Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 5, 2004
I am a captain in the Marine Corps. A year ago my wife cheated on me with another Marine. He lived in an apartment facing ours, which I passed every day on my way to work. She was my girlfriend at the time, and she told me because she felt guilty about it. She said it only happened once.
She said she never talked to the guy again except to tell him to leave her alone. I married her even after I found out because I love her and because I feel everyone deserves a second chance. I hold a lot of anger inside about it, especially since I worked on the same base with him. He left a little while ago for another assignment, and the apartment is empty now.
My question is how do you stop thinking about it? I picture it in my mind like a broken record. I don't want to keep hounding my wife over this. I want to get over it and move on. But I just get kind of sick when I think of his hands on her. I wonder if she will do it again, and I wonder if I am not good enough, especially in bed.
To be honest, I don't know why she cheated other than she was unhappy about money and about moving to a new base. She stated she wanted him from the minute she saw him and he was the best looking man she had ever seen. I am so insecure over this it is unreal. I have never and would never cheat.
Monty, forty years ago Roy Orbison sang, "It breaks your heart in two, To know she's been untrue." Today Puddle of Mudd sings, "…have to find a way to take the knife out of my back." Forty years from now someone else will be singing the same story, and it will sound like the same old broken record.
Even when you no longer see this man's empty apartment, looking at your wife will be a reminder of what happened. The who, when, and where don't matter. What matters is that no reason she gave you justifies cheating. What
matters is that you rewarded the one who caused you pain with a wedding. Now you have made the pain a full-time part of your life.
She gave you a losing ticket, and you gave her the prize. Your anger is simply the other side of the fear she will do it again. You tried to avoid the pain of losing her, but once she was unfaithful, she was already gone. You needed to work through that pain and move on with someone who would be faithful. The title of Roy Orbison's 1964 song, "It's Over," holds your answer.
Our divorce will be final in five weeks. My wife blames me for everything which went wrong in our relationship, and I admit some things were my fault. However, in the time we were together she never once said she was sorry or understood where I was coming from.
Foolishly I still feel obligated to her. She calls and asks me for favors. She starts talking nicely, then tells me what a horrible person I am. I leave these conversations feeling emotionally and spiritually drained. I don't want to say hurtful things to her, yet I need this to stop. I guess part of me still hopes for reconciliation.
Ozzie, your wires are crossed. Abuse and love are opposites. Once you uncross your wires it will change your whole perspective. It will shed light on new relationships as well as your old one. For the next five weeks, to thy old self be true. Once the divorce is final, change your phone number. Your wife has given you a great gift, the chance to discover what love actually is.
About the Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
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