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.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

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.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I used to fantasize that I would videotape myself having sex with the loved ones of the women my husband cheated with and give the videos to all parties to hurt everyone back...

It's good to get out and reconnect. I remember getting a babysitter and going out to the movies with my husband and watching The Incredibles and just laughing and laughing and then going out to play pool. And I remember thinking, "My husband is so much fun. We laugh so much together. This is the person I married. This is why I married him."

woman.anonymous7 said...

That's exactly it! Husband and I enjoy each other so much on so many levels. It's the reason I married him, yet also makes it so hard to reconcile with his addict. The picture I had of the smart, funny, kind, warm, loving, honest, inspiring person I married didn't include the aspects that the addict brings into our lives. But in fact, the good and the bad are all part of the same package. In other words, this wonderful person is human. As long as he's a human in Recovery, I'm willing to take this path with him.

Crystal said...

I'm not judging the decisions anyone makes in their life. I'm asking the following because I guess I'm coming from a different place than the two of you with this, and I ask because I really would like to hear the answer.

But after finding out about so much betrayal and chronic lying - what is truly so great about these men?
Honesty, faithfulness, true communication, deep commitment, deep sharing - none of these were given by them.

Kind? I think not. Not if they could do things to satisfy themselves without a care to the harm they would cause others. Loving? Same thing.

Funny and entertaining? Well perhaps but there have to be fun and entertaining honest men out there. At least I hope so. I'm not sure I could compartmentalize so well to overlook all the rest.

I'm wondering if you are not still putting on rose colored glasses. Or do I have rose colored glasses on, still hoping that there are honest and faithful male human beings out there in the world? Is this all there really is? Are we all supposed to put up with this much and settle?

Crystal said...

I see that comments must be approved now. If this is in any way due to my comments, and they are bothering you in any way, please let me know. I do not wish to add any distress to you.

woman.anonymous7 said...

I'm not at all offended by your questions, Crystal. They are some of the questions I consider every day, and questions I need to answer for myself to make decisions about my life. (I added comment moderation because I'm trying to find a way to be sure to respond to people who comment in a timely manner.)

The conclusion I've come to for now is that my husband is a wonderful man, and also that he's not perfect. He did what I consider a very bad thing over a very long period of time. My husband also participates in Overeaters Anonymous (OA), and has had a secret life with food as well as sex. He lied to me about that, too. Just as I have compassion for that addiction, I'm trying to have compassion for his sex addiction. I'm trying to understand that just because he's an addict, he's not a bad person. It's harder with the sex addiction, because it more directly affects me (for example, we had no specific commitments about food the way we did about monogamy), but it all comes from the same place. Were he not ACTIVELY in recovery (SAA/OA meetings 4 times a week, individual therapy, couples therapy, over 90 days of abstinence in both his programs, lots of evidence of progress with regard to communication, complete acceptance of responsibility for his behavior and actions on his part, regret and remorse, a willingness to do anything he can to help me cope and heal) I can easily see myself making a different choice.

Based on my experience I think the choice to stay or leave after betrayal and infidelity is highly individual, and based upon a variety of factors which will be unique to each couple.

It's true, Husband wasn't perfectly honest, although he was honest about most things. He was definitely not physically faithful, although he was faithful in his love and commitment to our relationship and our family (he never got emotionally involved with anyone else and was never looking for any kind of ongoing relationship with someone else.) We communicated and shared deeply about most things - except for certain fears and feelings he didn't have the skills to communicate (for example, I never knew he always thought I could leave him at any moment if he did something that pissed me off, and that he was often on egg-shells around me. I'm probably the furthest thing from volatile, but I do shut down when I feel threatened. And he has abandonment issues from childhood. So our ways of coping with discord were perfectly mismatched, sort of destined to be unsuccessful. We're learning communication skills now in couples therapy.) As for kind and loving - Husband has always made breakfast for Son and I almost every morning; he is an outstanding, loving, accessible father; an amazing, equal partner in raising our child; he has always encouraged me to reach for my dreams in life and has backed that up with supportive action; he brings flowers a lot; he has been there every moment to comfort me through my pain about his betrayal when I've turned to him, despite the fact that he has his own pain and that it's painful for him to see the impact he's had on me; he freely gives loving touches; he is interested in talking with and listening to me; the list is long and I could go on and on.

I guess the point is that I see value for myself in staying with Husband right now. If the boundaries I'm creating for my own preservation are crossed I will re-evaluate. If staying brings more pain and suffering than joy, I'll re-evaluate. I'm working on this one day at a time, and I don't know how it will turn out.

When I got married I made a commitment to try to work out problems, even big ones. It feels right to me to do that. I didn't commit to staying in an unhappy relationship, and if it becomes evident to me that Husband is not willing or able to create a future with me that I want to be a part of, I'll re-evaluate.