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.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A good 4 days

Things have been good the past 4 days.

I accidentally missed my SAnon meeting on Tuesday. I was on the treadmill and suddenly realized it. I think I'll call someone from the program this week just to maintain contact.

Husband has been feeling a fair amount of anxiety around disclosure. Our therapist decided that she wanted to meet with him individually this week to further prepare. So Saturday was a morning full of therapy for Husband while Son and I went to karate class and then to see Underdog (he liked it, me not so much.)

In his individual therapy Husband explored feelings of intense anxiety that seem to have been just below the surface of consciousness for him for a long time - years. And what came up for him was a house he lived in when he was six, and feeling very frightened and like there was nobody there. He feels that there's something he's not remembering about what happened there, but thinks it may have something to do with his mother. At around that time she went to see a psychiatrist in Boston, which he feels indicates something very unusal was going on given what he knows about how his parents deal with problems. As he often says, they're country folk from New England, and they don't turn to that kind of help readily or easily. He also recalls that his mom went for back surgery at around that time, which also seems anomalous. He has a feeling that there is some particular event that is the source of his anxiety, and his fears of being abandoned and of people being angry with him. He's going to talk with his parents to see if he can find out from them what happened.

I think Husband is courageous to be exploring these things. It's evident that it's very hard for him emotionally, and that he's having all kinds of feelings that he used to suppress with his addicitve behaviors. Right now, I'm happy to be feeling on an even keel so as not to add to the emotional intensity of his experience. We still have a lot to address, a long way to go on this journey, and when he's feeling less anxiety and fear I'll push to explore my feelings more deeply again. I know there's stuff in there. The other night I was thinking about how most of the prostitutes husband had had sex with are 15-20 years younger than me. That's definitely weird. I look young for my age, so I don't know that it was a reaction to me, but it still doesn't do much for my self confidence. Another indication that this kind of confidence needs to come from within me, and not have anything to do with Husband.

It's sad to me to think of being less dependent on Husband in ways. While intellectually I know that this dependence is immature, and that healthy adult women get their sense of self from themselves, the fact that I can no longer be confident that Husband will be able to be a source of that confidence because of this betrayal makes me sad. It's akin to a child separating from being dependent on a parent in some ways I guess. And when that happens, you are acknowledging that you alone are responsibile for yourself in the world. And while that is part of growing up, it's also a lonely feeling. And it frightens me a bit, because what it equals in my mind is being the kind of person who doesn't need anybody.

How can I allow myself to need Husband, yet not be dependent on him? Is need a part of the vulnerability of love? Or do I have that wrong. Is there a way to be vulnerable without need? Husband and I were discussing this in the context of Buddhism. Apparently how to be in love and be a strict Buddhist is a difficult question.

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