A few months ago, my husband finally admitted that he might be interested in seeing a therapist. He has been spiraling in a space of anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety for months as he battles his PTSD-induced depression, and yesterday he finally made the phone call. Or, well, he said he did. The day before, he had taken a half-day at work, and then gone out for drinks with co-workers. He said he would let me know when he was heading home—and he did, at 1am.
Not too big of a deal, right? Except… it was. Because this hurt me. It hurt me because he had been bailing on plans with me for weeks, because he didn’t want to make plans, because he was exhausted all of the time. And I get it: depression is an energy vampire. But when he was happy to stay out late with others, with people who are not me, I got upset. I felt like he was telling me that he wanted out—out of everything.
When he got home, we talked about it. I felt like we had a good conversation about our feelings, even, and I asked him to show me he was committed by calling the therapist the next day.
That evening, after I got home, he said he called the therapist. Then he said he needed to be alone, and he went upstairs. I went upstairs to take a shower, and assured him I would leave him alone if he needed that. He started crying, and I went to comfort him. He kept saying, “I don’t deserve you, you are so good to me, I don’t deserve you.” He repeated this over (and over and over). Finally, while my arms were wrapped around him, he said it.
“I slept with someone. Last night.”
I’ve never recoiled from him so quickly. I cried, I screamed, I hurled every hurtful, true thing at him I could, and then I hurled a slipper. He sat there, crying, looking so small. I kept asking why. Why why why why why why. We had everything he wanted. We bought a house. We have a yard. We got a dog. Next year we were going to start having kids. We both had jobs. We liked each other’s families. Why would he want to compromise all of that?
“She made me feel light.”
In that moment, I felt that nothing could have hurt me more. When you’re married, you share your baggage. You have emotions, families, histories that you have talked about and worked to manage together. You have expectations and hopes, dreams and ambitions. In marriage, you can feel happy. There may be brief moments where you can forget all of the shared baggage, but you will probably not make the other person feel light. It is an unaskable task. An unachievable goal.
“Do you still want to be with me?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you love her?”
“I don’t know.”
what happens next?
That night, he left and went to a friend’s house. At least, I thought that’s where he went. That’s what he told me. I didn’t hear from the friend until my best friends, my bridesmaids, called to ask if my husband made it.
He said he decided to go to a co-worker’s house. My stomach dropped even further than I knew it could.
Why did he keep lying?
At that moment, I just leaned in to all of it: the pain, the mess. The fear. I told him to figure out what he needs. Therapy? Fine. A more intensive program? Great. I just wanted him to take care of his mental health, because I couldn’t believe this all happened because I was not something good to him.
I told him after he gets help for himself, we’ll talk about us. I asked him not to go to her house. I asked him to not be alone with her if he could help it, because if he saw her privately again I would lose this fragile line of hope that we can repair our relationship. And I need that to keep going on.
That’s what I do now, I keep going on.