Damn you Craig, and your list, whoever you are.

“When truth is buried it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out it blows up everything with it.”  Emile Zola

Journal Entry: Sunday, January 12, 2014

I made it through the night with my husband. In the nearly 30 years we have been together, I have never gone to bed angry, and I did not go to bed angry last night either. I went to sleep in a pool of my own tears of sadness and woke the same way. I know the process by which this whole discovery is playing out is not at all healthy for me. I want to know details, but I can already feel the price I am paying. The phone call from the other woman along with the flood of information that has subsequently been shared, is devastating. He tried to explain to me about the shame and guilt he felt every time he texted, emailed, called, or saw this woman. He didn’t know why he did it. He talked about putting the Craig’s List Ad in all those years ago…

In the Fall of 2004, we celebrated a large family event. Any event that includes my husband’s family is incredibly stressful. There is a whole lot of baggage there. His entire family behaved badly. His younger brother had recently been back home getting intense therapy for a nervous breakdown. The brother was eventually diagnosed as bipolar. Later that Fall I agreed to chair an event at our children’s school. My husband did not want me to volunteer, but I had chaired numerous events at that point and I was needed. As the event moved forward, my husband was on the outs with pretty much his entire family. His brother was speaking badly about him, and about me, and of course the family took sides. My husband drew the short end of the stick. At one point he told his mother to fuck off and didn’t speak to her for months. His world was crashing around him. One evening I was preparing our family room for an event planning meeting. I started cleaning up the room and his laptop was open on the sofa. I grabbed it to put it away, but before closing it, I always check to see if he has a document open with changes that need saving (thank goodness Word autosaves now). What was open on his laptop was a strange gmail account with a sexually explicit email plastered across the screen. I read little bits, but was pretty confused about what I was actually looking at. He came in and realized what had happened. I asked him what was going on. His head fell, and he looked like a lost puppy. He said at one particularly unhappy/lonely point he had put in a Craig’s List ad. I asked him what a Craig’s List ad was and what the ad said, what it was for. I was not familiar at the time with the now famous Craig’s List personal ads. He said he had put in an ad saying he was lonely and needed someone to talk to. Someone to make him feel special, feel needed. Someone to hold him and nurture him and make him feel important. I was heartbroken. I had always thought that I had done those things for him. At this point we had been together for over 20 years and married for nearly 16 years. I had weathered every storm with him, I had stood by his side at every challenging step. We had children. We had promised to be faithful, loyal, honest with each other. We had never had any real marital problems (other than the stress caused by his family). I felt like I was married to a stranger. He begged and pleaded. He said he had had a moment of weakness. That he loved me dearly and didn’t want to lose me or the life we had. I asked if he had met this woman in person. He said they had had a coffee date and that there was nothing there. It had gone no farther, but that he enjoyed reading her provocative emails when he was feeling lonely. My heart broke. Although sex had always been a healthy part of our relationship, we agreed to try and rekindle the passion of our youth. I decided to up the ante. We bought lingerie, we visited an adult store and bought some toys and some erotic reading material. We had a lot of sex. I believed what he had told me, that there had been nothing between them, especially not sex. He told me her name and we even looked her up on google. She was older and I could see why there had not been any physical attraction…

As it turns out, they had shared numerous emails and sexual phone calls by the time I saw the email on his laptop all those years ago. He had already been to her house for sex and whether his lying was to protect our marriage, or protect his secret, who knows or cares. The truth is, in the spring of 2005, he started an 8-year affair with an older, divorced woman who lives on the other side of town. I am astonished that I never found anything else that indicated he was having a long-term sexual affair with another woman in the same town we live in. In those 8 years I did not know he had taken her on eleven business trips, one of those trips in excess of 10 days. I did not know he had visited her house on numerous occasions over a 3-year period at the beginning of the affair and that she eventually had had enough and told him she felt like nothing but a free whore. He never took her out, never ate a meal with her, never stuck around to “bond.” After three years, she demanded to go on business trips with him, or it was over. For the next five years she traveled with him on her own dime every chance he could manage it. Apparently she still didn’t get the intimacy she was seeking and every trip ended in a hailstorm of verbal and physical abuse from her to him. I have been on so many business trips with my husband. They are not fun. He is a crazy CEO who schedules a meeting around every meal plus additional meetings throughout the day. He spends most waking moments preparing for said meetings. She continued to be the free whore, but in numerous cities across the globe. At this point, I kept wondering why she had called me. I asked if he was still seeing her. Apparently, he had broken it off with her last summer and things had not gone well. She had continued to call him for weeks, but he ignored her phone calls. She had always threatened to call me and tell me the truth, and in fact, had called both our home phone and my mobile phone on many occasions, but she always blocked her number. On principal, I do not answer blocked calls. The dreaded in-laws block their calls. The only reason I answered her call yesterday was because the phone just kept ringing and ringing and our oldest son is out of the country. If there was even the slightest chance that one of my children needed me, and they couldn’t get to me, I would be devastated, so I answered the blocked call. And the revelations continued to pour out. Even through my tears, I felt a burning desire to be intimate with my husband. I needed to be held and loved and nurtured. The fear of losing him was overwhelming. The emotion bewildered me. Why did I not want to just run away screaming. I was coming to the very rapid realization that I would never be the same, and I was beginning to not recognize myself.

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