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Sally Fay Headshot

For Starters

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In the last year, I got divorced after 26 years of marriage, had to sell the house my three
children grew up in for seventeen years, had to split all the art and furniture that had
made our home, had to have all my children "leave the nest," had to downsize to a rental apartment, have huge downward economic adjustments, seek employment to support myself and my children. Also, my father died, my childhood home that I grew up in sold and emptied, our dog died, and my mother has Alzheimer's with round-the-clock care. I am not complaining. I am pointing out that, wow, that's a lot.

I am 54, and feeling young, although I never imagined I would be in the market for a
completely new life as I quite liked -- loved actually -- the life I had. I can't tell you the amount of times I have heard "it is what it is" and even more, "Move on! He's not worth it." I am telling you it is hard when none of this was my choice! I had a life I lovingly built with my
husband, with three amazing children who are now all over the place doing exciting and
interesting things. I pictured home and marriage and all of us together as a whole family
for always. I was excited to finally be able to focus on my filmmaking, have more time
for travel with my husband, and get into this next stage of our lives together.

Instead, I got the line, "I need some space," on that fall day and the exhausting painful year
that followed where my husband became a stranger and turned away from me. It is
indescribable to experience the pain of the estrangement of your partner in life -- the person
you met when you were young, went through the births and raising of your children
with, first apartments, first house, building a life together, being a family, sharing our
families, sharing friends, sharing our lives, intimacies, our bodies, our hearts, our souls. I
could never have predicted that he would betray me, lie to me, deceive me. I could never
imagine it because I could never do that to anyone and think it was right, especially to
someone I loved. I just had celebrated my 50th and he toasted me, saying I "was the love
of his life and" he "looked forward to spending the next 50" with me. How does someone
change like that? How does someone nullify the presence of someone they love from
their life?

Initially, he told me it was something he needed to do -- discover things in himself, have
time, have space. My first reaction was panic, anger, confusion. I wanted him to explain
it to me, share with me what was going on. Did I do something, or not do something, or
was he depressed, or was there someone else? No, he just needed time. I think I knew all
along that he wasn't telling me something but I didn't want to believe it. I felt my life as
I knew it slipping away. I felt sick to my stomach and constantly stressed. I didn't want
to share what was going on with anyone hoping that it would go away or I would wake
up and it would be over. I was beside myself. He was a different person. Invasion of the
Body Snatchers.

In the year or so that followed, I spent more time and went to more events without him
at my side. I broke down with friends at a dinner and sobbed about what was going on.
Our friends were equally shocked. I couldn't stop crying for a year. Coldly he would
announce that he was going to here or there without me, places we always went together.

Never once did he tell me the truth -- that there was someone else. He lied to my face
countless times when I asked him. He lied all during nine months of marriage counseling
(at great expense) in front of the therapist looking us both straight in the eyes saying
there was no one else. He never came clean to me or to our children or apologized or
honored our marriage or cared enough to be real. He didn't have the courage, the decency
or the heart, to tell the truth after all those years. I had to find out about his betrayal in a
lawyer's office during discovery when my lawyer pulled out his Amex bills and asked
him about them. That's when I realized, "Oh my God, he has been lying all this time." It
was my Shining moment, as in when Shelly Duvall's character realizes Jack is not who she thought he was. Tell me how you ever get over things like this.