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.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I made the outreach call

And it was a good thing. I asked my friend what I should do about all the feelings I was having. She recommended that I make sure to acknowledge Husband's progress at the same time so he wouldn't go into shame. (Sounds very codie, but we are.)

That's what I wanted to do - I wanted to avoid Husband going somewhere unproductive when I knew I was having feelings about who he'd been and what he'd done, and not who he is and what he's doing.

It worked pretty well.

I was able to talk about how angry and frustrated and agitated I was about having to go back to that time in life to resolve these tax issues, about being in this position, about realizing how much more this had really cost us financially, etc. (which he could feel wafting from me like steam off a bowl of hot oatmeal even though I hadn't been saying it.) And at the same time I acknowledged that these were feelings about the past and that I knew that; and that he was a different person now and that I appreciated how hard he's worked and is working, and all that he's done and is doing to make amends. Husband thanked me for my grace, expressed his appreciation for how I communicated, said he was sorry for all that he'd done and caused, and we were both able to walk away from the discussion about a potentially triggering topic with a feeling of completeness. Nothing was left unsaid. I was able to openly express my feelings and be heard. So was Husband. It felt a lot better than "processing the feelings by myself" which was my codie-deluded Plan A; or telling him about how angry and frustrated and resentful I was feeling and leaving it at that, which felt like my only other option.

Today I'm still dealing with the financial issues, but the big feelings of anger and resentment are dissipated and Husband isn't spinning in his own morass of shame and/or resentment. The issue is still charged for both of us, I think because it brings both of us face to face with consequences of a past that neither of us really want to revisit. But there are no cells of the unspoken waiting to grow into a cancer of resentment, assumptions and pain.

It's a very fine line, but what I think I was able to do successfully was not MANAGE my husband's response (because I can't) but I was able to CLEARLY AND COMPLETELY COMMUNICATE what I needed to say. That was the important thing for me. But it's a super-fine line that I need to watch. I don't want to fall into thinking I can communicate in such a way that I can control the outcome. But I do want to find ways for me to say what I need to say in a way that will help me move forward instead of leave me spinning.

1 comment:

escotthamilton said...

I'm glad you could make that call!