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The weight of his lies. Denial was still kind of a safe place to be. I couldn't hold all the weight at once. So many years ago, I bought into the idea that pornography wasn't such a big deal. But for him, it clouded everything.
There were bits a pieces of it speckled through our life. I never spent a lot of time caring about it. But once in a while I would confront him. There were times when I felt like the porn was replacing me. Sex became just sex. Our intimacy was stolen. Sex was about body parts. Devalued. It became ugly. He always responded with the excuse we all hear "every guy does it". Or even worse, "if we had more sex or the right kind of sex, I wouldn't need it".
I was hurt, disgusted and ultimately turned off. He was no longer the sexy, kind man I'd married and respected a few years before. He was disgusting and gross. So, I kept my distance and detached my heart. I didn't know it then, but now I can see his words were the excuses and blames of an addict.
I didn't know it, but the pornography crescendo-ed into back-alley porn arcades (I mean really, what the hell is a porn arcade?) which found him jacking off where hundreds and possibly thousands of men had also left their marks. This need surged inside him and there he was parked next to the Pizza Hut, sneaking past the legitimate eatery and ducking under the red neon sign into the darkened doors of the Diamond Spa, touting therapeutic Asian massage. Translation: hand jobs and sex with hookers. The legally illegal brothel. The happy ending. "You like? You want?"
I imagine there's a lot of shame when leaving a place like the Diamond Spa. When you use a baby wipe to clean your junk and zip up your jeans while handing over a 100 dollar bill...is that a proud moment? When you sneak out the front door, jogging to your truck, checking over your shoulder and then driving home just in time for supper with your beautiful wife and children...is that a proud moment?
My husband was well liked, managed a large business, a respected family man. The kind of guy who helps neighbors with car trouble and charms the elderly ladies down the street with chatter about their lovely flower beds. Friends and acquaintances often asked him how he'd gotten so lucky in life. He had everything he needed to be happy. All the gifts of deep blissful happiness were in front of him. I could never understand why he wasn't happy. When you find yourself in the stained massage booth of a prostitute finishing up and deleting all evidence of unfaithfulness, I imagine you don't feel like a Man. In that sober moment, don't you wonder, "what the hell am I doing?" And you see that you are your own life's napalm bomb. The destruction is your own.
Destruction is an infinity easier than creation.
This must be why an addict like my husband finds a kind of twisted peace in living a double life. Detaching from his own hell.
The man who plays with his kids and kisses his wife and helps the neighbors trim an overgrown tree isn't the same coward who seeks the raunchy companionship of an exploited prostitutes vagina. Isn't this where the split-personality, the double life, the sociopath persona are born? Then comes the breakdown of self-respect. It's snuffed out like the last drags of a second-hand cigarette.
The story of my discovery ends back at the beginning.
My husbands trip to the country-that-must-not-be-named.
Our 10 year anniversary.
The apex of this story implodes as he returns home from his vacation and we meet in the airport.