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, August 8, 2008

Images in my head obstruct intimacy

Last night Husband and I were making love, and I couldn't get certain thoughts and images out of my head. I opened my eyes, and kept my gaze fixed on him, my eyes on his eyes, and still I could not feel a connection. The images and the fear they brought up were pulling me out of the moment and I couldn't stop it.

Thinking about it this morning, I felt a deep sadness at not being able to connect with him. Sometimes my lack of ability to connect is worse than others, but it's always sad because Husband used to be the person I felt most deeply connected to.

I got up earlier than I expected to this morning, and so had time to jump on the treadmill for half an hour and do some reading.

Finishing an article I'd printed out from Buddhadarma, The Wondrous Path of Difficulties, I came across exactly what would be helpful to me right now.

Jack Kornfield talked about making a human connection. "There has to be a willingness to go to the place of vulnerability...we have difficulty making a human connection because we don't trust our heart. We don't trust that our heart has the capacity to open to the sorrows as well as to the beauty of the world...We have within us buddhanature, the capacity to hold all the sorrows and joys of the world."

He described not being reactive to others as "being present with a lot of courage," and quoted Martin Luther King. "King said to his adversaries, "We will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, to face suffering and still not stop, still march, still tell the truth, still do what's necessary to make the change.""

Fear is my adversary. Perhaps I can wear it down by expanding my capacity to face suffering and pain.

I can practice expanding my capacity to be open to suffering and sorrow, as well as to joy and happiness; not to resist those things, not to react to the fear I feel in the face of those things; but to take a deep breath and turn toward those things with open arms as I would welcome a beloved friend or a beautiful day. And on that path I'll find intimacy with Husband. That practice of being open to pain and fear will allow me closer to that which has been the source of pain and fear, but also the source of happiness and joy.

My instinct is to run from pain and fear, but maybe to run from that is to run from life. To cut off pain and fear, maybe I also have to cut off joy and intimacy, and that's not the path I choose. To have the quarter, I must take the heads with the tails. There is no tails without heads. So maybe life is joy and sorrow, happiness and pain, and there is not one without the other.

Not a new discovery for me, but one I must think about and practice daily or it will disappear and survival instincts will take over.

I think survival is about protecting yourself (an instinct), and living is about making yourself vulnerable (a practice), and those two things, safety and risk, seem to go against each other. Perhaps this is why it's just a one-day-at-a-time thing, moment by moment giving up instinct for practice.

6 comments:

Cat said...

"I think survival is about protecting yourself (an instinct), and living is about making yourself vulnerable (a practice), and those two things, safety and risk, seem to go against each other. Perhaps this is why it's just a one-day-at-a-time thing, moment by moment giving up instinct for practice." this was the most inspiring thing I have read in weeks - I too struggle with what you write about - thank you for posting this! Cat

Stephanie said...

"My instinct is to run from pain and fear, but maybe to run from that is to run from life. To cut off pain and fear, maybe I also have to cut off joy and intimacy, and that's not the path I choose."

Remember that our husbands' choosing to run from the pain and fear, choosing to cut off feeling, and pushing us away and denying intimacy is what got us here together in this crazy sisterhood in the first place. We don't need to sink to that level and check out too. We are better than that. You were able to connect before this all happened. Don't let them steal that ability from you too.

I often make love with my husband now and in between his stroking my skin is a flash in my head of him stroking one of those whores. I used to get upset and wonder if I was good enough. I now tell myself, "Fuck them and fuck him. This is MY moment with MY husband. This is my diamond ring, my money, my house, my product of his sperm and my life. And I'll be damned if I am going to give them one more fucking moment with my husband even if it is just in my head." Then I remind myself that I knew my husband was sort of a pathetic, lost soul (never imagined this pathetic but it all makes sense now) and I chose to be attracted to it, married it, and had kids with it. That usually snaps me back into the moment.

That's the way I look at these days anyway.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Thanks, WomanA. I have been having my own problems connecting lately and really needed to hear this.

woman.anonymous7 said...

{{{MPJ}}}

Stephanie - I love the feistyness of your response. That's what I need to pull into my approach to life.

Thank you for reminding me!

(Those are the exact same kind of pictures I get in those same moments.)

Willow said...

This is exactly what I just posted about and ties in with my father too. I liked the added views in your found words of wisdom. Check mine and see if they are helpful to you.

Scribbling-Mum said...

Sometimes I wonder if this will EVER go away...if it CAN ever go away...US not thinking about the bloody other images of other women & then also, IF our sex addict husbands will ever not have those images in their heads...

Makes one crazy...I also like what Stephanie said...I try to push the thoughts away...