Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Follow Me

Posted by Anonymous.

She is falling. The bottom has dropped out, and she is hurtling towards oblivion. There is nothing to grab onto, nothing to save her, she is falling.

The phone has fallen out of her hand. It lies on the floor of the van. She stares at it. She looks up to see her mother and sister turned around from the front of the vehicle. She can see their mouths moving, but she has forgotten how to hear. She has forgotten how to breathe.

She looks out the windows of the car and sees people in the yards of this pretty development. Mowing lawns, setting up sprinklers, walking dogs. How are these people still moving?

She realizes she has stopped breathing. She has started to shake. She hears something, finally. The voice, it is her husband. It is coming from the phone on the floor. He is shrieking obscenities, screaming for her to answer him.

“What is this? What did you do? What am I looking at?” He is sobbing, making guttural noises.

Her sister takes the phone and speaks calmly, “We are coming home now. What happened? What is going on?”

“Your sister is a whore.” He screams, “Ask your sister, she’s a fucking whore.”

And then there is silence again.

Her mother has pulled the van over. Turned around in the seat to look at her. Eyes searching, questioning, bewildered.

“I was having an affair,” she whispers, barely audible.

“What? With who? When? How?” The questions come at her rapid fire. She is shaking and quiet.

The shaking becomes more violent and she begins to lose her grip on reality. She is moaning and sobbing, rocking back and forth, “My babies. He’s going to take my babies.”

With this, her mother snaps into action and calls her to attention.

“You need to speak to me. What happened? Tell me now.” Her mother’s authoritative tone grabs her attention just as it did in childhood.

“It was an e-mail relationship, with a guy from college. It started on Facebook.” She doesn’t say the name but she doesn’t have to. Both her mother and sister know immediately who it is.

“Did you act on this relationship?” her mother inquires, trying not to say the word sex.

“No. But there were pictures and graphic emails.” And he saw them all. Oh my God. He saw them all. How is this happening?

She begins to unravel again. The momentary calm is gone, and she borders on hysteria. She screams that she needs a cigarette, although no one in the car smokes. Her mother once again snaps her back to attention with her tone.

“We need a plan of action. First of all, where are the kids? “

She looks at the clock, 8:45pm. They are in bed, exhausted from a long weekend. It is a Sunday night. Having just spent the weekend in New Jersey and then all day swimming, they were tucked in by 7:30pm.

“They are sleeping,” she says.

“Okay. You need to talk to him,” her mother says, always the problem solver, the trouble shooter. There is nothing that she can’t fix. With a glue gun and heartfelt apology, this would be right as rain in no time.

Her mother and sister discuss quietly how they plan to handle the situation. Her husband said he wants her out. He wants her to get her shit and leave.

The focus of their discussion has shifted. The focus of concern is the children. “…don’t want to wake them…” “…I can stay with her…” “…she can stay at my house…”

She has three children. They have three children, six, four and two. Her babies.

She shoves their faces out of her head, too painful to think about right now. Her heart might explode.

She can only think about the leather stitching on the seat in front of hers in the van. She wants to die. She wants to stop existing. She wants to disappear.

She can’t say these things in front of her mother and sister because they will take them seriously, as if she might actually commit suicide. Would she? She guesses that this feeling is why people take that step. She couldn’t do that, wouldn’t do that.

Wouldn’t mind if something killed her but wouldn’t take it into her own hands. That would just add insult to injury.

She will have to face this like a grown up.

She is just starting to breathe again when they pull into the driveway of her house.

The violent shaking begins again. They walk in the door. She is flanked by her mother and sister.

This situation is awkward and humiliating for everyone.

He is sitting at the table and has the laptop open.

When he sees her mother and sister, there is a slight change, almost imperceptible to anyone but her. He softens and there is sadness behind his immediate rage.

He demands that she log back into the e-mail account. While in the thick of the initial incident, she had changed her password to lock him out of the account.

“Show them. Show them what you did.” He is shaking, too, she can see.

“Facebook. That fucking Facebook,” he repeats, over and over. “How could I be so stupid? So fucking stupid?”

When her mother and sister finally leave, sad and scared, the house is quiet. The home that they built together.

She looks at him. She waits. He can’t look at her. After an interminable silence, he says, “Why?”

The question hangs in the air. Unanswerable. Inexcusable. Unbelievable.

Mentioned in 20% of all divorce cases according to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), it seems that Facebook is certainly adding fuel to the fire.

In some cases, Facebook is used as way to collect evidence in an already heated battle. In other cases, like mine, Facebook is merely the gateway. The Devil’s playground. The Garden of Eden. The place where a woman feeling stifled by the boredom of being a middleclass wife and mother goes to find some excitement.

It all started so innocently. A simple, “Hey there! Long time, no see! You look great!” It moved into a daily communication. Simple stuff, “your kids are so cute,” “your new deck looks great.” Then there is the shift, so slight, almost unnoticeable, “Remember the time…” and then you are in, involved. You are thinking of another person right there in the middle of your perfect, amazing life.

It slides so naturally away from the “social network” to a more private exchange, e-mail. And then the phone calls begin. The text messages.

It’s all so easy, nobody is getting hurt. It’s not “real.” It’s all digital. Nothing “bad” is happening, just two old friends talking, and then there is the proposal, the mention of “what if…,” the innocent lunch meeting. In the moment there are choices to be made.

I made my choice. I chose not to go to a hotel. I chose not to take that final step. But, in the end, it didn’t really matter. I was already there. I had already put myself in the situation. I made it real.

And I had to answer the question. Why?


One year ago, my world fell apart.

One year ago, I almost lost everything.

But I didn’t.

We survived.

I followed an angel down through the gates; I can only thank God it was not too late.

I found my place. I can only thank God it was not too late.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

This Is a Thank You Letter

Posted by Anonymous.

To Catherine for hosting this, but also to all the bereaved, betrayed, angry, and injured souls on here. This one isn't for everyone; some of you won't relate to this at all. That's fine too. This one is mostly for the married folk out there.

About Me:

I'm a simple man. A Man's Man, really. I love my woman, my kids, sex, cars, guns, weightlifting and beer. In that order. I am a United States Marine, so you can imagine the testosterone runs a tad high in my veins. I'm a brother to several sisters, a son to a quirky mother (think Ms Frizzle from Magic School Bus. Seriously.), and a dedicated husband to an amazing woman. I was not always so dedicated. In fairness, my first wife was not so faithful herself. This is not the point; it is just a bit of color for the background. We failed, through mutual immaturity, lack of a foundation (dated a year and married), infidelity on both sides, and several other fissure-sized flaws on BOTH our parts.

Now, I am remarried. Strangely enough, to a woman that I dated in college, almost 13 years ago. We broke up because I joined the Marines, of all things. 8 years later, and a spouse each, we met up again, and well...here we are. Both MUCH wiser the second time around.


There is always that 'But,' isn't there?

I am still a Man, however much I have learned. And while I am proud of my genetic package, this presents a problem. I tend to think I have things under control. We men like that. To be The Man. In Charge. On Top Of It. Got This One on Cruise Control. This blinds us, willfully or otherwise, to an amazing array of things that women see as glaringly obvious. This trait above all others is what I credit with my first marriage's demise, at least from my end. We tend to think we have things figured out, and that is that. We will ALWAYS have it figured out. Because things never change, PEOPLE never change, right? Heh. Yeah Right.


Because I know this, I am paranoid. Always self-examining, always thinking, 'am I missing something?' But because I am NOT a woman, I'm a blind man trying to teach myself what the color Blue is.

Here is where the Thank You starts. To ALL of you. All of you who suffer, whose men AREN'T men, if only because of their willful blindness, their neglect, and their dispassionate self-justification (we're good at that, let me tell you...).

I thank you for sharing, for letting all your hates, hurts, and feelings fly. It's because of you guys that I know what to look for. It's because of your willingness to share that I can see those blind spots; they're damnably hard to find otherwise. It is because of the woman who loves her husband beyond all reason, all sanity, and pours out her troubles and feelings here, that my marriage is still kicking. I hope and pray for each and every one of you, that your situation will improve, that your man will wake up, that YOU will wake up, whatever the case may be. But, in the meantime, Thanks. Just know that you aren't screaming into the wind. By what you do here, another woman is spared the suffering you endure. Small consolation? Maybe. But it's what I have to offer.

I owe you all.

Just....keep saving me, would you?


A Man.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Posted by Anonymous.

Dear Mom,

This is a letter that I should’ve written several years ago. I want to start off with saying that I love you even though you accuse me several times of the opposite. I am twenty-three years old, and I know you still see me as your little girl. Mom, I’m not a little girl anymore. I am almost done with graduate school. I have a lot of things left in life that I would like to experience in this world. I can’t deal with you trying to control every aspect of my life anymore. Prisoners have more leeway than I do.

I understand that you love me and worry about me, but you don’t act like this with the boys. You don’t make them tell you when they leave or when they arrive at their homes. You never have. I understand that you think things are different because I’m a girl. But, I am not a prisoner. I can’t let you control my feelings. Even though you think you don’t.

I am sooo sick of you constantly putting him down. He’s a good guy, a really good guy. Just because he’s black, not catholic, and doesn’t have an 8-5 job doesn’t make him worthless. He treats me well regardless of whether you want to believe that or not. He may not be what you have always wished for, but he works hard and loves me unconditionally. I don’t know what God has in store for our relationship; I just know that he brought him into my life for a reason. Maybe that reason was that our (yours and my) relationship can change into something different.

I have let you get away with a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have. I can’t live the life you want for me. I need to live MY life. I understand you want the best for me, but like I’ve said on several occasions, you don’t get to decide. I am my own person. You raised me to be independent and to stand up for myself. When I stand up to you, you accuse me of raising your blood pressure and saying that I will give you a heart attack. You have absolutely no idea how much it hurts me for you to tell me things like that.

I know you are a good mom but you need to realize that I don’t do everything the exact way you do. I don’t think like you, and I view the world completely different. All you see are obstacles, and all I see are opportunities. I guess that is because we are almost 40 years apart. I refuse to argue with you every single day about the man in my life. I could understand you saying I deserve better if he treated me poorly, but he doesn’t. You know what it’s like to be treated poorly… I don’t. You think he controls me, but he doesn’t. He supports me. He is the one there every time you go off on one of your rampages about how much you dislike him and my lack of faith and blah blah blah. You’ve always known that I am not lacking in faith. I’m with you at church every Sunday on my own accord. I know I don’t have to prove my faith to you; it’s just irritating constantly being questioned.

I know I can’t control what you do, but I can control me. I do appreciate everything you’ve done for me; however, I can’t continue to have this relationship with you. I’ve told you on several occasions I wish we could have a mature mother-daughter relationship, but you refuse. You get jealous of the conversations I have with my friends because I don’t talk to you about certain things. The reason I don’t talk to you is because I can’t be open with you. You automatically judge me and disagree with anything you wouldn’t do or didn’t do. I AM NOT YOU.

I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed. I don’t know what to do about our relationship. The only thing I can think of is that I just need to stop giving in to you. I’m not sure if it’s best to just rip it off like a band-aid or not. I know you’ll go to my brothers and say how bad I am treating you and that it’s HIS fault. It’s not. Like I said at the beginning of this letter, I probably should’ve written this 5 years ago when I started college and the daily check-ins began when I wasn’t even in the same city. Now I’m back and have lived with you for a little bit, and I STILL had to check-in with you; otherwise, you blamed me for your lack of sleep. You aren’t the only one losing sleep. I just don’t tell you about it because I secretly think you’d enjoy that you get to me that much. I’m the one who has to go to work tomorrow, but I’m still up. I thought that writing this might help me to release some of my emotions. I’m debating on whether or not to send this to you.

I don’t know why you treat me so differently from the boys. I know you love them just as much, but you were able to let them go. I cry every day because I don’t know how to make this better. It’s killing me. I want to be able to have a GOOD relationship with you. Not one where you treat me like a five-year-old constantly. Mom, I’m going to make mistakes. I know that. But, it’s not like I’ve ever been in any serious trouble. The worst I did was talking in class when I was younger. For some reason, you think I am incapable of making decisions about my own life. You have to trust that God knows what he is doing in my life. I know eventually everything will work out, but I can’t wait to graduate and look for another job far away from here. I guess I think in my head that will help solve our problems even though secretly I know it won’t. I don’t know what to do. I love you, and I can’t take the arguments anymore.