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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Unearthing a barrier between us

If I met Husband now, and he told me about all the things he'd done, but he'd done them to somebody else; and told me how much he loved me and how he was committed to being honest and trustworthy and respectful in our relationship, to cherishing it and me, I think I'd have an easier time forming a deep bond with him.

But because he's lied to me (I know that it wasn't being done to me, because the sex addict is feeding his addiction just like the alcoholic or drug addict, but that's not the way it feels,) I've been feeling painfully worthless.

Thinking about it I've concluded that it's not so much that I think I'm worthless, but that I feel like he didn't value me enough to be honest, trustworthy and respectful the way he promised. Deep down I feel that if he'd really cherished me and our relationship more, he wouldn't have lied to me, particularly for so long and about something so intimate.

Intellectually I understand that this wasn't the case. But I can't shake the feelings. The pain I have in my heart and my gut about not feeling valued by the person I loved and valued the most stands between us. My body doesn't trust the intellectual assessment, and goes on doubting the moment.


Catherine said...

How wonderfully written.

VelVerb said...

No way you're going to be able to figure out that I'm a Buddhist with a neuroscience background with heavy emphasis on evolution.

(That was to make you smile)

You may be able to intellectually get that your H's lying was part of a disease and not personal. But right now your higher brain is battling your animal brain. We are social animals and were wired to live in tribes. It was essential to our very survival to be able to trust the members of our tribe and this trust was built through consistent interactions and social cues. Your H gave you all the cues that you could trust him while he was lying. Disease or no, your response is not only normal, but really really normal, and OK!!

In order to trust your H again, you have to fly in the face of thousands and thousands of years of evolution. You have to tell your instinctual brain to shut up even though it's screaming "danger danger" at you.

Who can do that and feel sane? It's creating a cognitive dissonance in your mind, hence the waffling. Your instinctual mind is alerting you to a risk and you are having to battle that out.

Go easy on yourself, and in my opinion, a lot more of this responsibilty does and should fall to your H. He needs to make sure his cues match his intentions, and the simple fact is, you're not going to trust again easily. That is not your fault, nor a shortcoming on your part.

True, you can and should continue with spiritual progression, for your own sake and your own healing, but you don't need to apologize to yourself or anyone else for not being able to trust this situation easily. Focus on your own values and what you want, and don't be afraid to voice what you need.

Maeve said...

I haven't got this stuff figured out either, but I agree w/ velverb--hubby needs to be doing everything he can to demonstrate that he is trustworthy. Without that I don't know how you could learn to trust him again.

thejunkyswife said...

I think that's the hardest part, for me, in deciding to stay. It's also one of the hardest things for him. None of his words mean anything. I let one resentment go to find another one waiting to rise to the surface. It's going to take years to sort all this stuff out...his disease destroyed so much in such a short amount of time...and I know it must add layers and layers when the disease gets entangled with marital betrayal.

FI0NA said...

This is a fascinating series of posts. I empathise entirely with your trust issues. Although as velverb says it is his disease that was causing him to lie and it was not personal it is still tempting (for me at least) to say well that is not the kind of disease I want to live with (or near). Straight after my SAB's disclosure he asked me to marry him, and I said yes, although the in the maelstrom of emotions that were running at the time this was not really a good time to be making decisions. I think he was trying to signal to me that his lying and cheating was not about me, he loved me, and wanted to be with me. I have just been in a holding pattern since. Not leaving, and not organising the wedding. On reflection I think from the moment of disclosure, I loved and trusted him less. It is a coping mechanism. He is responsible for his actions, and I will not let them touch me. I am focussing on ME. At the same time, I can't love him as completely, freely and trustingly as I used to, and as such it may not be fair to stay.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Fi0na - I'm struggling with that very thing. I don't know that I can ever love and trust Husband the way I did for the last 20 years. It just kills me. I feel so sad about what we've lost. But what's done is done. So now we just have to see what we can rebuild. It will be different. It may not be as good. It may be better. It may be both, in different ways. I really don't know at this point.

Grief over the loss of the love and trust I used to feel is gouging away at me this week, almost as much as it did in the early weeks.

If it weren't for my son I might just give up and move on. But the need to stay on for my son, forcing me to face a situation I might otherwise choose to leave, may also turn out to be my access to tremendous personal and spiritual growth.

That possibility sustains me when nothing else does.

ThisJane said...

i was consumed with this every moment. so kicking him out was not only due to his actions but the thoughts that consumed. how could he do this, that, the other...he must have no true love or value for me. the pain was incredible and still has not passed.