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, September 25, 2008

Is Higher Power up to something?

I've spent most of the day at the hospital after finding husband collapsed on the bathroom floor this morning in pain and sweaty with numb extremities. It was such a weird experience, paramedics and all, because I was still angry about the hiding, lying and omitting I'd caught him doing.

Before I left to drop son at school and head to the hospital to catch up with him, I grabbed a copy of Jack Kornfield's The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace just in case I couldn't muster up any compassion on my own.

The thoughts that went through my head reflected the detachment I'd made to cope with the discovery of his addict behavior. For example, I was pissed off that he can't get a life insurance policy because his health is poor. I was much more concerned about son's well being around the incident, and felt that Husband's issues would play out however they did and there was little I could do about it. I was ready for anything in a cool, detached way.

But I realized as I was driving to the hospital that I was husband's only person to turn to in life, and given who he's been for me in many good ways, that he's the father of my son, that he was a human being in a scary crisis, he deserved basic care and compassion, so I did my best to bring that forward today.

Husband did put $110 back into the bank account Tuesday. Was it really at work? Did he spend it and borrow that money from someone so he could continue his deception? I'll never know.

And that's part of where the learning is. How do I take care of myself without creating boundaries that are simply masked attempts to control his behavior? How do I handle his imperfection? How will I know when to cut bait? What is trust? What is faith? What is love? Can I learn to turn something over to Higher Power rather than trying to handle, fix, solve and control the outcome by myself? Can I surrender to the unknowability of life without sinking into an unhealthy relationship?

Anyone can lie. There is no way to protect myself from that completely. This much I know. So then what? What is there left to do? Learn to set boundaries, learn to trust myself, learn to distinguish willingness and imperfection from denial and indulgence, be willing to make the hard choices...

I feel like there have to be consequences, but I also feel like those consequences need to come from a place of authentically trying to protect and take care of myself, and not to punish or control him. What that will look like I'm still sorting out.

His health emergency doesn't overshadow what still needs to be dealt with between us. Compassion and care feel appropriate here, but so does accountability, and so does protecting myself. This recent incident has reminded me that even though he's willing and working his program, slips and all, he's still an addict and I need to protect myself from that aspect of his personality in the good times as well as the bad.


Willow said...

My heart goes out to you. I don't really know what to say but wanted you to know someone is listening.

Take care.

Scribbling-Mum said...

I know it's tough & sucks...the money thing sounds very very sketchy, BTW...

But yes, we still love the addict & he needs you right now & that's VERY complicated & messes w/ you, huh?


MSY23 said...

I have been reading your blog for the past 3 days, start to finish. I am 5 weeks out of my own private hell, that is so weirdly similar to yours. I too want to give my relationship a try, because I love my best friend, because I believe in "for better or for worse" (at least once) and yet...I am SO scared of this happening to my life. Perhaps I am still exhibiting co-dependent behavior, but I am having my husband take periodic lie detector tests. I simply cannot risk my life just taking him on his word or my intuition (which is obviously flawed). Have you thought about this tool? I know it is not something to rely on exclusively, but I feel that if I can't even trust myself, at least I may have something to use. Anyway, thank you so much for your words. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I am still trying to figure it out for me (I have 3 daughters and the fact that this is now a part of their lives scares me to death but maybe I will bring them to a higher realization about their feminine selves) but you have a gift of expression that reaches out and comforts so many of us struggling with the same pain. Thank you thank you thank you.

woman.anonymous7 said...

msy23 - I'm glad you find comfort in this blog. That is why I started writing it.

I haven't considered lie detector tests because for me it doesn't solve the larger thing I'm facing - it's possible for Husband to lie to matter what I put in place. So what do I do with that? What do I do with human imperfection? That's a very big question for me because I'm an absolutist by nature. In my mind there are certain things you don't do, and betraying people you love is one of them.

Husband is flawed, and he is sick. He's also the father of my son, someone I share 20 years of history with (albiet a different history than I though,) he's a willing, active participant in his own recovery, and he has many good qualities. Does all that balance out? I don't know...

I need to take it one day at a time, because I can't know the future, no matter how good or bad I think it might be.

There is a lot we need to deal with in the immediate short term, now that his health crisis is being taken care of. So I'll keep looking at these questions and trying to figure out what is right for me and my son given what I'm facing today.

Tomorrow...5 years, 10 years...who knows?

This is also where higher power comes in for me. I don't know what it is yet, but I've been doing a lot of praying this week.