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Never knowing the whole truth - how to move on

messyleslie posted 4/4/2021 02:54 AM

I had a random thought the other day about something shady that my ex did early in our marriage (he went to a training out of town for work and lost his wedding ring - he said he must have left it in the room because he took it off one night and then forgot to put it on the next morning and then couldn't find it - he tried to replace it without me ever knowing, but I found a craigslist ad he put in the city his trip was in asking if anyone had seen it which made me think he took it off while out and about...) and at the time it happened I had no reason to believe he was lying even though my gut told me something was off. It was one thing in a sea of really great things, so I just let it go.

Anyways I just had this weird flood of "I wonder what other crap I don't know and I wish I could just know the truth" and then the immediate realization that I will never ever know. And while a big part of me doesn't care - I realize it doesn't make a difference... but I struggle with knowing if my entire marriage was a big lie or if he was who I thought he was and then mental illness and alcoholism changed that.

Anyone deal with these thoughts?

Karmafan posted 4/4/2021 10:01 AM

Been where you are. His cheating made me think of all the times when things just didnít add up. Last minute conferences, overnights that became a couple of days, missed last trains after a night out with work. I always accepted his excuses, even if some of them were honestly an insult to my intelligence.

To this day I never got him to confess to anything, so Iíll have to accept that Iíll never know the truth. But then I remind myself that, if the one time I did know about made me want to divorce him, then the fact that he had done it before doesnít really matter in the great scheme of things. And dealing with those missing truths gets less painful with time.

[This message edited by Karmafan at 10:33 AM, April 4th (Sunday)]

SallyShrink81 posted 4/4/2021 10:45 AM

I've been there not in the exact same way but similar. There are things that I will never know the truth to which drove me crazy all the time after D-day and during the D. Honestly there are times when I go down that rabbit hole. That's all it is thought is a rabbit hole.

Every once in a while it helps me to think what would knowing X help. I already know my ex is a liar and a cheater and a lackluster father. Anything else is just details that would reinforce or validate those thoughts AND knowing more details could also hurt me which means it would hurt more than help.

Finally just be gentle with yourself. I know I felt like my life was turned upside down with almost everything I knew so it took a long time to feel like I had a good foothold again. Hope that helps!

Anna123 posted 4/4/2021 11:09 AM

I deal with it by knowing that "I" was authentic. My feelings and perceptions were real and truthful. I think it is a compartmental thing. I still enjoy various memories with him in them, but don't associate them with his world at the time, just mine.

My cheater lost a wedding ring long before known cheating as well. I never thought is was because of cheating at the time or after --- but now I don't know and now I just don't care.

The reality is he always had shady tendencies and now I am free of that in my life.

Good luck sorting it all out.

DevastatedDee posted 4/4/2021 11:52 AM

I found out a whole lot, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't half of what actually went on. I'll never know if it was 14 months, 2 years, 5 years or the whole time. The way I moved on from it was just to assume it was the whole time and that all of it was a shitty relationship and marriage even if I didn't know it. That does kind of suck because I've mentally thrown the whole thing in the garbage and from my perspective most of it was extremely happy. But, it is what it is. That was the only thing that allowed me to mentally drop it and move on. That's not fair and it's not right, but what is? I no longer care how much or how long, and that was my goal.

BetrayedGamer posted 4/4/2021 12:14 PM

I deal with it by knowing that "I" was authentic. My feelings and perceptions were real and truthful. I think it is a compartmental thing.

This is awesome and exactly how I tackle it as well. I have a horrible addiction to need to know EVERYTHING and situations where I can't possibly find something out drive me nuts. Eventually I do compartmentalize it. I'm fortunate in my current situation in that I do know pretty much all the facts, but I could imagine going through a D with all sorts of questions. I guess one attitude to take would be a "what have you done for me lately" approach.

josiep posted 4/4/2021 12:45 PM

Edited to add: My response is geared toward the part of OP's post where she wrote: "I realize it doesn't make a difference... but I struggle with knowing if my entire marriage was a big lie or if he was who I thought he was and then mental illness and alcoholism changed that."

I have the same things happen and they're so distressing. Memories of what I thought were happy moments in my life, every time I think about anything in the past with a bit of fondness, I stop and wonder what was really happening at the time or was I just an idiot for all 49 years. It really makes me feel bad because here I am all sentimental and feeling warm and cozy and proud of creating a happy, safe home for my kids and it hits me - I can't be proud of that because maybe I didn't create a happy, safe home for my kids. In fact, it was never actually happy, as in filled with joy. We had some good years where things seemed fine but I don't think we could call it happy cuz it was more that we (kids and I) weren't unhappy. And although we were safe in terms of having a roof over our head and food in the cupboards, etc., I rarely left my kids home with their Dad. I guess I subconsciously knew he wouldn't take care of them with love and compassion, especially our son.

So I hear you, leslie. It's hard and I don't know how to move on from those feelings when they crop up. I learned a good idea in AlAnon that might help: when a negative thought enters our mind, thik about it for 30 seconds and then shoo it away by literally waving your hand and saying "OK, thanks for stopping by; run along now."

And also to add that I strongly believe the answer to our remaining feelings lies in AlAnon. My XWH was also an alcoholic and there is just no normal or sane way to describe what it's like to live with them or even to love them. And I believe therein lies our issue - we want it to make sense but unless we have an alcoholic mind, it can't make sense. Our best path forward is to find a way to make peace with it and that's exactly what AlAnon is all about, learning how to have peace and serenity in our lives no matter what's happening around us.

[This message edited by josiep at 7:53 AM, April 5th (Monday)]

Adira posted 4/4/2021 13:59 PM

Anyone deal with these thoughts?
All the time. In the past I let so much shady behaviour slide & ignored my intuition. Outright lies, patterned behaviour around other women, being vague about work trips- all neatly rug swept or explained away. It is a rabbit hole if I let those thoughts get a foot hold.
At the end of the day I know I was fully committed & genuine & his shitty character is on him.

BetrayedGamer posted 4/4/2021 22:04 PM

Think of it this way...5 or 10 years from now, when this is a distant memory and you are in a better situation, will knowing every detail matter then?

Karmafan posted 4/5/2021 03:08 AM

Think of it this way...5 or 10 years from now, when this is a distant memory and you are in a better situation, will knowing every detail matter then?

Exactly. I am five years out and itís honestly a triviality!

josiep posted 4/5/2021 08:16 AM

Think of it this way...5 or 10 years from now, when this is a distant memory and you are in a better situation, will knowing every detail matter then?

I don't think she was talking about knowing every detail so much as wondering if she was ever in a real marriage where 2 people love each other above all else.

And I'll go out on a limb here and give my opinion: No one who is married to an alcoholic is in a real marriage where 2 people love each other above all else because the alcoholic will always love the alcohol more than anyone or anything. And as we reflect on the little weird things of the past, we'll realize that much of it was them making sure they wouldn't be too far away from their source for too long. That said, the alcoholic is behaving like an alcoholic - it's what they do and how they survive. They don't choose to be an alcoholic and so it creates a real dilemma for the people who love them. We love them but we can't make sense of how they behave and, in the end, it can make us as unbalanced as the alcohol ends up making them.

Catwoman posted 4/5/2021 13:55 PM

I dealt with it by figuring out I knew "enough" to make decisions about how I wanted to move forward. I know I will never have all of the details, but I know enough to know that he is never going to be the

So, I assume you know enough, right?

Cat

Phoenix1 posted 4/5/2021 15:29 PM

I dealt with it by figuring out I knew "enough" to make decisions about how I wanted to move forward.

This^^^

I know enough to know that pretty much anything coming out of his pie hole is/was either a blatant lie or questionable at best. It is enough to know my entire marriage was a lie with a few sprinklings of authentic moments scattered here and there. But, while the lies and charades are all on him, I know I was living authentically. That knowledge has given me peace going forward. I don't need the whole truth to know he's a con artist, and I'm eternally grateful he's not my problem any longer.

Be easy on yourself. It takes time to reach this point. Focus on the positives in your life today.

messyleslie posted 4/5/2021 15:29 PM

I deal with it by knowing that "I" was authentic. My feelings and perceptions were real and truthful.

This is really good. My therapist has said something similar. I did the best with the information I had at the time - trusting your husband is not a bad thing. I cannot take responsibility for his actions and I'm learning to trust my own experience a little more now than I first did when it all fell apart.

That does kind of suck because I've mentally thrown the whole thing in the garbage and from my perspective most of it was extremely happy.

That's sort of where I am. I have thrown the entire thing in the garbage, or sort of said well it doesn't mean anything because of how it turned out, but I don't know if that is actually honest and it did in fact mean something. I don't know... its a weird thing.

Josiep- thank you for all of that. and yes it is this:

And I believe therein lies our issue - we want it to make sense but unless we have an alcoholic mind, it can't make sense. Our best path forward is to find a way to make peace with it and that's exactly what AlAnon is all about, learning how to have peace and serenity in our lives no matter what's happening around us.

I actually believe you have suggested Alanon to me before and I have looked in to going so many times, but I have childcare issues since I'm now a single mom to three kids who are too young to be left on their own. I looked up online ones recently, but honestly I just didn't want another online thing during all of this craziness. But yes I need to do it.

Think of it this way...5 or 10 years from now, when this is a distant memory and you are in a better situation, will knowing every detail matter then?

Its not details at all. I don't care about the details and I actually sort of protected myself some from a lot of the details right after dday. I'm 4.5 years out from dday and I see that the details do not matter at all.

Its more just as I heal I am mentally going through the story. I'm a science teacher and my mind works like this - I just need to sort of understand what happened and its hard to know that I won't really be able to know because I don't know the full truth. I will never know the story because he has never been completely honest. And I also know that even if he was I would trust it in the slightest - so its not like he could confess everything on his deathbed and it would make me feel better. Its just weird to not know things that seem so crucial to the story of your life. Like was he ever faithful? Did he mean his vows? Who was he really?

I dealt with it by figuring out I knew "enough" to make decisions about how I wanted to move forward. I know I will never have all of the details, but I know enough to know that he is never going to be the
So, I assume you know enough, right?

Yeah its not details - more like who is he?? Once I decided my marriage was over I actually never ever questioned it for a second. I definitely don't want details and don't care, but I guess I just would love to be able to answer the question what the hell happened..

And my story is a little different in that my ex had a full mental breakdown and during that he had an affair. He was like a totally different person during that time - even his voice changed. But he did things that I never thought he would do, and he seems like a completely different person now. So I guess I'm just wondering if he was who I thought he was before, or if it was like always there and I am an idiot and just ignored it..

Thanks for all the thoughts. Back to therapy I go! hah

DevastatedDee posted 4/6/2021 17:11 PM

That's sort of where I am. I have thrown the entire thing in the garbage, or sort of said well it doesn't mean anything because of how it turned out, but I don't know if that is actually honest and it did in fact mean something. I don't know... its a weird thing.

Oh I totally get it. It used to mess with me a lot. How could the best relationship I've ever had, the man I loved the most and some of the happiest times in my life not have been anything I can be sure was real? Long after I didn't love him, that part still bugged me. I took some comfort in that I was authentic, but then that sounded like I was in a relationship with myself, lol. I guess there's some truth in that.

I met my XWH when he was at the top of his game, though I didn't realize that. I thought he was just a normal functioning adult. That this was a major accomplishment for him wasn't something I understood. I thought he started cheating when he started to change and become "depressed", but I found out after I'd left and all was said and done that he'd actually acted out before that time period. That tells me that him acting happy and things seeming normal didn't mean that he wasn't cheating during what I thought were the real times. So, it all got tossed. Maybe some of it actually was authentic on both sides or maybe I was just a fun drug for him for a few years before I lost my shine. It is literally impossible for me to ever know the answer.

I never found a solution to this, but I've come to terms with all of it being tainted and this part no longer bothers me, thank goodness. It took time, though.

I wanted some kind of closure, some kind of "it was real from this year to that year, but then I became a cheating asshole and ruined it", but I'll never have that. I would have even settled for "I was always a cheating asshole, I just forgot to act loving towards you while I was doing it after a while". Ha ha, anything would have helped in the first two years post-DDay.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 5:14 PM, April 6th (Tuesday)]

Shehawk posted 4/6/2021 17:29 PM

I just do move on. It is hard. I know. I am so sorry you are in this situation.

I know enough I know he was a fraud. A fake. A cheater. A phony. Evil. And that has to be enough for me because apparently the truth is not in him. Also since he chose his unicorn life where he gets random strangers to commit literally only God knows what with him what he is actually doing is too nauseating for me to want to know. What I do know is enough to make me throw up in my mouth.

BetrayedGamer posted 4/6/2021 18:08 PM

I believe people have evil inside of them that is never apparent when things are good/normal, but as soon as there is adversity in rears it's ugly head. Divorces went way up during the pandemic, I'm not the only one to discover a cheating spouse during it.

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