We have all heard of the old saying, ignorance is bliss. Sometimes reality can be so painful to face, that we can prefer to block it out.
I was guilty of doing this, until one day, I realised I couldn’t any longer.
In my marriage there had been no mention of any discontent, there had been no arguments, no long talks about the state of our relationship. Instead there had been affection, such love shown, laughter and contentment. This made the truth I was soon to face, so absurd and hard to accept.
When I found the message from the other woman and my husband instantly walked out on me, I was confronted with a new reality that had never ever crossed my mind. My husband was having an affair.
In the days and weeks that followed and in spite of his extreme reaction to my finding that text, he began to deny the affair relationship. Nothing made sense. He fed me so many lies and irrational excuses for suddenly want to leave me, creating problems in the relationship that had never existed (or at least, if they did, I wasn’t aware of).
So many of his excuses were non-sensical. One example being, that he resented that he had to have dinner with me (that I cooked) a few evenings a week and that on those few days he wouldn’t be able to dine out with his work colleagues and how silly he felt this made him look to them. Needless to say, this left me utterly confused as to why he was so cruelly wanting to throw a good marriage away over something so trivial.
In time the truth started to unearth itself and the pieces started to fall into place. Even though he could not acknowledge it, he was leaving me for her.
To this day and despite what I know, he has continued to deny his relationship with her, a year on and I still haven’t received the full truth. He doesn’t believe I deserve any acknowledgement or apology for his betrayal. Sometimes he has come close to admitting that he has been involved with this person but then he suddenly backtracks.
This obviously creates a safe space for him where he doesn’t have to face what he has actually done to me. I also feel that he has tried to preserve a way back to me should things not work out with her. As a controlling person, he wouldn’t want to work at earning my trust back and have this impact on his life in anyway.
However, what I had also come to find is that without realising it, his denials had also became a safe space for me.
He created such an air of ambiguity about his ending the marriage and his relationship with the other woman. He seemed to follow a cryptic script that meant I could not pin him down to any one truth.
“There’s nothing in it.”
“This isn’t about someone else.”
“I am not talking about her, it’s irrelevant.”
“We might have been together, on and off.”
Morning after morning, I would wake up and imagine my husband with this woman, imagine them waking up together. I still imagine them together countless times throughout my day. Yet, before I knew what I know now, his truth dodging script would come into my mind and, for a moment, I would find a weird comfort in it. He’s denials would cushion me from the crushing truth my mind was desperate to flee from. Despite knowing the reality, that he is with her, I could allow myself to indulge in this temporary ignorance.
I followed this pattern for a year until recently, when I recieved a Legal document in our divorce proceedings that blew any ignorance that I was able to shelter under.
On paperwork that he had completed and sent to my lawyer, he confirmed that he was in a cohabiting relationship.
When I saw this, my vision blurred, I couldn’t focus. My mind felt like it was warping. Was that it? All the years of love and marriage, was that my acknowledgement of the truth, that tiny little x that he had marked in a box?
Something hit me there and then like a freight train. I now had no choice but to accept the harsh truth and face reality and I have to be honest, no longer being able to hide behind the fog of his lies scared the life out of me.
It felt like finding that text message all over again. It was another punch in the gut. I tried to go to that safe place of ambiguity, but it wasn’t there anymore, it had been replaced by this statement of truth. I tried to quickly recount the script he provided me with but it had been blown apart.
I had received truth – and it was something I really wasn’t used to when it came to him.
I considered how I would deal with this and the impact that it was going to have on me. Having those same unwelcome and intrusive thoughts of my husband with his affair partner but now knowing with certainty that yes, they are actually together.
It’s been a few weeks and I am still trying to adjust to this new understanding. There are no more excuses, deflections or lies. It hurts beyond belief but I am trying not to dwell on those thoughts of them and desperately trying to realign my thinking to a new safe place.
I now follow a new script in my mind when it gets too hard to bear. It includes the reality of what their relationship has been born of, deceit. It involves the truth of who he is and what he is capable of. It reinforces that I am better off without him.
Somehow, my mind finds it’s way out of the maze of painful thoughts and I am able work through it. As difficult as it is, I have come to realise that this is far healthier than allowing my husband’s lies to cloud me, to make me question what I knew to be true and allow myself to find hope in his false reality. Looking back now, it seems rather twisted, trying to find some shred of comfort in the lies told to me by someone who had only their own motives and self preservation in mind.
I now realise that one positive exists in regards to the time it has taken for me to gain any semblance of truth from my husband. It is that it has meant that I could become stronger before the full truth was revealed to me, that he was living with the woman he left me for. The truth has rained down on me in drips rather than one quick soaking.
I see now that even though my heart knew otherwise, somewhere inside I was allowing his lies to plants seeds of doubt in the truth of his betrayal. Ultimately, this was prolonging full acceptance taking place and the healing that needs to begin.
How could healing really start when I wasn’t allowing myself to experience the full reality of what had happened to me?
The mind is an amazing thing, it allows us to find ways of coping with things we feel we cannot cope with. I now understand that there is also a time for facing reality and not shying away from the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be.
I am no longer the blissfully ignorant girl who believed her husband could never be capable of having an affair, could never be capable of being so cruel in his self preservation. It has been so brutal to have my understanding of reality turned upside down in the way it has, but now I realise that amongst the immense pain there can be freedom and release when the truth reveals itself. From here on, I will only welcome truth and honesty in my life because that is what I deserve. This is something we all deserve.