SO. I was out walking Theo last night and banged into a neighbor/casual acquaintance who was out walking her dog. Theo luuuuuuuurvs her pooch, so we stopped to say hello and how-ya-doing. Turns out that M's husband is in the process of leaving her, and she's in that emotional state where it's impossible to answer a casual question lightly, so we ended up standing on the dark sidewalk and chatting for a good fifteen minutes.
Now, this is a woman with whom I am friendly, but we are not friends in any more than a casual way. But you know how it is sometimes with the raw wounds and the over-sharing, right? It turns out that M's husband of 25 years has been cheating on her for 23 of those years, with various other women. He has apparently finally found someone "worth leaving M for" and is making her (M's) life as brutally miserable as he can on his way out the door. Needless to say, M is devastated and cannot yet envision being able to pick up the pieces.
I was as supportive and encouraging as I could be while Theo was sniffing her dog's butt.
What gets me most, I think, is the idea that someone could live in the same house with you for 25 years and be living a lie, day in and day out, for 23 of those goddamn years. I'm no dewy-eyed romantic -- 17 years of marriage will knock that out of you pretty quickly -- but I can't imagine the sheer energy that went into all that falsehood.
I came home from the walk chilled to the bone -- I should have worn gloves, dammit -- and incredibly thankful for what Michael and I have built between us. There have been some dark and scary times in the last 17 years, but honesty has always gotten us through. What a relief it is to have a partner you can always trust not to run when you tell them your darkest, most hidden secrets.
I wish the same for you in your lives, dear internets.