It took 8 and a half years for me to learn that my husband had been lying to me from the day we first met. Actually lied from the day we first met.
I already had trust issues. I was already convinced that if you confide in people, they’ll use it against you later. He did that, too. I was firmly convinced that everyone you love will leave as soon as you don’t agree with them – I still believe that one far too often. But more than anything else, I have never been good at trusting people are telling me the truth. I look for the nuances. The body language. The skip in the voice. The twitch of a cheek. The flicker of an eye. Anything. I am good at reading people. I’ve always been listening to small things.
I’m rarely focused on the big issues around me. A car crash could happen in front of me some days and I’m listening so hard to the sounds in the distance that I wouldn’t register. The product of a violent upbringing no doubt. Listening to the sounds of the house to prepare for whatever was to come.
So, I had trust issues. Then, when our third child was a few months old, I discovered the lie. The lie that had, oddly, been part of a discussion on the day we first met… and he had never had the courage to tell me. The lie I had actually confronted him about several times during our relationship, including three days before we were married. The lie that continued. Not just the lie itself, but the actions. The betrayal.
Addictions. As simple and as devastating as that.
Conversations with friends had often found themselves revolving around someone having an affair. Would you know if your husband was? I was always adamant that I would know. He was useless at keeping a secret. This was the guy who gave me my birthday and Christmas present at the same time on the day he bought them – usually a few days before Christmas. He was hopeless at secrets. A guy who hated me keeping things from him, even though he knew he’d end up telling people. He was useless at keeping a secret. Except for that one. The one that mattered. The one that protected him.
So, I discovered the lie. My world shattered. But, over the months, we tried to rebuild. Without the addictions. He had quit. When we argued, it was because he was hurt and angry that I did not trust him. I tried to explain that this would take time. That I needed to believe he was now being honest. Months. Months of him looking me in the eye and swearing to me he had quit. Months of looking me in the eye and yelling at me, telling me that if I didn’t trust him, we didn’t have a relationship anymore.
Then, ten days before I had a caesarian with our fourth child, I discovered the lie had never actually ceased.
It wasn’t even the lie that got to me. It wasn’t the addiction. It was the fact that he looked me in the eye and yelled at me because I didn’t trust him. He made me feel like the lowest being because I couldn’t trust him. When he was trying so hard and I couldn’t have faith in him.
He let me take the fall. Begged me to not tell anyone. He was embarrassed. He was sorry. He ticked every box. But he let me take the fall. He let me look like the harpy of a wife whilst he played the harangued husband…
Ten days until a fourth caesarian. I couldn’t leave. He refused to leave. Over the next few years, we flogged the marriage to death. I couldn’t trust him. Every time he opened his mouth, I suspected he was lying. Finally, I discovered he was. A different addiction, but an addiction nonetheless.
Lies, deceit and half truths.
I need black and white nowadays. I need people to tell me in plain English exactly what the situation is and exactly where I stand.
Lunch with a friend today and we touched briefly on the idea of a future relationship. Trust. That’s what matters most. No… it’s integrity.
People lie. People make mistakes. People do things they regret. I am far from perfect. I have made so many mistakes and I have kept so many lies… I still do. It’s not about the lie. That’s what people don’t seem to understand.
When the lie is to protect others, then I can forgive most things. When the lie is to protect yourself though…
So, my trust issues have magnified. I don’t trust people. Every word out of a mouth I dissect and analyse. I look for nuances. I listen to the small things. But it’s not about the lie itself. It’s your actions when you are caught in the lie. The words that fall from your lips afterwards. This is what matters the most. Are you able to stand and face the consequences, apologise honestly, or do you attack the person you have hurt?