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In 1986, I married my best friend and the person I was to grow old with. The woman I had my children by. The woman with whom I shared my innermost being with and whom I thought I knew better than anyone. Little did I know that I did not know anything……..
The summer of 2000 went on as summers did, with me working and my wife having time off, since she drove a school bus. It was the perfect job because she could be there for the kids. This summer, however, things were amiss.
We were different…. no, she was different. She was spending an outrageous amount of time on the computer, but I thought she was instant messaging friends and shopping. She was coming to bed later and later each night. I thought it strange, but figured no biggie; she is off for the summer and just doesn’t need to get to bed when I needed to. One day, she mentioned she had found a friend online who had a lot in common with her and had three kids of her own.
“O.K.,” I said, “That’s cool.” And so she and her newfound friend were hanging out, going out, and having a grand ol’ time. (Oh, how dumb and foolish I feel now.)
One night, we planned to get together with some friends from church at a local restaurant that had a little band. My wife met me there, showing up with “the friend.”
I was not feeling well and after dinner said we should go home. She told me to go home; she would stay. I went home, fell asleep, and woke about 2:00 am. My wife was not home, it was unlike her to be out that late, and she was not answering her cell phone. I feared something had happened.
I drove back to the restaurant as they were closing. I knew a guy in the band and asked if he had seen my wife. He went silent and then said he needed to tell me something. He then proceeded to tell me how MY WIFE, THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN had seductively danced, made out with, and carried on with her “friend.”
I was sick and stunned. I went home and waited. When she showed up I asked her what the hell was going on and said I had spoken with the guy in the band. She broke down, said she was drunk and confused, and the friend made a move on her. I asked her what else took place, and she swore that there was no more than the kissing. I threw her pillow and blanket out of our bedroom, locked myself in, and went to sleep. That was August 15, 2000.
The next morning, I thought long and hard about my vows and the kids and everything we had been through and decided not to throw away 14 years due to a mistake. I told her how I felt and that we would work through this. “But,” I said, ”there is no way that you are ever to see or talk to that ‘friend’ ever again.”
She agreed. As days went on, she tried negotiating various ways of allowing contact with her friend, via email or instant message, and I said no way. Her next step was to get nasty. She told me I had no right to tell her who she could and could not see. I told her, “Either you want to be married to me or you want to be with her, but you cannot have it both ways. If you want the latter, pack your bags and leave, but understand that once you walk out that door, you will never come back.”
On September 1, 2000, she did just that. With no warning or chance to explain to our kids, she packed her bags, told them she was leaving, and asked them to do the same. They were, needless to say, shocked and stunned and crying. They refused to go with her (and for that I will be eternally grateful) and off she went. When the screen door shut, I realized that our lives had just changed forever.
My wife died that day. The person I married, who was caring and thoughtful and loved our kids, was no longer here. Her face and body were evident, but all shards of that woman were gone. She became erratic and moody with severe emotional swings, and her parental sense was completely gone. She was so self absorbed that she thought only of herself and her newfound life as a lesbian. Our kids were made to take it or leave it. Their first weekend with her she took them to the now-girlfriend’s house.
I filed for divorce and began a four-year battle. She told the neighbors she left because I beat her. She called the police and said them same thing. She accused me of a gay relationship when I invited a man and his two kids to live with us after their home burned down and they had no place to live. She broke into the family home several times by kicking the door in, tried opening credit cards in my name so she could use them, and caused irreparable harm to both kids. My daughter has not spoken to her mother in over six years. My son sees her once a week for two hours. This is the extent of her relationship with her children now.
I am happy to say I retained custody of both kids — unheard of in my conservative county where mothers are almost always granted custody — and got to keep the house.
Now I am a 44-year-old single dad of two teenagers. While I would not trade this for anything, I am angered that I was put in this position. She walked away leaving me not only to pick up the pieces, but also to mend them and heal our children, try to be a mother figure in some form, and wonder what will become of my life now. I do not communicate with her unless it’s necessary and related to the kids and only through email. I will never forgive her for what she has done to me but mostly what she did to two wonderful kids who deserved none of this.