Why is my father so petty
Double life: one man - two families
It was an unspectacular scene that turned my world upside down. I was studying the movie posters at the cinema entrance when I spotted my husband waiting in line at the ticket office. I wanted to go up to him, hug the father of our two children, shout: “Surprise! I didn't go away. ”Because actually I wanted to go to a friend's house in the country.
Then I noticed the woman next to him, saw that her hand was in his trench coat. Obvious and familiar. It was cold and rainy that day. It took me a moment to decipher the gesture, it seemed so absurd to me. And then I left, or rather, I ran away.
Later that evening he stood in front of me in our kitchen and said, “I'm going to tell you something now that you don't think is possible.” Yes, the woman was his lover. For 15 years. Her two children are also his children.
I heard his words but didn't understand. So he wasn't just having an affair, he had a second family, a shadow family. Is there such a word at all? It took him seven minutes from one life to another. Seven kilometers between our house and hers. His car knew the way. Two women, four children. Christmas, holidays, birthdays, gifts: everything is double. To stick together in one life only with innumerable lies.
I tried to reconcile what he said with the memories that stormed me and turned into distorted images: our life, the wedding, the birth of children, moving into our house - moments of happiness and everyday life. He stared at me, panicked, and whispered: "Say something, hit me, kill me."
But I was paralyzed. My world broke up. That sounds like a pop song, but it was like that. Everything swayed, began to slide. The world in which I previously felt safe and secure no longer offered any support.
My husband started a shadow family, led a double life - and thus made mine invalid. Everything I had felt and done until then was based on wrong assumptions. I thought our marriage was happy. Little arguments, a lot of trust, hardly any jealousy. I didn't want to be a woman who clings, let him go away for days without suspicion. As a keyboard player he just had to be on the road. I found his work important and interesting.
Was our love just a lie in the end?
What began for me now resembled the work of an archaeologist. I had to uncover and reconstruct the past. Every detail of my memory had to be reevaluated. I leafed through photo albums, looked at the pictures from Paris, where we stared at the camera so in love, did the math: Yes, the shadow family had already existed there. Their dinners at the family table, their nights together.
When my father died and my husband held my hand, it still existed. When our sons were confirmed, they existed. Both times he came to the party late at night. Rushed up from a tour, I thought.
I hadn't thought about it then. Now I asked myself: what was more important than our family celebrations? His secret daughter was then about five years old. Did she have a toothache and needed papa's comfort? Her mother was on duty and he had to babysit
And when I had my difficult operation and he only stopped by the hospital for a moment, nervous, pale as a sheet, I thought: He's so sensitive. In fact, he was probably just sitting on hot coals. Had to go to the other. Thoughts like this are grueling, hollow. The realization that I only had it to myself for a few years was incredible.
We got together as teenagers. When I married I was 18 and he was 21. Three years later we had two sons. He founded the quartet with which he traveled the world and made a living. At least part of it. I worked in a plumbing company. We lived in a small apartment. A perfectly normal family.
Admittedly, the marriage didn't always go well
But at that time he got to know the other woman and had a son and a daughter with her. The other knew the truth, she saw me performing. But their children were just as deceived as I was: the little ones believed that their dad was on tour when he wasn't with them. In truth, he was with me and our sons.
Our family: a service? And the other: the freestyle? Or the other way around? Why? How could that happen? The answer is staggeringly simple. When he met the other woman, our marriage was slack. I was overwhelmed by our two little sons, the mother-in-law was always in the house. I worked and waited for better times.
But I think he felt very lonely. The other spoke to him after a performance. This happens to stage people. They had a beer, then it was late and he drove them home. He didn't think much of it, but she kept calling him.
And he got involved again and again. When she was pregnant, he raved, he said. But when the newborn was there it was: his child. Likewise the second. Just like our two sons.
At that time I believed he just worked a lot. Artists can't choose, I thought. And when we were together, I wanted it to be nice. Don't stress. We were always happy when we had time to ourselves. And having time meant: two or three days. Then he was gone again.
“I'll be in Kiel by Monday,” he said. Or in Rostock. Or Mönchengladbach. "Drive carefully. And call when you're there! ”He called, told about the applause, the bad hotel bed, and the traffic jam on the motorway. how did he do that? First of all, how long do you need to get there and then to make a phone call in the bathroom?
He was always very busy on holidays. Year after year I sat with the children with my mother on Christmas Eve, without him, until he appeared around nine thirty. Rushed after allegedly playing Santa Claus with strange families. For good pay, as he said.
I didn't ask how much it was worth that we had to wait so long to get the presents and eat the roast without it. I didn't mean to be petty. He also went on vacation with both families. We often only had a few days with him at the holiday resort, then it was the turn of the next gig and, as always understanding, I stayed behind with the children.
Was i blind Did I really not suspect anything? No. Nothing. At least at some point I noticed that we had too little money - measured by how much he supposedly worked. I said: either we should have more money or more time for each other.
He just mumbled: “You have no idea how difficult it all is.” Instead of wondering, I was ashamed: He worked hard, was always tired, and I interfered with my office job.
I thought strange things back then. For example, I secretly believed that women who were betrayed by their husbands were their own fault. I was also convinced that a woman must have a secret. My grandma always said that - a piece of wisdom from the UFA film days. I loved my husband like no one else in the world. That was my secret.
I couldn't show him. Because I thought surrender was a sign of weakness.
He learned to lie. Became a grand master in matters of coordination and deception. The lies had to be as close as possible to the truth, which made it easier to reconstruct them six months later.
Question: How was it in Kiel? Answer: Great! He had to remember that: Kiel was great. Much of his strength went into constructing and backing up these lies, which he constantly had to expand.
"Do you think I did this for pleasure?" The sentence hit me. Not for pleasure? Why does anyone else have two wives? He could be someone else with her, he said.
What other? Less trying, less trying to get everything right. There he was a surprise guest, his appearance a celebration. You can roast a chicken at midnight - without rinsing afterwards.
The mistress was used to having to endure the wife's presence sometimes when we were both at an event of his. He always greeted a lot of people, including her. I thought nothing of it.
But how was she supposed to explain to her children who the strange woman was who visited her father backstage? Who acted as if she belonged to him? The time bomb was ticking.
His daughter went to high school, which our sons also attended. The children could have discovered at every school concert that they had the same father; that they are half siblings.
Everything boiled down to discovery. Perhaps, subconsciously, he even provoked it because the pressure was too great. Her hand in his trench coat - that probably wouldn't have happened to them at the beginning.
In the first few days after the collapse of my life, I received visitors like a sick person. The sensitive were silent, the angry insulted "the pig".
He fled to his mother, the third important woman in his life. The woman who understands everything but doesn't understand anything. The one who stands by him, no matter what. That's what mothers are like. And sons too. When I asked our eldest son how he was doing now, he replied: "The main thing is that you can handle it." And he added: "Hopefully papa too."
At first I was disappointed. How could he still love this father? But over time a different feeling spread: at least something that will last. After months of self-tearing, my husband knew he wanted me. Just me. And I knew I wanted to give each other another chance. I couldn't help it. There was no more pride. Only love, even if it is betrayed.
Now I finally wanted to get to know him, my husband. It was a terribly beautiful time. We never had that much time before, went out to eat or went for a walk, talked and remembered what we once wanted: never to hurt ourselves. Be one against the rest of the world. Stand together as a family.
He said the three words that we had never used inflationarily. And I believed him. When we slept together it was more exciting than ever. Because he was so strange.
My heart pounded when I saw his car pull into the driveway, my stomach cramped when he was late. But for the first time his explanations sounded real: A birch had fallen over across the street and it had to be sawed up. He would not have come up with anything like that in the years before.
He continued to visit the other family. But I wanted to believe him that the love affair was over and the woman no longer played a role. That he only wanted to see his children, that he continued to feel responsible. He doesn't love the woman. I liked to hear that. That was also treason, as I know today. After 15 years together, he simply dropped her. Couldn't it have happened to me as well?
The other family stepped out of the shadows. Soon our sons were coming and going there too. The half-siblings got along well, and his daughter loved her big brothers. My mother-in-law was also interested in the new grandchildren.
The doubling of the family worked pretty well for everyone. Only not for his youngest: Dad has a wife? How so? He's got mom! And it didn't work for me in the long run either.
Then the thought: I will never be able to trust him
When my husband drove to his daughter's school concert, he picked up his ex-lover beforehand. They attended the event together, as parents. His girl was the star on the piano. I tried to be happy with him, to recognize the shadow children as part of him. To even like them, they couldn't help it!
Sometimes I knew them all together at a concert and I would sit at home with a bottle of wine. Then I thought: It was better before.
And then the thought got stuck: it will never stop. I will never be able to trust him. For a long time I struggled to find forgiveness in myself, more acceptance for the second family, more clarity of relationships. I was looking for one final proof that I could trust him. But there wasn't.
20 years of marriage, of which about 15 years with a shadowy family: It was as if a wound had opened at the cinema counter that evening that could no longer heal.
The strangeness between us remained. When he asked me to sit at the same table with the other for an anniversary, I kicked him out. After five years of back and forth, I filed for divorce. A life was over. But it went on. Naturally.
It's good that everything turned out that way
I have now understood more of what drove this man to lie in his life: He cannot say no. That makes him adorable and dishonest at the same time. He is not worth much to himself, so he was looking for security. Two women seemed safer, two families more comfortable than one.
I feel sorry for him today. He has a new family again, a young woman with two small children who knows nothing of his story. But that's none of my business. I too have a new life. With a friend from my youth. We liked each other back then, but he was taken, I was married, and loyalty was important to us.
We have since raised our children, made our mistakes, got older. Now we are free for one another. And with each other. Lately I've sometimes had a thought that surprised myself: It's good that everything turned out like this.
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