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.