Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.
By now, I hope you are catching on to sociopath math and can predict Paul’s reaction to arriving late with Daniel’s birthday pizza.
“But I just got here, and I cut my day short to get the pizza,” Paul said.
“Paul,” I replied, “we have to leave or the kids will be late to practice. We’ll heat it up when we get back.”
“I never said I’d be able to get here earlier,” Paul said. (He did, but he just made things up. Or maybe he never uttered those exact words. Regardless—he lied.)
“Paul, we have to go. We’ll have the pizza when we get back. The kids are always hungry then.”
“But that’ll be ten-thirty or eleven!”
“I know, but we have to leave. The kids don’t like being late.”
“I can’t believe I killed myself to get this pizza and you guys are deserting me,” Paul continued. “This is ridiculous! The kids can be late.”
“Dad, I don’t want to be late for practice,” Daniel said. “I’ll get in trouble with the coach.”
“Me too,” Jessica said.
“I can’t believe this!” Paul exclaimed.
“It’s no big deal. I know you get busy,” I said.
“I tried to get the pizza, but parking was crazy. I couldn’t find a place; I kept circling but had to park really far away.”
“Oh, were you away from the office this afternoon?” I asked instinctively. The pizza place was no more than a minute’s walk from Paul’s office, so getting the car from the public lot in which he parked normally and then driving to the pizza place made absolutely no sense, especially at that time of day when street parking could be challenging. The only thing that made sense was to walk to get the pizza and then carry it back to the car. If he had to find a place to park, it was logical to conclude that he had not been at his office.
“What makes you think that?” (Notice that since he did not answer “No” to my question, it was not technically a lie. And he tried to put me on the defensive for even posing the question to distract from the fact that he had probably not been at the office but did not want to admit to this for some reason.)
“Paul, we have to go. Come on, Daniel and Jessica, get in the car,” I said.
As I pulled out of the driveway, the silence in the car was thick with disappointment.
“All I wanted was for Dad to bring home a pizza for my birthday,” Daniel said softly, choking on the last few words.
“I know,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”
I glimpsed Daniel in my rearview mirror. A tear slipped down his cheek.
As I drove, I was so focused on the emotional hurt Paul had inflicted on Daniel that it distracted me from my interaction with Paul. But soon Paul’s story replayed in my head. It made no sense. There was no way he would have driven the car to find a parking place when odds are that he could not have found one closer than his original parking spot. Why had he lied? Where had he been? More importantly, did I even care anymore? I wasn’t sure I did. I was miserable, emotionally spent. I knew I wanted our marriage to end. But, sadly, I also knew something else—I no longer had the strength to end it.
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Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.