I will never forget the very first time that Earl betrayed my trust.
I thought I was going to die. My world literally fell apart. It was as if I became a different person, one that I didn’t know. Feelings of rejection and betrayal can almost seem unbearable. It’s as if all of the air has been removed from your surroundings, yet you go on moving as if you are wandering in a deep, dark foreign place.
A few weeks after my hysterectomy, a good friend asked me to watch her children while she attended a Christmas party. She wanted to drop them off Saturday afternoon and pick them up Sunday morning. I told her, no. I didn’t feel up to dealing with my two children plus her two. That would be 3 boys, ages 10, 9 and 8. They could be quite rambunctious and my 10-year-old daughter would be trying to take control. Earl chimed in, that yes we could watch the boys because he would be home and he would take charge.
That Saturday morning Earl got called into work. At noon, he called me and told me that was going out to lunch with Annette because she wanted to talk. I told him, but you said that you would be here to watch the boys. He promised he would be home by 5:00. He asked if I would be ok with the kids for three hours. I complied. This was in 1990, long before cell phones were the norm.
This was the first betrayal due to his emotional affair.
I did not feel particularly well that day. However, I thought 5:00 would be ok. I waited and waited for him. I received no phone call. About 8:00 at night I went into a full blown rage. I felt rejected and betrayed. This was the first promise Earl ever broke. He was always known as being an honorable man – one that you could count on.
I started asking myself…
- How could he do this to me?
- Didn’t he care that I was still recovering from surgery?
- Why was Annette so much more important than I was?
- What did she have that I didn’t?
- Was he screwing Annette?
- Why didn’t I matter?
- Why wasn’t I enough?
- What did I do to deserve this?
I proceeded to beat the wholly crap out of his truck and pounded my fists with all of my might onto the garage door as I wailed and screamed these questions. I lay on the driveway, in a full-fledged tantrum, crying and screaming.
My world as I knew it had ended.
I was no longer Earl’s number one. The kids and I had been his primary concern for 15 years, and the fact that he chose to take care of another woman over me, wounded me to the core. I had never felt so betrayed or so rejected.
The rest of the evening is a bit of a daze. I have absolutely no idea what the four children were doing during all of this time. I don’t even know what they had for dinner. As adults, my children told me that they just played quietly in their room because my actions frightened them.
Earl didn’t get home until about 1:00 in the morning. I was an emotional wreck I had more feelings running inside of me than I even knew existed at the time. We argued. The next day was our anniversary, and we spent the entire day arguing.
On Monday, I was not well and Earl took me to see my gynecologist. The doctor said that I ripped open the inside of my stitches due to my rampage. He then proceeded to tell Earl that he needed to tread softly with me because of my hormones. What? My hormones had NOTHING to do with the feelings of rejection and betrayal. This episode delayed my physical healing for months.
I see this night as the end of my marriage, even though we remained together for another six years. It was during this time that I worked on me. I discovered tips and techniques to help me become the best person that I could be. I never wanted to visit that dark place again. And, I don’t wish that dark place on anyone. However, I know that there are thousands of woman who are blindsided by their husband’s affairs or by the husbands leaving them.
I now know that it doesn’t have to take years to heal. I have discovered several techniques that help a woman to heal and reclaim her own worth faster than she ever thought possible. It’s for this reason that each month I set aside a couple of hours to offer complimentary “Break Free” conversations with women who feel the emotional sting of rejection and betrayal as they are grieving over the death of their marriage.