(real names have been changed or omitted)
I glanced at my Coach watch as I sat in my children's psychologist's waiting room noting it was nearly a quarter to ten. It was almost time, I thought to myself as my eyes surveyed the brightly lit sparse room with magazines, plastic backed chairs and an ocean mural on the opposite wall. My cell phone began ringing and I dug through my purse for it, finally extracting it from an inside pocket. Rising from my chair and seeing who the caller was displayed on the screen, I answered it and slipped outside into the breezeway... leaves scuttling along as my camel hued boots trekked through them... a slight breeze was stirring and caused my hair to whip around my shoulders... "Hello?" I answered.
"Hey..." came the all too familiar voice over the line like that of warm baked bread but today, this morning, it sounded slightly off, like it was pinched and in pain. Two hours earlier I had told him goodbye unbeknownst to him for the last time over breakfast and making two school lunches in our kitchen as he hurried out the door to work.
"I just got served... I wish you would have talked to me first." His words came slowly at first but then rapid as if they were like steam being released from a tea kettle in a quick spurt.
My breath caught momentarily, reality had arrived, and the October wind carried my breath away. "You wish I'd talked to you?" I repeated what he'd said because I couldn't believe anyone could disperse such an unnerving utterance like that. "Oh, I'm so sorry... Well, I wish you'd talked to me first... before you decided to go screw other women." I replied into the phone as my long hair whipped around my head.
"You had indiscretions!" came the verbal assault back at me ninety to nothing and I clutched the phone so as not to drop it on the hard pavement in shock.
"What?!" I gasped.
"Yeah! With Jeremy! You did!" He half yelled, half retorted back and I was now thoroughly convinced he'd fallen and hit his head, maybe suffering some sort of stroke or early dementia because his accusation was just plain crazy.
"Are you crazy?!" I asked him, my immediate world, my surroundings... the bench, the floor to ceiling glass windows revealing other doctor offices along the corridor of the breezeway suddenly began reeling around me in a dizzying kaleidoscope of colors...
"Oh my God... have you lost your mind?" I asked him coldly yet not really expecting an answer from him. Shock and fury overwhelmed me that I was standing accused when I had not stepped out and yet he had multiple times. What was worse is he'd pushed for marital counseling through our church which I'd agreed to and yet not during a single session with our Pastor had he once mentioned any infidelities.
"You fool!" I cried into the phone, You were so insecure, so certain I must have done something you convinced yourself I did, you continually threw him in my face... You're throwing everything away over nothing! I haven't done anything! I don't appreciate being accused of something I haven't done and I don't appreciate you accusing him of doing something with me!" I informed him... pity overwhelming me for him on the line... sudden pity that anyone could be so blind, so insecure, so damn stubborn and not see what had stood before him... faithfulness and two sweet children but instead... looking, fishing, for ludicrously "justifiable" excuses in his twisted paranoid mind for his failing concious choices he had made out of selfish sin. Likewise years ago when I'd been single Jeremy may have walked away out of mounting frustration and I had failed out of weakness to share my heart when we'd dated but the man who had vowed to honor, love and cherish me before God had not followed through and now had the nerve to justify his actions on baseless lies he'd created.
"I'll take the stand and a lie detector test! I have nothing to hide!" I told him... "You're the one who cheats and then you come back and accuse me. I am done." I hung up.
When a spouse has been cheating they may come up with the false idea you have been too. This is called projection. The thief judges by his own condition. They are transferring all of their indiscretions, lies and the facade they've carefully orchestrated for however long as your behavior and the reason for the failure of the relationship.
But this couldn't be further from the truth. They have lived in their alternative world of lust and lies for so long they have convinced themselves the person they know and love must have done the same as they have, that they too are swept up in a quagmire of extramarital sex and conniving deceit fueled by deeply rooted jealousy and insecurity within. But they are wrong. Cheating spouses who are often also narcissistic may twist and spin the truth to suit themselves, to help them feel better, to massage their egos and to justify their meandering souls. But it doesn't work.
You may feel rightly incensed by the false accusations when you've done nothing, like a piece of your heart has been ripped out and in that you may feel bewildered that the one you're with doesn't appear to know you any better than that. Because even in the worst days of your marriage, the days of frustration and irritation, those dark days together when it would have been so much easier to throw in the towel and walk off, but instead you clung to those orginal vows you made, took a deep breath, dusted yourself off and walked in the next room to begin again... you have remained faithful to the marriage no matter what your emotions of the heart have been, no matter what past regrets you may hold and yet now you stand on the pavement among dry brittle detached leaves of October being told all those many many times you dusted yourself off and vowed to begin again, to not give up and tucked yourself under his chin with your hand clasping his in quiet resolve were essentially all for nothing... to now be told it was essentially a waste of your time. It's one of the most tragically tear jerking experiences to realize this and the sadness that goes with it.
You know who you are to your core and eventually you just have to move on and live your life no matter how many times the person continues to falsely accuse you. There are always signs of a cheating spouse however subtle... the signs are there... waiting to be noticed or discovered in the busy day to day activity we call life. Some signs may not be realized until much later, after the fact, in hindsight and you will have moments that cause you to take pause and say to yourself "Now I see why he did this or that... "
That knowledge certainly doesn't make it any easier to swallow and you may beat yourself up (unnecessarily) but don't.... because it's not a reflection of you... it's a reflection of their character. The truth is... you are brave. You gave your heart... you trusted, you believed, you tried. There will always be things you see later with more clarity that you could have done better in a relationship and in that there is grace too... there are always second chances in life and an opportunity to grow.
Signs Of A Cheating Spouse:
1. Any changes physically; working out suddenly, new hair style, tanning, teeth whitening, hair growth regime, new wardrobe, etc.
2. New products; new deodorant brand, new music preferences, new cologne, new shampoo, etc.
3. Shady-ness; won't put his/her cell phone down and seems to be worried you might look at it, now goes to the movies "alone", his work hours change, he/she begins traveling for work more often, hides his history on web browsing, hides calls, deletes texts and photos, makes calls in private or outside, suddenly spends more time with a co-worker, etc.
4. Cleanliness; suddenly he/she is keeping their car cleaner and their clothes go to the dry cleaners with promptness.
5. It's all about them; suddenly he/she needs more "me time" and less couple time... he's off to "play golf" or "see a movie" etc when in reality he's meeting "her" or one of many he's seeing.
6. Sex; he's either withdrawn from you and is never in the mood or he's like a raging horn dog all the time... well, more than usual.
7. You're wrong; and he/she is always right, you can never seem to please them anymore and he/she always seems irritated with you.
8. Turns the tables; he/she used to be a self professed conservative... now their a liberal and wants to make pot legal... you sit there staring at him/her thoroughly convinced they've had a batch of brownies from Portland Oregon over-nighted because clearly he/she's high as a kite.
9. You're "delusional"; you tell him your concerns that he is going on a work trip and will be riding in a vehicle for several hours alone with someone of the opposite sex. You voice how you don't believe this is appropriate considering he's a married man. He/she dismisses your concern and says you're dreaming up a scenario that will never happen and does what he chooses.
10. He/she turns on you; he tells you that you look horrible. He says you need to lose/gain weight, he tells you that he's not happy, he accuses you of being unfaithful when you haven't and he has zero evidence of such.
Jennifer Gafford is a writer, speaker and divorce coach who helps guide parents through the pain of trying to co-parent with their narcissistic ex, and shares tips for custody and healing. She began her website gracepowerstrength in 2012 and over time her blog and audience grew to over a million views. Jennifer was married for twelve years, has two children and is very well versed in the facts regarding narcissistic abuse and the challenges involved in healing. Today, she shares daily posts and stories on Instagram for thousands of followers regarding npd abuse and believes everyone deserves a life of peace, love and freedom.