I Can Still Taste the Poison of Every Thought, Every Breath I Wasted Here
There are people who read this blog who will never, can never understand me. I try not to hang onto things that I feel are trivial, or said without intent or meaning. I’ve struggled with a lot of emotions in the last three years. Doing this; falling in love, getting beyond the past, getting married, being married and getting pregnant have all been huge steps for me.
I come from a broken and abusive life. I was tossed from home to home and parent to parent. I was raped multiple times as a child with no justice or belief on my side. Right on the other side of high school I was diagnosed with an incurable, and incredibly expensive disease that is going to shorten my life by 10 years.
I’ve had two surgeries, lost a lot of jobs, lost a spouse, moved 10 times (just since high school) and died.
But in all of that- I was always determined to make my own life better- to depend on myself more than anyone else to make my life good, if it was possible. I never had people to save me or pick me up when I was down, or fix it all. I never learned to be helpless. I know too many people who are, or who act like it because they know if they do there will be a white knight whose weakness is helping the helpless.
My husband is always telling me that one of the qualities he loves about me most is that I’m capable- his equal. I don’t need to be saved. And for the first months we were together I felt so respected, because he loved that quality. For a change I didn’t feel like the butch freak that guys had made me feel like my whole life (I’m 6 feet tall). He turned one of my insecurities into something to admire. He made me feel better about myself. He always told me how beautiful I was and how he’d never been with anyone as beautiful as me.
But there had already been a red flag that went up that I didn’t see. And it was on our first official date. Now, before certain individuals read this- I am not doing this to make you feel… insecure, or awaken feelings that are hard to live with. I think an important step to whatever evolution we have going on here is some understanding. Our first date, we stayed up all night together watching movies. At some point, the last movie ended and we cuddled on the couch and talked. He was the first guy I’d dated since my major break-up, and it came up in conversation. I was still to fragile to let a man too close without laying down some ground rules. So I bared my soul, and I begged him not to hurt me, to let me go if he wasn’t in this for the long haul. I’ve never been someone who dates without hope for the future. I bared my soul and he bared his. He admitted to once having been the kind of man who was quite like my ex- a man who strays.
We agreed that night was a new start for both of us, as we poured out our pasts to one another to let them go (or try to). That night, he showed me the picture of someone he used to know. He had her photo in his iPod. It was okay to me at the time, because he had pictures of a few friends, so I didn’t think anything of it when I should have. He simply said he had known her once, that something almost happened between them but they just missed each other. He sounded so passive about it at the time- not forlorn or hurt, or nostalgic. But I didn’t know him as well as I do now. Sometimes I wonder if it was there and I just missed it.
Something they used to do together became a regular part of our time together without my even knowing. My love for this person grew, so fast, so terrifyingly fast. Our romance began one September, and I had moved in by October. By November, he had made it known his intention was to spend the rest of his life with me. By December, I was asked to select an engagement ring of my choosing, and by January we were engaged. In February- it all began to fall apart. He would sneak away from group activities while I was distracted to be alone on his computer. It didn’t concern me at first because he played a lot of PC games, and I am a firm believer in having alone time. But it was when he began slipping away during cuddle sessions, thinking I was asleep, and sneaking out of bed at night, that I began to worry. It was the night that I walked up behind him to say hello and give him a kiss that my worries became legitimate. The window was on a chat. He was talking to someone about a naked photo of himself. A photo I took. He hid the window from sight, hoping I hadn’t caught it, and from that day on became extremely secretive. With some excessive prying, he came clean about who he was chatting to, and told me I had nothing to worry about. But I did. I had that one bit of information he hoped I’d missed.
His sneakiness, his omissions, his half truths… they told me one by one that I could no longer trust his word, his touch, his body language. They told me one by one that every moment of every day was an orchestrated cover story. I am not someone you want to cross. Especially after admitting to being a cheater. Then, almost out of nowhere, he began to blog. He hadn’t written a word in over a year- and then one day, there it was. The photo of the vampire, and lyrics to a song that cried about feelings he had that he had carried as a cross for so long- why did their creator have to come back just to torture him? The panic began to set in as the pieces of the puzzle I did have began to form a warning sign. And everything after that came unhinged.
I have been honest with my husband since the somewhat-resolution we had, but it took the better part of a year and a hospitalization to get through it. Maybe at times there hadn’t been enough of a progression yet, but I knew him too well to know it was nothing. Chat logs between him and this person contained sexual innuendo, reminiscing about almost-sexual encounters, the neck biting that he loved to subject me to had begun with this person (hence his regular reference to vampire photos when he was trying to veil his references to her). One chat log, they flirted back and forth for awhile before he said he needed to log out and take a cold shower. He was aroused by this person, this person who he’d almost something with once. This person he was not engaged to. This person who was not me.
They both claimed that nothing was going on I needed to worry about, but he began to hide photos of her in his computer- any photo he could find. When he realized that I had found them, they would move somewhere else, or their filenames would change. But when I continued to find them, a new folder would pop up somewhere with files containing odd and unrecognizable file formats. When I realized they were photos with augmented extensions, they disappeared completely, into invisible encrypted folders.
My access to these hidden nooks and crannies began with a simple email hack. Suddenly I had access to everything. If he became suspicious, his password would change. But I was never kept out for long. His emails back and forth became more intimate, emotionally, not just sexually. The whys they asked one another about why they’d never ended up together became more frequent. Sometimes arriving in the middle of the night. He would write her back- flowery, poetic, beautiful things about his feelings- feelings he hadn’t ever shared with me. It dawned on me that years of his blog posts, the ones so beautiful, so heart breaking, so expressive, so lost, were about her. I felt like I didn’t even know this person I was engaged to, this mysterious liar that I would never know, who reserved his vulnerable, emotional self for another woman that I could never amount to. The more I announced by concern and my worry, the more he lied.
It began to drive me insane. He would tell me all the time, that he loved me, that he wasn’t going anywhere, that he wanted me. She would confirm this, just saying she wanted their friendship back. This went on for several months, while I was disbelieving entirely of both of them, sure I was a fool all over again, until he told me that he used to be in love with her. During several of his previous relationships he had loved her. But she had never seen him. He had pulled her out of the pit of her broken relationships, or a devastating life experience, picked her up and dusted her off, just to have her disappear into the night again with another heartbreaker. He loved her, and crazily his love grew as a result of her ignorance. For the better part of 10 years he loved her, hoping and waiting, that someday she would realize what he had done for her for all those years, that he had held back is feelings so she had a place to feel safe. Hearing this ripped me apart. He had omitted this love for this woman whose picture he carried with him every day. I’ve never wanted out of anything so badly in my life. What’s worse, is that this sneaking around was such a thrill for him, this chase to keep her talking, this constant effort to keep it concealed, didn’t just reawaken the feelings he had for her, but turned them into an obsession.
I knew I was in the way. I knew if I were not in the mix, he would go to her, they would be together and ride off into the sunset and be happy. And in some morbid way I knew he wished that were the case, despite his protests then (and now) to the contrary. I tried to reconcile that he just hadn’t got his closure, because I hadn’t had mine, and I understood it. But after a year I was not in love with my ex anymore- let alone after 10. And I was common-law with my ex for 6 years. We actually were together. He assured me these feelings were in the past, that now he wanted just a friendship, just knowing she was okay, to start over and get to know her as she is now. But neither one of them could start over. Their emails were always soul-baring and emotional. And then one day not long after his admission he told me that she had told him she was still in love with him.
Fuck. I could understand why. Especially if she finally had realized everything he had done for her. How could you not find love in your heart for someone who had reserved theirs for you for decade? Hell, even when she was dating his best friend, he had loved her. I don’t think there is a friend of my husband’s who is a mutual friend of hers who has not admitted to someone I know that they are or have been in love with her.
I have almost never seen love in my lifetime, never been afforded it. So yes, I was jealous, that she had all of these good but invisible men in her life who had loved her all this time, just waiting for her to be ready. My fairy tale was tainted by someone else’s romance story. My husband became distant, lied to me. By that summer, almost all we ever did was argue. I’d had one miscarriage during this emotional battle, sick with stress. I forced myself to make love to a man who I loved but I felt did not love me. After all, what man would say no to free sex? Even if his heart wasn’t in it? In the dark, I would cover up my body I had learned to hate, and cry silently while he made love to me, knowing that when his eyes were shut it wasn’t me he was imagining underneath him.
In april, an email arrived, from her, via an online photo sharing site, to view a private folder. This email had already been exchanged several times, where they had written back and forth, talking suggestively about a topless photo. I freaked out. Finally some inch of mistake they had made that gave me some kind of concrete proof, some outright border crossing they had done, after all of my warnings. Minutes after my freak out became known, the email disappeared. My husband, caught in his lies, lied (thinking I must be some kind of idiot) saying his email had been hacked and it was faked. Phished email doesn’t contain chains of correspondence back and forth between two people using multiple email accounts- not unless they had all been hacked and the phishing engine was aware of their relationship. So despite that lie, I knew better.
That summer, in the middle of the night, awake paranoid, digging for new material, I finally found it. My proof. After all the lies I was told about “just friendship”, I found a .thumbs file in his recycle bin. Thumbs files contain pictures, if you know how to open them. So I did. They were photos of her. Naked. So I went into his email and I found a new folder I had ignored for awhile, in his email. Inside were two emails he’d sent himself about his car. They were file attachments with unusual extensions I did not recognize. So I downloaded them. And I changed their file extensions to .jpeg. These were the same photos, he’d attempted to hide, intended to keep.
I was gutted. By both of them. He insists to this day she sent them by accident and didn’t even know he had them. I have resigned myself to the decisions I have made since then about our involvements despite the fact that I don’t believe that claim. Not after the lying, and the subterfuge. I’d spent nearly a year insane with suspicion, doubting him, and her, and myself, but sure of my instincts. I’d been told so many times that I was being a crazy, jealous woman, when the whole time I’d had every right to know where all of this was going.
I still don’t know everything. How far it went. If he intended to leave me or not. I can’t even be sure it ever stopped. But I’ve tried to have faith. I’ve tried to believe that he gave up on it, and trying to lie to me. But he is smart. He knows my methods, and I can’t be sure he did not best me.
I have done what I can to maintain my contact with her, after demanding that he did not. That might seem unfair to you but I have my reasons. He becomes a deceitful prick when he has any involvement with her, even if she doesn’t know about it. He maintained his silence with her for more than a year. About a year and a half. And we slowly began to heal. He stopped lying (I hope), and became emotionally intimate with me again. We started having fun again, and laughing together. He stopped sneaking off at night, and we’d wake up together no matter how long I slept in. I didn’t wake up alone anymore. We got married, and we got our first anniversary in.
Now, only a few months later, I am pregnant. He’d told me all our relationship that he wanted the picket fence dream with me. Married, nice home, kids. For two years, following my miscarriage, I regularly asked him if he wanted kids, just to make sure he did still. He never changed his mind. But when I got pregnant, he started blogging again (as he only does when he is upset). Whether he says now that he was being an idiot or not, he basically said that I had ruined all of our plans, that now all the things he wanted to do I had taken away from him with my uterus. I was crushed. I had never been led to believe that this was a mistake. We’d been planning our pregnancy since our wedding.
He was generally unenthusiastic, and between my morning sickness and insomnia, and his unhappiness, he started to become distant. 6 weeks into my pregnancy, I discovered the line of communication between them had been breached. He swears they never spoke, but again, he cannot talk about her without lying. It is more him that I distrust in this situation than anything. Strangely I do believe him. But he sought her out. He spent a few hours trolling her facebook to see her pictures. If I had not found out, I doubt he would have told me, and I doubt it would not have progressed. After all, my daily surveillance had completely stopped. We had a small fight about it. I think if he had just told me he wanted to try and resume contact, been open with me, I would probably have been wary but okay with it. But it was knowing that the very first time, in the very first inch, he had lied, that made me realize that he could never be trustworthy with her. And I felt as badly for her as I felt for me.
Our fight ended with him pulling a surprise move: Telling me that he could do what he wanted with her and I could not stop him. I felt… I don’t even know. Put in my place? Let down? Scared? Hopeful that what he wanted was innocent?
Two days ago, a surprise conversation yielded some great heartbreak. He had spoken to someone about her, not thinking this person would come to me. After everything, after all of this, after all of the assurance and all the words to the contrary, I never thought my Husband would be showing people photos of this person, not a year into our marriage, and months into a pregnancy with our first child, did I think he’d be showing photos of her to people and referring to her as the woman he would have married had he not married me.
All of my doubts, the ones I thought I’d chased away… they’re back. He says he shows his excitement for our marriage and our baby in his own way, but he spent the entire day after seeing our child for the first time brooding and upset. I feel him pulling away. I feel his distance, and his depression. And I can’t help but wonder if he feels he married the wrong person.
I do not want these doubts now. I did not want these doubts on the steps of my first marriage and I do not want them on the steps of my first child. It isn’t fair. It hurts. And I hate that I ever stopped here long enough to put myself in the position to get in the middle of something that sometimes feels so utterly inevitable. Sometimes I feel like I should buy him the fucking bus ticket.
But I want to be wrong. And I spend nights wallowing in the comfort of being too ignorant to suspect. I lay in his arms and feel safe and loved because if I have to feel anything else I think I will just lay down and die. I want the husband back who had never lied to me, the one who could have fun just being near me. I want the husband back who lay in bed with me at night, kissing and laughing, the one who could go for walks with me until 6am, just talking about anything. I want him to be excited about this with me, because its ours, because its beautiful and wonderful, because we love each other and we made it. But now I have the husband who can’t talk to me, no matter how I pry. I have the husband who is in love with someone else and won’t admit it. I have the husband who is so indifferent that he can’t care enough to leave but can’t care enough to really be here either.
I don’t like being stuck awake at night, gripped with fear, wondering who the fuck is sleeping in my bed and if the words that come out of his mouth are the same as the ones in his head. I’m afraid I’m going to be stuck raising this baby alone. I’m afraid his real excitement, his visible enthusiasm, will never come. I’m afraid he hates this baby, and me even more for having it.
And I have nobody to talk to about any of it.
In the morning, when he is awake with his reassurances, I push all of this down and pretend none of it is there, and I am happy. Until he is sleeping. In my nightmares in sleep, it is happening all over again. And I just don’t know what to do.