The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When do you call it quits?  At what point do you finally acknowledge- too much damage is here and we can never repair the tsunami that blew through our marriage.  When?  What’s the formula for making that determination?

I read an article this week that said 57% of marriages stated they were thriving five years after discovering an affair.  We aren’t even close to being included in that group.  For some reason, finding this out demoralized me.  It’s been five years since my husband confessed and I feel our marriage is in crisis more than ever.

Those that know me off blog understand just how dire things are.  But I will peel back the curtain slightly and share just one example of what I battle.  I’ve had plenty of discussions with my husband lately- hours worth in fact.  An incident occured weeks ago, whereby he admitted he lost his drivers license and had no way to rent a car.  You see, his irresponsible behavior caught up with him when he failed to take care of his vehicle resulting in blowing up the engine.  Yep, that’s what happens when you don’t check your oil people.  I could have killed him.

So here he was- without a car- and unable to even rent one.  When it dawned on me…he lost his drivers license when he went CHRISTMAS shopping over three months ago.  Christmas people!!!  Now I don’t know about you guys, but my brain would have been screaming at me to take care of my missing drivers license.  Like within 2 days of realizing I lost it.  Every time I drove, I would have been stressed out knowing I was driving without one.  But that’s just me.  Clearly, my husband and I are polar opposites in that way.  Me being the responsible one–him shirking away from all responsibility.  Yep, he stuck his head in the sand (again).

I asked him point blank, “Are you having an affair?  Your behavior reeks of someone who has checked out of their marriage.  I know the signs and you are simply not “with it”.  He assured me he wasn’t, emphatically denying it.

So I went about asking a barrage of questions, “Why have you not made an appointment with the DMV?”  And he said, “Well I looked online but they didn’t have one for months.”

“Ok but did you try looking at different locations?”

” uhhhh…no”

With a few swipes on my phone, I found several locations with availability that week.  But he needed a car ASAP, so he really needed a replacement drivers license fast.  He logged onto his computer while I yelled across from the kitchen, “March 15th–I found one at XYZ city.  You’ll have to drive 45 minutes but they could see you in 2 days.”

More groans…when finally he found an appointment for the next day, although he would have to drive an hour away (not a big deal–an inconvenience but doable).  Phew, crisis averted.  He is scrambling to resolve.  I’m obviously frustrated by his laziness but I’m seriously sitting on the sidelines trying to allow the natural consequences of his behavior to wreck havoc on his life.  Nothing motivates people more than the feeling of shit of the world mounting upon you.

The next day he left for work.  I looked at the time later that afternoon and thought, “Oh he is probably leaving the office now for his DMV appointment.”  When all of a sudden, wouldn’t you know it-he calls me in a panic.  “Can you please gather up all these documents?  I need them for my appointment, to get my drivers license.  And can you drive them to the freeway and meet me?  I won’t be able to make my appointment otherwise, as I am short on time!”

I could have killed him.

“ummm… You want me to drop what I am doing to come and bring you your paperwork?  Don’t you think you should have read the DMV requirements for getting a replacement license last night?  And retrieved those prior to leaving the house this morning?  You want me to save you–to bail you out? I really think the best option is to let natural consequences fall upon you for not being prepared.  For not having any foresight…”

Wish I could say I stuck to my gut response, but I didn’t.  Time was of the essence.  Natural consequences did not fall upon him.  I bailed him out, driving to where he needed me and giving him the papers.

In that moment, I realized I am just an enabler to him.

I am disgusted by his behavior.  It’s as if I am married to an irresponsible 12 year old.  When I handed him the papers, we didn’t even say a word to eachother.  A few minutes later, I sent him the following text:

“I’m honestly done being married to you. I am. I would rather be a single mother and at least have a shot at happiness than keep pushing mud up a mountain. You aren’t happy. I’m not happy. It’s obvious you will never be what I need in a relationship and it’s about time both of us face that fact and pull the plug.

If you want to be lazy that’s fine. But don’t drag me into the lazy husband pool anymore. I’ve allowed this for far too long. I’ve become an enabler to your shitty behaviors and you’ve lost me. I have always said the affairs won’t be the reason why we divorce. It will be THIS dynamic which will break us.

It has.

We are done.”

His reply?  None…crickets.

We have since cooled down.  And we’ve had more talks.  Still living in functional harmony like we always do.  Still socializing with our neighbors and doing things with the kids.  Putting our best faces on.  But the issue remains.

Today (on Easter nonetheless) we had a monumental 6 hour discussion spanning the entire length of our marriage–what’s gone wrong, at what point/what was going on in our lives during certain parts.  His perceptions.  My perceptions.  His hurts vs my hurts.  We’ve gone through it all.  I think the end is near for us.

So something popped into my mind this week that never has before.

The loss of CEO caused me unbearable pain friends.  It’s taken me so long to even write that but it did.  More than he will ever truly know.  But perhaps that pain was to prepare me for an even greater pain–that of losing my husband and all the unmet dreams I had for us.

I can’t even say that I am holding on by a thread anymore.  One person can’t make a marriage.  One person can’t be the only one communicating.  One person can’t give and give and give, while the other one takes and takes and takes.

As one of my blogger friends said to me offline, “A grown man who can’t handle his drivers license and car?  Friend, this problem is far greater than YOU.”

So when do you finally say “enough”?  When do you finally pull the plug friends?  I refuse to become an ugly person should we divorce.  I will hold my head up high and walk away with nothing, if I have to.  I don’t want to fight.  I want my children to be proud of me.  To know and see that I didn’t let my pain turn me into some bitter person.  I want an amicable divorce.  An unconscious uncoupling if you will.  One where we are still close friends, still vacation together with our kids–but just are no longer lovers or spouses.

I just can’t be the glue holding everything together anymore.  I have nothing left to give.  I need a true partner in a husband.  My heart is screaming to have my needs met in our marriage, and it falls upon deaf ears because he has his head stuck in the sand.  My husband stopped trying- stopped fighting for us.  Stopped working at building a new marriage.  He admitted it wholeheartedly tonight when I confronted him.  So nice of him to have shared that memo with me.

I never married with the intent to ever divorce.  It simply was not an option in my mind.  I always believed we would work anything out, even this.  But I’m spent.  Emotionally I’m done.  I feel an incredible desire for closure and to just be alone.

 

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Cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just when you think things are solidly moving in the right direction, you get hit with something so big it drags you back to the feelings post Dday.  Only this time, it’s a different situation.  But for some reason, that is how it felt to me.

Let me explain.

Last summer, right after school let out, we went away for a short vacation.  The hotel had lots of pools and water areas.  And on our very first day there, I distinctly remember looking over at my husband and seeing his wedding ring missing.  My heart sank.  And I had this horrendous empty feeling inside.  But I rationalized that perhaps he didn’t want to wear it at the pool.  Or maybe he left it at home by mistake.  Either way, I decided that I had to put on a happy face because we had our kids with us.  Plus, school just let out.  The trip was meant to bind our family together, not tear us apart.  So I pushed it out of my mind and really focused on my kids, and basically tried to make the trip all about them.

For the most part, the trip was a success.  We drank by the pool, fucked in the ginormous bathroom complete with mirrors galore once the kiddos crashed.  I tried my best for the sake of everyone, but I do recall us fighting at one point.  We were in the car and I just turned back to the resort and got out.  Told him to take the kids to dinner.  I didn’t want to eat with him and certainly couldn’t stand sitting across from him at dinner.  I honestly don’t remember exactly what set me off.  But something did, that much I remember.  Maybe subconsciously it was because of his missing wedding ring, I honestly don’t know.  But we never talked about it.

All of this laid dormant till about a month ago.  It was as if my brain froze those memories and squirreled them away, hidden even from me.  How could that be?  I don’t know.  But that’s what happened.

Perhaps I had too many distractions: thinking of CEO, trying to be a better mother to my children/more engaged, volunteering regularly at the kids schools again, the house and the endless work on it…running…injuries…doctor appointments.  Take your pick.  Something is always distracting me.

Now fast forward to a month ago.  It’s our wedding anniversary.  I planned a very special evening out, to a very iconic hotel in Beverly Hills.  The dinner venue was carefully selected, another swanky kind of place.  Basically, I was trying to create a romantic evening for us.

Only it didn’t quite turn out that way…

As I stared at my menu, I innocently glanced up, only to see no wedding ring on my husbands finger-again.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I finally called him out for it.  And we fought.  And we argued.  When our waiter finally brought our check, he gave me a pitying look as if to say, “You are such a beautiful woman.  You could do better than this guy.”  All I could do was roll my eyes in defeat.  Or was it disgust?

He then dropped a bomb on me.  “I haven’t worn it in over a year now.  I decided to take it off shortly after you confessed.”

“Oh really?  And when were you planning on discussing this with me?  I thought we were trying to build a new marriage?  I thought our agreement was 100% complete honesty?  So all this time, when I am pouring out my heart to you regarding CEO and every damn minuscule feeling, emotion, longing I have honestly felt, running into him/his wife–EVERYTHING that happens, I run to you.  To try to rebuild us, our connection, our “new marriage”.  And yet, you decided to just up and remove it?  No discussion?  Not so much as one word?”

“Yeah well you told me way back then that you weren’t sure if you wanted to be married to me anymore…”

“Yes, I did.  I told you a lot of things.  Because I was being vulnerable, honest and completely forthright in how I felt towards you, us, the life we had built thus far.  We have been a work in progress for a long time.  But every morning since saying that, I was still there.  Still trying.  Still trying to make this marriage work, right?”

As he sat there dressed in his nice Hugo Boss suit, I felt as if I was going to vomit.  I couldn’t look at his face any longer.  The tension was palatable, while the silence between us grew.   Then I reached for my purse and said, “You have to be kidding me.  A year?  You mean we went on that fantastic vacation to that fantastic island and you weren’t wearing it?  And I didn’t even notice that?  Talk about the most idyllic memories of rebuilding our marriage thus far.  And it never occurred to you to put your wedding ring back on–before we left?  Really?  I thought things were pretty awesome between us…but I guess not.  Maybe it was all just in my mind.”

He mumbled and fumbled, over his words, none of which I caught.  I grabbed my purse and opened my phone and started scrolling through all my photos.  Sure enough, each and every photo where I could see his hands, he was ringless.

Fuck. My head was spinning.  And honestly, I think the wine was going to my head at this point. A migraine was forming and I was fuming on the inside.  Anger was boiling.  I felt as if I was going to erupt, like that volcano outside The Mirage.

Friends, I’ve looked at these photos maybe a hundred times.  Dissected each and every one.  I’ve laughed and smiled equally that many times while looking at all these pictures. Showing them to friends or family.  Sharing them on Facebook. But each and every time, I was so intently focused on our kids, his smile, our beautiful family or the artistic quality of the shots.  Never once staring at the megapixels of his ring finger.

My bad.

I thought we were trying to make an amazing marriage.  I guess it was only me really trying.

Our anniversary ended with me saying, “You have no clue, just how much damage you have caused to our marriage.”

That was weeks ago.

We haven’t had sex.

Not that I want him touching me.

Quite frankly, at this point in my life, if I die without ever having sex again,  I’ll be fine with that arrangement.

…and so it goes, back to having a beta roommate, passive-aggressive kind of husband.

 

 

 

 

 

Zane

“Wake up. You have got to see this!”  That is how I woke up one spring morning.  I barely moved as I was so exhausted from nursing our newborn child.  Introducing Zane.  He and I have a special bond after everything we endured together.  From his first kick, I could tell this baby was different from Vivian.  He was very comforting to me during all those crazy times.  Like a good friend, he just seemed to hug me but from the inside.

We decided not to find out our baby’s gender but I had a feeling it was a little boy.  And I was right.  Zane was such a gentle baby, a true gift from God which is how we decided upon his name.  He had an ear infection which made nursing difficult.  So I had been up all night.  Crawling into bed at 4:00 a.m., I was woken back up at 5:30 a.m. by Vivian wanting cereal.  And now here my husband stood, trying to get me out of the bed.  “Come here now!” he said.

Begrudgingly, I put on my contacts and got out of bed.  As I walked down the hallway, I could see sunlight streaming in through all our windows.  I immediately recoiled and started walking backwards muttering, “No, no!  You have opened all the blinds.  Crazy is going to see us.”

“It’s ok.  I promise.  Just walk forward and look.  I swear it’s ok.”  I took one look at his face and knew something was up.  Slowly tip-toeing forward, I peered just past our hallway where I could see a moving truck parked in Crazy’s driveway.  Now you would think this would be cause to celebrate.  But back then, I wasn’t about to assume anything.  “They must be moving” my husband said next.

“Until I see someone else moving into that house, I can’t even get excited.  We have no idea what is going on.  They could be starting renovations or something.  Moving out temporarily…” my voice trailing off as I walked back into our bedroom.  As I laid in bed, I had tears streaming down my face.  I had prayed solidly for a year that our psycho neighbor would move.  And finally, it looked as if it might be happening.

Shockingly, the moving truck left within one hour.  Who on earth moves an entire house within one hour?  Crazy people do.  That’s who.  The second the truck left, neighbors started milling about on our front porch asking if they really moved.  How the heck should we know?  It’s not like we ever talked to them.  As the neighborhood curiosity grew, we finally allowed a neighbor to stand on our fence, where they could see into the house.  Yep, the house was empty.  And Crazy was gone.  Just like that.  In one hour.  Flat.

I have a lot of empathy for anyone having to endure such a situation.  Had I not experienced it myself, I would have never known the depths of how being harassed affects you.  What made this situation especially hard was that it occurred at our home.  Your home should be your sanctuary.  A place where you recharge your batteries.  A place where you can relax.  I had none of that during my pregnancy and following Zane’s birth.  None.

I wish I could say I handled it well but the reality is, the stress took a major toll on my health.  I landed in three ER’s with unexplained symptoms.  And finally was admitted to Cedars Sinai where they ran every test known to man.  They suspected multiple sclerosis.  Then Lyme disease.  Then a major nutritional deficiency from nursing.  Twenty thousand dollars later, I was finally diagnosed with a heart condition which was brought upon solely from…..stress.

As I laid in the hospital, I told my husband I didn’t want to return home.  Being in the hospital was the first time I had ever been away from V.  And the first time, I had ever been away from all the harassment.  I couldn’t handle doing everything by myself anymore.  And I felt I couldn’t keep up with the demands of parenthood.  Volunteering at V’s school and managing our household.  The sleepless nights and fast paced days had taken its toll.  The doctors wanted to start me on heart medications but I refused.  I never needed them before.  Plus it wasn’t safe for nursing.  If this was caused by stress, then I needed to fix what was stressing me out.  Not placate me with medications.

Sitting in my hospital room, I stared into my husband eyes and told him, “I need help. I am burned out.  I can’t do this anymore.  I’ve never had a day off since Vivian was born.  And now we have Zane.  I can’t keep up.”

“I will get some help.  I will hire a cleaner and find a babysitter so you can have a break.”  Looking back, I realize I put a lot of stock into those words.  And I do think that he meant it at the time.  But like all families, once you get back home, you get busy again.  Life resumes.  And we were no different.  Upon discharge, I came home.  He went back to work.  Nothing changed.

But that is where my resentment grew from.

That moment.

That is what it took.

 

 

Crazy Times

I wish I could say the following year was a breeze.  But like all couples trying to work through the aftermath, it’s filled with a lot of hard moments.  I don’t profess to remember everything from that time.  Some things are honestly a blur.  And not just because I was suffering from baby brain.

This is kind of like a story within a story, so bear with me.  I could devote an entire blog to this subject, but I can’t go into all the details.  It’s just too identifying and honestly painful thinking back on it.  However, it begs inclusion as we were not only dealing with my husband’s infidelity but also a neighbor from hell.

To this day, we still don’t understand how she went from being a quiet next door neighbor to a raving lunatic overnight.  But she did.  Literally.  Our guess was that she was schizophrenic and had stopped taking her meds.  Either that, or it was something spiritual.

For some reason, she was fixated on me and I had to deal with this on top of the infidelity.  All while being pregnant.  No sooner had I made the decision to stand by my husband and work through the infidelity, that our next door neighbor went crazy.

She showed up on our doorstep banging on our windows and doors one evening.  She was screaming nonsensical words and thought she was drunk.  My husband refused to open the door.  Neighbors watched from windows and were all wondering WTF happened.  We had no clue ourselves.  But it happened several times more with her antics escalating over several months.

She would erect speakers on our shared fence and start blasting YouTube clips of babies crying (she had no children, but visibly knew I was pregnant), talk in various voices over the fence whenever we were outside, try to run over neighborhood kids whenever she drove on our street…the list goes on and on.

Yes, we called the police.  Multiple times.  And yes, they informed me to keep a log.  And pretty soon, they said to get a restraining order after she kept going onto our property and banging on our windows.  And yes, my husband tried talking to her husband which only made her go even more mental (she never did this when he was home, only when he was gone at work–which was all time).  And yes, I met with a detective to see what we could do to protect our family.  There was no explanation for her behavior.  I had never even spoken to her, other than to say hello, as we had been in the house only a year.

The scariest incident occurred one afternoon.  And luckily Vivian had just run back inside.  She was speaking in two voices over our fence, while I was silently watering in our backyard.  One was a child’s, while the other was just pure evil sounding.  There is really no other way to explain it.  At first I thought it was an actual small child talking, until I realized it was her, speaking in two voices…and they were addressing……me!  The hair on the back of my neck stood up, it was that scary.

She hissed, “Youuuuuuuuuu (expletive)….Youuuuuuuu (expletive).”  I don’t even want to repeat the exact words because I believe it was the uttering of two demons, possibly more.  For real.  This was like something out of Poltergeist.  Not kidding.

The detective had asked me to start recording whenever she harassed me.  Apparently it would help them build a case.  She hadn’t said she wanted to kill me….Yet.  And unfortunately, as the detective explained, “Ma’am there is no crime in being crazy.”

I share this because it had a profound effect on me.  Being pregnant, I felt very vulnerable.  And I felt very alone in dealing with this crazy neighbor, plus trying to shield Vivian from it all.  My husband would leave for work and no sooner had his car pulled away, the harassment would start.  He would sometimes leave for work, only to park his car one street over, then sneak back to witness it himself.

Windows were kept shut, blinds were permanently left closed.  It was like living in a dark cave.  Overnight.  We had no choice because one morning, while trying to do Vivian’s hair in the bathroom before school, she started standing outside our window ranting and raving.  She would listen to wherever we were in our house, then stand on the other side of the wall hurling obscenities or just screaming nonsensically.  We were literally being stalked in our own home.

The recordings were given to a sound technician in Hollywood, who works on various movies.  He offered to clean it up after hearing from a friend about what we were going through.  Anyways, he enhanced just the audio portion since I was shaking like a leaf when recording it.  Working on it late one night, he finally called saying it was the scariest thing he had ever heard.  Hands down.  Having to listen to it over and over, freaked him out.  Once we got it back, we gave it to police.

Why didn’t you just move?  Well for starters, the housing market had tanked.  Selling wasn’t an option then.  And we couldn’t rent it for our mortgage either.  So we stayed, trying to figure ways to endure it.  This went on for the duration of my pregnancy and several months after our child was born.

We even had our home blessed by a pastor after that.  Him and his wife used holy water and oil on every window and door.  My husband was instructed to pray over the four corners of our property, every morning before he left for work.  So he did.  Rain or shine.  At 5:30 a.m.

Needless to say, in the span of a few weeks, our marriage was turned upside down.  And now our day-to-day lives were as well.  Looking back, I can see this contributed to my own desire to escape.  Something that fuels affairs.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but hindsight is always 20/20.

 

 

Bitter Pills

So you are probably wondering, “Did he fuck her?”  The answer is no.  No he didn’t.

Did he cross the line?  Yes, yes he did.

Did he cheat on me?  Yes, yes he did.

Did he objectify her, use her for his own selfish gratification?  Yes, yes he did.

Was it wrong?  Yep.  Sure was.

Peeling back the layers of his life helped me see beyond the betrayal.  It gave me insight into the why which I was seeking so fervently.   I know everyone is different.  Some spouses want to know the nitty gritty, while others don’t want any details.  But I needed to know everything.  And I mean everything.

I needed to uncover what motivated him to cheat.  I needed to understand who this person was before my eyes now.  Because one thing I know for sure now, is that once you confess, it shakes the marriage foundation completely off it’s footings.  Everything you thought you knew seems to be tossed out the window.  And I needed to uncover the why or else our marriage was doomed to fail.

In the beginning, I use to wonder why he didn’t have sex with her.  Or if that too was a lie.  I would reconcile events, statements and thoughts to bring order to our lives after the chaos of his confession.  My mind would wander to those never ending thoughts, which by the way are completely useless.  But we all do it, to some degree or another.  At least I did.

The answer had less to do with his love and respect for our marriage and more to do with fear.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Good ol’ fear.  Fear as in contracting HIV/AIDS.  They covered this topic on our safari so thankfully, it was embedded in both our minds.  Just to give you an idea of how wide spread it is in Congo, the United States has a .6% prevalence rate (adults 15-49) whereas Congo is 4.5% (thanks Wikipedia).  So let’s just say Congo is not the country to roll the dice and have unprotected sex.  Period.

For a while, I had a hard time reconciling this first incidence of cheating.  Despite understanding his issues with wanting to be accepted, him feeling out of place in a foreign country, for not speaking French and wanting to be accepted by the group, for having poor boundaries and letting copious amounts of alcohol play a contributing part in his decision making, I came to realize that I played a role in this situation as well.

What you say?  Yes, time to swallow that bitter pill people.  Everyone plays a part, like it or lump it, that is the truth.  For me, it meant discovering that I never really guarded our marriage.  To be honest, I never realized I had to.  I trusted him explicitly and quite honestly, never fathomed just how fallible my husband truly was.  I had him up on a pedestal and never entertained the thought that he could come off of it.

Very early in our marriage, I occasionally had single girlfriends whisper, “Doesn’t it bother you that she is talking to your husband?”  And I would say, “Of course not.  I know he is coming home with me.”  I chalked it up to those friends still being single and not understanding the strength of our marriage bond.  I would later share this girl talk with my husband and we would both laugh at the thought.  Cheating?  How preposterous!  Never in a million years.  We were so in love.  Like crazy in love.

If you were to poll our friends, we would be the last couple anyone would think would succumb to adultery….which is exactly why it hit us first .

 

The Business Trip

The following evening, after we got Vivian to bed, we sat down to talk.  We both felt that attending marriage counseling was causing more problems than solving them.  So we made a pact to sit down every night and keep talking.  Till we figured everything out.  Including the Why.

It’s probably a good idea to explain right now that my husband is adopted.  And although we make no excuses for adultery, we believe it’s been a huge contributing factor.  At least in his case.  I am not adopted and have no idea how it must feel to be in his shoes.  But my husband expressed numerous times during our talks that, “the most important decision that impacted my life was made before I was even born.”  Pretty powerful epiphany.

Being adopted shaped a lot of his core beliefs, way more than I ever realized until we started our nightly chats.  He has always felt the need to conform, to be a people pleaser.  He makes for an excellent employee in that way.  His nickname is Switzerland, as he is impartial in everything he does.  Very diplomatic.  He never pisses anyone off.  Everyone genuinely likes him and he is looked upon as “a nice guy”.

A lot of his core beliefs stem from feeling rejected at birth by his biological mother.  If anyone really knew the real him, they wouldn’t love him.  That is what he told himself.  So despite being older and wiser, he still had moments where he went along with the group.  Even if it meant going against his values.

He also spoke of wearing a mask.  That he felt conflicted and that no one would really love the real him.  Faults and all.  So he mastered the art of becoming the perfect son and perfect employee throughout his life.  He essentially was portraying himself to be one way for fear of rejection.  And he had a deep underlying need to be accepted.

Let me set the scene for the first incidence of his cheating.  We were living in Europe and had just returned from a trip around the world.  We left a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and returned nine months later.  Jobs were scarce and his industry had crashed.  Usually we had jobs lined up as my husbands field was in demand.  And most times, he was being offered greater and greater positions as there was a shortage of qualified people in his field.  We banked on the fact that we would start work immediately.  However, this was not the case.  Finding employment was not just difficult, it was proving impossible to find for him.  It was like the industry had dried up overnight.

Weeks later, he finally got offered a position: a short term contract.  In Africa.  Kinshasa to be exact.

For those of you who failed geography, that’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Democratic isn’t exactly how I would describe Congo either.  It’s a third world country and corruption is rife.  There is a lot of fighting going on and you are often guarded by armed security when traveling.  I won’t lie, it’s dangerous there.

Since we had traveled through Congo on our trip, we felt it was doable.  We weighed the pros and cons, and quite simply, the money was too good to pass up.  He would be gone for one month, something our marriage had never dealt with.  However, I knew we could handle it.  Four weeks and it would be over.  The biggest concern at the time was for his general safety.

It wasn’t until the night of his confession that he even told me what really happened on that trip.  He came home after four weeks, clearly exhausted.  And he managed to give me a synopsis of his time there, which basically revolved around staying in his hotel for fear of being robbed and then being driven each day to the worksite.  It was basically work, sleep, rinse, repeat.

He was overseeing a crew of guys, all of whom were from France.  They had been working there for months and spoke very little English.  Needless to say, he felt like a fish out of water.  And clearly out numbered.  They would speak in French the entire time, with him clueless as to what they were saying.  They had been there so long that they had a dedicated driver who picked them up on the weekends and drove them to dinner, bars etc. and then back to their hotel.  My husband watched them go out every night, him staying back at the hotel.

A few weeks into the job, the crew was invited to the embassy for a night out.  It was the first time my husband had done anything outside of working and sleeping.  And he had a really fun time, and could finally relax as it was surrounded by guards.  The biggest fear was being driven back late at night.

For anyone who hasn’t traveled abroad, specifically in a third world country, it’s hard to even grasp what I am describing.  But traveling at night can lead to disaster, which is why you are often accompanied by armed security.  It’s like nothing you have ever experienced.  Your heart is racing every time you see someone lingering on the side of the road, hoping your luck isn’t up and you’re about to be ambushed.  It’s like you’re living in the Wild West.

He got home safely that night, but it left him wanting to get out of the hotel more.  So when the French guys finally invited him out to dinner, he went along with them and their driver.

They entered the restaurant and ate like kings.  These guys clearly knew everyone who worked there, slapping hands and giving high fives.  A group of women immediately came over to their table and sat down.  In their broken English, they were referred to as their “friends” although from all the kisses and hands on their asses, it was clear to my husband that they were more than that.

The drinks flowed….and he found himself trying to fit into their world.  He thought about leaving the group.  He felt out of place from the moment he showed up.  But the driver was theirs, not his.  So it would mean taking a taxi alone, which would be dangerous especially at night.  So he stayed.  And he drank.  And he drank, till eventually he didn’t feel so out of his element.

That night, the French guys said, “she is yours” and “take her back, just give her money for a taxi ride home”.  Needless to say, instead of refusing, he went along with it.  Partly out of fear.  Partly out of trying to fit in with the group.  Partly because he had been drinking and not making the best of choices.  Shit, there’s a lot of reasons which contributed to his decision in that moment.

Nothing is ever black and white.  There are many facets to each of us, to what motivates us to make certain decisions.  Nothing is clear cut in the world of adultery.

There are more than fifty shades of grey.  I know that much for sure.