So this is what it’s like when your significant other cheats…
- He comes home late, and I think he’s been with someone else.
- He comes home early, and I think he has something to hide.
- He gets notifications while we are watching TV, and I think it’s another woman.
- He doesn’t get any notifications, and I’m certain he has his phone on silent to hide something.
- He holds me tight, and I think he’s thinking of her.
- He doesn’t touch me, and I think he’d rather be with her.
- He calls me, and I think he’s being weirdly suspicious.
- He doesn’t call me, and I think he doesn’t care.
Most times, I feel like I’m going insane as if I’m in a deep, dark cloud of depression. I think about what my husband and I have been through and how absolutely miserable, enraged, and worthless I felt when I discovered he had been communicating with another woman in a way that should only be reserved for me.
I thought I was okay for a while – I thought we were okay. Things are sometimes back to normal, and I really only think about it every once in a while.
Then I had a breakdown on the front porch…
I’m not even sure why I thought about it – what song came on the radio to make me think about the text messages. Something by Drake, maybe. Something about cheating, maybe. All I remember is that I was having a decent time, enjoying the nice weather with my headphones in, as I trimmed the hedges in front of our house. A song came on Pandora, and I instantly thought of the text messages between him and her. I broke down. I had to take a seat, and I cried into my hands.
I’ve had many of those moments. Those moments are my new normal. I never know when the thoughts will come and the emotions will hit me. They cover me in a confusing swarm, and I just wait for it to be over. I told my husband that time. I tried sharing my feelings, hoping that somehow he would have the right things to say to make me feel better quicker. He never understands. He just wants it to be better; he would love it if I just forgot.
We had another episode the night before Thanksgiving Day. He had the day off, and we decided to spend the holiday together. It had been so long since we had gotten all dressed up and went to an actual club. We were having a decent time until a thought crossed my mind and turned into an argument. This one was all my fault. My timing was wrong, and I should have known that it would lead to nothing but trouble.
I asked, “Have you changed the password on your phone since our big blow-up?”
He said yes. He explained that he wanted to know if I trusted him, and if I tried going through his phone without luck, I would eventually come to him for answers. He would then know that I didn’t trust him. What I didn’t expect was how upset his response and explanation would make me. Why didn’t he know that changing his password would just make me angrier, more suspicious, and more depressed? His plan backfired, and it just pissed me off even more. Anger set in, and I shut down for the remainder of the evening.
Another night that ended in tears.
On Thanksgiving night, we discussed it. I told him I didn’t trust him. I didn’t know when I would trust him again. He told me to trust him. He promised he would never hurt me again. I asked him how I could trust him. It seems like such an odd question, but I really needed to know. How do you just trust again? His response was simple; you just do.
I took that with me, and I thought about it over the next few days. It made me think of a prayer I once read in Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife:
“Lord, I confess I do not esteem my husband the way Your Word says to. There is a wall in my heart that I know was erected as a protection against being hurt. But I am ready to let it come down so that my heart can heal. I confess the times I have shown a lack of respect for him. I confess my disrespectful attitude and words as sin against You. Show me how to dismantle this barrier over my emotions that keeps me from having the unconditional love You want me to have. Tear down the wall of hardness around my heart and show me how to respect my husband the way You want me to. Give me Your heart for him, Lord, and help me to see him the way You see him.”
…and so I am in the process of doing what my husband has asked. I have decided to trust him. I realize the risk I’m taking – letting him back in and opening my heart again to possibly face more disappointment. I am not thinking about the past; I am focusing on the present state of our relationship. I’m looking forward to the future. I pray to God that he wraps my husband in his grace and moves him down the right path so that he can reject temptations and remain faithful to me.
I haven’t had a breakdown since, but I do have moments when I still wonder who he’s texting and where he’s been. Our circumstances have not made it easy; he works late hours during this time of the year, we see one another just a few hours a day, and we don’t communicate much during the day other than a few text messages. Every now and then, I wonder if we will ever get back to being in love the way we once were.
Learning to trust again and live with forgiveness in my heart is my new normal. After knowing this man for 10 years, dating him for 7, and being married to him for 1, this should not be my new normal. Having a new normal sucks.