Nobody looks good in their darkest hours. But it is those hours that make us who we are.
Disclaimer: This is one of the darkest times and therefore the hardest posts for me to get out of my head. I have made peace with so much of my past, but I am unhappy with my behaviour around this time. It also heralds the start of my complete emotional collapse and subsequent recovery. Needless to say I am not surprised it has taken me three weeks of procrastination to face these words.
The darkest of times were approaching, but Christmas was over and I had M home again.
I had collected him from the marina, and we had reunited physically as soon as the opportunity arose. We celebrated a joyful post-christmas with the boys and saw the new year in together. The next time I saw him, a week later, something was different. The warmth was gone, he was stiff and frosty. No matter, I thought, he must just be tired from work. My plans for a move were coming together, my work transfer was imminent and when I was home I was packing. Life was busy, but from my side life was good.
I was to work three days in Devon and stay with M for the two nights in the middle for the first 3 weeks in my new post, before I moved down with the boys.
The first week was lovely. The second week I woke up on the first night to M panting another woman’s name. It was disconcerting, and it played on my mind as the darkest hours slipped away and dawn arrived. I asked him about her over breakfast. He raged, accused me of snooping in his tablet and phone. I hadn’t, I wouldn’t, why would I have? I hadn’t fully trusted him, but I had alway thought that was because of everything I had been through with P. How could I trust anyone I was that intimate with?
After work he had calmed enough to have a decent conversation.
He told me how my accusation had made him feel, how hurt he was and how someone had snooped his phone before when he was less than trustworthy. It had made him angry to think I didn’t trust him “after all we have been through together”. I was sorry that I had made him feel like that, genuinely. My question had hurt him, come close to harming us. We went to bed, I curled up in his arms. Safe, content. Mostly….
It was a night when I could not sleep. Something wasn’t quite right…
So I got out of bed, slipped out of the room with his tablet and guessed his password. My heart in my mouth I went through it. His messaging apps had contact with women talking about intimate moments they had shared, since we had become a monogamous (at his suggestion) couple. His deleted files held pictures, more messages from women I knew, had talked with recently…
I hated myself straight away, knew that it was wrong.
I put the tablet down, went back to his arms and pondered while sleep eluded me. I now understand that we set our own bar in life, but at this point I was so beyond broken. M was my safe space and I adored him. I had broken his trust by going through his tablet, I could forgive him for his lack of honesty. My intuition had been right all along but now that I knew the truth I could let it go, we could carry on as we had been. I slept fitfully that night, the shame of what I had done will never leave me.
After a few hours of disturbed sleep I woke with M, we went about our daily business.
I returned home that night, collected my boys and put them to bed. That evening M didn’t answer the phone. The next evening he called me, asking if I had been through his tablet. Of course I lied, he hung up on me. I called him back, got a tirade of abuse all of which I had earned. He hung up on me again. A short text stating he didn’t want to talk to me. He would decide when he was ready to talk to me.
I could literally hear my heart shattering in the deafening silence that followed.
What followed was me trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, but in the jumble of shards were piece of Ms deceit and Ps abuse. I had protected myself from the true extent of the abuse with the safety blanket of M and now I was alone to deal with all of the bad things that had happened, which were all my fault. After me breaking M’s trust and rifling through his private space the next thing that was my fault was my inadequacy as a wife. If I had been better at that he wouldn’t have abused the children, he wouldn’t have needed to rape me…
At the darkest moment my phone pinged.
It was my former manager, now training as a counsellor. A random message asking how I had been enjoying the start of 2017 so far. She was the first person I spoke to about my realisation. Very briefly I recounted how P had taken what he wanted from me while our infant slept on my chest. Two minutes later I had the rape crisis website on the thread. She wasn’t an expert in trauma (or anything at that point) but she was certain that if I called the help line I would be able to get some support. Three days later I called. I remember the gentle voice at the other end of the line even now, I spoke carefully. I didn’t think any of this was Ps fault, I knew that if I had been a better wife it wouldn’t have happened. As I was about to move counties I was given the contact details for my soon to be local support service. I emailed and waited, with instructions that I could call the national team back at any time.
M and I were soon talking again. He was to help me move, and though it was bitter-sweet I will be forever grateful for his support.
Over the months that followed I was able to turn the love that I felt for M into friendship rather than romantic attachment and I am genuinely pleased to have him as a friend and confidante. He soon got a new girlfriend, and he still hasn’t told me that it is the lady whose name he said in the middle of the night. Then again, I haven’t told him about all that I found. The months that followed were interesting, exciting and beyond scary… but those are stories for other posts. For now I am just pleased to get through this one.