Russian Roulette

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: Last week we visited the Kremlin. On that morning my husband woke up in a foul mood. I knew he was in a bad mood. It’s not like I can’t tell, but I am always afraid to ask. 

(It’s something I need to work on).

Eventually he admitted to me that he was having a bad day.

Did I do something, I asked.

Not recently, he said.

Was there a trigger, I asked.

No, he said. Sometimes he just finds himself in a bad place, remembering that I had an affair.

I get that. He is going to have bad days. I did that. I hurt him so much. So much that I cannot fix it.

But it still hurts when my husband is so disgusted by me that he can’t look at me. It’s still hard to wake up every morning and wonder if my husband loves me or hates me today, like a fucked up game of roulette. It’s hard to want to stay.

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Flirt

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: I recently attended a meditation course. For ten days I did nothing but eat, sleep, and meditate – light on the sleeping and eating.

As it turns out, when you have nothing to distract you for days on end, memories tend to pop up. I remembered so many little interactions that I’ve had. I realized that before I had an affair I flirted quite a bit with other men.

I used to attend meetups, and I remembered one night when I came home my husband asked me if I attended meetups to meet other men.

I answered him honestly. I was not looking for other men. I just wanted to make friends.

But looking back now I realize that I enjoyed the flirting that went on at these meetups. It made me feel pretty and funny and interesting. It made me feel desirable. Ultimately, though, I think it did contribute to my eventually giving in to adultery.

I know going forward I have to change. I should never go out without my husband again. I should be forbidden from speaking to other men. I should find another way to feel desirable.

I think it will be difficult, but we’ll figure it out.

We split the party

BETRAYED HUSBAND: A few days ago my wife and I split up. Not the relationship type of split up but we are now traveling on our own for a bit. If you didn’t know, I’m a pretty big nerd. I’ve played a lot of DnD since 8th grade. In all that time, through hundreds of adventures there was one constant truth: don’t split the party. While this is sound advice in the table top RPG world, I think that we are both hopeful that this time apart will be beneficial.

The first few days I was sad and missed my wife all the time but I pushed through and was determined to explore Budapest, see the sites. I wandered and wandered. Saw some neat things. Ultimately I realized I was lonely. Walking around a neat old castle wasn’t that great without someone by my side to share the experience.

Yesterday I woke up depressed. I had lost the will to go out and visit the many attractions that I had yet to see. Slowly my depression became anger. I was angry at my wife for how she hurt me. Once that anger takes hold of my mind it basically takes a miracle to get out of its grasp. Hurtful thoughts come up, like cursing my wife. Vindictive desires come up, like ‘she cheated, so can I’. Eventually I was able to convince myself to just stay in the hotel room so that I couldn’t damage our marriage any further. So I sat in my hotel room loathing my wife and loathing myself. Looking back now, perhaps that was itself a little miracle. I wanted to act out, get even. Hurt her the way she hurt me. But I’m glad I didn’t. I do want our marriage to work and acting out would have made it impossible.

So far I hate traveling on my own. I have realized that if I had ended our marriage before our trip and just gone on my own it would have been miserable. No matter what happens I am glad that we went on this trip together. But I still have about a week on my own. I pray things go better.

On My Own

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: This morning I watched my husband leave on a bus to Budapest. It was weird saying goodbye to him. This will be the longest we have been apart since we got married six years ago. Neither of us are very good at talking, but we were both trying to squeeze in as much snuggling and hand holding as possible before he left. It was sad.

Since he left I have already gotten a little lost a few times. Fortunately, I don’t really mind walking in circles.

I have also managed to eat lunch. At a bar. By myself. I was nervous the entire time, but I survived. And if anyone was talking about how weird I looked, well, I couldn’t tell because they were speaking Czech.

Now I have to catch a train.

Then another train.

Then a bus.

Then I have to meditate in silence for ten days.

Part of me is really regretting this decision already. I am brand new to meditation. I don’t even really know if I like it yet. I am afraid I’ll go crazy. I’m afraid my husband will decide he’s better off without me. I’m afraid I’ll miss a train, not be able to communicate with anyone, and be forced to live out the rest of my life in a small Czech town begging at the train station for enough Korunas to buy my daily kolache. 

But I’m hopeful that none of that will happen. I hope I learn something about myself through this week of meditation. Maybe how to forgive myself or how to live with myself. I hope that when I see my husband again it will be a great reunion. I hope we have time over the next ten days to remember what we like about each other. I hope this distance makes our hearts grow fonder.

A Good Day

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: I am sitting on an uncomfortable airport bench right now. My husband’s head is in my lap. He has a cold. Our connecting flight has been delayed by two hours. We almost missed our first flight due to a taxi snafu. After a scrambling early morning on the streets of Odessa we made it.

By all counts today should have been a bad day.

But it isn’t.

Nobody lost their temper or snapped at the other. We didn’t arrive fuming in Kiev. The tension was not thick between us, as it all too often is.

We still have miles to go, but so far today is a good day.

Splitting Up

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: My husband and I are going to split up in a few weeks. Not relationally – we will still be just as married as we are now. We are physically going to different places. For ten days I will be at a silent meditation camp in the Czech Republic while he goes to Budapest and Warsaw. We will meet again in Riga.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband found out about my affair right before we left on a trip around the world. For the past ten months we have had hardly a minute apart. We stay in hotel rooms and tiny apartments and spend our days visiting new places. 

In some regards it is good. It’s much easier for him to feel safe, and it’s much harder for me to give in to the temptation to contact my affair partner.

In other ways it is difficult. We can’t escape to work and decompress. We basically have no one to talk to except each other.

And now, in a few weeks, we will be apart. 

Here It Comes

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: Our anniversary is next week. I’m scared. I know it will be hard for him. I don’t know whether to make a big deal of it or let it slip quietly by.

I think I’ll aim for somewhere in the middle.

I want to do something. To celebrate. To show my husband that I care. I want to create a new good memory.

What I don’t want to do is cause any pressure. I don’t want him to feel like he has to be happy. I don’t want to rub this marriage in his face. I know it is tainted now. I know he can’t look back at our vows with joy because I broke them. I’m trying to figure out how to rebuild them. Gently. 

I’m praying that our anniversary will be provide an opportunity to do that, but it’s going to be a challenge. Beyond emotions there are sheer logistics.

We will be in a tiny town on the island of Santorini. There is not much in the area we are staying at, and I really don’t want to do any challenging travel on that day. Travel is stressful, the opposite of what he needs. Also, we are technically flying out at midnight that night. So it will already be stressful.

I need a plan, and the clock is ticking.

If anyone reads this, we could use some prayers next week.

A Ticket Home

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: It would cost me less than $500 to fly back to the States tomorrow. I know this because my husband is having a bad day.
Something triggered him today. I don’t know what it was. I asked a few light questions, but he doesn’t seem to be in a sharing mood. So I’m giving him space while I check ticket prices in case everything goes to shit.
I’ve done this before — India, Paris, Spain, London.Every time he gets like this I start to doubt. Why are we even trying? Why torture ourselves? On days like this it seems like we’d be better off alone. 
I guess that’s the quitter in me.
The truth is, though, that I care about my husband. If he thinks our marriage can work then I am willing to try to make it the best marriage possible. And I think it can be. We’ve got a great future ahead of us, if we have one at all. 

Trying

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: Yesterday we went to Milan. I usually do the planning for our travels, and this day trip was no different. I had tried to figure out what each of us were interested in doing. I found a free walking tour and registered us. I researched and narrowed down what attractions we’d try for and how much they’d cost. This was all normal.

What was not normal was that at the end of the night, after we got home, my husband held my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said thank you. He told me that he had a wonderful time and that he thought I did a great job. It felt amazing.

This isn’t the only thing he’s done, but it’s an excellent example. My husband has been trying.

Of course we’re still not great. We have a long way to go, but I want him to know that I see his efforts. And seeing him try makes me want to try.

Live for Tomorrow

UNFAITHFUL WIFE: If there is one thing I’ve learned on this trip it’s that I like having a schedule. Not a minute-by-minute breakdown of the day to come. Not even an hourly breakdown. That would only set me up for failure. I just like to have an idea of what I’ll be doing on any given day. Ridicule my lack of spontaneity, call me a stick in the mud, but I function better within the confines of a schedule.

Beyond that, I appreciate a little timeline with my scheduling. Tell me we’re spending two weeks in Paris and I will book transportation, find a charming place to stay, and whip up a schedule in no time at all. But tell me we have two to four months to explore Europe and suddenly I’m paralyzed by choice. I can’t bring myself to pin down an itinerary for fear of missing out on something better. Fortunately, my husband suffers no such hesitations otherwise we might still be stranded somewhere in the middle east.

This realization, fermented by an abundance of time on my hands, has led me to daydream about having a timeline of my life. Basically, I wish I knew when I was going to die. Not because I want to die. Not even because I wish to postpone dying. I’d just like to make a rough schedule. I’d like to know if it’s worthwhile for me to seriously pursue a successful career or if I won’t be around long enough to reap the rewards. Conversely, will focusing on today’s goals leave me high and dry in old age? It would be convenient to know what sort of scope I’m working with.

But, of course, that’s not how life works. You just do what you can and hope for the best. Sometimes you fuck things up royally. You cheat on your spouse. You neglect your family. Some days you just need a break. You sit on the couch in your pajamas eating Swiss Cake Rolls. At least, that’s how life has worked out for me. Most days I’m just trying to make sure I’m headed generally in the right direction, and I remind myself of the  knowledge I do have too work with.

I know, for example, roughly how much daylight there will be on any given day. I know that beyond the age of 65, should I make it that far, my arteries will most likely begin to thicken and harden. I know that ten years from now the probability of my dying will be three times greater than it was ten years ago. And I know that my husband will still love me.

I know people will say that I shouldn’t think about the future. Live for today, they say, but I don’t think that’s best. I spent over a year living for today while I cheated on my husband. I reveled in today without considering tomorrow. No,  I think I must live for tomorrow. I can appreciate today, smell a rose, watch the sunset, reflect on how marvelous it is that my heart has made another uninterrupted 100,000 beats and continues steadily, but I need to make sure that I am headed towards tomorrow.