Autobiography · Mental Health

Cheated

"Umbrella + Light - 16/365" © [Flávio], 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Umbrella + Light – 16/365” © Flávio, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Two cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I think that’s how I knew Jon was cheating on me. I’d had my suspicions before, but when I came home that night from my second job and there were two empty cans of PBR on the counter, I knew. He was already in bed. Sound asleep. His twists and turns of slumber disguising anything that had happened there earlier in the evening.

Later Sheldon would send me a text about Jon being out with Stephanie. Would tell me about confronting him at the bar. A lot of people would tell me that. And I asked Jon what he was doing out with her. Asked him if there was anything he needed to tell me. He wouldn’t confirm or deny, just say, “Consider your sources.” As if everyone but him was full of shit. That’s probably why I was so angry with him. Because I asked and he acted like I was the one who needed questioning.

I was giving him an out. He didn’t have to sit me down and tell me that he was sleeping with his coworker. He just had to say, “Yes.” Nod his head. He just had to tell me that all those suspicions were valid. That the smell of perfume in his truck was exactly what I thought it was. That when he said he was working late he wasn’t. It would have been easier, wouldn’t it have? To not have to make anything up. But he didn’t. He just said, “Consider your sources,” and kissed me on the forehead. Like I was the crazy one. Gaslighted before I even knew what the phrase meant.

After finding the beer cans I crawled into bed next to him. Cried quietly into my pillow like I usually did in those months. The next morning I got up, went to school, and signed the papers to drop all my classes. Called my mom. And, with my parents help, packed up all my belongings. Sent a text to Jon that just said, “Moving out.” I didn’t bother telling him that he couldn’t deny it anymore. I figured he’d figured it out by then. And I wanted to kill myself. Not him. That’s the interesting part. I wasn’t angry with him. I was angry with myself. Angry for being the type of person that would be cheated on. As if it had anything to do with me at all. As if it wasn’t just about him.

Months later we’d meet at a bar and he’d ask me to move to Arizona with him. He’d tell me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend again. “Don’t you know I know you were cheating on me the whole time, dude? Why do you think I would run away with you?”

He flinched. Like maybe he thought I hadn’t put it together yet. And then he looked me right in the eyes and asked, “What was I supposed to do? You were crying all the time and cutting yourself and… I need a companion.”

I should have slapped him, but instead I apologized. Apologized like I was something broken that had failed him. And I really thought I did. Thought I did to the point that, to this day, when I catch myself on the floor crying I think my husband should be leaving. That’s depression for you. That’s mental health. That’s low self-esteem. That’s… It.

But I can unlearn it. And he can go to hell.

26 thoughts on “Cheated

  1. Omg Ruby, what a roller coaster. That first sentence, I was like, NOOOO! Like you had slipped. On PBR of all things. But then I kept reading and the term gaslighting flashed all up in my face before you even labeled it. And then I got pissed, at him. And then I just wanted to hug you.

    But. Everything that happened brought you to where you are today. And look at all the good things in your life, especially M. And all the people you are reaching and helping.

    Next time you feel obligated to apologize, instead say thank you. Thank you for this experience. Because no matter what, it will make you stronger down the road.

    So so happy our paths crossed. Thank you for this experience. 😉
    ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH NO! And just days from my two year mark, too.

      I have to keep reminding myself that everything led me here. To M. Even when I feel like I’d be a better person without those experiences I have to remember that I wouldn’t be me and I wouldn’t have him.

      So happy our paths crossed, too. Sending you lots of love.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the interesting bit was that you wanted to kill yourself because of the relationship breakdown. I wonder if that’s one of the hallmarks of depression, because I’ve been there, and I have a friend who’s there now…no matter how shitty they are, we make it our fault – WE own it. Hmmm.

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  3. Really inspirational post. I’m sorry to say i’m the one cheating in my marriage and i’m desperately searching for the reasons why i’m doing this. I don’t want to cause such pain. I’m writing about it here. I don’t know if reading the otherside is ever helpful… but just in case…
    https://thechoiceaffair.wordpress.com/

    Like

  4.  
    Hello,
     
    “low self-esteem”; and: “I can unlearn it”.
     
    EXACTLY!
     
    When I asked a friend, psychiatrist and neurologist, years ago, she gave the diagnosis “narcissistic mortification” I hated her for that – I was not in love with myself – I had the lowest possible self-esteem.
    She added: “Psychoanalysis or methods of talk therapy are no use. What you need is behavior therapy.” I hated her for that too, then. I wanted to talk and I wanted to know what was wrong with me.
    But she was absolutely right in both aspects.
     
    Nothing is wrong with me – or with you. Our only fault was to depend on the judgments of others. And that must be “unlearned”. We should be important only for those few who have proved to be absolutely loyal, whatever we did, however we felt, whoever we “were” in changing times.
     
    Congratulation, Jan

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  5. Nice,nice! So everybody has my e-mail address now – old people and the internet, hahaha!
    The content of my comment didn´t show up. Here it is:
    “P.S.
    I will not say: You are a breathtaking writer.
    I´d rather encourage you to go to your mirror once a day, look into your face and say:”I love you, Ruby. You are a breathtaking writer with a sweet, sensitive soul. And that is true, even if nobody else realizes it.”
    P.P.S

    Like

  6. You write so beautifully, honestly, and sensitively about such devastating and deeply personal topics. I just walked into my mother’s kitchen the other day and caught a glimpse of your book peeking out from under a padded, Amazon envelope, but I’m pretending to not know that I’m actually getting what I asked for this Christmas 😉

    It’s a horribly deceptive thing, shame. It convinces us we are unworthy, that we are the ones who are defective, broken, screwed up, hurting others and ruining their lives. It whispers into our ears that we’ll never be good enough, no matter what, and it sounds exactly like the truth. And maybe what’s worse than shame itself is that shame is used as a weapon against us by people who know how to wield it well and know just what to say to knock us to the floor. Nobody deserves that. Not you, not anybody. You, Ruby Browne, are amazing, talented, funny, creative, and you have a beautiful soul and a lot of love to share with the world. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My Dear Ruby, this is not my favourite time of year; but you more than anyone right now need to be strong this Christmas. We have learned so much about ourselves in sobriety, particularly the fact that we cannot take ownership of others’ problems. I sincerely wish you all the best and the strength to rise above the frailties life brings to us. John.
    ⛄️X⛄️

    Like

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