While I have not really talked about this, it was the discovery of an affair that lead to the end of the marriage. Thank god for that. If not for that betrayal I would still be living in that hell now. I have not spoke about it much, but that betrayal was not only a wake up call for me, but a source of incredible confusion and pain. My world and everything I thought I knew about it was turned upside down. It was when I was faced with the fact that the life I thought I had constructed, did not exist.
I was absolutely traumatized by the events surrounding this affair. I was told to go home from work because I was sitting in my office shaking. I had to take several months leave from work due to my distress. It was horrible. It ended up costing me a promotion because at the very time this was happening there was a huge year end project I needed to deliver. Due to my mental state at the time, I was seen (and I was) unreliable.
The gaslighting was constant. I was seeing something I was being told I wasn't seeing, and if I did see it, it was my fault. I made him do it. I was blamed for everything. He was constantly screaming at me, what had previously been tolerable became a complete nightmare. He began threatening me physically, told me he wanted to punch me in the face, knock my teeth out. He become more and more angry. Accused me of being controlling the marriage started to take a very rapid downward spiral. I was a complete mess, I didnt know how I was going to survive. I knew I had to get out. But I didn't know what was going to become of me. I was ready to live in poverty in order to escape.
In addition, there were many people who had no idea what was going on, and they passed judgment. I was viewed as a crazy deranged jealous wife.
It was only then that I finally realized my husband was not the unfailingly loyal man I thought him to be. I had put up with so much because I thought he was loyal and trustworthy. Up until then I believed we would somehow be able to work things out. I turned myself inside out trying to make that happen. I really never believed or suspected that he would ever lie to me. I trusted him completely. However, in retrospect, the problems had clearly started long before these events, it was just the affair that was the final nail.
It is stunning to face now, that I was living with a pathological liar. He routinely told me whatever he needed to say to suit his purposes, lies were like air for him. Both of us believed his brother was a con-man. Little did I know I was married to the con-man. He was full of secrets, secret loans and credit cards, what ever he told me was only a a need to know basis. I know this now, but back then I had absolutely no idea. I had thought I was dealing with a good man that had experienced some unfortunate life experiences, I excused a lot of his less desirable behaviour. His anger issues, his accusations. I honestly have no idea why I did that. I guess I was accustomed to being treated that way.
While I was reeling from the betrayal, I was viciously attacked at a personal level in his efforts to deflect from his behaviour. It was a one two punch. He did everything he could to knock me of balance. There were accusations, threats, intimidation you name it. Our home became a complete hell hole. Thank god there were people around me who validated me and helped me through that terrible time. Unfortunately my experience is not unique, many women have had the same devastating experience.
There is a lot to unpack here. This series of events actually went on for several months. It is in the past, but I think in order to resolve the trauma of the events, I need to examine them. These events caused the abuse to escalate dramatically, and it was at this point he began to openly threaten me with physical violence. He had lost control, which made him dangerous.
I could tell something was up, there were several things that seemed off and different in our home once his affair started. He seemed to run into this girl all the time. He was rushing out to go to the gym with a spring in his step, and he was on his phone constantly. Of course he was fiercely protective of his phone, if I was even in the vicinity of his unguarded phone, he would lash out at me. I noticed they started to talk like each other. And each of them started insulting me in the same manner. Both were calling me lazy, and making comments about different times I couldn't make it to the gym. He even started using the same phrases and voice inflections. I wasn't really thinking much of it at the time, but it did all seem very weird.
I noticed changes in her as well, she was getting more and more dismissive of me and began to make belittling comments. At a certain point, she began to act with an air of superiority towards me, and became very passive aggressive. I believe this is the point when they had actually become a couple. I actually had never been particularly concerned about her, she was not attractive, and didn't seem to be a real threat. But I underestimated my husbands need for attention and validation.
The whole experience was the ultimate display of gaslighting, blame-shifting and a full on assault on my sense of self. He demonstrated the amount of control he felt he had over me at that time. When I spoke to him about it, he told me he was going to continue his relationship with her. He told me I was going to stay away from them until I could learn how to behave and be nice to her.
Once I learned out to behave, then I would be allowed to hang out with them again. He claimed I could not maintain friendships, I drove everyone away with my nature. (the inference I have a horrible inherent nature that others found completely distasteful, and I am unworthy to the core) He was expecting me to tolerate the same behaviour from his girlfriend, that I tolerated from him. That behaviour being insults and contempt. It was a step to far for me. It was finally at this point I had had enough. This ended our marriage for me, I was done. There was nothing of value there. At that point I began planning my exit, it would take me three years to finally break free.
The most damaging and hurtful part of this experience, is I was blamed for the whole affair. First I was accused of being jealous. She was "just a friend" I was told that the fact they showed up within minutes of each other for months was not prearrangement, but co-incidence. So I was imagining things. She had sent him suggestive texts, and somehow this too was my fault. He told me he claimed I was putting her up to it. He was completely innocent, and of course he didn't think anything of it, he claimed I was being an idiot and playing with him. He was an innocent victim of my stupid childish prank. I was such a bitch, so his behaviour was due to my personality. I was a sub human not even worthy of being in public. He couldn't even take me out I was so offensive. I wouldn't let him have friends. Girls couldn't talk to him because I was so crazy fucked up jealous. The list just goes on and on.
And he made it clear to me, that she was his priority, not me. She was his friend, and he was not giving up that "friendship", even if it made me uncomfortable, even if she sent him seductive texts, no matter what she was there to stay. What ever I thought or felt was completely unjustified and did not matter. His anger and threats however, completely justified. He claimed it was perfectly reasonable that a husband would have a secret friendship with a woman who made frequent sexual innuendos. Apparently I was being completely unreasonable. According to him, his aggressive reactions to my questions was also my fault, I pulled that out of him, and he only behaved that way because I drove him to it.
He made sure I knew, I was not worthy as a human being. She was a better person than me, and I would have to learn to deal with it. He was done putting up with my bullshit. "The shit that follows Carolynne around" were his exact words. (funny how that shit seemed to disappear at the same time he did)
He said this whole situation was an example of how I stopped him from having friends, (that was all my fault too of course) and he was going to put a stop to it. Of course it was my fault he kept everything secret. He told me that he never told me he was such close friends with her, because I am so crazy and he didn't want to put up with my shit. So he had no choice even though it was completely innocent but to keep everything secret.
He claimed he didn't need to share that he was meeting her because they were friends and he didn't need to tell me. It was an example of my controlling nature. I was accused of being jealous of her progress in the gym. I was jealous of her overall. It was "eating me alive" in his words. He continuously told me I was wrong about it all. (spoiler alert, I was absolutely not wrong, he did end up admitting to it later) There were other betrayals, He shared personal information with her about me, that I had wanted to keep private. Then again blamed me for that telling me "I thought that was public knowledge". Never once did he apologize.
When I defended myself against her insults, he told me that I was the bitch, she was just being a friend pointing out my flaws so I could improve myself. I was not being a good friend because I was not accepting these "helpful tips". Here I was being treated with contempt and disrespect, yet somehow again, I was to blame because I wouldn't tolerate it. I cut off contact with her, and he freaked out. He said I was over reacting. I am sorry, but when another woman is secretly meeting up with my husband for months and texting him all hours of the day or night, cutting off contact is completely justified. That person is not a friend.
It was a full on assault, not only was he having an affair, but I was held responsible for it. Extremely confusing, very painful. You wonder if you are imagining it. Perhaps I am over reacting, maybe it is innocent after all. You begin to second guess yourself, its a horrible experience.
The strength of their secret bond became apparent, once caught, they pretended that they were no longer in touch, but I could still see her number appearing on the phone bill. I had asked my former husband if she had messaged him. He admitted she had. I messaged her and told her not to contact my husband again. She told me she hadn't. She fully trusted he would lie for her. Obviously because they had both lied to me before, and she had been able to count on him to keep their secrets up until that point. She thought he would continue to lie for her. For me this was an illustration of just how big of a betrayal that relationship had been to me. They were a full on couple, I was the interloper.
A little while later, She had come and sat beside me in the locker room, obviously trying to provoke something. I let her know I knew what she was doing. Afterwards, this girls told my fellow gym goers that I was imagining things, and I had threatened her. Several of them turned their back on me, which further increased my pain. She even went as far as to call the police. In fact, I never threatened her at all. Obviously however, I did scare the hell out of her. That interaction caused her to cut off contact with my husband.
Again my husband blamed me, obviously I threatened her according to him. He accused me of accosting her, chasing her down to confront her. No, this woman would never lie would she lol. It had to be me in the wrong. He was devastated by the turn of events. He went into a depression. And he freaked out on me. He claimed I intimidated her with my strength and size scaring her away. (At the time I was actively powerlifting and was in extremely good physical condition) and to my astonishment he actually started to cry. "she won't even talk to me! I can't explain" I saw his tears, yet later he told me that he never cried over her. He was trying to pretend she really didn't mean anything to him.
This is a very surface level description, I am not sure if more detail is required. What I want to talk about today is what a shock this was for me. This was when I had my first inkling that he was not who I thought he was. I do not believe that was his first affair, but up until this point I had no idea. It would have been easy for him to cheat, I was completely unsuspecting. I trusted him totally. Even with all the evidence, I still had a hard time believing what was in front of me.
One thing had become crystal clear though, when he told me I was the center of his world, that we had a special connection and relationship it was all lies. Because he was fully prepared and did demand that I be subservient to another woman in his life.
At this point it became clear what my role was, it was to pay the bills, look after the kids and allow him to present himself to the world as a fine upstanding family man. I was not a full partner in a relationship, I had no rights, no justifiable feelings. I was a bitch, I needed to stay quiet and look pretty. There was no loyalty to me, that had all been bullshit. I was nothing more than a tool used to craft his image.