Marriage is challenging no matter how you slice it. All couples have disagreements, arguments if you will. There will often be money issues and potentially child rearing challenges. Some believe in love at first sight, some nurture the love over many months or years. My guess is those of us who hadn’t been hurt prior to marriage didn’t really contemplate what would happen if… if we found out the person we had chosen to spend the rest of our life with ended up cheating on us. I know I never contemplated it. I don’t think I believed in a fairy tale. I know relationships can be difficult. We knew each other for five and a half years before marriage. We were engaged for four of those years. I knew Blue Eyes was fallible, and he knew the same about me. I’m sure he would have also said that I would never cheat on him, and I didn’t. I felt the same about him. I was wrong. I kept my word. He didn’t. I’ve been through all this many times here on the blog.
We’re still together. We’re still working together on ourselves and on our marriage, but we have changed. Some aspects of our marriage will never fully heal from the betrayal. We’re both different and we can’t go back.
I’m cynical now. I don’t believe some of what he says, now. I’m more critical of his supposed acts of love towards me. I still question his ability to fully give himself over and love me. I know that he will never love the way I love. That’s obvious, now.
Blues Eyes has just started a new batch of hard apple cider. Even though we don’t drink, per se, he brews his cider sparkly with a fairly low alcohol content. He’ll drink a little, but he loves sharing with our boys the process of making the cider. He also loves it when family comes over and wants to taste it. But what he really enjoys is bartering with it. He has a friend whose son is a charter fisherman on the Oregon Coast and Blue Eyes loves to trade cider for fresh or smoked salmon. He also barters with a guy downtown who has a Philly Cheesesteak Cart. Hard Cider has become quite popular.
The room where Blue Eyes brews his cider is basically a large concrete storage room under our garage and next to the kitchen. We live on a hillside. This space is honestly a great feature of the house. I store extra crockery, plus canned goods, outdoor furniture during winter, etc… in there. When we refurbished the living room a few years ago, a couple boxes of items that didn’t fit the new scheme are also in the cider room, including some small family photos that need re-framing.
Friday night after sterilizing his cider fermentation containers, Blue Eyes was so excited to tell me he found something special in the cider room while he was cleaning up. He went into his office and pulled out a small brass double photo frame with pictures of me from our honeymoon nearly 30 years ago. They were taken on a walk we took through the woods down to the beach on the central California coast. He was giddy telling me how happy he was to have discovered these photos. Well, I knew the photos were in there the whole time, so it was less exciting for me. There’s also a photo from the same day that I took of Blue Eyes playing the guitar in the beautiful lobby of the boutique hotel where we stayed. It was a gorgeous setting. We had a great time that week.
So the thing that bothers me is the fact that Blue Eyes never paid the least bit of attention to those photos when they sat on the piano of our living room for 15 years. Photos were one of those huge triggers for me post discovery. The inevitable… what was he really thinking about when THAT photo was taken? He acted out for so many years of our relationship it was difficult to reconcile it all. After seeing the 2013 phone records I knew how obsessive his addiction was. If none of it was “real,” and my life was a lie, then what was the point of the past 30 years. Healing eventually helped me metabolize and realize my life is my own, and I was loyal and faithful and happy, and that’s what matters. But, sometimes photos are still a trigger.
Like the photo of me in Nara, Japan taken in 1987. It’s snowing and I’m feeding the deer. I’m 23 years old. The photo of me is framed and sits on a credenza in his high rise office building in downtown. At one point many years ago, the other woman showed up at his office, after hours, and he gave her a tour. I asked him about that photo that he supposedly loves so much, of his wife, the woman he supposedly loves so much. Did he leave it out for her to see? At that point had she been to that very same deer park with him? Because he did take her there. He said he shoved the photo in his desk while she was there. I asked him why? Why put that photo away? He said he did it because he was ashamed of his behavior and looking at the photo reminded him of his shameful acts. I know this to be a lie. I know he put it away because his story to her was that we didn’t have a loving, nurturing marriage and I was not kind, so why would he have a picture of me that he would have to look at all day. She would have questioned it. It would have been the first thing the other woman would have noticed. His whole life back then was about keeping his secret sex life in tact. How satisfying for her to be invited up to his private office after hours and see not one little inkling that I even existed.
Being disregarded, disrespected, taken for granted, and lied about and to… that kind of betrayal can never be wiped clean. The best that can be hoped for for the betrayer is that people give you a chance at being brutally honest about EVERYTHING! It still infuriates (and saddens) me that after all this time, when talking with ME, about HIS betrayal, that he still goes back to a place of selfishness. Because in my mind saying he put the photo away because what he was doing was shameful is a crock of bullshit. It makes him look like some kind of remorseful guy while he is actively cheating. Nuh uh. He put it away so he didn’t piss off the other woman. It’s as simple as that.
He’s doubling down on his SA meetings. It’s the right thing to do.