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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling a lot of fear

Today the overwhelming thing I'm feeling is fear.

I'm afraid to trust Husband. When I can't reach him on the phone, where is he?
I'm afraid that my pulling back is making him so sacred that he's going to slip back into old behaviors and resentment.
I'm afraid that he'll start to pull away from me, and from trying to work things out because of his fear
I'm afraid of losing him
I'm afraid of wanting him
I don't know what I want
I'm afraid of him, afraid to trust anything he says
I'm afraid because I don't know how this will all turn out

He says he wants to keep fighting for our marriage, that he wants to do whatever he can to work things out. I want to believe him, but I just don't know if that's crazy or not anymore.

He had a slip. He lied. He started sneaking money to do...who knows what. He said it wasn't for strip clubs or prostitutes, but I can never know for sure. He didn't tell me about a cigarette he had, about a drink he had (he's not abstaining as part of a program, but he had said he wouldn't drink for a year.) In the context of everything else he's done, these things are minor. But lies, omissions and hiding are the problem.

I feel like I don't know what to trust. My defenses are way up, and I'm pulling away to protect myself. But is that motivated by intuition or fear? I started to feel that trust was possible, and then this happened. So is it just hopeless? If I pull away out of fear, will I lose a real chance at healing and recovery in our marriage?

I guess if Husband is really back on the path of recovery, he will be on that path no matter where I am. Maybe that's where I can look. What does he do when he gets no reassurance from me? Does he continue to use his new tools, or does he give up and fall into the abyss of resentment and self-pity, and swiftly return to old ways of being? How sincere is his recovery? Is this how I can get an idea of that?

Everything looks frightening right now. I want some solid ground.

I know I can continue on my own path of recovery. But I wish I could know what is possible for our relationship. Either way, with him or without him, I can move forward in a healthy way. I'm confident of that. But this not-knowing...that is where all the fear is. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being hurt again, betrayed again.

I think the person I loved and married is there somewhere, and I don't want to give up on that. But neither do I want to sacrifice my self and self-respect if the addict is going to dominate our relationship. I don't know who I'm talking to right now...Husband the-man-I-knew or Husband the Addict. They are different, but they look the same to me.


~Issy said...

I've been following your blog for a while now and well, you get very good input from many. Having been there, kinda done that with my ex, what i've learned is that sometimes, you have to pick you. You have to pick you to take care of, you have to pick you so you can take care of your son and you have to pick you....because if you don't, life will continue to be like this. It's a very scary place to be where you are at right now...but from reading your blog, i think that i see strenght that you may sometimes forget you have.

Your husband will find his way out of this addiction or not. You seem to have done so much to help him and well, lying, etc isn't exactly the way for him to show that you he's serious about fighting this addiction.

Please pick you to take care of. I promise you, you won't regret it.

Lots of soft hugs....

GentlePath said...

That last paragraph you wrote was a gem. I'd like to share it with my group if it's okay with you.

woman.anonymous7 said...

~issy - Thank you for your counsel. That is definitely what I'm learning how to do...pick myself. It doesn't feel like a straight-forward path, how to pick myself. There are so many things that influence me - anger, fear, confusion, in addition to instincts for survival, concern for what I'm passing on to my son by staying or leaving, a new understanding of how to listen to and prioritize myself, and many other things.

Ultimately what I'm trying to do is pick me, in the healthiest way possible.

Thank you for your support.

GentlePath - Of course you may share any part of this blog with anyone. I get so much out of reading others' stories (like yours) and welcome others to do the same with mine.

Willow said...

I truly think you are doing an excellent job of being in touch with the fullness of your feelings and holding them in an integrated way. I realize you have simultaneous opposing thoughts and yet you seem to be allowing them to co-mingle.

I like the suggestion to "pick you" by issy.

MSY23 said...

Hey there. As someone with a long relationship and kids, I think it's so hard to pick yourself when, well, you see him as PART of yourself. It's hard to see where he ends and you begin, because years of being a family intertwine your souls.

When I was in kindergarten I found a monarch butterfly caterpillar and I brought it home. Mom and I put it in a jar and it eventually turned into a chrysalis and then a butterfly. My mom said I had to let it go and I refused. It was so beautiful and I knew it would fly away if I did. It died after 3 days, and I was miserable. I realized that I was more miserable than I would have been letting it go and watching it fly on its own. And we had nice flowers in our yard - maybe it would have stuck around.

The butterfly in this analogy is not your husband. It's you. Hang in there. I will be thinking about you.

Alexandra said...

First, I want to say that you write so beautifully and I am incredibly moved by your expressiveness.

I am so sorry for your pain.

I only found out about my husband's sex addiction barely a week ago so I can't tell you anything especially wise, certainly, but I will say something heartfelt...In a marriage that is filled with love, even if it is also flled with dysfunction, you do feel as one. Msy23 was right-on when she said that it is hard to put yourself first when you completely identify your husband as a part of you. You must let that illusion go, as much as it breaks your heart.

If he were you and you were him, he could never deceive you, could never act out, could never break your heart. Once the betrayal and the addiction is revealed to you, you must acknowledge is that he is his own, autonomous human being who has done things not in your own best interest. He can be your husband, your soulmate, the father of your child but he is also someone whose interests and desires are at times diametrically opposed to your own. He need not be your enemy but he cannot always be your guide, nor you his.

If it were in your power to control him or save him, you would have been able to prevent this from happening in the first place. If your love could heal his soul, he would be healed already. The truth is, he must choose. He must fight. The same energy he chooses to devote to siphoning money out of your account, he must devote to something positive and life-affirming. And you must know that if he doesn't make that choice, you will protect yourself financially, physically and spirituallly. I am not going to condescend to tell you what sort of actions that will mean for you, but you must understand that addict or no, your husband has free will that he has excercised and abused and you are not going to be his victim.

My thoughts are with you.

Fi0nai0na said...

I have been away for a while, and am sorry to see these problems emerging, just when it seemed you were on top of things together