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, May 1, 2008

A new freedom

Over the past week or so, I've begun to express myself more with Husband. I always thought I could and did say everything to him. But I didn't.

I often didn't tell him when things pissed me off. Partly because of his response, and partly because I only knew how to be reasonable/understanding/forgiving or mean. Nothing in between. Now I'm learning about in betweens.

I'm also opening up to the idea that I can love Husband in new ways. I'm letting go of needing to love him the way I did before or not at all. I'm trying to stay in the present moment.

In the present is a healthier man who loves me. When I linger over his past actions, pain and sadness come up. It will take time for me to heal those wounds, and I want to heal, not just forget or ignore. And I think a big part of that healing is being with the man he is in the present.

Who is he now?

He's someone who has lied to me; someone who has been unfaithful to our commitment to each other; someone who has hurt me more deeply than I've ever been hurt; someone with more problems than either of us imagined; someone who loves me; a loving, responsible and committed partner in raising our son; someone who sees the greatness in me even when I don't; someone who is committed to recovery and self-discovery through therapy and spiritual practice; someone who is willing to try to build a new relationship with me despite his knowledge that I might discover I can't do that; he's funny, smart, generous, gentle, kind.

He is many things. He is human. I used to think he was Superman. My super man. Now I know he is not. Not Superman. But a good man, with a good heart.

If he weren't this man, if the pain of being with him now was as great as the pain of having been betrayed by him, I might not stay.

For me there is a difference between staying in a hopelessly bad situation and staying in a painful situation. I think the defining question is "Where is the opportunity for growth?" And the companion question: "What am I avoiding?"

One of the best things I have learned from all of this is to face what I'm avoiding, "to lean into the sharpness of life."

For access to that possibility; for the opportunity to discover my strength in the face of pain and not knowing, to learn who I can be as I let that pain and fear wash over me instead of running for higher ground; for the chance to deal with the devastation and turmoil of betrayal as a woman and do what I couldn't when I was a child, I'm profoundly grateful.


Rae said...

I love this self-awareness and your ability to see your own strength and your own opportunity not to be without choice or power in this relationship, unlike the relationships of your childhood. That's beautiful.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

What you write always resonates with me so much. I too thought that I could and did communicate well and openly with my husband, but I'm able to see now that I avoided areas around his addiction.

And I am where I am now for the same reasons -- and love my husband in some of the same ways, now that I see him truly and anew.

Catherine said...

I never really put thought into how I hold things back - based on not wanting to make him feel like he is not doing enough - not wanting to hurt or judge him anymore, and then, after a few weeks of frustration I spew forth evertyhing like a volcano that was waiting to blow... I need to make this change - talk about the in between places that my mind goes to. I was touched by this post today - Cat

CV said...

Wonderful post. Your writing really resonates with me. Thank you.

ThisJane said...

your blog is absolutely amazing. I just kicked my addict out and I am so thankful to read your story.

ThisJane said...
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FI0NA said...

...and that man you describe..that's my partner (except I never had a chance to elevate him to superman)