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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What do I want from disclosure?

Spent Monday's therapy session talking about disclosure. Husband is supposed to write his Secrets and Lies List, then put it into a timeline, and finally distill it down to a summary report for the disclosure session. My assignment is to write a list/letter of the ways this situation (discovering that Husband has been contacting/visiting prostitutes and lying/keeping secrets about it)has impacted me. I should think in terms of the following kinds of questions:

How has it affected my perception of ourpast together?
How does it affect my thoughts/hopes/fears/investments re: my/our future?
How has it affected my feelings about myself as a woman?
A sexual being?
A wife?
A mother?
How has it (and all the therapy and financial consequences) affected my
feelings of safety and security, about the predictability of the world
I know?

My therapist said it's important to know my goals going in (my expectations) so we can determine that the disclosure has been successful. I said I want to know dates of activity so I can begin to merge what I know about my life with the larger picture of what was really going on in my life (even though I didn't know about it at the time.) I also want to know everything, and for Husband and I to look at it and acknowledge it together, so that we start building on a clean foundation with nothing hidden. I believe that only when all the facts are on the table can we make informed decisions and choices about what we want to do and/or are willing to do next. Finally, I want to know that Husband sees the full impact, and I want to know that he knows I know the full impact. I don't want to leave him with a feeling of having gotten away with anything, however small.

I read her notes I'd been jotting down all week to help me construct my letter.

As soon as I said I wanted to know everything that happened, the First Step popped into my head and I realized I can't control whether or not Husband tells me the whole truth. So I'll have to compromise there. I'll have to get what I get, and then decide what I want to do based on my boundries, my instincts and my best judgement. So now I'm prepared to come away with less information than I want.

My therapist began to bring up several questions she heard underlying the notes I'd read to her:
Why did this happen?
How do we build trust again?
How will I know I can believe you?

We talked about how these are timeless, archetypal kinds of questions that fall into the category of "unknowable." And I realized that there are some things I won't get answers to, ever. And there are also, as Husband has pointed out, some things for which I won't get an explanation that makes things better - there are some things that are just horrible, and the only answer is that he did them and must deal with the consequences.

No comments: