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.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Feeling sad again last night

This is definitely an up and down ride.

Last night I had some time before my rehearsal, so I stopped in a coffee shop to work on the spreadsheet. As I entered the large cash withdrawals and began to see some shape to all the activity that's been going on, I got present again to the magnitude of it all. I think it's good, because it puts me back in touch with the feelings that are obviously still there. I must be very good at protecting myself, because I can feel absolutely fine at times, and then surprised by the depth of pain and sadness that is still there.

After rehearsal I went home and finished entering what I had. (There's a lot more - years of bank statements to comb through.) There was a strange charge for a rental car and lots of gas from out of town gas stations. My heart started beating, and I ran upstairs with the laptop to where husband was sleeping. He'd told me how badly he needed sleep, but I couldn't stop myself from waking him. It turned out that the charges were actually transacted several days prior to the date they appeared on the statement, and were from husband's drive to join my son and me on a camping trip. Nothing hidden, no new secret to discover. But what I did realize in the subsequent discussion of some of the other activity on the spreadsheet was that recently he'd begun to lie to me about where he was going so he could go out to find prostitutes and go to strip clubs. Prior to this year he'd always done it when I was working or otherwise occuppied. But lately he'd started to tell me he was going somewhere and not really go there. Or go to strip clubs or prostitutes first. It's so fortunate that I caught this when I did. It was escalating so rapidly and getting out of control. I said to him that it probably couldn't have gone much further because we couldn't have afforded it. But he said that he thinks he would have found a way to escalate things - even the thought of our home equity had crossed his mind. He's just started reading Out of the Shadows, and he's beginning to see how much of a classic sex addict he is. It's so weird, for both of us I think. It turns my stomach to think where this could have gone. I thank whatever higher powers there are that I found this before it got to a place where forgiveness would feel impossible.

I was very sad as we talked, present again to the many women and the many betrayals. The betrayals still hurt the most, cause the most anxiety. He comforted me, held me, listened, and answered what he could. He said "One day at a time."

Today is my birthday. There is a party tonight. I've been in on the planning, thinking and hoping I'd be ready for a celebration. I'm sure I will be when the time comes. My son and the kids in aftercare with him yesterday made me a big Happy Birthday banner to hang at the party. It's the best birthday surprise I've had in years. Initiated by my 5 1/2 year old son, from his heart to me. Amazing. Another thing to be grateful for. There is so much.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I broke my rule and made a promise

I'd made a rule that I wouldn't make any promises, wouldn't forgive anything, for 3 months. I wanted to be sure I gave myself time to have feelings before moving on to recovery and rebuilding trust. But yesterday I broke that rule. Am I just being codependet, putting someone else above myself, ignoring my own feelings. I just don't know.

From me to Husband June 27 (14 hours ago)
Just want to say I'm sorry that lunch turned out the way it did. Let's try again, and it will be a no difficult discussions lunch, an I love you and want to spend time with you lunch.

I love you and I'm sorry this is painful. Not I'm sorry like it's my fault, but as someone who loves you I'm sad to see you sad. I'm bummed to see me sad, too. A lot of this just sucks, but that's the way it is.

Please reach out to people around you (I will do the same) and please let me know if and how I can support you (and I will do the same.)


From Husband to me Jun 27 (14 hours ago)

Thanks for the kind words.

FYI I have an appointment with my therapist at 10:20 this Sat and will be seeing him regularly at 8:30 am Sat mornings from now on.

Don’t worry about me. I will be fine.

From me to Husband Jun 27 (14 hours ago)

I know you can be fine. My hope is that you will be free, full of joy and gloriously happy. Fine is not enough for you in my mind. I want you to have it all.

From Husband to me Jun 27 (14 hours ago)

Working on it.

One day at a time.

From me to Husband Jun 27 (14 hours ago)

Take your time. I plan on sticking around.

From Husband to me Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

Are you aware that today you said “maybe I should have never gotten married?”

From Me to Husband Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

Yes. That thought went through my mind and I said it. Maybe if we hadn't gotten married, I wouldn't have become so callous, I would have listened, I would have shown more appreciation, more care. Silly, but I'm desperate to find the thing to undo this, trying to figure out what changed that made this happen. Maybe it was getting married. But I don't regret getting married to you. It's brought me more joy than sadness, even today.

From Husband to me Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

Per my last. I am becoming aware of how much of my unhealed pain is about abandonment. It may seem weird (it is to me) but I seem to be terrified of being left and things like “Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten married.” Stick in my head. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but it popped up later as a vivid memory.

For some reason I remember my dog Nosy who got run over just before my parents split up.

This is something that activates me. Something I would appreciate you being aware of but it’s not your responsibility. I am thankful that you feel you can ask me questions and point out how hurtful and evil my behavior has been. I don’t want that to stop.

It’s just hard. I feel like last night I unlatched the door on 30 years of unhappiness.

From me to Husband Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

There is so much I want to say. I want to fix everything, make suggestions, explore and explain, make it all better right away.

What I really want to do, though, is get past all that noise - and hear you.

And say nothing else but the most important thing: I love you.

From Husband to me Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

I love you too.

I’d like to make a request that today you don’t ask any more questions. I feel EXTREMELY fragile today.

From me Jun 27 (13 hours ago)

No more questions. Let me know when you're ready. In the meantime I can write stuff down. And we can address things in couples therapy rather than in random conversations. That's probably better anyway for both of us.

Take care. Drive carefully. I'll be waiting for you after your theater meeting.

From me to Husband Jun 27 (13 hours ago), but not sent because I wanted to say it instead of emailing it:

One more thing. I want to make you a promise.

I will not walk away. I will stay with you and work on this problem as long as it takes, as long as you are willing. I will not decide, alone, to leave. We will decide together where this goes and what the outcome is.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not even a lunch date is simple right now

Husband and I had made a lunch date for today. I was looking forward to it because I've never made time for him in the middle of my workday before and this was going to be the end of that.

While I was driving out to Burbank I was feeling very raw from last night - hearing about all the ways I've let husband down and or not been present for him. I felt like I'd been turned inside out and all the soft, scared parts were on the outside with no skin to protect them. (I'm a little freaked out about how oblivious I think I must be.) Then somehow I got back to thinking about the prostitutes, and realized that I really still didn't know when in our relationship husband first began seeking sexual experiences with other women. So when he got in the car, I asked him about it. From his answers, the timeline of my life is coming together.

Husband and I fell in love and became a commited couple in December of 1988. We lived together from that time until I moved to Los Angeles in 1993, leaving him behind in Seattle. I was going to graduate school, and told him not to come unless he had something specific to come to. He'd applied to grad school, too, and I didn't plan to follow him until I had something concrete to come to. Floating around in Los Angeles with no specific purpose seemed like an awful fate to me. I didn't want him to follow me, because I didn't want to follow someone else. Looking back I can see that I had no right to make that decision for him. I didn't see it as breaking up, only a temporary separation. He felt like I was walking out. When he decided to move down 5 months later I was so happy. He moved to Los Angeles to live with me again in January of 1994.

He told me that the first time he came from a sexual interaction with another woman was in 1995 at our friend's bachelor party at a strip club. I remember him telling me about this sometime over the past few weeks, and how it was unexpected and embarassing. The first time he actively sought out sexual experiences with other women began sometime soon after that I think. He says about seven years ago, but I think it was probably prior to 1999. These were more lap dances at strip clubs. He also told me that throughout our whole relationship he'd been going to a porn shop where people watch strippers and masturbate, but I don't count that as infidelity because there's no physical interaction and it's so close to watching a movie. I'm not thrilled, but I mark the beginning of infidelity at when he actively sought out experiences with other women. So that began with lap dances in strip clubs sometime after 1995. We were married in 1997. Our son was born on September 4, 2001. Then September 11th happened. Husband was first masturbated by another woman at a massage parlor right around the corner from our apartment in approximately February 2002. After that he continued to seek out those experiences, maybe 2-3 times a year. He received his first blow job from another woman in February of 2003. He first had sex with another woman in December of 2003. From 2004 - the present, the frequency of sex with prostitutes (or blow jobs/hand jobs when he couldn't get sex) has steadily incresased to approximately twice a month over the last 6 months to a year. So now I feel that I'm beginning to have a complete picture of my life as it actually was. Because even though all this activity took place without me knowing, it was my life because my life was so intimately entwined with his. And now I know what was really going on while I was having the life I thought I had.

Upon first hearing all of this, my first thought was, "Fuck this fidelity. I'm going out and having sex with someone else." But as I saw husband really present to the impact of what he'd done, it felt like my healing began. To know, to see him present to and deeply saddened by the depth of this betrayal and the cost, gives me a glimmer of hope that I could trust him again eventually. To know he has some idea of how deeply it hurt me and what it has cost me puts us on the same page in a way. And makes me feel like maybe we can start again with a clean slate. With full disclosure and full acknowledgement, with nothing hidden, we can meet again with this history behind us and not entangled in our present lives, and create something new and even stronger than we've had for the past 19 years.

Again my heart skips a beat thinking about how different our two versions of that life are. I'm sad. I failed without knowing I was failing. This is another fear of mine. That I find out that I'm lacking. That not only am I hiding my deficiency from others, but that I'm hiding it from myself.

I wish I could do it over again, and listen and be kind and loving and supportive in all those moments when I was nasty and distracted and critical. All those little moments that meant nothing to how I really felt. But they were opportunities to show love and appreciation, and I didn't take them. Instead I took the petty relief brought by acts of defensiveness and cruelty, and the power gained by disempowering another. This is a hard lesson to learn.

One relationship, two completely different experiences

I have so many things swirling around in my head, and I know I can't get it all captured here because I'm very confused and it's like being in a ticker tape parade and trying to make whole documents out of all the pieces flying around. But I have to try, otherwise I'm going to just sweep it all under the carpet.

Husband and I had a very difficult conversation last night. We were talking about our experiences of our relationship, and it struck me again how different they were. I was deeply happy, fulfilled and joyful in my relationship. Not deluded, in the sense that I had no illusion that everything was perfect, but any complaints I had seemed minor when compared to how wonderful my huband was, how kind, gentle, smart, funny, loving, an incredible partner and father, an outstanding human being. He was also self-righteous at times, nasty, and disdainful, but mostly to other people for most of our relationship. Only over the past 5 years or so have I felt it directed at me. And I often asked him about it, but he told me nothing was different.

He told me that my experience was so wonderful because he "walked on eggshells" around me. From his perspective, I was mostly unhappy, "always frustrated, pissed off and distracted," and highly critical of him.

I have no doubt that I was all of these things, especially where he was concerned. If you asked everyone who knows me, I truly believe that 99.5% of them would say I'm one of the happiest, nicest people they know. People tell me all the time how I brighten their day. The half percent who think I'm nasty, self-righteous, critical, and angry are my mom and my husband. Bizarre, considering they are two of the most vital and important relationships in my life. But I have no doubt that they get this from me.

What I find so hard to comprehend is that husband's experience of me was so much of the bad and little of the good I felt. He had no idea, I think, of the depth of my love, admiration, respect and appreciation of him. When I told him how I was often filled with gratitude and wonder at the life I had, he said he was kind of pissed off because I always seemed so frustrated and unhappy. He said that I was frustrated with him, my son and my mother and took it out on them. That I was frustrated with my job and took it out on them. That I would either be working, or wishing I was working. And I think he felt that nothing was ever up to whatever standard I established. I know he was particularly annoyed when I asked him to do things like pick up his clothes, be more thorough about something, take a shower before coming to bed. But I also thought I was being loving, supportive, tender, and appreciative. We've always been a very physically demonstrative couple - kisses, caresses, hugs every day. We told each other that we loved each other every day. And I thought I expressed my appreciation, admiration and respect. But somehow I was mostly negative and dark and didn't convey much of what I was actually feeling. I really didn't know this. It's very confusing and painful to think that he didn't know all those things I felt, and that I didn't know I wasn't communicating them.

I KNOW I was distracted a lot. I started working for a major media company about 2 weeks after my son was born. Working from home was good because I could be with my son, but I also had trouble putting work away and often worked long hours and often odd with international colleagues. That went on for 3 1/2 years. Then I took 5 months off to do creative things. Husband had encouraged me to do this, so I think it was not a problem for him, although I think it went on a couple months longer than it should have given our financial situation, and my lack of responsibility for that made him resentful. Then I went to work at the place I am now. My first project there was huge and consuming, a trial by fire. Ten to 12 hours a day away from the family was not uncommon for the first 3 months. After that I started to manage it better. Now I keep it at 40 hours. But he still feels like I'd rather be on the computer when I'm home. I've been trying to focus on my family, but obviously I havne't been as successful as I thought. And I've realized over the past 3 weeks, mostly from the reading I've been doing, that the feelings I get when I hear any kind of criticism are feelings of rejection and shame. I haven't heard criticism any other way up til now. I feel ashamed for letting someone down or not meeting their expectations, and rejected because my shortcomings must render me unworthy of whatever relationship I had. This translates into husband not being able to express his upset. And when combined with his way of being, "other people can't handle the truth, can't handle what I have to say, so I won't say what I think or how I feel, I'll handle it myself," that leaves him only able to express his anger and frustration when he hits some breaking point, creates a very threatening situation for me in wich I think I must go into survival mode and defend myself and become the person that my husband experiences.

I was thinking about what our lists would be like if we wrote out all our complaints about each other, and all of the ways in which the other has failed us. I belive my list would be pretty short, and husband's would be surprisingly long. That is a painful thought. It hurts to think he felt so hurt, disregarded and unappreciated by me.

I also think that once he decided I was unhappy, distracted, frustrated and pissed off, he listend for that. Right now I'm frustrated because I feel like, while his complaints are valid and justified, he's not taking any responsibility for who he was in the matter. I'm gripped with shame and sadness at the person I was being, and also angry with him for putting all the responsibity for his experience on me and, I think, using that to continute to feel somehow justified for what he did. He says he knows what he did was not justified by any of this. But the way he expresses himself about all of this makes me feel that he is justified somehow, because of the horrible person I've been. I know I've been thoughtless, careless, self-centered - but I haven't been so absolutely awful. Unless maybe I have, and I just don't realize it. But I look at how other people we know treat each other inside their relationships and I see our relationship so differently. So much more love, respect and care; so much more space and understanding. That's what I thought we had, but maybe I was only getting that and not giving it. I don't know.

There are so many things I want to say to my husband about this. I can't say them now because I really think he can't hear me right now. Last night we quickly escalated into an argument in which we were both frustrated, angry and in pain. We've never argued much (probably both avoiding things, although it didn't feel that way at the time). So I'm going to say some of it here, so that maybe later he can read and begin to see me in a more forgiving light. I know I'm far from perfect. But I want to be forgiven.

So here is my letter to my husband:

My dear,
I am truly, deeply sorry for how I've been. I know I spent years distracted by work. It must have felt like work was more important to me than you were. I'm sorry for that. I know that I get frustrated by work, by the fact that I often feel I want something different for my profesisonal life. I complain about that. I probably complain a lot to you about a lot of things. This feels like talking to me, but I don't think it feels that way to you. I'm sorry for being so self-involved that I didn't notice how my complaints impacted you. I'm sorry for being short tempered, quick to get pissed off about petty things like clothes on the floor or things not done the way I would have done them. And I'm deeply sorry for making you feel threatened in our relationship when I told you early on that I wanted you to know that I didn't need you and could walk away at any time; and later implying that if you ever talked to me a certain way again I'd walk away; and for kicking you out of our bed when you were trying to express your anger and frustration at my lack of personal integrity (for example, not making a phone call that I said I'd make to arrange time with friends, not doing what I said I'd do with my responsibities in our start-up business, not promoting your film the way you thought I should have, not doing a great job producing the film.) On numerous occasions I have failed you and let you down. I'm sorry, and especially sorry since I can say that I never felt you had failed me or let me down. I felt deeply hurt sometimes, when your built up anger spilled out and you said nasty things or spoke in nasty tones. But I know now that a lot of that hurt came from the fact that I was responding to the issues you were brining up as rejection of me, and I responded only to my feelings about that perceived rejection, and not to any of your issues or feelings. I am sorry for not hearing your frustrations, your disappointment and your pain. I know I did that. I know I disregarded those things. And that cause you further pain and frustration. I am so sorry for that. In my heart I believed you got from me what I was getting from you - a profound freedom to be, deep joy, and understanding on a level that I can't put into words. I want those things for you. I'm sad and very sorry that over all these years I have not provided them. Another way in which I let you down.

Please also consider that your experience of me is also a function of how you listen for me. Consider that you decided, based upon who I acknowledge I was being, that I was unreasonable, critical, pissed off, frustrated and distracted; and that everything I then said or did was either proof of that or an exception to that. Please consider that you had your own filters through which you listend for me that may have been a part of creating your experience. I can't believe I was so horrible. I see now that I was horrible enough. But please find it in your heart to accept some responsibilty because I think only then will we achieve the level of authenticity and intimacy that I think is possible. I am clear that I bear responsibility for not hearing you, not considering you, for taking out my frustrations and being petty and nasty. And I know that you chose to betray my trust and have sex with prostitutes because you felt unable to make a different choice, given who I was being and what your experience of life had been. I understand that you did not get to where you got alone. Please consider that the same is true for me. Please dig deep for true understanding, personal responsibility and forgiveness. That's what I'm trying to do. It's hard and painful, confusing, scary; I feel angry and resentful at times. But what I want is for both of us to have a relationship in which we have freedom to be, joy and love so profound it can't be expressed in language. I'm scared, I don't know how to have that happen, and I believe it's possible.

With all my love,

In S-Anon last night we were reading the sixth step. Of course, at the time I couldn't think of any of my own, and I thought I could get husband to identify them for me since he seems pretty clear about them. But last night and today I've come to see them more clearly myself. At least some of them.

Character flaws:
unable to see my own faults
Mean and nasty when I'm frustrated or pissed off
Maybe demanding and critical, although I don't feel that way
Don't do what I say I'm going to do
Don't give enough priority to my family

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Co-addiction in action

I just spent the last two and a half hours working on the spreadsheet I've created cross referencing husband's cell phone records with cash withdrawals from the bank and all the information I've been able to gather regarding what prostitutes he saw when. This would be a fine use of time in my opinion, except that I'm at work.

It's how I'm putting together exactly what really took place over the last 5 years. I think this borders on co-addictive behavior, but I just don't care. I really want to know. Not the details (I have enough of those to last me a long time) but where I was, what he said he was doing vs. what he was really doing, when these things took place. I'm learning a lot, and it's helping me deal with the feeling that I've been living in a false reality all these years.

Husband is doing his own list at my request. It also happens to be part of his SAA program. But I want to make sure he gets everything on there so we can both look at all of it together and agree that, yes, this is what took place. This is something approaching the truth. Then I can get my questions answered, he can get his feelings and issues out for us to discuss, and then we can put it all behind us. I just don't want anything lingering - any thing that I don't know. I want FULL DISCLOSURE. He's willing to do it, but I'm afraid that denial will make "forgetting" easy for him. He's already acknowledged that he didn't realize how out of control it had gotten, and how the frequence had really increased over the past year. Twice a month at $300 - $500 is a noteworthy investment. (And this doesn't include lap dances at strip clubs, magazines, online subscriptions and video on demand fees.)

There's definitely some anger in there.

Completed a writing assignment for my sketch group last night, and reaized I do have some anger inside me somewhere.

The assignment was to write a sketch starting with the two words disquisition and finish.

Disquisition: A formal discourse or treatise in which a subject is examined and discussed.

Finish: To bring (something) to an end or to completion; to use completely; destroy or kill.

So here's what I wrote:


Jane, Andy and Therapist sit in an office. It’s couples therapy.

Have you both brought your letters?

Jane & Andy

Good. Now I see this as a safe way to communicate, to get your feelings out. It's just a letter...right. It's not a knife, it's not a gun, it won't kill you. It's just words on a page. Right?

I guess so.


Good. Andy, why don't you go first.

Uh, okay. (clears throat) Dear Jane - I'm sorry I screwed your best friend. (looks up scared, like he’s waiting to get bitch-slapped)

Good, Andy. Go on.

(clears throat again)
Even though we were the two people you trusted most in the world, and we shattered that trust shaking the very foundation upon which the rest of your life is based, I want you to know that I never stopped loving you. I hope you'll be able to forgive me. You are the most wonderful person in the world, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I hope you'll be able to feel that way again too. Love, Andy.

Very good Andy. How do you feel?

Better. I feel better. I feel like I really got to tell Jane I'm sorry, and let her know how much I love her. I'm hopeful about the future, and about the possibility of sharing the rest of our lives together.

Good, Andy. Very good. Jane?

Uh, I think I got the assignment wrong.

There is no wrong Jane. It's just your feelings, just words on a page. Feelings are not wrong, they're just what's so for you right now.


Go ahead, Jane. Don't be afraid. It's safe here.

Yeah, honey. It's okay.

(still uncomfortable)
Alright. Alright. Uh...Dear Andy. Uh, every night I dream of you. I dream that I disembowel you with my bare hands, cut you up into pieces, roast your testicles over hot coals and feed them to a pack of crazed, naked women dancing around a fire pit screaming chants that dam you to hell for eternity. Then I wake up and you're still alive and I go into the bathroom, throw up, and then have a shot of tequila to numb the pain of knowing you’re still breathing.
(looking doubtfully at the Therapist)
Am I getting this right?

That’s beautiful, Jane. Very authentic. I think you should continue to explore those feelings. Andy? Do you have anything to say?

(he looks crushed)

Then I guess we're done for today.

(lets out a deep breath of relief)
Thank you, Doctor. I do feel much better.
(she applies a fresh coat of lipstick, combs her hair as the scene continues)

(gravely and ceremoniously presents a box)
Andy, this box represents the past. You can put your letter
in here, and put the past behind you. You can empower yourself to create
something new with Jane.

Andy puts his letter into the box.

Jane, would you like to put your letter into the box?

(puts the letter into her purse)
I think I’m going to keep mine for right now.

That’s fine. You can take that step when you’re ready, Jane.

That doesn’t seem fair

Jane will take that step when she’s ready, Andy. Okay?

(doesn’t know what else to say)

See you two next week?

(looks to Jane, frightened), sweetie?
(laughs uncomfortably)
Just...words on a page.


(puts on a pair of sunglasses)
Well. You'll see one of us.

She takes her purse and rises.

Jane (cont'd)

(to Andy)
Now this is what I call a happy ending.
(to Therapist)
Bye Doctor.

Jane leaves. Long pause as they both take in what just happened.

(he is clueless and perplexed)
Does that mean she doesn’t forgive me yet?

What do you think, Andy?

I don’t know Doctor. I don’t know what to think.

See you next week?

Yeah...(suddenly frightened)...I hope so.
(he goes to leave)

Andy, don’t forget to hug yourself this week.

Andy gives himself a big hug.

That’s right! Now get out of here you silly rabbit!

(smiles an eager smile)
Boing, boing, boing.
(hops out like a big bunny)

What a fucking nutcase.

I wasn't sure if this was funny at all. Of course it's a huge open window into my life right now. I was worried about exposing a private matter. Fortunately nobody seemed to notice - there was no awkward silence after we read it. Which was good. And I got a laugh out of it.


Was feeling sad all day today. Not weeping, just down and a bit empty. Happy that it was Monday. Therapist day.

Made love with husband last night, and for the first time felt disconnected. All the other times have been for some reason or another, with strong feelings associated. But last night felt different. I couldn't get out of my mind the thought of him with other women. It's so odd, because I don't feel like a moralistic person. But I think this doesn't have to do with sexual or cultural morality, but more with the trust that I had in him. It was a childlike trust, I realized today. The kind of trust my son has in me. A fearless trust.

My therapist said that she thinks I'm having my Persephone moment, in which the young goddess loses her youthful innocence.

This is the Persephone story:

It was a beautiful day like all the others in this land, the sun shone brightly in the sky, the hills were lush and green, and flowers blossomed from the earth. The lovely young maiden, Persephone, frolicked with her friends upon the hillside, as her mother Demeter sat near by, and her father Zeus peered down from the sky above. Laughter could be heard in between the young girls' whispered secrets, as they gathered handfuls of purple crocuses, royal blue irises and sweet-smelling hyacinths. Persephone thought to bring some to her mother, but was soon distracted by a vision of the most enchanting flower she had ever seen. It was a narcissus, the exact flower her father hoped that she would find. As she reached down to pluck it from its resting place, her feet began to tremble and the earth was split in two. Life for Persephone would never be the same again. - From The Myth of Persephone: Greek Goddess of the Underworld Original Story and Interpretation by Laura Strong, PhD.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Safety in numbers.

Woke up this morning feeling sad. As I drove along the 101 freeway, I realized that I'm sad because I am aware that we are all alone. We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking we find that connection, and sometimes allow that connection to give us the feeling that we're tied to something in this world. But when it comes down to it, nobody is responsible for my happiness, for my joy of spirit, for my safety in this world except me. But that leaves me fundamentally alone in a way that I'd begun to believe wasn't necessary. I'd always pictured myself as separate from the world. Desireable but untouchable. Compassionate but unattainable. Loving yet removed. And then I forgot. And then I gave myself. And I rested my spirit, my joy, my faith in someone elses care. And that felt good. So good. So special. There was no trust deeper, no love stronger. From this ultimate surrender came the ultimate freedom. And made possible the ultimate betrayal. To crush faith. The faith of the faithless. A mighty act.

So out of all this comes truth. That somehow I can be responsible for my own joy, my own happiness, my own being in the world. And out of that truth comes maybe a more ultimate freedom. But it's not the childlike, joyful freedom I felt before. Instead it's tinged with sadness about the other truth. That we are all alone. Safety in numbers is an illusion. The real safety is in solitude. But the thing is, safety is not the winning game. Risk is the winning game. Which takes me back where I was before. Do I risk believing in something that is fundamentally untrue? Risk believing that I can give all of my heart, my faith, open my self to someone else without coming face to face with the pain of that truth?

Friday, June 22, 2007

My recovery?

Recovery sounds like such a dramatic word for my part of this. In a way. Obviously there's the part where I have to come to terms with the fact that my husband secretly had sex with somewhere between 20-30 prostitutes over the last 5 years. But then there's "recovery" in terms of a twelve step program which has defined me as a co-addict. So I'm looking at that definition and trying to figure out what recovery could mean for me.

Last night while driving home from the airport I was listening to Peter Gabriel again (that song gives me something...hope about recovery, insight...I don't know. But I find it comforting.) And I began to feel sad thinking about the next time he faces that choice. In the moment it felt like a choice between me and someone else. Now I know intellectually this is not the real choice he's making, but no matter how much I understand everything intellectually, I still have all these feelings and self-doubts that have come up as a result of the betrayal and infidelity and the fallout from that.

I was feeling sad because I wasn't sure that when it came down to it he'd value me enough to choose me. And this has nothing to do with him. Based on his words and actions since Friday, June 1st, I should have no doubts. But these doubts come from inside. So maybe that's where to look for the opportunity for my recovery. I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of people being mad, and I'm uncomfortable being with other peoples' upset because I'm afraid rejection will follow. I think. I'm going stream of consciousness here, so this is what's coming up. I'm afraid of being rejected by people I love or need (and is love the same as need?)

Despite what my husband has said, despite everything I've read, I'm still having these doubts about my own self. I don't know if I'm worth fighting addiciton for.

That seems really pathetic.

My intellect is telling me that I need to decide my own worth, and then he'll do what he does, completely separate from that. But if someone doesn't validate my decision, how do I know I'm really worthy?

Yuk. I'm not really this pathetic. I don't walk around seeking validation. But I have this deep worry that when all is said and done, I'm never going to be enough.

I sound like a self help book. So I"m going to stop here. Stop thinking these things for the moment, now that they're recorded and I can come back later and think about them instead of feel them.

I also noted feelings of anxiety over whether or not he'd engaged in secret sex, although I knew this was not the case. But how can I trust what I know, when I also "knew" before? I think this is why the anxiety still comes up.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Things are feeling better

I almost want to say getting back to normal, although that seems absurd. I'm sitting in the Sacramento airport feeling no pain after a long day of client meetings and a double Dewars on the rocks. I was able to be genuinely enthusiastic about these meetings, and was thinking of working on a strategy proposal for another potential client. So that's getting back to normal, right? I'm not completely preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about betrayal and infidelity.

So does it only take 21 days to heal? No. That's stupid. I know there's a lot more for both of us to go through. What I'm realizing is that this time is for me. It's a chance for me to take a look, just as much as it's a chance for husband to do that.

I think I need to look at anger: Husband says that when I'm angry I'm scary because I don't register that I'm angry, but rather that there's something wrong with the world. I also need to look at how I process anger, because my models have mostly been toward passive aggressiveness and self righteousness, both of which I want to keep out of my new relationship with Husband. And who knows? There are probably lots of things left for me to discover.

I'm just happy that the pain is subsiding.

Going to Sacramento today

Another trip. Makes me a little anxious because the prostitutes often happened around the 20th of the month, and often when I was away (although more frequently it began to happen during the middle of the day when husband was supposed to be at work.)

We made love last night and it was tender and passionate and loving. And we talked. And held each other. There is healing going on. But I'm still wary. Naturally.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who prostitutes are

More than 90% of prostitutes suffered childhood sexual abuse, often incest
70% believed that being sexually abused as children influenced their decisions to become prostitutes
Two-thirds began working in prostitution before they turned 16
Average length of career is 4 years
96% who began committing prostitution as juveniles were runaways.
75% attempted suicide
15% of all suicide victims are prostitutes
(source for stats above: Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

2/3 of prostitutes were sexually abused from the ages of 3-16. (The average age of victimization was 10).
2/3 of prostitutes abused in childhood were molested by natural, step-, or foster fathers. 1
0% were sexually abused by strangers.
More than 90% of prostitutes lost their virginity through sexual assault.
70% of prostitutes believed that being sexually abused as children influenced their decisions to become prostitutes.
91% of prostitutes sexually abused as children told no one. Only 1% received counseling for the effects of the abuse

Because many prostitutes have been sexually assaulted, they suffer from psychological effects of rape and child sexual abuse. These include rape trauma syndrome, low self-esteem, guilt, and self-destructiveness. Prostitutes often will not seek counseling for their problems because they are suspicious of outsiders and authorities, fear rejection, and fear change. Prostitutes often fear admitting they have been harmed. They may have difficulty establishing enough control over their own lives to seek counseling, and they may fear that health care and other services will not help them because they are prostitutes. Mimi Silbert, a counselor, states that many prostitutes have a "psychological paralysis" that involves wanting help, but rejecting it. However, it has been found that if 24-hour hotlines, counseling, advocacy and shelter care are made specifically available to prostitutes, these services will be used. Counseling has been found to help prostitutes recover from sexual trauma and improve their self-esteem


What's the point?

The meeting last night was exactly what I've been needing. It was at a church, as many 12 step meetings are (which makes me deeply appreciate that aspect of the Christian tradition.) I got there early, not exactly sure where to go. The room I thought I was supposed to be in was locked and nobody was around except tons of men who seemed to be heading upstairs. I began to worry that I was in the wrong place. But how do you ask around, "Are you her for the co-sex addicts group?" I felt shy, and just waited.

Just before 7:30 women started to show up. First one, then a few more. This began to reassure me that I was in the right place.

Eventually I ended up in a room with about 15-20 women and one guy. I had attended the Alanon meeting, so I had some idea of what to expect. But being in a room full of people who knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, a room full of strangers who would not judge me or my situation, was a relief. I began to relax.

A twelve-step meeting is somewhat formulated, because there are no real leaders. So things have to be set up in such a way that anyone can easily lead the meetings. This duty rotates it seems. After hearing the regular introductory material, the leader picked a topic and the sharing began.

It was soothing to be in the company of these people, hearing about their pain, their obstacles, their thoughts, and how they were dealing with what was in front of them and in many cases moving forward. At the end, the time specifically set aside for Newcomers to share, I told a bit about why I was there. As I spoke, lots of heads nodded, not in sympathy, but in understanding and recognition. After the meeting, several women came up to speak with me about their similar situations. It was good. This is the group for me.

I bought some "literature." The S-Anon Twelve Steps and "Recovering Together: Issues Faced by Couples." (Both are sanctioned S-Anon literature, probably only available through the organization.)

I woke up this morning feeling blah, and realized that I'm having a kind of "what's the point?" feeling. I think it was because we were discussing my concern, and his, that his Master of the Universe addict would feel like he got away with something again because I didn't kick him out, divorce him, disgrace his in the eyes of his family and friends, take the house and the kid and leave him with nothing over this. I probably could do all of the above, but I just don't feel like that's what would make ME happy. Isn't that strange. What would make me happy is part of what would make him happy. Is this co-dependentcy or just a happy overlap of two people's interests? This is one of those questions that makes me happy I'm in therapy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

S-Anon meeting tonight

I've started to get my appetite back. I'm still exercising, but not like a crazy person. It really helps with getting feelings out.

Today and yesterday have been better. Reading the book has been making a big difference. I've realized that husband is two people...the man I knew and loved, and the addict/Master of the Universe who doesn't love me and can't be trusted to make decisions based in love, trust or respect. He can't be trusted to care for me. So now what do I do?

I started listening to Peter Gabriel again in the aftermath, really quite soon after. I have such good memories associated with his music that I think it was a source of comfort. And I realized over the last couple of days that there is an amazing song from the Us album that speaks to where we find ourselves. Love to Be Loved was written when he was deep in a period of self exploration and therapy. The song is ultimately one of hope, and brought tears to my eyes today when I listened to it today, closely for the first time.

So, you know how people are
When it's all gone much too far
The way their minds are made
Still, there's something you should know
That I could not let show
That fear of letting go

And in this moment, I need to be needed
With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Yes, I love to be loved

I cry the way that babies cry
The way they can't deny
The way they feel
Words, they climb all over you
'Til they uncover you
From where you hide

And in this moment, I need to be needed
When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear,
I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Oh I love to be loved

This old familiar craving
I've been here before, this way of behaving
Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
Let it pass let it go let it leave
From the deepest place I grieve
This time I believe

And I let go [x2]
I can let go of it
Though it takes all the strength in me
And all the world can see
I'm losing such a central part of me
I can let go of it
You know I mean it
You know that I mean it
I recognize how much I've lost
But I cannot face the cost
'Cause I love to be loved

Yes I love to be loved
I love to be loved

I love to be loved

I love to be loved
Yes I love to be loved

Tonight is my first S-Anon meeting.

Test results, part two

All the rest are negative as well. I just need to be re-checked in 6 months, and that should mean a clean bill of health.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

At Seattle Tacoma Int’l Airport

I’m sitting here on the floor of the airport waiting for my flight back to LA. My heart is racing, my stomach is churning, and I’m feeling a lot of fear and anxiety about going home. I felt so safe up here. I could talk freely about my feelings and the situation, there was nothing to hide, I had complete support, no judgment, and the sometimes issue felt far away – or at least the danger did.

I arrived Friday night and sat up talking with Nora and Joe until about midnight. Joe made me Yip Yaps, and old frat party drink from college, and they listened to me talk about everything. I felt really distanced from everything, almost peaceful.

Saturday morning Marcie came over, and Nora, Marcie and I sat around the dining room table all morning and into the afternoon talking. I talked a lot about my thoughts of having casual sex. There are a number of reasons for doing this that seem perfectly logical to me: To rid myself of the significance of monogamy, which I know is not the important issue for me here; to experience something I’ve been interested in doing but refrained from due to the commitment I thought we shared; to open myself to everything and explore options freely so I can freely choose my relationship again. And of course I know there’s some element of getting back some control in my own life. We talk about sex addiction. We talk about betrayal. One thing is very clear to all of us...I’m completely confused.

Marcie has an appointment to meet 2 girlfriends from Vashon for a spa day downtown at 3pm, so we hop on the bus and head to Pacific Center leaving Joe behind with the kids. Nora and I used to muse about how we’d found the best men in the whole world, and how lucky we were.

Apparently there is a lot of sexual drama going on in the small community of Vashon, Washington. The two women Marcie was meeting are best friends, and one is having an affair with the other’s husband. Marcie had been witness to several different events, and had tried to gently break the news to her friend. The friend, however, was not interested in hearing about the infidelity. She remains “best friends” with the woman who is seeing her husband. Both couples seem headed for divorce. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So while Marcie was getting a facial and bikini wax with this pair, Nora and I went to the bookstore so I could get some books on sexual addiction. Then we walked around downtown and went shopping for clothes for Nora. The question on my mind at the moment was how to work toward the outcome I want (husband and I recreating a relationship of love, trust, integrity and respect) while avoiding letting husband feel as though he’d gotten away with something again. How are there consequences without me imposing punishment, which I’m loathe to do? We talked a lot about what consequences could be. Nora looked for natural consequences (like when you don’t wear a coat you get cold.) Sex withheld was one suggestion, but that would be a punishment to me as well, and felt like a manufactured consequence that would thwart my intended outcome. By the time we met up with Marcie again around 5:30pm we still hadn’t come up with anything.

The three of us went off to find a dinner spot and some answers to my difficult question. Three single malt scotches (McCallen 12 and Albelor) and half a beef tenderloin later, still nothing workable. We also talked a lot more about my thought about casual sex, and I think I’m pretty convinced that it’s not the right thing for me. But I feel so lonely and scared sometimes and I just want to be held. The only person I can turn to for that is husband. And that is just surreal, considering he’s the thing that scares me most. I feel very fucked up.

We get home and drink 3 more Yip Yaps while sitting around talking with Joe. I’m anxious to get the male perspective. Joe seems to understand how it would be easy to slip into this kind of addiction of one had tendencies because women and sex are so readily served up in our culture. He suggests that I bring my son up to Seattle for a few weeks and work from there. This separation could be a consequence. That idea appeals to me because I feel so much safer in Seattle. I’m so worried about how everything will affect my son, though. But I think a “vacation” would leave him unsuspecting. I’d have to figure out a way to explain it to mom, but I could probably swing that. Especially considering the sweet relief I seem to feel up here.

We head to bed around 2:30pm, and I spend the next couple hours reading the sex addiction books and getting more and more scared by what they say. It’s hard to get over this. Relapse. Deception. I feel sick.

I woke this morning with the dread of leaving coursing through my body. Just like with the Sacramento trip, I don’t want to go home. I miss my son terribly, but I also feel in no shape to be near him. I feel fragile and distracted...shaky, nervous, anxious. I really need to talk to my therapist about an additional visit. And I need to find a Co-SAA support group.

I don’t think my husband has any idea about how this affects my moment to moment existence, and hate him for that. Why did he bring this upon me? I was so happy. I am glad it’s out in the open, but it’s not what I was expecting to be dealing with at this time in my life. God damn him.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting out of town.

Going to Seattle today by myself to get away and be with my best girlfriends. I didn't realize how much emotion I'm holding in, and it will be nice to be in their safe, supportive company.

Doing okay this morning. Still feeling the leftovers from last night. Husband and I made love again. It feels like we really need each other for support to get through this. It's a weird dynamic, needing and wanting the very thing you're afraid of and must protect yourself from.

Things bubble up.

I had a lot of emotion come out tonight and I want to capture what came out of my mouth.

I feel so disrespected. I never thought that I would face these kinds of choices. I can understand a one night stand, but 20 or 30 women? Maybe I'm a doormat. I'm trying to understand but I just can't. I'm afraid. I'm afraid I can't give you what you need. How could you choose to do this over and over again. I'm afraid you'll be angry with me. I'm afraid you'll resent me. I want to believe but I'm so afraid. I don't understand. I'm afraid of what my test results might be. I'm scared.

I went to look at the bed in Redondo beach. It was at the apartment of a young couple who had an 11 1/2 month old baby. Their apartment and the way their life looked reminded me so much of how husband and I were in our Santa Monica apartment when we had our son. When the man was helping me put the bed in my car I heard myself thinking I should tell him not to cheat on his wife. On the way home I wept, very unexpectedly. Only after I got home did I realize how much they reminded me of my past life.

It was a bad night after I got home. Thank god for treadmills. Now I'm sweaty, but I feel calmer and not so anguished.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Actions and feelings

I'm trying to take actions consistent with the outcome I want to produce, while still allowing myself to have all the feelings I have. So tonight I'm going down to Redondo beach to look at a beautiful bedframe to give husband for father's day. Our bed has always made too much noise during sex, and has often been an obstacle to me being completely present. Not always, and less as I got older, but with my mother always in a nearby room we could never count on complete adult privacy. So this bed represents my commitment to that future. A solid oak bed that will last a lifetime that will give us the ability to always be fully present when we make love. That's the action consistent with my desired outcome. Despite the feelings.

Am I a doormat for not rejecting him outright? Am I crazy? Only time will tell, right? Right now I just have to do what feels right to me in the moment and keep my guard up.

So this is how it's going to be.

My son graduated from his 3rd year in school today. At his school, it's the end of House Group and the anticipation of Mountain Yard next year. As I sat at the ceremony I was overtaken by the heavy sadness that I had last week. I remembered sitting in the ceremony for the 2 years past, and how different I felt, how different my life felt. I felt like I might cry, which I really didn't want to do because then that has to be explained. And then I realized that really nothing was different - actually most things were the same, except that last year and the year before I just didn't know about it. Which of course wasn't any better, possibly worse because I feel like a fool for being so deluded for so long.

When I come face to face with a moment when I'm present to the lie that I was living before it is crushing. At the same time I feel the pain, I also know that I have the power to put it in the past. But right now is for feeling, not for forgiving. So I stay in the feeling as long as it lasts. Still waiting for it to pass.

When I told husband that I'd been living a lie for 5 years, he said he didn't think that was true, because he never lied about how he felt about me, how much he truly loved me. And I accepted that at the time. I know those years were full of genuine moments, days, weeks. But what I hadn't put into words yet was that there was an expectation that we'd set with each other that, while unspoken, unmonitored, persisted every day. Togther we had created an expectation of honesty and monagamy. And every day in which honesty was not present, whether an act of infidelity was committed or not, feels like it was inside the context of a lie. The lie that I thought my life, my relationship with my huband, was. And so I grieve. Each moment when I come face to face with the false reality that I was living inside of, it's a little death. I grieve those little deaths. The deaths of the moments I thought my life was at the hands of truth.

Halloween, the night before our anniversary, will be hard. I know he had sex with a prostitute that day last year. The day before our 9th wedding anniversary. I asked him about it sometime over the past week. He said he realized it only after he'd done it. And felt bad. But didn't stop. And didn't tell me. Kept stomping on the trust we'd developed. Lied every day, and allowed me to live in that lie. Not to mention the danger of disease, however unlikely, that was present. All the choices he made on my behalf without my knowledge...

Maybe that's were I'll access my anger.

My therapist said we'd work on a list of what will and won't work for me, what I need in order to stay in this relationship. I'm not one for setting conditions (I probably am and just don't know it but I'm writing from my own perspective so fuck it) but something that came to me is that I want to be reminded for the rest of my life that he hasn't forgotten about this, and shown regularly for the rest of my life that I'm loved and appreciated and respected, that it's worth it to him to be in this relationship with me. I don't want to dwell in this, but I want to know if what I think is going on is real or not. How will I? How will I know? I didn't this time. Sometimes Monday feels so far away. Good thing I'm going to Seattle this weekend.

My healing, his healing, our healing

I'm conflicted about how to both give my husband what he seems to need in order to heal his hurts and anger, and protect myself at the same time. I have to ask my therapist about this.

I continue to consider meeting the person I found on personals. Part of me wants to go before I can give it too much serious thought and reason my way out of it. And part of me wants to wait because I may just be reasoning my way into it right now, and trying to rush before I can think more clearly.

My almost constant state of arousal has subsided, although it's still right there for me. I like this access to my sexuality. I want to keep that. I think for me it's a state of mind, an approach to life and to myself, rather than a physical state. So now that I've discovered it, I think I'll be able to nurture and explore that part of me. And also, listen. Listen to husband as a lover. That's a part of it, too.

More thoughts to my husband

My final thought for the night, which I put into another email to husband:

I was thinking about the whole money thing, and how you've been totalling prostitute and other paid sex fees against my old production company and trips to Seattle and Sundance. It seems so unlike you, because you are the one who has liberated me, as much as I am, from conversations of scarcity. And again I realized that it was not about the money, but about you not being considered, not being counted. I am sorry for that. It was not intentional, please believe that. But the impact was the same. You were not considered when I made these plans. You were not counted. Another form of not being heard. And I'm sorry for doing that, and for the feelings of hurt and anger that created. My commitment to you, as we work through the issues we're facing, is that I'll show you with my actions that you are considered, that you count, that you are important to me. Because you are. You have always been. I'm sorry that I didn't give you the experience of knowing how important you have been in my life. You were source for me. Not as a responsibility, but as your gift to me and mine to you. That is what I'd like to work toward - that we are source for each other - if that works for you. Your gift to me, and mine to you.

Married woman still seeking clarity, not so sure about the fun part

The guy I found on wrote to me today. He could see that I had looked at his profile, and so he must have been responding to that. It took me by surprise, and called into question my whole casual sex plan. His email asked if I was finding what I was seeking. I wrote back that this was new territory for me and I was taking my time. If I'm going to do it, there's no doubt that he's the one (if he's not LYING! And of course, I'm not really the one who would know. Although I have to stop thinking this way. Anyway...)

I let husband know about it today when I realized it had been going on for 2 days. I didn't want to have anything hidden. He is not opposed, but says he wants to talk about it more before I actually do it. I need to discuss the whole thing with my therapist to see if I can get to my true motives and needs about this.

Yes, I"m still confused.

My first Alanon meeting and thoughts about trust

My therapist recommended I attend Alanon. I attended my first meeting tonight. It seemed a little weird to me. There is lots of jargon and ritual. Good thing I've been to the Landmark Forum, and can get past the fear of jargon (barely, though!) and look for the substance of what is there. I felt very reserved, and didn't say much. The group was warm and welcoming, and I was struck by how great it is that all these people from all different stages and walks of life agree to come together to create a judgement-free space in which they can help each other and help themselves heal. I'm still a bit wary (I'm always wary at the mention of God. I do better with jargon. But maybe if I think of the word God as simply Christian jargon, then I can get past it...)

When I was driving home, I was overtaken by feelings of sadness. Looking further, I realized I was lonely. I feel lonely because I no longer know if I really know my husband, and I no longer trust myself to know whether or not I really know him. And then I began to think about trust.

Tonight we discussed trust, and after he went to bed I wrote him this email:

trust [truhst] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation,
1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

So yes, I am responsible for myself. But by definition, when I gave my trust I gave some of that responsibility to you. And I believe that you willingly accepted that responsibilty. And during these past 5 years you abandoned that responsibility, and because I trusted you with my whole being, it feels like you abandoned me. I think that is why I feel lonely. And it has called into question my whole understanding of trust and my capacity for trust and my capacity to know who is trustworthy. It has called into question some of my very important survival skills. I think that is why I feel scared. And because I doubt my ability to trust, I wonder if I'll ever be able to have the depth of what I had with you before ever again, with anybody. And I think that is why I feel sad. That and the fact that I miss my best friend, my soulmate (to use an unfortunate word) with whom I felt unquestionably safe and free and loved - whose very existence represented to me a vast space in which I had absolute freedom to be, in which I could fully experience being. That is what you provided for me, and what I wanted to give you. I understand now that you didn't experience that. If I had been a better listener, I might have heard that before now. And so we're back to listening, which is the responsibility to you that I abandoned. I will listen now. I hope you can learn to trust that I will listen, and that I can learn to trust that you will be honest.

I also wrote him this email:

When I was exercising tonight my mind wandered to the lingering feeling that if I'd had said yes to sex more, this wouldn't have happened. (I know I asked you about this already and you said you thought it would have happened anyway. And I also know that "not enough sex" is no justification for the breach of trust that you committed. But I'm still nagged by this feeling of responsibility.)

Landmark teaches us to look for where we are cause, and I continue to do so. And what I realized as I was exercising is that maybe what hurt you or angered you about "not enough sex" was not the sex part, but the part where you were not heard. And as I thought about it, I realized that when you asked to have sex I often listened to myself instead of listening to and for you. In my head I heard "doesn't he know I'm tired?" or "I wish he'd take a shower" or "he only showered because he wants sex tonight" or other equally petty or self oriented things. So you were right. You were not heard. So I've realized that, though I don't need to apologize for not having sex, I want to apologize for not hearing you. And as we continue to try to work through this, my commitment and my promise is that I will listen to you. I will hear you. I may not get it right all the time, but I will never stop trying to do a better job.

And this one:

(Would you mind getting the word LISTEN tattooed on your forehead? I
need all the support I can get.)

I had a lot to say.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More about STD testing

Sitting in the doctor's office waiting to take my tests, I couldn't help but think about the "what ifs." I consider it highly unlikely that I'm infected with anything, but if you'd asked me 12 days ago if I thought there was a chance my husband was sleeping with prostitutes for the past 4 1/2 years, I'd have considered that highly unlikely as well. I've learned that the unexpected does, indeed, happen.

I still feel like I'm in a dreamlike space. Like I'm watching a bad Lifetime movie. I was thinking today about how my world view has forever been changed. I had trust, deeper than I have words to describe. And now I have doubts about the wisdom of that kind of trust. But I guess when I had that state of being, I had it. So maybe the thing to take from that is that something is there until it's gone. But the fact that it's gone doesn't mean that it wasn't there, and that it wasn't true in those moments. Whether or not it's wise to trust may simply depend on the moment, and may be a non-linear thing. Hm.

I realize that I've had a similar experience with betrayal in my life when my Dad took off to "find himself" but told us that he was leaving the country to be treated for cancer. He went camping one weekend and didn't come back. My poor uncle returned with the story, which my mother eventually discovered to be untrue. Another secret life. I don't know if that one cut so deeply, but it must have been close. I've either healed or blocked it out. I prefer to believe I've healed.

So if you need to go for STD testing in a situation like this, be prepared to give blood for the HIV/AIDS, Herpes and Syphilis tests; and you'll have something similar to a pap smear to collect specimins for the HPV, Chlamydia and Gonorreah tests.

You can visit the CDC site on sexually transmitted diseases for more info.


Spent all morning meeting with a health education client discussing cool ways to educate kids about sexually transmitted diseases. Now I'm off to my doctor to get tested. Fortunately I found out during this meeting that I need to be sure to be tested for everything - they don't do that automatically. So I need to specify HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, HPV, Bacterial Vaginosis, Herpes, etc. Never thought I'd be doing this as anything but a routine procedure.

Married Woman seeks clarity, and maybe some fun on the side

Husband and I made love again last night. We've been having more sex over the last week and a half than we've had for years. I've been in a heightened state of arousal since I found out about the prostitutes. I don't know if this is from anxiety and emotional chaos, or if I'm turned on in some way by the images in my head (because I do have images, partly based on the descriptions in his reviews, partly made up in my own imagination.) My thinking is that I've been wanting sex for many reasons. For comfort, for a feeling of intimacy that I've felt I lost, out of anger, a need to dominate and feel the power of my sexuality, to release emotion, because I've been entertaining thoughts of sex with other people, because I've wanted to give love and comfort to my husband, because I wanted to feel what is there now. But maybe I'm really just trying to compete with prostitutes on some level - to show my husband what he has.

My therapist says she detects some sexual confusion. I think that's an accurate observation. When I went over to my girlfriend's house two nights ago, we were talking about our differnt sexual experiences in the context of discussing what has happened with my husband. I'd had about half a bottle of wine, and was in this heightened state of arousal I mentioned above. And I actually asked her if she wanted to make out. At the time I was thinking it would be a safe, fun distraction. We'd both expressed in the conversation that we knew we preferred men, but were open to experiences with women. It seemed logical at the time to ask. Thankfully my dear friend had her wits about her enough to say no. In the moment it was a bit of a rejection. But after I've had time to reflect, I think I'm lucky that one of us had clarity.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So I'm crazy...

I opened an account on the personals today. I don't know what motivated me. Curiosity mostly I think. And the first profile I viewed was startling - exactly what I'm looking for, pretty much exactly what I am. He's sexy, married, loves his wife, has amazing sex with her, not looking for a romantic relationship. They're in an open, committed, responsible non-monogamous relationship.

I share most of this as well, but the one problem is I just found out about my husband's infidelity. So I'm questioning my own motives. My friends think I'm "doing crazy things" so I have to be careful. Maybe I'll wait 6 months and see if I'm still thinking about doing this.

Today was better. I emailed husband and didn't hear from him all day, and of course my heart was anxious. I don't want to live like that forever. Maybe that's why I opened the personals account. Maybe I was responding to my fear that husband was having sex with someone else. I don't know. So, yes...I'm feeling crazy.

Feeling more normal at work today.

I'm able to focus and concentrate more, and to think about projects for lengths of time. I feel subdued but not anguished.

And now...the bad news.

My husband and I made love again last night. Each time it has been different. The first two were about him giving me comfort, and me getting some power back I think, by having or allowing him to give me pleasure. The 3rd time, the first time we actually made love, was about comforting him, comforting myself, seeking closeness with the person that I feel most connected to in the world. Sunday night was about fear, need for power, need for intimacy, raw emotion. And last night...for me, last night was about being present, feeling him. I love him. In spite of all that's happened, I love him. The parts that I knew, the qualities that made me choose to be with him every day, are still there. Only they share the space with this other. I question whether or not it's the right thing to do, so soon and when there is so much unresolution. But it feels right to be with him, to be close. Yet I still want to keep a part of myself separate, even angry, so that I don't just gloss over what happened and my feelings about it.

My therapist says she's a little concerned that I'm not allowing myself to feel the anger. And I'm worried about that. It may be that I don't know how to even access those feelings. I don't know...

Husband and I were talking this morning, and some issues of his resentment came up. He didn't want to talk about them in the context of talking about what he did. So I tried to reign in my questions. But what came up before I did that successfully was his feeling that I'd let him down in so many ways by not doing what I said I was going to do, and by making plans and not including him. I let him down with the movie we made together by not doing what he thought needed to be done to get it out into the world. I let him down by starting a business with him, and then not doing the things I said I'd do to promote the business. I started a business partnership with another woman and neglected to tell him or discuss it with him; and it had a big impact on our finances. I sometimes made plans for trips to visit friends and family, and for trips to film festivals without consulting him. All of this was in his mind and in his heart when he spent what he did to go out and have sex with prostitutes. All of this disappointment made him feel justified.

The thing that makes me sad and concerned is that we'd talked about these things before, and I didn't know that I was not yet forgiven. I would never do anything that I knew would hurt him. And yet all these instances of not keeping my word, of not including him in my life - these failures hurt him. I still see a difference, because I failed him because of my personal flaws, but I didn't actively deceive him. And I didn't hang on to resentment. I honored him and our relationship by not indulging in that. But still, there is my responsibility for my personal failures. For not keeping my word. For not including him in my life. And that's the bad news. The news that, while his actions are inexcuseable, I have failed him too.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Still figuring out what happened.

There are large sums of money that came out of the account on 5/15 and 5/21. I’ve aleady asked him about these, and he’s said they weren’t for prostitutes, but there has to be some explanation. I think he was lying before.

Today I’ve been feeling alternating waves of numbness, sadness and sickness. I’m in San Diego, trying to pack up stuff from Gramma’s house to help her move out. But it’s so much on my mind that I’m not really present.

My natural reaction is to put things behind me and move foreward, but with this I want to be with my sadness and anger until they hold no more power. It’s a fine line between “being with” and holding on to things unnecessarily, and I don’t know where that line is. But this is too important to push away too quickly. At least I think. I’ll ask about this Monday with the therapist.

Maybe I feel anxious because he a lot of the times he did this was when I was in San Diego visiting my Gramma. Mom, my son and I would come along because husband often had things planned for the weekends – meetings, basketball, etc. Now I wonder if he did that on purpose to have an excuse to stay so he’d be alone to see prostitutes. I have to look back at all my San Diego weekends and look at the banking and phone activity to see how often that really happened. It hurts to think of how his mind may have been working, anticipating time away from me so he could be with other women. Maybe he didn’t do that. But I think he did.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Write what you know.

I can’t believe it’s just over a week since this happened. It’s been the most difficult week of my life and I’ve experienced pain and anguish at a level I’ve never known. But today I told my husband that I love him. And we’ve talked on the phone several times today. Something of our old way of being together has returned.

Over the past week he’s had his first SLAA meeting, his first OA meeting, and his first visit to his therapist. He has two more appointments scheduled for next week. He’s expressed remorse and apologized countless times, and sat with me as I wept, answered my questions (how fully or truthfully I cannot say, but no more denials) and seems to have a true understanding that he’s caused me deep pain. He’s said from the beginning that he wants to work it out if I’m willing. And he’s said over and over that he’ll do whatever I want, whatever it takes, if I give him a second chance.

Yesterday night I had a sketch show. The sketches I’d written for this show are haunting to me. They are about Chuck and Connie, a couple who are having marital problems because Chuck has “come out” to Connie that he believes he’s a woodchuck. Connie is hurt and angry and confused, feeling betrayed. Here are the two sketches:


CONNIE talks on the phone.

Connie: I don’t know, Mom. He’s just different. He’s definitely not the man I married. Shoot, he’s back from foraging. I can’t talk now. I’ll call you later.

CHUCK walks in. He’s dressed as a large but cute woodchuck.

Connie: I thought we agreed you’d stay in the back yard until after dark. If people see a giant beaver running around the neighborhood they’ll call animal control.

Chuck: I’m a woodchuck. A woodchuck is not a beaver.

Connie: What’s the difference?

Chuck: Beavers are semi-aquatic. Woodchucks are land mammals.

Connie: What difference does it make?!!!!!!!!! When I married you, you were a hotshot young lawyer with a six-figure income who liked salsa dancing and fast cars. Now you dress like a giant stuffed animal and sleep in a burrough you’ve dug in our back yard!

Chuck: People change, Connie. You’re not the same person you were 10 years ago.

Connie: At least I’m a PERSON!!!

Chuck: Have a little compassion for a change. You’re the one with the “What would Jesus do?” bumper sticker.

Connie: What would Jesus do if he woke up one morning and found he was married to a giant stuffed hedgehog??!!

Chuck: Woodchuck.


Chuck starts to lift the TV.

Connie: Where are you going with the TV?

Chuck: I thought I’d just move a few things out back.

Connie: Oh no you’re not! Listen buddy, you better get some counseling and get yourself out of this lifestyle or I’m calling it quits.

Chuck: Liberals are just like that. All accepting and touchie feelie until it hits close to home.

Connie: Oh what? Are you a Republican now, too?

Chuck: I don’t like labels, Connie. But I forgive you, because I still love you. Inside I’m still the same man. It’s a testiment to my faith in our relationship that I can really be who I am with you.

Connie: Well you know what, Chuck? Now that I know who you really are, I’m pretty sure I hate you.

Chuck: Connie, please. Give me a chance. Let me prove to you that things really aren’t going to be that different. Now that I’m free to be myself, they’re going to be better!


CHUCK and CONNIE enter the party room. Chuck is dressed as a woodchuck.

Looks like we’re the first ones here.

So now can you tell me what the big surprise is?

MARVIN comes in. He’s dressed as a big pastel colored stuffed animal.

Welcome!! You must be Connie. And YOU must be Chuck! This is VERY exciting. You’re our first beaver.

I’m a woodchuck.

What’s the difference?

Beavers are semi-aquatic.

Well we accept all kinds here at the Plushie Pride Party.
(sees another Plushie enter)
Glenda! So glad you could make it!
(to Chuck & Connie)
Nice to meet you, you seem like a lovely couple. So in love.

Marvin goes off to greet Glenda.

Why is that man dressed up as a big blue elephant? And what’s a Plushie?

That’s the surprise. I’ve been attending a support group. Plushies Anonymous. That’s how I found out that there are other people like you...people who dress up as stuffed animals for fun...and...for pleasure.

I’m not “dressed up!” Connie, I’m not some freak who wears an animal costume to get his rocks off! I’m a woodchuck! I’m a woodchuck!! Why can’t you take me seriously?

Chuck, you’re a man, you’re not a rodent! You have two arms and two legs and you’re an attorney!!

That was me 10 years ago, but not anymore!

Marvin comes over with an assortment of sex toys.

In need of a marital aid?

Chuck starts for the door.

Fine – walk out like you always do! You’re not committed to this relationship!

I want to be, Connie, but you just don’t want to understand who I really am. I think it’s over between us. But if you want to talk...I’ll be in my borough.

Chuck leaves.

MARVIN drapes a comforting arm around Connie.

So sad. Well, if it’s not working out with that beaver, are you interested in a tumble in my jungle?

(in tears)

She runs out.

I wrote these two months ago.

During rehearsal when I started to say the words, I gasped at the realization that I’d written about this before it happened. Getting through the scene without showing emotion was hard; getting through without being distracted was impossible. So it was a weird rehearsal. I was disconnected, unfocused, a million miles away as the saying goes. A familiar, crazy feeling.

So the show was hard for me to do, and I didn’t feel particularly funny. I left as soon as it was over, and called him to see if he would go for a walk with me. He asked if we could talk in bed because he was really tired. This didn’t sound to me like someone who was doing whatever I wanted to work on the problem so I told him to forget it, that we’d talk tomorrow. I think he sensed that I was pissed, and immediately said he’d go walking. So we did, and talked about more of my questions, my thoughts, his thoughts, my fears, his fears. I realized that, just as I’m going through something pretty fucking shitty, so is he. And not only that, he’s got guilt and the fact that he’s completely in the wrong on top of the general shittyness of the situation. I know how hard it is for him not to get defensive when he’s being made to feel wrong. And I realize how hard he is trying to hear me out and give me what I need in this moment. And how he must be suffering, too. He is someone I’ve loved more deeply than words can express for 20 years. My compassion for him emerges. We continue to walk and talk. Soon after we go home he goes to bed and I take a shower. Then I go upstairs and slip into our bed, naked. I put my hand on his back and he sighs. I continue to caress him, and we make love. I usually don’t feel comfortable with that term – “make love.” It seems kind of silly to me, like “make whoopee” or “make nice.” But to bring down my defenses to comfort him was an act of love. I knew he had nobody else to offer him love – he wasn’t talking to anyone else either. And I had been longing to be close to him, at least the part of him that was the person I’d known before, for days. It was slow and deliberate and building and passionate. We needed each other and it felt good.

Today has been a less painful day. I’m letting my love for him back in slowly. Trust will require more time. I realize I have to let him know that he has the second chance he wanted. What I won’t say is that I’m open to any outcome. We may be together or not. I need to work with my therapist to figure out what will really work for me, and what I’m going to commit to cause for my life, for us. I need to see how much he continues to try. Trust will require more time.

Figuring out what happened.

Last night is the first night I remember dreaming about this. Now that I’m fully awake, I don’t remember exactly what the dreams were. I think maybe I was dreaming about looking for these girls, or waiting for husband to show me the facts. Last night before bed I was looking at some of the actual dates and times, trying to see exactly where I was when this was happening. He says most of it happened when I was away. But the last time I can identify happened on a Monday while I was work. I wonder how much happened that he won’t tell me about. And were most of the correspondence about all of this is, since I know so much more took place than I found evidence for in the email accounts I looked at.

I have to ask about that.

I have a bit of a pit this morning, probably because of dreaming. And the sadness about everything that must have gone on without me knowing.

And as I was falling asleep last night I began to be afraid of the STD test coming Monday. I really doubt I have anything. But I’m afraid to know for sure. What if there is something? What then? Life would change again. My heart beats faster with that fear, so I’m just not going to think about it. Husband would say why worry about something that hasn’t happened, which I generally take as good advice.. But I’m scared.

This moment I have to admit I’m going to check some bank records. He said nothing in May, but somehow I doubt it. The pattern this year has been once a month, and I found out on June 1. The last email was regarding April 23, so there must be a May incident.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The thing that remains on my mind now.

Just as an alcoholic isn’t an addict when he takes his first drink, husband was not a sex addict when he decided to cross the line between the fantasy of having sex with other women that most hetro men have, and the reality of betraying the deep trust I had in him to have sex with a prostitute. And then to break that trust everyday by coming home and kissing and touching and having sex with me and not confessing. (Did I ever kiss him when he had been kissing a prostitute earlier that day? Probably. Probably many times.) And when I asked him every day, “How was your day?” or “What did you do today” to lie to me and break that trust again.

When we got married I knew he had issues with food. But he didn’t make a vow to me about food. He made a vow to me to love me and treat me with respect, and that included holding my trust sacred. And he fed and nurtured and grew that trust, and then made the decision to discard everything that we had built together, knowing the impact of the loss of integrity. That is a question in my mind. Why did he do that? How could he have done that? Over and over again.? More and more frequently, spending more and more of our money? Those questions remain, reminding me that the person I want to trust is not the person who stands before me. He has left the building. The person I need to trust is someone I must get to know again. Yet at the same time, I feel love and compassion for this man who I have shared so much with, and continue to share so much with, and who I might be able to trust again.

Almost noon and I still feel okay

I'm actually hungry, which is the first time since Friday. I was feeling angry about the realization I'd had this morning regarding the lifespand of the protitutes compared to that of our relationship, and sent husband a terse email expressing my feelings. I immediately sent another email explaining that I didn't want to be mean. I want to fully express myself, but I don't want to be mean, especially not via email. Maybe when we get into couples therapy, where any especially nasty feelings can be moderated by an uninvolved party. I feel fully justified for just about anything I do right now, given that I've had my reality completely snatched away. But I also want to remain focused on what I want to cause, and not to do things that undermine that outcome out of spite or anger. Maybe I'm a fool. But I have to believe in my own power, and this is how that belief manifests itself right now.

Today has started out as a good day

I did a good solid hour on the treadmill last night, so maybe I've been bathing in those good chemicals all night.

This morning as I was getting ready, I climbed back into bed and put my arms around my husband. It felt so good to be close. I closed my eyes and imagined us before Friday. I was having time wiht the part of him that I knew and loved. He turned and put his arms around me and we held each other silently for several minutes. He gave me some small kisses, which I could not bring myself to return. Because right there with the man who was the vantage point from where I had a 360 degree view of all the beauty and good things in the universe was the man who had lied right into my eyes for the last half of our marriage. In the books I'm reading women talk about their deep anger at being deceived for months - and I'm the fool who's taken the bait for 5 years. I feel both a strong pull toward him and a simeltanous and equally strong need to withhold myself.

And today I'm feeling pissed about the fact that most of the prostitutes, or "sweet young girls" to quote one of his reviews, that he's been having sex with were not yet born or younger than our 5 year old son when he and I became a couple. While we were busy doing theater and improv and growing our beautiful, safe, fun, boundless relationship, they were going through preschool, gradeschool, middle school, probably high school and maybe college. Our relationship is almost as long as most of their entire lives. What a thing to throw away, or at the least have so little regard for.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Scotch v. Pain

Left my office at 3:30pm today. I couldn't focus and was feeling waves of dispair. Not pleasant in a work environment. I felt that really the very best thing to do was to leave and go straight to the bar at a hotel near my son's preschool and have a double scotch on the rocks quickly enough so that I'd be sobered up by the time I had to pick him up at 6. So that's what I did. I was disappointed to find they didn't have Macallan. The best option was JWB which turned out to be relatively cheap and seemed to work just as well at achieving the desired effect. I sat in the bar and felt the sweet relief spread as I read my books about infidelity.

These books are turning out to be very helpful. It's very helpful to know that everything I'm experiencing is normal enough to have been placed in a stage and named. It's helpful to understand some of the broader psychological stuff that goes into infidelity and betrayal. And it's helpful to be reminded that my husband is also experiencing something at the same time I am. But mostly it's helpful to know that it's possible to get through this without losing my mind.

I've been exercising a lot - and by a lot I just mean regularly, not compulsively. Aside from the car, the guest house out back where the treadmill is is the only place I can cry in private. And it's such a release to cry when you're sweating and exherting yourself. I'm hoping that the exercize is combating the stress chemicals - and maybe this is why mornings tend to be better. So far, afternoons have all proved difficult.

Husband had his first Sex & Love Addicts meeting today. His first therapist appointment is tomorrow.

I've been feeling very angry about the fact that his choices exposed me, who has beeen a monagamous person all my life and who made a conscious choice to be so in our relationship, to at least 15 or 20 prostitutes and all the other men they've had sex with. I'm getting my STD test on Monday. I'm 99% sure I'm disease free because he says he's been using condoms. But he also said a lot of other things.

I need to see my therapist...NOW!

Husband just called...from his car I think. To tell me he loves me and that he really wants us to work it out and that if it doesn't, he'll still love me.

The sound of his voice was so welcomed. I realized I was beginning to wonder if he really cared if it works out. I'm scared of him now...scared that I don't know what's important to him anymore. It's good to hear that he really wants us to work. I've been worried that he's just trying to land the ultimate "I got away with it." Not consciously, but in his smart, arrogant, narcissistic sub-conscious. He's so smart that always gotten away with skating by before. But he has his first appointment with a therapist tomorrow, so maybe he'll have a chance to start sorting that out.

As for me, I'm counting the minutes until my next appointment. I need some relief and that's my only safe place. Some people live like this all the time. Feeling alone, feeling unsafe. How do they do it?

A strange ride

Emotionally I'm on the strangest ride of my life. I have been sitting here at work not able to focus or concentrate much. I think I'm experiencing a constant state of anguish, like white noise. I don't know why - I'm not thinking about anything specific.

A part of me is wondering if my husband is really suffering much, and some other part answers no. Which is fine I guess. I only wish there were words to convey my experience to him, just so that he really gets the true cost of all this. But what I'm experiencing would have been beyond my ability to imagine before Friday. I'm glad I picked up the books on infidelity so I know that I'm not going crazy.

I think I'm having an existential crisis. The books talk about a loss of identity due to one's changing world view following this kind of betrayal, and I think that's why I feel so disoriented. My reality has been disrupted, and shown to be false. I told my husband that it's like being in a science fiction movie - I've gone through a worm hole into a new dimension where everything looks exactly the same except that everything is completely different. I guess because my context has been shifted. That's what it is. Change your context, change your life. My context got changed and I'm being dragged along for a ride.

Every day is different

Today started out as an angry day. I woke up not feeling sad, which was good. And noticed that I wanted distance again. After my massage last night, which I'll get to later, I picked my husband up from the house and we drove around talking. I asked a lot of questions, we talked about how much he's spent on prostitutes (probably close to $10k), about crossing the line from fantasy to actually having sex with another woman, about lonliness, about my feelings of distrust, and my fears, about so many things. We laughed, I cried, he comforted me. In the context of talking about other things he's done that I don't know about he told me that he'd been going to strip clubs and getting lap dances ($20/song, usually 2-3 songs before he comes.) He mentioned the eating issues and going to the movies during the work day, both of which I already know about. And other smaller things that weren't betrayals, but were part of his pattern of secretive behavior and "getting away with it." It was good to talk to him because I'm so lonely for his mind, his thoughts, his spirit - the part of him that I know and love. Otherwise I feel very alone.

But this morning I felt more detatched, less vulnerable after getting some feelings out on that drive. As has been my experience over the past 5 days, things continue to be emotionally chaotic though. Sitting in a cafe reading the recommended book about infidelity, I was filled with overwhelming sadness, and fear that we won't be able to reconcile. And grief about that. It feels like a death. The loss of my ability to trust him, myself, my version of reality - it feels like a permanent end of something. And leaves an empty space.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I'm now someone who sees a therapist.

The alcohol has finally begun to take effect and it’s such a relief. I had to fly to Sacramento today for a business meeting. For some reason, it was a bad day for holding myself together. I don’t know why. All through the meeting I felt like I might throw up. And as soon as I got outside and had some privacy I was overcome by emotion. I was overwhelmed by sadness because didn’t want to go home. I wanted to fly back to LA to the life I had before Friday night. I didn’t want to return to what I have now.

My last post was cut short because the first therapy session in my almost 43 years of life began. It was a relief in a way to tell everything to someone. I’ve realized that I don’t have anyone here to talk to because I’ve made the decision not to tell anyone about what’s going on. I think there would be a reaction of outrage and disgust and other negative things, and I don’t want to create these conversations and then have to fight them as I work to repair our relationship. But that leaves me alone, with nobody to talk to. Nora and Marcie have been calling me, but they are not here, and we leave a lot of messages for each other. One of our mutual friends here knows, and I may call him. But he is dealing with his own marriage crisis coincidentally, so it doesn’t seem right to lean on him too heavily.

To me from Husband

If you give me a second chance you will not regret it. I promise you. All I want to do is to hold you and comfort you and make you feel safe again. Please let me do that.

I know you don't want to let me off the hook but believe me, I am not off the hook. I know how awful my behavior has been. I am going to do everything in my power to change my life and get the support to make that change so that I can ensure that I will never go down that path again.

It seems like intellectually you don't want to punish me but you don't deserve to punish yourself either. You know that I have never, ever lied to you about how much I love you. You don't have to forgive me to let me love you and to, maybe, let yourself love me.

I will be, for you, the man you think I am, forever.