Moving back east was a dream come true for me; I had missed the lush green landscape and it was a balm for my soul. But my brain needed the medication I had stopped taking, and my husband was grieving his mother’s loss as well as dealing with incredible work-related stress. Plus, of course, we’d never really resolved our marriage issues anyway.
In late 2012, he learned that a segment of the group for whom he worked would be relocated …but as he was not technically part of their division, he was neither asked nor offered a relocation option. He was stressed about his job and in the spring of 2013, he accepted a transfer to another division to avoid the risk of a layoff. That position was a couple states away, but he viewed it as temporary – maybe a year or so, and he planned to live with his dad during that time.
Six weeks after he started the position, his father died suddenly and unexpectedly. He went into the hospital for a resistant strain of pneumonia, and they discovered that it wasn’t pneumonia after all – that it was lung cancer that had spread everywhere. He died 36 hours after admission.
My husband, who had kept his parents on a pedestal his entire life, was suddenly adrift. Unmoored. Certainly our marriage couldn’t have buoyed him – he resented me and our children because we were all together in our home, while he had to look for a place to live on an extremely limited budget.
He found a room for rent on Craigslist – a woman his age, who he described as both a grandmother and a lesbian. Seemed safe, right? …sigh. She would eventually become the first of two OW/AP/ACC (other woman/affair partner/adultery co-conspirator).
He lived there for only two months, telling me that he had to move out because “she’s crazy”. He stayed in touch with his new “friend”, though, giving her rides occasionally to or from her job as a stripper. Yep – that grandma was a stripper. A month or two after he moved out, perhaps to thank him for all of the taxi money she was saving, she offered to give him a “dancing lesson” which landed them in her bed. I guess it scared him, and he didn’t see or even contact her again for several months.
A couple months after that encounter with her, he asked me for a divorce on New Year’s Eve. He even asked me if I was cheating on him, going so far as to shed a tear or two because imagining me with another man just broke his heart. Apparently, it is common for a wayward spouse to accuse the faithful spouse of cheating. I was very deeply depressed by then, and asked him if we could talk about it later. By then, he was infatuated with his current housemate, who thankfully had healthy boundaries.
After the New Year, he heard again from his old roommate, who had moved halfway across the country, and who invited him up to visit her and her fiancée, a woman she’d known for a few weeks. In fact, my husband attended their courthouse wedding as a witness and friend of (one of) the bride’s.
Right around this time, a former co-worker started calling him. A lot. She was much younger, single, and a serial OW/AP for older married men; her prior MM (married man) refused to leave his wife for her (after a three year affair) so she moved on to a fresh target. Within weeks of their renewed contact, she was calling my husband frequently and inviting him to visit her.
It was also around this time that I accepted that I truly needed medical intervention. I was diagnosed with major depression and once again started taking antidepressants. It was a low dose (I’m not sure why) and it would take nearly five months for me to begin to feel healthy again.
My husband returned home and to his original job sixteen months after he’d left. He says he felt like a stranger in his own home, and that is probably an accurate assessment: our son was also dealing with major depression and our older daughter was hitting her stride as a teen; only our youngest child seemed happy to see him.
Sometime in October, however, I experienced a huge mental shift: I’ve described as if a fog had lifted, and suddenly, I saw my life, our family, and my husband for the first time in a very long time with a renewed clarity, and on Halloween, I asked my husband if we could save our marriage.