The day I left my husband…

It started like any other Wednesday morning. We’d missed speech therapy on Monday, so I had to take Bug to the school at 0830 for a make-up session. I had been feeling… I don’t know… Nervous? I knew something wasn’t right in our marriage. I could feel it and I knew what it was, but like any wife, I didn’t want to doubt my husband and didn’t want my marriage to fall apart again. So I lived in my little bubble of fear and anxiety.

This Wednesday morning, I knew things had been especially tough for us. Our baby was just four months old and we hadn’t really been intimate yet. We’d tried, but I was quite healed and things were really painful and just hadn’t gone well. So this Wednesday morning, feeling guilty about what had happened the previous weekend, I went back into the bathroom to kiss my husband goodbye as he was getting ready for work and I was rushing out the door with the kids.

The pain of what I discovered that morning still hurts. Walking into the bathroom, I nearly knocked the iPad out of my husband’s hands as he stood naked in front of the mirror. Clearly not expecting me to come back, my husband had already begun, what I can only assume, was a routine for him. He was looking at images and videos of nude women. Masturbating women. Beautiful women. Women who weren’t me.

The look on his face said he’d been caught with his hand in someone else’s cookie jar. I didn’t know what to say to him, so I left. I actually don’t remember what I said, if anything in that moment. I wrapped the kids up in their winter coats, with just days to go before Christmas, and I pushed them out the door like nothing was wrong. A friend had her daughter in speech therapy on Wednesdays and we cried together.

After speech was over, I didn’t know what to do. To say we’d been through this before would be an understatement. His addiction to himself and the never ending supply of women the world has to offer has put our marriage in the toilet on several occasions, even once leading him so far as to have a sexually explicit conversation with a female coworker over the internet… He confessed that incident the day it happened and that started our first foray into marriage counseling. I’ve always tried to be a “good wife” and do all the things a “good wife” does…

I took the kids home, telling them “Mommy got some bad news today and sometimes, when we get bad news, we need to be with people who love us, so get some things, because we are having a slumber party at a friends house.” I took them to my friends house and we hung out all day. She fed me comfort foods even when I didn’t feel like eating and she left the kids veg out on Netflix upstairs while we cried and talked downstairs. I wrote pages and pages and pages in a journal I’d just started. A letter to my husband telling him he could have it. I was done.

I told him, if he really wanted to live that way, all he had to do was tell me and I’d let him be. He could have all the porn he wanted, all the women in the world at his fingertips, but that I was only staying for pretense and would no longer, in any real sense, be his wife. I couldn’t go through the hurt anymore and I was done. To be honest, this was the first time in the nine years we’d been married that I truly began looking into divorce. I was that done with it all. I don’t want this life for my kids. Our sons deserve better than this as a legacy and our daughter deserves to feel beautiful and loved by her father, not living in fear of being objectified by every man she meets. Knowing what my husband has done, makes me feel unloved and unbeautiful some days, it would crush her. I grew up that way. I can’t stand the idea of that being my kids lives too…

So I left. He came home for lunch, but seeing I was down the street, he didn’t come get me. He just let me be. He continued to call and text me all day, but I ignored everything. I couldn’t talk to him. I didn’t want to look at him and the thought of him touching me again… I couldn’t bear it. Here I was desperate for physical intimacy and dying inside because I just couldn’t do it and he was helping himself to a never ending buffet of sexually available women anytime he wanted. It was too much for me to bear.

He tracked me down at church later that night using the GPS tracking on my phone. (I didn’t even know he could do that, “Find My Phone” was his friend that night.) We talked. He convinced me to come home. Unpacking my truck so the kids could go to sleep in their own beds was an odd experience. He told me he’d gone through the house to see if I’d be coming home and he didn’t see anything missing. He was so out of touch with our family because of his addiction that he didn’t notice the pillows and blankets being gone. His addiction had gotten to rock bottom this time. He was skipping out on time with our family to go be selfish with his buffet line… He’d gone a few weeks immediately after Punk was born, but then it hit him stronger and he had to go back to them.

Nine months later, I’m still angry. I’m still bitter. I’m so afraid that all of this is going to happen again. I’m so afraid that the internet and a lack of self control is going to destroy our marriage. I’ve forgiven him, again. He’s really come a long way, but unfortunately, we’ve been here before. He goes a year or two at a time, and then he stops talking to me, stops engaging me and becomes self-centered all over again.

He leaves in 17 days… In 17 days, he moves into his own apartment, in another state. The Army has pushed up his class date, and he leaves in 17 days… I’m a hot mess. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m pregnant again. So I’m emotional and terrified that this is it. That he won’t come back the man of integrity that he has fought to become.

And he has fought so hard. He started a blog on biblical manhood; it’s slow going, but it’s a start. He’s established rules for when he’s home and where electronic devices are allowed and where they aren’t and I’m here to keep him accountable. We have software installed on anything and everything with a hard-drive. These measures helped him to stay clean while we were together, but I’m not sure how many of them will still work when he is on his own.

As I write this, I’m sitting alone in a quiet house nursing a bottle of sparkling cider. Sissy and Bug are talking in bed again and I can hear Punk whining from the bedroom, so I guess quiet isn’t the right word…

Alone fits…

As I write this, my husband is driving to what feels like a million miles away. He has three apartments to look at in Virginia tomorrow and then he should be home on Saturday. It doesn’t feel like a temporary separation. With everything that has happened this past year and all the craziness of a unexpected pregnancy, I am no longer in control of my rational self. I’m terrified that this could be it for us if he can’t control himself. If he can’t maintain his integrity, I don’t know how much more I can take and we’ll have four kids by the time he returns…

It’s taken years to understand his addiction is pure selfishness on his part and a lack of communication and openness between us, but there are still days where I struggle to believe it’s not about me. I’m terrified because the last time, I had just had the baby when all this came out. I was pregnant and had never felt sexier in my life. I was confident and beautiful and he was spending so much of his time with those other women. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s not about me. That it’s not about the sex. That it’s a purely selfish thing to emotionally detach from your spouse for your own sexual pleasure…

Some days are easier than others.

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