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.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wrestling with my Self

Went to church this morning, and what I got from it is that because I am an expression of the divine (Meister Eckhart - "Let God be God in you."), all my needs are already met and that when I'm unsure about that, I can lean toward and call on my higher power for support.

I can't say with any certainty that any of this is true, but it gives me a more empowered place from which to live, so for now I say yes to it. It doesn't need to be true to have a positive impact in my life.

Removing Need from my relationship leaves me free to love Husband without trying to get from him what I (with support from my higher self / higher power) should be providing for myself: validation, acceptance, security, guidance. I don't even Need love from Husband. I go to church and I see hundreds of people who are opening their hearts to me.

Love is available.

Love does not come only from a single source (except perhaps in the sense of a Source that is divine universal love-intelligence, of which I believe we are all a part.)

Love may not come from where I want it, or from where I think it will come; and love may come from the most unexpected places.

So I am free to love Husband without Needing him to provide that which I already have (the challenge here is allowing myself to see that I already have it) and that which I can provide for myself as an adult woman.

This is NOT to say that I am willing to be in relationship without expectations.

Expectations can be worked out and expressed between us. And if what I expect out of a relationship can't be met, if what we are able to work out leaves me feeling compromised, that's my indication that it's not the right relationship for me.

Fortunately at this moment in time I have every indication that we can work out a set of mutual expectations that leave us both satisfied, peaceful and uncompromised. Especially with the new tools we've gained from recovery work and therapy.

So I came home from church feeling open, empowered, peaceful and free to love.

Then I opened the letter from the IRS. During the period when his addiction really began escalating Husband neglected to take care of doing our taxes as he said he would. So we have back taxes and penalties that have been growing for several years now.

I have a lot of anger about these things because in my mind they're closely tied to that period of lies, distractions and thousands of dollars secretly spent on prostitutes, for which I'm realizing I still have a lot to work through to get to a place of authentic forgiveness.

So today is a day when I wrestle with what I understand is possible on the one hand, and the pull of my ego / identity on the other.

I think for me the way through this is prayer, meditation, exercise (where I release a lot of stress), and couples therapy (where I feel safe to fully express myself to Husband.)

Something else I've come to today: For me, clarity is an impermanent state, just like anything else; and peace is an ongoing journey.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Went out to the treadmill and found myself reading Eckhart Tolle's chapters on ego from A New Earth. That gave me a more empowered perspective. I still have questions, but I also have some clarity.

Further proof that my higher power will do for me what I cannot do for myself.


After all this time, after all the recovery, all the therapy, all the growth...there are still triggers.

It started last weekend when I stayed in a Sheraton Hotel. Hotels like that call to mind images of what I think went on with Husband and prostitutes in similar rooms. With the images come questions I thought I'd put behind me: What was he thinking? How could he do that? How could he lie to me? What was it like, being with all those other women? Did I mean so little to him that his promises to me were that easy to break, that my trust and vulnerability were so meaningless to him, that he had so little respect for me that he could - over and over again - do things that he knew were wrong, things that he knew were not okay with me in the context of our relationship?

With those questions comes anger. I'm angry at him for lying. I'm angry at him for destroying the trust I'd built up over two decades. I'm angry at him for the loss I've had - the loss of the deepest bond I had in my adult life. I wish I could subject him to the feelings that accompany such a profound betrayal, and the feelings that go along with trying to rebuild trust with somebody who has hurt and betrayed you so deeply. I hate that I have this in my life. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to completely forgive him, if I'll ever love or trust him the way I did before. I'd probably be foolish to ever trust anybody the way I trusted him. And I hate that I feel that way. I hate that this might be the reality of the world - that you can't really trust anybody. I'm afraid, too. Afraid that he'll detect how distant I can feel, and that it will scare him and that he'll leave me - maybe just when I've really started to believe he's who he says he is. I'm afraid of spending the rest of my life in a relationship where I don't really love fully, where I'm holding my trust back. But I feel like no matter what relationship I'm in, I'll never fully trust again. Like sleeping with one eye open.

Full of fear, full of anger. Some other part of me knows better. But these things are still inside me and I want them OUT and not pushed down. I don't want to wake up angry in 20 years, and I don't want to have unexpressed anger inside me for the rest of my life.

In a way it feels too late for me to express these feelings. But that's too bad, because I refuse to keep it in and suffer the consequences of that. So what if my timing's bad? It's my timing. It's all I've got.

I want so much to believe in the person he seems to be, to believe he loves me as much as he says he does. But after being deceived the way Husband deceived me...I don't know how I can ever completely believe in his love for me again.

Today I had a business meeting in our old neighborhood, and once again ended up parking in front of the "oriental massage" place where Husband got his first hand job that opened the door to paying for sex. An unpleasant ending to a difficult week.

I don't doubt that these feelings are a part of the process. I realized in my 12-step meeting that I'm trying to "figure out" my way past this, and that part of my journey is to accept that not everything can be figured out. I can pray to my higher power for help with these things my logical mind can't resolve.

But for the moment I'm sad and afraid. Sad about what I've lost, and afraid that I won't feel so deeply connected with a partner ever again. If that's the case, I know I can manage. I've got a beautiful son, and fantastic friends. But it's not what I want for my life. I don't want my heart to be walled off, to feel distant, mistrustful, unable to love deeply. But I don't want to be a fool either.

Or maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe just as there is no good or bad, there is no foolish or wise. Maybe it's just all about my experience in the moment and how I respond to it.

Right now I'm all questions and no answers.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembered hurts

Close to two years now and I'm not sure that a day goes by without me having at least one thought about what Husband did.

Usually it doesn't really trigger me anymore, which is a sign of the progress I've made. But sometimes I get sad and start to feel distant, which is what has been happening lately.

GentlePath wrote today that "There’s a point where a remembered hurt can develop into a resentment — or it can morph into a springboard for learning and change."

I'm grateful to her for reminding me about the choice I face. Because I'm the path I'm on is one of growing, learning and change, and in this moment I am re-presenced to that.

Taking the next right action, one day (one moment) at a time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The healing power of good art

I haven't seen Benjamin Button yet, but a friend sent me this quote which resonated so strongly with me. It's like a prayer I can say to myself.

“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no limit.
Start whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same.
There are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
I hope you make the best of it.
I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people who have a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again”

- Eric Roth, from the screenplay “THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

And now for a Stuart Smalley moment

The questions in church today were "How can I grow?" "What can I give?" "What can I celebrate?

During the service what came to me is that the origin of all forms of self-loathing rises out of my perception of self as separate from the divine. And that what I can do in the face of that is to surrender to being an instrument of divine expression. To view myself as a unique expression of universal consciousness, group mind, love-intelligence - I still don't know exactly what to call it (and perhaps it doesn't matter.) To live as if this is true - whether or not it is - because I'm freed by that perspective to live a better life.

What does this mean?

For me, it means that everything is as it is and that to resist is a waste of life and a waste of energy. So rather than trying to fix what is wrong I can embrace what is so and generate, or create my life from what I want for the future rather than from what has transpired in the past.

More briefly, to be pro rather than anti.

Pro good health rather than anti-fat.
Pro bring-out-my-best rather than anti-flaws.
Pro peace rather than anti-war.
Pro love and tolerance rather than anti-Republican.
Pro expression, compassion and personal responsibility rather than anti-conflict.
Pro creating a healthy, happy relationship rather than anti-betrayal.
Pro connection, growth and vulnerability rather than anti-perfectionism.

I can grow by surrendering over and over again to my true divine nature; surrendering to my path with the grace and strength of water to the river bed; and remaining but a loving witness to others on their paths.

I can give by joyfully and unabashedly sharing myself as a unique expression of the divine; practicing love and compassion for all; and understanding fear as a manifestation of ego and letting it be.

I can celebrate that I am alive in this moment.