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, 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.

1 comment:

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I've known those panic attacks and craziness too, of course. I think one of the hardest things about working through the wreckage the addiction and infidelity leaves is finding a balance -- not closing up to the world but not blindly believing what people say.