving my baffled mind trying to understand what may have killed his love and trust for me. I understood things were seriously wrong for him, I could sense the extent of his despair and rallied all my strength to fight for us, to understand what caused us to run aground so spectacularly.  This is when he said that he didn’t think he had the strength to carry on, and fight.

At this stage, I remember feeling like I had entered a nightmare, where the unthinkable suddenly looked me in the eye: I was the one to utter the word separation. My panicked mind attempted to process the information, thinking out loud about consequences. How were we ever going to manage financially? Given that I had left my job in the UK, I may have to move back. How could we manage full stop? What were we going to do about the children? But the only real question underneath my frantic rambling was how could this be possible?…

We had just spent the last 18 months struggling through moving in together, becoming a family, the demands of his job, settling my son and me into a new environment, our daughter’s first year, trying to find a new balance… But by then, things were finally looking up as our daughter got older, his job would become less stressful, and everything became more settled. This resolutely felt like an absurd time to give up.

He went home, saying he needed to sleep, be alone and think things through before we talked. I remember telling him to do whatever he needed, that we could talk when he felt ready. I stopped eating or sleeping, yet put all my energy into staying alive. I remember going skiing every afternoon with my son, changing my daughter’s nappies, trying to keep functioning. I was lucky that my brother and sister held things together, cooked and kept the children entertained, listened to my endless shocked litany.

I clung to the conviction that the man I loved, my daughter’s father and son’s step-father would not just leave me without giving us a chance. There is an extremely high probability that meanwhile, he spent new year’s eve with the New Ms T (but I would not realise that for another six months).

On the first of January, I called to see how he was doing. He said he was fine, but wanted a separation, because he needed to live alone and find himself.

On the following day, I loaded to car up in a daze of sleeplessness and pain, slipped on ice carrying my daughter, and fractured my tailbone. Then I drove home for three hours to face T and realise that his mind was made and there would be no talking.


21 thoughts on “The long way home

  1. to face T and realise that his mind was made and there would be no talking.

    But a mind made up from a position of fear and feeling lost. A place where so often, I believe many bad decisions are made.

    But wow have you come a long way since then. A tough journey and one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So much of what you have written resonates with my marriage meltdown.

    to look for the solution in another’s arms is I still believe a temporary answer. They cannot run from themselves. The fallout and damage is horrendous and although we are each responsible for our input to a partnership we are not responsible for theirs. They have to face their own consequences and one day they will.



    • I sincerely hope you’re right Caroline…So many people seem to get away with it though.
      I believe I have come a long way, and the fact that I am at last “remembering” those awful days is probably a sign of my healing. I am able to face what happened, to realise the extent of the pain T caused, I am able to call it a trauma. It still hurts but writing about it helps I’m sure.
      Will be back on reliable internet soon and will be in touch. Thank you so much for your invaluable support,

    • Thanks LFBA. I think you’re right, when I first started blogging, I had no idea our situations were so similar after all…
      I remember people asking me the obvious question “has he met someone else?”, and believing him, saying “no, I don’t understand, I think it’s more like a breakdown”.
      Hugs to you too,

  2. Hi E,

    As we now know, this series of events makes the most sense and has the fewest unanswered questions if the new Mrs T plays a starring role.

    I feel as sure that she had already turned T’s heart away from you as some new “Mr. D” had done the same thing to my wife. The comments made in isolation to my daughter only make sense in this scenario.

    Whatever happened to both of us probably happened long before this time last year. Married life was already over by Xmas 2010 … Just no one had told us we were living an empty dream.

    This anniversary rips you asunder again. Don’t give T that power. This wasn’t when it all happened, just when he bothered to let you know. Feel angry for the cheating rather than sad for the mystery.

    The new year that is upon us is one for regrowth and a chance to leave behind 2011. Let’s embrace the future. Join me in looking ahead with wonder and a little trepidation.

    All the best, SD xxx.

    • SD. I like this take on it. My marriage began to unravel on Jan 1 too….but X had already been seeing J by then. In the middle of November 2009, we were doing well and 2 weeks later she was looking for a place of her own behind my back. Still…the date of reckoning stings, even if their minds were already made up.

    • I think you’re right in some ways, and my married life was probably over six months before all this when he’d shocked us both by meeting a girl he liked. We’d talked about it, and I thought gotten over it pretty well, the counselling was helping tremendously and I could tell he was really giving it a go.

      This is when things start to go hay-wire, and he obviously drifted away from me, all the while sincerely trying to save us, fooling me, and probably himself.

      Because I don’t think it is a case of not bothering to tell me until he felt like it. T is not evil, even if the pain he has caused is stunning. I believe he just was not aware that he’d already started withdrawing, and building a bunker around his heart. I believe he also shocked himself (and our counsellor who was speechless when I told her T was leaving).

      The New Ms T was a mere catalyst for our abrupt ending. I guess the nagging doubt, the annoying unanswerable question is what if he hadn’t met the New Ms T? If we’d had a few more month to enjoy our easier life, carry on with the counselling, and come back from this negative trend. I really believe things could have gone the other way…

      Which does not mean things wouldn’t have ended that way later, I just don’t know, T seems to be too unstable anyway.

      On the subject of letting things hurt me again, I think it’s all part of my grieving, processing the incredible pain I felt then. Having posted this, I am starting to feel more at peace with it already.

      And I am looking forward to 2012.
      Thanks for your support!

      • X and I had been together 15 yrs….and she did the same thing. Began building that wall. She still can’t see that she was pushing me away, not telling me why, and then blaming me for not knowing even though I’d ask. Our daughter can look back on it now and see the sequence. i think I was just too dumb, or stubborn, or in love and believed in our marriage…to know.

        Our therapist says J was just a symptom of her internal unhappiness. Shit, he feels like a full blown plague to me.
        I believe though that if we had known and seen counseling earlier, we would have gotten through. and…that’s a thought that drives me nuts.

        But we can not change the past. It looks like J will mask some of his stripes for a while and I have to get used to him being in my son’s life.

        So, let’s keep blogging. Work through the sorrow and look for the joy. I’ll eventually try to feel compassion for X (but have decided never for J)…and it looks like you already do for T.

        We have our kids and though there are trials and tribulations, nothing is better than that.

        Peace to you E

      • T may have tricked himself a little. But there are signs he knew. He struggled with when to tell you, he struggled with the finality of it. But that was just him deceiving himself AND you.

  3. Oh, E, it still stuns, doesn’t it? SD is right. Letting it “rip you asunder” again and again gives T too much power.

    I could have written so much of your story. Each case is different, yet the similarities and the “code words” are there in most cases of cheating spouses–he/she needs time alone, wants to find him/herself, etc.–all code for there’s another woman/man. Makes me want to throw up.

    You ARE doing well. You will be happy again. Hugs.

    • It’s been a rubbish few weeks, but I am coming through it, and looking forward to 2012.
      Haven’t had a chance to catch up on blogs but will soon. How are you doing?

  4. It all just seems wrong doesn’t it. I remember feeling as though I was free falling off a building and it took a long time to feel better. I also think it is particularly difficult at this time of year. You’ll get there though.

    • Thanks Jacqueline, and you’re right, this time of year is tough. I am getting better in fits and starts, but the overall trend is upwards.
      Hope you have a great new year celebration tomorrow!

  5. Even though I was engaged and living together, not married, this is a similar narrative to what happened in my life as well. Just remember, there are lots of us out there who have survived things like this… and been happier in the end.

    Happy new year to you – may the next year bring much better things into your life.

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