A few weeks ago I wrote about my wife hating being a mother. Then some amazing commenters set me straight on what was probably going on in her head and what I was probably doing wrong. It turns out they were right. The pressures of being a stay at home mother, barefoot and pregnant so to speak, had taken its toll on her.
My wife felt like she had lost her identity.
Then last week something catastrophic happened. My wife went out to spend the evening with a friend going through a divorce and met someone, but not just someone- someone who as she put it, clicked with her in a way no one else has except me when we first started dating.
Only, she didn’t tell me this at first. I had to figure it out through suspicious behavior and thinly veiled lies and being possibly a little too detail oriented. Immediately, my wife started accusing me of spying on her.
I saw the writing on the wall. She was cheating on me. But how bad was it? How long was it going on? So… I did spy. I downloaded her phone metadata (the same stuff the NSA gets) from her detailed billing statement with the cell phone company, pulled the data into Excel and started filtering and pivoting it.
Lo and behold I found it- the number. A single number that had never been called before that last Saturday night when all the strange behavior began.
What was I to do now? Admit I was in fact spying on her, and in the worse way? My wife already refers to me as a “Digital Detective.” It’s what I do for a living in her eyes.
I talked to Atty and he laid the hard love on me. He said to quit being selfish. He said I’ve focused on myself for too long- through grad school, losing weight, travelling, perusing my career, and I’d left my wife behind.
I went to my wife to have the conversation that I felt would make or break my marriage. It turns out I was probably right.
Instead of making accusations, laying out the evidence or accusing my wife, I humbled myself in the most extreme way possible. I thanked her for allowing me to become the man that I had worked so hard to be. I told her it was because of her and her alone that I was permitted to pursue my education, my career, my livelihood and even my good health.
My wife initially attacked me, like my even broaching the subject had kicked over a beehive. She swarmed and stung hard. She called me a selfish asshole. She made me feel like a piece of shit. I took it.
Then I simply asked her about ‘him.’ Mr. Area Code- (814). She didn’t reply. I don’t think she really knew how.
The Next Day.
The next day I urged my wife to talk to me as her best friend. Not as her husband, but a friend free of accusations, anger or judgment. I think the last day of guilt had worn her down and to my amazement, the details started pouring out.
I sat balled up on the couch, my knees pressed deep into my chest as I listened to the story about this sweet Welsh man who was in town doing a guest lecture series at the local college.
My wife unabashedly told me every detail of her night with him ranging from his pickup line, to light hand holding to taking shots together and dancing the night away. I wanted to puke, but instead I took the repeated blows to the heart.
I asked her if she’d seen him again. I asked her if they had any sort of physical relations. She said no. She said she had gone to meet him for coffee and left out of guilt. Then he was back off to the UK the next day.
She said he was coming back in November. I asked if she’d try to meet with him again. She said she didn’t know.
In my mind I felt like I was entangled in a Stanley Kubrick movie, a strange hypnotic waltz where your feet continue to move in a strict formation while your mind is a million miles away in a place where everything is warped and backwards.
After the fact, I still wondered if maybe there wasn’t more to the story, but I have come to realize it doesn’t matter. What matters at this point is that I had no choice but to trust her. Trust is the only thing that will fix whatever has been broken somewhere along the way.
And frankly, I don’t know that I need to know the details. What does it help? It would only lead my mind off into a tailspin.
So now I work to let my wife regain herself. To focus more on her happiness, because I love her and she deserves it. I don’t feel angry or hurt that she had a night of flirting with a stranger. What I felt was fear.
I feared it was over for good. And maybe, just maybe if Mr. Area Code- (814) didn’t happen to be a foreigner sweeping out of town just as quickly as he’d swept in and swept my wife right off her feet, it would have been.