Doppelgänger

You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

The tide was rolling away, it was a picturesque vista, the sun high in the sky shimmering off the calm blue ocean waves, the smell of salt hung in the air, and fresh spray carried by the wind.
“You’ve just told me that you want to sleep with other women, that you wish you weren’t married, that you could go back in time and do it all over again, what do you expect me to think?” My wife said looking blankly into space; it wasn’t really a question.
It was the second time I’d told her. I realized I was much more stony and cold this time than the previous time. That time I’d sat and told her weakly while we were having dinner, we’d been arguing, I finally felt I needed to communicate this temptation that had been festering in my soul, share it with my wife, after all, she was supposed to be my friend, my fellow Christian sister. Shouldn’t I tell her that I was being consumed from the inside out by desires, longings that had been long been left unattended in our marriage? I knew then I couldn’t expect compassion or understanding from her, but I was out of options. She was angry of course, she wondered how I could feel such a way, told me as she had before when she’s brought up divorce that I’d never see my son because she wouldn’t share him, she didn’t care what the courts would say. I’m sure it was just the momentary passion of the situation. Normally, you couldn’t blame a spouse for feeling this way when their significant other tells them they wish they’d never gotten together, but my wife had been telling me how much she hated me and wished she’d never married me for a good long while at this point. Rather than inquire further about my feelings, I knew where it would go, straight to suspicion.
“Who do you have in mind? Have you been talking to them? Who’s caught your eye?  Jesselyn? Or someone at work? Those girls in HR?”
“No one, it is just a feeling, I don’t know what to do about it. But, I’m not talking to anyone or looking at anyone.” I didn’t know what to say, so I lied, the first of many, to spare her feelings, I knew if I told her I’d even talked to anyone about having an affair it would be hurtful, and unnecessary.
Her suspicion was nothing new, it had been that way for years, long before I’d even considered cheating a remote possibility. I’d been talking to a few girls online, but I didn’t honestly believe it would go anywhere. I wondered if even if I tried my hardest if I’d ever have an affair. I tried to talk to her about why I thought I felt this way as we sat there overlooking the ocean, about the lack of love and affection, she had made it clear in times past that she simply didn’t love me anymore. It was no good, she just dismissed it.
“Fine, go off and fuck other women, that’s what you really want, but I’m not sharing our son when I find out.”

I only told my wife those two times about the infection that had taken root in my mind, 4 months apart. From there Jason continued his slow death as the desire consumed his heart turning it black, everything he’d built himself up to be all those years was covertly ripped apart, vivisecting his own psyche, throwing away all inhibitions, incompatible values, and conscience, and Naive Adulterer, a doppelganger,  was assembled from the shadowy shreds of Jason’s consciousness. He looks the same, talks the same, walks the same, but with an edge of new confidence and all his old fears excised. He sleeps on Jason’s side of the bed. He sits at Jason’s place at dinner. He plays with Jason’s son. He kisses Jason’s wife goodbye every morning as he heads off to work at Jason’s office.

It took months before my wife could speak a kind word to me again after I told her my fear of what I was becoming, by then it was too late, the monster had already taken over: I’d had my first affair and committed to having another one. This isn’t to say I was a victim, that I wasn’t the culpable one, I know that I could have stopped it, if I’d wanted to, but I gave in, said I’d give it a try. She didn’t understand, and it appears she never will. She couldn’t accept that I might betray her if things didn’t change, the mere suggestion was the worst betrayal imaginable and had to be banished as merely malicious words intended to hurt her or manipulate her into acting a certain way. Nothing could be further from the truth, they had been the last acts of desperation by a man losing a battle within himself.

I’m not trying to excuse myself, I know I can’t, it is just another facet, another inaccurate description of what it takes to fundamentally re-engineer one’s mind. I got called a ‘piece of shit’ again today by a girl. I never seem to get used to that for how often it happens. She’s probably right. It is hard to kick against the goads, to swim upstream when everyone else just says to get back in line. Maybe they are right.

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15 thoughts on “Doppelgänger

  1. Have you ever thought about recording her “I hate you” and “you’ll never see your son again” out bursts? That way, if you ever do have to go to court, you have hard evidence of her character. It may help a judge see a side to her that could be perceived as unstable. Just a thought… I don’t want you to lose the ability to have a relationship with your son because your wife is a hateful/spiteful human being…

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    1. I hadn’t considered it, no. But it is a good thought, still, I never know when those outbursts will come, I guess I could try to record her covertly, but it would be difficult. But, if it would help protect my rights to see my son, then I should try. I don’t think she is hateful/spiteful at heart, I think she has many unresolved issues and insecurities that she isn’t confronting. I see this in every relationship she has. She has pushed away many people in her family. Every boyfriend she had cheated on her. She ended up in feuds with every roommate she ever had. I don’t know why I stayed with her and married her. But, I do love and care about her, and she has many positive qualities, she is a hard worker, can be kind and generous when this stuff isn’t going on, she is persistent, and loyal.

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      1. Recording her might also be helpful in another way – to play it back to her. I wonder if she actually knows how she sounds… If she really hears the hate spilling from her mouth or is just too wrapped up in why she is feeling upset.
        I grew up in a house with lots of arguments, my mum yelling at my dad. Every so often when arguing with hubby I catch myself sounding like her – nothing shuts me down so quickly. It doesn’t matter if I am actually right, or am justified in being upset. I stop myself. I don’t want to be that person.

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        1. I have thought about it. She records me from time to time and plays it back to me. Usually, I look at her and say, “ok, I don’t see the problem” She takes everything I say to mean something different than I intended sadly, and can’t recognize that her own interpretation could be wrong, even after I explain what I meant. But, so it has been since the beginning of time with communication between two people, this is just a degree worse than what most people are used to.

          That is admirable that you try to overcome your upbringing. It is a continual challenge for me as well. My parents’ issues were they wouldn’t talk or communicate, they’d keep it inside until it blew up. I try to not keep silent and tell her how I really feel about situations. Sadly, that creates the perfect storm since she takes everything I say as a direct attack against her.

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          1. I understand what it is like to try to reason with someone who thinks that everything is a direct attack. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Fine, I’m a terrible mother!” when that wasn’t what I was saying at all. For the record, my mum is a kind, sweet, loving woman, who has a sharp tongue when she argues. And I sometimes think that something inside her is broken. To be honest, from your writing it sounds like your wife is worse…

            I hope you find a way to change things, because just living with it will eat away at your soul.

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      2. Those are all very respectable qualities to have, but they all go out the window given certain situations (i.e. divorce, custody battles, etc). I know when my ex and I were in the middle of our break up, he said some of the cruelest things I’ve ever been confronted with, and even if he didn’t mean them 100%, it still happened. In your case, that could be helpful to have on record if something were to happen.

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  2. I mean what else are you supposed to do in this position? She says she will keep your child away from you if you divorce. Which she’s a nasty human being for being that way. I mean you did try to communicate how you felt. You want to sleep with other woman because you’re clearly not getting it at home. It’s kind of frustrating because woman put on the guy like all you want is sex but sex is an important part of intimacy. No sex = dead relationship. She just didn’t want to hear any of it. So she gets angry and threatens because she feels defensive and wants to ensure you don’t go anywhere. It’s all fucking head games.

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    1. She has a nasty temper, but I think she wears her heart on her sleeve for the most part. Perhaps she is far more clever than I thought and just wants to manipulate me. If anything though, I’d say it is an unconscious head game on her part. This is how my mother in-law treats my father in-law to get what she wants, and my wife grew up witnessing that. Just get angry, yell, assume the worst, threaten, rattle the saber, pull out the nuclear arsenal. Really sad, I never saw anyone act this way growing up.

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  3. I was just reading along on comments for today and yesterday and got a knot in my stomach. You have a toddler? Go around your house and using your weakest hand’s pinky finger tug on bookcases, dressers, corner cupboards etc. and if you can move them AT ALL you need to shim(wedge) until you can’t pull them over. Next, crawl around every room. You won’t believe how dangerous your house is down there on the floor. Are your smoke detectors working? If you have children of any age have a safe place for them to go outside in case of fire. Children usually go under a bed or in a closet. You need to practice how they can crawl out of your house with their eyes closed. Fire doesn’t usually kill children, smoke does. The man who left his child in the car did not appear to notice him all day, even when he went out at lunch and put something in the car. As far as the news reported…..he was sexting all day.

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    1. Thanks, all good advice. We’ve been securing things to the walls, putting safety devices all over the place, besides the fact that we are still in the stage where we never let him out of our sight unless he is in a secured location like a play pen.

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  4. It is “funny” that you got called a piece of shit today, because today I was the girl who called a guy who is cheating on his girlfriend with me a piece of shit (included in my blog post as well haha). Uncanny.
    I know well the feeling of being “caught” in a situation where 1) you are hiding your feelings/actions out of fear of hurting your partner 2) you are holding the exact information it would take for them to leave you and for you to “get out” of the situation 3) but the pros of staying in the relationship (seeing your son in your case, keeping my best friend in my case) outweigh the cons… Strange place to be. For me, it was emotionally unsustainable.
    On a separate note, the ability to compartmentalize is very helpful and allows us to go far in life, but it also allows us to create aliases. That is exactly what happened to me when I started cheating on my ex. I was a different person, it allowed me to survive the guilt. My doppelganger was named Sylvia.

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    1. Well, I’m glad you can have a “laugh” about it, that actually makes me feel better to tell the truth! I hope the guy at least deserved it, though I’m not convinced of the merits of calling someone a piece of shit in most any situation (except jokingly), but that is me. Either we are all singing, dancing shit or none of us are as far as I’m concerned.

      I’m surprised that I’ve never really felt guilt for cheating, not in the way I’d expect at least. I logically don’t like the moral contradiction of it, that makes me uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t classify it as guilt, and I do don various masks depending on the situation. Thanks for sharing, Sylvia.

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  5. Well this shit just got real. You’ve spoken before of your wife but this is by far the most in depth you’ve delved into the emotions and the stand off at home.

    As far as recording her, sure you could try. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to catch that moment. Something else you can do that would also be effective since it seems to happen frequently is keep a log or journal of sorts. You could create one with google forms and fill it in each day. Over time you could have detailed daily notes on how many time she threatened to take your son away from you. Or told you she hates you or was as otherwise verbally abusive.

    None of this excuses you as you well know, but you just want to protect your ability to see your son should things go south. If it came to a trial I can imagine how funny yet effective it would sound: “November 9th, wife said ‘if you divorce me you’ll NEVER see your son again! I don’t care what the courts say.’ November 15th, wife told me I’m an asshole and if I so much as look at divorce papers she’ll rip my son out of my arms and be gone. November 27th…” you get the gist. A trail of evidence. If you had an audio recording to back it up even better.

    Of course custody battles are often more mundane than your wife makes it out to be. Unless you are somehow dangerous to be around I don’t think there would be a problem.

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    1. I’m not too worried if it comes down to it, perhaps I should be, but I’ve never hurt a fly or gotten mixed up drugs or dangerous situations. Things have simmered down for now, unpleasant, but not nearly as bad as these blowups were. They flair up from time to time though.

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