I struggled with self-blame, feeling if I was more “experienced”, if I was prettier or had a better-shaped body, he would not have wanted to cheat.
I was speaking with a handsome, seemingly well-put-together man. We met through a dating app and met up for drinks. He was polite, looking for someone to date and see how things progress naturally. Those are the words that every mature woman expects to hear, but I needed to go the extra mile.
I asked my three solid questions that separate the men who are potentials from the ones you give the peace sign to. One, do you live alone? Two, are you in a relationship or a complicated situation? Three, is there a woman out there that thinks she’s in a committed relationship with you? When asking the last question, you need eye contact, because you can see the answer in his eyes. Question number three is necessary because there are instances when a woman is asking a man for a committed relationship, and some men elude women with responses like “Why do we need a label on what we have? I’m not seeing anybody else.” But they want to sleep with her and stay open to more opportunities with other women. Negative past relationship experiences are what makes the women’s antenna raise and ask more questions. My negative experience started with my ex-husband.
Some years ago, I was being played, like a violin, trusting my husband like a fool. A fool, because this was after our third separation! The third time was not a charm. His favorite shift to work was from 11 pm to 7 am. As I laid in bed at night, servicing my own needs, I was wondering if he was working or playing. I never searched through his things looking for proof of infidelity. Women he slept with gladly called our home phone, giving me details of the affair. At least the women who felt hurt by him called to hurt me.
I married young to escape my circumstances; I married out of fear of facing the world alone, but mainly I married because I was in love. We were both young and living with family before we married, but I believed we could grow together. The result of that union had me functionally insane for years, working in a state of mental agony because I had bills to pay and children to care for. Despite the functionality, the personality change was noticeable by everyone around me.
The shit first hit the fan because I was harassing him nonstop, for the truth about my suspicions. He left me a long note and hid over his mother’s house. While reading his letter, my mind was in a fog. I didn’t even know I was sobbing uncontrollably until I reached the bottom of the letter and my eyes were burning, my face wet with tears and a snotty nose. He was a coward for not facing me, but I would have beaten him senseless if he was there. This was the first separation.
Nothing was more damning on my self-esteem than my ex-husband’s infidelity. I blamed him for the demise of our marriage, but I was disappointed with myself. I struggled with self-blame, feeling if I was more “experienced”, if I was prettier or had a better-shaped body, he would not have wanted to cheat. I know now that nothing would stop a cheater if he wanted to cheat. Cheaters lie to cover their tracks, so lying was all he did. Eventually, I stopped crying, stopped asking questions and stopped caring. I started planning a future without him. I knew I was done, and the marriage was over.
It’s funny when I look back on my marriage and realize he didn’t give me a reason to want to marry him. Just empty words that turned into unfulfilled promises. As for the guy from the dating app, he was “stumped” at question three, so it was peace out.