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Secrets After The Loss Of My Soul Mate

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I lost my soul mate unexpectedly from a massive heart attack on 7-25-2010. He and his wife (deceased 11-2001) and me and my husband (deceased 5-1999) had been close friends since 1988 and since our spouses' deaths, he and I remained close friends. Within the past 7 years, our relationship changed from close friendship into one of deep love and over that time, we were together for most of the time.

As his son and I go through his personal items, we're discovering he had secrets. I know everyone has secrets they don't share with anyone, but what we're finding is disturbing. I'm angry and hurt - he was a philanderer during his marriage; we're finding evidence of hundreds of women - so far. He kept trophies with first names and dates and other details in locked strong boxes. He'd told us these boxes (totaling four), contained important documents, and yes, there are important documents in this one dating back from 1969 to 1976, but about 2/3 of the items are his secrets. His son is also angry because this was not the father he knew and respected.

We're both devastated, first by his passing, and second by discovering the man we knew was not the man we knew. We have three more boxes to go and I'm terrified by what we'll find. We discussed letting someone else go through them, but we both decided we didn't want his image tarnished in the eyes of anyone else. We still love him and miss him terribly, and we know he loved us, but the blow to my heart is devastating because I'm scared of what might be in the most current box. How does anyone handle a situation like this? Please, I need advice.

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Oh my dear WhiteLilly,

Please let me embrace you, I am so sorry! Yes, most people have secrets, things they don't feel comfortable sharing with others for whatever reasons they have. But it sounds like this is far more than that...he had a dual life. Yes, it happens, usually to "somebody else", not somebody WE know! But it always happens to someone somebody knew. And it affects lives...spouses, children, etc.

What you are going through is complicated grief. It is far harder and takes longer to assimilate all of this information we discover about our spouse and process it and come out on the other end.

My sweet husband George had a troubled life and for the most part was completely honest with me and was making such huge strides in his life. I am so proud of him for all he became victorious over. But it wasn't 100% perfect. Three weeks before he died, he confided in me and our pastor and elders that he'd been using drugs. I was blown away. Suddenly, all of the "missing money", "bad luck", etc. made sense. For every time he used, another lie was made up and told to me to account for the missing money. I had a pretty hard time with it. I thank God he did take the opportunity to come clean before he died. But long after he passed away, I was left holding the bag, trying to deal with it all...let alone pay for it all.

And then a year after he died, I received a call from his former girlfriend (someone he'd known long before me). It turns out he'd paid several visits to her AFTER we were married. Not that anything was going on between them, other than friendship, but still...he'd made promises to me and this didn't fit with those promises. He'd kept this secret from me. I was angry and there was no one to direct that anger to. I wanted him to come back here so I could deal with him! But I was left to deal with this too, alone.

It took me probably three years altogether to process all of it...to realize that George was who I always knew him to be, but instead of trusting me with all of his secrets, and I can understand his reticence, he kept them to himself. Perhaps he thought he was protecting me. Perhaps he didn't realize how big my heart was or my capacity to understand. Perhaps he just made poor choices that led him to breech his agreements with me. But little by little, I began to forgive him. It was hard because I realized he'd broken trust with my kids too...and that was harder to forgive, I almost felt like it wasn't even my place to forgive...or not to, that it was theirs, not mine. But I began to realize that George was still who I knew him to be...and he was also more...a person I didn't know him to be...he was all of those things, all of those people. He had a relationship with his friend (and I learned, former fiance, a fact he'd never shared with me) Allie. He hadn't meant to hurt anyone, but as is the case when we lie or sneak around or make poor decisions...it does hurt somebody. What is hidden is made known. As all of our secrets will be eventually. I learned to love the WHOLE OF THE MAN, not just the part of him. I recognize today that he was a man who loved me with all of his heart and soul, and he was the sweetest most caring man in the world. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone just for the asking. He was a man who loved to eat, and had the most beautiful smile in the world. He shared my love of nature, and our furry friends. He was a family man and was so good to my kids and my mom. He loved God and I know where he is today. His secrets, his sins, his faults...they did not take away from who he was, they were in addition to who he was. Just as all of us are. I wonder, how would we feel if our most secret thoughts were known, if our most hidden sins were made manifest to everyone...and we watched as the world turned away from us as we cried after them, "But that isn't ALL that I am!"

The things your soulmate did were before your time. They had nothing to do with you or with his son. They were, if anything, a sin against his wife...something, if she were here, she would have a really hard time with. But we don't really know what their marriage was like, do we? That was between them. We don't know what would make a man go outside his marriage bed multiple times...did he have an addiction? An inferiority complex he was trying to assuage? Who knows...at this point, it doesn't matter so much the "why" as that he did, and you'll never know the "why"...but it's done. Were he here today, I'm sure he would be devastated to know that you know, that his son knows. Perhaps this is something he berated himself for at least a million times. And he didn't get a handle on it...or did he? Unless this was current, perhaps he did overcome it. But one cannot change history, their past remains.

In time I hope you can still know and love him as the man you both knew...and know that there was also a troubled side to him...you mourn that too and then let it go. Bury it. If there is any way you can just throw the boxes away...maybe there's no need to know any more. Unless there are important documents mixed in with it...and I can't imagine a person combining both personal and legal documents like that...

You and your would be step son are in my prayers, please feel my arms around you and feel free to msg me...

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KayC what a beautiful post. I've printed it out to keep.

I'm not religious at all, but it does remind me that we all, at one time or another, are in need of forgiveness.

And that if any of us have the opportunity now, we ought to examine our lives, and be mindful that secrets almost always come to the light eventually.

My husband was an alcoholic who lost three jobs in six years. I don't know exactly why, didn't share. I'm starting to have an idea going through his things. Clearly, the drinking played a huge part, but there were other aspects as well.

Whenever I am angry with someone and tempted to stew about it, or retaliate, I will read your post twice a day with a glass of water.

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How sweet! I think forgiveness is more for us than them anyway. :)

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  • 4 months later...

Did you lose him to alcoholism? I lost my fience' to that. Its such a horrible desease, it took him at 39.

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No...I've had six major relationships...

1 - divorced due to his cheating, drug abuse, physical abuse, alcoholism, etc. etc. etc.

2 - fiance broke up with me - never gave me a reason

3 - divorced - 23 year marriage, no intimacy

4 - husband died - he was the good one, naturally

5 - divorced - he was a con, cheated, never even lived with me, just stole from me

6 - fiance broke up with me - never gave me a reason

So you see, I have a pattern, it's a dark cloud over my head where men are concerned. I decided to stick with my dog. All I have to do is give him a pizza crust and he's happy! :) I get a lot more affection and loyalty out of him too.

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This thing of a person leaving a relationship for no good reason is something I am having great difficulty getting past and wish I could. Have been in a kind of lock down on starting a relationship for years.

Additionally, someone I know had a similar experience of one day they are there, in a seemingly good relationship, then gone. In my case, we were talking about us growing old together, and a few days later ex (living together, not married) is walking out the door with no explanation after a pleasant Saturday morning doing some errands and a nice evening the day before going to a concert and meeting new people. Never makes much sense, even after all these years. And there never was any contact in the years since that day. I wonder what secrets these two had.

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