Hello my lovely readers. I hope you are doing well. I hope your lives are stable and your loved ones are true. I urge you all to do something nice for them today, especially if they are a spouse or romantic partner. I encourage you to check in with one another to find out if both of you are happy, to make sure there isn’t something hanging in the air, silently driving a wedge between you. I cannot promise that such a conversation will be fruitful or that you’ll find out anything you don’t already know, but if this divorce and infidelity has taught me anything it’s that you can never assume everything is great or perfect.
The past few days have been interesting to me because they have included something I never thought would have been possible. The person I loved more than anyone in the world nearly lost every ounce of respect, admiration, and love I ever felt for them over the many years I’ve known them. Yesterday we argued several times about her decision to go see this man last night that she had an affair with and when I arrived home to drop the car off for her to go see him, I felt for the first time ever that I truly no longer loved her.
I agreed that she could go see him, but the agreement was made at great risk to my opinion of her and as I considered the cost of that agreement while I watched her walk out the door, dressed up for a date with this man, I realized that I’d never be able to respect her again depending on her actions. If she went and saw him only to stay the night with him or ended up sleeping with him again despite my stringent request that she not do that until she moved out of our house, I knew that I could no longer hold any positive feelings about her anymore. If she was that type of person, if she had truly become that type of person, then I would know that there was nothing left of the woman I’d loved or married or lived with for the last 6 years.
I vowed then, as she entered our garage to take our car, that if she disappointed me one more time, she would be dead to me. There would no longer be any piece of me that could care for her or claim to know her. She would become a stranger to me, one who had no dignity or self-respect. I would never again place her needs before my own. I would never again believe she was a good person or that she had a good heart. I would never again be able to look upon her with anything but indifference or disgust. She would lose all of my love, respect, admiration, and affection.
And so, as the car pulled out of the garage and the sick feeling in my stomach subsided, I felt my heart harden against her. Never again would I permit myself to be hurt by her. Never again would I trust her. Never again would I do anything for her that did not serve myself. She would no longer be my wife. No longer be my friend, and no longer be anyone I ever cared to know. If she slept with him again, it would be like the person I married had died and had been taken over by some other, more selfish, more unkind, more unfeeling, dark, disrespectful, and ugly person.
In order to protect myself, I just assumed she would disappoint me. She had done that so many times over the last two weeks that it felt impossible for her not to do it again, not after our argument about this date and her erroneous accusations that I was trying to interfere with something I had agreed to. No, someone who could not see that between the two of us that I was the one who had done nothing but keep their promises was bound to disappoint me.
So, as I went about my evening alone I stopped caring. I stopped loving her. I stopped being her spouse, her friend, or even an interested bystander to her catastrophic deconstruction of her life. I went about my way of doing exactly what I wanted, knowing that she couldn’t hurt me anymore. I ate dinner, I watched some TV, I played some WoW, I chatted with friends, and I even found what I’m hoping might be the perfect person for me to get to know on OKCupid (seriously, we are a 99% match based on their algorithms and she is just… everything I’d want in a girlfriend; it’s kind of ridiculous. I don’t think I could have created a more perfect person for me to be interested in at this time).
The night went late and bedtime started to approach. Still, there was no word from our disappointing spouse and she had not returned. I sent her a message letting her know that I didn’t care when she was going to be home, but that I wanted to know when to expect her, if at all. She, of course, in true fashion to this new ugly person she’s become evaded the question and simply promised I would have the car by time I needed it around 6am the next morning.
I tried to go to sleep and found myself awaking at every little sound, wondering if it was her at the door. The hour grew even later and what sleep I could find was fitful at best. I decided that if I had any hope of getting to sleep I needed to know if she was coming home at all or if she was staying the night with him. Again, I did not care either way, although if she did not come home the hardening process of my heart towards her would be complete and irreversible. The fact that it was 1am and she was still not home told me that my decision to lose all respect for her was well-placed. When she did not answer her phone or her texts, she died in my eyes and my heart. Any chance at forgiveness, friendliness, or fond memories began to vanish.
I decided she wasn’t coming home and managed to fall into an angry and truly disappointed sleep. It wasn’t long, however, before she finally did come home around 2am. The hardening of my heart lessened a bit at the fact that she at least had enough dignity to not stay the night with him again. When she walked into the room, however, my heart hardened again. The look on her face was filled with the expression I’ve grown far too accustomed to seeing lately, shame.
I’m positive she would deny that’s what it was, but her eyes told it all. Deep down, she was ashamed of what she’d done, and was afraid how I’d react. She knew she’d done something I wouldn’t like and that I might confront her about it. I started to look for other signs and saw that her hair was somewhat messy… the kind of messy it usually is after she has sex (I’d know, I’ve seen it a thousand times before).
The betrayal felt complete. The respect, gone. The love, gone. The caring about her wellbeing, gone. I did not know this person who wanted to share a bed with me. I did not want to know this person.
She got into bed and I turned the light off as I felt my heart grow colder and colder towards her by the second. I had to know if she’d done what I thought she’d done. I asked her, “Am I right to have lost all respect for you?”
She would not respond. I gave her a moment to say something and when she didn’t, I said, “I’ll take that as a yes.”
She let out a sigh, which only seemed to confirm my suspicion. I told her that I wanted her to sleep on the couch; that I couldn’t share a bed with her anymore; that it felt dirty to do so.
She let out a sigh, got up, took her pillow, and went to sleep on the couch. I decided then that I was done with her. Never again would or could I care for her. I fell asleep quite quickly but was plagued with dreams of me competing against this new lover of hers for her love. It felt awful to watch her be with him in my dream, and to know that her betrayal ran deeper than any before. The dream encapsulated my jealousy, my fear, my sadness, my anger, the love I had felt for her, and my resignation to the fact that she was no longer the person I’d known for so many years.
Never again would we share a bed. If she was to live with me, she would sleep on the couch for the remainder of her time there. She was too disgraced and lacked too much dignity to be allowed into such an intimate space with me.
I awoke to her getting dressed for work. I knew that I was going to ask her to sleep on the couch from now on but it was not the time for that conversation. It would only become an argument, so I simply told her that I wanted us to talk after I got home from class tonight.
She said okay and then proceeded to say, “I will tell you one thing about last night, but that’s it,” seemingly concerned that this delayed conversation would be an interrogation on my part (which it wasn’t going to be as I no longer cared enough to ask what I already knew).
She said, “I did not have sex with him last night, but that’s all I’m telling you.”
And just like that, my heart was softened towards her again. My wife was still in there somewhere, buried deep beneath the shameful, selfish, cruel, and self-destructive ugliness she’d become lately. There was still some shred of the person I knew and loved inside of her. She had not lost herself in her recent actions as I had feared and begun to believe.
I thanked her for telling me this, and told her that she hadn’t lost all of my respect then. I did not tell her, however, that she’d still lost the majority of my respect as she’d stayed out until 2am with the man she’d had an affair with doing god only knows what besides “sex” to which there was no strict definition on her part of what that meant. Given this new person that has started to emerge I can only assume she meant simply intercourse, and would not consider other highly intimate or sexual activities such as making out, fondling or oral sex as “sex” in this situation.
Regardless, the hardening of my heart is far too complete for me to be able to care enough to pry. Perhaps she did not deserve zero respect and was not completely devoid of dignity or self-control, but she is still no longer worthy of my affection, fondness or love. She has proven that this person she has started to become is still no one I wish to know or be around. I am counting down the days until she is gone and I am no longer plagued by this ugly (mostly) stranger I’m living with.
So, my darling readers, Emma now knows what it is like to fall completely, painfully, yet easily out of love with someone I considered a soul mate. She made this so excruciatingly, painfully easy to get to this place of indifference and hard-heartedness against someone I vowed to stand by, take care of, and love for my entire life. In the end, however, it will truly be her loss, not mine.
5 more nights. That’s it. 5 nights and the worst part is over. The rest is easy, even if it is not quite simple. 5 more nights of living with a mostly-stranger, unsure of whether or not my temporary stay in losing all respect for her will be permanent or exactly that, temporary.