I am on a rollercoaster I cannot stop. At the beginning it was stuck at the top of a large, steep incline, all I could do was hold on and hold my breathe, waiting for the drop. Now, I am in between loops, wishing the ride would stop; I don’t want another antagonistic spin, another hold-on-for-dear-life upside-down circle – I want so badly to be on the slow and straight stretch back into the depot. I want this to be over.

But. I cannot control it. I’m strapped in and stuck. I have to go with it, whatever wild turns and stomach-wrenching drops lie ahead.

I’ve been “reading” (listening to audio books) about the situation and current position I find myself in, and I vacillate wildly between wanting to stay in my marriage and heal what’s been broken, and wanting to end it, just to stop the limbo of wondering – if I do all this work, and he decides ultimately to stay gone and start a new life without me, won’t that just put me right back to square one once I sign the papers? Then, I feel a deep desire to reconcile, to resurrect the eleven years we’ve made that cannot be undone and turn our history into a catalyst for the future.

What “is” right now is only uncertainty, and trust me when I tell you, given my history, given my heart, it is, without a doubt, without any reservation, the absolute darkest and most painful season of my entire 39 years.

I’ve lost great love before. Timothy Lee was my first love. A sure thing. We met and instantly understood the gravity of that moment. I remember going over this with him a couple years ago. We reconnected on social media after spending the past 15 years with zero contact, completely separated from each other’s lives. Once we got to talking, we both poured over how sure we were. But, then, had to wrestle with the agonizing loss we both suffered when it ended in a single moment. It had very little to do with our love, that severance, but more and almost all to do with my grief having just lost my Mother. The same woman whose indiscretions led to our downfall in the first place. She died, and I moved away. Period. Cut and dry. Done.

With this situation with my spouse, so much is unclear, uncut, uncertain. There hasn’t been a death, there hasn’t been a need to run (on my end, anyway, I cannot with any confidence say the same about him. Because he did leave. He is gone). Yet I feel a sense of duty to honor my commitment that was way less secure than my first love. After all, though we were engaged to be married, we weren’t. Though we had loved each other deeply and could see our future, we hadn’t had more than two years together, no children, just a mortgage and a little plot of dirt we planted together.

With my spouse, there is an entire eleven year catalogue of reasons why running now would be imprudent. We have children, we adopted a son already from a broken circumstance. We made our daughter in love, and he’s helped raise and be “Dad” to my two daughters from before we met. We have finances, and each of our respective family relationships and history, and a home we bought together wherein I birthed our daughter. We have pets and cars and jokes and intimate moments we both treasure still… there is a lot to be said for salvaging all of this. It isn’t black and white, at least on my end.

But then there’s him. He believes our old marriage is “dead”, and he will not – adamantly refuses – to come home until I change so significantly he can’t even get a whiff that I’d be the same person I was for all these years. He wants to take this time he’s imposed upon us, apart, to grow and heal as individuals and maybe, maybe, at the end of a year long lease, we “might” decide to start dating again. We might make it.

We “might”. And he’s okay with that uncertainty. He is okay building his support system apart from me, sharing intimate details of his feelings and thoughts with anyone but me, meanwhile trying to assure me, at the end of this, we’d still have any cause to want to try again. He is okay with dividing our children into two separate houses, he wants what’s “best for them” while completely refusing to see the damage his decision is causing all of us, while he remains stoic in his interpretation that this is “for the best”, even when our son cries out not to leave, even when our daughter asks me if daddy will ever come home, even when my older girls are filled with indignation that I’d ever even allow someone who did this to us to come back, and potentially, do it again.

None of that matters, to him.

And so it falls to me. To be strong enough to manage all of this, and somehow still have “hope”, to spend the next year of my life without companionship, without intimacy, without affection, without support, without anyone to call and just check up on me. He has all of this, in fact, not a single person whose heard of his choices has turned away from Jim. His friends are still there, having his back, encouraging him that he’s right for his choice to leave his home, even his own parents act as if their son is no less the golden boy he was, well, I don’t blame them, they only know a tiny fraction of the whole picture… not a single one has said, hey man, you probably should work on your marriage, in fact, I am certain all they say is, “whatever makes you happy”. How could he have any desire to pursue me when all he’s hearing apart from me is, “you don’t deserve to be trapped in a difficult marriage, so whatever you need is fine”. Nevermind that he did what he did, never mind any responsibility or accountability. Never mind the fact that I am here, the same woman they saw at that alter, the same woman he promised to be faithful to until death do you part – nevermind her, because to everyone else in his circle, I must have been the reason he cheated, because he was so unhappy with me what else could you expect a man to do? To them, he got everything he needed apart from me because I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t calm enough, I wasn’t trusting enough. And so, hey man, it’s okay you blew up your entire family, now let’s forget that and go to dinner and talk about how well you’re doing at work, hey man, we’re so proud of you, hey man, let’s all take a trip together and support each other, but none of us will mention the fact that you abandoned your wife and split up your kids, because, hey man, you deserve to be happy.

It falls to me, to pick up the pieces he hit with a hammer, and reassure my children Mama will be okay. It is up to me to give them love when it’s my bed they’re crying in at night. It’s up to me to do … everything.

On his time it’s fun and games and dinners with Grandmommy and pool tables and a nice little apartment that’s easy to clean because there are no toys there, and blow up mattresses for my kids to sleep on, so it’s like a fun little sleepover, a break from the 2200 square feet of house that’s entirely on me to manage now, and the litter boxes and the guinea pig clean up and the school pickups and drop offs and the better get a job because he said so or else and the long nights trying to get everyone on the same page because now instead of the secure and safe home they’ve known for eleven years, it’s pack a back because you’re going to Dads tonight.

Would you have hope?

I am doing all I can. I joined a support group of women in my situation, I’m starting AA soon because I need others around me who are committed to not turning to alcohol to numb all these feelings, I have two separate coaches, both whose specialty is healing after infidelity with heavy emphasis placed on “staying” in the marriage, and a therapist who specializes is trauma recovery whom I’ve worked with for the last almost 3 years.

I don’t have friends around me. I don’t have parents to call me “cutie” and stop everything in their own lives to help their golden Sun. I don’t have a place I can go to just relax and have everyone cater to me and just pretend nothing is wrong.

I am doing this, practically speaking, entirely alone. All my support people exist on my phone.

Is there hope, when he left and won’t come home? Is there hope, when he shuts me out, again, at will, because my emotions are just not something he wants to face? Is there hope when I seem to be the only one of us two actually considering the implications of HIS choice to leave, to split us, and what the statistics actually spell out plainly it means for our potential reconciling? The stats are clear, that after infidelity, if one spouse leaves, the odds are significantly higher there will end in divorce, when I tell him this, he just turns off and away – like he knows but just won’t acknowledge it.

Is there hope, when I know, I believe, I deserve more than being abandoned, and he just doesn’t care? Is there hope, when he knows my history, and swore he’d never leave me because he’s seen how hard it’s felt for me to feel everyone I ever loved leaves me, and yet he does it anyway? Is there hope, when he knew how I’d been damaged by my Mother and lost my first love, and he swore he’d never cheat on me, and then he did it anyway – many times?

Am I just a fool, for even entertaining the possibility that there’s anything worth saving here? Especially, when it is crystal clear I am the only one of us two who will even strive for that?

He’s moving on. He says he’s healed. He says he has hard moments, but then a call comes through and it’s someone who only cares about him. There’s no talk of the choices he made that wrecked us, there’s only pleasantries and hey man tell me about work and let’s plan our next trip and I miss you and I’m glad you’re doing well. He isn’t pushed to the fire, nobody is questioning his choices, or the actions he’s taking that are deeply affecting his children and his wife. Not even his parents give him any grief, when you see them together it almost feels like I never existed, and he never blew this up, and as long as their son is “happy now”, who cares about the people he’s hurting.

It’s all so confusing. And I feel entirely held to the fire to decide. To sign the papers, to make it official, to legally divide our lives once and for all. Custody, child support, me having to start from scratch, again, this time with four kids.

Or, do I continue to fight for my values, my soul, my hard-earned and deeply strived-for healing? Do I continue to hope, in the face of so little evidence it’ll pay off in the end?

My children are worth more than this, I, am worth more than this. And yet. He’s still gone.

What am I fighting for, really? The hope that maybe one day God softens his heart and opens his eyes. The hope that God intervenes and gives light to the malicious way he’s shut me out, abandoned me, the one person who was supposed to be held to a higher esteem than any other on this planet. The hope that I can show enough, do enough, be enough, try enough, to maybe, one day, win him back?

I don’t know what to do. But I know this season is without a doubt without question without regret the most difficult and painful time I’ve ever walked.

But. Still.

That little voice in my heart says don’t give up. Not yet. So I suffer one more day. I clean and dance and sing and drive and work and play, and I hurt and I grieve and I feel fear and I feel anger, for one more day. I live in uncertainty hoping maybe he’ll see me allowing this time, and not just signing paperwork to end this, is a gift and a show of love. I stay and I hope one day he recognizes the damage he’s done, and it won’t be me begging for him to stay, it’ll be him begging me. But I jest, I held my breathe even writing that, because he seems all too fine apart from me.

So, I don’t know.

What is feels like a rollercoaster, but all I’m waiting for, what I hope for, is we rise out of our seats and walk off this ride, when it ends, together.

I think my odds are pretty bad, but then again, I’ve always done well with the odds stacked against me. Maybe this is just another lesson in trusting God knows better than me. I hope, I hope it is.

Please, I welcome your thoughts, perspective, and new ideas on anything I have written here!

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