The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sometimes I can't feel my feelings

Sometimes I can't feel my feelings for Husband and it scares me. The Junky's Wife captured my fear when she said she's "afraid of finding that switch, finding that it's turned to "OFF." This man has meant the world to me, and the idea that I could stop loving, stop caring, stop being invested in participating in a future with him is terrifying."

I realized today that some of the intense waves of sadness I've been feeling over the past two days have a lot to do with that fear. Not finding out something about how Husband feels about me, but finding out something about how I feel about him.

I think I still love him. Sometimes I feel least I think I have. But right now I can't feel the kind of love I used to feel. I'm sort of numb with regard to Husband, and it makes me deeply sad. And it's not that he's not trying. But there is no undoing what has been done. The only way through is through. I am so tired of feeling like my life is so messed up.

The only path I see that offers anything I want is the spiritual path. More meditating, yoga, reading, prayer (still wondering if I can do that,) breathing. Not running away. Not drinking. Not too much sugar. Feeling whatever there is to feel.

The only thing I'm going to allow myself when the feelings are too overwhelming is exercise. I haven't been exercising for the past week and I really feel it.

That's what I'm going to do right now.

More emotions coming to the surface

Today we took a trip to Legoland with Son and his best friend and his friend's parents. It was a fun day, and I was feeling generally good. But tonight in the shower I found myself wondering how I can know what it is to be loved when the person who says they love you hurts you so much.

Usually when you're hurt this badly by your partner, the ultimate message is something along the lines of "I don't feel the same way about you I used to." That is clearer to me. But Husband has caused this pain, and yet is telling me that he still loves me as much, and is more present to it than before even. So is this intense pain part of what love is? I'm confused. How does he really feel about me? How do I feel about him? How do I feel about myself? I'm still afraid that someday he won't want me anymore. That sounds so horribly pathetic. But what I mean is that I'm scared that I'll let myself feel something for him again only to be hurt like this again. I'm also afraid that love really is there and I won't be able to get past our past and I'll miss out on the chance to have that relationship because I'm so fucked up by the confusion of it all.

I think the answer lies in meditation, more reading, talking...maybe prayer if I can figure out how to do that.

Some moments I feel so sane and clear, and others I feel so crazy and confused.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reading about fear has helped

After a lot of anguish last night, I woke this morning feeling better. I'd started reading and article in the Shambala Sun called Fear and Fearlessness: What the Buddhists Teach.

The whole article gives me a lot to think about, but one passage in particular stood out for me last night:

"Fear arises in the moment you ask yourself, what is this all about? Inevitably, it has nothing to do with right now. It has to do with the future, but the future doesn't exist. It hasn't happened yet. The past doesn't exist. It has already happened. The only thing you've got is what's right here, right now. And coming home to the moment makes all the difference in the world in how you deal with fear." - John Daido Loori, Roshi

The author goes on to say, "You can't develop fearlessness - really, compassionate, generous fearlessness - without fear. Fearlessness is born of fear."

I'm more convinced than ever that I've unwittingly set off on a spiritual journey, and that Husband is a teacher for me. Not that he's talking and I'm listening; but he's being and that is providing an opportunity for an awakening for me. I am co-existing with fear and pain beyond anything I've experienced before, and it's taking me to places I've never been. If I find peace and serenity as I face this rather than turn away, that will be a strength I never knew I was missing, nor imagined I'd possess. I think I'm beginning to have a relationship with myself, or maybe, more accurately, with everything, that I never knew was possible.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where does the pain come from?

It feel like things are improving overall, and yet I'm still getting hit with bouts of pain. And it seems like pain I should have experienced already somehow, but it's hitting with a force that is surprising.

Drinking too much for the last couple nights in a row made me realize that there is something trying to come to the surface. While numbing it would feel better, I don't want to go down that path. So no more drinking.

What's coming up is that I'm really sad and angry because I don't see how I can ever be close to husband in the same way again after he's lied to me. And I'm sad because I used to feel so good about the model our relationship was for our son. Lots of hugs and kisses, respect, sharing responsibility, lots of laughing and enjoying each other. I don't see how our relationship can be deep and spontaneous again when I feel so guarded. And it's sad for me that our son might lose that.

How do you get past lies? How do you build trust with someone who has lied to you for years? I could leave this relationship hoping for something better, but is that just running away from the reality of being an adult? The reality that nobody is perfect, that everybody has it within them to hurt you.

Husband is sick, and his sickness makes him a self-aggrandizing asshole who could lie to his wife. He's also loving, tender, a great father, a great partner, funny, smart, generous...the list of his qualities that I appreciate is long. He is not mentally or physically abusive. He is in recovery, working his programs. But I'm afraid of him...that he's going to break my heart again. That the asshole part of him is going to build up resentments, start giving him reasons why he deserves to do this thing or that thing. Just this, to make himself feel better. Then when that doesn't explode in his face, maybe just a little more, and then maybe cross another line and on and on. I think finding out that he was thinking about looking at porn online really made me realize how this is never really going to be gone, just managed. For the rest of our lives together.

I don't know if I have the energy, and I'm afraid of who I might become if I do, and afraid that I'm missing a major growth opportunity if I don't face this now.

No clarity whatsoever in this haze of sobriety I've resigned myself to.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Higher power speaking again

Online looking for rituals for a new year, I came across this in an article on New Year's Rituals for Families by Meg Cox:

"In Scotland," explains Jim Sanford of Warren, Vt., "they say the first person to cross your threshold at the new year should be a dark, handsome young man in a kilt or black tie, and he brings four gifts: coal, to symbolize warmth; a black bun for healthy food; a bottle of Scotch whiskey for prosperity; and then some salt, to remind you that all the good things of life don't come without sadness."

I was looking for a way to put closure on the pain and disappointment of this year and along came my reminder that there is no closure on sadness. Like joy, love, peace and happiness, loss, grief and sadness are all part of life, and to expect otherwise is to be naive. Which I've been for so long I think. It's good to be growing.

On a positive note...a sign of my growth

When I was confronting Husband about his Internet activity yesterday I said something mean like, "Why don't you just go and get a job at fucking Burger King if you need to keep yourself busy?!"

So angry he could barely get the words out, he sputtered, "Judgement is the enemy of honesty!" My mind went, "Huh?" but I think I retreated a bit. We talked more and I told him I was scared and angry and needed time to be those things and that I'd be understanding later. He agreed.

But after some thinking time I realized that his retort had piqued my spidey sense because it put the responsibility for his honesty on me! So I told him later that evening what I thought about that statement, and that I refused to accept that responsibility. "What I think is that cowardice is the enemy of honesty," I said. Able to be more rational now that he was out of his immediate reaction to conflict and to the possibility of losing me, he apologized and said I had every right to reject responsibility for his honesty.

So it's good. Some shit just ain't gonna work on me anymore. That's progress.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

There is still grief

More Christmas shopping today - bricks and mortar instead of online. A reaction to yesterday? I don't know.

Anyway, I decided to buy myself Melody Beattie's book The Grief Club because I'd had some inkling that I was still holding onto unresolved grief.

I read the sentence, "Yeah, it really does hurt to watch alcohol destroy our love." and I break down sobbing. (On my trusty treadmill again, thank god.) Grief washes over me as I realize we're dealing with addictions and compulsions that do have that power to destroy - even something that feels as profound and deep and basic to life as the love we've shared.

Beattie's book deals not just with grief from loss of a loved one, but grief from life's major losses. I'm on chapter 2 and so far it resonates with the journey I'm on.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yes, I really live with a sex addict

What happened today re-presenced me to the confusion, anger and pain that is still close to the surface for me.

Husband's version of what happened is that when he heard he wasn't getting a job he interviewed for, his impulses kicked in. "I thought I'd look at some pictures and jack off and then I'd feel better. But then I didn't do it."

And the fact is, he didn't do anything he promised he wouldn't do. Looking at porn is not in his inner circle. He didn't break his SAA abstinence. But finding the evidence of what he had done scared me. He's not exactly down the path of sexual compulsion, but he's at the beginning of it. And he hasn't gone near that path for months now.

So now what? Do I live the rest of my life with a bag packed just in case? Allow myself to rebuild trust and love...but hold back just a little bit of both. Keep part of myself walled off from Husband like a bit of sourdough starter in case I have to start over again? That's not the relationship I want. On the other hand, if I find another partner, one with whom I don't share a past of lies and betrayal, does that necessarily mean things will be better? I know enough now not to believe that. Husband is fucked up, but he truly loves me. He truly cares about and for me. He's a great father to our son, a great partner in so many ways.

I know I'm supposed to regard Husbands compulsion as a disease. And I wouldn't leave him if he were diagnosed with a serious illness. And if he were, my life would be forever different just as it is now that I've found out about his sexual compulsion (although my past would likely have stayed relatively intact.) But I struggle. Truthfully, I'm not feeling all that noble. However, as I sit here and think about it I realize it's not so much the disease that's hard to live with, but the unknown. But we all live with the unknown. I just happen to be married to the embodiment of that.

The addict among us

Just sat down to do some Christmas shopping on the computer when I looked up at the toolbar to see the name Ashley somebody in the search field.

My heart stops for a moment. I know I'm not searching for the Ashleys of the world. I click the search button to see where Google will take me. For those of you who don't know, Ashley is a porn star.

So I ask Husband about this immediately, but I already know. We've had a visit from his addict. He says he didn't actually look at anything. (Sounds familiar to my ear now.) Says he didn't go near any inner circle behaviors. Etc... Fine. Good. No fucking other women, no rubbing up against strippers or getting those blow job "massages." Just looking at porn on the internet like any other normal American male.

But I don't know what's normal any more. I don't know what I should accept. I accepted too much for too long. I know I can't control him, and I don't want to. But I don't want to go down that slippery slope back to those things I definitely know are not normal.

I'm scared and angry right now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Learning from dogs

Reach out to touch him
He is the dog that bites you
What does your heart do?

Reach out to touch him
He is the dog that licks you
What does your heart do?

This dog will teach you
That there is only one dog
What does your heart do?

December 15, 2007 7:08 PM

Friday, December 14, 2007


So I took the test and I'm having my surge. I should ovulate within the next 24 to 48 hours if my 43 year old body will cooperate.

I took it today when I got home from work. I texted Husband: "I'm ovulating!" Went out back to hit the treadmill. Read Eat, Pray, Love. I'm getting close to the end. A little disappointed to see that it's come back to men.

Get off the treadmill and go inside to say goodnight to Son. Husband is reading to him. Son is on the brink of sleep. I lay down beside him. He opens his eyes and grabs my head. Husband reads some more. A Scooby Doo book. Son begins to snore lightly.

It's Friday night. I ask what Husband wants to do. I know part of the answer will be making love because we've been trying for another baby for...a year or two now? I can't remember. Anyway...he suggests that we go downstairs, have some wine, watch Project Runway and go to bed. But I don't want television. And I don't want wine. That's fine, he says. But I want something. I want something that will distract me from the thoughts I have when we make love. So I can make love with abandon, and hopefully make this baby we both want so much. Make love and be present instead of bing distracted by thoughts of him with other women. And I realize that I feel like I need a scotch or a chocolate vodka to distract me from those thoughts I usually have when we make love. Those other women, what they might have done, him kissing them, having sex with them, how did he touch them, what did he think while he was going down on them, were they beautiful, flat stomachs and full breasts, what did he think about when he was fucking them, where was I.

After a trip to two stores I have that chocolate vodka. And I'm enjoying the distraction from the feelings I don't want to have. I'm ready to have fun without the pain. Pathetic. Dangerous. But I'm a mother. I will be responsible. I won't let my son down. And eventually I'll have the serenity, the peace that will get me through these moments better than chocolate vodka. But for now, it's the easy way out. And yet I think to myself, what am I doing? Tomorrow is a new day.

The Shield

I haven't been able to escape the feeling that I've withdrawn in some small yet fundamental way from Husband, and this morning I realized why.

Things have been as good as I guess they can get given the events of the past 6 months. Husband is actively in recovery, growing, knowing himself better, discovering the power of spirituality, reaching out, taking risks, getting happier and more self aware, feeling more deeply connected to me. He expresses love in many ways - words, touch, flowers, cooking, caring, listening, encouraging, supporting, etc. Great, right?

I used to feel like we were combined on an energy level. Like our auras (or something) mingled and danced together whenever we were near each other, whenever I heard his voice, whenever I thought of him. Not that we were one, so much as that we were profoundly co-mingled. And when he said "I love you," when I saw him, when we touched, I'd feel loving energy spread warmly through my body.

That isn't so anymore. I feel totally and completely separate. Disconnected.

And I've been wondering what's wrong with me that everything seems to be going so merrily in the right direction and yet I have a persistent feeling of distance from him. It's not a canyon, but but a quantum gap - almost imperceptible yet profound. It's not that I don't love him. It's not that I want something or someone else. It's not that I think he's lying to me now. It's my body. My body doesn't believe him. My intellect understands that he is a different person now, but my molecules aren't taking any chances. Darwinian survival instincts at work. Beautiful and sad at the same time.

What I realized this morning is that when he lied to me, that betrayal not only destroyed something that was there (trust); it also created something that wasn't there before (a strong shield that's protecting my cells from the perceived threat of annihilation.) Right now it's easier for me to imagine having that co-mingled, energy-tendrils-caressing-and-exploring-each-other feeling with someone I just met than with Husband because a new person would not have to contend with The Shield.

So it's around this Shield that my work needs to be done if I want to have the deep connection as I had before with Husband. It's around this Shield where the ground is most fertile for my own growth. So now what? Is this where I ask my higher power for some help?

Meditate and pray...if I don't unearth answers, at least I'll be treading the path of peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Your needs? I don't really care

This morning I was feeling the way I've been feeling for a while. Out of sorts in a grumpy, distant way. I don't remember what we were talking about, but Husband said, "I love you." I replied that I need to hear that. "I need as much love and attention as I can get right now."

He thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I do too." I looked over at him, and he was sitting there looking kid of mad (my interpretation.) So I went over and gave him a kiss and a hug. He immediately brightened up. I don't know if he was brooding waiting for that response from me (unlikely, I think, given how he's been lately) or if he was just having some painful gas. Either way, after I applied the fix he responded with a happy smile and hugs.

As the morning progressed I was feeling more dissatisfied and distant. In the car on my way to work I realized why. When I told him what I needed, I didn't want to hear his needs in response. I wanted to hear him say, "I know that I'm the person who taught you that you can never again have the level of trust you had in me with anyone. I know I'm the one who had sex with prostitutes and lied to you about it for years. I know I'm the one who has given you every reason in the world to doubt me. And for the rest of my life, because of what I've done, I'm not just going to give you 100%. I'm going to give you 200%. Every day for the rest of my life my first thought upon waking is going to be "how can I make my wife feel safe, special and loved?" I will do everything in my power to make you feel extra loved and extra secure because I am the one who helped you realized how alone you truly are in this world, how you must, as an adult, be responsible for protecting yourself and never make the mistake of passing any part of that responsibility to anybody else. Those lessons are valuable, but I know that because they came from me, you will always have a kernel of fear. You will always be guarded with me in some small way, like one would be guarded with a beloved animal that bit her. You will know that with the love comes the potential for being bitten and that you can never again have the one without the other if you choose me. I know all of this, and because of this I'm committed to making you feel extra special and extra loved every day for the rest of my life."

That's what I wanted to hear.

I know there's freaky codependency mixed in there. But that's what I want. Because I got less than 100% of what I was promised and lead to believe I was getting for so many years, now I want more. More than 100%. That's how I feel right now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Checking my thinking

Practiced checking my thinking today. One friend questioned my reaction to Husband quitting his job. I began to worry that I was being too nice about it when I should be angry instead. But I really didn't think I felt angry. I didn't want Husband to suffer just because I had suffered.

So I called another friend to get her input. She said she didn't think I was making myself a door mat - that I wasn't sacrificing my own happiness for Husband's. She saw us as two people trying to make our lives together better. That's how it felt to me, and it was good to find out that at least one person I trust didn't think I was out of my mind. (I trust my other friend, too, which is why I began to worry so much.)

It's not a clear and easy path, especially when I now have reason to question what I think I know after living ignorantly inside lies for several years.

Just as I have to learn to trust Husband again, I need to learn to trust myself. I think that will come out of support from my community of friends and support groups and therapists. I guess it also takes a village to help life make sense sometimes.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sad for the days

Chocolate vodka has gotten me to a place where I see that I am sad for the days when I thought I knew what it meant when Husband said "I love you."

Sad for the days when I thought I understood the world.

But I'm also happy for the new understanding I have.

I am responsible for myself. I can face the things that scare me and live.

I can be okay no matter what.

But I am still sad for those days. Those simple days when I felt so absolutely loved and cared for and profoundly connected with another human being.

I am sad for the part of me that no longer believes I can be that free again. I am sad for the wall that will never be down completely without conscious choice.

I am sad for the loss of the part of me that was able to trust like a child.

Perhaps it's inevitable. Perhaps it's coming way too late for the adult I should be. I don't care. I miss that part of myself. And I miss that feeling.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

He came home last night

Despite my fears, Husband continues to show by his actions that he is becoming a different person.

I was at Sophia's last night for our weekly visit when he called to tell me he'd gone to a friend's birthday celebration at a restaurant downtown. It was 11pm, and he called because I said I'd be home around 11 and he wanted to let me know where he was. He said he'd be leaving in about half an hour.

I'd heard that before, but in the past half hours often turned to hours when he couldn't bear to bring himself to leave before the party/event/evening ended in case something great happened. Some once-in-a-lifetime experience that was not to be missed. And then he'd have to stop at a drive through window on the way home (a ritual unbeknownst to me until recently.) So he was often later than he said he would be.

And this particular day we'd talked about making love at night, so I was acutely aware that he might be choosing to stay out rather than come home to me.

So I decided to assume he'd be late, take the edge off with a scotch on the rocks, and then meditate and go to bed. I get that scotch and meditation are a crazy combo, but it felt like the right medicine for my growing sadness.

I hopped in the shower so I'd be ready to make love just in case he came home. As I was drying my hair, my painful sadness growing every moment, I heard his voice asking where I was. I stood there, still, as I took it in. He really did it. He really came home when he said he would. He didn't linger, one more drink, one more conversation, just in case. He really wanted to be with me, and he came home.

Still feeling the distance

I go back and forth on a day to day, hour to hour basis with feeling close and then distant.

Last night I was wondering if I'll ever be free of thinking about the other women he's had sex with when we're making love. Will I ever get to the point where I don't think daily about his lies and betrayal? At this point it seems hard to imagine that's possible.

Today I began to get scared that he was slipping into his old "I deserve a break" mindset. After we talked about it and decided we'd be okay, he gave two weeks notice at his job. As his last day approaches, I'm having anxiety about what will happen with those large blocks of unstructured time he'll have without a job to go to. He's got some good possibilities, and also a lot of things we need to handle regarding our finances that he can work on next week in addition to job hunting. And he plans to be writing as well. But I know how easy it is for the day to get away from you when there's no structure. And the addict in him must be waiting for this kind of "freedom" again - freedom from the perceived injustices of being above it all, and yet bound by the constraints of the average person. Narcissistic tendencies such as grandiosity and entitlement pave his path toward his addictive behaviors.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting past the past

Last night I was wondering how Husband can live with himself. If I'd done what he's done I don't think I could ever forgive myself, or believe I'd been forgiven.

So in that way, I guess I'm more screwed up than he is.

I also understand that he has to believe. In order to move beyond all of this to something better, to grow and learn from the experience of being human, he has to forgive himself and believe he's been forgiven.

I have to apply this kind of thinking to myself, for example, at work. When I make a mistake (like secretly fucking prostitutes for 3 1/2 years and lying about it, although I don't do that at work)I have to believe others have the capacitiy to forgive me and move on the way I'm working on doing. But when I do something "bad" I feel completely unredeemable. Even if "bad" is just delivering the wrong version of a document.

It's kind of weird that there is so much for me to learn from this experience Husband and I are having. I go back and forth between opening myself to what I'm being offered the chance to learn, and being frightened, sad and angry about having to learn some of this stuff.

And it's not surprising that Husband is turning out to be one of my greatest teachers in his own way. He's a gift in so many other ways. I guess if I had to go through a difficult lesson, and this has been the most difficult lesson of my life, he would be one of the few people I'd pick to be with me on that journey.

In this moment I'm feeling grateful for the gifts in my life, and that feels good.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Blind spots

Couples therapy this weekend offered me another opportunity to see something I didn't know I didn't know.

In my family, people don't take responsibility for their feelings. In my mother's mind, every emotion she has ever felt has been because of somebody else.

What I didn't realize is that when my husband expresses a feeling, I hear two things:

1. I have done something wrong
2. I will be made responsible for his feelings, and making them better, no matter what

As a result, when he is telling me feelings, I respond to 1 and 2 above (what I hear) by getting hurt, angry and defensive. And he feels I angry, alone and resentful because I don't get/hear what he is actually expressing, and is also unaware that I'm responding to 1 and 2 above instead of his feelings.

It's a wonder anyone can communicate at all.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Funk persists

I'm sitting at LAX waiting for my flight to Oakland. More business travel.

This low that's been lingering since before Thanksgiving persists, and this morning I'm particularly sad. I don't know why.

Sometimes when I'm at the airport I think that if it weren't for my son I'd just take off. Hop on a plane and...I don't know what. Escape? Not really possible, since I believe I'll have to learn whatever lesson I'm learning, whether it's now or later. And in the meantime suffer the result of my ignorance. But it would feel good to leave everything behind for a while. Not forever. I'd just like some time to be alone with my thoughts and feelings; some solitude in which to listen for myself.

Last night as I lay beside Husband I wondered about the nights before when we lay spooned together, skin against skin, after he'd fucked some other woman that day. I try not to dwell on such things, but it creeps up on me sometimes.

I know he's sick, that he deluded himself into thinking he wasn't doing anything wrong, wasn't hurting me, and that he never loved me any less when he was doing those things. But it still leaves me feeling so lonely sometimes.

I don't feel connected to him the way I used to. I know it's a trust issue and I'm optimistic that it will get worked out over time. But there is a barrier between us now. Sometimes it's just whisper thin. Sometimes it feels like maybe it's gone. But sometimes it expands and I feel a distance I just can't bridge. It's like I'm no longer standing body to body with him looking out at the world. Instead I'm standing alone, maybe holding his hand, but looking at him, guarding myself. That's what makes me sad. That feeling of being so alone when I used to feel so very deeply close to him. But I think that's the truth of the world. We come in alone, we leave alone, and we are really alone the whole time in between, except we allow ourselves to feel connected. But really, deep down we are our own last defense, which keeps us separate or gets us hurt or worse if we can't or won't accept that responsibility.

Of course what is popping up in my head is the concept of non-duality. No me, no him; all one. Ultimately I think my way through this is a spiritual path. That's a challenge for me, given my bad experiences with organized Christian religion. But through reading and my twelve step program I'm realizing the importance of spirituality. And I'm growing to accept that the God of our choosing can be found in many places, especially when I quiet my loud thoughts and listen.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seven things I'm grateful to have learned in recovery

I have been memed by one of my favorites, The Junky's Wife, and the game directly overlaps what I've been thinking about as Thanksgiving approaches.

I've been having a hard time finding time to write, and I've also been struggling with a little funk. It's a combination of my friend finding a "perfect" guy, her thinking about having more kids (which we've been trying to do,) and seeing some (bad) movies that had me thinking about the unpredictability of life's tragedies.

But here I am right now, with both the time and the spirit to finish this post, so here goes.

Here are the rules for the meme:

Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven things you're grateful to have learned in recovery.
Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Seven things I'm grateful to have learned in recovery are:

1. I'm grateful to see that my "illness" is my need to fix and solve things for others, often at the expense of actually listening to or hearing them; that I don't have to do that; and that if I don't do that, I can have a better experience of myself and better relationships with others.

2. I'm grateful to have learned that a healthy adult has defined boundaries with everybody, even with people they love and trust, and with people who love them and treat them with love.

3. I'm grateful to have learned that I don't need to agonize about or be hurt by things that don't have anything to do with me.

4. I'm grateful to have learned to reach out to others.

5. I'm grateful to have been given the insight that my husband is human, and not the perfect person I'd unintentionally held him to be. This awareness frees us both from certain pressures and expectations that inevitably create problems.

6. I'm grateful to have learned that when Husband is angry it doesn't mean Husband hates me and will certainly have less respect for me, that I've completely failed, that I'm a bad person, and that I alone have to fix whatever the problem is. And I'm grateful to learn that Husband is responsible for his own feelings.(I'm also grateful to have learned what an absolutist I am and how that impacts me and my relationships.)

7. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to see how truly unknown the future is, regardless of how knowable it feels, and to have the chance to face the unknowableness of life and the accompanying fear and not turn away from it, and to try to learn from what I experience by not turning away.

There is so much more I've learned. I wish I could learn all the good lessons I'm learning without the accompanying pain and fear - I certainly wouldn't say I'd gladly do this all again. But there is no question that I've experienced profound personal and spiritual growth that I am deeply thankful for.

I have only two people to tag at the moment (a lesson on reaching out more!):
Fiona at Ionafiona
Chris at Grateful Recovering Sex Addict

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Husband's struggles make me nervous

Husband is really struggling with his addict over food issues. He binged on the way home from work last night on 8 pieces of chicken and ice cream, and was going to sit down and eat dinner with us until I remembered him mentioning on the phone earlier that evening that he'd had dinner already.

He also went and saw a movie at 11am yesterday and spent the rest of his work day on Facebook. That's him struggling with his addiction and distracting himself from his feelings and his life.

When he does this he has a generally grumpy demeanor, and I can feel him withholding his feelings. And I know what that has lead to in the past, which is what makes me nervous.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Still catching up with the rest of life

There should be family leave for when you find out about betrayal and infidelity. Actually, as I was going through the worst of it, it never occurred to me to not go to work. Not that I was able to be very productive. But now it's very stressful trying to catch up for the months when I couldn't do much. And of course, I can't say anything to anybody...I just look like I'm bad at my job.

Things continue to go well with Husband's recovery. He's nearing 6 months at OA and SAA. I was going to write, "at least I think so." But I realized today that I've decided that if something is not right, I am going to know. I'm sick of wondering if I'll know if he lies about something; sick of worrying that things he says might not be true. I think they are. And I've decided that as a smart, adult woman who is now much more tuned in, who accepts the way the world can be in a way I never did before, I will know. Thoughts and worries come up, but most times I find myself responding with, "No, I don't have to worry. I'll know. I will know."

Something that's been on my mind this week is where love turns into need, and how those two things are or are not intertwined. I can't write anymore at this moment because I'm sick with stomach flu, but that's what's on my mind. How to have love, and not have it turn into some kind of need. It's not a sorted out thought yet, so I have no idea what the answer will be for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Other impacts

I've been absolutely crazy at work for the past week catching up on things that I'm behind on because I've been unable to focus well until recently. I'm a project manager and I did only what I had to to get by for about 4 months, and now I'm feeling the repercussions of not planning ahead at work.

I'm also feeling anxiety, because some of Husband's frustration with me had to do with my being busy with work. I feel like I shouldn't be busy, and having all this coming down now makes me stressed out and anxious.

I discussed this with Husband, who tried to reassure me that the problem wasn't my business, but his inability to talk about his feelings about it that caused his resentments. I'm trying to process that so I can let go of the stress, but I still have a pit of worry in my stomach.

Back to work now.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A nice quiet evening

Our date last night was nice and relaxing. We went to a pub and then to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Husband brought me flowers and balloons and a beautiful card he'd written. I gave him a wallet sized version of our wedding promises, which brought tears to his eyes. I made one for myself, too, so I can easily re-presence myself to what I've promised. We've agreed that we don't ever want to be so unconsciously disconnected from each other again.

It was a happy evening, and we had a wonderful time together. Five months ago I wouldn't have imagined that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ten Years Ago Today

These are the promises we made to each other 10 years ago today:

I love you and I promise to cherish and respect you;
To give you kisses and hugs every day; to caress and to soothe you;
To listen to you and communicate with you; to give back rubs and foot rubs;
To be honest and tender and trustworthy and sexy;
To always laugh at your jokes;
To have fun and enjoy every moment with you;
To always look for the greatness within you;
To provide an embrace of love and confidence in which you can be exactly who you are;
And to discover you anew every day for the rest of my life.

They are still the promises I'd want to make today.

Neither of us have kept all these promises. And what we're going through now gives us a chance to honestly assess where we've fallen short in holding up our agreements, to decide whether we're still commited to these promises, and to restore what needs to be restored in order to have the relationship we want to have.

It's not over until we say it's over. That's definitely something to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Date with Husband

Husband surprised me with a date to see Bruce Springsteen tonight - part of our extended anniversary celebration.

I'd told him that I wanted to be sure to be doing things together around our anniversary, particularly on the 31st and the 1st, because I know that last year on Halloween he was trying to arrange a date with a prostitute while I was at my son's school Halloween party. I don't remember now if he was successful. It doesn't really matter. But it was the day before our anniversary. He says he didn't connect the two.

Tonight was wonderful. Seeing Springsteen is a spiritual experience for me. It's amazing to watch someone do something that they seem to love so much, and with so much passion and intensity. It's such a full's really moving to me. And both times I've seen him he's brought his progressive politics into the show, which I'm such a sucker for.

Being there with Husband felt good. The closeness and connection I thought we had before June 1st was present. It feels as if we're getting back some of what I thought we had before, but a more mature version of it in which I know and accept him as more of a real human being rather than the man who could do no wrong. It feels okay. I no longer feel so sad about losing that illusion.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What if he relapses?

I've been thinking about relapses. What I've decided is that it would be very difficult for me, and that my response would depend on the circumstances.

However, I also know that Husband's addiction has almost nothing to do with me in many ways, and I think there is something healthy about not trying to connect something to myself that has little or nothing to do with me. We talked about this in couples therapy last week and my therapist told me this is called "differentiation" in shrink terms.

We also discussed how there's a fine and fuzzy line between healthy differentiation and unhealthy codependency, so I think I'd get a lot of help and support if I ever have to navigate a relapse into sex addiction behaviors - particularly if it went beyond early inner circle behaviors like buying pornography or going to a strip club.

I hope I never have to face that particular pain.

It's funny how often I wonder about Husband relapsing, considering that he's so committed and closing in on 5 months of abstinence. When I couldn't reach him last Saturday morning before our couples therapy, it crossed my mind that maybe he was not doing what he said he was going to be doing that morning. There was nothing at all to indicate that might be so (and as it turned out he went to individual therapy and then to an OA meeting and to his weightloss clinic appointment), but that's where my reactive mind still goes, despite all the progress. My logical mind quickly takes over and examines more likely possibilities, but that immediate reaction is the first think to surface.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Steadily getting better

The trip to Hawaii was amazing. Exceeded our expectations in every way.

One thing Husband and I realized was that in our 19 years together, this was the first vacation we'd taken alone together that didn't involve visiting someone. Because we've lived as room mates with my mother since the very beginning of our relationship, we've had little time comletely alone as a couple. We've always had a lot going on in our lives. And since the arrival of Son in the Fall of 2001, life has just gotten fuller.

When we returned, Husband said he realized the difference between kissing in Maui and kissing at home was that in Maui there was nothing else we should or could be doing at that moment. No son to care for, no work following us home from our jobs, nobody wanting or needing anything from us. It was just us. Alone, together, with nothing to think about and no decisions to make except whether to wake up and go to yoga on the beach, go snorkeling, meditate on the beach, or have a Mai Tai.

On the flight over to Hawaii I was having anxiety about what we were doing. I wasn't clear what we were celebrating, and I didn't want to go through the motions and feel conflicted in my heart. So I brought it up and we talked about it. Husband said he was celebrating our life together, our love for each other, and the happy times that we had, despite his secret life.

I said I could also celebrate our love for each other. But the memories of happy times are tinged with pain for me because I know that the life I thought I had in those happy memories is not the life I was really having. He said he understood, and we left it at that. I felt satisfied that we weren't ignoring any elephants in the living room, and that I had identified something I could authentically celebrate about our 10 years together. There is a lot of good...lots of love, and there were so many good times.

At the airport on our way back to Calfiornia I realized I was feeling sad because there was a part of me that wanted to know that things were going to continue to be as blissful and wonderful as they had been for the past 4 days on Maui. A much bigger part of me knows that there is no knowing anymore, but the desire to feel some assurance in spite of that is still present. I talked with Husband about it, and although there was no solution to that dilemma talking about it helped.

Since our return I've been able to focus and concentrate very well, and I've been spending a great deal of time catching up on work that I haven't been able to focus on for the past 4 months. No blogging from the office since I got back a week ago. And focusing on remaining connected with Husband has kept my attention after work and family stuff have been attended to each day.

In our couples therapy today we realized how differently we've experienced our sex life prior to June 1st. I realized more pointedly how little priority I'd placed on that, even though I knew it was important to Husband. We could go for weeks without having sex and I wouldn't realize it. I really took it for granted that he knew how much I loved him, that I found him desireable, and that I thought he was a great lover. Meanwhile, he was feeling unheard and unimportant to me, and his feelings of hurt and neglect built up over the years.

NOT that a lack of sex is either an explanation or justification for lies and infidelity. It's NOT. But I could see how I hadn't really been present to him in the way that I'd expect him to be present to me. And how his feelings about that, combined with his feelings about other things going on in his life, his inability to express himself, and his lack of conscious awareness of his feelings led to him react by distracting himself with food, sex, shopping, alcohol and other things he felt entitled to because of his pain and anger (which he didn't have the ability to recognize for what they were.)

One of the promises of Twelve Step programs is that you will come to not regret the past. While I wish there was another much less painful way for me to have learned what I'm learning from this, we are experiencing individually and as a couple so much growth from this that I could honestly say that I am beginning to not regret what has transpired. Not that I wouldn't change it if I could, but I can't. And that doesn't seem so awful anymore.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

10th Anniversary honeymoon trip to Hawaii

I'm just about finished packing. We leave in 8 hours for 4 days and 3 nights in Hawaii to celebrate our 10th anniversary and take the honeymoon we never had.

Earlier today I was looking forward to it. But this evening I started to get sad. Am I pretending? Is this a joke? Like putting icing on a shit cake? Celebrating 10 years of...what? Infidelity, lies and broken vows? But not just that. Lots of good things too. Happy times. But now they're all shadowed by the reality of what was secretly going on over the years.

I want to be happy, I want to have a good time, but part of me is confused about what I'm doing. Part of me is sad. This is not how I pictured my relationship being on 10th anniversary.

Disclosure docs say lap dances to ejaculation started in June of '95, hand jobs with prostitutes in April of 2000, escalating to "massages" with hand jobs and blow jobs through 2003, and finally intercourse with prostitutes started at the end of 2003 and esclated to once or twice a month by 2007.

In December 2007 we'll mark 20 years as a couple.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another high anxiety day

Don't know why. Actually reverted to checking cell phone records.

My therapist said that it's very normal for codependency to slip into high gear when someone who needs to be in control (me) experiences a lack of control (my life.)

Since I'm having this existential shift in which I'm coming to terms with the fact that almost nothing in life is within my control except me, and that almost everything except the present moment is unknown or unimportant, it's not really surprising that I have little freak outs like I did today.

I still feel edgy and I feel a pit in my stomach.

I'm going to exercize. Hopefully that will get the happy chemicals flowing and I'll feel better.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Downs and ups

Feeling sad again today. I don't know what triggered it. We were driving back from San Diego and I was feeling melancholy. Maybe because we were leaving my grandmother's house for probably the last time. She's sold it and is moving in with us at least for a while, which is good, but I've been going to her house for summer vacations and holidays for the last 30 years, so was good-bye for me. Going to Gramma's always represented returning to an environment of unconditional love in which I'd be completely taken care of. Love, security, warmth.

We stopped for gas, and as I was standing outside the minivan we'd rented (to bring stuff back to our house) I heard the distinctive sound of palm leaves rustling in the wind. I looked over and saw a palm tree that reminded me of those we'd seen in Florida when visiting Husband's father. This brought to mind our last trip, after which he sought out sex with prostitutes immediately upon his return. We'd had such fun taking our son to Disney World, swimming in the hotel pools, trying alligator meat, going to the beaches. It was a stressful vacation for Husband because he was working part of the time, but it was a nice vacation in terms of a family adventure. I guess the stress was too much, and returning to his job, where he doesn't feel truly known for who he is and what he has to offer, was too demoralizing and he just had to get out the anger and disappointment somehow. So, the prostitute.

But then my mind wandered to the thought of his hands and mouth on other women's bodies. And 28 feels like a lot of other people to me, although I know there are many sex addicts whose partners number in the hundreds or more. But I've only been for him all these years, and he's been with all those other women. It really hurts my feelings, even though I know logically that it had almost nothing to do with me, and that it was his addict in action and that he was in deep denial. Blah, blah, blah. It still hurts. I feel stupid and self indulgent for feeling sad, because I have every reason not to, but the feeling is still there.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What does I love you mean?

It doesn't mean I won't lie to you. Doesn't mean I won't hurt you. Or that I'll love you or be here tomorrow. It doesn't mean I'll provide for you, or I'll always consider the impact of my actions on you. So what does it mean? Only that right now, in this instant when I look into your eyes, my heart swells and beats faster and my soul is drawn to yours? Or something like that?

When I tell my son I love him, there is so much I know about that love. I know what I mean. But when I hear the word love, there is no way to know what it means. What does red mean? It means something different to everybody. When I picture red in my head it's a different shade of red than someone else pictures. And so it's very dangerous for me to assume that I know what someone means when they say red. It's the same with love.

So why do I want to know Husband loves me? Why is that important? I can never know what it means. I can only begin to imagine, and that is a slippery slope back to delusion, especially because of my desire for it.

So what is the point? Maybe this delusion is all just the fierce force of biology tricking us into procreating and perpetuating the species.

No wonder why I always liked physics better.

Feeling sad today, not sure why

I've been feeling sad today, and I'm not sure why. I think maybe it's because more and more each day I'm coming to terms with the fact that the only thing I have is the moment I'm in. Any expectation of the future based on this moment or on any past moment is nothing more than a hopeful delusion. If after 20 years with Husband I can't "know" that he would never lie, betray, have sexual activity outside our marriage...well, there's no more "knowing" for me ever again.

It's the extended play version of my existential crisis, and since it's the live version, and not a recording, it's difficult to say when this will end.

I'm learning to live with a lot of uncomfortable realities about the human condition, and sometimes that leaves me lonely and sad. Do I want to be deluded again? No. Do I want to be happy living with uncertainty, not knowing, not knowing another, practicing non-attachment, only being in this moment, without all those lovely things like hope, expectations, optimism, security. If I can. Do I wish I could have all those things without deluding myself to some extent? Oh yes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The progress of healing

There was a newcomer at my S-Anon meeting last night with a very similar experience to my own. It was interesting for me to see that while I identifiedy with much of what was shared, I did not go into an emotional tail spin. I realized how far I've come since June 1st.

I did, however, go the wrong way down a one way street on the way home. And that street happened to be the street on which Husband's most frequently visited strip club is located. And I did this while trying to avoid driving down another street on which some of the hotels where he had sex with prostitutes are located.

So maybe I was unnerved a bit.

But I'm really happy to see how much I've healed from something that has felt so painful at times that for the first time I completely understand why people kill themselves. (I was never suicidal, but I the sadness was so deep and painful in the first couple months it felt like the only possible release would be death.)

Husband and I continue to meditate togther several mornings a week. This morning I was concentrating on exhaling such that I would dissipate into nothingness, letting go of the struggle to be alive, giving over to being one with everything, beginning to understand that either I'm alive or not, and struggle is not necessary. I felt sad thinking about all that meant - saddest about giving up the struggle to stay with my son. I could see where my strongest attachments are. And I began to get a sense of the freedom that letting go, submitting to the moment, can bring. It was an introduction to the possibility of maybe letting go of my need for control on some deeper levels.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Got asked out on a date again

This time by Husband.

Part of all of this re-creation and re-choosing felt to me like we needed some re-getting-to-know-you time. So I told him I wanted to date again. Him.

Time where he plans everything (takes the risk of making a plan for us without consulting me, which I know scares him - I suspected as much and he said today that he is terrified I'll be disappointed) and I just go and we discover each other again. I'm going to ask him out, too. I need this kind of time with him. Time to look into his eyes with the full knowledge I have of him, the full acceptance of him as a flawed human being who could hurt me again, and to choose him again. To look into his eyes and say yes to the risk, yes to the unknown.

And then to learn to live my life in this way. Saying yes to the risks I take with him, and the risks could I take everywhere else.

Monday, October 8, 2007

All good things must come to an end - like..therapy

Talked with my therapist today about my concern that Husband and I aren't having more conflict. Since he and I tend to avoid conflict like it's life threatening, I'm afraid I'll go back to being in the same kind of ignorant state of bliss that I was in over the past 10 or more years in which he was secretly getting lap dances and having sex with prostitutes and I was happily married (to him)...pure bliss.

I asked Husband about this lack of conflict. He thinks that while he's expressing his anger and resentment much more now (instead of managing them so I wouldn't get angry or otherwise upset the way he used to) rather than resulting in more conflict or being funneled into distracting addictions, those feelings get resolved.

Also talked with my therapist about feeling like my problems were, in the context of possible problems one could have, not really all that huge and bad. I said that I sometimes wonder if I really need to keep coming to therapy.

She picked up on this immediately, and we started discussing a plan for me to transition out of meeting with her. Cut down to twice a month, then once a month, then stop and come back as needed. I actually feel ready for this, even though it makes me nervous. My little support system saved my sanity and so I'm a little hesitant to make any changes. But it probably is time.

One thing though. I asked her about what the psychic I visited told me: That I had to deal with my issues with my father - that this is the area where I really needed to work (father went on a camping trip with my uncle, who returned alone relaying the message that my dad said he was going out of the country for cancer treatment, and that we shouldn't try to locate him. Months later he was found recovering from a nervous breakdown in a hippie commune in northern CA.) So I do have a history of being lied to by important men in my life with whom I have placed my deepest trust.

I was sure she'd say that I could probably work out all the issues on my own, without having to rehash stuff over with my father. (I don't want to do this because we have a good relationship now and I think it might be painful for him.) Well...of course there's no getting out of the things we need to do that we don't want to do. And to my surprise she said that in fact she agreed with the psychic (although I detected amusement or something similar in her face as she said it) and that I'd need to have some conversations with my father some day when the time was right. Maybe not immediately after my reality had just been blown up by lying cheating Husband (my words, not hers) but some day, if I really wanted to address some of these issues at the root.

So there may be more therapy in my future after all.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My life has always been great

Tonight on the treadmill I was re-reading Pema Chodron's book When Things Fall Apart.

The first chapter is Intimacy With Fear.

I realized that what has happened in my relationship with Husband gives me an opportunity to come eye to eye with fear, to stay present and not to "smooth it over, take a pill, distract [my]self...make it go away," and still be loved at the same time. So many people must face the deepest kind of fear and not knowing, and do so without feeling loved.

Husband is my opportunity to be in the moment with fear, and learn what there is to learn there. To face the unknown, knowing only that there is no knowing the next moment, and that in this moment, I am loved.

I came across a koan a couple months ago, and this part of it has stuck with me since:

"One who sits on top of the 100 foot pole has not quite attained true enlightenment. Make another step forward from the top of the pole and throw one's own body into the 100,000 universes."

Friday, October 5, 2007

Husband is coming home today

I'm picking him up at the airport at 10. As promised, he called a lot. I feel very confident that he didn't do any of the things he said he wouldn't do.

Therapy tomorrow, his and ours. Then I go to San Diego overnight. Son is staying with him. That's comforting because he used to go to prostitutes sometimes when Son and I went to San Diego without him. (My grandmother lives there.)

Looked at the disclosure document again tonight for some reason. I guess there is a lot in there that I haven't really digested. My heart was beating fast, but it was a lot less painful then it's been in the past to contemplate that information.

I could actually read it carefully, start to really see how his infidelity played out. Strip clubs before we were married, massage/hand jobs about 2 1/2 years after we were married, picking up frequency when I was pregnant. Actual intercourse toward the end of 2003. It's still very weird to think about him having a secret life all this time. But it's so much less painful to look at the facts now. That's a good sign.

I really don't know what I'll do if he does it again. It's been over 5 months. I don't think he will. Famous last words of the addict's wife, probably.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Universe has a sense of humor

So I decided to download Stumbleupon because, well, you know...I need another way to waste valuable time on the internet.

So I follow the instructions and at the end it tells me to click on the Stumbleupon icon to see what "other like minded people" are looking at. So I do this, and what comes up?

A article titled How to Detect Lies.

It went on to say, "The following techniques to telling if someone is lying are often used by police, and security experts. This knowledge is also useful for managers, employers, and for anyone to use in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud/scams and other deceptions."

Better late than never, I guess.

Loss from death vs. loss from betrayal

On the treadmill last night it dawned on me that if Husband didn't come back from his trip for some reason, I'd be fine. I think I've already had such grief and loss from this betrayal that nothing could feel worse with respect to Husband.

Back before we were married when we still lived in Seattle (so before 1993) I told Husband that I wanted to be sure he knew I could live without him. That stuck in the forefront of his mind and, to some extent, defined his experience with me even as it grew to be less and less true for me. Though he didn't know it, Husband became for me someone I'd never want to live without. But last night it felt as though I'm back where I was before all those years ago - detached and in control.

When I woke up this morning, I tried to call Husband before meditating. I didn't reach him, but knew he'd call me back when he could. After I started meditating I realized that his phone interview for a job was only about 10 minutes away, and I worried that he might be sleeping through it because he'd just gotten off the red-eye. So I called again, several times. No answer - up until 5 minutes before the interview. No answer.

As I thought about what could have happened to keep him from answering (car accident, jumped out of the plane, killed himself (after all, he looked like something heavy was on his mind when he left), etc...) I began to feel sad at the thought of really living without him, and I realized that as guarded as I feel I still want a chance to work it out, and I'd miss him deeply if he really were gone from my life. I was happy to discover that. Happy to realize that I really do want to keep trying to create a solid, loving, trusting relationship with him. Happy to realize that it's just fear, and not indifference that's settled over my heart.

He called about a minute later. He wasn't dead. He was in the shower.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Husband's responses to my (crazy?) questions

This is what Husband said over the course of our email exchange in response to my questions:

I plan to stick to my food plan. I will not act out. I will work out at the gym and swim in the pool. I will call you all the time.

I will have two beers or fewer when I am gone. Total.

Hmmm. I don’t know. Doesn’t feel like your trying to control me. Feels like you’re concerned about me. I like it. Maybe not completely healthy but I wouldn’t worry about it.

My Inner Circle
(this is an SAA thing, and is behavior from which the addict declares he is completely abstinent):
Having Sexual Contact with anyone other than my wife – this includes lap dances. Sexual Contact includes any and all sexual contact including massage, sexual touching, orgasm, anything.
Visiting Strip Clubs
Going to (he specified a site, but I refuse to publicize it here)
Masturbating to pornography
Spending money on pornography (magazines, internet etc)

I have not put all online porn in my inner circle because I don’t want to lose my time (meaning break my abstinence) if I stumble across an ad or something or something pops up (which has happened).

Since masturbating to porn is proscribed and porn is in my middle circle, however, I don’t spend time with it.

Please remember that for my recovery I am specifically accountable to my sponsor and I worked this out with him. It is a fluid document, however, and we can certainly talk about it.

This last comment is his response to my resistance to making requests, and my aversion to doing anything that feels like setting "rules" for him.

My approach has always been to see what he decides/chooses and then decide if it works for me (based on my own wants and needs)and what my response will be. So this put the whole responsibility for decision making in our relationship on him. He would have to be the one to decide, then I would accept or reject and act accordingly.

What we found out recently in couples therapy is that while I felt I was protecting myself from assuming the role of parent in our relationship, he felt (unbeknownst to me) like I was testing him.

One part of my growth is that I'm learning to make direct requests and take responsibility for what I want in a healthier way. I'm giving him a chance to hear my needs and wants BEFORE he makes his decisions/choices, which he never had the opportunity to do before.

I've had to develop a script for making direct requests. It goes something like, "Knowing that you are an adult, and free to make your own choices, what I would like is..." I have to remind myself that I'm simply stating what would work for me, and not issuing an order or setting a limit on his behavior before I can make a request.

I feel good about learning to set boundaries for myself and to express what will and will not work for me. But I never want to be in an intimate relationship where I'm setting boundaries or creating rules for someone else. That feels like a parent/child relationship to me, not an adult partner relationship.

Husband is traveling for business

Just found out that Husband will be traveling for business for a couple of days. Leaving on the red-eye tonight.

Following are the questions I had to ask:
    What about your meetings - can you do by phone?
    Are you going to rent movies? What is your plan with respect to food, alcohol, sex?
    Just so I'm clear, what is "acting out?" Movies, magazines, clubs? Where do those fall? More specifically, what is okay (by your definition) for you to do?
    About alcohol - is nine drinks okay? I know it is in terms of abstinence, but what is your plan - what do you commit to now so that when you're sitting at the bar you'll have a point of reference?
    And does this feel like I'm trying to control you? I'm just wondering...

So...yet another indication of where I am at this point in the journey.

What do these questions indicate? Hell if I know. But I know I'll look back in a year and knowingly say, "Ahhhh, yes..." and see clearly through what is now sometimes a dense forest to me.

More sex, fewer orgasms

Another thing I've noticed is that while we have more sex, and we're both so much more present (except for me when I have those invasive thoughts), but I have fewer orgasms.

I used to regularly have orgasms from intercourse, which I preferred to oral sex. Husband loves to give oral sex - always has. And now we do that a lot more. And I can have orgasms from that. But I still prefer the intimacy of an orgasm with my body connected to the length of his body, our lips pressing together, our arms wrapped around each other. But that doesn't happen anymore, at least not without Husband or me providing extra stimulation.

I did have orgasms from intercourse immediately after I found out, when I was in a heightened sexual state (probably from the wacky, fear and anxiety induced chemicals coursing through my body at the time.)

My ability to have orgasms during intercourse is something I miss and want back. It feels like a part of my sexuality has deserted me. I can't pinpoint the cause (generally, of course, I get it), but I hope it works itself out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Four months out - time to take inventory

Here is a snapshot of what life is like four months after finding out about Husband's secret life:

Generally, ups and downs are a part of life but things continue slow, steady improvement. (People told me this would happen, and I found it really hard to believe in the early months.)

Things that I note that have changed about me and my behavior:
    Husband and I usually have sex at least once a day, which was not the case before
    I've lost weight and I exercise regularly
    I wear sexy underwear
    I shave my legs almost nightly
    I wear makeup more often
    I'm beginning to accept Husband's humanity - that he's flawed by definition
    Working on accepting my own humanity
    Still get jolted when I think of him with prostitutes - some part of me still asks why
    Can accept that prostitutes, fast food binges and shopping were interchangeable on the menu of things he used to numb and distract himself
    Feel trust beginning to grow, although I'm more attuned to my instincts around it and I still have a lot of doubt
    Learning not to fix, but to listen instead

I believe that many of the things I do regarding my appearance are for myself and not to control Husband. In the event that Husband decides he can't abstain, I want to be able to feel as good about myself as possible, attractive and desirable. I can't tell if that's crazy or healthy.

I am lucky and grateful that Husband has been able to remain abstinent. He is very present to the cost. I'm concerned about the long term, not as much with sex but with food and alcohol.

Haven't really discussed alcohol addiction beyond my brief mention of it at the receipt incident.

Feel angry - it flares up like those fires shooting off the sun, but most of the time I'm not present to feeling angry

Not feeling crushing sadness anymore

Can still unexpectedly spiral into anxiety

Not trusting myself. I commented on the issue of trust recently, and I realized yesterday that I fall into that category of people who can't count on themselves. I trust myself not to abuse, betray or hurt myself. But I don't yet trust my ability to distinguish what is real and what is not, or to be able to spot another liar if I start another intimate relationship.

Oddly enough, I'm feeling more co-dependent feelings than I ever have. Before I had issues of needing to control via fixing that I was not aware of. I still have those, though awareness is making all the difference. However I need so much more reassurance, and have so much more anxiety about whether or not I'm good enough in my relationship than I ever did before. I used to feel solid and secure in my relationship, and that feeling has not yet returned.

Yesterday I was thinking that I don't want my husband to get satisfaction out of any personal growth I'm having as a result of this - then realized that is a form of wanting to control something I can't control.

I think I'm struggling a lot because I'm coming to terms with a fear of the unknowability that is part of the human condition. This feels so deep and scary to me.

I'm struggling with the higher power concept - someone in my group said when there's nothing else you can trust, you can trust that...but I don't want to trust that things that happen to me are part of some other entity's "plan" for me. That feels to me like another way of not facing reality, not facing the fact that sometimes bad shit happens and it's bad and there's nothing that will change that.

I've thought further about why I find the definition of codependence useful, and I've realized that understanding patterns of codependence provides some structure when I am unsure of reality. If I can't be sure of what's real, at least I can spot a pattern and then decide whether or not I want to stick with that pattern and the associated outcomes.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Existential Panic Attack

So I went on to have a full existential panic attack this morning. Really can't fault myself, as I'm learning to exist in a world where nothing is certain. What there is left to do is to accept that and figure out how to have a great life in the stark reality of that context.

So what it seems to be coming to is that I cannot control anything but myself; therefore I cannot know what the future holds; can make assumptions based on evidence, but those can prove to be false anyway; so what's left to do is just choose something and move forward. Could that be?

Given that I'm biologically wired for survival, and that I don't want to be full of anxiety all the time, how do I live comfortably with the knowledge that the only thing I can remotely trust is my own experience of a moment, and that even that can turn out to be something different from what I thought it was (for example, if someone you have decided to trust lies to you)? How do I live fully, happily, joyfully, openly, freely...Not Knowing and not allowing myself any illusion that I know?

One step forward, two steps back

What's on my mind this morning is how can I learn to develop deep trust and intimacy with another person when I know they are capable of hurting or leaving me at any time? How do you develop these things without deluding yourself to some extent? Without deciding that you can predict what someone will do in the future? Maybe it's not self-delusion, but rather acceptance of risk? But that's a terrifying prospect. To accept the risk that you might make yourself vulnerable and then get deeply hurt, that you must truly give without expectation. To expect is to think you have some influence over what someone else will do in the future. We're taught to expect in return. We're not taught to give without attachment to the result. I don't know if I know how. Intellectually I understand, but my body is resisting with feelings of fear and anxiety.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Sophia told me today about this dating site that is for married people looking to have affairs. I went and checked it out. Their slogan is "When monogamy becomes monotony."

I've never been a prude, but the thought of such a service makes me sick to my stomach. Something that encourages secret lives, not taking responsiblity for what you really want in life, deception, lying...ugh...I just think it's awful.

Not that I haven't considered it since I found out about Husband's betrayal. But so many of the testimonials were from people who sounded desperately unahppy or deluded.

Maybe monogamy isn't natural. I don't know...

I think it's a choice, a decision, and one that takes courage. It seems easier to say "I"ll have you, and then I'll have someone else, too, when the inclination strikes me." If you say you'll be monogamous, you're trusting that the other party will do the same (I hope - I'm definitely not for unilateral monogamy unless that's what you really want). You're saying you'll give up unknown pleasures and good times on faith. I think that takes courage. Because you might get f'd over. Your partner might cheat or even discard you. It is a risk.

I feel so judgemental right now. I think I'm reacting. Reacting to my own pain. I know some people participate in responsible non-monogamy. The guy I was exchanging emails with on Salon personals was doing that (both he and his spouse - that's part of the deal.)

Anyway, clearly this has pushed my buttons. I'm going to think more about the meaning and value of monogamy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Awake, bald and naked...not really so great at first

"I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?"

"You could say that."

"I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that's not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?"


"Why not?"

"Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life."

"I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

-excepted from The Matrix

As I read this, it hits me that in addition to describing my experience finding out about Husband's secret life, it also probably describes my experience being born.

Why accept the label of codependency?

At my first S-Anon meeting, one of the things I really didn't get was all the talk about MY recovery. I didn't have anything to recover from...I wasn't the one who had been lying to my partner for over a decade and sleeping with prostitutes for the past 3 1/2 years. I was the unsuspecting...well, not victim...but certainly there was NOTHING wrong with me. I disregarded that stuff, because there was lots of other stuff that was hitting the nail on the head, and it felt so good to walk into a room where I could talk freely without having to explain.

Probably a month or so ago, I asked my therapist what exactly co-dependence was and how I would know if I was codependent. She recommended the book I'm reading now, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. The title kind of says it all. My sometimes obsessive need to know details, often accompanied by feelings of anxiety or urgency, is a form of trying to control something I can't control (the past.) And it definitely comes at the expense of caring for myself, because I can easily spiral into heart-pounding anxiety or deep sadness when I engage in this stuff.

More importantly, though, I have a whole other life. I have a full-time job, I have my son, I volunteer as Marketing Director for a non-profit, I write my blog, I go to S-Anon and therapy, I exercise regularly, and I write and perform sketch comedy, improv and theater when I can fit it in. In other words, I have a big, full life that doesn't deserve to be consumed (subsumed) by maintaining spreadsheets, searching phone records and bank statements, and worrying about what Husband is doing every moment of the day. I have a life. I will not be defined by Husband's betrayal, I will not sacrifice my life, my self, the things that give me happiness and satisfaction, to try to figure out the details of my husband's betrayal and lies. Enough damage has been done already. I don't want to do more.

That being said, it's definitely a balance. Not only do I have a different future now than I thought I would. I have a different past. And that is jarring. More accurately it's a devastating, major mind-fuck that made me feel completely disoriented and adrift for a while. It's a past that I did not knowingly participate in creating and something that I can't change. So I feel I have the right to know as many details as I want in order to restore my sense of reality. What was I doing the afternoon Husband was fucking Ashley at the Four Points Sheraton in Marina del Rey? I think I have a right to know what was actually going on in my life while I was living in my alternate reality.

The point is, I think I have the right to whatever information I want, but when the need to know starts to disrupt my life and cause me pain, I'm stepping into codependent territory. Nothing wrong with that, but it helps me to be able to distinguish what I want to do to help myself heal vs. what I feel compelled to do because I let another person's behavior affect me and feel that I can do something to control that person's behavior. (I can't.)

The final clue that broke the camel's back was that there are 10 pages in the book that describe codependent characteristics and - those of you who also identify with being codependent will probably laugh at me - I was shocked to see that I had at least 75% of the characteristics listed. It's very subtle. I don't cover up for Husband when his addictions interfere with his life, I don't secretly follow him, I don't submit to physical or emotional abuse. But there are lots of things, some might call them "nice" traits: I try to say what I think will please people; have a difficult time asserting my rights; avoid talking about myself and talk about other people's problems instead; try to fix and prevent problems in other peoples' lives; fear rejection; am afraid of making mistakes. The list goes on.

In my experience, recognition and awareness have been the first steps toward freedom from ways of being that leave me unhappy. So that's the value I find in accepting the codependent label, and accepting that my journey is to recover from that way of being. I want to be free of the anguish and anxiety that result from my codependent thoughts and behaviors.

Free my mind, and the rest will follow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What does co-dependency look like?

It goes something like this...

Yesterday I found a receipt from one of Husband’s business trips this past February. Oddly enough, it was on the floor in the hallway by the front door. Don’t know why. It was for 3 double Jack Daniels and 3 Sam Adams at a bar on a night I know he took out $400 from our account to try to get a prostitute.

I didn’t get a chance to talk with him about it until today after I landed in Sacramento. I called him at work to let him know I landed safely and asked if it was a good time for me to ask some questions. I’ve done this so many times (call with questions) that he knows what this question means, and was ready to listen and answer as best he could from his rather public cube at work.

“You know when you went on business trips you told me that although you tried, you were never able to successfully hire a prostitute. Is that true?”


“And did you ever just entertain prostitutes or other women on these trips?”


“Because last night I found a receipt on the floor.” I explained what it for, and what time the credit card was processed (just after midnight.) I know he often orders a scotch on the rocks with a beer, and that he likes Sam Adams. But I’ve never know him to order bourbon. He said that he actually does order bourbon when the scotch is too expensive. (Odd, again, because well scotch can’t be more expensive than JD. I may have to ask about this again, because this “odd” type of thing was something I usually ignored before.) He said he thought he had been talking to a guy and may have bought him a couple beers, but after he thought about it for a bit he decided that he had been alone on that occasion.

Finally I came to the question that had been the first to enter my mind when I found the receipt. “That’s nine drinks. So you had nine drinks by yourself?” He said he did, and that his intention was to get drunk since he was unsuccessful in arranging a prostitute. (He’s said he only used online services, never picked them up on the street.) I asked him if he’d ever considered that alcohol might be another addiction of his. That maybe, like his dad, he was a functioning alcoholic, but that it was actually a problem. He said that he had considered that. And he said he couldn’t keep talking about that subject anymore because of the lack of privacy. We agreed to discuss it later.

There are still lingering things that fall into the “odd” category.

He withdrew $100 on 2/8, $400 on 2/9 and $40 on 2/10 (I've done the research and I have a spreadsheet cross-referencing cash withdrawals and cell phone records), yet he paid for those 9 drinks with his credit card. So where did the $500 go? He said when he couldn’t get prostitutes he went shopping for gifts. But I don’t recall $500 worth of gifts coming home. Yet he took out that $40 on 2/10, so he must have spent that $500 somewhere. I have to ask him about this.

Yes, I know this is what obsessing and co-dependency are all about. And yes, I’m still going to ask.

I’m sitting in the Sacramento airport. I have vivid memories of being in this airport for business travel on June 5, four days after I’d found out about all of Husband’s lies and infidelity. I was standing right outside the security checkpoint on the phone with Nora, weeping because I didn’t want to go home, because I didn’t what to go back to the life I had there now. If I didn’t go home, maybe it wouldn’t be real. It all felt so unreal anyway. That’s what the Sacramento airport reminds me of.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Assignment from my therapist today

I talked with my therapist about some of the stuff I discovered in couples therapy. She gave me two assignments:

1. Write about the feeling I have that my mother sacrificed a lot to be a parent to me and I can never make it up to her

2. Express my anger through writing and sharing with trusted friends and my S-Anon group

I've been feeling angry at Husband for breaking me. I feel irreparably broken. I used to believe that you could count on people. Not everybody, but certainly a few carefully selected, trusted people in your life.

But my experience has taught me that no matter how well I think I've chosen, no matter how much evidence I have that someone is trustworthy, the fact is I can never count on anybody 100% of the time. In that regard, I am alone. I have only myself to count on. (And maybe there are those who feel they can't even count on themselves. That would be really scary - to have absolutely nobody at all.)

The reason I can't count on anyone 100% of the time is because I cannot control what someone else will do, how they will think, feel and respond, 100% of the time. If I could control everything 100% of the time, I could predict with certainty. Any less control than that introduces some amount of uncertainty. I can never know. I can eventually trust, believe, think, hope, have faith. But I can never, ever know. So how do you live with a know liar in a context of never knowing? Don't know yet. One day at a time I guess.

I used to believe that I could know. That time, love, shared experiences and personal integrity could forge an unbreakable bond of trust. While I see now that was a form of naivete, it felt good to believe that it was possible. Now I feel sad and wary, and while the fact that it's not possible to count on others has nothing to do with Husband, I'm now intensely present to this fact because of his betrayal and I'm angry at him for that.

What goes through my head: Why did he have to do that? I didn't do that! When I had problems I talked about it. When I didn't feel heard, I did something about it. What is wrong with him? (I could go on.)

Intellectually, I know the answers or at least the explanations, so in an instant I invalidate this anger because it feels irrational.

But it's there. And I want it out now, so I don't carry it around for years, so it doesn't come out when I least expect it, so it doesn't rot me from the inside all the way out to my happy, sweet, she's-so-nice veneer.

Break Out Blogger

A nice thing happened today.

I found out that I've been given a Break Out Blogger Award:

Hopefully that means that more people will be able to find my blog and begin to understand that they are neither crazy nor alone.

Betrayal and infidelity are universal problems, and because of that there are common human stories and experiences that cut across all demographics. I think these commonalities are part of the path of healing...knowing that there are others who have gone through all this pain, anguish, confusion, anger, disillusionment, loneliness, and despair (to name a few) and have survived, and in many cases come out stronger, happier and healthier. These shared feelings, thoughts and experiences are a beacon of light when the storm is bad and you can't see the land. Mamampj has been that for me, and it's good to think that our blogs and others like them will provide that for others.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Helpful notes from couples therapy

Here's what I need to remember from couples therapy yesterday:

When you ____ I feel (mad, glad, sad, ashamed, afraid - pick one) and what I make up about that is _____.

When you get to the core of them, most negative feelings come from one of two places:
1. I'm afraid I won't be safe
2. I'm afraid I won't be seen or heard for who I am

I see the world and listen through the perspective that no matter what, there is always going to be something better than me. (Don't know how I got this belief - need to investigate with my therapist.)

I filter out what is
a. positive, because it feels like that feedback is covering up people's real thoughts and feelings (there's something better than her)
b. not true from my perspective (even in reaction to other people's feelings - for example, if Husband says he feels like I don't care about him, in the past I've ignored that because I know that I do care about him)

It's unlikely that I can rid myself completely of this ingrained perspective, but now that I'm aware I can make a different choice when I notice myself coming from this position.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The duality of love and betrayal in a relationship

Mamma Mary Jones has some amazing thoughts on her blog A Room of Mama's Own about getting some perspective on how a partner can love you deeply and betray you deeply at the same time. Her post gave me an insight into how to love, appreciate and accept Husband as he is, which is my only choice if I want to stay with him. And I know I do, because there is a lot to love about him (and now, a lot to accept.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Still having thoughts about hurting my husband

Tonight I was on the treadmill reading a book called How My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. This book has been a challenge, because Anne Brecht takes a much more traditional approach than I ever could (and has much more traditional, religious values than I do.) But inevitably, the universal rises above the individual specifics, and there are elements of her journey that parallel mine and that I relate to.

Her book mentioned that statistic of 60% of men vs. 40% of women having affairs. What is it about men? Why do a large majority of them find it so difficult to be faithful to their partners? Do they lack integrity or character as a sex? Not a question I can answer, but I really wish I had some insight.

Anyway...I began to think about having extramarital sex just to even the score. See, promises to you can mean as little to me as your promises to me did to you. I can delude myself just as skillfully. So there. Now pull out your love and understanding.

But my husband has told me (only because I've asked) that he doesn't think he'd be as bothered/hurt by sexual infidelity as I am. Then I thought about how he feels so much more connected to me now, so much more intimate, so much more sure of my love and care for him than he did before. And I think about asking him, "This feeling you have now? Multiply that by 19 years, and then think about how you'd feel if you found out I'd been lying to you about something profound and intimate for about 12 of those years. How do you think that might feel?"

So I recognize that I still have some anger to work out.

Maybe I'll talk about this in therapy. Our couples therapist is pretty brilliant. She'll help us sort that anger out.

I also feel I'm still resisting facing the fact that my marriage was far from great, because I was not present for Husband and of course, he was having sexual experiences with all those prostitutes. I mostly want to blame him for dealing with his problems in this way. But I know no happiness lies down that path.'s something else I should talk about with our therapist's help. I really think someday I can be free of all these angry, nasty thoughts. But if they don't come out, they'll just get pushed down and we've already had enough of what that leads to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blind trust vs. informed trust

Because you can never know what another person will do, it's always possible that your partner might hit you. You enter into every relationship with that possibility.

But until your partner hits you, you are in a relationship with somebody who you've known as "someone who doesn't hit." However, after you get hit once, you are now in a relationship with somebody who hits, and you know this because you've been hit by this person. If your partner says "I won't hit you" it makes a difference if you've known him as someone who doesn't hit you vs. someone who has hit you.

I'm struggling with the fact that, while I can never know what someone will do, I'm finding it harder to trust Husband now that I know him as someone who will lie to me and who can hurt me profoundly. Before I thought I really knew he would never do those things. My evidence was pretty good. But know I know he would do those things and my evidence is that he has done them. (Is this my Absolutist again?)

I'm just like the person who returns to a partner who has beaten her up. Am I crazy? I don't know. I feel certain I'd never return to a man who hit me, even if it was just once. Maybe the applicable rule is lie to me once (for 10 or so years) shame on you; lie to me twice, shame on me.

The other thing I've learned is that you can never say never until you find yourself in a situation. I think I'd have said "never" about the situation I'm in now, too.

I had my S-Anon meeting last night, followed by my now regular Tuesday night with Sophia. She was sad about some things going on in her life and together we indulged in too much coffee flavored vodka over ice as we talked until the wee hours.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reflecting on my existential crisis in therapy

Talked with my therapist about my ongoing sadness over the fact that I feel permanently damaged by Husband's lies and infidelity. I feel like I used to be healthy and happy, and now I've learned that you can't even trust the person you were surest of (funny, I'd learned that before with my father and gotten over it.)

I told her, and our couples therapist, that I'm done with trust on the one hand. I'm going to try to work with out with Husband but if I can't, I'm not putting myself in this position of vulnerability again. And I'm sad about that on the other hand. Now that I've known the freedom and joy of ultimate trust and ultimate vulnerability anything less feels...less. It makes me sad and angry that I feel like I have to give up that quality of life experience. But as I talked I realized that it's still my choice. But now I have to make that choice with the new knowledge I have. I have to choose that level of trust and vulnerability (if that's what I want) knowing that I risk being hurt this deeply and profoundly again. So I'm like Rocky - that boxer with a dream stepping back into the ring...or an idiot...or something between poetic and stupid.

Another thing I realized in my last session: As the absolutist that I am it's been difficult to experience things (like sadness for example) without also feeling like This Is The Way It Is Now. For example, I Will Never Trust Anyone Again. That's how I'm feeling right now, but it doesn't mean I'm destined to live that way forever. So I'm giving myself until June 1, 2008 to have whatever feelings and thoughts I have without question, with the understanding that I'm processing things right now, and I don't have to fret about anything being permanent. I may find that in a year I'm happier, healthier and in a better place in life that I ever imagined possible, and that this was the only path available to get there. Oh, look! It's my natural Pollyanna side poking her head out. It's who I am at the core. Lucky for me otherwise I'd probably have stuck a knife in my eye by now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My existential crisis persists

Friday night I made some last minute plans to meet Husband to see a play. The play was at a theater we founded 10 years ago. I was involved near the beginning, but I haven't stayed involved over the years as he has.

As I got ready to leave I started thinking about the possibility that he was having an affair with someone at the theater. There are plenty of young, beautiful, talented women there. Maybe he met someone and has been meeting her at the theater. Maybe that's why he's often having to go to see shows at the last minute (he's on the Board, so he has to see the shows but we never make regular plans to go together)...maybe he didn't sound so excited that I was coming when I called to tell him...maybe if I get there earlier than I said I would I'll be able to tell who he's cheating with and catch him in intimate conversation with her...will it always be like this?...will I always wonder?....not just with Husband, but with any partner I'm in an intimate relationship with? can I ever know? I've learned that appearances will deceive. Of all the people I've met in my life, Husband seemed like the last person who would ever lie to me, cheat on me, have sex with other women. Not just by my judgement - I've had friends who know about this situation say the same. My heart was pounding, my lips were getting cold, my breathing was rapid.

When I arrived at the theater at 5 minutes to curtain, Husband was by himself in the little box office selling tickets. No beautiful, talented, young woman exchanging hushed, intimate conversation and sharing looks and laughs as I'd envisioned. I was somewhat relieved, but still shaking inside. Husband could tell immediately that there was something wrong and asked if I was okay. I told him I was having some anxiety, but there was no time to talk at that moment so I waited until intermission to tell him the specifics.

We talked at length during intermission, after the show, later that night by the fire in our back yard, and more at couples therapy yesterday. I feel much better now, because I've made a connection to who he is today instead of who he was before he began to get help and support for his issues.

It was so weird, because I don't often think about him having affairs with people now - or even paid sex with prostitutes. I believe him when he tells me that the only extramarital sex he's had is with prostitutes, and that he's not doing that anymore. I don't know what initiated that anxiety, but I know it's a product of the existential crisis I'm working through based on the new context I have in life.

A couple big fears I identified from the experience: I'm afraid that since there's no way to know for sure that someone won't betray me (for example, having a loving, intimate relationship with someone for two decades is no indication) I'll just get hurt deeply hurt again if I place my trust in someone. Right now I don't feel willing to go through this depth of pain again. I'm also afraid that I'll be so good at protecting myself that I'll end up alone - not physically alone, but alone inside, alone in my deepest, most intimate places. I don't want that kind of life. I've seen too many examples and it's too sad an existence.