Friday, July 9, 2010

How I Got Here (Part Three): The Day My World Turned Upside Down

Things had been increasingly difficult for a few months. He was more depressed and harder to get along with. The mood in our house was stressed. But he had accepted a new job with great potential and I was convinced that this would be the turning point. Since this job had a level of security that he had not had before, I was able to accept a new job with less hours, allowing me to stay home more with our son. This was the best of both worlds for me: being able to work in a field that I loved and feel more of a balance with my family. Life was looking up.

It was near Christmas and we had a rare night out planned with friends. I was searching the computer for my babysitter info sheet so I could get things set for the evening. I am usually pretty organized but I could not find it for anything! I started to randomly open folders in the hope that I would find the file and not have to retype the whole darn thing. As I searched, I found an unfamiliar folder and opened the first document.

It was a list. A list of names. I recognized a few as his past girlfriends. My name was on there. But then came more names - of both genders. And graphic descriptions of sexual activity. And locations - some in our own home. I was paralyzed and just stared at the screen. He was cheating on me with women and men. For the first time, I felt he was a stranger. I had no idea what was real and what was not. The world was swirling around me. I knew that I needed time to figure out what to do so I printed out the list and decided to wait until we were with our counselor to confront him. It felt like the best thing to do as I was unsure how he would react. I no longer felt safe.

Well, you know that phrase about best laid plans, right? Well, he found the list I had printed out. Guess I am not a good secret keeper. He knew I knew. But then he asked ME what it was, claiming he had never seen the list. He said a virus must have placed the document on our hard drive. Really? Did he think I was THAT stupid? Well I played dumb, because I did not want to go any further without a third party. I put on my brave face, went to dinner and no one ever suspected what was going on beneath the surface.

Over the next two days, he stuck with the virus story. Our counselor even seemed to believe him. She suggested that the best way to get this behind us was to have a computer expert look at the computer and figure out how it had been infected and the origin of this document. I just laid low for the rest of the weekend, the whole time feeling like I was in a fog of confusion deperately trying to get my bearings.

On Monday morning, we both woke up and got ready for work. He left before me. I took my son to daycare, called in sick to work and drove directly back home. I called a computer expert to do a scan of the hard drive to find any deleted documents, web pages, etc. I knew enough to know that just because you delete something doesn’t mean it is gone.

I needed support, so I called a good friend and asked her to come with me. Probably the hardest thing she had ever had to do. The computer expert started scanning and found too much - photos, messages, personal ads. My fears were validated. He had betrayed me and violated my trust in a manner that I never thought possible. I did not know this man. I had no idea what my future would hold but somehow I knew exactly what I needed to do. My emotions went on a back burner. I was in crisis management mode.

I had a mirror image of the hard drive made and gave it to my friend. She stayed and went through files, saving things to a CD that I could access as needed. I picked up my son from daycare and met my dad who took my son to his house. I told him under no circumstances was he to allow my husband into the house. I called an attorney. I was advised to get everything valuable out of the home and to a safe place. I went to the bank, stood in line in tears, walked up to a teller-in-training and told her I wanted to withdraw half of the money in my joint account. She probably thought I was an abused woman leaving her husband. She started crying too and asked if she could hug me. It still felt unreal. I took the money, cleared out the house (paperwork, financial documents, legal stuff, jewelry, sentimental items), went to my parents’ house and waited.

When he got off work, I called him on his cell. I told him that I knew. He played dumb. I told him I would not be home when he got there. He said he didn’t understand. I told him to stop playing games because I knew. He explained. He made excuses. He said he was a sex addict. He said he chose to be with men so that it wouldn't be like cheating on me. Seriously? He said none of it meant anything. He said he was sick. He said he did not want to lose me. It was not making sense, but I SO wanted to believe him. I loved him and did not want this to be happening.

11 comments:

  1. I am so sorry about all of this. That must have been so hard on you. It sounds like you were stronger than I would ever have been.

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  2. is this a novel or an actual story? it's sooo sad!~~

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  3. This is my story....trust me, I could not make this up.

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  4. oh, Deb....it must feel good to get some of this out! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Sarah

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  5. Wow...well written and beautiful said. You were so strong. You ARE so strong! I wish I knew then the truths that I know now.

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  6. I'm totally impressed with your ability to handle things that really needed to be handled. I think I would've been too emotional.

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  7. I found you through Since My Divorce. I'm sorry to hear what you've been dealing with. I had a very twisted ex, too, and I know what a mind-fuck (pardon my language) it can be to realize you're married to a liar and that everything that was your life is called into question. But it's been two years for me, and I don't even think about it every day any more. I just want you to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will get through all this and come out better off, even if just because you'll gain independence and sanity again. *hugs*

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  8. I just landed here via another blog and am shocked to read your story. You are so strong, wow. A hug from Holland.

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  9. I am in tears I never thought there was someone like me in the world who I could relate too. I just kicked my husband out I am crazy and feel like I can't do this on my own. I am so glad u did this. I so glad I can read how someone is/has dealt with my so much alike situation.

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  10. I am so happy I stumbled across this! I am heading to read more, but I had to stop and say THANKS for sharing!! So far, my own story is painfully similar. It's been 10 months since I found the evidence, and I am still trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces with my 4 kids and make life feel real and "normal" again.

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