I hate the phrase “’It takes two to destroy a marriage.” Sometimes it only takes one!
Things at home were better with him gone. There was a definite peace about the house and the boys and I settled into a good routine. He would come home on most weekends and we would all walk on eggshells while he was here, but the weeks were peaceful. One weekend, my youngest and I decided we would go visit him. Everything was going fine until the first morning. I settled in with a cup of tea and turned the TV on. He had gone into work for a bit. The first thing I noticed was his list of recorded shows. Remember, this is a man who struggles with a porn addiction. He had told me that his affair was porn come to life. Porn and drinking were the main reasons he gave for cheating. Because of this, we had an agreement that he would watch no shows with explicit sex so he wouldn’t trigger and head back down that path. Well, with no one to hold him accountable, he was watching a show we had both agreed he would not. One with explicit sex in nearly every episode, one that he had agreed by name that he would not watch.
I was going to leave with my son that morning, but he was really looking forward to the time with his Dad, so we stayed. It was a rough weekend. I felt so betrayed again and was in so much pain. Yet, he seemed so remorseful, I still had so much hope that he would change. A couple months later, when I called him one night, he didn’t answer. I called and called and still no answer. We all had tracking on our phones, so I checked his and it showed him at some house. He hadn’t said anything about going to anyone’s house and I just knew he was cheating again. He didn’t call me back for a couple hours. He said he had gone to dinner with a male coworker who had too much to drink and had driven him home and left his phone in the car. The man was crying about his marriage ending and he was comforting him. Two weeks later, he took this same coworker and his girlfriend out to dinner. This man was cheating on the wife he was crying about and the man I loved was condoning it by buying them dinner! After dinner they headed to a bar to continue their night of fun. He wasn’t even supposed to be going to bars or drinking without me and he was now doing it again four hours away from me, hanging out with cheaters. Later, when he was back home, I confronted him about this, and he actually yelled at me that he didn’t do anything wrong. He couldn’t even recognize what was wrong with what he chose.
The job he had ended in December of 2019 and he came back home. I didn’t want him home. He didn’t ask if it was ok. He just came home. I thought maybe I could just live with the hurt and pain and eventually get over the lies and abuse. I just so desperately wanted to keep my family together. He really was starting to recognize that he had hurt us all terribly, but the damage was so great neither of us saw a way past it and he didn’t know how to stop being the man he had always been. In July 2020, I went to spend a weekend with my cousins. We had a wonderful time and it felt so good to be able to be myself and not walk on eggshells. I could say something stupid without being made fun of and I could have my own feelings without them being overridden by his. I watched my cousin’s husband treat her with respect and take such beautiful care of her and her parents. So, in August, I asked him to move out. I knew I needed the space to try to find my way back to me. He promised me and the boys that he would get help and fix everything so he could come home. Instead, he began hanging out in bars and drinking, once again running from his guilt and pain. I filed for divorce in September and it was finalized in November.
Honestly, it hasn’t changed the way I feel about him. I think I fought for my marriage for so long, that it’s ingrained in me. Little by little I’m trying to let that go, but twenty-five years of history is hard to walk away from, even with the abuse. The lies haven’t ever stopped, and he has continued to hurt me and the boys terribly. The three of us truly hope he will get help and deal with the issues he has so he can be a better man, a better father, and maybe someday a better husband to someone. I just don’t know if he can. We all form behaviors that are ingrained in us that take a lot of hard work to change. Much like I can’t just push a button and stop loving a man who treated me terribly, he can’t just push a button and stop his behaviors. It takes time and effort and a lot of sweat and tears. There are steps forward and sometimes more steps backward, but you have to just keep going, you have to keep trying. Everyone is capable of change, but so few choose to do it.