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, June 26, 2008

Sometimes I fantasize about getting back at him

While I know it's not the path of recovery, sometimes I fantasize about taking a year to have affairs and lie to Husband about it. The idea being of course that he might gain a bit of insight into how it feels to doubt your ability to distinguish reality from lies, how f'd up it feels not to be able to trust your partner, and how hard it is to rebuild trust with someone who has betrayed you so deeply.

The women in my therapy group tonight seemed to feel that given the growth they've had they'd be able to know if their partners were lying. I don't have that confidence. And that really pisses me off. Will I have to live in the shadow of doubt forever, always prepared for the worst, ready for the unimaginable to suddenly become my new reality?

Then I remember MPJ's wise warning that it's a mistake to assume that "making people realize just how poorly they've done or how much they've hurt people is an excellent way to provide that needed motivation, be it in the form of shame, guilt or even empathy."

I also know that not only would this tactic not have the desired result, but I would be compromising who I am, and would most likely feel sadder, angrier and emptier than ever.

But the thought does cross my mind from time to time. I still have flashes of wishing I could hurt him as deeply as I think he's hurt me.

Thank god for groups and therapists, spiritual reading and recovery. In my heart of hearts, even when I'm angry or hurting or questioning the future, I know recovery is the path I really want to be on.

11 comments:

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm thinking about the women in your meeting and thinking that it is now my true and deeply held belief that it is not, and never will be, possible for me to tell when someone else is lying. That's the belief that I build my recovery on. I suppose recovery might look different for me if I believed otherwise.

super lady said...

Oh have I been here. Just the other day I remembered my fantasies of my hands wrapped around my husband's neck. I just have no anger like that any more. And I soon realized as I figured out all he had done, that no amount of cheating and bad behavior would ever add up in comparison. I mean mine had been cheating for years, drugs, prostitutes, even got someone pregnant, and finally contracted HIV. Daily I think about how my life is free of that. And I dont have to have those feelings anymore, and my life is so simplified because of it, all I have to focus on is my recovery and my 3 kids all 6 and under. He is on his own journey and I am powerless over people places and things. Thanks for detailing your process it is a good reminder for where I've been. And divorce isnt the worst thing to happen to me personally, its the best, a great growth opportunity and really freeing--it used to be my worst fear. Im so glad I dont have to spend hours obsessing over his email and lies and whereabouts. You're right, it will never be a sure thing until you come to some kind of release, and let it go in one way or another.

woman.anonymous7 said...

SuperLady - That you have found peace is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story with me.


MPJ - I'd love to see a post on your blog about how you build a happy, healthy relationship while at the same time believing that you'll never know if Mark is lying to you. How do you build trust in that situation - or maybe the appropriate question is can you? And if you can't how do you have an intimate relationship? I can't imagine not having trust in the most important relationships in my life.

MargauxMeade said...

I've had these exact same feelings, Woman Anonymous. But, like you, I think I'd be harming myself way more than I'd be harming my husband.

I second the post request for MPJ. I swear sometimes that lady is a Buddha.

FI0NA said...

Whilst I am aware of the COSA approach to disengaging and resisting the urge to snoop, and by extension accepting that we will never know for sure if our SA partners are lying... there has been one side effect of his disclosure which I don't quite know how to place. It is this he normalised infidelity for me. You know these things happen, many marriages survive it. Before this awakening my upbringing and belief in marriage left me utterly horrified that this could occur. I was married and mutually faithful with a man for 16 years. Faithfulness in any relationship was a baseline assumption for me. From this new position of knowledge for me to cheat seems an easier proposition. I love him and respect him less. OK so these are the rules now eh? And I could hang it on the fact that we are not married. So those are the married rules I see. I would never do it out of revenge though. I guess this is more of a reflection on my relationship than SA relationships in general

Mrs. Jane Doe said...

I really liked your post. I too feel very much the same way. I often think to myself, "If only I could make him feel how I feel, maybe that would make this whole addiction stop." I actually find myself almost justifying that it is ok to have an affair because he does. And, even sometimes I think that if I did cheat on him it would make me feel better.
Of course, like you, that really isn't my personality. It isn't who I am.

When I read Super lady's comment a big word stuck out "Powerless." That is exactly how I feel. I have no control of what my husband does, yet I have to face the consequences of his choices. I write this as he is sleeping on the couch because I can't figure out how to handle my own emotional feelings.

Misery Marketing said...

Hey. I saw this post at TJW Club. I often think that my goal is to find a place where trust doesnt matter. A place where I trust God by accepting everything in my life for what it is at that exact moment. So instead of worring about wheather my wife is cheating on me I just ask myself am I happy in this relationship today. If I am then so what if she is cheating on me. When or if I find out she is cheating on me then I can simply move on. Trust doesnt matter when you can treat everything as an experience which you get to chose what it means to you. Of coarse I havent achieved this goal yet but I can see the possibility of it.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Misery Marketing - I think, though I'm not sure, that getting to that place of just asking myself if I'm happy in the moment and not worrying about trust might be the place to head for (although sexually transmitted diseases are a consideration.) Getting there is the struggle. I'm really afraid of the pain of being hurt again.

Since I really do believe that Husband is being truthful about his sobriety, maybe trust is already there and I have to stop worrying about whether I trust him or not. I'm conflicted. But thanks for offering another perspective to consider.

Misery Marketing said...

I hear you about getting cooties. I think we need to pay attention to the signs maybe even more than others but if we can say we are reasonably convinced they arent fucking around then we can try to implement the "Live Happy" plan. Believe me I dont want to get all crudded up.

Stephanie said...

I sort of see it as Fiona does. Fidelity was an assumption that came with marriage. Now in recovery I am being asked to view my husband as a fallable human who made a mistake but really loved me anyway. I don't seek to have an affair for revenge. I know he'd leave me and couldn't take it. But redefining marriage as two imperfect people who walk an independent path and choose to come together has made it alright to try out other people for me. If the right man comes along, I no longer feel compelled to say no because of some ideal. I was willing to live out that fantasy that marriage is about monogomy. And for some like my parents that is true but my husband couldn't hold up his end. So my reality is being open to life's possibilities.

Cat said...

I have had the urge to be unfaithful but the motives are totally based on my own want to hurt my husband back - in the same way he had cut me - childish maybe - but the fantasy is there...