“One lie is enough to question all truths.” ~ anonymous
Will I be happy in this marriage, to this man, if he never cheats again?
This is the million dollar question. For me, unfortunately, the answer was a resounding “no”, but arriving at that answer was a grueling process that took years and required me to fully analyze the marriage, understand personality disorders and abuse, and take responsibility for my part in the messy aftermath – all without then blaming myself for his morally bankrupt life choices.
Those around us think the answer is so simple. We hear a chorus of “I would have left immediately” and “I told my husband if he ever cheats I’ll cut his penis off” to “I always sensed your husband was creepy” and “why didn’t you just do x in the bedroom so he didn’t have to cheat?”
Wow. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
It’s not that easy. Abuse is cunning; charming one minute, angry the next, in an unpredictable dance literally designed to keep us confused.
My abuser chose wisely from his bag of weapons, striking with military precision then retreating into the shadows not having left any marks. The spiritual, emotional and financial abuses were tossed into my life like raisins in cake batter – little ugly surprises that ruin the birthday party and leave you feeling tricked.
He assured me that other men would beat me because I was so unreasonable.
He would randomly have our power and phone cut off (always while he was out of town) to teach me to be more thankful and because I “talk too much”.
I was told repeatedly I’d be living in a cardboard box on the outskirts of heaven because I was such a terrible person, but he’d let me visit him in his mansion.
Once his sexual depravity was outed, the full gravity of the abuse rushed at me. In order to protect his double life, and feel good about his wretched self, he had gaslighted me to keep me in the dark while slowly chipping away at my very core. That’s not just mean, it’s systematic evil.
Was I thankful enough? Perhaps not …. or did I simply learn there could never be enough thanks or praise, so I gave up?
Did I contribute to the dysfunction? Absolutely ……. or was I responding to the abuse?
Did I throw myself into my children and focus more on their needs than his? I did …… or was this a response to a marriage void of intimate connection?
Was I able to recognize a lack of true intimacy when I met and married him? Sadly, absolutely, no …… or was I simply played like so many others in his life?
Are you starting to understand why unraveling the knots is difficult when you discover that your partner is a sex freak? Every question becomes an unsolvable mystery left to be analyzed under the new “he’s an entitled abuser” filter.
Add in a splash of friends, counselors, and family insinuating or downright claiming that we the wives are “as sick as he is”, and you, too, will waste years of your precious life trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
With many addictions, there are checkpoints that the addict cannot manipulate. Not only are wives of sex miscreants up against the “great guy” image fostered by these little-boy men, but you will never really know if he’s cheating again. You have NO WAY to reliably determine the truth, because you are depending on liar to self-report.
Are you willing to spend years of your life in essence babysitting a little boy-man? Putting up with abuses and character assassinations? Wondering if this is the year you’ll sprout blisters on your nether-regions because he’s given you a little something he caught on one of his “adventures”?
I couldn’t forget that, at the end of the day, most of these men care so little for their wives and children that they think nothing of snagging a quick blow job when you send them to the store for diapers. You know, because they feel so sorry for themselves – like a 4 year old when you make them clean up their toys.
And because I couldn’t forget that, or the nearly 20 years of being duped and abused, my answer to was “No” – but it sure as hell wasn’t easy getting there.