It’s been years since my ex-husband left our home. He left in a huff, without much warning. We had been sailing along like any married couple does. Life seemed pretty good to me, in fact, I was grateful and happy and content. We had been married quite a few years. I had a job; he had a business. We had a beautiful baby, a home, two cars, friends and family who loved and adored us, and a little summer cabin. What more could we ask for?
Our son was nearly 2 when I felt it happening. My husband started slipping away, but not the kind where it was very noticeable. First, it was every Friday night, our date night when he’d get a call. It was always a client (a renter actually; we owned properties, and we were landlords). He’d complain, “Why do they always call on Friday nights?” After dinner, he’d slip away. He’d be gone for a few hours and then back home. I didn’t suspect anything at first. Eventually, I noticed it was becoming a habit. I considered putting our sleeping baby in the car and following him once, but it just was not worth the effort. When he’d come home, I’d innocently grill him. “So who was it that called and needed you?” and “What was wrong with the heater?” And, “Who is this tenant?” And explain to me, explain to me, explain to me… and so on it went.
One Saturday the baby was sleeping, and we were watching a movie. He exclaimed, “I’m going to a meeting.” It was an AA meeting. My husband was sober you see, in AA and he’d go to meetings a few times a week. But this was Saturday and not a normal meeting night for him. He’d pick up a meeting on occasion on Saturdays, now and then. I knew which meeting he was going to, and I knew it was “Open.” An open meeting means anyone can attend, even the public. I said, “I’d like to go too.” He didn’t respond. I took that to mean OK. I got on the phone and called the sitter. “Can we drop our son off for about 2 hours tonight? Just decided to hop out for a bit.” I hung up the phone, and he was pissed. “I wish you would have asked me,” he said. I didn’t think it was a problem. We go to meetings together all the time. I told him when he hadn’t responded that I had taken that as a yes. I asked if he’d like me to cancel the sitter so he could go alone. “No. It’s fine. Too late.” He was still crabby. We went to the meeting, and I scoured the room. Was there a woman at this meeting who was staring me down? Was there a woman here he was hoping to see or meet?
I saw nothing out of the ordinary. To this day, I wonder if he had another gal there, or if it was a coffee shop he wanted to see her at. “I bet she works weekend nights at the coffee shop somewhere,” I thought to myself that night.
It wasn’t long after that my husband came home one Sunday morning after being at a men’s retreat for the weekend. This was when he dropped the bomb, and my life was forever changed.
Side note: Not two weeks prior, I remember watching my husband with our son. I love you so much, I thought. I love our family. I love you. I can’t ever imagine us divorced. I wanted to say this out loud but I held back, soaking in the beauty of the moment. We had come so far. Our little family was a miracle. We had had so many knock-down drag-out fights, mostly due to his drinking and drugging. That was all in the past now. He had been sober 10 years and was committed to recovery. There was no more porn addiction. No more lying. No more stealing money from our bank accounts or from me to do as he pleased. No more recklessness and carelessness. No more hitting me, beating me up. He was sober now, and a model to others, working with others, a changed man. We read our daily readings together, we had come so far, even amassing a great fortune. My family helped us out. We were on the path and we had a happy life. None of the little tiny red flags mattered as I watched my husband play with my son. There was no denying our son was the apple of his eye.
My husband asked me what I wanted to do that Sunday. “I thought we could take the bikes and go for a ride in the park today,” I said. “I don’t want to do that!” he said with disgust. He was pissed. I didn’t know why. I asked, “Why do you ask me what I want to do, and then you get angry when I suggest something?” We were in my son’s nursery. I will never forget this day.
“I don’t love you. I don’t think I ever loved you,” he said.
Something about those words and they way he said it. I felt as if I was kicked in the gut. Even though I had had blinders on, even though I sensed a growing distance between us, even though even though even though… I KNEW this was not being said in jest.
I fell to my knees, something I had never done in our relationship.
No…. No… No… I said. I cried out.
He stood stoic.
Towering over me without any empathy, without any feeling, without any compassion for what I was experiencing.
“I’m moving out.”
I buried my face in my hands, my body hunched over at his feet.
No. Please. No…
Begging him not to make this a reality.
He told me to get up.
“Get up,” he said with disgust.
He didn’t help me up.
I realized what I was doing and got myself off the floor. I put my arms around him, but he made no move. He was stiff.
“Please. I said. I love you. I love us. I love our family. Don’t do this. I’ll do anything. Please. You don’t mean it.” (I knew he did.)
He gave me no hug. No hope. No response. He moved, he walked away. I fell back into my son’s glider. I don’t remember where my son was at this point.
I am in the glider, sick to my stomach, knowing that this is the end. I just knew it. It wasn’t a fight. It wasn’t yelling. It was nothing. It was ending. I was losing this man. I had already lost him. (And little did I know another woman was waiting.)
This is one of the worst days of my life. I was a time in my life that changed me forever and has abruptly changed the course of my life.
Stay tuned for what happens next.
(This is an unedited beginning to my story.)