Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Other Woman

Today was one of those days where I woke up in a thin tank top, looked in the mirror, thought "I should really put on a bra to walk the dog..." but then immediately countered that thought with "Fuck it, I have nipples. I HAVE NIPPLES. If Jennifer Aniston could get away with it on FRIENDS, I can get away with it for 10 minutes on my street. So it's that kind of mood I woke up in, so seems like as good of a time as any to talk about the Other Woman (why did I capitalize her? she doesn't even deserve capitals).

Like the good textbook NPD Narcissist he is, my husband lined up new supply waaay before he and I were done. It's now the end of July, he left because I told him I wanted a divorce two weeks ago, and from what I can tell, he started his relationship with the other woman somewhere around January, when I actually thought that we were getting back on track and were going to work things out. Oh, me and my eternal, delusional hope.

I didn't believe she existed. I actually trusted him, and defended him at every turn to, well, EVERYONE who said "There must be someone else." I really, really didn't think there was. I didn't think he would do that. I even had a truly gifted, famous tv psychic tell me there was someone else, and I didn't believe him. He was right. Everyone was right. After he left me out of the blue (known as the "Narcissistic Discard") in March, and then came back after a string of excuses which went through most of April, all of May, and he finally moved back in in June, it didn't make sense to me why he had to leave me to "close doors" and "get his head on straight." Now I know that the door he needed to close was to the bedroom of the other woman who was paying for his flights.

I'm sort of unhealthily obsessed with thinking about her at the moment, but not in the "What's she have that I don't have?" way (the answer to that is easy: she has money). There is part of me that wants to warn her, but I know that she wouldn't believe me anyway, and I would just come off looking like the bitter wife who doesn't want anyone to be happy. That couldn't be further from the truth, actually. I wish so much that my husband could be happy, but I know that he won't be unless he decides to work on himself...and that will never happen, because he truly believes that everyone else is the problem, and that he has no issues. And I wish for her to know the fresh hell she's about to get into with him.

I know she's in love with him. I remember that euphoric, fairy-tale phase myself. I saw her facebook messages and her emails and her love poems to him (not so fast, she's not creative...she copied and pasted poems by well-known poets and sent them to him). But I know that he's only using her, just like he used me, and he's not capable of real love. She has fallen deeply for his charm and stunning good looks (because damn him, he IS stunningly handsome--I guess a life lived without feeling even a shred of guilt or remorse helps to fight the signs of aging as much as any anti-wrinkle cream). She's already paid for round-trip flights for him to leave his bitch of a wife. She described herself as his "lifeline" and handed over her credit card to him so that he could use it whenever he wanted. She's in deep. And, where I had no real money to spend on him, but spent my life savings on him anyway, she DOES have money, and from what I can tell, a lot of it. When I confronted him about her, he tried to prove his "love" for me by actually saying "Being with her would solve ALL of my problems. She is the perfect escape because she is fucking loaded and I would never have to work again!" (followed by "But I came back to YOU!", you know, as if he was doing me a favor by big, important, famous him coming back to poor, little old me--it was a sneaky backhanded compliment/put-down sandwich, with a side of guilt-trip sauce, which he excels at).

So what I'd really love to say to her is:

"Sweetheart, GOOD LUCK. You will need it. You will also need a lot of money, because in the three years we were together, he paid for exactly one bill. One! Oh, and he also paid for my fitness bootcamp, because he hated the way I looked (more on that in a moment...) Despite the fact that he was working and making a good salary, and was getting a lot of press and fame from his work, I saw none of that money. He will use you, until you catch onto the fact that using you is precisely what he's doing. Then he'll be shocked and hurt that you could even SUGGEST that or think of him that way. It took me a really long time to figure that out, but lucky for him, he already had you taking care of him (though I was still paying the rent and buying the groceries and paying for the wifi and the cell phone he was using to call you).  

I know you're trying to move mountains to get him a job. I did that, too. My GOD the mountains I moved. If I had applied that kind of effort to my own career, I think I would have won a Tony by now. But I did it for him, just like you are. He'll seem to be a little bit grateful, but it will never be enough, and at some point you'll wonder if all you're doing is worth it. It's not. I assure you, it's not. You're gonna come out of this depleted, exhausted, and significantly poorer than when you started. You'll struggle to figure out where it all went wrong because it was SO PERFECT in the beginning and no one had ever said the things he said to you, or swept you off your feet the way he did. No one had ever made you feel more beautiful or more special or more important. It was blissful, yes, but it was calculated on his part. He got you. You couldn't help but fall in love. We all have. Another pro-tip: get on some good birth control. His ex didn't, and he left her with a baby and empty promises of paying child support. Luckily for me, I got an IUD early on in our relationship, and he only left me with a dog. He even bought one bag of dog food, one time.  

You will also need more strength and confidence than you ever thought you had. He will never stop talking to and hanging out with beautiful, single women. Even if you're not the jealous type--I wasn't, either--your insecurities will get the best of you and you will start to hate the person you've become. He needs more female attention than any one woman can ever give him, and he will fly into a rage if you so much as ask who his new female friend is. He will tear you down with putdowns, sometimes after he compliments you (Example--"You are so beautiful. You are truly beautiful inside and out. I'm the luckiest guy to have met you...but, what are we going to do about your boobs?"). He will criticize every little bit of you that he once claimed to love, because he hates himself and has to project that onto others to feel better. He thinks he's fat and ugly and his nose is too big, and guess what--soon, he will be telling you that you are fat and ugly and your nose is too big. Literally, the last thing he said to me, on multiple occasions, before getting on a plane would be "Make sure you go to the gym every day. Promise me?" Not I love you. Not I'll miss you. Go to the gym. And then the first thing upon getting off the plane when I greeted him at the airport was "Ohh, I see someone has put on a little belly." Yes, HE had gained 30 lbs in the two months since I'd seen him...I had stayed the same. But according to him, *I* was the one who put on a belly, and shouldn't get angry at him because he was just joking, and I'm too sensitive, and if I'm going to act like that, he was just going to leave me now. 

Don't think that he'll ever return your empathy or validate your feelings. He won't. Your feelings are a threat to him, and he'll wish that you just didn't have them. He'll dismiss you, and if you dare express something to him that he doesn't agree with, he will scream and yell until you are the one apologizing for feeling or saying anything. Nothing you say or do, or think or feel will ever be right. And when you let him know that his screaming at you is not ok, he'll say it was nothing, he was joking, and you take him too seriously. It's a mindfuck. No matter how many times you try to explain yourself more clearly, and without emotion, and as gently and carefully as possible, he'll still explode and he will never "get it." 

Oh, also, hang out with your friends and family NOW. Because though he will encourage you to have friends and family, he won't actually want you to talk to them or correspond with them in any way, because he thinks you'll be talking about him. And if, let's say, you DO get near-suicidal and decide to reach out to your best friends and closest family for support, that will be your biggest, most unforgivable mistake to him. The irony is that even though you'll try to go to him first, he won't hear you, and if he does, you will be made to feel guilty for being sad, because it brings HIM down, and it means that you are being unsupportive of HIM. But he'll make it very clear that though he doesn't want to hear it, you are not, under any circumstances, allowed to go OUTSIDE of the marriage with your feelings. So you will be alone. Utterly, devastatingly alone. I can't prepare you for the amount of alone you will feel. If you want, at that point, you can reach out to me. Please reach out to someone before you start Googling what kind of pills you can overdose on to end the pain the fastest. Thank God, I did. I went against his wishes and told my friends and family, and got a therapist. You should do that, too. 

I know there's more I'm not thinking of right now. And there may be things that will be new to you that he didn't even do to me. Just...good luck. Bolster yourself. Your world is about to blow up."

1 comment:

  1. oh, love. i dated this guy. (not literally this guy, but textbook This Guy.)
    i'm so, so sorry that you wound up married to him. so much love to you as you get through this.... <3