(Part 2 of 2)
(Continued from Part 1)
God has made me mighty in that he gave me the strength to walk away from abuse – Infidelity is abuse. It just is. Emotional infidelity is almost certainly either a precursor to physical infidelity or a cover for it (i.e. the emotional affair is not an emotional affair, it’s the regular kind).
I had been on PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and in The Washington Post, talking about my marriage to the man who had abandoned me. I’d had interfaith couples writing to me for years, asking me for advice on how to make their relationships work. Do you think I wanted to initiate a divorce? Do you think I wasn’t embarrassed?
Screencap from the PBS special that featured our interfaith family; editing mine
If an arsonist sets your house on fire, you get out. It doesn’t matter that you’re going to be standing on the street in your underwear. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t even your sexy underwear, it’s your granny panties. You still get out. There will be contemptible people who will point and laugh and say, “Ha ha, nice granny panties!” The decent people of the world will say, “You just escaped an arson attack, thank goodness you’re all right!” That is what infidelity is. Marital arson.
I stand before you now in my metaphorical granny panties and say: divorce was my escape from that house, and I’m glad that I escaped. No, I rejoice that I escaped from that house.
Me in May 2013, 5 months pregnant, with my then-husband just out of view. I put on a good show, but inside I was drowning.
(Part 1 of 2)
I wish I could make you comprehend the depths of my despair as I got on a Metra bound for downtown Chicago in April 2013. I hope you never have to feel the pain I was feeling as I sat there, crying quietly, hoping no one would notice my tears, my hands resting on my second trimester baby bump. My husband of over nine years had just told me that financially supporting his family—his pregnant wife, his disabled 7-year-old daughter, and his unborn child—was my problem, not his. I had boarded the train that morning so that I could look for full-time work for the first time in 7 years.
My husband had started an emotional affair with another woman in his life some few months earlier, and all you need to know about that is that it consumed him. His time, his money, his compassion, it all went to seeing to this woman’s needs and keeping her in his life. No amount of objection from me made any change in his behavior. There was lying, there was manipulation, there was gaslighting, and there was coercion. I would later write in my journal, “My marriage is dying as new life grows within me.”