Jekyll and Hyde

I’ve always loved the story of Jekyll and Hyde.  I thought it was such an interesting way to illustrate that anyone is capable of being both kind and evil.  A captivating story.  However, it is up to each of us to decide who we are, how we act and what choices we make.  Are we Jekyll or are we Hyde?

In one of my latest posts, My Sanctuary, I touched on the difficulty I had reconciling AJ, my husband, with AJ, the cheater.  The story I once enjoyed reading was becoming too close for comfort in my own life.  It was more than difficult to comprehend the two men I thought couldn’t be the same were, in fact, the same man.  Less captivating, more confusing.

Someone who I truly thought was never going to hurt me did the worst thing I could have imagined.  He knew the depths of my soul, he knew my heart, and he knew just how much I loved him.  None of that matter to him.

But who was this “him”?

AJ, my husband, was kind, caring, had the biggest heart, protected me, protected my heart, and respected me.  AJ, the cheater, lied, deceived, was incredibly selfish, and couldn’t take responsibility for his own actions.

I couldn’t even get angry (yet).  I was just confused and in love with the version of AJ he had shown me for six years.

The version I had of AJ prior to June 2017 was a truly remarkable man.   He called me multiple times a day just to say “I love you” and tell me some tiny update on his day.  I loved that.  I knew he wanted me to be a part of every second of his day.  He was protective of me if I was hurt.   Once, he even went back to a restaurant where the waiter was rude to me and had a stern talk with that guy.  He’d say things like “you are my whole world” and “my whole day is thrown off if we don’t wake up at the same time”.  We’d always hold hands, we would kiss every time we saw each other and before we left one another.  He was passionate about his relationship with God, and our religious journey as a couple.  We were silly together.  We laughed so much.  We always made an effort to continue to learn about each other and ask questions.  I was a happily married woman every day, despite the issues our marriage had.  I was happy because I had felt like I “lucked up” and married someone so good… maybe too good.

Then, my world came crashing down as I found those first images on “Day One“.  The man I knew wouldn’t have these pictures here… hidden.  He wouldn’t hide anything from me.  He wouldn’t lie to me.  It felt like a dream world.  Everything I knew was being questioned.

My truth, the truth of my marriage, the truth of who I was married to, was being questioned by this new information.

Who inhabited my husband’s body?  Surely an alien invasion is the only logical  explanation.

However, as those three days unfolded, his words and actions were just as disconnected as his two distinct personalities.  His words matched the man I knew.  He was kind, loving, desperate to fix us.  His actions, unfortunately, matched up with the stranger.  He was ruthless, selfish and angry.

It was hard to distinguish who was real.  Which side was the dominate side?  As they say, actions speak louder than words.  I had my answer.

I know too many people who have been hurt or deceived and continue to stay because of the “good times” – Dr. Jekyll.  It was a serious struggle for me to leave, knowing how amazing I thought the last six years were.  By far, the hardest thing I ever had to do.  But, when I looked to the future with the “Hyde” side of AJ, I knew this wasn’t a partnership that I signed up for.  I would never be able to trust my husband again.  Our sex life would continue to decline and I would be resentful.  The only future I saw with him led to divorce.

It also would have led to a “me” I didn’t like.   I would have become bitter and angry.  When we eventually divorced, I would have been resentful of my time wasted and probably would punish whoever I dated after AJ.  A shell of a formerly happy, self-confident woman.  The “me” I am today would have decayed like the marriage I could have stayed in.

I still miss the good times I shared with AJ, occasionally.  I do not miss him, because I am just not sure who he is, though I have my theories.  I hope that he can become the man he presented to me for six years.  I hope he can be that for whoever is next for him.  I was able to discern who he was to me.  I was able to reconcile the two completely different people into one man and, unfortunately, discover he wasn’t the man for me.

Above all, I was able to know I deserve better – better than someone who can’t control their “Hyde”.   My worth began to grow exponentially after I finally saw the two men as one.  This wasn’t a me problem…

Turns out, Jekyll and Hyde are the same person.

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