The decision. The difficult decision. The dissolution of the family unit. My parents divorced when I was just about to turn ten. I don’t think much about the psychological effects it had on me, except to acknowledge that it had psychological effects on me. I don’t want to blame my behaviour on my parents, but I can’t help it. My behaviour is so fucked up, it’s hard to take responsibility for it. It’s not my fault, it’s my parents, it’s my wifes, it’s my kids, it’s the other woman, it’s the alcohol. None of that is true, of course. It’s me. It’s all my fault, and I’m very sorry.
I’ve known my wife for twenty years. It was twenty years ago on December 1, 2001 that we first went out and stayed up all night dancing and talking about the Beatles. Twenty years is a long time, but it feels like yesterday sometimes. I went home for Christmas that year, but came back early to be with her on New Year’s Eve. We wore red underwear, as is the tradition here. For good luck.
My marriage proposal in 2004 was a surprise to us both. We were in the United States, visiting New York City with my sister and her husband. We went to the top of the Empire State Building, and it suddenly seemed to me to be the moment. We bought a flat together in 2005 and I spent a year painting and remodeling things before our wedding in June of 2006. We went to Paris for our honeymoon. Then across the United States, all the way to Hawaii to see U2 and Pearl Jam in concert together in Honalulu. I feel like I’m talking about different people. I guess I am. We were different then.
Our son came in 2007. The daughter in 2009. And then the third, another daughter, the Christmas surprise, in 2011. She turns ten the day after Christmas. The reason why we tried to stay together in these last few years is in some ways the reason we are breaking up. So, this isn’t my parents’ fault, it’s my kids’ fault. Three children in 4 years is a massive task. When I congratulate friends on their second child, I tell them, Stop there. The third one killed us. Just thinking about the amount of time, work, care, effort, parenting…everything, that went into having a 1, 3 and 5 year old. Or a 5, 7 and 9 year old. A 9, 11 and 13 year old. The endless parenting. And we lost each other in there somewhere. We would fight about it, quite often…the lack of intimacy (we had one child or another sleeping in our bed for over 5 years). The division of labor. The decision making. The stress. In 2012, with the small one not yet one year old, I started to wake up in the morning, around 5am, thinking I was having a heart attack. One evening, I went to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. One afternoon, just before the end of the school day, I left to go to the emergency room again. I had tests done, and was told I was having anxiety attacks. The stress of the morning routine, getting the kids up and fed and dressed and to school. And then the anxiety about the coming evening. I started going swimming at lunch time, trying to get more exercise. Taking this personal time just made my wife resentful and led to more stress. I would wake up at 6 am on Sundays to go running and be home before the kids woke up. But we were still arguing alot…we’ve always argued alot…right now it feels like that’s all we did, but certainly, there were happy moments. Family moments and memories. My wife has this way of arguing, though, that not only overwhelms in its ferocity, but undercuts and destroys any positive thing that an agreement might be built upon. She is the type to use “always” and “never” all the time. You NEVER do this or that. Things would just explode sometimes. And our terrible sex life was a big part of it.
Then, in 2018, I had an affair. A deeply emotional one. So, if I had been distant BEFORE, imagine. This coincided with a year of setbacks, both professionally and personally for my wife, which she now never fails to remind me about, exagerrating there severity and my lack of support. Twisting the actual events to fit her narrative. But, she is essentially right, of course. I was having an affair. I spent more time WhatsApping the other woman than I did helping my children with their homework, for example. That sounds bad enough, but to hear my wife say it, over and over…it just gets worse everytime. I won’t go into the details of the affair, or the other woman. There have been enough of that in this blog. I fell in love with her, hopelessly, but couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I was a coward and a fool. When she needed me, I couldn’t go. And when I wanted her, it was too late.
The first time I kissed her, we were at the beach, in the water, and when we got out, her husband called. This is within minutes of our first kiss, and she immediately got very scared and we gathered our things and left, and I clearly remember that drive back to the city, even where I was on the highway when it occured to me that my marriage breaking up for an affair is one thing, but breaking up someone else’s marriage is quite another. She eventually got caught, many many months later, but that didn’t stop the affair. And at one point in June of 2019, there was a phone conversation and she asked what we were going to do. I should have, could have told my wife and she, maybe, we’ll never know, could have left her husband. But I didn’t. We didn’t have a plan. By some cosmic connection, or divine intervention, we crossed paths, with our families, in a shopping mall, and this way reconnected in July 2019 for some days at the beach. In the meantime, my marriage had deteriorated to the point that we separated at the end of August in 2019, but she still didn’t know about the affair. Finally, a couple weeks later, after a phone call from the other woman’s husband, I stayed up all night contemplating how I had damaged two marriages. The next day I confessed to the relationship with the other woman.
It’s strange to think about life before 2018. The last three years have been just out of hand. The anxiety attacks returned during 2018, from the guilt and fear of the affair. Insomnia like I never had, waking up at 4:30 each morning. I stopped exercising and started drinking and smoking a lot more. Then, in September 2019, when I confessed, and we separated, I stopped drinking and smoking. I figured if I started I wouldn’t stop. This is when I hoped the other woman and I could start a new life together. I asked, but it was too late. We were so close to a new life together, but it couldn’t happen. We had serious talks about it as our relationship continued. Not physically, but ever more deeper emotionally as the repurcussions of our relationship rolled over us and our families and we still felt that connection, but it was too late. And my mom became ill and my wife said at Christmas that we would start again for the new year and moved back home. Instead of starting again, the first thing I did when I returned to school was meet the other woman in a bar, get very sexy with her in the bathroom, stay up all night thinking about what the hell I was doing and then ask her, again, the next day, to consider leaving her husband. But it couldn’t be. And this wouldn’t be the last time I’d ask her. It would be the last time we touched each other like that, though. Our phones could no longer be used to communicate, so we exchanged notebooks. At one point, my daughter saw one of them. This would be relevant later. It’s now March 13, and the city and school is going into Covid-19 lockdown. We kissed goodbye and have not kissed since.
We would steal some moments during the lockdown. Continue to share songs and messages. I was showing my wife something on my phone when a Teams notification arrived from her. During lockdown, there was no where to go. Being in that house under those circumstances was unbearable. All these details are not really necessary or even relevant. It’s sufficient to say that I had an affair that grew into a deep and important relationship, on the verge of a new soul, that I simply could not stop wanting. I still do! And I know how crazy that is, because as time passes, our connection is less and less and less and…well, almost nothing. Maybe it’s not crazy, maybe it was love. I know that she had a similar experience in lockdown, her husband seeing some email, or message I may have written and deleted, I’m not sure. They had a big fight. So we both, to a certain extent, were still sharing experiences, betraying our spouses, still seeking some connection, still paying the terrible price of getting caught. Why, at any point we didn’t just agree to go forward together…well, it doesn’t matter…we didn’t. I wonder how she feels about this now.
I’m sorry that this has drifted into a summary of the intense love affair and relationship that led to the end of my marriage, when really, I just meant to talk about the end of my marriage. We bought a second house about a year ago. It was at this time that I again returned to the other woman to know, for sure, that there was no future. She said so in those very words. I bought the house with my wife. As distant and broken together as ever, but it was about to get much worse. The house purchase was very stressful. We both had so many doubts and problems and, then of course, there’s paperwork and money and….it was during this time that we were having a shouting match, again, about my affair, we would fight so much, they all seem to meld together, but some were worse than others, with bags packed, suicide threatened and then physical violence…but this one terrible fight, the children were there and heard everything…and my wife said, “Go ahead…tell them why were fighting!” I said, “Daddy had a girlfriend…” And my oldest daughter said, “Was it Ms. X?” and suddenly all these stories about rumors around school start coming out. And my daughter had read one of our notebooks and had kept it a secret. Teachers and students had been talking about us, and even spoken to me about it, and I was worried someone would say something to one of my children, but I should never had told them, especially like that. Soon, more and more students didn’t just suspect, but knew, because my children would tell them. It made an impossible situation even more difficult. My wife now insisted that she never teach my children. My children didn’t want her as her teacher. I tried to prevent it, but couldn’t…and my failure to prevent it caused unimaginable conflict…a downward spiral as each week, each mention of school just caused tension. It was also the most difficult school year of my life, for many varied reasons, from Covid to staff shortages to extra work…the stress. I was drinking every evening. Not coping with any of the stress and tension and…AND, the loss of the relationship, as now, I had become a very pathetic ex-lover, who wouldn’t stop trying to reconnect. And towards the end of the school year, as I again pleaded with administration to prevent her from teaching my children the next year (this year), I just felt rejected, bitter, hurt, crazy, depressed and, powerless, knowing that my wife would never get over it. Knowing that my kids will always know why mommy and daddy are fighting and daddy is sleeping on the sofa again, and the next day they go to school, and see her, maybe even have her in class. Would it be so bad if my relationship with my wife were better? Of course, but my relationship with my wife was bad, and just kept getting worse.
With the remodeling and buying things for the house to occupy our lives, and then getting new pets and new friends, there were genuine moments of normal family happiness during the past year. Too much drinking, for sure, but I was able to get control of that over the summer, and my mom came for a visit. The first night she was there, my wife disappeared, and I found her in the basement, with a candle and a bottle of wine….crying about how much things had changed, how different she felt since the last time she had seen my mom in May of 2018. My affair started in June, but my wife thinks it was September. She thinks the other woman and I had sex twice in December and twice in June, but it was more. It wasn’t a full confession. I continued to lie about not seeing her or speaking with her. Twice last year, my daughter saw us talking in school, and I told my wife, and we would fight for four days about it. It just kept going in circles. Because I kept lieing. And couldn’t stop, ever, thinking about the other woman.
The other woman was more successful than me at letting it go and staying away. She could see how messed up I was. How messed up I made her when I spoke to her about “this”. This year, we have had very very little contact. Then when we do, I mess it up somehow, or feel bad about it after for upsetting her. So we don’t talk anymore. But my marriage is ending anyway because of the ghost of her that haunts me. I wrote a Scary Story about this at Halloween. Which brings me to this blog.
I don’t remember how much it cost, but I bought it in December last year, during Christmas vacation, I think, in large part inspired by the other woman, who also has a blog about books. But I didn’t start writing until March. The first poem was about her, called Butterfly. And I showed her the blog. And then, another downward spiral and I ended up writing things directly to her…rather than about her. I know she saw some of these things because she said I was cruel in some posts in June which I wrote as if I was writing to her, when I was bitter and out of my mind with stress and mental health problems and about her teaching my children again this year. But make no mistake. This whole blog is about her. In the three previous years, I wrote documents, like long journals, recounting the events. In 2021 I’ve used this blog that way, as like a journal of what’s happening. Of what’s happening INSIDE. And…well, if you look at past posts…it’s clearly obvious, if this is what has been happening inside me, than it’s not surprising that what’s happening outside, in my marriage, has occured. I am more emotionally invested in writing here than I am to my wife. I showed my wife this blog when I first created it, and she never looked at it. Not once. So, I don’t know who looks at it. No one, I suspect, but sometimes I see that someone has liked something, or started following. Well, to whoever is out there…I’m going to stop.
I need to stop posting for awhile, to get my head together. I’m getting a divorce, in large part because I’ve been in love with someone (who doesn’t want to talk to me!), and also because I put the feelings I can’t share with my wife into this blog, in the hope that another might read it and come talk to me, knowing that if she DOES read it, she’d be crazy to come talk to me. I’m obviously crazy. It doesn’t make any sense.
So, we’ll see where the blog goes. I enjoy writing, and think I’m actually getting better. There are some strong, emotive posts here. Here’s what I have to say about the end of the marriage. On Halloween, just like in the Scary Story, we had a party. At one point, I left the party, and went upstairs in our house where I consumed two beers and two cigarettes, went to the bathroom for not a short time, and chatted with my sister, sending photos of the party and decorations I had made. When I came back to the party, it was 40 minutes later and I got a very angry look from my wife. Again, what might seem like normal problems in a marriage are not normal in dysfuncional marriages and only fuel the dysfuncion. But, as I’ve tried to make clear above, I feel I’m the main reason for the dysfuncion. I’m still thinking about this ghost and poems and songs for a ghost. Anyway, we fought going to bed. Actually, I think that was the last night we slept together. Halloween. We have fought, to the point of physical violence, all month. I was going to leave once. I was getting kicked out another time. And then another. I stopped exercising and took up drinking and smoking everynight again. When not arguing, there is just a cold tension and…well, it’s terrible. Last weekend, I was either drunk or drinking the entire time, and for some reason, my wife said, “I was going to propose having sex, but I can see you’re blind drunk.” And I agreed. The next morning I apologized, but said I was really surprised as well, I’m drinking because I’m sad and depressed with the situation, and didn’t expect that to happen since we don’t even talk or look at each other. But it was too late. Fitting that the last of it was about me not wanting to have sex.
She spoke with lawyers and has everything all figured out. All I have figured out is that I’m going to stop drinking and smoking and writing this blog for awhile. I’ve written too much. I’ve got work to do. The rest of my life is happening. Divorce is forever. Forever never be the same. What am I going to do? And what about the children? I tried to hold on to a future that is now not going to happen. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m getting a divorce, and will spend the rest of my life trying to understand what happened. I had an affair… A love affair… Not lunchtime entertainment… A relationship that changed the course of my entire life and thst of my family. And I see that woman at school every day.
I didn’t mean to write so much here in this post about the relationship with the other woman, even though most of this blog is about my relationship with the other woman and even though there is no relationship with the other woman besides what I’m not letting go of in my own screwed up head. There were other factors. Staying together for the kids never works. Also, my wife had told me when we separated three years ago that she had been with another man, but for some reason, during some fight this month, she revealed that, in fact, she had not been with another man. She was making it up to…make me jealous, I guess. I don’t know. So, there’s a lot more dysfunction and difficulties than just my own emotional distance because of my love and desire for a ghost. My wife and I had problems before that affair. That’s why affairs happen. That and my own insecurities and self-destructive behaviour. Would we be getting divorced if I hadn’t had the affair? Who knows. Would we be getting divorce if I didn’t leave the party for 40 minutes? If we didn’t have that third child? If we stuck with the counseling? If…if…if….I don’t know. My marriage of 15 years and relationship with a strong, beautiful woman with whom I have shared the last 20 years, through thick and thin, richer or poorer, better or worse…until death or divorce do us part is ending for so many reasons, it’s difficult to pick one, but an affair, and the emotional connection to another woman certainly applifies all the rest. Sadly, besides the children, and not wanting to disappoint the families and not being with the children and…god, I don’t want to not be with my children… and being afraid of being old and alone and missing my children and not having a big house or enough money for my children and their children, we couldn’t find any other reasons to stay together.
The children. I speak to my father maybe twice a year. Is this because of the divorce? Is this my future relationship with my children? I fear it is. I fear it is. The fear of losing their trust and respect. They heard those fights. It was all my fault. And I’m very sorry.