I often search out other spouses who are suffering like I am.....perhaps to fulfill my own needs as far as acknowledgment of my own feelings and suffering. Most of them blogging about their days, their struggles and everyday lives living with Combat PTSD. While I like what I read and is somewhat comforting, I am seeking the unspoken subjects that I have endured and struggled with. Surely, I am not the ONLY spouse who is dealing with the taboo subjects which derive from PTSD and all the hell it leaves in its wake! Is there some unwritten code we as spouses are supposed to follow and not talk about? Are we not allowed to address these issues with the comforting knowledge that it's ok to talk about it? I thought long and hard about all these "hush hush" topics, but am going to grab the reins and run with them anyway!
Such a a simple word that can bring a whole hell of a lot of problems upon a family and a marriage. One of those subjects no one wants to talk about in the open and one that I gather should not be blogged about. My story started once my husband came home from Iraq. As you know from my previous blogs, my husband was not acting remotely normal and our marriage basically dissolved into thin air because of his issues. Coupled with not getting help, let's just say our house was not a happy home. When I found out I was pregnant with our third child, the whole world turned upside down and he lost whatever sanity he did come home with. The paranoia and disillusions really screwed his head up into believing that I somehow had an affair and must have been at the same time he was home for me to be pregnant. There were a lot of hurtful comments, lot of hatred and resentment from both of us. There were so many times in my head that I had wished I had cheated because it would have made his anger, resentment and the trouble he was giving me, worth it. Strongly a firm believer in marriage vows and coming from a family whose parents had issues such as these, I could not believe he would ever think or accuse me of doing such a thing.
However, he went back to work, I did my own thing at home with our other children and somehow things just rocked along albeit badly. During this time, a friend we will call E, was calling or texting which wasn't out of the ordinary. I have some male acquaintances, he has some female ones. Never been an issue with us, and never had any reason not to trust him prior to war. He worked part-time with a buddy of his on his off days, so it wasn't out of the ordinary that he wasn't home. He was always available by phone should I need him and home when he was supposed to be.
The texting every once in a blue moon began to become an every day thing. That daily thing turned into almost what I would say as an obsession. Constantly, he was on his phone texting and if not, then he was on the phone with her. Now I know her, she seems nice, married as well....and her husband is not one of our favorite people. Often, it was questions in regards to fixing something and he would walk her through it with me on the phone. Then the phone calls became more and more often with her just needing a friend to talk to or the fact she was depressed. Me, being the naive and big hearted person, told my husband that he needed to make sure she had a friendly ear to listen to her. Little did I know that this friendly ear was becoming more of an issue than what I thought.
It must have been probably six months of a rocky marriage and arguments over seeking help, that a knock on my door came one day. It was E's husband. I was kind of shocked to see him there and knew they were having marital problems of their own, but over what, not sure. He asked if he could speak to me for a few minutes and I let him in. He then proceeded to tell me that for over six months, his wife and my husband were having an affair. I pretty much felt the whole world get knocked out from underneath me. I didn't understand at first and was really angry with this man for playing such a cruel joke. However, he proceeded to tell me that he felt I needed to know and gave me many details on days where my husband was supposedly working. He said he knew I was expecting again and felt that I needed to know what was going on. They had separated and he felt that I needed to know the whole story and save me the heartache he was going through.
I was shocked but things began falling in place. There was one phone call which came during supper time. He spoke softly and soothingly to this unknown person. Little did he know that his volume was up so high on his phone (due to hearing loss) that I could hear every word and know that it was a woman. When he got off the phone, I asked him who it was and he said "Oh it was a guy from work wanting to know if I could swap days with him". I think at that moment I knew, but when I confronted him with his lies he swore up and down they were just friends and that he would never ever cheat on me.
The days he was supposedly working, I never saw any extra on the checks but he always had bills paid on time or came up with extra money. I learned later he was tapping into our savings account to cover his ass on his lies. That evening of the visit from the bearer of information, I threw my husband out of the house. When he came home that day he was so cold, so indifferent and when I confronted him about E's husband, he said "Ok, so I had an affair so what!". That's it? That's all you have to give me?
He then began to tell me it wasn't about sex, it was just needing someone to listen to him. LISTEN to him? I felt like I wanted to smack him upside the head because all I have done is been there for him, talking to him and trying to get him help. Then, I felt resentment and pure hatred for this man because here I am at seven months pregnant and he was accusing me of cheating on him!
I really can't tell you how things went from there but on the verge of divorce and the baby, we somehow managed to find marriage counseling. We salvaged much of our relationship what was left of it, and after counseling, it seemed to help him and me coping with this "interference". My husband was a trust worthy man, and we don't lie to each other. I could not grasp the whole concept of what or who this person was after he came home from war. In counseling, he told me that he knew he could talk to me but could not tell me everything because he was afraid of what I would think of him. It wasn't that he was attracted to her or remotely had any feelings for her, it was just a punishment to himself and the high of "not getting caught". Was it all bullshit? An excuse or an easy way out? I don't know. Maybe its true, that it had nothing to do with me and was all about him.....perhaps it was just him playing the Iraqi/PTSD card.
He wanted to be with me, and I wanted my husband back....looking back over the last three years since this has happened...I wondered where I would be now had I just simply closed that door in my life. The sex part doesn't bother me as much as the personal closeness he shared with her. I feel as if I was robbed. I was robbed of a memorable pregnancy, robbed of a memorable happy time of the birth of our son, and robbed because he could not talk to me. The one person who would never judge, always listen and who, used to think, we were best of friends.
I don't think in my heart and mind, I have ever truly forgiven him. Although he has never spoken to her since that time, I still see her from time to time out in town. The humiliation becomes unbearable and always re-opens old wounds. When he opens his phone to text his buddies, or he receives one...I can't help but wonder if that's who he is talking to. If he leaves the house, then I often wonder if he is seeing someone. Let's face it, being married to a Combat PTSD veteran is hard enough and sometimes that trust is broken in other areas....adding this type of break makes one almost distrusting of them. He thinks I should just drop it, leave it in the past and keep moving forward. I try. That's what you do in marriages right? Keep moving forward and let the forgiveness come later. I can't even describe to him how much damage he has done to my self-esteem or how broken I really feel.
I try not to think about any of this....leave it in the past and hope that with time, I heal and trust again. The other night he made a comment that bothered me and guess it rehashed the old hurt that was buried deep. He was outside and I called him in for supper. He was texting back and forth and like a parent, made him put down the phone to eat. We always used to joke about me or him having a monday night or friday night man or gal pre-war. It's been a long time since we have done that, and not thinking I said "tell your friday night gal you have to eat and you will get back to her" and I chuckled along with my kids. He jumped up from his seat and said "Well I have been there and done that, now haven't I?" I don't know if what he said was hurtful or the cold mean way he said it. Either way, it was a reminder I didn't need. I don't even know why he said it. I mean, if I was some callous cold hearted bitch who loved to rub it in his face all the time, or constantly nagged about his cheating....it would be totally different. Unfortunately, I think the PTSD has taken all his good sense of humor and our playfulness with each other to whatever depths that it lives in.
So that's so my story. Of course, wrapped up short and sweet without a bow on top but nevertheless written on my blog out in the open. I guess when it's days like this one where he is in a foul mood and hard to handle....it makes me wonder if he truly appreciates all that I do for him and still loves me as much as I do him. I wouldn't put my life on hold and spend each day in hell, if my heart still didn't feel something for him as strong as it was the day we met. It would just be nice to know something at least. I do know this was the first time and the only time this will happen. There are no more second chances left in me. Hopefully, this will reach another spouse and they will say "holy hell, I went through this too"! If I can accomplish that, then I am ok with bearing it all out here.
Not ashamed to write it all,