Dr. West

From a Woman -

 

The Biggest

Mistake in My Life

 

Rewritten From e-mail

           About four years ago I caught my husband in an affair -- or maybe it was a one-night stand. But now I'm not even sure about that.

My husband had gone to an out-of-town convention.  I had wanted to go, especially when I pictured the young, attractive women from his office that would be there, but he said  spouses weren't invited this time.

After he got back, I was unpacking his suitcase when I found a pair of lace panties. They were stained with what looked like semen. Suddenly, I thought I knew why he didn't want me to go with him.

I went ballistic -- yelling and screaming and said every cruel and hurtful thing that I could come up with.  Then repeated it all over again several times and ordered him out of the house.

As I think back on it, he just looked befuddled.    

I then ran to a woman friend who had just been through a painful divorce that sprang from catching her husband in an affair.

She went on and on about how men can't be trusted, and how I  I had done the right thing by throwing him out of the house.

She put me in touch with her lawyer, and to make a long story short, my husband was served with divorce papers.

The lawyer heard my story and bragged that we could get everything my husband owned -- an exaggeration, but not by much.

My husband called repeatedly, but I wouldn't talk to him. Finally, as things progressed, he gave up.

His lawyer fought back and things got very ugly.  On the few occasions when we were all in the same room, my husband wouldn't look at me.  I took that as guilt.

It was only after the few remaining bridges were totally burned in the protracted divorce proceedings that another woman friend -- a good Christian lady -- started calmly asking me questions.

I had to confess that it all came back to these panties.

Then she said something that really threw me for a loop.  She had heard of some men and even some women doing this as a kind of sick joke.

She said, "If he really had an affair, do you think he would be so stupid as to put the panties in his suitcase, knowing you would find them?"

May reaction was anger -- anger at her for bringing up such a possibility.

 I had such an investment in being "right" that I didn't want to -- I couldn't -- consider anything else.    

        Now four years have passed.  I am still alone in the house that we once bought together and with the furniture we picked out together.

People say -- especially when I am saying how my life if no longer worth it -- that I sell the house, get away and start new somewhere else.

But I can't.

Maybe it's because, despite everything, the best memories are centered in this house.

Maybe it's because I feel that if I don't change anything, some day things could magically go back to how they were.  I've even even kept the car that he loved so much, but I don't drive.

...It would be so much easier if he had died in an accident.  I couldn't blame myself.

I've never gotten so much as a Christmas card from him.  After the stuff I said and did, and how much I know I hurt him, I can't really blame him.    

Thinking that I might have gotten it all wrong tears me up. I hope he did have an affair.  At least it would in some measure justify my actions. But the fact is, I doubt if I will ever know for sure.

We had been together 16 years, and I know he loved me and I loved him.

I often replay the moment when I found those panties and think about what I should have done.  If I could go back to that moment -- God, if I could just go back to that moment! -- I would simply throw those panties away and never mention them.

If I had just done that, so much heartache, pain, and guilt could have been avoided.

Instead, I let my anger, ego and need for revenge take over. That was the biggest mistake I've ever made and not a day goes by that I don't regret it.


 

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