Today, I’m starting a new series with Debbie who blogs at My Everyday Journey. Debbie is a lifestyle blogger, blogging about things like her son’s first day back at school, their summer vacation – everyday events that single moms like you and me deal with all the time, except that Debbie’s story isn’t an everyday story.
Debbie was married for about six years when she discovered her husband had been unfaithful. That then led to the discovery that he was also a pedophile. At the time, their son was two-and-a-half. Although, they did try to work at saving marriage, perhaps it was inevitable that they divorced. Debbie’s story starts with how she found out about his infidelity. Here’s Debbie:
We were going out on a date and I was looking for my “facts for the babysitter” document on the computer and happened across this list of names with graphic descriptions of sexual activity. I don’t think I knew what it was at first. I was in shock.
I didn’t want to confront him about it right away. I wasn’t scared of him but all of a sudden, I didn’t know what to believe anymore. I needed to have somebody else with me when I confronted him. So my plan was to have our therapist with us and to bring it up to him in therapy.
We had been seeing a counselor because he’d been depressed and he’d been through some job losses. Things were not great between us but I saw it as,
“this is marriage and this is part of the ups and downs.”
I never thought that we would get divorced but I was realistic knowing that marriage is work and it isn’t all honeymoon happiness.
However, my plan didn’t work out. Clearly I am not as good at hiding secrets as he was. When I printed out the list, I must have pressed print twice because when my husband had turned on the computer, it had printed out again. So he actually confronted me about it and asked me,
“What is this? What is this on the computer?”
He was basically accusing me. He was working the angle of making me feel like I was crazy. It was very weird.
We did go to see our counselor and there he claimed it was from a computer virus. I’m not stupid but you want to try to believe things. The counselor believed him. So I thought I’d just take the computer somewhere and figure out what happened.
So then I lied to him. I said I was going to work. I think that was probably the first time I had ever lied to him in my life. I’d looked up “computer data recovery” in the phone book and called the first person I came across. I’m not real religious, but I am pretty spiritual and I definitely believe that you end up in the right places for the right reasons. This guy had actually been through this with a girlfriend and he did this for people. He could have completely taken advantage of me but he didn’t. He spent the whole day with me and my friend, figuring it out and he charged me like $65. He was in my life for a reason.
Even though my husband had ‘deleted’ a lot of stuff, it was still recoverable. There were pornographic pictures of him that he had taken and sent to people, Yahoo IM messages and emails back and forth and pictures of other men that had been sent to him. There were also pictures of children. None of them were pornographic but they were kids I didn’t know.
Even though they were two quite separate events, they are almost the same in my mind. Everything felt like it was spinning. All of a sudden I didn’t know what was up and what was down and I remember thinking I couldn’t even trust the ground beneath my feet.
If everything you thought was true, isn’t true, how do you even know that to believe anymore?
The Divorce Coach Says
Have you ever been in one those situations where everything seems surreal? One of those, ‘this can’t be happening to me’ situations? If you have, then you’ll know exactly what Debbie means about everything spinning and wondering whose reality is real.
There was an event that made me see that divorce was not only an option but was the option I needed to explore. (I haven’t written about that event publicly yet out of consideration for my children’s privacy.) It certainly isn’t in the same league as Debbie’s discovery but it still knocked the wind out of my sails. It engulfed my mind and I could think of nothing else. It was that event that finally made me call a therapist.
Other times when I’ve questioned reality? My MIL was bipolar and at times she would have manic episodes. During these times, she would complain of hearing voices through the telephone, people snooping outside and under her bed, that the CIA was watching and that her husband wasn’t really dead. It all sounded very far-fetched and I’d calmly and repeatedly tell her that it wasn’t true, it wasn’t happening, while in the back of my mind, this quiet voice whispered, “what if she’s right and you’re wrong? How do you really know?”
Photo Credit: rick at Flickr