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, September 28, 2007


Sophia told me today about this dating site that is for married people looking to have affairs. I went and checked it out. Their slogan is "When monogamy becomes monotony."

I've never been a prude, but the thought of such a service makes me sick to my stomach. Something that encourages secret lives, not taking responsiblity for what you really want in life, deception, lying...ugh...I just think it's awful.

Not that I haven't considered it since I found out about Husband's betrayal. But so many of the testimonials were from people who sounded desperately unahppy or deluded.

Maybe monogamy isn't natural. I don't know...

I think it's a choice, a decision, and one that takes courage. It seems easier to say "I"ll have you, and then I'll have someone else, too, when the inclination strikes me." If you say you'll be monogamous, you're trusting that the other party will do the same (I hope - I'm definitely not for unilateral monogamy unless that's what you really want). You're saying you'll give up unknown pleasures and good times on faith. I think that takes courage. Because you might get f'd over. Your partner might cheat or even discard you. It is a risk.

I feel so judgemental right now. I think I'm reacting. Reacting to my own pain. I know some people participate in responsible non-monogamy. The guy I was exchanging emails with on Salon personals was doing that (both he and his spouse - that's part of the deal.)

Anyway, clearly this has pushed my buttons. I'm going to think more about the meaning and value of monogamy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Awake, bald and naked...not really so great at first

"I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?"

"You could say that."

"I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that's not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?"


"Why not?"

"Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life."

"I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

-excepted from The Matrix

As I read this, it hits me that in addition to describing my experience finding out about Husband's secret life, it also probably describes my experience being born.

Why accept the label of codependency?

At my first S-Anon meeting, one of the things I really didn't get was all the talk about MY recovery. I didn't have anything to recover from...I wasn't the one who had been lying to my partner for over a decade and sleeping with prostitutes for the past 3 1/2 years. I was the unsuspecting...well, not victim...but certainly there was NOTHING wrong with me. I disregarded that stuff, because there was lots of other stuff that was hitting the nail on the head, and it felt so good to walk into a room where I could talk freely without having to explain.

Probably a month or so ago, I asked my therapist what exactly co-dependence was and how I would know if I was codependent. She recommended the book I'm reading now, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. The title kind of says it all. My sometimes obsessive need to know details, often accompanied by feelings of anxiety or urgency, is a form of trying to control something I can't control (the past.) And it definitely comes at the expense of caring for myself, because I can easily spiral into heart-pounding anxiety or deep sadness when I engage in this stuff.

More importantly, though, I have a whole other life. I have a full-time job, I have my son, I volunteer as Marketing Director for a non-profit, I write my blog, I go to S-Anon and therapy, I exercise regularly, and I write and perform sketch comedy, improv and theater when I can fit it in. In other words, I have a big, full life that doesn't deserve to be consumed (subsumed) by maintaining spreadsheets, searching phone records and bank statements, and worrying about what Husband is doing every moment of the day. I have a life. I will not be defined by Husband's betrayal, I will not sacrifice my life, my self, the things that give me happiness and satisfaction, to try to figure out the details of my husband's betrayal and lies. Enough damage has been done already. I don't want to do more.

That being said, it's definitely a balance. Not only do I have a different future now than I thought I would. I have a different past. And that is jarring. More accurately it's a devastating, major mind-fuck that made me feel completely disoriented and adrift for a while. It's a past that I did not knowingly participate in creating and something that I can't change. So I feel I have the right to know as many details as I want in order to restore my sense of reality. What was I doing the afternoon Husband was fucking Ashley at the Four Points Sheraton in Marina del Rey? I think I have a right to know what was actually going on in my life while I was living in my alternate reality.

The point is, I think I have the right to whatever information I want, but when the need to know starts to disrupt my life and cause me pain, I'm stepping into codependent territory. Nothing wrong with that, but it helps me to be able to distinguish what I want to do to help myself heal vs. what I feel compelled to do because I let another person's behavior affect me and feel that I can do something to control that person's behavior. (I can't.)

The final clue that broke the camel's back was that there are 10 pages in the book that describe codependent characteristics and - those of you who also identify with being codependent will probably laugh at me - I was shocked to see that I had at least 75% of the characteristics listed. It's very subtle. I don't cover up for Husband when his addictions interfere with his life, I don't secretly follow him, I don't submit to physical or emotional abuse. But there are lots of things, some might call them "nice" traits: I try to say what I think will please people; have a difficult time asserting my rights; avoid talking about myself and talk about other people's problems instead; try to fix and prevent problems in other peoples' lives; fear rejection; am afraid of making mistakes. The list goes on.

In my experience, recognition and awareness have been the first steps toward freedom from ways of being that leave me unhappy. So that's the value I find in accepting the codependent label, and accepting that my journey is to recover from that way of being. I want to be free of the anguish and anxiety that result from my codependent thoughts and behaviors.

Free my mind, and the rest will follow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What does co-dependency look like?

It goes something like this...

Yesterday I found a receipt from one of Husband’s business trips this past February. Oddly enough, it was on the floor in the hallway by the front door. Don’t know why. It was for 3 double Jack Daniels and 3 Sam Adams at a bar on a night I know he took out $400 from our account to try to get a prostitute.

I didn’t get a chance to talk with him about it until today after I landed in Sacramento. I called him at work to let him know I landed safely and asked if it was a good time for me to ask some questions. I’ve done this so many times (call with questions) that he knows what this question means, and was ready to listen and answer as best he could from his rather public cube at work.

“You know when you went on business trips you told me that although you tried, you were never able to successfully hire a prostitute. Is that true?”


“And did you ever just entertain prostitutes or other women on these trips?”


“Because last night I found a receipt on the floor.” I explained what it for, and what time the credit card was processed (just after midnight.) I know he often orders a scotch on the rocks with a beer, and that he likes Sam Adams. But I’ve never know him to order bourbon. He said that he actually does order bourbon when the scotch is too expensive. (Odd, again, because well scotch can’t be more expensive than JD. I may have to ask about this again, because this “odd” type of thing was something I usually ignored before.) He said he thought he had been talking to a guy and may have bought him a couple beers, but after he thought about it for a bit he decided that he had been alone on that occasion.

Finally I came to the question that had been the first to enter my mind when I found the receipt. “That’s nine drinks. So you had nine drinks by yourself?” He said he did, and that his intention was to get drunk since he was unsuccessful in arranging a prostitute. (He’s said he only used online services, never picked them up on the street.) I asked him if he’d ever considered that alcohol might be another addiction of his. That maybe, like his dad, he was a functioning alcoholic, but that it was actually a problem. He said that he had considered that. And he said he couldn’t keep talking about that subject anymore because of the lack of privacy. We agreed to discuss it later.

There are still lingering things that fall into the “odd” category.

He withdrew $100 on 2/8, $400 on 2/9 and $40 on 2/10 (I've done the research and I have a spreadsheet cross-referencing cash withdrawals and cell phone records), yet he paid for those 9 drinks with his credit card. So where did the $500 go? He said when he couldn’t get prostitutes he went shopping for gifts. But I don’t recall $500 worth of gifts coming home. Yet he took out that $40 on 2/10, so he must have spent that $500 somewhere. I have to ask him about this.

Yes, I know this is what obsessing and co-dependency are all about. And yes, I’m still going to ask.

I’m sitting in the Sacramento airport. I have vivid memories of being in this airport for business travel on June 5, four days after I’d found out about all of Husband’s lies and infidelity. I was standing right outside the security checkpoint on the phone with Nora, weeping because I didn’t want to go home, because I didn’t what to go back to the life I had there now. If I didn’t go home, maybe it wouldn’t be real. It all felt so unreal anyway. That’s what the Sacramento airport reminds me of.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Assignment from my therapist today

I talked with my therapist about some of the stuff I discovered in couples therapy. She gave me two assignments:

1. Write about the feeling I have that my mother sacrificed a lot to be a parent to me and I can never make it up to her

2. Express my anger through writing and sharing with trusted friends and my S-Anon group

I've been feeling angry at Husband for breaking me. I feel irreparably broken. I used to believe that you could count on people. Not everybody, but certainly a few carefully selected, trusted people in your life.

But my experience has taught me that no matter how well I think I've chosen, no matter how much evidence I have that someone is trustworthy, the fact is I can never count on anybody 100% of the time. In that regard, I am alone. I have only myself to count on. (And maybe there are those who feel they can't even count on themselves. That would be really scary - to have absolutely nobody at all.)

The reason I can't count on anyone 100% of the time is because I cannot control what someone else will do, how they will think, feel and respond, 100% of the time. If I could control everything 100% of the time, I could predict with certainty. Any less control than that introduces some amount of uncertainty. I can never know. I can eventually trust, believe, think, hope, have faith. But I can never, ever know. So how do you live with a know liar in a context of never knowing? Don't know yet. One day at a time I guess.

I used to believe that I could know. That time, love, shared experiences and personal integrity could forge an unbreakable bond of trust. While I see now that was a form of naivete, it felt good to believe that it was possible. Now I feel sad and wary, and while the fact that it's not possible to count on others has nothing to do with Husband, I'm now intensely present to this fact because of his betrayal and I'm angry at him for that.

What goes through my head: Why did he have to do that? I didn't do that! When I had problems I talked about it. When I didn't feel heard, I did something about it. What is wrong with him? (I could go on.)

Intellectually, I know the answers or at least the explanations, so in an instant I invalidate this anger because it feels irrational.

But it's there. And I want it out now, so I don't carry it around for years, so it doesn't come out when I least expect it, so it doesn't rot me from the inside all the way out to my happy, sweet, she's-so-nice veneer.

Break Out Blogger

A nice thing happened today.

I found out that I've been given a Break Out Blogger Award:

Hopefully that means that more people will be able to find my blog and begin to understand that they are neither crazy nor alone.

Betrayal and infidelity are universal problems, and because of that there are common human stories and experiences that cut across all demographics. I think these commonalities are part of the path of healing...knowing that there are others who have gone through all this pain, anguish, confusion, anger, disillusionment, loneliness, and despair (to name a few) and have survived, and in many cases come out stronger, happier and healthier. These shared feelings, thoughts and experiences are a beacon of light when the storm is bad and you can't see the land. Mamampj has been that for me, and it's good to think that our blogs and others like them will provide that for others.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Helpful notes from couples therapy

Here's what I need to remember from couples therapy yesterday:

When you ____ I feel (mad, glad, sad, ashamed, afraid - pick one) and what I make up about that is _____.

When you get to the core of them, most negative feelings come from one of two places:
1. I'm afraid I won't be safe
2. I'm afraid I won't be seen or heard for who I am

I see the world and listen through the perspective that no matter what, there is always going to be something better than me. (Don't know how I got this belief - need to investigate with my therapist.)

I filter out what is
a. positive, because it feels like that feedback is covering up people's real thoughts and feelings (there's something better than her)
b. not true from my perspective (even in reaction to other people's feelings - for example, if Husband says he feels like I don't care about him, in the past I've ignored that because I know that I do care about him)

It's unlikely that I can rid myself completely of this ingrained perspective, but now that I'm aware I can make a different choice when I notice myself coming from this position.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The duality of love and betrayal in a relationship

Mamma Mary Jones has some amazing thoughts on her blog A Room of Mama's Own about getting some perspective on how a partner can love you deeply and betray you deeply at the same time. Her post gave me an insight into how to love, appreciate and accept Husband as he is, which is my only choice if I want to stay with him. And I know I do, because there is a lot to love about him (and now, a lot to accept.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Still having thoughts about hurting my husband

Tonight I was on the treadmill reading a book called How My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. This book has been a challenge, because Anne Brecht takes a much more traditional approach than I ever could (and has much more traditional, religious values than I do.) But inevitably, the universal rises above the individual specifics, and there are elements of her journey that parallel mine and that I relate to.

Her book mentioned that statistic of 60% of men vs. 40% of women having affairs. What is it about men? Why do a large majority of them find it so difficult to be faithful to their partners? Do they lack integrity or character as a sex? Not a question I can answer, but I really wish I had some insight.

Anyway...I began to think about having extramarital sex just to even the score. See, promises to you can mean as little to me as your promises to me did to you. I can delude myself just as skillfully. So there. Now pull out your love and understanding.

But my husband has told me (only because I've asked) that he doesn't think he'd be as bothered/hurt by sexual infidelity as I am. Then I thought about how he feels so much more connected to me now, so much more intimate, so much more sure of my love and care for him than he did before. And I think about asking him, "This feeling you have now? Multiply that by 19 years, and then think about how you'd feel if you found out I'd been lying to you about something profound and intimate for about 12 of those years. How do you think that might feel?"

So I recognize that I still have some anger to work out.

Maybe I'll talk about this in therapy. Our couples therapist is pretty brilliant. She'll help us sort that anger out.

I also feel I'm still resisting facing the fact that my marriage was far from great, because I was not present for Husband and of course, he was having sexual experiences with all those prostitutes. I mostly want to blame him for dealing with his problems in this way. But I know no happiness lies down that path.'s something else I should talk about with our therapist's help. I really think someday I can be free of all these angry, nasty thoughts. But if they don't come out, they'll just get pushed down and we've already had enough of what that leads to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blind trust vs. informed trust

Because you can never know what another person will do, it's always possible that your partner might hit you. You enter into every relationship with that possibility.

But until your partner hits you, you are in a relationship with somebody who you've known as "someone who doesn't hit." However, after you get hit once, you are now in a relationship with somebody who hits, and you know this because you've been hit by this person. If your partner says "I won't hit you" it makes a difference if you've known him as someone who doesn't hit you vs. someone who has hit you.

I'm struggling with the fact that, while I can never know what someone will do, I'm finding it harder to trust Husband now that I know him as someone who will lie to me and who can hurt me profoundly. Before I thought I really knew he would never do those things. My evidence was pretty good. But know I know he would do those things and my evidence is that he has done them. (Is this my Absolutist again?)

I'm just like the person who returns to a partner who has beaten her up. Am I crazy? I don't know. I feel certain I'd never return to a man who hit me, even if it was just once. Maybe the applicable rule is lie to me once (for 10 or so years) shame on you; lie to me twice, shame on me.

The other thing I've learned is that you can never say never until you find yourself in a situation. I think I'd have said "never" about the situation I'm in now, too.

I had my S-Anon meeting last night, followed by my now regular Tuesday night with Sophia. She was sad about some things going on in her life and together we indulged in too much coffee flavored vodka over ice as we talked until the wee hours.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reflecting on my existential crisis in therapy

Talked with my therapist about my ongoing sadness over the fact that I feel permanently damaged by Husband's lies and infidelity. I feel like I used to be healthy and happy, and now I've learned that you can't even trust the person you were surest of (funny, I'd learned that before with my father and gotten over it.)

I told her, and our couples therapist, that I'm done with trust on the one hand. I'm going to try to work with out with Husband but if I can't, I'm not putting myself in this position of vulnerability again. And I'm sad about that on the other hand. Now that I've known the freedom and joy of ultimate trust and ultimate vulnerability anything less feels...less. It makes me sad and angry that I feel like I have to give up that quality of life experience. But as I talked I realized that it's still my choice. But now I have to make that choice with the new knowledge I have. I have to choose that level of trust and vulnerability (if that's what I want) knowing that I risk being hurt this deeply and profoundly again. So I'm like Rocky - that boxer with a dream stepping back into the ring...or an idiot...or something between poetic and stupid.

Another thing I realized in my last session: As the absolutist that I am it's been difficult to experience things (like sadness for example) without also feeling like This Is The Way It Is Now. For example, I Will Never Trust Anyone Again. That's how I'm feeling right now, but it doesn't mean I'm destined to live that way forever. So I'm giving myself until June 1, 2008 to have whatever feelings and thoughts I have without question, with the understanding that I'm processing things right now, and I don't have to fret about anything being permanent. I may find that in a year I'm happier, healthier and in a better place in life that I ever imagined possible, and that this was the only path available to get there. Oh, look! It's my natural Pollyanna side poking her head out. It's who I am at the core. Lucky for me otherwise I'd probably have stuck a knife in my eye by now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My existential crisis persists

Friday night I made some last minute plans to meet Husband to see a play. The play was at a theater we founded 10 years ago. I was involved near the beginning, but I haven't stayed involved over the years as he has.

As I got ready to leave I started thinking about the possibility that he was having an affair with someone at the theater. There are plenty of young, beautiful, talented women there. Maybe he met someone and has been meeting her at the theater. Maybe that's why he's often having to go to see shows at the last minute (he's on the Board, so he has to see the shows but we never make regular plans to go together)...maybe he didn't sound so excited that I was coming when I called to tell him...maybe if I get there earlier than I said I would I'll be able to tell who he's cheating with and catch him in intimate conversation with her...will it always be like this?...will I always wonder?....not just with Husband, but with any partner I'm in an intimate relationship with? can I ever know? I've learned that appearances will deceive. Of all the people I've met in my life, Husband seemed like the last person who would ever lie to me, cheat on me, have sex with other women. Not just by my judgement - I've had friends who know about this situation say the same. My heart was pounding, my lips were getting cold, my breathing was rapid.

When I arrived at the theater at 5 minutes to curtain, Husband was by himself in the little box office selling tickets. No beautiful, talented, young woman exchanging hushed, intimate conversation and sharing looks and laughs as I'd envisioned. I was somewhat relieved, but still shaking inside. Husband could tell immediately that there was something wrong and asked if I was okay. I told him I was having some anxiety, but there was no time to talk at that moment so I waited until intermission to tell him the specifics.

We talked at length during intermission, after the show, later that night by the fire in our back yard, and more at couples therapy yesterday. I feel much better now, because I've made a connection to who he is today instead of who he was before he began to get help and support for his issues.

It was so weird, because I don't often think about him having affairs with people now - or even paid sex with prostitutes. I believe him when he tells me that the only extramarital sex he's had is with prostitutes, and that he's not doing that anymore. I don't know what initiated that anxiety, but I know it's a product of the existential crisis I'm working through based on the new context I have in life.

A couple big fears I identified from the experience: I'm afraid that since there's no way to know for sure that someone won't betray me (for example, having a loving, intimate relationship with someone for two decades is no indication) I'll just get hurt deeply hurt again if I place my trust in someone. Right now I don't feel willing to go through this depth of pain again. I'm also afraid that I'll be so good at protecting myself that I'll end up alone - not physically alone, but alone inside, alone in my deepest, most intimate places. I don't want that kind of life. I've seen too many examples and it's too sad an existence.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm sick of hearing that men are likely to be unfaithful

It may be true but it pisses me off every time I hear statistics about men being so much more likely to commit infidelity than women. What is the source of that? Perhaps it's purely the animal instinct to ensure the persistence of the species, but since as humans we have a higher consciousness I don't think that explains it all.

I think the media conveys messages that male infidelity is normal, that the male sexual appetite is beyond control, and that the way to be successful as a woman is to please men (have big breasts, be thin, be sexy, smell good, feel good to the touch, etc.) I think our culture encourages excess, and the idea that we can have it all (for example sex with our partners and sex on the side, too.) Finally, I'm beginning to think that the idea that prostitution is a path and not a problem is wrong.

I'm a liberal across the board, and I used to view the decision to be a prostitute as a personal choice. But just as we as a society try to help other less fortunate and disadvantaged groups (homeless, mentally ill, addicted, impoverished, etc), I think we need to offer more help to prostitutes to get out of that way of life. If healthy, well adjusted adult women were becoming prostitutes, I'd say it's not my business. But statistics show that most women who become prostitutes are victims of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, most often beginning in childhood. What could make the difference? Lots of things, starting with basics like better child care, better health care, better public education and a government that supports families with policies rather than slogans, or a society that encourages us to care for our fellow human beings rather than to look out for Number One.

I'm getting way off the subject of my blog and this post is too long, but I'm mad about how the culture I live in gives such mixed, confusing messages about sexuality and gender. There are no easy answers, but discussion and awareness are at least a starting point.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Talking with my friend about infidelity

A girlfriend told me today that she'd passed up an opportunity to have an affair. We were talking about grief over getting older, choices and needing to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives.

Something that stood out for me was how we sometimes think about doing things that we wouldn't really do, or things that conflict with each other, and why we do that. Because I've been doing a lot of that kind of thinking. (I still have moments when I'm convinced I should go out and have casual sex with other men.)

As we talked I realized that even for the rash things we think about, there are valid underlying reasons why we're having those thoughts, and the valid underlying reasons should not be overlooked, dismissed or otherwise invalidated no matter how rash the impulses.

Invalidating thoughts and feelings is what got Husband where he is, he and I where we are, and what makes sorting everything out so confusing for me. I have all sorts of conflicting thoughts, desires, urges and instincts (running, revenge, forgiving and forgetting, hurting him, loving him, etc). I realized that I can't discount any of them, but really need to look to the origin of all of them to get somewhere healthy, somewhere that I really might want to be.

Still feeling a lack of power

I realized this morning that despite everything (Husband's best efforts, therapy, reading, etc) I'm still feeling a lack of power in my relationship. I also know it comes from me, not from Husband. From my fears and insecurities. I know it's there because I still have thoughts of having my own infidelities to hurt him ("Honey, I met this hot, sexy guy (and when I say sexy I mean six-pack) at a coffee shop today and we ended up going back to his apartment and having sex. But it meant nothing to me and it had nothing do to with you. And I'm only going to do it 27 more times." Pause. Sweet smile. "How does that feel?!"), and I worry about doing something "wrong" that will bring back his resentments.

We started a dance class last night. Husband is a very good dancer, and we love dancing together. It feels great to be in his arms, and to be having fun with him. I'm glad that in the midst of all the chaos we're able to make this time to do something light and fun - and something that will help further the re-establishment of the bond we had, help us move forward on our path.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I just read an important distinction regarding acceptance.

You can accept where you are in the present moment but that doesn't mean accepting fate or, in other words, a future that you don't want. So, in that context...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the past); courage to change the things I can (the future) and the wisdom to know the difference.

(For reference, here's the Wikipedia entry for the Serenity Prayer.)

I'm struggling with acceptance right now. I don't like my new past. I want the past I thought I had before, except I want both Husband and I to experience it the way I thought it was, not the way he thought it was (which wasn't so great for him.) And that, of course, is impossible in any case.

Acceptance. I'm going to have to try for one day at a time.

Understanding a source of pain and anxiety

Just realized that a source of anxiety for me is that I'm missing a certainty I used to feel about the future.

Before June 1st, based on the past I had a strong sense of what my future might look like. Now, based on my new past, I no longer have that feeling.

The reality is that I could have no more actual certainty about the future before June 1st than after, but I FELT like I could. The discovery of my husband's extended adultery with prostitutes simply put me face to face with the fact that the future for all of us is unknowable, uncertain and mostly beyond my control. We may have beliefs, ideas, thoughts, feelings, hopes, goals, etc...But there is no way to know for sure. That fact comes into direct conflict with the base survival instinct. So that is the true source of a lot of anxiety for me...being present to the fact that as a human being the next moment will forever be unknown to me and beyond my ability to control.

I have lost a sense of my value to my partner

I realized this morning on the drive to work that part of what I feel sad and disoriented about is that I have lost a sense of how much my husband values me in his life. Not surprising considering that he's lied to me for years and secretly had sex and sexual activity with so many other partners over that time. He tells me all the time how much I mean to him, how I've saved his life, and how much he loves me. And I believe him. But words are words - I've heard all those words before June 1st. I don't doubt that he meant what he said, but one does not get a sense of another's appreciation by being betrayed. I need and appreciate his words to that effect, but I need more than that. I need actions. I need him to work hard to restore the context I had, not like a thought or a feeling, but the context in which I lived my life, part of which was that he valued me so much that he chose to be with me over all others, chose to be sexually intimate with me over all others, and (I thought) chose to be deeply open and honest with me allowing for a level of trust I shared with no one else. These things gave me a sense of how much my husband valued me, and developed over years, decades even. Then they were suddenly jerked away from me when I found out about the years of prostitutes. So it will take words and actions beyond the everyday, and time - like restoring ancient forests after strip mining or delicate coral beds after they are struck by passing ships.

Still have lots of feelings to deal with

Had an SAnon meeting tonight, and then a visit with Sophia. I could write a lot, but must go to bed. However I want to document that alcohol frees me to be present to pain, grief and anger that I still carry with me.

I started asking Husband questions I should never have asked tonight, and got answers that hurt me. Do you still think of sex with other women? Mmmmm...not a lot. Before I found out, did you think about it a lot? I guess so. Then he had to get off the phone. Called me later to say he thought about it and realized that while he might have thought about sex with other women 2 or 3 month ago, he doesn't anymore. His thinking is changing.

That's great, but I'm still angry about the fact that I did what we fucking said we'd do in our relationship (be honest and communicate, not to mention be monogamous) and he didn't, and that lead to my life being turned upside down and my guts and heart being torn apart. And I'm still grieving the part of me that was so idealisitic that died with that discovery. And I'm still hurt by his lies and by the fact that he's had sex with so many other women while I thought we were choosing to give up all those other options when we commited to being together. There's a lot inside that I'm not skilled at getting out. But when I drink and talk openly with Sophia, it's there.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...for example that in the past 3 1/2 years my husband has had sex with at least 28 other women.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Trying out my new method

Not a day goes by where I don't think about Husband's infielity and betrayal. It's just part of the fabric of my consciousness now. I often get images in my head of him engaged in activities with other women, or think about how he was feeling, what he must have been thinking. The other night I asked if he could confirm that he'd never had sex with a prostitute and then me in the same day. (While he couldn't remember that every happening, he coudn't promise that it hadn't.) Last night I was thinking about how he spent the day before our anniversary last year trying to find a prostitute to have sex with. (He can positively confirm that fell through at the last minute, despite two different attempts, so he didn't actually have sex with another woman the day before our anniversary last year, although he tried.)

I've been trying out my method of thinking of him as a New Man, to varying degrees of success. It often works to get me out of the pain, but it doesn't completely get rid of my thoughts and feelings. Those come back again and agian. And I don't what to get rid of feelings. But I do want to stop suffering over a past I have no control over and focus on a future that I have the ability to create. Easier said than done, and it's one day at a time, over and over again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Another way to look at my situation

So the only thing that can really help me is me, right? So how about this:

I’m an early 40s woman with a 6 year old son. I’m involved with a new man. He’s smart and funny and talented and we’re interested in the same things, value the same things, share a very similar outlook on life. My son loves him, he loves my son, and he says he’s in love with me, too. In fact, he says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. My body isn’t perfect, but he thinks it’s beautiful. I’m not a young model type, but he thinks I’m beautiful. He tells me I’m smart and funny and talented. He’s handsome, loving, generous, kind, tender and gentle. He’s a wonderful lover. He was in a long relationship before in which he made some serious mistakes, and had a major crisis. He learned a lot from that – a lot about himself, and about who he’ll be in a relationship now. He’ll never lie. He’ll be honest and communicate openly. He’s in therapy and in 12-step programs, and is ongoingly working on better understanding the origins of his addictions and works hard every day, and with intention, to be who he says he’s going to be one day at a time.

Thank my higher powers for great friends

Marcie sent me an email she'd composed a few days ago. Although she was sending it "late" it came at the perfect time. She wrote, " If you are honestly throwing yourself into the 10,000 universes… then you will have no expectation of the outcome, you will just truly experience things as they are at this moment."


To Husband: Why I'm Down Today

Husband - From time to time I have an overwhelming feeling of "what's the point?"

I feel like we've been building our relationship for 20 years and what I have left now in the wake of June 1st is almost starting over relative to what I had before in terms of trust.

I have a man who loves me and is willing to build an extraordinary relationship and life with me, which is incredible. But it feels like a starting point, and after 20 years of building such profound deep trust and openness as I had with you before that's now mostly gone, it leaves me with that "what's the point" feeling. I feel a deep and profound emptiness today around that. I really want to shake this and not have this going on for Son's birthday. But I'm having trouble doing that today.

So that's where I was this morning when you asked me how I was doing. That's where I am now. If you have anything to offer in the way of love, comfort, thoughts, etc. I'd welcome them.

What's the point?

I've realized this morning that it's not a sadness, but more a feeling of what's the point. From time to time I get this feeling. I have trouble understanding the point of my life if this is what it has lead to. Not that I'm feeling suicidal - with kids that's just not an option, and I just don't feel inclined to that kind of action. But I feel depressed because I see stretching before me a life of going through the motions maybe.

I remind myself that being Son's mom is one of the most important roles I can have, and that gives me purpose. But the relationship that inspired me doesn't exist right now. That's disorienting.

I feel weak for needing/wanting this relationship I thought I had before so badly, and I feel like I should be over this by now. It's an old story. It's a common story. I feel like I should be getting over it. But I'm not. Feeling guilty for feeling shitty. Isn't that pathetic?!

Pangs of sadness and the bardo of dream

Had a nice family weekend. Movie with Husband (The Nines - two thumbs up), backyard blow up pool and bbq with friends, beach, dinner with other friends. Oddly, discussion of prostitution came up in passing.

So things seem fine. No great welling of emotion from me. But last night I was present to a feeling of being alone, even while lying right beside Husband. I think I'm still mourning the connection made possible by the level of trust I used to have.

I was reading an article about the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the bardo of dream. Bardos are defined as the phases in the cyclical process of life, death and rebirth. There are six bardos in the cycle. The bardo of dream is described as the interval between falling asleep and waking in which the appearances of the waking state dissolve, there is a gap in which the illusory dream appearances arise, and then the appearances of the waking state become perceptible again. I think this is what the last 10 years of my relationship have been...the gap in which the illusory dream appearances arise. And now I am in the midst of the end of the illusion of happiness that my relationship was, and it makes me sad. The bardo of dream represents but one of six bardos that make up a continuous cycle, so the end of this bardo is also a beginning. So I have this new beginning to look forward to.