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, November 30, 2007

Funk persists

I'm sitting at LAX waiting for my flight to Oakland. More business travel.

This low that's been lingering since before Thanksgiving persists, and this morning I'm particularly sad. I don't know why.

Sometimes when I'm at the airport I think that if it weren't for my son I'd just take off. Hop on a plane and...I don't know what. Escape? Not really possible, since I believe I'll have to learn whatever lesson I'm learning, whether it's now or later. And in the meantime suffer the result of my ignorance. But it would feel good to leave everything behind for a while. Not forever. I'd just like some time to be alone with my thoughts and feelings; some solitude in which to listen for myself.

Last night as I lay beside Husband I wondered about the nights before when we lay spooned together, skin against skin, after he'd fucked some other woman that day. I try not to dwell on such things, but it creeps up on me sometimes.

I know he's sick, that he deluded himself into thinking he wasn't doing anything wrong, wasn't hurting me, and that he never loved me any less when he was doing those things. But it still leaves me feeling so lonely sometimes.

I don't feel connected to him the way I used to. I know it's a trust issue and I'm optimistic that it will get worked out over time. But there is a barrier between us now. Sometimes it's just whisper thin. Sometimes it feels like maybe it's gone. But sometimes it expands and I feel a distance I just can't bridge. It's like I'm no longer standing body to body with him looking out at the world. Instead I'm standing alone, maybe holding his hand, but looking at him, guarding myself. That's what makes me sad. That feeling of being so alone when I used to feel so very deeply close to him. But I think that's the truth of the world. We come in alone, we leave alone, and we are really alone the whole time in between, except we allow ourselves to feel connected. But really, deep down we are our own last defense, which keeps us separate or gets us hurt or worse if we can't or won't accept that responsibility.

Of course what is popping up in my head is the concept of non-duality. No me, no him; all one. Ultimately I think my way through this is a spiritual path. That's a challenge for me, given my bad experiences with organized Christian religion. But through reading and my twelve step program I'm realizing the importance of spirituality. And I'm growing to accept that the God of our choosing can be found in many places, especially when I quiet my loud thoughts and listen.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seven things I'm grateful to have learned in recovery

I have been memed by one of my favorites, The Junky's Wife, and the game directly overlaps what I've been thinking about as Thanksgiving approaches.

I've been having a hard time finding time to write, and I've also been struggling with a little funk. It's a combination of my friend finding a "perfect" guy, her thinking about having more kids (which we've been trying to do,) and seeing some (bad) movies that had me thinking about the unpredictability of life's tragedies.

But here I am right now, with both the time and the spirit to finish this post, so here goes.

Here are the rules for the meme:

Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven things you're grateful to have learned in recovery.
Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Seven things I'm grateful to have learned in recovery are:

1. I'm grateful to see that my "illness" is my need to fix and solve things for others, often at the expense of actually listening to or hearing them; that I don't have to do that; and that if I don't do that, I can have a better experience of myself and better relationships with others.

2. I'm grateful to have learned that a healthy adult has defined boundaries with everybody, even with people they love and trust, and with people who love them and treat them with love.

3. I'm grateful to have learned that I don't need to agonize about or be hurt by things that don't have anything to do with me.

4. I'm grateful to have learned to reach out to others.

5. I'm grateful to have been given the insight that my husband is human, and not the perfect person I'd unintentionally held him to be. This awareness frees us both from certain pressures and expectations that inevitably create problems.

6. I'm grateful to have learned that when Husband is angry it doesn't mean Husband hates me and will certainly have less respect for me, that I've completely failed, that I'm a bad person, and that I alone have to fix whatever the problem is. And I'm grateful to learn that Husband is responsible for his own feelings.(I'm also grateful to have learned what an absolutist I am and how that impacts me and my relationships.)

7. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to see how truly unknown the future is, regardless of how knowable it feels, and to have the chance to face the unknowableness of life and the accompanying fear and not turn away from it, and to try to learn from what I experience by not turning away.

There is so much more I've learned. I wish I could learn all the good lessons I'm learning without the accompanying pain and fear - I certainly wouldn't say I'd gladly do this all again. But there is no question that I've experienced profound personal and spiritual growth that I am deeply thankful for.

I have only two people to tag at the moment (a lesson on reaching out more!):
Fiona at Ionafiona
Chris at Grateful Recovering Sex Addict

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Husband's struggles make me nervous

Husband is really struggling with his addict over food issues. He binged on the way home from work last night on 8 pieces of chicken and ice cream, and was going to sit down and eat dinner with us until I remembered him mentioning on the phone earlier that evening that he'd had dinner already.

He also went and saw a movie at 11am yesterday and spent the rest of his work day on Facebook. That's him struggling with his addiction and distracting himself from his feelings and his life.

When he does this he has a generally grumpy demeanor, and I can feel him withholding his feelings. And I know what that has lead to in the past, which is what makes me nervous.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Still catching up with the rest of life

There should be family leave for when you find out about betrayal and infidelity. Actually, as I was going through the worst of it, it never occurred to me to not go to work. Not that I was able to be very productive. But now it's very stressful trying to catch up for the months when I couldn't do much. And of course, I can't say anything to anybody...I just look like I'm bad at my job.

Things continue to go well with Husband's recovery. He's nearing 6 months at OA and SAA. I was going to write, "at least I think so." But I realized today that I've decided that if something is not right, I am going to know. I'm sick of wondering if I'll know if he lies about something; sick of worrying that things he says might not be true. I think they are. And I've decided that as a smart, adult woman who is now much more tuned in, who accepts the way the world can be in a way I never did before, I will know. Thoughts and worries come up, but most times I find myself responding with, "No, I don't have to worry. I'll know. I will know."

Something that's been on my mind this week is where love turns into need, and how those two things are or are not intertwined. I can't write anymore at this moment because I'm sick with stomach flu, but that's what's on my mind. How to have love, and not have it turn into some kind of need. It's not a sorted out thought yet, so I have no idea what the answer will be for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Other impacts

I've been absolutely crazy at work for the past week catching up on things that I'm behind on because I've been unable to focus well until recently. I'm a project manager and I did only what I had to to get by for about 4 months, and now I'm feeling the repercussions of not planning ahead at work.

I'm also feeling anxiety, because some of Husband's frustration with me had to do with my being busy with work. I feel like I shouldn't be busy, and having all this coming down now makes me stressed out and anxious.

I discussed this with Husband, who tried to reassure me that the problem wasn't my business, but his inability to talk about his feelings about it that caused his resentments. I'm trying to process that so I can let go of the stress, but I still have a pit of worry in my stomach.

Back to work now.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A nice quiet evening

Our date last night was nice and relaxing. We went to a pub and then to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Husband brought me flowers and balloons and a beautiful card he'd written. I gave him a wallet sized version of our wedding promises, which brought tears to his eyes. I made one for myself, too, so I can easily re-presence myself to what I've promised. We've agreed that we don't ever want to be so unconsciously disconnected from each other again.

It was a happy evening, and we had a wonderful time together. Five months ago I wouldn't have imagined that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ten Years Ago Today

These are the promises we made to each other 10 years ago today:

I love you and I promise to cherish and respect you;
To give you kisses and hugs every day; to caress and to soothe you;
To listen to you and communicate with you; to give back rubs and foot rubs;
To be honest and tender and trustworthy and sexy;
To always laugh at your jokes;
To have fun and enjoy every moment with you;
To always look for the greatness within you;
To provide an embrace of love and confidence in which you can be exactly who you are;
And to discover you anew every day for the rest of my life.

They are still the promises I'd want to make today.

Neither of us have kept all these promises. And what we're going through now gives us a chance to honestly assess where we've fallen short in holding up our agreements, to decide whether we're still commited to these promises, and to restore what needs to be restored in order to have the relationship we want to have.

It's not over until we say it's over. That's definitely something to celebrate.