Friday, May 16, 2008

Drudging Up the Past

I have a huge stack of books to get through right now. My sister bought me 4 new ones for my birthday and, prior to that, I purchased a couple on Amazon. Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day…

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been reading Stephanie Klein’s Straight Up and Dirty. It is fantastic. It’s a raw and comical memoir of engagement, marriage, divorce and getting back on the dating scene all before the age of 30. The first two-thirds of the book completely cracked me up. She is certainly straight up and definitely dirty. But now that I’m approaching the end—where she chronicles the discovery of her husband’s affair—I keep having flashbacks of my own cheating bombshell last summer. And it kind of stinks. So of course, I feel compelled to write about it.

We had problems. There were plenty of warning signs. Probably 60% of the time, I knew he wasn’t right for me, but somehow that other 40% overpowered my logical side. He moved into my apartment in November. Then moved out—back to Orange County—in February. He cried and cried when he told me he was moving. “I just want to be a good person,” he repeated like a skipping record. “You are a good person,” I assured him over and over again.

We struggled to stay afloat living apart. We fought. He accused me of not trusting him. I went to counseling. I couldn’t even keep track of all that was wrong; there were so many emotional non sequiturs. Then, after a vacation to attend his cousin's wedding in July, he told me he needed a break. He didn’t want to talk to me or see me for an indefinite amount of time.

Nothing was clear. I had so many questions. And unfortunately I also had his email password. I hate to admit it, but I began to snoop. It was July 13 when I found what I was looking for. An email to his girlfriend from college, discussing paternity testing for the baby she had just given birth to. He professed his undying love for her, but insisted that he could never be the kind of father her husband could. He talked about the day they met 12 years ago and how he’d never felt like that with anyone. He mentioned how many lives would be shaken if their affair was discovered.

He slept with her weeks before moving in with me.

I called one of my best girlfriends and she tried to coach me through the shock. This sort of thing didn’t happen in real life. Not my real life. It happened in movies—or books like Stephanie Klein’s. I could have never fathomed it could happen to me.

But through the unimaginable hurt and betrayal and disgust that were spin-cycling inside me, came an unexpected sense of relief.

Because, Finally. I Was Free.

13 comments:

brookem said...

I love Stephanie Klein's book. Do you read her blog? You should. She has another memoir coming out soon too.

I never knew that about your past relationship. I am so sorry that you had to go through such heartache. You are such a strong, amazing woman, and I can only imagine that that (really crap) experience helped to make you the wonderful gal you are today.

And, brought you to Mr. Wonderful too...

:)

mom said...

I hope you can find closure with the past and concentrate on the present with Mr. Wonderful. He is what his name is and like I have always said, "Something good always comes out of something bad".
Words from "mom"; I have to fill in for Grandma P since she is no longer here.
Also, I think Surrogate Big Sis may be Michel Minore.

Mel Heth said...

Brookem - Thanks, doll. I do read Greek Tragedy religiously and I'm going to Stephanie's book signing for Moose next month. You're right though - the whole experience (and counseling) totally made me stronger. And I would go through all of it again if it led me to Mr. Wonderful. :)

Mom - Glad you're finally using your real name. You're right - in this case something WONDERFUL came from something bad.

Anita said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened and couldn't agree more with brookem and mom. They say you get what you deserve and looks like you deserve something pretty wonderful.

Michael C said...

Whoa, that was quite a summer and I'm sorry you had to go through it. It sounds like it was all for the best because now you have Mr. W!! Yay!!!

Alysha said...

Hindsight is always so much better than foresight. Or looking at things right in the middle of them, it is never easy to see that 60%. I think it is a positive attribute of yours that you see the good things in people and the positive side of things... too bad a wonderful person like you was wasted on such an ass!

Lara said...

I *heart* you and I *heart* Mr. Wonderful. You are an incredible woman and Mr. W. clearly sees that. He sees what we see. 722

Jane Moneypenny said...

Hm, I'll have to read Straight Up and Dirty! Sounds like my kinda book.

Ah, the cheating boyfriend. It's a thing no one should have to go through, but I gotta say, it made me realize what kind of guy I wanted and what kind I needed to stay away from. The 60/40 is dead on with KNOWING it was wrong, but just continually hanging on. Like a bad habit that is so wrong and unhealthy but feels so good. Your Mr. Wonderful gives me hope that I'll find someone some time...

Surrogate big sis said...

My story is similar. Four and 1/2 years of dating a cheating heart. How stupid was I? He convinced me that the Chanel No. 5 I smelled as I walked into the back door of the house was really air freshener. It's all so foggy when you're in the midst of "true love" . I knew the truth deep down, but was hard to prove 20 years ago without email or text message chains to follow in my investigation. Then I met my own "Mr. Wonderful".
I broke up with the cheater and left for Cabo with Mr. Right the next day. I never wondered again if the past was the right path. Four months later we got engaged and bought a house. Now, its been 15 years an incredible marriage. The only reason to look back is to thank my friends and family for helping me see the light. Relationships shouldn't be so difficult. Look to the future and enjoy the ride.
It looks like my identity has been uncovered.

geekhiker said...

The cheating significant other? Been there, done that, know how you feel, bought the t-shirt, sent the postcard. ;)

Which doesn't diminish, in any way, how sorry I am that you had to go through it, and how happy I am that you found Mr. Wonderful on the other side.

one little acorn said...

Great post - and power to you. You were well shot of him - even though it probably didn't feel like it at the time. And once you get over the shock of it all, it does start to improve.

Nilsa S. said...

What a powerful post. Clearly you have strength to come as far as you have.

semichrmd said...

Great post, I am a huge fan of SK and her writing - it's so raw & heartfelt (and like you said maybe just a tadbit dirty). I'm sorry to hear you had to go through such a lousy time with your ex & had to find out of his cheating ways through an email (who does that???!), but at least it led you to Mr Wonderful.