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, July 6, 2007

To my husband

Today, 11:15am

I realized today that I have some expectations that I wanted to let you know about, and we can discuss them.

My heart is broken and I hold you responsible. You are the person who wounded me. Just as if you had stuck a sword in me. Not a day goes by without my heart aching. Some days it's momentary, some days it lasts from waking to sleeping. My wounded heart feels loved - by my close friends, my son, and I hear you offering that love as well. But it is still broken. A loved and broken heart, like a loved and wounded soldier on a battle field. I am loved, but I am far from healed.

My trust and faith in what you say are gone. I believe in you as a person, but your word does not comfort me. If anything it scares me, because of the power it had and the result of that. I want to believe everything you say, but my body resists that. The physical certainty, the knowledge in my body that I can trust you that gradually developed over the past 19 years is no longer there. It's like an old tree that has been cut down. I think the roots are still there, and it won't take 19 years to create that relationship again, but the thick trunk and boughs, with the things we carved into the bark over the years that became a part of the plant, and the full canopy of big beautiful leaves are all gone. I want to grow this tree back, but I think this will take time, time, time.

All of this leads me to the expectations I referred to above.

I've realized that one of the things I miss now is the feeling that I'm special. This began before June 1st, and I talked with you about it before. Mostly I was left feeling that it was imagined and that maybe I was too needy. But now I understand were my feelings were coming from, and because of what I now know, this loss of specialness has been reinforced. The special physical intimacy I shared only with you, the special level of trust and lack of need for boundries I shared only with you, the feeling that you had a special love, regard and respect for me - all of that has been damaged. I don't feel special. While you didn't mean to do this, I am left feeling, as I described last night, like part of a menu of women at times, or at other times disparing that the years of love and trust and everything we've shared has resulted in almost the deepest possible betrayal I can imagine.

I think it falls to you to create this for me again if that is to be present in our relationship. I am not going to make requests, or tell you how or what to do. In my mind it falls to you to figure all of that out. And I need to be reminded every day, forever, how special I am to you if that is the case. It may be as simple as a gesture, a touch. But that feeling is something I want to give and to get out of my relationship with my partner. I may forget that I want this, and I expect you to help me remember in the way you treat me, in the things you do for me, in the choices you make, on a daily basis. It is my expectation that if you are truly interested in creating a deep, lifelong relationship with me based on love, respect, honesty, partnership and trust, that you will do this.

I also think it falls to you to help me feel secure again about your love for me. You are doing this, and I want you to know that it makes a huge difference for me. And it's my expectation that you'll continue to look for ways to show me how much you love me for the rest of our time together. Even when I'm scared and can't easily show you that I believe you, or give you the response that you might reasonably expect from your words and gestures. Intellectually I don't doubt that your love for me was ever in question, but I have a great fear that it is, and that eventually my fear of being not enough will be realized. Your actions, while not intended to convey that, have reinforced my fear that what I have to offer is not enough (not kind enough, understanding enough, thin enough, pretty enough, selfless enough.) I know that's not rational, but I'm going to allow myself that inconsistency for now. And a part of me understands, as I told you, that there are important things I'll never be able to provide you - the things that you must provide for yourself. And that is okay. But the "irrational" part of me is still scared of having my suspected deficency confirmed and used as a reason to leave me. I'm afraid that I can't make you happy and that you'll leave - either physically or emotionally. Because you left me emotionally when you made the choices you did. I don't think you meant to - I don't think you had any choice.

So those are my expectations. I put them out for discussion. They are what is there for me now, but I'm also open to creating expectations together. And I want to know your expectations. You have a right to expectations as well, and I want to know what they are so I can see if they work for me. I imagine they will. I want so much to be in a happy loving relationship with you where I provide you with a big open space to be fully the magnificent, flawed, vulnerable person I know you are, where you feel unconditionally loved and supported by someone who loves and respects herself, a relationship that is source for you as our relationship has always been for me.

No matter what, I love you.

Today, 11:40am

One very important thing I forgot to say explicitly: I am responsible too. Responsible for myself, and responsible for being someone who can earn your trust and love. That is as important to me as everything else.

From Husband, today, 11:45am


I am touched by your honesty and vulnerability and I want to thank you for telling me about these expectations. I actually have heard you say that you want me find ways to communicate how precious and special you are to me and that has been on my mind because I want to do that and I will.

I have more to say on this but I have to go to a meeting. I didn’t want to not respond though.

I love you

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