How Did She Do That?

Last week was not a good one.  I had a tooth break in half.  We found out our very capable daughter was not turning in school work.  Our checking account was overdrawn.  Evil Bitch texted Husband.  Well, why not?  Add it to the week.

When Husband brought this to me, he was very upset.  EB said it was just a reminder to keep paying extra to have her number blocked, because she’s still psychotic and bitter.  Now, Husband and I are not very tech savvy, but we could not figure out how she texted him.  Her number WAS blocked from his cell, so how did she do it?  And she seemed to somehow know she would get through to him from her cell!  How was this possible?  I decided to call AT&T and figure this out.

The customer service rep for AT&T was wonderful!  We talked for about thirty minutes, and she explained it all to me.  She told me that both Husband and EB have iPhones, and have imessaging turned on.  From my understanding, when this happens, all texts are through the iOS, which goes into the data plan.  This is completely separate from billed texts and calls.  And if you block somebody’s number, you are only blocking the billed texts and calls.  They can still text you if your imessaging is turned on.  Moreover, whether it’s turned on or off, blocked or not, they can always send you photos.

This explained so much to me.  I saw that the last few months of their relationship, the texting dramatically decreased.  Husband could never explain to me why they went from over 800 texts a month down to about 10.  I asked if they were using some type of online messaging, and he always told me no.  In fact, there were times he told me he had texted her (not something in his favor to lie about), that didn’t show up on our bill.  Deep down, I still felt like I was being lied to.  I knew things didn’t add up.  Now they do.  EB got a new iPhone for Christmas, which was the time that the texting stopped showing up on our bill.  My guess is that she was turning off her imessaging to save on data, then turning it back on to keep certain texts from showing up on her bill and on ours.  Evidently, sometimes she would forget to turn it back on, which is when the texts would show up on our bill.  I’m sure she realized that Husband didn’t know anything about all this, which is why she figured her text would go through to him last week.

Of course, Husband immediately turned his imessaging off.  He is thinking about just getting a new number, since we found out she’ll always be able to send him photos.  He asked for my thoughts on this, because he wants me to be comfortable.  I told him that will never happen.  If I choose to stay with Husband, EB will always be a part of my life.  She once e-mailed me that I can’t control her.  That if she wants to contact my husband, all she has to do is call from another number, call him at work or show up there.  This is all true.  If she wants contact with him badly enough, she’ll find a way to make it happen.  There’s nothing I can do to protect myself from her intrusion, so seeking comfort will only leave me disappointed.

Still, I wish we would’ve known about the imessaging a long time ago!

Hurdle #4–The Closed-Off Husband

When my husband and I decided to stay together and work on our marriage after his emotional affair, I made some rules perfectly clear.  He was to have no contact with Evil Bitch.  He had to give up his personal e-mail account.  He was to block EB’s number from his cell phone.  He and I were to live with total transparency and honesty.  We put in place a list of rules to affair-proof our marriage in the future.  We were to support each other in every way, including emotions.  Strangely enough, the last rule was the only one that Husband had a problem with.

At first, Husband claimed to be 100% on board.  Whatever I needed, he wanted to give me.  He became involved in my toxicity illness…wanting to come with me to doctor appointments, make me dinner that fit in my dietary restrictions and asking me daily how I was feeling.  He was rubbing my back at night.  He would leave me little notes before he left for work, just saying he loves me and hoping I have a good day.  He was being wonderful, and I appreciated the effort.  I hate to say I wanted more, because I knew he was really trying.  Yet, more is exactly what I wanted.

As well as we were getting along, it seemed artificial to me.  Everything was pleasant, but it was on the surface.  Inside, I felt like we had no emotional connection.  I desperately missed my best friend.  The man that I could talk to about anything and everything.  He was guarded, and felt distant to me.

Husband was never really one to share his emotions.  I knew this from the get-go, and accepted that about him in the past.  This time was different.  While he may never have been an open book, there was a time when we couldn’t wait for the kids to go to bed.  Those sweet couple of hours between them dozing off and our turn to do the same, we would snuggle in bed and talk.  And talk.  And talk.  About our dreams, our hopes and our fears.  Our past and our future.  Jobs, kids, likes, dislikes, pets, friends, technology, art, etc.  What we ate for lunch that day.  What we would do if we won the lottery.  Favorite movies, songs, colors, foods and holidays.  We just enjoyed talking to one another.  Suddenly, Husband had nothing to say to me that didn’t revolve around my illness, our kids or his job.  If I would start asking him questions, he’d rub his eyes and seem disinterested.  It was like I was an annoying gnat that he couldn’t swat away from his face.  I missed our connection, and was afraid it was gone forever.

I tried talking to Husband about this many times.  I begged him to open up to me.  I suppose, because of everything that’s happened, he thought “talking” could only mean talking about the affair.  I suppose he probably thought that I was just waiting for another opportunity to pour salt into that wound.  I told him that not every talk has to be an emotional, two-hour cry-fest.  That I just desperately wanted to feel he was interested in who I am again.  That we needed to learn how to be best friends again.  It seemed to fall on deaf ears.  He told me he hoped I could learn to accept the person he is, and not need to change him.  Then, I began to pull away, out of frustration and defeat.  I told him that I was trying to learn to depend on him to meet my physical needs, and my friends to meet my emotional ones.  He seemed just fine with that arrangement.  For awhile.

I don’t know how it happened.  I don’t know what changed.  After six months of me asking for my friend back, he started talking to me.  One night, before going to my son’s football practice, he told me to think about two questions:  If I woke up healthy and back to normal, what foods would I eat, and what my dream vacation would be.  I was giddy just thinking about it!  That night, we laid in bed talking for a couple of hours.  We laughed a lot.  It was easy and perfect.  I told him I appreciated the effort, and he told me there was no effort.  That once we got started, it all fell right back into place.  It was natural.

Truth be told, I believe it was the guilt that kept him away for so long.  He has been very hard on himself.  I don’t think it was a conscious decision, to keep me at a distance.  I think he was protecting me from being any more disappointed in him.  I think he felt he didn’t deserve the best of me.  I think it was about punishing himself, unfortunately also punishing me in the process.  I asked him what changed, and he said he wasn’t sure.  That he just had a “What am I doing?” moment.  Maybe he feared I would fall in love with someone else that would take an interest in me.  Maybe he realized he missed our connection as well.  Whatever prompted this change, I thank God for it!

Can I say that we are now best friends, and living as if Husband’s affair never happened?  Nope.  Can I say I forgive him with all my heart?  Huh uh.  But, I can say that I feel closer to him than I have in a long time.  That we are enjoying each other’s company again.  That we both have a lot of opinions that are worth hearing.  That I’m beginning to fall in love again…with my husband of 15 years.  And most of all, that somehow, by the grace of God, this has been one hurdle I didn’t have to keep tripping over alone.

Celebrating 15 Years–Or Not

Every married couple who tries to move past an infidelity has to deal with it:  the dreaded anniversary.  Our first wedding anniversary post Husband’s affair was our 15th.  I had been looking forward to it.  What a milestone!  What a testament to our love and commitment!  What a sham!

It was last June, only two months after all was exposed.  I was still neck-deep in sorrow, but tried to put on a happy face.  I went through the motions, while inside I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry until I was dry.  We had taken the kids to the beach for a few days.  The entire drive, all I could think of was the last time Husband drove that stretch of highway.  He was interviewing for a job in another city, and had texted with Evil Bitch the whole time.  Just thinking about it knotted my stomach.

While at the beach, we had some nice family moments.  Walking in the sand as the sun rose and set.  Buying fresh seafood at the pier for a boil.  Browsing through the local gift shops.  Trying to be a solid family again, when inside we were so broken.

Because we were traveling home on our actual anniversary, Husband and I decided to exchange gifts on our last night at the coast.  There was a funny moment when we each unwrapped the same present.  Both of us had put together a photo book of our marriage.  We both even included the lyrics to the song we danced to at our wedding.  Great minds…or sentimental ones anyhow.  I also gave Husband a framed picture of me in my wedding dress–15 years after he’d last seen me in it.  Although I saw a much older bride, he thought it was beautiful.  He also gave me a diamond pendant.  I’d always wanted one.  He tried to buy me one when we were dating, but he was a poor college student, and I wouldn’t let him.  It was always our joke–someday I’d get my diamond necklace.  And I did.  I cried like a baby.

Sounds like a great anniversary, right?  As I said, I went through the motions, yet it all seemed like a lie.  We were celebrating vows that Husband didn’t keep.  “In sickness and in health…forsaking all others.”  Fifteen incredible, beautiful years had been reduced to so little by his emotional affair.  I felt like he tarnished my every precious memory of our time together.  One of the hardest things for me, is that I truly believed in the institution of marriage.  Especially ours.  I meant every promise I made with all my heart, and I’ve kept them all.  It kills me that he didn’t.

For now, I’ve decided that I am done commemorating our wedding date.  I need to separate our past from our future.  This has been very difficult for Husband, and I do feel bad for that.  He wants to focus on all that we’ve shared.  He’s holding onto it for dear life.  I am running away from it as fast as I can.  I have to, because it doesn’t make sense to me anymore.  And if I can’t make sense of our past, what are we doing together today?  I need to let it go for my sanity and any hope of our survival.  It’s hard, but he does understand it.  I used to wear my wedding ring proudly every day.  Now I can’t stand to look at it, so Husband bought me a small, gold band to take its place.  It says exactly what it’s intended for:  I’m married.  There are no promises or sentiment behind it at all.  For my last birthday, I asked my parents for my wedding video to be put on a DVD.  I hadn’t seen it in years, and when I did watch it, Husband sat in the next room (texting her?).  Now, the disk is put away.  It’s all put away.  Everything pertaining to the day we were married.  I just had to do it.

Recently, we talked about possibly renewing our vows someday.  This time, we thought it would be nice to go away for a few days, just Husband and me.  Instead of making promises in front of a pastor, we decided it might be nice to write down exactly what the other person means to us and what our true intentions are.  Just us, in secret.  And while the rest of the world may acknowledge our old wedding date, we’d celebrate the new date.  The start of the next chapter in our lives.  Shedding the old, and moving forward.  And maybe I’d enjoy my next 15th anniversary more.  It’s a nice thought, but we’re not quite ready for that yet.  When it happens, I want to be 100% committed to our life together.  I want total forgiveness and love in my heart.  I hope to get there someday, instead of in this limbo I’m in right now.  I pray for it daily.  Until then, no more wedding anniversaries for me!