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, October 28, 2007

Steadily getting better

The trip to Hawaii was amazing. Exceeded our expectations in every way.

One thing Husband and I realized was that in our 19 years together, this was the first vacation we'd taken alone together that didn't involve visiting someone. Because we've lived as room mates with my mother since the very beginning of our relationship, we've had little time comletely alone as a couple. We've always had a lot going on in our lives. And since the arrival of Son in the Fall of 2001, life has just gotten fuller.

When we returned, Husband said he realized the difference between kissing in Maui and kissing at home was that in Maui there was nothing else we should or could be doing at that moment. No son to care for, no work following us home from our jobs, nobody wanting or needing anything from us. It was just us. Alone, together, with nothing to think about and no decisions to make except whether to wake up and go to yoga on the beach, go snorkeling, meditate on the beach, or have a Mai Tai.

On the flight over to Hawaii I was having anxiety about what we were doing. I wasn't clear what we were celebrating, and I didn't want to go through the motions and feel conflicted in my heart. So I brought it up and we talked about it. Husband said he was celebrating our life together, our love for each other, and the happy times that we had, despite his secret life.

I said I could also celebrate our love for each other. But the memories of happy times are tinged with pain for me because I know that the life I thought I had in those happy memories is not the life I was really having. He said he understood, and we left it at that. I felt satisfied that we weren't ignoring any elephants in the living room, and that I had identified something I could authentically celebrate about our 10 years together. There is a lot of good...lots of love, and there were so many good times.

At the airport on our way back to Calfiornia I realized I was feeling sad because there was a part of me that wanted to know that things were going to continue to be as blissful and wonderful as they had been for the past 4 days on Maui. A much bigger part of me knows that there is no knowing anymore, but the desire to feel some assurance in spite of that is still present. I talked with Husband about it, and although there was no solution to that dilemma talking about it helped.

Since our return I've been able to focus and concentrate very well, and I've been spending a great deal of time catching up on work that I haven't been able to focus on for the past 4 months. No blogging from the office since I got back a week ago. And focusing on remaining connected with Husband has kept my attention after work and family stuff have been attended to each day.

In our couples therapy today we realized how differently we've experienced our sex life prior to June 1st. I realized more pointedly how little priority I'd placed on that, even though I knew it was important to Husband. We could go for weeks without having sex and I wouldn't realize it. I really took it for granted that he knew how much I loved him, that I found him desireable, and that I thought he was a great lover. Meanwhile, he was feeling unheard and unimportant to me, and his feelings of hurt and neglect built up over the years.

NOT that a lack of sex is either an explanation or justification for lies and infidelity. It's NOT. But I could see how I hadn't really been present to him in the way that I'd expect him to be present to me. And how his feelings about that, combined with his feelings about other things going on in his life, his inability to express himself, and his lack of conscious awareness of his feelings led to him react by distracting himself with food, sex, shopping, alcohol and other things he felt entitled to because of his pain and anger (which he didn't have the ability to recognize for what they were.)

One of the promises of Twelve Step programs is that you will come to not regret the past. While I wish there was another much less painful way for me to have learned what I'm learning from this, we are experiencing individually and as a couple so much growth from this that I could honestly say that I am beginning to not regret what has transpired. Not that I wouldn't change it if I could, but I can't. And that doesn't seem so awful anymore.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Glad to have you back. And so glad that the trip to Maui was relaxing and healing. We too have had few true vacations, but it can be such a relief not to have all the burdens of everyday life hanging over you -- to be able to just focus on yourselves for a while.

FI0NA said...

I identify with your remarks about even when you reflect on the happy times together, you know it was not authentic on your side. My SAB tells me everyday he loves me, and he told me this all through last year, when he was having sex with other person(s). Now when I hear it, I really can't believe it. Or rather, I really don't know what he means by it. Perhaps "You are my mainstay, my platform, who will always be there for me, and from whom I can launch my uncontrollable sex life if I need to, and know I can still return to you. It may comfort him, but not me.

Anonymous said...

This was a very touching post. I wish you luck in your healing.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you had a good trip - you were on my mind all week! I'll continue to keep you in my thoughts. It's great that you are communicating with each other - I find the improved communication my husband and I have experienced since he admitted to his addiction to be the best thing that has come out of all of this heartache.

The Hurting Heart