A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Unexpected Bullshit

*Trigger warning for discussion of rape.*

Dear Readers,

My life just took a turn for the surreal when I discovered that my partner of 7 years sought sex from a stranger and carried on a relationship with that person for months, creating a bond with her and ensuring that ours would be broken, probably irreparably.

“Probably?” You cry. “But Rosie! He did a terrible thing to you. Why the HELL would you take him back? You’re a FEMINIST after all! Show some self-respect!”

I hear you, readers, but life just isn’t as simple as it ought to be. I may not take him back. He may not want to come back. The whole problem seems to be that he lost interest in having sex with me, but instead of telling me, he took care of it himself. And apparently felt no compunction in doing so. (Now, of course, he’s tortured over what he’s done to me. Go figure.)

It has been four days since he left and I have not left my couch. I am, as I’m sure you can imagine, a basket case. Some days I cry nonstop. Others I just ache. In between I seethe at the injustice of it all. I’m also reading books and articles on how to deal with  deceit and unfaithfulness in a relationship. In one book, the author quoted a woman as saying to her husband the following:

“I was raped when I was 15. This is worse. The rapist was a stranger; you were supposed to be my best friend.”

I’ve been turning this over and over in my head. As many of you know, I have experienced actual rape, and it is a horrific thing that does not bear comparing to many others. I told my partner that it isn’t true. But I get why she said it. This feels like a very real violation of my person, and the physical and emotional agony are nearly unbearable. There will be lasting damage. I will have to learn to trust again—if not my partner, then others in the world. I question everything about myself, my life, what I thought was real and true. I don’t know that this is worse than the effects of rape, but it’s right up there.

When my partner confessed his infidelity to me, I confessed something, too. Something I hadn’t told anyone–a thing that happened to me three or so years ago that someone else did to me, something I didn’t write about in my article about my abuse because I hadn’t told him and couldn’t tell him because I was ashamed and afraid to hurt him. Enraged, I described the incident in detail and the agony I had endured keeping it from him. I wanted him to understand how his lies had hurt me. And he does—at least to a degree. I’m not sure he can ever fully comprehend my pain.

People who cheat rationalize that they aren’t hurting anyone. But they’re hurting at least three people. And while people do recover from things like this, I think it’s safe to say that the damage can’t be completely undone. I don’t know that I’ll ever trust another person the way I trusted him. I don’t know what lies ahead. I just know I have a lot of healing to do, and that may mean less blogging as I focus on myself. On the other hand, it might mean more.

Meanwhile, I have several guest pieces coming up, including another from my good friend Sid.

With love,

Rosie

PS: I wrote this post on Day 4. It is now Day 6, and I have packed his shit and told him to leave me alone. I’ll write more about that when I can. I can safely tell you, though, that he has hurt me more than any single person in my life. Including my rapists.


Update (12/18/14): It has been two years today and my ex has married the woman he found on a sex chat site. I’m sure they both got what they deserved, or will. I am still struggling up out of a well of depression. I have been trying different combinations of medications for a year after going off my meds and into a very dark place for a couple of months. I have come to term what my ex did to me as abuse, and have unsurprisingly encountered resistance to that term. I have written a lot about this concept, what happened to me, and what I have gone through in the past couple of years attempting to recover from it under the betrayal tag if you want to catch up. You can also read “An Open Letter to B” for a snapshot of the damage. I know that I am getting better—that I will get better. And writing about it is one of the ways I’m doing that. Thanks for reading.

30 responses

  1. Iska Bibblevitch

    Wow, I can’t imagine why a guy would cheat on, and then leave a woman who dedicates herself to working on a website that’s all about hating men.
    Shocking, really.

    December 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    • um. She writes about abuse she has experienced (by men) and about sexism and misogyny (also real things). How the hell does that equal hating men? Are women not supposed to share their abuse for fear it will offend some of the “good” men? Vomit.

      May 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm

  2. It’s unbelievable how many women go through this Rosie. I’m planning on writing a book. I’m still five years out from my betrayal and I’m still suffering. There are things that I learned that I wish I would’ve known prior to even being with a man -and that is what I’m going to teach females.

    December 20, 2014 at 7:35 am

  3. Sarah

    I too experienced betrayal at the hands of a lover — someone who told me over and over how much he adored me, how committed and devoted he was to me, how I was the love of his life and blah blah blah. His love for me was a lie, and I sank into a pit of depression and poor life choices. It took me about six years to get over it emotionally. I am still getting over some of the practical consequences, more than ten years later.

    Yes, it is abuse. It is the worst kind of abuse because it comes from the one person you think loves you most and would never hurt you.

    I wish you healing and peace. And I hope you can find it faster than I did! Good luck.

    December 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

  4. Yes – you will heal, and move on, and be happy. Maybe some of that happiness will be shared with someone else, maybe you will be happy as a single person. But you will come to that point, one day, where a random thought about him will cross your mind, or you will come across a photo, or you’ll hear something about him… and nothing will happen. No sadness, no little stab of pain, just a realisation that it has past and though the scar might still be something you can see, it’s a scar of survival.

    For years I knew my ex was sleeping with other women… but I was ill, and didn’t have the energy to deal with it. He was, to start with, ‘discreet’ and kept it far enough away that I could move through each day, even if I was little more ground down each time. Then I got sicker and had life saving surgery, as he began a serious affair with a ‘friend’ of mine. I came out of that surgery knowing I had to get better – fast – because his emotional and spiritual abuse, and the infidelities I now knew to be part of that abusiveness, would only destroy me and our kids.

    In the 14 years since, there has been depression, financial hardship and struggles. But my sons are a joy, feminist allies to be proud of, and the scars I bear from those years remind of what we survived as a family. I am happy single, enjoying that my life is my own. I begin to entertain the idea that I could one day share my life with someone else – who knows? Maybe. I wish you joy, and peace. And much love.

    December 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    • Thank you. I’m so glad you’re doing well—your story makes me smile. :) <3

      December 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

  5. For what it’s worth, love and virtual hugs to you. No one should ever have to experience shit like this, yet all too many do. May you find the peace and comfort you should have.

    December 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm

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  7. overscan68000

    Heart wrenching to read. Sincerely wishing the best.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  8. Oh man, I am just reading this now. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. What a fucking shitty situation. I wish I knew what to say other than that.

    December 27, 2012 at 6:55 am

  9. Leah

    One of the worst parts of a breakup like this is being accused of having it be your fault because you’re an outspoken feminist. If anyone even suggests that, tell them to fuck off. What he did was lousy, and what you do from here is your choice and only yours. I send you massive internet hugs and a prescription for listening to Savage Love podcasts and watching Elizabeth (with Cate Blanchett). Hang in there.

    December 27, 2012 at 1:30 am

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  11. Thanks for all the love, everyone. Your messages of sympathy, empathy, and shared pain are a healing thing. Yesterday I had my first decent day since this happened. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well. It’s one moment at a time right now.

    December 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

  12. I know the pain of infidelity all too well. I am choosing to stay in my marriage and do the work to make it, but everyone has to make their own decisions. Whether you stay together or not, you will still want to examine what happened so you don’t repeat it. I wish you the best of luck with what will be a challenging road.

    December 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    • Please, please, don’t be naive to believe he won’t do it again. I don’t mind any woman staying; however, not under the guise it’s over for him because it’s not. Your relationship is Irrevocably changed and now that he crossed the line, you staying condones the behavior in a mans mind (no matter what lies he tells you). Like a dog that tastes blood, He will cheat again. Just like a dog continues to do bad things and comes up and wags its tail at you in essence saying, “but you love me still right ?” same thing, that’s why they say men are like dogs. Read this arrogance from Ask men . Com at how they say, your relationship has your revocable he changed but not for the better in other words he’s going to continue it but he’s going to get better at hiding it.en do not think like women do AT ALL! Here’s the link:
      http://www.askmen.com/top_10/dating/top-10-reasons-women-take-back-cheaters.html

      December 20, 2014 at 7:49 am

      • Sorry dear, but you don’t know me or my situation. I was trying to give support to you for your decision to end your relationship. Don’t chastise me for my decision. Every situation is different, and not every cheater does it again. And if he does, then I will certainly leave him, and he knows this. I still wish you the best of luck!

        December 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        • That comment was from a reader, not from me! If things worked out for you, I’m happy to hear it, and I’d never tell you how to handle your life.

          December 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

  13. nmtucson

    Rosie, I’m relatively new to your large following, so I don’t know a lot of your history. And I never been raped or cheated on (as far as I know!). However, I did lose my husband to lung cancer, which I think has some of the same emotional effects. I don’t know how much you know about neuroscience or how the brain works, so forgive me if you know this already: when you bond with someone, you make a whole lot of physical neuronal connections in your brain specifically dedicated to them. When they are gone, for whatever reason, those neuronal pathways keep firing, raising your expectations of their presence, and when those expectations are not met (because he’s gone) it causes actual physical pain. This, in my understanding, explains a lot about why people stay together when the better parts of the relationship have died or been broken–it just hurts less to stay than to go. In your case, you will face strong urges to resolve this pain by trying to restore what is missing. If you define the pain to yourself as similar to that of a severely broken leg, and the urge as the same kind of urge you might have to jump out of bed and stand on that leg, you will see that it is not a valid urge–that leg is just not reliable at this point. You will also come to see that the pain will go away and the leg, or your heart, will heal, with time, and with a steadfast acknowledgment that while you didn’t wish to have your heart broken, you will not only get better, you will find unexpected sources of happiness inside this unexpected bullshit.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    • writing, writing, words words words.

      Thanks you for that enlightening post!!

      February 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm

  14. It takes such courage to expose yourself this way for people to see. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive him, whether he deserves it or not, for your heart’s sake. Rosie, your writing took me by storm, and you are so obviously a beautiful and empowered woman. Decisions like these should never be easy, because you will grow from them. I hope your healing process is as short and painless as possible.

    Stay strong. Stay beautiful.

    December 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

  15. The other commenters said so much of I want to say, especially chatalee and JackieP. I’m proud that you took the action you did and of your honesty to us — and most of all to yourself. You will find the right ways to heal, in your time. If I could ease your pain I would, but I’m here for anything you need and I love you. When you’re through this, there will be more room for good things to come into your life.

    December 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

  16. I’m so sorry and feel for you in your pain. Dealing with such a devastating loss is very painful. I think that after you process your grief and loss and go through the pain of this event, you will come out the side loving yourself more fully and find you’re capable of more joy and more trust than you ever imagined. I had a similar devastating loss; the healing was long and painful but I’m eternally grateful for what I learned, how well I healed, grew and learned to laugh again. I wish this for you.

    December 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm

  17. Sometimes people really suck.

    The thing about forgiveness is that you have the power to grant it, but nobody really has a right to ask for it. If somebody hurts you and comes back saying, “Take me back, I’ve changed, I’ve repented!” you can accept that or you can tell them to get lost. It’s all up to you.

    December 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  18. I don’t really know what else to say other than I’m sorry and even that isn’t good enough.

    December 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm

  19. Sonia

    I am so, so sorry. That sucks so much.

    My marriage of seven years ended after my ex formed a relationship with another woman (emotional, not physical, but enough to want me out of the picture). Nearly three years later, I can tell you that this will only be a stepping stone for you. There will be horrible, awful days, but there will be joy and beauty too. I am so, so much happier now than I was with my ex. I hope the same for you, and that you have some peace in the meantime.

    December 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  20. I wish I had something insightful to say. Sending huge hugs your way. Wishing you peace. <3

    December 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

  21. JackieP

    being a feminist does not mean you don’t hurt, does not mean you don’t love, does not mean you can’t give someone a second chance if that is what YOU want to do. Being a feminist is being strong, smart, independent, and wanting to be treated as an equal. So to those who might say (I hope they don’t) that how could you think of taking him back! I say shut up! It is YOUR life and your heart, not anyone else’s.
    When you are ready you will make what decision is best for you as you see it at that moment. Don’t worry what others think because they are not you. big hugs.

    December 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

  22. I don’t know quite what to say other than I’m so sorry. And you deserve so much better than this.

    And that sounds weak. I wish I had more than words for you. I really do.

    You are one of the strongest women I know. You’ll make it through this. I’m just sorry you have to.

    December 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

  23. chatalee

    You are so honest, the feelings just grip through me. You are more than a survivor, you are a beacon. Please keep your light on for people like me to follow. My thoughts on your “probably” are that you deserve time and space to think things over, personally I would not make any assumptions regarding your reactions based on your feminist outlook, and finally that I truly respect your abilities to work things out based on your abilities to think, read, discuss, communicate, reach out, question and consider, feel. I wish you great strength of heart and the support of my friendship as you sail these murky waters.

    December 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  24. I am so sorry to hear all of this, Rosie. I can’t even imagine what that feels like. I am sending you all of the hugs and supportive thoughts I have right now, and if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.

    December 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm

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