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, March 28, 2008

Surprised by feelings of sadness

I've been feeling sad today, and for the last few days although I didn't identify it until today.

I think it's because I've been under a lot of stress at work. That, combined with other things in life has left me feeling somewhat unhappy.

In the past when I've been unhappy with certain aspects of life, my relationship had been my oasis, my solid ground when I was swimming in discontent, fear or uncertainty. I could find peace knowing that in at least one area of life, and probably one of the most important areas, I was happy and satisfied; that I knew I could trust in my relationship to be a source of joy, comfort, inspiration and nurturing. I could truly know and be known at the deepest, most profound level.

We often said that in the end, money didn't matter; career didn't matter; material things didn't matter; that when it came down to what was important, we knew we had each other. And to me that meant the security of trust. To me that meant that Husband wouldn't deceive me. It meant a special knowledge that I had with him and no one else that he would never knowingly betray me.

But now that I don't have that feeling of safety and truth anymore I don't have a shore to swim to. I don't have that one thing that I look toward and feel, "...this, this is right...the world may be big and frightening around me, but in this one little place where it really matters, I've got it right."

I have no more secret safe place, and for that I'm so sad. And I think it's worst when other aspects of life get overwhelming. I feel lonely and disconnected, and afraid that I'll never love Husband in the same way I did before.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I like that image of being lost in the middle of an ocean with no shore left. I have always found it hard to trust people and ask for help -- in some ways this experience made it easier to reach out -- but in many ways I'm more closed off, feeling like if I couldn't rely on the person I trusted most to keep promises, then I can't count on anyone but myself.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to fill that gap with God. But that relationship is at least as complicated as the one with my husband! ;)

woman.anonymous7 said...

When I think about developing that kind of relationship with God, I come to my evolving belief that we are each an expression of God (the divine, the universe, spirit, etc..) Which leaves me in the position of filling that gap with my self. A much healthier, more evolved, more realistic approach to life and self most likely, but I'm really resisting this. If it all comes back to me, then I'm alone again. Which, I guess, is the ultimate truth in many ways.

I alone am responsible for my life.

But I resist that in my heart.

I don't want a daddy, but I do want a special ally.

I'm perfectly willing to walk naked and alone through the desert; to walk through the valley of the shadow by myself when necessary. But I want to do that knowing that somewhere in the world somebody is keeping my heart safe from annhilation - not like a guarantee, but like a good-faith effort; that somewhere there is an embrace in which I can rest and rejuvenate, and fall into a deep sleep knowing that for those few minutes I'm safe and cared for.

I long for that safe shore, that special connection, that bond like no other, the "got your back" kind of trust that evolves when two people face something difficult and/or scary together.

I hear my struggle with absolutism in those words as I write them. But I don't know how to free myself from that longing.

Another part of my journey, no doubt.

Maeve said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog (though enjoyed seems like an inappropriate word).

I ended up separating from my husband after he proved unwilling to even admit that what he was doing wasn't normal, let alone address it--I hope your path ends differently.

I'm not sure if my signature will link back to my page or not so just in case, I'll enter it here:

struck by lightning

thejunkyswife said...

I hate it. I hate that there's no solution to being so alone in the world. Or I hate it that the solution makes me still, ultimately, alone. Sometimes, I find peace in knowing that I am here for me, that I am my own protector, mother, lover...but when I'm not well, when work or family or life has gotten me feeling a little beat up, the possibility of being my own answer seems so Impossible...

VelVerb said...

Hi Woman Anonymous,

I know that you've been reading some Buddhist texts and finding comfort there. I wanted to share with you this passage from "Everyday Zen" by Charlotte Joko Beck. It seems appropriate.

"In that relationship there's always some genuine love and some false love. How much of our love is genuine depends on how we practice iwth false love, which breeds in the emotion-thought of expectations, hopes, and conditioning. When emotion-thought is not seen as empty, we expect that our relationship should make us feel good. As long as the relationship feeds our pictures of how things are supposed to be, we think it's a great relationship.

Yet when we live closely with somebody, that sort of dream doesn't have much of a chance. As the months go by the dream collapses under pressure, and we find that we can't maintainour pretty pictures of ourselves or of our partners. Of course we'd like to keep the ideal picture we have of ourselves.

Particularly in romantic love, emotion-thought gets really out of hand. I expect of my partner that he should fulfill my idealized picture of myself. And when he ceases to do that (as he will before long) then I say, "The honeymoon's over. What's wrong with him? He's doing all the things I can't stand." And I woner why I am so miserable. My partner no longer suits me, he doesn't reflect my dream picture of myself, he doesn't promote my comfort and pleasure. None of that emotional demand has anything to do with love. as the pictures break down - and they always will in a close relationship - such "love" turns into hostility and arguments.

So if we're in a close relationship, from time to time we're going to be in pain, because no relationship will ever suit u completely. There's no one we will ever live with who will please us in all the ways we want to pleased. So how can we deal with this disappointment? Always we must practice getting closer and closer to experiencing our pain, our disappointment, our shattered hopes, our broken pictures. And that experiencing is ultimately nonverbal. We must observe the thought content until it is neutral enough that we can enter the direct and nonverbal experience of the disappointment and suffering. When we experience the suffering directly, the melting of the false emotion can begin, and true compassion can emerge."

My google account here is for an old blog. I'm no longer there.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Thank you, velverb. I think that is exactly where I am. I'm stuck in wanting my relationship to make me feel the way it used to. And in the fear of accepting my ultimate aloneness.

I have glimpses of that compassion at times, but right now it's mostly obscured by fears and doubts. But I know there's something on the other side of these feelings if I can resist the temptation to protect myself from experiencing them.

I used to think the concept of not resisting was passive, like water yielding to rocks in a river; now I realize that it takes great courage and strength to not resist.

Doc's Girl said...

My dear, I absolutely love your blog--you are an excellent writer and I admire your strength.

I have been an avid reader because I have a friend who is in a similar situation as you with her husband. I feel very sad because she has gotten to the point where she does not talk about the situation anymore (it started over a year ago). I am hoping that it was not something I had done to make her stop talking about it. Is it just the healing process? Anger? Frustration?

What are some words of comfort you can provide for someone in a similar situation...?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as she is one of my best friends and has young children, as well... I am the queen of optimism so this is a very tough place for me to be in--I want to help her but at the same time, I want to protect her, too.

Thanks ahead of time. :) You are an amazing writer......!

woman.anonymous7 said...

Doc's Girl - I've tried to focus on sharing my experience rather than giving advice. However, I understand that when someone is in pain advice can be helpful.

The things that have made a big difference for me are S-Anon (any similar group for partners of sex addicts would do); therapy (individual and couples, with therapists who specialize in sex addiction); moderate vigorous exercise as a substitute for drinking (I feel like it helps work out stress, anxiety and depression, and balances my body chemistry so I don't have the need to numb it all out with alcohol); reading Buddhist literature, particularly Pema Chodron; reading books on sex addiction, particularly Patrick Carnes; meditating; not protecting my husband from my feelings and emotions.

It's very hard to talk about this with people who haven't experienced it, even if they are your most beloved best friends. It's hard enough for me to understand, so talking with others who share an understanding of addiction, particularly sex addiction, cuts through a lot of confusion, misunderstanding and judgement.

Doc's Girl said...

Thank you very much for responding to my comment.

CV said...

Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself. I just discovered my husband's secret one week ago. I had always taken comfort in our fantastic relationship every time some curve ball in life was thrown my way. Now...nothing to find solace in.

woman.anonymous7 said...

CV - There are many people sharing their stories of similar experiences online. I've found this to be a very supportive community and have found solace there. Also, support groups, therapy and reading (both information on sex addiction and spiritual reading) have all provided comfort and access to peace.