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.