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, October 4, 2007

Loss from death vs. loss from betrayal

On the treadmill last night it dawned on me that if Husband didn't come back from his trip for some reason, I'd be fine. I think I've already had such grief and loss from this betrayal that nothing could feel worse with respect to Husband.

Back before we were married when we still lived in Seattle (so before 1993) I told Husband that I wanted to be sure he knew I could live without him. That stuck in the forefront of his mind and, to some extent, defined his experience with me even as it grew to be less and less true for me. Though he didn't know it, Husband became for me someone I'd never want to live without. But last night it felt as though I'm back where I was before all those years ago - detached and in control.

When I woke up this morning, I tried to call Husband before meditating. I didn't reach him, but knew he'd call me back when he could. After I started meditating I realized that his phone interview for a job was only about 10 minutes away, and I worried that he might be sleeping through it because he'd just gotten off the red-eye. So I called again, several times. No answer - up until 5 minutes before the interview. No answer.

As I thought about what could have happened to keep him from answering (car accident, jumped out of the plane, killed himself (after all, he looked like something heavy was on his mind when he left), etc...) I began to feel sad at the thought of really living without him, and I realized that as guarded as I feel I still want a chance to work it out, and I'd miss him deeply if he really were gone from my life. I was happy to discover that. Happy to realize that I really do want to keep trying to create a solid, loving, trusting relationship with him. Happy to realize that it's just fear, and not indifference that's settled over my heart.

He called about a minute later. He wasn't dead. He was in the shower.


Crystal said...

I wonder if it is a common feeling to have that it would be easier to deal with a husband's death than with his betrayal or losing him to another woman? I think it may be.

A death, as devastating as that would be, would leave the spouse,(the wife in this hypothetical) with good feelings and memories of her husband, with feelings of closeness. On the other hand, betrayal and cheating destroy the closeness and so much more.

Personally, I wish my husband had died.

thejunkyswife said...

I wonder if it's a codependent thing to go to that place: OH MY GOD HE'S DEAD. I get there pretty quickly...partly because my husband's addiction is something that kills folks, but partly because I have some sort of belief that if I prepare for the worst, it won't hurt as much.

I'm in a similar place to man is a pain in my ass...but today, I'm hanging in there with him. I want him, and I have hope that it can be better.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I've done that thought experiment too from time to time -- wondered if it would have been better if he died. In the early days of recovery, I used to wish he had died, and I didn't have to work so hard on rebuilding our relationship. I think the worst would have been finding out about his addiction after he died, when there was no way for him to explain it.

FI0NA said...

I've heard it the other way round in relation to people who lose their husband young "Death is a cruel mistress" I guess you can't put a face to death - or eek out revenge, which none of we lovely women would want to do anyway :)