Originally written and published in May 2006, this piece was taken down for various reasons, but is now being re-posted for posterity.
It’s been a year, people.
A whole fuckin’ year. I can’t believe it. Twelve of the longest, busiest and possibly the most significant months of my life.
A little more than twelve months ago, I had an epiphany. I suddenly broke out of my 6-8-year denial that there was something seriously amiss in my marriage. There had been little to no sex. The communication was atrocious. I was angry and bitey all the time. He was moody and passive-aggressive. I felt stifled and repressed by his control-freakishness and financial OCD. He felt strained by my constant complaining and criticisms.
And somehow I managed to convince myself that this was a perfectly acceptable state of affairs. For more than 7 years!!
The epiphany came hot on the heels of a ton of weight loss. At the end of a particularly vicious row, he’d said something along the lines of:
“You know, I don’t know if I have the strength for this any more.”
I’d said: “Strength for what?”
And he’d replied: “This. Us. Our marriage.”
It wasn’t the first time it had been said, although I’d never been the one to say it.
I’d let his control-freakishness override me until I’d become such a shadow of my former self; so much so that I could barely make a decision without his say-so. I resented his hold over the household, and I yearned for more freedom to do things according to my set of priorities, which never happened without a huge row. CH was impossible to talk to in those days, although I suppose he saw me in much the same way.
This says as much about me as him, though. In no way do I attribute the problems in my marriage to CH alone. It takes two to tango, after all. And we were dancing the Tango of the Dying Marriage. In perfect rhythm.
Twelve months ago, I looked my husband in the eye and said to him: “I don’t think I love you, and I don’t know if I want to be married to you anymore.”
And then a week later, I met G. The first man to kiss me who wasn’t my husband since 1994. The first man to show that he found me attractive since then. The first time I’d wanted to have another man find me attractive since then. Rebound? No shit. I might as well have bought myself a length of bungee cord.
G and I were so very, very wrong for each other. He lives in a different country to me. He’s not of the same faith as I. He’s married. With 3 children from his first marriage. He’s a cross-dresser, and quite openly bisexual.
Not the most vanilla of packages, you might argue.
We began a whirlwind romance when he visited the offices of the company where I work for a training course. We chatted and talked and then went out for a drink (a cup of tea, since you ask). And then, I dropped him back at his hotel, and when he came to say goodbye, we kissed. And that’s how it started.
The affair lasted a whole month, and both of us got ridiculously carried away. I was the first person to whom he come out, after his ex-wife and his current wife. This placed me in no insignificant position in his eyes. We fell in love — him because I was so accepting of him, and me because I was dying to escape the hell through which I was living.
We built plans like castles in the air — how he’d leave his wife, how he’d come and live here, what he’d do when he did, how I’d leave CH…
He decided, out of the blue, in early May, to tell his wife that he was sorry, but he’d met someone else and fallen in love with her. I thought nothing of this. Very, very foolishly, I say with the clarity of hindsight. I simply presumed that we were “meant to be”, and that this was a natural progression, and it had to happen one day, and better sooner than later. He did it because, according to him, he felt terribly guilty at deceiving his wife — a woman who I have never met but who he told me had very low self-esteem, and who he still loved but not in nearly as passionate a way as he loved me.
Naturally I felt superior to this female — my arrogance was quite astonishing, actually. I truly believed that she’d roll over and acquiesce to the fact that her husband of less than 2 years was leaving her for a younger women (she is 5 years older than G, who is 9 years older than I).
This, of course, didn’t happen.
G told her, and she went ballistic. I cannot blame her. As a direct result, G sent me a text message that said: “Force 9. V. Bad. Can’t split. Sorry. So hard, so bad.”
My immediate reactions are detailed in this post, on the blog that he and I had together. Justifiably, I was furious. I felt betrayed, humiliated, stupid, let-down, naive, foolish, immature… A prize idiot, basically. How could I have fallen for his bullshit? How? How?
And that was May 13th. On May 15th, I started Emerging on the Other Side as an antidote to how I felt, and in an attempt to re-order my life and make sense of this cataclysmic chain of events. How was it that a sensible, intelligent, mother-of-two had suddenly gone completely off the rails like that? And what the fuck was up with my marriage?