Today marks the first anniversary of finding out about the other woman. Time stood still as I read the text messages, one after another, from her to the man that I thought I knew, that I thought was a vastly different person from the person that I now know that he is.
The last couple of months have been hard, I went backwards badly. When he first went I fell into an emotional black hole. I found it hard to perform basic everyday tasks. I couldn't hold down a job, I was paralysed with the pain of his callous behaviour on top of the grief that I was already dealing with because of my mother's sudden death. My doctor prescribed anti-depressants and after a year, I have decided to attempt to start decreasing the dose in order to wean myself off of them. I felt like I was going mad all over again, as my brain came to terms with only getting half the dose it was used to.
In this emotional state, I'm not proud of the fact that I started texting him again. This resulted in him asking to meet me and against my better judgement I went along, on a Sunday morning, to what used to be our favourite place, to rendezvous with the man who had gone from being a 'loving' husband to the cause of the worst year of my life.
I'm not sure that I would recommend this to all abandoned wives but this meeting and subsequent day spent together a week later, was the impetus for me to finally, successfully move on. You see I had a picture in my mind of a happy man in a blissful relationship with a woman who was obviously superior to me on so many levels. The anger and the bitterness that I felt was related to the resentment toward his now ideal life that boring old me would never have been able to have had with him.
The truth was sobering. The man standing before me was a shadow of the man that I knew only a year before. His body language and general demeanour stunk of defeat and resignation. He looked terrible, he had always been slim, but he had lost weight and he looked haggard. His once sparkling eyes were haunted with regret. His skin had the yellowish tinge produced by a liver that is struggling with it's owner's heavy drinking and his teeth were badly stained and neglected.
He is still playing games, now I know how to read him. He is so transparent as he peppers the conversation with half-truths. And obviously, if he really did want to win me back, as he claims, the first step would be ceasing all contact with the other woman. As he scuttled back to her, and I got back in my car, a wave of relief swept over me. I am in control of my destiny and he is no longer part of my future. The life that I imagined he is living only exists in my head - the cold, hard facts are that he is in a dire financial state, living in a nightmare of maxed out credit cards and unpaid fines, none of which is due to our divorce as I paid all his debts before he left me. The relationship with the woman who was once, 'my love, my life' seems to have cooled off considerably and my nurse's intuition suspects that the wracking cough could be foreshadowing a smoking related lung condition in the not so distant future.
I know now not to believe anything that he says. The narcissist always likes to have a back up supply - a Plan B - available. I think though there were grains of truth in what he said. He told me that he felt like he had woken up from a dream. I think that he has realised that he has given up everything - family, friends, home ownership, financial security, self respect. I think now the rush of brain chemicals has dissipated, life is as humdrum as it was with me. Because it is not the person that you are with that makes your life fulfilling, it is you and only you, that has that power.
At first I went automatically back to caretaker mode. I helped him do his taxes, negotiate with one of the credit card companies and set up a payment plan for one of his fines online. But as the familiar tentacles of codependency started wrapping themselves tighter and tighter around me, I realised that I no longer want to be responsible for his actions, I'm tired of cleaning up the mess that he makes. In the last phone call, I told him gently and firmly that he now needs to seek support from the woman for whom he gave up everything.
For a long time, I have wanted him to hurt like I did - the anger drove a desire for revenge where I fantasised about all sorts of terrible things being visited upon him. Ironically, I have now realised that the life that he is now living, due to the choices that he has made, is punishment enough. He is his own worst enemy on the road to self destruction and I feel sorry for the pathetic individual that he has become.
The end of my marriage was a chain of painful events that my mind kept dwelling on and embellishing, keeping me stuck in a vortex of bitterness and anger. I now feel vindicated because I no longer feel like the victim - I'm actually the winner in the situation because I choose not to take part in the drama that he causes anymore. And that's the key difference - I am no longer a victim of events, reacting to his actions - I am in control and I'm the one saying, 'NO MORE'!