When my husband was having an affair, he changed.
He was actively becoming a different person. Some of the changes were clichéed, but some were surprising and perplexing. The clichéed changes were the beauty facials, new clothes, the preening, the vanity. He was becoming attractive to himself through the affair; he was acquiring a new self through the affair with a woman 25 years his junior.
He was rapidly changing and I took note.
Who is this person?
He went grocery shopping the morning I flew back from a conference.
When he told me he went grocery shopping, I was…
Everyone knows the dissonances and disconnections in relationships before they end.
Before I left my husband, I endured the days wondering how it would end, how I could make it end, dreading the death rattle of the relationship whilst wishing for the relationship to experience a sudden and well-defined guillotine.
What makes ending the relationship difficult is not the terrible part — the insensitivities, the frustrations, the disrespect, the misattunement, or more — it’s the memories, the good, the tender, even if these good things are fantasies or projections of oneself.
In the chaos of our lives, which was not…
When I wrote Meeting My Husband’s Mistress, I was struck at the depth of denial that was present in the attempts to work through our marriage and come to terms with the affair.
Even with overwhelming evidence, such as him walking past me with his mistress holding hands with her, a tuition charge from the university the mistress went to on my bank account, or her toiletries she left at my home when I was out of town on a work trip, he vehemently denied that the affair existed when it was undeniable.
The phenomenon of denying the undeniable intrigued…
At the water cooler at work, Winnie said, “So my husband was abandoned by the girl.”
Oh shit. I did not want to talk to her, I just wanted a glass of water.
She always referred to the other woman as “the girl,” as if she didn’t have a name.
Winnie’s husband was my professor when I was in grad school, but for the past 20 years, I worked in academia with his wife Winnie.
These academic couples are legion, for better or for worse. In this case, it was for the worse.
Despite the moralizing valorization of work in…
After separating from my husband, I thought about how he tormented me with countless accusations of affairs when I hadn’t had any affairs.
On the one hand, I think he thought that I shouldn’t talk to anyone, male or female and that any interest, affection, or conversation was a sign of guilt.
My husband was perpetually angry at me over men. And women. He accused me of wanting affairs, having affairs, having thoughts, having feelings, because, of course, these are all the same when they are not.
I remember once asking him, “am I allowed to have thoughts?”
Divorce at the courthouse was a surprisingly ordinary non-event.
The divorce proceeding itself went by quickly and it was matter-of-fact.
It was an eerily understated legal proceeding; a series of questions, yes and no answers. Then I was divorced.
Just like that.
Maybe it took 5 minutes, maybe 10. It was hard to tell.
Getting divorced in court was so easy I wished I had done it years before.
He didn’t show up to the divorce, I didn’t think he would. When there was something real in life to deal with, he fled. Having an affair, was also about fleeing…
I remember the moment my husband (now ex-husband) introduced me to his mistress.
Formally, that is.
When recounting the story of their spouse’s suspected affair, many have said that they had met the mistress multiple times, unbeknownst to them. The mistress was in their home as a guest or at their workplace or at their family events; wherever it was, she was in the fabric of life.
My experience was no different.
There were plenty of times I popped into my husband’s workplace when I was on break from my work and she was there, but I didn’t notice much…
The salient feature of marriage to a narcissist is the overwhelming unpaid labor that the spouse demands, without discussion or negotiation.
The reason why I call it unpaid labor of narcissistic marriage is because labor in narcissistic marriage is not labor undertaken through love, care, and mutuality. I also do not call it unpaid care work labor, because though we may exhibit care, the framework of the relationship is not one of care.
I think of my marriage as the epitome of the contradictions of capitalism from a labor perspective, in which there is both stability and catastrophe coexisting in…
When my marriage was heaving its death rattle in the last 18 months of marriage, my husband made pronouncements at the doorway of whatever room I was in and then he ran away immediately after he made his brutal announcements, which were usually rude and intending to be hurtful.
Most times, I would look up at him from the computer or from the chair where I was reading and I could feel my own face’s complete expressionlessness, as to signify that I was no longer there and he was now talking to a ghost. …
Autophobia is the fear of being alone.
According to dualdiagnosis.org, autophobia also includes fears of:
According to From Medical News Today, “autophobia is complex, and it may be difficult to distinguish from separation anxiety disorder, fears of abandonment, disordered attachment, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
Autophobia is something that I had little or no insight into while I was married, but it is something that my ex-husband exhibited, without being able to put a name to the syndrome.
Only now, after being divorced for…