Among the military, there is a fellowship. A band of brothers and sisters who are willing to die for country, and each other if called upon to do so. This fellowship is incredible, and there are no better examples of a group of people who accept each other “as is”, and love each other deeply, no matter what. I know firsthand of the fellowship, as I am also a veteran.
Darwin is a cherished member of the brotherhood, and I am thankful for his connection to my husband. This just isn’t going to sound like it. I’ve chosen the image of the flag being flown upside down — signalling distress. It’s a fitting representation for this chapter.
Darwin is my husband’s friend and fellow veteran. He’s a really nice guy. He’s older, wise, and caring. He’s absolutely dependable. He’s my husband’s friend from time they spent together in a 4 week clinic. They lived in VA housing, and spent four weeks together around the clock.
Right away, I sent Darwin to go and see my husband in the hospital ward. Once I realized husband wouldn’t let any of us see him, I sent the one person I knew could get to him. I felt comforted that someone husband knew was with him. Darwin came back from this first visit with a message to tell each of our children one at a time that he “has loved them since the moment of conception”. I didn’t do it. I was able to get through this with one child, and then couldn’t even think about doing this with the others. The cruelty of asking me to express HIS love for someone, while he’s expressing he doesn’t love me, was just too much to bear. I let Darwin know husband would have to do this himself.
Darwin told me he was bringing husband’s car to the hospital so he would have it when released. I was very uncomfortable with the thought he could pop up unannounced. See the previous post, The Sound of Loathing, to read more about this. I still didn’t get it — that I was about to run headlong into pursuing a man that plain old didn’t love me. So instead of letting him fend for himself, I lovingly packed two sets of clean clothes, extra socks and underwear, and his bible. I placed them in the front seat of his car, along with a printout of the phone bill and emails that chronicled my husband’s unfaithfulness. If Darwin was going to give wise guidance and counsel to my husband, he’d need to know for himself who was being truthful, and what that truth was. And Darwin agreed he shouldn’t have done those things.
The Chapter of Darwin is so frustrating. On the one hand, Darwin was really there for my husband. On the other hand, Darwin was critical of me. He felt and repeatedly stated that I shouldn’t have told the kids about their father’s adulterous behavior. Each time I would respond that my husband put me in that position when he made sure the VA wouldn’t inform me of his whereabouts, but Darwin stuck to his point. “The kids were unfairly brought into the middle of this.” I wholeheartedly disagree. To this day. I wish there would have been another way to handle everything, but I don’t see any other way around it.
Darwin would ask me repeatedly (through his wife) if I had forgiven husband yet. On the one hand I’d be accused of passive aggressive behaviors towards my husband, and on the other hand I’d be questioned about the level of forgiveness. Who is working on my husband’s behaviors?? It felt like the victim was getting the blame, and the perpetrator was getting the loving support. It still feels this way to me. I haven’t been able to see it any differently.
Darwin made it clear that HE didn’t think husband should live in our home anymore. I was furious with such a thought! We were already pursuing a 6 month leasing option for husband, so he could have time to recover from a full blown nervous breakdown, but let’s be real. That had nothing to do with me. I’m not a raving lunatic. I’m not perfect, but I’m not dangerous to people. I’m caring and supportive and helpful. I’m also co-dependent, which puts an unhealthy twist on how that caring help and support is perceived as “control”. But I’m the opposite of controlling. I really am.
As much as I was furious with Darwin, I was equally as furious with husband. Darwins opinions told me what I had feared all along. Husband is out there turning people against me. Husband is getting sympathy by making me out to be a monster. Husband is feeling sorry for himself and getting others to feel sorry for him, in personal conversations, in psychiatric conversations, and in group therapy conversations.
It isn’t fair, but I place a good chunk of the blame on Darwin. Darwin should have CALLED HIM ON HIS shit. Darwin should have said, “this isn’t the Mona we’ve gotten to know”. Darwin should have said, “Mona isn’t speaking poorly of you, even after what you’ve done. I’m surprised to hear how you’re talking about her.” Or, “Let’s be respectful in the way we talk about our spouses.”
The last time I’d hear from Darwin (and his wife) would be months later, when even though we all know I CANNOT UN-RING THE BELL, I’m being chastised all over again for telling the kids about the cheating, and I’m being asked if I’ve forgiven him. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I lashed out and disclosed to them this isn’t the first time my husband has been unfaithful. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to forgive him.
Darwin still has contact with my husband, and I’m glad. Even though I’m angry with him, it oddly brings me peace to know someone is completely supportive of my husband. I just don’t want to see Darwin.
We ran into Darwin not too long ago, when I took husband into the VA for an appointment. Just seeing Darwin triggered emotions of anger and resentment. Over time I know I will need to focus on forgiving Darwin. Everyone makes mistakes, and he can’t help he was wrongly led by my husband’s over exaggeration (at best) of what a crappy wife I am. I can’t bear to spend any time with Darwin. Not a moment, please. I just don’t want to do it. I parked husband (in the VA wheelchair) next to Darwin, and I left them to talk on their own. I waited for them in a chair around the corner, and out of sight.
The mere sight of them together is a real fast trigger into anger. I don’t want to feel angry. I don’t like this big fat chip on my shoulder. The only way to get rid of it is to forgive. I know this.
The ending to the Chapter of Darwin hasn’t been written. I’ll add a part two if we come to a happy ending of sorts. In the meantime, if you have a cheating spouse who is talking to their Darwin, I get you. It is super hurtful and infuriating to know someone who gave vows to love and protect you, is now maligning you untruthfully. And is being believed. I get you. I really do.