Denial makes us stupid
I married a liar and a cheater.
Of course, I didn’t know he was those things when I married him.
Or did I?
I think anyone who’s ever been lied to or cheated on has probably asked themselves that question. (Well, if they’re being honest with themselves that is.)
I did know, but I didn’t at the same time. I was in denial.
Yes folks, that wonderful state where you see what you want to see, not what’s right under your nose.
I admit it. I raise my hand in a classroom full of other gullible women much like myself.
Us women who just wanted to be loved. Denial makes us stupid.
I remember early on in our relationship, very shortly after we met, we were standing on a corner in Old Montreal, not far from his store, when he got a call from one of his employees. They were asking him when he’d be back and his response was something like, “I’m just around the corner getting a coffee, I’ll be there in less than five minutes.” He then hung up and looked at me.
I remember saying, “You just lied. Why didn’t you just tell them you were on your way? You didn’t need to lie to them.”
And he said something like, “Oh, did I just lie. I didn’t notice.”
When I look back on it now, I’m like, “Jackie, that was a BIG fat red flag! Why did you ignore it?”
In my head back then I likely said, “A minor white lie.” Now I know there’s no such thing.
One night, long before we were married, he didn’t come home until well after 3am. He usually closed the store around 10pm, so I’d expected him much earlier. I woke up to find he wasn’t there and tried to call him. No answer. I called and called from midnight until three. No answer. I was just considering getting in the car and driving to his store when he came in.
I’d imagined a car accident, him being held up by a robber at the store, all sorts of nasty things.
He was very apologetic, said he thought I’d sleep right through and that he’d been drinking in the back of the bar next door to his store where there must’ve been no phone reception. He claimed he hadn’t known there was no reception. He even showed me his phone to prove he hadn’t ignored my calls.
I believed him. Denial makes us stupid.
When I look back on it now it’s all so clear. Yes, he’d gone to the bar, but he’d met a woman gone to her place to have sex and turned off his phone while they were doing it.
When he got home he was, ironically, genuinely sorry he’d worried me. But he wasn’t sorry about cheating. He was just sorry I’d lost sleep.
I read in a Facebook post this morning that “Liars think everyone lies, and cheaters think everyone cheats.”
I don’t think it’s quite that simple.
My husband just wanted his cake and to eat it too.
And my denial let him.
I have had lots of time since then to think about why I let him lie and cheat because I did somehow.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t believe his behaviour was at all my fault.
That’s who he was, who he is, but why did I think I deserved to be treated that way?
Now that’s the real question.
And the real answer is a tough one to admit.
I hated myself and didn’t think I deserved to be loved well. But I desperately wanted to be loved. And he pretended, at least at first, that he loved me.
There I’ve said it and it hasn’t been an easy thing for me to admit, especially to myself.
Imagine how it feels to know he pretended to love me and married me for my security, my house, my money, my father’s money. That he married me because I let him sh*t all over me right from the beginning. And because he hates women and I hated myself, we had that nasty thing in common. We were women-haters together!
It’s almost embarrassing writing this, except it isn’t.
It isn’t because I had the courage to tell him it was over. I had the courage to admit to myself that I didn’t like him. That I hadn’t liked him through most of our marriage. And I had the courage to learn to love myself, and that’s changed everything.
So in a backward, strange-assed way his lying and cheating taught me to come back to myself, and my life is nothing like it was before, and everything like it should be.
So I thank him for being the assh*le self he is because being faced with him taught me who I am.
And that’s no longer a woman-hater, that’s for damn f*cking sure!
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