I have been binge watching T.V on Netflix. After my son goes to bed, I spend several hours watching old episodes of shows. I was watching Friends, the episode where Monica and Chandler and get married. When the showed aired, I was in the military, and in one dysfunctional marriage or another. I never really watched the shows. Somehow I landed on that episode, when Monica and Chandler get married. They of course followed the path, first comes loves then marriage then babies. In reality does that ever really work?
My own life has strayed so far from the fantasy of T.V. I don’t have my adoring Chandler to find all my quirks endearing nor do I have a group of friends to keep me company at the coffee house. Most days I like my life, but some days I miss the life I thought I was supposed to have.
I remember marrying J.D. thinking that we were actually doing this, that we were going to make it. When I told him I was pregnant, he said, “I can’t really focus on that right now, I just failed the dive portion of SEAL training.” I covered for him, saying that he was really excited, but very focused on his training. He never really got excited about the pregnancy, never even opened many of the emails I sent hi m about updates on my pregnancy. His biggest concerns was that I wasn’t eating meat and our baby would be born lacking some essential nutrients because of this.
I never noticed or acknowledged his lack of interest in me or the pregnancy. When he bought a surf board instead of a crib, I flipped out on him, but still blamed it on his being so focused on training. The reality was and is that I lied to myself and helped him cover up who he really was and is.
I don’t think I will ever get my T.V. show happy ending.
The truth, what is it? We all have our version of the truth and in divorce the versions become oh so difficult to untangle.
I know my ex-husband lied to me about himself and who he was. I know that he was abused by his mother and his step-father starting at 11 or 12. I know he developed a trauma bond with his step-father and allowed himself to be victimized by multiple men and women. He kept this knowledge from me, even when I asked him the big question. Where you abused? What did your mother do to you? He denied acted as if I was crazy. The sad thing was I had been very open about my abuse that I survived as a child. I had spent years in therapy and I knew the signs. So I asked and he denied it.
Years later when I discovered gay porn on the computer and very explicit pictures and chat logs, I asked again and he denied. Denied that he had done anything on the computer, we were hacked he insisted. I remember sitting in a therapists office with him and he still denied anything wrong had happened in his child hood or that he had done any of the things on computer.
It wasn’t until Jude was 9 months that he finally came clean. I think he only came clean because he could not longer come up with a plausible lie. I found a card, “To my lover on his birthday.” Inside a girl had written, “I love you and I know you love me. I can’t wait to be with you forever. Love your Miss Smarty Pants girls, Ali.” He tried to explain away the card, it was from a friend’s girlfriend, he wasn’t keeping it, he just hadn’t throw it away. He never met Ali, she just dropped the card off at his work. It was a card friends give each other, she was a friend, friends said they loved each other all the time!
When I found his secret email account, logged in and was treated to the horrendous vision of hundreds of emails from men, women, and couples with so many explicit details, the naked photos he received and the photos he had sent out, it was then everything clicked into place.
I can divide my life and marriage to JD into the before and after. Before I was in my nice little house, white picket fence, feeling slightly smug at how great my life was and then after, when I looked up to see a path of destruction with nothing left that I could identify. During the months and years that followed I have struggled to uncover the truth and understand what happened. I struggled with understanding how JD could look me in the eye and tell me outrageous lies. When I found emails from a girl named Alicia and discovered her phone number on our phone bill 100’s of times a day he claimed Ali and Alicia were two different people. When he told me to take our son and just leave and he refused to give me any of our money, he claimed his Commander in his Seal team told him he didn’t have to ‘pay me shit.’ When I left and Ali/Alicia moved in he claimed she was a roommate even though he cosigned on a car with her and she shared his bed. I still struggle with understanding how someone who I created a child with turned out to be such a skillful liar.
Lately, most likely due the time and physical distance away from everything, I have been thinking of JD and his childhood. I see him always as a boy, victimized by his mother and everyone else who came along. Listening to him now in those rare moments he calls, I sense his need to be ‘in control.’ He is and will always be that little boy who was abused and that breaks my heart. I realize I was always the responsible one, cleaning up his messes, paying the bills, holding a job when he couldn’t. After my son was born, I noticed he was more of a child, putting himself and his needs first. Still wanting to work all day, go to the gym all night. He never wanted family time or family moments. I guess I grew up. I stopped putting him first and I started asking for him to be responsible and to be a grown up and a husband and father. That was too much for him. That inner boy will always haunt him, the boy is too powerful and too selfish for JD to let go of. He will never grown up and never be responsible. The Navy is parenting him now. JD has an illusion of freedom and respect, but that boy will never let him go.
I tied myself to this man for life before I had all the pieces of the puzzle. Looking over my relationship, I can see myself plucking those pieces, those clues, some I stored away to be examined later and other pieces I blatantly discarded. For much of the last 3 years, I have blamed JD and the girl he met on Craig s List, Ali for destroying my marriage. But my marriage was an illusion, it was a made up version of the relationship I wanted. I know that even though I was blinded sided at the end, clues were there, hidden along the path, breadcrumbs for me to pick up or ignore.
I believed JD’s version of the truth, I stopped trusting my gut and didn’t question what I now know were lies and half-truths. The ‘computer virus’ he said we had when I discovered his instant messenger account and his list of friends most with screen names that included sex acts, the chat logs intercepted with him discussing meeting up with guys and couples, all the product of a virus. My gut said he was full of shit, but I ignored it and choose to believe that my love wouldn’t go on the internet to meet up with random strangers for sex. The internet history always cleared, a password on his phone and his sudden need for separate cell phone accounts, all pieces. I asked the questions and swallowed his answers. Text messages at 3 a.m. intercepted on his phone that were clearly arrangements to meet up, brushed off as accidental texts, (“That wasn’t to me, that was for her boyfriend!”). Missing time, 4 hours to get a coffee, really?? The lack of interest with sex, (well sex with me), I let go, thinking I was the problem. Had I gotten too fat, too skinny, too blonde? These were pieces that I ignored in pursuit of my happy ending. Had I looked closer, I would have seen that I was building my ideal relationship with a damaged man incapable of real feelings or closeness.
Now when I talk to JD or see him, I am sad for all that was done to him, all the loss and all the pain that is him. Had I listened to my gut, to my instincts, had he been honest about his childhood and his abuse perhaps none of this would have happened.