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Living with the pain for nearly 40 years

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 6 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #224615

    Gary
    Participant

    Hello. I have a hole in my soul. 42 years ago I met a lovely young lady that I would eventually marry and have 2 beautiful children. About 3-4 years into the marriage I got caught up in activities that required a large time investment plus worked a full time job. What followed was my blindness to my wifes needs for my attention. And I basically dismissed it as an overreaction and suggested she get a job to break up her daily boredom. So she did. What followed some time after shook my world to it's core. I started noticing that she would be coming home later and later , as I had to go to work I had to have somebody come in to watch our 4 and 2 year old. I'd get home around 4 pm and the babysitter would inform me that she didn't get home till around noon , she should have gotten there normally around 8 am from her job shift. I was blind , trusting , and naive . She would tell me she was working overtime and so I didn't think a lot about it. This went on for several ,  several weeks. It was beginning to cause considerable strife in our home. I hardly ever saw her as my rehearsals took place in the evenings . Eventually this led to a feeling of neglect and loneliness . I was 25 and she , 22. I made a horrible , horrible mistake. I became vulnerable and got involved in an affair.  It was about a month later that my 4 year old said “Mommy showed us Rob's boat” which immediately caused alarm bells to go off and I asked her if she could show me Rob's boat….and she directed me to a house. I shut off the car and gathered the kid's to go knock on the door and BAM! around the corner of the house came my wife on this guys back ..riding piggyback. I had just caught her with her affair partner. I was LIVID!! I punched the guy in the face as my wife grabbed the kids and took off. I gathered my wits and went home trying to digest what I had just went thru , wondering where my wife had gone. Shortly afterwards and when I had calmed down considerably, she called. I asked her to come home and sort things out. I wanted to work this out to save our marriage. I would do anything to that end. She came home and we talked and I admitted to her that I too had been seeing someone (BIG MISTAKE) , but would stop immediately hoping she would feel the same way and do the same thing. She didn't. She became indignant and continued her trysts over the next couple of weeks till I finally told her basically him or me . If she wanted to continue seeing him then he could financially support her , I wouldn't. So I told her to leave. I called an attorney to seek immediate custody of the children and was granted.

    I knew this situation and was positive this guy was just enjoying a roll in the hay and would eventually dump her. We were separated for a little more than 3-4 months when I'd discovered they'd shacked up. I didn't want my kids exposed to that. But she had visitation rights and so there wasn't much I could do about it. I filed for divorce. Later she counter filed. I thought long and hard on this , you see , she didn't think I loved her. She couldn't have been more wrong. I was in my own private hell all the while of our separation and involved myself with no one. I withdrew my divorce papers….she didn't. She seemed so callous and uncaring and it cut me to the bone. Nothing could save the marriage it seemed. You see , all during our separation she would call me and want to just chat. Like she wanted to string me along with a glimmer of hope. Finally the day came for the divorce and we sat on a bench outside the courtroom I looked into her eyes and told her , “You still have a few minutes to change your mind , because no matter how I feel about you , when the judge hits the gavel..it's over , done.”  We entered the courtroom and it was like an execution to me. She let it go … “Divorce granted”. I just sighed and we walked out. I failed our marriage. I was miserable , but I looked at her , took her hand and said “Have a good life” as sincerely as I could. I was broken when I caught them , I was numb at the divorce. Now…just two weeks later..I get a knock on the door. It's her. I'm thinking “What are you doing here.” She looks at me with teary eyes and exclaims ” You were the best friend I ever had”… I'm thinking “Really …who was MY best friend”… something had happened with loverboy , I didn't know what , and it didn't matter. I told her my intention on that bench at the divorce. It's over and I'm going to seek out someone new to spend my life with. And asked her to leave. So she went back to loverboy. They eventually married , he joined the navy. HUH , and you thought I wasn't home enough…pfffft…it lasted 2 1/2 years and he left her for yet another girl. Talk about poetic justice. So she starts calling again , but by now I've remarried and these calls are becoming troublesome. So I had to shut her out , completely.

    You know a situation where you know with utmost regret you have to kill a thing rather than see it suffer…That's where I was when I cut her off of communication.

    I finally met a gem. A selfless , gracious young lady who wasn't intimidated in helping with my kids. We've been happily married for 35 years.

    My ex finally realized she had to move on as I wasn't playing the game anymore so she moved , found another and married again. That lasted about 5 years and he passed away. She is widowed and moved back into the general area.

    Now to the meat of the matter. I know I screwed up , royally. And I apologized , several times in fact.  But you know , I never even got an “I'm sorry for hurting you” from my ex , ever. Yes , she had my children , but I cannot , for the life of me , remember her ever telling me she loved me. I just interpreted actions as acknowledgement. And (this REALLY hurts) I ‘m not sure she ever loved me…

    I'm 63 and there is not a whole lot of time left for me..family history and all…but I need absolute closure. I'd like to talk to her to answer these questions and do NOT want to hurt my wife by making her think anything is going on. Most probably be the last conversation with her in my life. I really don't want to go out without knowing. I'll accept anything she tells me but I need to know as it's a hole in my soul.

     

     

     

     

    #224631

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Gary:

    You wrote, “I'd like to talk to her to answer these questions… I really don't want to go out without knowing. I'll accept anything she tells me but I need to know”

    But why would you “accept anything she tells” you as the truth, or even her truth?

    It would be a shame to close a hole in the soul with a lie, or something someone says because it sounds better than the truth. Isn't it?

    anita

     

    #224633

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Gary,

    I'm sure she loved you (at the time) but keep in mind you guys were ONLY in your early to mid twenties. Babies by comparison to where you are now. All babies look cute and adorable, especially to each other. So here she is, a young mother, and she got swept off her feet by the guy next door. Classic cliché. She was overwhelmed and selfish. That's about the extent of it. This baby raising babies made a very grown up, very serious mistake. Then karma bites her in the butt with marriage number two. Then husband number three dies. Now she's a grown azz woman.

    Now you're going to call her and she'll tell you… what, exactly? This is like a 21 year old calling someone they were best friends with at 7 and asking, “Why wouldn't you play with me anymore?” Or something like that.

    We are all getting older. We are all going to die. Give YOURSELF closure. She can't do it for you, no matter what she says. Label it “My First Love. Mother of my Children.”

    Best,

    Inky

    #224649

    Gary
    Participant

    thanks….maybe your right …it just periodically hurts to this day.

    #224663

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Gary:

    You are welcome. I will repeat your share and follow with my thoughts:

    When you were 21 you met an 18 year old woman you married and immediately had two children. You got very busy with full time work and other activities and didn't spend much time with your young wife. She shared with you that she was bored or lonely and you suggested that she “gets a job to break up her daily boredom”.

    While the children were 2 and 4, your then 22 year old wife did get a job and worked night shift. Instead of returning home around 8 am, she returned around noon day after day for several weeks. She lied to you and told you that she worked overtime. You hardy saw her and felt neglected and lonely. Next, you had an affair with another woman.

    At about that time, your four year old daughter directed you to Rob's boat, your wife's lover. Your four year old got in the car with you and directed you to arrive at Rob's boat (“she directed me to a house. I shut off the car and gathered the kid…”). There you witnessed your wife “riding piggyback” with Rob. Following punching Rob in the face, once with your wife again, you told her about your affair, hoping the two of you will put an end to your respective affairs.

    You ended your affair but she continued hers. You then called an attorney to seek immediate custody of the children and was granted that. Following a few months separation from your wife you discovered she was living with Rob. You then filed for divorce and she counter filed. You rethought the divorce, feeling love for her,  and withdrew your divorce papers. But she didn't and divorce was granted.

    Two weeks after the divorce was granted she showed up at your door and told you: “You were the best friend I ever had”. You asked her to leave. She went back to Rob, eventually marrying him. Her marriage to Rob lasted 2.5 years and he left her for another woman. She then called you but you were remarried at that point and you “cut her off of communication”. She then married again and that (third) marriage lasted five years. Her third husband died and widowed, she now lives in the general area where you live.

    You got remarried at 28 to a young woman who accepted you and your two young children. Now married for 35 years, your two children are about forty years old.

    You are struggling with the following: you don't remember your ex wife ever telling you that she loved you and you are not sure she ever loved you. She never apologized to you for hurting you by having the affair with Rob. You now “need absolute closure” and would “like to talk to her to answer these questions” but you don't want to hurt your wife of 35 years by talking to your ex wife of long ago.

    My thoughts: Let's say you met your ex wife and asked her: did you ever love me? If she said Yes (or No), would that be the closure, will that be all it takes to achieve that closure? If you asked her: why didn't you ever apologize to me about your affair? And she would then apologize, almost forty years after that affair, will the be your closure?

    If your answers are affirmative, that is all it would take to close that hole in your soul, then it is a good idea to talk with her. But if the answer is that it might not suffice to provide you relief from that  pain you are experiencing, I think it is way better that instead of talking to your ex wife of so long ago, that you talk to a good psychotherapist. In therapy you can examine the nature of that hole in the soul, the nature of the closure you are seeking. There you are likely to discover that the closure you are seeking cannot happen in one conversation with… anyone.

    anita

     

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