Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.
Chapter 43A: No Way Out
At the end of the summer, before Jessica’s first year of high school and Daniel’s first year of middle school, I took them with me to spend four days in Vermont with my parents. I needed the weekend away from Paul to try to know my own mind. I did not tell Paul this, only that I wanted to take the kids to see my parents. When I had done this in the past, there was always never-acknowledged, emotional hell to pay for “abandoning” Paul. I didn’t care.
Over the weekend, with my mind getting clearer with every mile that distanced me from Paul, I decided to separate from him. I would not leave right away, but I would start gathering information and taking the necessary steps, such as getting a job and interviewing more divorce lawyers so that I could take an intelligent approach to the process of separating and then ending my marriage.
In the past, whenever I left for a weekend, I always returned to a messy house—letters and papers left where Paul had last worked with them, dirty clothes draped on the bed and cluttering the bedroom floor, bed unmade, dishes in the sink and on the counter, crumbs still on the table, snow in the driveway during winter, leaves littering the lawn in the fall. This time when I returned, the house was spotless—not a crumb on the counter, not a dish in the sink, not a piece of paper out of place or a sock on the floor, and the bed perfectly made. It felt terribly wrong. I was filled with dread and suspicion. Paul had never done this before. Why now?
While my mind raced, trying to decide if I should be amazed or alarmed, Paul asked me to come outside. He had something to show me. He opened the garage door. There in my garage bay was a brand new Toyota—the exact color and model I wanted. On the driver’s seat was a gift bag filled with books. I love to read, but Paul had often teased me about being “geeky.” Now he had actually bought me books that I was likely to enjoy. That had never happened before.
“Let’s take your new car for a ride, just you and me,” he said. There was no way I could refuse.
“Onna, I’ve been thinking,” Paul said as we pulled out of the driveway. “You seem to be getting happier and stronger. It’s made me realize that I haven’t been happy for years. I’ve been a workaholic, and I haven’t given you and the kids the attention you deserve.”
I nodded, forcing myself to swallow. My mouth felt dry. What was going on?
“I want to start seeing a therapist, too. Things have felt wrong and broken inside me for a long time. I’ve been obsessed with my company and feel that you and the kids are strangers. I don’t want to live like this. I want you back; I want our relationship back. I want to be a better father to the kids. I want to be a better husband. Our marriage is on life support. I want a do-over. I don’t know if I deserve your help, but I hope you’ll support me. I want us both to be happy, and the kids, too. Maybe your therapist could give me some recommendations. Would you ask her?”
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Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.