What 7 months you ask?
'The lying months.'
I hadn't even told my best friend here where I live any details about it until just a couple of days ago. She knew that Joel had lied. But, when I started telling her examples of what his lying actually entailed, her eyes got big and her head went back and she said, "OH, we ain't just talkin' about some little lies here and there...this is involved. Wow!"
Wow is right.
So, here's the story...
I had tried to work things out with Joel's family for 2 months. It didn't happen. They didn't want to discuss what had happened and get things cleared up. They wanted to move on and not be held accountable and not face any consequences...not even the 'consequences' of just simply talking about it.
Therefore, it was imperative, for the health of myself and for the health of our marriage, that we move on. But, we wouldn't be moving on with them...because with them we were still stuck in the 'it hasn't been worked out' zone. We had tried everything, we had told them that if they couldn't bring themselves to discuss it all with me, we would have to move on without them and not be in contact with them anymore...we had to focus on us. They still refused to work it out, so we had to leave them there.
The last contact we had with part of his family was the end of October. Then there was a glimpse of hope that there would be at least part of his family that was willing to talk it out and admit where they were wrong and get things cleared up...yet that proved to not be the case either by mid-November.
Joel was heartbroken about it of course. And I didn't understand it at all...that they could/would do that. But, it was what it was, as they say. There was nothing more we could do.
But I could see the tug. I could tell that Joel's cord was still connected.
I sat him down and we discussed, since we were moving forward (we had to...we were really suffering again by this point with all the division brought about by his family yet again), that we needed at least a year. We needed to just focus on us...for at least a year. No worrying about extended family, no committing to anything else or anyone else, no big changes, nothing that we didn't both agree to, etc.
In looking toward the future, there were some things that came up in my mind that were possibilities that would completely disrupt that. Completely. And we had to be willing to lay down anything in order to fix our marriage. Anything.
I came up with a few of those scenarios that came to mind that just might happen in the coming year from that point. And Joel was not willing to lay those things down. Again, others were priority.
They just were.
So, the week before Thanksgiving of last year, Joel moved out again. I don't remember if I've even written about that or not. But, I was no longer willing to play 2nd fiddle...or 3rd or 4th or 5th...whatever it was that I was. Our marriage had been destroyed...and that had to be priority. Over all.
A few days later Joel decided that he would choose to make it priority. And the things in those possible scenarios of the coming year, if they should happen, he would lay them down. He came back home. And it was supposed to be us...just me and him...working together to save our marriage.
This was the day before Thanksgiving.
He wrote this post at the beginning of December. Remember? Everyone praised him and was so congratulatory about how humble he was in writing it?
Right around the time he wrote that, what else was he doing? That's when he started talking to his family again. Yes, the cord is pulled tight, folks.
He would call them when I wasn't around. Or they would call him and he would let them know if it wasn't a good time to talk (because when you are betraying your wife and kids and doing something that you are not supposed to be doing, it's important to keep it a secret).
And that's when it started, at the beginning of December...right after we said that it was imperative that we not have any contact with them. And it lasted until the beginning of July.
So when one of his brothers tried emailing me in January again after just abandoning the productive conversation he and I were having in November, Joel had been talking to him behind the scenes. It wasn't at all weird for that brother to make contact again...he had never not had contact. I hadn't heard from him since he just went silent on our conversation in November. But, he had heard from 'us.'
When I was blatantly attacked on Facebook the first weekend of April by one of his brothers, his SIL, and her aunt, Joel was talking to them behind the scenes. And had been, for months. I was appalled that they were making contact again when they had been told not to. But, they weren't making contact with us again for the first time since November...they had been in contact the whole time with Joel, and I had no idea.
That incident of first being attacked on Facebook was the beginning of the horrible April we had. I know now that his continuing communication with his extremely divisive family was a big culprit in that. I didn't know it then...since I didn't know they were in contact. I'll get to more details about the month of April next time. But as far as the subject at hand this time...
Joel, during the month of April, fasted food for 21 days. Very holy. Very spiritual. And the whole entire time he was fasting, he was also 'having an affair' with his family. That whole 21 days of living without food and being in a more attune place in his mind and heart...he was able to keep that darkness in his life...those lies and secrets and hidden places.
Joel found out that month that one of his brothers was going to be in Mississippi at the beginning of May, in a place a little over 3 hours away from where we live. Joel talked to that brother and got that brother to send me an email asking if we could all meet up. That brother emailed me...and I was again appalled. Why were they all still trying to be in contact with us? We had set boundaries!! So...Joel had to pretend to be incensed too. He had to pretend to be appalled at his brother emailing me (something that he himself asked his brother to do!!)...and then constructed an email back to his brother expressing his fake outrage.
Are you kidding me? Lies upon lies upon lies upon lies.
Right after that, after Joel and I had spent a full week in intensive conversation and going over facts of all that has happened (again...I'll explain this in more detail next time...but it was a very, very emotionally and mentally exhausting week)...that is when I was again attacked on Facebook...this time by one of his sisters, her husband, and their friends. Instead of Joel being outraged that this part of the family too was now also 'all-of-a-sudden' making contact again with us when they weren't supposed to be...instead of being outraged, he wanted to call them. He really was truly appalled by what they were doing and saying on Facebook this time and what they were saying about me and accusing me of...because we really had made some headway that week and some things had been revealed to his heart. But, he wasn't outraged that they had made contact. Why? Because they had been in contact all along.
Two hours after the attacks began that day, Joel left for the weekend. He had told me several times that he just wanted to call his sister to clear things up and stop their behavior. But, we had set clear boundaries. They weren't supposed to make contact with us at all, but in their bad behavior, we weren't going to turn around and gift them with a call from Joel. He agreed. No calls.
He called her the next day when he was out of town. When I was totally trusting him to do the right thing. After we had just had that incredible week of reconnecting. He called her.
He was with them. He was with them...all along. Not me. They were all in the know, he and his family...all along. Not me. They were together...all along. We weren't together. They were together in their covert activities to try to get what they all wanted. They were together in all of these secrets that went against me. And they all knew it.
After hearing this story, and the extent to which Joel has gone in his hidden darkness, you might finally say to yourself, 'O.K., there's something wrong in his life. I believe it now.'
That is not why I tell this story. I'm here to tell you that the reality of this story...the darkness of what he did for those 7 months...and would still be doing if I hadn't found out...just points to the condition of his heart. And that condition of his heart has been present for at least 3 ½ years.
This is what I've been trying to show you and tell you. This is what I've been living with.
And I'm not the only one. These kinds of things happen all the time. And 'holy' men are protected and excuses are made for them. And the victims of their bad behavior and betrayal and abuse are left to fend for themselves and accused of 'exaggerating' or 'expecting too much.'
This has to stop, people.