One Minute More

Only where there is disillusionment and depression and sorrow does happiness arise; without the despair of loss, there is no hope.

We sat at the same table where two weeks earlier we’d sat while both of us cried our eyes out as I laid bare my ugly soul. This time there were no tears. It was business. We’d had our ugly moments over the last few days. Moments of major contention. But, a few days ago in another counseling session with the pastor my wife had finally admitted that reconciliation couldn’t happen at this point. She made it clear that unless I made some major changes right then and there with my attitude, we couldn’t even begin to try to reconcile. She wanted me to want her, to fall on my knees, beg forgiveness from her and before God and unconditionally surrender, commit to doing all she asks to reconcile, display my love and desire for her. I wasn’t going to do that, not when I couldn’t be honest about it. I was willing to get counseling and address these things, but I wasn’t there. I wasn’t sure reconciliation was the best thing for us so how could I commit to it unconditionally? How could I come back to God when I wasn’t certain what to make of Him anymore? How could I say I wanted her and desired her when it isn’t true? Perhaps those things would change in time, no one can say for sure, but I’m not there right now, and I told her that. We had decided for divorce.

So, here we were, we’d had our heated words about dividing things up already, but finally, my wife was ready to set aside her personal feelings and hot emotions and come to a tentative agreement so we could have a smooth and amicable separation. We sat at the table, pen and paper in hand and went over the finances, assets, alimony, child support, custody, legal fees, and process. It reminded me of times she and I had sat together to go over some family business. We did work well together when dealing with a crisis, and this certainly was one.
“I can’t imagine you with someone else, we can’t be friends, I can’t know about who you’re with,” my wife said calmly, but I could hear the strain in her voice, “I was in it till death do us part.”
I nodded sadly, “I know, I’m sorry. I want to be your friend but I understand if you can’t accept my friendship, I’ll always be there for you.”
“This pain is awful, you’ve turned our lives upside down, you don’t feel a thing do you? Not the least bit sad about us?” She asked.
Whenever I thought about us my head felt hot, my eyes stung, but tears would never start.
“I will miss us. The sadness is almost more than I can bear. Despite everything, much good came out of our relationship, we had many good times together,” I said leaning over the chair.

It was true. Now, more than ever as we are headed down this road do I feel conflicted. I love my wife, I love my son. Part of me wants our family back, to erase the damage I’ve caused and to go back to the way it was. But, that is a trap, I know it. Just being happy was a daily struggle. I’m not ready to go back there, not now. And my wife isn’t willing to delay, she wants this over with. So, here we are. I should be moving out hopefully by the end of the month, and we should have a divorce contract within a week or two. I’ll be visiting my son a couple of times a week. There is a lot of uncertainty going forward. The road is wide open. I have to carry the regret of having a failed marriage and a child to care for until he is 18, but I won’t shirk my responsibility, and I will never stop loving my wife or child. I feel like I’ve wasted almost half my life away, and my wife’s while I was at it. I’ve ruined enough lives at this point, perhaps it is better to stop holding on, and accept it, mourn the relationship, and appreciate what was good about it, even though I’m continually tempted to go and hold my wife and tell her I want her back. But, I know I only want to do that because I don’t want her to be in pain anymore, I want it to be all a bad dream and to be able to make her happy again. That’s why I stayed as long as I did, that’s why I didn’t break up with her when we were dating, that’s why I married her, that’s why I had a child with her, all because I didn’t want her to hurt and I wanted her to be happy. I had made myself responsible for her happiness, and it had destroyed me. But, looking back I have to accept that I couldn’t succeed when my heart wasn’t truly in it. A good part of the time, I made her miserable, and she made me miserable. And then I did all this and now I’ve devastated her, inflicted wounds that will never heal. I want to be the one to bring her happiness, but I don’t think I am that person. So, as much as I just want to go and comfort her, and be the one to make her happy again, even for just one more minute, it seems I shouldn’t, won’t it only bring more misery down the road?

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22 thoughts on “One Minute More

  1. If you go back, it may be fine in the beginning. People always fall back into old habits though. X would do it all the time. Tell me he will be different and then a week later back to being an asshole. It will just keep hurting her in the end. She needs to find someone that will make her happy. The best you can do is just be there for both your wife and son. Maybe with time she will feel different about being friends. Probably best to give her the space she needs right now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know part of it is I’m also selling her short. She keeps saying that no one will ever want her, and perhaps she is making me believe it too. I can’t bear the thought of her being alone for the rest of her life. Maybe you right, maybe down the road she’ll allow me to be her friend again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Two things:
    1. Her wounds will heal through time, as will yours, if you each choose to live in a manner that facilitates growth
    2. God loves his children and there is always a path back

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree whole-heartedly with point 1. And you’re right, if God exists as I hope he does, then I believe that He’ll help me find the path back to Him. Thanks for the good advice.

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  3. I feel like I sound like a broken record, but… when things ended with me and my ex, we considered staying friends. We had been together for 8 years and we honestly loved each other, but our relationship had turned into something that could not be salvaged. We spent the first few weeks texting sporadically, and then he stopped. He was the one that asked to stay a part of my life, but when he found out that I wasn’t changing my mind and taking him back, he cut me out completely, which honestly, was the best thing for the both of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. I don’t want my wife to take me back. I know that in my heart of hearts. I just want to end her nightmare, but I’m realizing that I can’t do that. Maybe the best way to end it is to just let her go and allow her to comfort herself or let someone else comfort her. We both love each other, but it seems we don’t belong together. Still, I just can’t seem to let go.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Best path you’ve taken. Things don’t change. They might at the start to give you hope then they will go back to where they were.
    Then whenever something goes wrong she will remind you of why. It’s heart and soul breaking.
    I chose to stay . When it’s good it’s good. When it’s bad it’s very bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the advice. In a way, it feels like I have two doors to go through, and when I go through one the other one will be shut. I want to be able to go through both doors, but that just isn’t possible. I think you are right, in the end, it is better if our paths lead us apart, as sad is that is.

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      1. It’s sad. People think that cheaters don’t have feelings. We do. We care . It’s just the way we are . Selfish ? May be? At least you’re true to yourself. I’m just a wimp. I tried leaving and I couldn’t . I’m too tied to him. He loves me in his own way and I love him too in my own way. Just both of our needs are half unmet. Sad either way. May be it doesn’t get any better than this ? 😊

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  5. This reminded me so much of me. Of where my future might be. My wife and I have a very amicable business like relationship and could handle the work of the divorce very well. Just as you stated. But I doubt reconciliation would be something we could do either. Her anger and vindictiveness would peer into our marriage continually from that point on. Much like you if I didn’t immediately fall to my knees and beg for her forgiveness she would call me ungrateful and hold it over my head forever. She never forgets when I make a little mistake.

    Well this has been an enlightening post. I feel for you. I’m not going to say you should do it one way or the other. There are complex emotions you both need to work through. If reconciliation is out of the question then so be it. Given enough time apart I think you both can be happier than where you were.

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  6. I don’t know a single example of a couple staying friends. They are polite in front of the kids but that’s it. One person is always badly hurt and love eventually turns to hate, and then, as both move on, to indifference. I know one woman who tried reconciliation but her resentment was too strong and they divorced.
    If you are now able to openly date are you going to become monogamous with one woman? You seemed interested in multiple partners. If that is who you are then being honest about it with yourself, and eventually your wife, will free both of you. Being discarded and devalued is awful. It might help her to understand that she did not cause this. I have written this before. Some people should not marry. You might be one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen it happen with couples from time to time, or maybe it is all a facade. Certainly cheating wasn’t involved.

      As to be monogamous or not, that is a good question. For me, thus far I’ve found intimacy and exclusivity are proportional. As intimacy increases so does my desire for exclusivity. A good example is Anne and Sierra. Anne I never had much intimacy with. We could be kinda friends, have sex, and enjoy each other, but there was very little intimacy, very little emotional connection, very little romance. We both just wanted to get our rocks off. With Sierra, we grew into a certain level of intimacy, certainly I became far more invested in her than she became in me, but all the same, as I became more intimate and invested in her my desire for exclusivity increased, I wanted to only be with her and I wanted her to only be with me. Anne, I couldn’t care less, she could be with other guys, and I didn’t mind being with other girls. Now, had the desire for intimacy been mutual with Sierra, then I’m sure it would have gone even further and we would have ended up in some level of exclusivity. Of course, in hindsight, that would be crazy and stupid for me to get involved with a much younger woman (particularly one like Sierra) in a close romantic relationship like that, but I think you see my point. I can see myself down the line entering into a monogamous relationship if I find someone willing to have mutual intimacy with me, but I don’t think I’ll marry, I just feel it would be unwise given my history. It could be that our romance would grow stale eventually and exclusivity would become a trap and a burden as it did in my marriage. At that point, I would see us either parting ways or entering into an open relationship.

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  7. “But, I know I only want to do that because I don’t want her to be in pain anymore”

    The sting of it is, you can’t take away her pain. This is one of the roughest parts of being cheated on; you want the person you love most to help you while you hurt, but the person you love most is the person who did the hurting. It’s like trying to hug a porcupine for comfort. You can sure try but you’re only hurting yourself.

    It’s a shit time. You’re in it now, deep in it. But it gets better from here. Don’t ask her to be friends, that’s almost cruel. She’s not even nearly ready to even consider that. It can happen, but it will take a long, long time. When my cousins were very, very small my uncle cheated on my aunt. They ended up divorcing, although she loved him, and he started another family a year or two later. And then cheated on that wife and started yet another family a year or two after that. Still, now he has cancer and my aunt phones him every week to see how he’s keeping. He’s a horrible selfish person (for additional reasons I won’t go into) and she still manages to be friends with him, so there’s probably hope for you. I think she still loves him though… Now I’ve gone off on a tangent. Chin up and keep your powder dry!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Quinn. I think you are right. I know that I can’t comfort her much as I want to. I’m not asking her to be my friend, I just want to let her know that I want to be her friend, but probably best just to give her the space to heal. “Keep your powder dry” now that is an expression you don’t hear often enough, smart and very fitting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m proud of the fact you are being honest. Love has many angles. It’s understandable that you’ll always have love for her, and although the hurt that was caused was not necessarily intentional, it happened. You own that. and are taking responsibility for it. In time, I hope she can look back on the talks you’ve had with an open mind, and be appreciative of the fact you were honest with her and didn’t fill her mind with lies. It’s a pretty brave thing you did, to get caught, but come clean.

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    1. Thank you. Certainly doesn’t feel that way sometimes. But, it was a chance for a fresh start and to put the lies behind us. It is only right that she had the information to be able to make an educated, honest choice about the future of our marriage.

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  9. We are such an amalgamation of genetics, childhood, friends and life experiences. We get put into a tumbler and we circle around and around and around until we are spit out. We think we know everything at age 18,or 20,or 25,or 30, but we do not. We make life decisions when we are still too young. You married because you thought you should. I have read your entire blog and one of the things that came across very early is that you are letting go of a lot of restrictions placed on you by circumstances. While you were with Sierra you went right back to being 15 years old stealing your dad’s car, peeling rubber, and showing off for the girls. The problem is you are not 15. You are a married man with a child. Somehow you need to be the kindest person you can be to your wife and a good, hands on dad to your son. No matter where you are emotionally or physically you are not free. You never will be because you are someone’s dad. You are his role model. How you treat your wife through this, and for the rest of your life, will have an impact on him. While you and she discuss the future (I assume divorce) caring about her feelings is paramount. It means trying your best to keep your son in the center of it all. He only has one childhood and will never get a do-over.
    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but you have a lot of growing up to do. If your life put so many restrictions on you that your emotional growth was stunted it is going to take time for you to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps you are right. But, I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop driving around in cars to impress girls, lol. You are correct though, I need to have the right priorities and put my son first. I can still be young at heart, but I need to find a way to be a good role model for him and help him not make the same mistakes that I made.

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