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.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Big leap!

Last night Husband got upset that I told him I'd be there in a minute when he asked me to come look at something he was doing on the computer, and then stayed at my computer instead of coming when I said he would.

He was on his computer about 10 feet away from me at the dining room table on my laptop. I was deep in thought when he'd asked, "Got a minute?" and I should have said, "No, I don't. I'm busy right now and I don't know when I'll be done." But I didn't want to do that. I knew he didn't want to hear that, and I didn't want to say no to him. Lesson learned. I don't have to be available when someone wants me.

He said, "When you do that what I make up about that is that you don't give a shit. And not only that, it feels like what I've said is so unimportant that not only do you come when you said you would, you don't even acknowledge it; you don't even bother to say that you won't be doing that. You don't say, "I thought I'd be done, but I'm not so I won't be there."

"Here's my request," he said. "When you aren't going to do what you say you're going to do, would you say so?"

I looked at him, thinking that something didn't feel right about this whole thing. True, I didn't do what I said I was going to do. I didn't come when I said I would. But he was sitting 10 feet from me, and if he had a problem, if his feelings were hurt, as a grown up adult wasn't it HIS RESPONSIBILITY to let me know? Yes! That felt right! Part of my mind wanted so much to cling to his words, to accept the shame of not having done what I said I would do and to vow to be a good girl and never do that again. But this new part of my mind held me back.

"No," I said. He looked at me, incredulous. "No? No? You don't accept my request?" Then he said something that struck me as odd. "What are you thinking? My paranoid fantasy is that you're thinking that if you don't do exactly what I say you think I'm going to act out." That was the farthest thing from my mind at the moment.

I explained to him that what I was thinking was if he'd made all that up in his head instead of saying something directly to me, who was sitting in the same room 10 feet away, that I wasn't going to be responsible for that. I told him I wasn't going to be responsible for and responsive to the stories he makes up in his mind in lieu of expressing his feelings.

The good thing is that in addition to being an addict and an asshole at times, he's also smart. So he got it pretty quickly. After a few minutes of mulling it over, he apologized and thanked me for my patience. That felt weird to me, because it wasn't important to me that he decided I was right.

What was important was that I'd recognized what was my responsibility and what was his responsibilty, and I'd refused to be responsible for what was his. It was something that my work over the last year made possible. I was surprised by what I'd done. It felt new. And I felt strong, and I felt grateful.


Catherine said...

Kudos to you - you have come a long way since you began!

Sophie in the Moonlight said...

Such a wonderful self-revelation that you have earned. I'm very happy for you. Seriously proud.

This boundary that you have recognized within yourself will carry you far through your recovery journey. Your empowerment is fierce. And the addiction has lost a powerful tentacle that once held you (and your husband) in its grasp.