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, August 14, 2007

Realizations about betrayal

Finding out that Husband has been seeking sexual experiences with other women since before we were married has been very painful. I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I've had a couple realizations.

We were leaving the pool after spending the afternoon there together on Sunday. Our favorite pool is right by one of the clubs where Husband has gone to get lap dances. Seeing that building where I know my husband went and had an orgasm with another woman was such a trigger for feelings of anxiety. I tried to identify more specifically what was going on for me, and I realized that I was experiencing a deep sense of loss of control. It felt like when somebody dies and there's nothing you can do. It's so final. There's no way to stop this horrible thing because it's already done. And maybe you have regrets, something different you would have done if you'd had the chance.

As I thought about it more yesterday, I realized that this must be what it feels like to get raped. You lose control over a very fundamental part of your life, then something is over and done with and you've had no say in the matter, but must deal with the emotional, psychological, physical and other consequences. That really summarizes my feeling of loss of control.

The second thing I realized over the last couple days is that my relationship with Husband was where I brought the most authentic expression of myself, and had the experience of life that felt the most real to me. I brought myself with full honesty and openness, hid nothing, and gave freely. I thought it was the one place where there was nothing between me and the experience of being alive. I wasn't playing any role (employee, parent, "good person," counselor, caretaker, smart person, ambitious person, etc), wasn't worried about "being" something that I wasn't or playing games of any kind, no testing, no passive aggressive payback, mind games, manipulation or anything like that. I was as real and honest an expression of myself as I could possibly be with Husband. To discover that what felt like the most profound experience of reality and existence for me was constructed inside a context fraught with secrets and lies has been overwhelming and traumatizing. The confusion and disorientation is pervasive, but no wonder - because my most fundamental grounding in "reality" has been severed.

I told Husband last night that I removed my ring. He was stunned and saddened, but we talked about it and I think he understands. He's scared though. He thought disclosure would give us some closure but he feels like it's just unraveling things further. I told him I wanted us to work together to help me figure out what it stands for, because to wear it when I'm no longer sure is painful. We're trying hard not to talk about things, though (on our therapist's advice), until we get back into our therapist's office on Thursday night. But I had to tell him about the ring - it just didn't seem right to wait until he noticed. Too much like a game.

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