If I Could Talk I’d Tell You (she forgot to mention)

If I Could Talk I’d Tell You

It is not easy to communicate when things begin going sideways. Outside of a major transgression, falling out of love can be easy and swift. No one enters a partnership planning for the demise. We might jump into a relationship that has a very low percentage of success, but I’m going to assume that if you’re dating, you’re looking for a long-term partner.

Things were not going all that well the day I came across my then-wife’s email conversation with a younger man in her office. She was sharing about how hard it was to be in a marriage with someone suffering from depression. I was cleaning spam off the family computer, her Gmail account was open. He was thanking her for showing her the local library with the free coffee and comfy chairs.

The deeper cut of this discovery was the knowledge that my then-wife had started sharing lunches with me while she was still living with another man. Even within my severely anxious mind, I could see that she was doing it again, now while married to me. Part of me wanted to bolt. Our two young children gave me pause, and I requested we try couple’s therapy.

She never apologized. She did say she would break it off. “I can see how that would feel bad for you.” Even in therapy as we began to address the disconnections she was unable to see how her actions were so painful for me. I didn’t recall the full impact until years later. How had I started going to lunches and getting lovey-dovey with someone who was actively living with another man?

We didn’t talk about divorce, ever.

Until the next time when I got us into couple’s therapy for the second time.

Even as I was fighting to keep my marriage with the help of a therapist, she would describe the effort as cynical. She had little or no hope of improving our marriage. In fact, in a move that surprised our therapist as much as me, she went off on her own and consulted with a divorce attorney. She failed to bring this crisis into our therapy.

Maybe she was using the sessions as a cover for her divorce planning. Now that I think about it, she never apologized for any transgressions.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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