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, October 30, 2009

No "fuck you"

Because I have decided to try to work on my relationship with Husband, I've never had that final fuck-you moment. I've never been able to declare myself completely free of his influence and power over me.

Instead I have said, "Yes, I gave you power over me - I gave you my trust. You betrayed that trust. And instead of withdrawing I'm choosing to trust you again. I'm giving you the power to hurt and betray me again."

We are two different people now, so there is no going back to what we had before. We have no choice but to create something new.

So maybe it's not as crazy as it feels sometimes.

But sometimes I have doubts. Sometimes I imagine doing to him what he's done to me. Except if I consider it for any length of time the cost always seems too great.

Tonight he said to me in mock exasperation, "I love you so much I can't stand it!" I used to feel that way about him. But now I don't know that I'll ever be able to feel that way again. Maybe that's the trade-off for the gains I've made. I give up that child-like, carefree, unfettered kind of love in exchange for learning how to live in the world as an adult woman, responsible for my own happiness and well being.

Do grown-up women love their partners so much they can't stand it?

I wish I could feel that kind of enthusiasm for Husband again. He's a great partner, great father, a good, kind, intelligent person. But since I've never been able to declare myself no longer vulnerable to him, will I always be protecting myself in some way, thereby forsaking any possibility of the depth of intimacy I used to feel?

I've said that being betrayed by Husband made me feel like I'd been shot by the fellow soldier I was sharing a fox hole with. Now, after the work we've done individually and as a couple, I feel confident that Husband is still a good fox hole partner. I think he'd always have my back. But there's also a part of me that is poised for anything to happen. Not because of him, but because of me. Something to do with not being able to let go of the past. Maybe it's resentment, maybe it's realizing who I'm really married to and being less enamored of that man than the man I thought I'd married. I try to focus on gratitude, because there is a lot to be grateful for in the man that Husband is. But sometimes I can't overcome my fear and confusion. Even when I feel firmly in the present, not wanting a different past, not worrying about the future...I still don't feel the same free, deep, joyful love for him that I used to. Maybe this is just the process of getting to know the person he really is and falling in love with that person. It took 20 years to get to where we were before, so maybe it just takes time (more time than I thought) to rebuild that level of vulnerability and trust.

Sometimes I feel so good on my path, and sometimes I feel so lost and stuck.


MargauxMeade said...

It's totally weird, but, even though it's looking more and more like divorce in my situation, I don't think I'll have a "fuck you" moment either. I think recovery does that to you. I can't bring myself to get revenge and I can't really bring myself to hate him. I'm not so sure "fuck you" is really the answer in any situation.

Bernadine said...

Hi WA--

This post is really vulnerable. I think it's great that you are willing to share so much of yourself.

I think the truth is, no one knows the answers to your questions, but you. Especially to the Q of is that how a woman loves...

For me, I was willing to try, but my husband chose his addiction over me. So now I have to move on. For me-that question is interesting. I wonder the same thing, only I wonder if I could ever trust someone else like I trusted my husband.

Probably both of us need more healing and more time before we can answer those questions.

So believe me-- even the fuck you doesn't clear it all up.