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.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A month out

Well the weekend was another up and down ride. As the party hour approached I began to feel a lot of anxiety about being in a large group of friends and having to hide something. And I was also sad about the fact that this was not how I expected my life to be on my 43rd birthday. Of all the things that could possibly ever happen, husband's infidelity was last on that list in my mind. I was feeling sick to my stomach and agitated. I realized my friend Sara, my one girlfriend in Los Angeles who knows about everything, would be at the party so I called her. We talked about my anxiety, and decided that the best short term solution would be the frozen margarita machine we had rented for the party. Plus she was bringing me a bottle of scotch. Not the healthiest way to handle emotions and fear, but with the party just a couple hours away it seemed like the most effective way. And Sara assured me that she'd be there to support me if I needed to take her off into a corner and get some help calming down.

So I got home with my son and his friend, and they played while the nice margarita man came and set up the machine. With an hour to wait for the drink machine to freeze the concoction, I jumped on the treadmill.

One thing I was reminded of was how much I don't want my mother putting on parties for me. She loves me and really wants to do it in theory, but when it comes down to actually doing it her own issues kick in and she's resentful and angry about having to bear the burden. This has happened several times over the years, but we both always forget and she asks again and I say yes again. She really refrained from asking for my help, which I appreciated given that I was trying to focus on calming my nerves, but she was definitely on edge and the negative energy added to my stress. I wanted the whole thing to be over.

Between the exercise and the taste testing I did before the party, when Sara arrived I was doing okay.

Fortunately, when I'd made the guest list I only invited the people I feel most comfortable around so things were more relaxed than I anticipated. I didn't feel like I was forcing or hiding anything. My anxiety subsided and I enjoyed myself very much. Husband was late because of a crisis at work (related to the issues he's working on in his life right now) but I had lots of warm friends around and I think we all had a nice time.

Saturday was our first couples therapy appointment.

Husband and I attend multiple 12-step groups, each have individual therapists and now have a couples therapist with an office in Beverly hills. It seems ridiculously Hollywood, but there it is.

Husband had his own therapy appointment at 8:30am, so we drove separately. I had been both looking forward to and dreading couples therapy. I know we have so much to talk about, and need a safe place to do it. But I'm afraid of what's going to come at me. I think husband has a lot of unresolved anger toward me, and I'm scared that when it all comes pouring out he'll be present to all those feelings, will see my failings and shortcomings assembled all together, and then no longer want to be with me. How's that for fucked up? My husband has secretly had sex with 20-30 prostitutes over the last 5 years and I'm wondering if he's going to still want me. Hence the batallion of therapists I suppose.

I arrived before husband, and my first thought was "what if he doesn't show up?" I knew intellectually that this would not happen. But intellectually I know so many things that don't stop my fears and emotions from taking over. And also, it's hard to be sure of what I know now, given what I was so sure I knew before June 1st. But I decided to move on to a different thought. As I was walking over to pay the parking attendant, husband called to let me know he was on his way.

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