I was reading the post of one of my favorite bloggers when I had an epiphany of sorts. Her last few posts have been about trust, which you know is on my mind a lot. In the post Reflections on trust, she talks about all the ways her husband’s lies have affected her and made her feel devoid of value. She went through 20 years of being lied to. It blows my mind. Still, some people who comment on her blog seem to think that she should devote more time to waiting around for her husband to magically change.
One went so far as to say,
“A trauma that taught him as a child to lie and keep secrets. Just because he has a grown mans body, a job, kids and a wife does not mean that he was ever taught to tell the truth. Do do what we are taught as children, it carries over into adulthood. You know I’m not making excuses for H’s affair, it was wrong he knew it was wrong but he was doing what he learned as a child. Now he’s trying to unlearn those behaviors, it’s not going to happen over night… Don’t punish him for what he IS doing.”
That literally made my blood boil. It’s not going to happen over night? Give him more time?! That’s your advice?! He was screwed up as a kid, he wasn’t taught to tell the truth, he’s just doing what comes naturally to him, so… what?!?! She should just accept that? Learn to live with it? Wait some undetermined, potentially indefinite period of time for him to MAYBE, POSSIBLY LEARN to have a conscience and stop being a lying piece of shit?!?!?!?!?! Disregard the 20 years of lies? Forget about all these months he spent as an unremorseful ass? Push aside the fact that he may not be in love with her at all and just keep hanging onto a dead marriage…? Because he did two decent, minimal things and made a few short-lived gestures?
What about the possibility that there is no change coming down the road…? What if there is no fantastical, happy ending? What if there is no pot of gold? Maybe he is just broken. Irreparably. Maybe he will be a lifelong liar. Maybe there just really is no hope for their marriage. Have those people stopped to consider the fact that she isn’t obligated to continue being dragged around in the mud behind him?
Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t. I guarantee that they haven’t had a moment where the switch flipped and they just knew that it was over.
I know how much lies can just destroy your soul. Lies can literally kill any love that you had for someone. I reached a point with my husband’s lies where that one more lie was just too much to handle. That only took 5 years for me. I can’t imagine the hell of being with someone emotionally closed-off from you who has been actively lying for 20 years! It blows my mind. She deserves a medal for toughing it out as long as she has so far.
Another thing I know those commenters don’t understand is that there comes a point where there really is no return. No more “waiting” for the other person to make a change that will be too little, too late. Once I turned that corner and flipped that switch, it was over. Done. No turning back. There was a moment when I knew that there was no recovery, no making the marriage work. I even tried to fight against it a little, but it was hopeless, even for me. Once you have crossed that line, an impenetrable wall goes up and that’s just it.
It is hard to describe that moment to someone who hasn’t had one. There isn’t an overwhelming feeling of hatred or spite. In fact, the presence of those emotions for me meant that I was still hanging on to him in some way. That moment of letting go, feeling the relationship die, it didn’t make me want to scream and yell and kick. It was just a gentle click. In that moment I lost all ability to feel much of anything for him besides vague pity, lingering hurt, and a deep desire for it to be over and to no longer have him in my life.
I can say with absolute honesty that my husband could do everything I ever asked of him, worship the ground I walk on, and never tell me a single lie for the rest of his life, and it wouldn’t matter. I could have assurances that if he even uttered one false word he would be struck dead in his tracks. He could never cheat again, never watch one more second of porn, never so much as look at another woman. He could make every dream I’ve ever had come true. He could hit the lottery and win millions. None of it would matter. Nothing he could ever do would be enough to get back the love I once had for him.
He murdered that with his lies.
He destroyed it with years of half-truths, gaslighting, and hiding his true emotions and feelings from me.
Like I wrote in my post, I’m Getting Tired of Talking About Lying, I got to a point where I was tired of being lied to, tired of wondering what the truth was, and tired of expending emotional energy on the same thing over and over. He was too broken, and I could not wait around anymore.
That moment for me came when he lied about STD testing and health insurance. That is when he killed any chance we ever had of being together. That was the final “click.”
The love just shriveled up and died.
Just like people, love can’t come back once it’s dead. Even if it could, it would be a zombie – undead, cold, feeding off of the flesh of anyone close to it.
I don’t want zombie love. I want the real thing.