I’ve been asked many times over the last few weeks here, in email, or on IG what “my story” is. What my struggles are. Looking back to the start of this blog, its kind of a jumbled mess. But, that’s where I was at that time so its really not surprising. Today, I had some free time and decided to organize “our story” a bit better for everyone (me included). I’ve updated the My Story section of my blog with it also, for future reference, but wanted to share here for those that have been here with me. Thank you all for that.
I spent over 10 years living a happy life with my best friend, nearly 9 as his wife. We had a lot of crap go down in that decade: job losses, money struggles, 5 moves, school issues with our kids, and the normal day-to-day stresses. But never an issue with us. Ever. We were that annoying couple that seems to hit it off from their first date. The kind of couple that single me hated, until I was part of one – then I appreciated every second of it.
I had no idea he had a secret addiction. No idea that it had taken a turn for the worse and no idea that another woman had managed to destroy what it took us a decade to achieve in only a few months. To say I was blindsided by his confession and the fallout that came from it would be a huge understatement.
“D-Day” for me came in April of 2018. I’d sensed some things were off for months but thought it was just stress from my husband’s job taking its toll on him. Until I came into the living room on that Sunday evening and saw him lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, hugging one of the throw pillows from the couch. I always hated those pillows, they just came with the couch and I never bothered to replace them. I really hate the look of them now.
He took a deep breath, covered his eyes with the heel of his hands and uttered out “We’re in money trouble. I lent out a large sum of money to a friend and it was supposed to be paid back but its not going to be.” My heart sank hearing this. My husband is one of the most frugal and money smart people I know. I’m the reckless one. I also couldn’t fathom how much he would agreed to lend or think which friend would have put us in this boat.
His answers shattered me – the amount was somewhere around $50K and it wasn’t a “friend” I knew. It was a porn site webcam model he’d been having a Snapchat/Skype affair with for a few months. I didn’t know what to do or say. I walked to the bathroom and threw up everything that was in me. I stared at myself in the mirror, trying to rinse the vile taste out of mouth, and noticed the paleness setting into my skin. With shaking hands I texted my boss that I had an emergency and wouldn’t be reachable until Tuesday. I knew I couldn’t go to work.
The details of our story are not completely important to the story. Besides, there are so many of them, some big, some small, that it would be nearly impossible for me to put them into any sort of easy to follow order. But over the course of the next few hours, bits started to trickle out. The lies she told to get the money, the video/chat “perks” he was getting, the secret credit cards he had taken out to try and keep us afloat. I was at a loss and felt shook to my core. How could the man I love, trusted, and knew so well be telling me he did all these things? Looking at him, I just saw my husband. My best friend and love of my life. What he was telling me didn’t match up with what I knew and saw.
Before bed that night, I squeezed him tight and told him, I’m forgiving you. We’ll fix this. We’ll figure it out. Out of that whole night it might have been the best part. The part with the least confusion or regret linked to it. Even though I was totally terrified and confused on how we got there or how we’d get out of there.
I laid next to him that night, awake most of the night, unable to sleep. The next morning, he went to work and I went to work at our dining room table. I had accounts to deactivate, passwords to change, numbers to pull, budgets to work on, prayers to pray, and people to call. That’s who I am. The kind of person you really want on your side in crisis. I’ll gather info, pour over it, work out as many solutions as I can, bring in experts, and not let up.
By the time he came home, I was down to two options. He could file for bankruptcy alone (thankfully the loans/credit cards were all in his name so we could keep the house and car since my name was on them). We’d be stuck on a tight budget and need to watch our spending for a few years but could get through this, fix us, and hopefully be better than ever.
The second option, the one I didn’t want, was that we divorce. Sell the house, split the proceeds. I have a good career, good credit, and I’d have a down payment. I could get something good for the kids and I. He could live with his parents, we would take time to figure ourselves out – and maybe down the road try again. I didn’t want that for so many reasons. I didn’t want to hurt the kids, I didn’t want the public shame, I didn’t want the hurt of not having him by my side.
We talked with our pastor, a social worker at our church, our lawyer, and a bankruptcy lawyer before deciding that option one was what we wanted. We’d been through much before together, we’re committed, and both want the outcome to be better than we were before. Since the initial “D-Day” confessions, we have realized with the help of our therapists that he has a pornography addiction, my depressions was raging in full force, and we were struggling more than either of us realized.
This is our story of hope, recovering, and healing to (hopefully) help others dealing with their story too.