Can I create a new past narrative?

I ran across a love letter from me to The Player I wrote for our 18th wedding anniversary on a short trip we took. I went on and on about my gratefulness and undying love.

The two page letter, sarcastically paraphrased and shortened by 2/3 here, went something like this:

My Loving, Ever Faithful Hero Husband,

You are an amazing husband and father. You are an incredible person. Thank you for your love and devotion. Thank you for putting me and our children first in every decision and thought. Thank you for being our family’s hero and my friend and lover. You are a wonderful provider and I’m so lucky to be married to you.

I love you,

Your loving, devoted wife

You cringed a little bit, didn’t you? I know I did after I read it and got over the nausea that caused me to nearly vomit where I stood. I thought some insanely wonderful things about my incredible husband way back then. 

The incredible husband, aka The Player. The same husband who betrayed me for two decades. Fuck I was a fool. He totally played me.

I spoke to him about this love letter the day after I found it. Over lunch, I asked him how he looked back on that trip because I know for me, the amazing trip we took where I wrote that letter, is now completely tainted with fucking lies. He said, “It was a great trip and anniversary. I love you and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary with you because our marriage is an accomplishment. We’ve survived some horrible things together. I was happy in our marriage and with you. I never wanted to leave you. I didn’t do what I did because of what was lacking in us, or you. I did what I did because of what was lacking in me.”

Here’s the thing: I fucking know that. What I want to know is how I look back on it and not think everything was a lie. On that trip it was just a couple of weeks earlier he was with one of his “friends,” fucking her on a business trip, the last time for them because she felt guilty. Finally, you whore. He also worked with this “friend” on several joint clients so they also spoke almost daily, even after their affair. For their relationship and many others. I’m not fucking kidding when I tell you there are hundreds of women he flirted with, probably on a daily basis. It wasn’t even the Fucking that got the best of me, it was that they adored him and he played me to get what he needed from them. Of course – now – he agrees these “friendships” were inappropriate for a married man. Thanks a fucking lot, asswad. 

The Player’s deception in our life together didn’t end at fucking other women during these on and off trysts on business trips. He spent two decades flirting for attention, laughter, shock, praise, admiration and “love” because he didn’t have it in himself, for himself. He never thought he was good enough. For reasons he now knows are related to several experiences in his family and outside his family, he was broken and sought these “friendships” to make himself feel better. He needed the constant reassurance, the constant input and he found that through work relationships and on the road. 

Looking back now, that’s what I see. I see him talking to me on the phone to check in all the while, many times, there was a woman in his hotel room. I see him at our vacation spot and favorite restruant-with her. I see him calling me on the phone from a bar saying he was entertaining clients and didn’t want to call me too late and now admits it’s because he was out getting wasted with them to follow them back to their rooms or to invite them to his. That’s what I see now. Those imagine surround me like a fucking heavy coat of armor I cannot remove but also isn’t needed in my life to survive. 

Looking back, I don’t see that same devoted husband and father. I see a man I was married too who was so unhappy with himself that the path he chose to go was into the vaginas and hearts of women. Sure, he provided. Sure, he was there for me (as much as someone like him could be). I guess we could even say he loved me (as much as someone like him can) but he was not the man he professed to be. He was not the man he made me believe. He sold me worthless promises and unfortunately I found out much too late. 

How can I change the narrative now? How do I look back on my life and feel warm feelings of love and affection. How can I change what I see looking back? How can I see love and respect knowing what I know now? I know the truth about him and us. I want get rid of the of the pain. I can slowly see myself letting go of those old “good” times. In fact, I wonder if letting go of all is necessary to move on at all. 

5 thoughts on “Can I create a new past narrative?

  1. You have done it again, my “cosmic sister in suffering.” Yes to EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. Every. Single. One.

    I could have written this post right down to discovering a very long, loving anniversary card to my player. In it, among a lot of other things, I wrote, “My love for you grows stronger each and every day. This has been the most incredible 10 years of my life with you by my side, I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years hold.” Oh, how I really could have waited…. He was at least 4-5 women in at that point. If I could have known then what the “next 10 years held,” I would have run and never looked back.

    Every photo I see from our life, there’s now a running theme in my head, a constant timeline – this was pre-vagina # 1 (thank you for that label, btw!), or this was 2 weeks before Vagina #2, or this was on the trip with him that I thought was the best time of my life, but I now know was only 2 weeks after his trip with long-term Vagina.

    And yes, I’m having to try to rewrite the narrative of my entire adult life. What was real, what wasn’t? I don’t know precisely how to do that yet and rewrite it into something that I can live with, a story that doesn’t hurt so much.

    All I can say is that I was living authentically and honestly. Those trips, those love letters… I was present, I meant them, I didn’t have someone waiting in the shadows, eager for me to return from being with my family so they could have my time and energy like he did. I find comfort in knowing that MY reality, who I was (and am) was real, I just need to figure out how to reconcile the fact that his wasn’t and view him now through a realistic lens, not the lens of the person I thought he was. And to somehow not let the way I now see him, taint every memory of our life together. Those aren’t just our memories, they’re MY memories, MY life. I want them back! I was there, I was present, I was honest, dammit, that’s my life and my memories and I want to take them back. And I will take them back, and you should too, because I’ll be damned if I will let him smear his shit all over MY entire adult life. I can’t go back and recreate my memories or rewind my life and start over. This wasn’t a dress rehearsal for the real thing, his decisions and his secret life won’t define my past 2 decades unless I let them.

    For me, in order to reconcile the two people he was – the two men I now know lived simultaneously – and have a peace with who he was and what he did, and how he felt about me, our marriage and our family, I need to be able to see him as a broken, hurting, sick person, too deep in his addiction to be able to understand what he was doing. Because the flip side of that is that he was/is a selfish, manipulative, thoughtless asshole who didn’t give a damn about me and our family, who used me as much as he did those women in order to get his high and led his dark, evil life on the side simply because he could and he liked it. Until I can see him as the former through steady, consistent change, the latter version is what taints my every memory. Not only my past narrative, but present and future as well. If true, palpable change happens and stays consistent, maybe I can rewrite that narrative in a way that I can live with and not let go of it all. If it doesn’t, then I think you’re right, letting go of everything may be the only way to do so.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, I couldn’t have said this any better, all these things you stated that are also in my head. How to reconcile the person they acted like with us, their spouses, and the other person they acted like when they were not with us…I struggle with which is the real person.

      Liked by 1 person

    • NLN
      Thank you for this insightful and wise post. I love that played describes my thoughts almost to a T and that what you say, even though it’s a pretty TALL ORDER to achieve, fits into the gaping wound so perfectly.


    • His cards are apologetic, writings of devotion to be the man I deserve and acknowledgement of how much pain he’s caused and how much he’s taken from me. They aren’t overly mushy and no one would consider them written works of art, but for him they are pretty expressive (he’s not really that expressive, which is something I am processing right now).


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