“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
So, there I was on a runaway train. I contemplated often on how to get out of my situation. The thought to leave my husband never really occurred to me and the thought of never talking to James again seemed an impossible task. I think I was just waiting for something to happen. I had no answer, no solution, so I waited. For what, I did not know.
There is a feeling I get when I am deeply hurt. It’s a feeling that goes straight to my heart and chest. It is part pain and part the feeling of all my breath leaving me. I can breath, but it doesn’t feel like it is giving me life. It’s as if my soul has left me and my insides have caved in and will not allow air to enter. This is also the same feeling I had almost everyday for years and years. However, it was not brought on by being hurt, it was brought on by fear. Fear of getting caught. There were so many times when I would be on the phone or the computer and my husband would unexpectedly come home or come into the computer room. There were so many times I had to plan to be away and lie about where I was going, wondering if my lies were being bought. I hated the feeling with a passion but I DID NOT know how to stop it. I could not break free of the mess I had created. That is my only excuse. I just physically and emotionally, could not let go of this person.
The affair and my feelings for James drew me farther and farther away from my husband. He had become a friend to me and that was where I wanted the relationship to stay. Of course, my husband wanted more and rightly so. Over time, I could no longer be all the things a wife should be. Apart from the stress of getting caught, there was the constant stress of my husband wanting to be intimate. It truly pained me and I used every excuse in the book to avoid it. This part of the story is hard to tell and so, I don’t really want to go any further than to make the point that I went to bed in fear every night.
These fears increased ten fold the day I was caught. It was not my husband who suspected anything, but his parents. They had me followed one day and video taped me leaving a hotel with James. My husband confronted me at home after his parents had informed him of the situation. To express how scared I was seems superfluous. The only thing I was scared of was my husband leaving me and hurting my children. James meant nothing to me in that moment. I remember my husband being very calm. He asked what I wanted to do. I, of course, said that I did not want a divorce and that I would stop seeing this person.
My husband’s reaction my seem strange, but if I back up a bit, it will make more sense. Around this time (and I can not remember if it was before, during or after I was caught), my husband began having an affair as well. His cold-as-ice demeanor tipped me off immediately (a feeling I had felt once before). I was petrified he was going to leave our family. I could not be mad at him for it because I knew I had driven him away, and of course, I had committed the very same act. This period in time compounded my stress and fear levels immensely.
To go way, way back, my husband was my high school sweetheart. We dated on and off for seven years before getting married. The first time he broke up with me, my world had ended. I didn’t know anything else but him, he was my first love. I’ll never forget what he said to me the day he left me. I can only assume it was not horrible enough for him to dump me, so he told me that he didn’t love me and that he never had. This was the same exact sentiment he told me once again, ten plus years into marriage, on the day I confronted him about his affair. I don’t believe there are any two moments in my life that come remotely close to the pain I felt on these occasions. I will never understand the purpose, true or not, of saying those words to anyone.
We both eventually decided to try and make it work. He ended his affair and I attempted to, unsuccessfully. Continuing my affair at this point, under heightened security, was the beginning of another journey. There is only so much stress a body can take before it begins to break down…
Up next: Fear Becomes Me, Part Two
Photo credit: www.nevadatree.com