Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spin Cycle: Survivor: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

I am the survivor of a divorce I never saw coming. I was, I thought, happily married for 23 years. We were going to grow old together. But I was so wrong. Looking back, I can now see all the signs that things weren't going well. He criticized my driving, if I didn't do laundry often enough, small things that I ignored. This could become very very long but here is a synopsis.

I discovered my husband of 23 years was having an affair with a woman in his office. She lived 5 minutes from the office so they would go there for "lunch", thus leaving him available to come home at night for dinner. He started staying in NJ one night a week to get all his NJ accounts done in 2 days times. (we lived in PA... I still do) I helped him... I bought the things he needed for his shaving kit.

I didn't discover anything until December 5, 2004. When I found her phone number and confronted him, which he denied. Later that weekend, I checked it again (you know that nagging feeling that something's not right?) and found he changed her name to a man's name. He changed it again but I found that one too. The man was too stupid not to leave his cell phone where I could get my hands on it. I told him I'd have all her info in a matter of days. I did. Inside 24 hours, I had her name, address, phone number and directions to her house. She's lucky I didn't get her SS#.

I did everything I could to save my marriage. I even took the blame for his cheating. It took me the better part of a year of therapy to realize that I wasn't at fault.

Anyway, he finally left on Jan 24, 2005, to "live with his brother, Ken, to figure all this out." I later learned he had been living with "her" just about from the beginning. Greg had no intention of trying to save our marriage. But I honestly thought he'd "come to his senses" and come home. I found out on Easter Sunday 2005 that they were together (he was coming home every other weekend but sleeping on the sofa... a BIG problem for me). That day nearly killed me.

In order for me to get into that bed every night, by myself, I started drinking... a lot. Every night, for about 3 months, I'd drink a magnum bottle of wine or 1/2 a fifth of rum and get drunk enough to go to sleep. I have no idea how I was able to go to work or function at all. I nearly lost my job because every time I saw a couple in their 40s or 50s holding hands I'd start to cry and have to get sent home (I'm a waitress). Thank God my boss had been through this himself and was VERY understanding. I was so completely devastated by all this that I honestly thought I would die without this man in my life! (how stupid is THAT?) My brother told me that this would be the hardest thing I'd ever go through, and he's right. This was harder than my parents' dying. It actually would have been easier to cope had my husband died.

I'd find myself doing things like driving down the highway in our town at 80MPH thinking, "if I got into an accident, he'd realize he still loves me and come home." THANK GOD I never had an accident! See? I was doing stupid things.

After about 3 months, I FINALLY realized that I was slowly killing myself and stopped drinking altogether for a year or more. (I can have a glass of wine or a drink or 2 now and I'm fine). After a while, I realized that I was laughing sometimes and having a good time with friends or co-workers. I was finally coming out of the terrible depression I was in!

It took 3 years of therapy, 2 years of anti-depressants and meeting a terrific man who I met about 2 years after my separation and today I'm great!!!

And Greg? He married that slut and when their marriage breaks up, I'm throwing a party! I always hoped he'd realize the error of his ways and beg me to let him come home... just so I can tell him to go F himself. He travels a lot for his job. I'm so tempted to call her up and ask her, "When Greg is away in VT on business, who do you think he's sleeping with?" But I don't. I just hope it nags at her mind though.

So what keeps me fighting is I make sure John knows every single day that I love him, and he tells me. It's something that I didn't hear for the last 20 years of my marriage. And I make sure I mean it each and every time I say it or show it.


Amy said...

You've been through a lot. Congrats on coming out better on the other side -- and on biting your tongue and not calling her!

♥ Braja said...

Joanie, that's a lot for anyone to go thru. I'd drop her a note, though...just to remind her that what goes around comes around. If he was doing it when he met her, he's doing it again. Isn't it always the way? You're a brave woman and I don't think 3 months of that was very much at all...took me longer ;)

Lilly said...

Oh Joanie. I think you are a fantastic person you know that? The great thing is he did you a big favor. You spent three years working on yourself to become a way happier person. He has remained the same.

Deceiving someone you have spent all those years with to me is evil. Marriages end. I get that but at least people could be honest about it all. He dragged out your pain. And the thing I now know is that there is more opportunities for deceit in relationships than anywhere else. We trust people to watch our backs and do the right thing by us. Anyway you did the hard yards and found real love again. I salute you.

As for the ex's new wife. Leopards dont change their spots. What goes round comes around. You dont have to do anything. History has a habit of repeating itself and you are well out of it. She wouldnt believe you anyway.

I am with Braja - three months only? Hell you are a strong person.

Sally's World said...

you really showed yourself to be the bigger person, not easy after all you went through.

don't ever doubt you have the strength...

with love xxx

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Oh Joanie, I knew I liked you the moment I came over here. We are like kindred sisters.

I was with my scumbag ex for 20 years (we were college sweethearts), married for 12. He left on Jan 3, 2005, lied about EVERYTHING, I found out about HER sometime in Feb. He too told me he was going to live with his brother. I never saw it coming either. I was devastated.
It took me until about May-and a slap-across-my-face from my best friend (not literally) to open my eyes and see that I needed to wake up and move on.

I met My Guy in June of that year and was just coming out of my shell, so to speak. Thank God, we weere both smart enough to hang on.

Funny, he broke up with his slut about a year ago. Cried and asked for my forgiveness and sympathy and I told him to go pound sand. He met a girl late last June and by August he was engaged to her. He called ME to tell me he was going to marry her and that he couldn't be alone. Poor Girl. I, like you, know that there is an expiration date on this joke of a wedding/marriage-which interestingly enough-takes place this coming weekend.

My poor kids.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you are a strong woman. I'm glad you have found deserve it. I also survived a lying cheating husband and thank goodness I left him. My now and forever husband is always by my side. Sometimes I think that living thru the heck that I did with my ex-husband has made me more appreciative of the wonderful man my now husband is...

Kat said...

Congratulations on making it to the other side. I really hope his wife has that thought in her head that "If he can do it to her, he can do it to me."

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Joanie - you are such a strong woman and that is a powerful story you shared. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but I agree you must be strong to come out on the other side so well and so soon.

Sprite's Keeper said...

They say Karma can be a bitch, but is it possible to be able to watch? Revenge is best served cold, but don't you want to be the one serving it?
I wouldn't worry about her. It IS in the back of her mind. That little voice nagging, "once a cheater, always a cheater." You have a wonderful life now and that is the best survival AND revenge! You're linked!

Ginny Marie said...

What a great survivor story! That's what I love about the Spin Cycle...reading everyone's take on the same topic! Glad you posted this week!

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

sometimes in life when we go thru things like what you went thru it shows us just how strong we truly are!!!! You are strong you are a survivor and are a much better person because of all of that!!! Dont spend time worrying about what hes doing now and if she knows that he could be doing the same thing...spend time enjoying who you are now and being thankful you arent still going thru all that bs..and thankful for the man you have in your life now...thats all that truly matters!!!

Joanie said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words.
@Amy, oh I'd never call her... just one of those little fantasies I get.(actually we've never met)

@Braja, no note... let the bitch find out like I did, the hard way, if and when he gets tired of her.
Actually, I wish she'd cheat on him! Let him see what it feels like.

@Lilly, Oh I know she'd never believe me.... "he'd never cheat on ME, he LOVES me!" yeah, right.
But he's away half of every week.... all that hotel living gets lonely. heheheh

@Sally, I had no idea just how strong I was until this happened.

@Candy, My God! We're living parallel lives!

@Nothing fancy, it's amazing how many of us are out there!

@Kat, thanks. I came out of the dark side and force is with me. :)

@Pseudo, I really think this was supposed to happen so John and I could meet. Even with his threat of cancer always looming, I haven't been this happen in many years.

@Jen, my happiness is the best revenge. Although he's never expressed regret for leaving. Took me about 2 years to realize he did me a huge favor!

@Ginny, thanks! I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's stories!

@Dena, yes I am a stronger, better person for it. I just don't understand why he has the financially better life and I have to struggle all the time. But then again, if his world fell apart, I'd be screwed because no alimony!

Kingsmom said...

I'm with Jen...

Karma's a bitch.

Alix said...

What a brave and inspirational post, Joanie. Your life and mine have many common threads and behaviors. And happy endings.

You are a strong, beautiful and admirable woman. John is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have him. And just remember... there is no finer revenge than your own happiness. I wish that for you always my sweet friend.

Vodka Mom said...

that's an amazing story- and you are ONE incredible woman.

that fucking bastard. He better hope I don't run into him.

Joanie said...

@Kingsmom, Yup karma can be a bitch. I just hope my karma is good.

@Alix, yes John and I are very lucky to have found each other. We've often said we wished we had met 30+ years ago.

@Vodka, LOL!! You remind me so much of my sister, Jeanne! When her son got married 4 years ago, Greg and I were just separated (I didn't know he was living with "her".) There was a possibility that he was going to go to Eddie's wedding with us. Jeanne spent the entire day, looking out her hotel room window, watching for my car. If Greg got out, she was going to greet him in the lobby with a knee to the groin! He didn't go. He's been hiding out from my brothers (and Jeanne) for 4+ years now! God, I love my sister!

smiles4u said...

I am sorry that you had to go through all of that but by the sounds of it you have come out better than ever. I too, am a survivor so I know the courage it took you to put one foot in front of the other, each and every day. I pray that peace will fill up your heart and that you will not allow your ex to ruin any part of your future and present happiness. Bless you for your courage to keep on keepin on!

Liz said...

So good of you to share that, Joanie.

"It actually would have been easier to cope had my husband died."

When I went through my divorce, that was exactly how I felt, too. It would have been easier for me and also would have answered a lot of questions that no one really had the right to ask, you know?

Shangrila said...

Oh, Honey! I am so, so glad that you got over that son-of-a-bitch and survived. It sounds as though you've found the REAL love of your life, as well as self-love. Good for you!