Me [47 M] Coping with my wife's [46 F] affair, The Time Machine (self.relationships)
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I opened the cabinet and there it was. A bowl. Nothing special. I'm taken back more than 20 years. My girlfriend and I were in our first apartment together. It was on the upper east side of Manhattan. We had just graduated from college. It was 1991, we both had gotten jobs, she was making slightly more than me, we couldn't really afford the place, but we didn't care. We were in love, and I was so happy to be going on this journey of life with her. Back then, we had just gotten back from Williams Sonoma, on 86th and Madison, we had spent too much money on four bowls and a big matching serving bowl. It all felt all so full of hope. We could serve salad in the big one, and the small one would be for individual servings. Truth be told, I ate breakfast cereal in them more than anything else. I was so happy though. REM played on the stereo almost all the time, we were both shiny happy people.
That was before though.
I snap back to the present, fill my lungs with air, and let out a deep sigh. I divert my attention from the bowl, because I don't want to think about that now. I sigh again. I look out the window, on the sill is picture of us from our wedding. We were on the roof of the Stanhope Hotel, we had rented out the penthouse. The photo was me holding her, the background was central park and the skyline of NYC. That smile on my face tells it all. Snap! Look away, it doesn't feel real anymore. how could I have ever been so god damned happy. I mean, what right did I have anyway! Ok, ok, easy big fella, no reason to get worked up. Breathe.
Coffee, I was making coffee. Okay, I can do that. Water, flame, grind, measure. I got this. No problem. Fill press with coffee, pour hot water, time, stir, time, press. Pour into mug, sweetness, cream, noisy sip. Ah, damn that's good.
It's a sunday morning, the house is quiet. I'm the only one up. This is my time. I walk over to the table and sit at my laptop. Reading worldnews, wasting time, Crimea, rhino poachers, Syria. The world's pretty fucked up. My mugs empty. Get up, re-fill, sweetness, cream, sip, Ah! Hungry, bacon. I like thick cut bacon, and I like it fried. Fuck that microwave shit. Five slices hit the pan, low heat.
On the way back to the table, I see a picture of my son. It's from 2010, he's in a giant outdoor pool. His hands are holding a bottle nose dolphin, and he's giving it a fake kiss. Fake because he did't really want his lips to touch it. The four of us were all in the pool, we were on vacation at Atlantis in the bahamas. They gave us wetsuits to put on, and instructed us to remove all jewelry. Something to do with the dolphins eating it. I remember being confused about that. Did the dolphins swim up to you, snap it off and eat it, or were the dolphin-keepers afraid it could fall off and then they eat it? I also remember you refused to take of a cartier love bracelet you had bought yourself about a month prior. I had argued with you about it, "Why won't you take it off?" I said, "Just do as they ask, who cares?". "No" was your answer, "I'll tuck it into the suit". Whatever, we were the last one's still getting ready, so off we went to watch some video about dolphin safety. I was still pretty happy. A family. two kids. Sex between us was non-existant, but I knew deep in my heart how much I loved you, and I knew we'd get back on track.
Snap! What a god damed fool I was, since when do women buy themselves love bracelets. Bacon needed to be flipped. It smelled so good. I love it when you flip it, and it sizzles loudly for a moment, filling the air with its magical aroma.
Breath, sigh. I look out the window again. And there it is, standing proudly on the patio. That stupid fucking outdoor heater she bought. The thing looks like a giant alien, the tall thin neck supporting its weird misshapen head. Flash, it's 2010 again, the Monday after Thanksgiving. We had a fight this morning, you said I was too needy. That I demanded too much of you time, and you just want some time for yourself. All I had suggested was we get together for lunch. I guess that wasn't going to happen. I left for work hurt, feeling alone, asking myself if I was really like that.
I sat at my desk in the office thinking about the fight. I started counting days. Thanksgiving was Thursday, I had off Friday, so the whole family has been home for four days, she hasn't had a day to herself for four days. That's was the fight was about. Motherfucker, she promised. Goddammit! She would never admit to it, she would lie. At that moment I knew what I had to do. I stood up, put on my coat, and left. Got in my car and drove home.
I parked in front of my neighbors house about two blocks away. Walked up to the side door. I pressed my ear to the door and listened. It was quiet. I used my key to open the door, and slipped inside. I heard you upstairs talking on the phone to somebody. I tried getting closer so I could hear. You were talking about how you just bought an outdoor heater and how it's going to change your life or some dumb shit. I knew you were talking to him. But I still had no proof. I listened, waiting for the "I love you's", or whatever, but you were just talking about stupid shit. You came downstairs with a full laundry basket in your hands, the phone pushed against your ear by your shoulder. I hid from you as you walked to the laundry. Still listening, still nothing. You filled the machine, I heard the dial on the machine turning, it came to life and started hissing as it filled with water. I couldn't hear anymore. Fuck this! I thought, and confronted you. You saw me and had the look of a deer caught in the headlights, the phone fell to the floor with a BANG!
Fuck! Shit, stop it! Why do you do this to yourself. You could think of happy things, so why do you keep doing this! That was four fucking years ago. Allright, three and half, but whatever, Why!
Breath. The bacon's done by now. Pull it out of the hot grease, drain on paper towels. One more cup of coffee, this time with a side of bacon, yum.
I hear you coming down the stairs, slowly and sleepily. I still love you, but nothings been the same since. Will I ever be ok? Will I ever stop torturing myself with these horrible memories that surround and consume me? Will I stop hating myself for taking you back? Can I ever really forgive you, or trust again?
God dammit, I feel like shit. I look towards the stairs, I see her, like I've seen her practically every day for the last twenty three years. She looks pretty, and I smile despite myself.
Am I alone in this behavior? Assuming I'm not, how have others dealt with this? What can I do to break this cycle? What else can I expect?
tl;dr: random objects around my house remind me of my wife's affair, I took her back. Three and half years have past, I'm not coping well.
37 comments submitted at 14:40:17 on Jun 3, 2014 by foolishlunatic3