Marriage Under Mercy Part 1
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…as I start to decorate my tree and stare at the twinkling lights, I can’t help but get a little emotional. Christmas time is my favorite time of year, but it is also the beginning of the story of the hardest time of my life.
Sometimes I wish I could unwrap it, unpack it and leave it behind for good….but then I would never have the gift of a healthy marriage. Most of you who know me, know that I have been pretty open about my story. My marriage went through something that most don’t get through- a betrayal so hurtful it seems more like the plot of a dramatic movie than something experienced in real life. But I want you to know this story because it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to my marriage. If you had asked me when I was really going through it- I would not have said these things. I would have been angry, distraught, heartbroken. I probably would have tried to mask those feelings with a fake “it’s ok” and “oh well screw him” attitude. Truthfully, I felt broken down, weak, and vulnerable. I was also fragile, confused, and just sad. It’s difficult remembering the feelings I had back then, and it took a long time to heal and even longer to truly forgive and move forward.
I do want you to know that time does heal most wounds, but what ultimately saved me and saved our marriage was dropping to our knees and letting Jesus take hold of our lives.
I wanted to give up and walk away, and I did a few times; however, God had other plans for us. He wanted a success story- not a fairy tale. God has been very clear on wanting me to tell to tell this story- may be because some of you are going through your own heartbreak. Maybe it was your spouse, maybe it was you….In the end, it doesn’t matter. It will take both of you to forgive, both of you to work incredibly hard, and both of you to fall back in love with one another. This story is one that has taken 3 years to tell, and you won't get the full story all in one blog piece. There is just too much to unpack. I want you to know that it will take a few posts, and even then you will never know everything. When it all happened I asked a million questions, wrote everything down, and this story has way too many twists and turns to reveal it all in a blog….. What you will learn is the betrayal, the forgiveness, and finally the renewal.
3 years ago, around this time, my husband’s affair with a dear friend of mine began. It started at a Christmas party we host every year. Santa, hot cocoa, and our closest friends. I sat back and watched as my close friend (we will call her A) and my husband began an intimate conversation in the back hallway of our house. I felt uneasiness and saw the warning signs, but I took a step back and just watched. Maybe this is where I went wrong- I started making excuses for their behavior that night even though I heard the loud warning bells that something wasn’t right. I ignored the signs. If you know me you know I don’t like to confront people. I don’t like to make the ones I care about feel bad about themselves. So I made an excuse up- reasons why they would be back there alone, reasons why she had been following him from room to room that night. I told myself that neither of them would hurt me and let them continue their conversation. That night I remember asking my husband about it, and I told him that the private conversation was inappropriate. He agreed and said it wouldn’t happen again….but the seed of excitement had been planted. Words of having a crush were whispered by her, and I would be just a spectator on the sidelines the following few months.
The following day was Christmas, and our families spent it together. I chalked up the weirdness the previous night to my own insecurities, and we continued with our plans to enjoy the holidays together. I guess when starting an affair there is a moment that both parties decide if it’s worth it. This was that moment for them. The excitement and flirtation from the night before were still there. All it took was one quick walk to the fridge together, a 2-minute conversation- him “did you mean what you said last night?” her- “I did.” This agreement and all our lives would be changed.
New Year’s Eve was coming up, and we had planned a fun role-playing murder mystery party. We all had assigned parts to play, so texting one another didn’t seem weird. There were about 40 of us, and the theme was New Orleans. The girls all came over early to help me decorate my house which included removing wedding photos from my walls and replacing them with purple and green decorations. Another thing that seemed innocent at the time was A coming over and hiding evidence of my marriage in a closet. Ignorance is not always bliss. That night A came over early and was in a full-blown mood. She told me her husband and she were fighting and that she didn’t feel pretty. So I took her upstairs, put some lipstick on her, and told her she was beautiful. She instantly changed her mood when my husband walked in. She was flipping her long hair around and following my husband all over the house. I was so busy hosting I almost didn’t notice….almost. Then I went outside and saw the stare she gave him, the dramatic hair flip and look of longing not even breaking eye contact when I was staring right at her. Still annoyed the next day, I called my best friend, Lauren. I told her about the party and asked, “Am I being crazy?’ She agreed the behavior was totally inappropriate (obviously), but also thought that they would NEVER do anything. Little did I know that night, New Year's Eve was the first night they kissed. In my home- with everyone there, once again hidden in a corner. I wasn’t crazy at all. I was aware, very aware. I just didn’t want to believe that two people who I loved could toss me aside like I was nothing. Affairs happen, but they happen with strangers, right? Not friends, not people you trust. I guess this was the beginning of a new year. A year that would be the hardest year of my life…
The holiday break continued with movie nights and girl time with friends, including A. We had mutual friends in town so every day was something. At one point I wasn’t feeling well. So while I stayed at home and rested, my husband and A met in secret. They talked, they laughed, and honestly who knows what else. I don’t know how many times I was betrayed, but I do know that between the day they decided that no one else mattered (December 25) to the day I found out (March 27th) there were over 3000 text messages exchanged.
I’m not going to lie- I have to pause while writing this story. The memories of every detail love to flood back into my mind. I’m not here to tell you everything I found out or every moment of this affair. Just enough to give you the background so you can begin to understand just a glimpse of the pain I felt. When it all came out, I heard people say things like “You weren’t that close of friends”, or that I “made this a bigger deal than it was.” Or they said, “I don’t like how Blaire handled this situation.” Try this: put yourself in my shoes. Know there isn’t a handbook for how to handle your husband’s affair. There is just pain. There is raw emotion, and it takes a lot of time to understand and deal with the roller coaster of highs and lows. I felt strong one day and then had a hard time getting out of bed the next day. I would look for every strong woman quote to post thinking, “If I read this over and over it might stop me from screaming “WHY!!!????” every time I think about what happened. It has been 3 years, and just writing this puts tears in my eyes….this story is real, it’s my life. It broke me.
I’ll continue now. This still isn’t easy, so please bear with me as I continue because this next part gets even harder…
January came and went with hangouts, kids’ birthday parties, couple’s dates, and lots of phone calls. Mostly A would call me and tell me about how unhappy she was in her marriage. I had a feeling there was someone else- even though she never said it outright. I would give her advice- saying things like “It’s never greener on the other side” or “Have you tried therapy?” I would usually end the phone calls with “I’m here for you if you need anything.” I remember a specific time I even told her about another incident that had happened previously with my husband saying “It’s never is real, it’s a fantasy! When reality hits they always choose their life back at home with their wives. They will even say things like, ‘I love you.’ But listen to me… it never loves. Don’t fall for it. If there’s someone else, I promise you it isn’t real. Your family is real. You can work it out.” To think back and realize that I was giving my husband’s mistress advice and telling her the future of what was to come isn’t lost on me. With that said, there was nothing I could have said or done by that point. They were in too deep.
Now it is February 2016, and the Super Bowl is coming up! My own tradition that we have done for years- we go to Vegas, we see shows, we gamble and we go all out. I have been going to Vegas for Super Bowl since 2008, and this year we invited all of our favorite AZ couples, including A and her husband. The week leading up to our trip, we had been making plans, picking out our outfits, and making spray tan and hair appointments. We were all excited and blasting Britney Spears songs- I had bought all the girls tickets to see her Vegas show while we were in town. But the night before our flights, panicked texts started popping all over my phone. Apparently, A wasn’t going. The first thought that went through my mind was “She’s been caught.” I could never shake the feeling there was someone else. What she did admit is that she had left her husband. He had caught her (she did not tell me THAT), and they were in a full-blown fight. All I knew at that point is that they were not going, and things between them were not good. I tried to call her but no answer. I texted her that we would be there in the morning to pick her up and try not to be upset. I told her we had her back, and we would have fun. No response to any of my texts. Silly me.
At the same time, I can now imagine the panic that must have been going through my husband’s mind as this was all unfolding…he must have almost had a heart attack. Looking back, he was cool as could be- not a hint of unease, not a single tell. We took off on our flights with the group- minus A and her husband. Vegas was fun as always, and the only time we brought them up was to say “Too bad they didn’t come.” We heard she left him. Apparently, from her eventual text to me, she didn’t love him anymore, and they were getting a divorce. I didn’t press her for more information because it was her business, and she didn’t seem to want to talk about it. I was just there for her if she needed it. While we were in Vegas, there were other texts exchanged behind my back. Even “I love yous.” Secrets and lies with other people helping them deceive me with borrowed phones for texts and calls. Right in front of me but never for me to see…It’s weird now the numbness that comes over me when typing these things. I feel the anger begin to stir but then it just goes away. I feel the sadness slip in, and then it fades…. You never really know how easy it is for someone to lie to your face until an affair is involved. I flew home from Vegas thinking I won the bet, little did I know how much I was about to lose.
March was the month everything changed. I started noticing that A wasn’t showing up to events. She would still occasionally text me or write on Facebook, but it was pretty short. I naively thought it was because of her split, and she was just too sad. I had no clue that it was because she was in love with my husband, and plans for their future together were being discussed. I had no clue I was being erased, deleted from the story of my own life, my own family altogether. The fantasy had evolved, and I was fading from the picture. Later, when I asked her where I was in her version of their future, she told me they simply referred to her husband and myself as “the other ones.”
Still March, and we were all attending a birthday party at JW Marriott. Surprising everyone, A decided to show up. She sat next to me and my husband, and she immediately told us all that she didn’t want to talk about her divorce. She was too sad about it and wanted to have a good time. We grabbed cocktails and sat around the fire pit where she turned to me and said “You and Robbie look like you are doing well.” I answered back yes that we were doing well, and I laughed telling her how weird it was that he was being extra nice. We had just gotten back from California and had the best family time. This question still haunts me: Why even ask me? Was this her trying to find out info? Was this her slipping back into friend mode? Did she see the photos and get confused? Or jealous? I know now that what he was telling her in secret about me, about us, were not at all the actions he was showing me at home. He was more loving than ever. A little while into the night I noticed my husband and her at the bar. This didn’t really bother me. I still never saw her as being anyone my husband would ever be attracted to. I did, however, have a reoccurring dream about A and my husband being intimate in a car and me pounding on the windows and yelling out “Why don’t you see me?!” The dream felt so real that I would wake up crying. So obviously a part of me knew. I just didn’t really want to see it. After they came back from the bar it was time to go. We went to say goodbye, and I hugged her tight letting her know that no matter what she's going through I would always be there for her. I told her that I loved her, and then she began to cry. Not like a real cry but she got really sad, and a tear rolled down her face. I then hugged her again and wiped away her eyes repeating that I loved her, and I missed her. We hugged and then said our goodbyes. I’m not really sure how another human being can do that. Sit next to me, let me wipe away their tears, let me hug them, and let me tell them I loved them…..all while trying to replace me and break up my family ….its unthinkable really.
2 weeks later a knock on my door signaled the moment that version of my marriage ended and that version of me died. It revealed all of the awful secrets and all of the horrible lies. It brought me to my knees and it changed my life forever…
…..to be continued
Edited by Lauren Reilly
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