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, May 8, 2010

Digging deeper again

Watching an episode of Lost last night. Jun and Sun were in a sinking sub, and she was pinned in, despite his desperate attempts to rescue her. At one point, she grabbed his head and kissed him deeply, like he was the most beloved thing in her life.

I remember feeling that way. And the thought that crossed my mind in that moment was, “but that’s not real.”

One of the things that has helped me tremendously in processing Husband’s betrayal is taking the perspective that the only constant is impermanence, and because all things change the only thing you can count on to ensure your happiness is yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else, no matter what you think or what they say, or even what they do. Things can change. This too shall pass….whatever it is.

Even relying on yourself can be questionable, because you can also change.

But acting under the assumption that things change has helped me be at peace with human failings. People are unpredictable. A worst-case, they may lie. At best they may die. Either way, not something you can really count on to provide safety, love, or stability.

What I’m thinking though, is that I’ve begun to use this concept of unpredictability as another way to keep myself safe. Without realizing it, I think I’ve become absolutist about it.

Rule: Things change. The only thing predictable is unpredictiblity. Therefore, count only on yourself to ensure your well-being.

Outcome: I am in control of my happiness, and can protect myself 100% from experiencing deep pain and anguish.

I’m suspicious of this. I’m suspicious because I can see that I’m getting a sense of peace from being in control of the situation, armed with this understanding of unpredictability. Once again, I’m trying to prevent myself from being hurt by attempting to make sense of human nature and taking full responsibility for my own happiness and well being.

The problem with this is that it leaves me with an inability to achieve the intimacy that I used to feel with Husband. But not just with him. I can’t imagine ever feeling that connecting and intimate with any other man.

I do feel deeply connected with Son, and we share a pretty unfettered emotional intimacy. I wouldn’t really say I count on him because he’s eight and that doesn’t feel appropriate to me. But I think he feels he can count on me, and we are very close. We talk, argue, hug and kiss, wrestle, play games, hang out, lose our patience with each other, apologize, say I love you, yell, laugh…I try to let everything be there on top of a foundation of unconditional love. Who knows…maybe I’m making a mess of it all…but I’m trying to be a good mother, and I think he feels security and love and consistency and structure, which are the things I want him to be able to count on from me as a parent.

While my ability to feel deeply connected to my child is a bright spot, it doesn’t address the issue of my lack of connection and intimacy with Husband, or my inability to imagine connection and intimacy with any partner.

There are plenty of other examples of people I feel connected to.

I love my mom, but I see her flaws and know how I can count on her and how I can’t, and that ultimately in our relationship I’m responsible for my well-being. And I feel comfortable and satisfied with that.

I love my best girlfriends and I know they love me and I know they would always provide love, support, shelter and anything else I might need in this life should I have to turn to them. That feels right to me, too.

So I don’t have a problem with intimacy and connection in general. It’s only in the area of a partner that I feel all fucked up.

I know I’ve gone through cycles like this before, so I need to go back and read what I’ve written to remind myself and let some of that sink in again and more deeply.

But I also think there are things - pains, fears - that I haven’t addressed. I’m such an avoider, so desperately wanting to understand and move forward because it’s the logical and reasonable thing to do. And it’s what I’ve been trained to do from childhood – exterminate bad feelings. But pain and fear will not go undealt with, no matter how ninja I am with intellectual understanding and processing of things. There is something deeper that has not yet been faced.

I really want to feel that intimacy again. And I really think it’s possible. And I think Husband is a great person to do that with. I just don’t know how to do it on a consistent basis. Sometimes I feel like I get there, but I always seem to retreat to this safe place. It’s comfortable, it makes sense, it mostly works. But it leaves me lonely, too. And sad for what I had, which I now think of as born of delusion.

But what about the possibility that deep love, connectedness and intimacy can exist along side of betrayal and unpredictability? (I know I’ve considered this before, and I can go there intellectually, but my heart/body has not been able to get there.) It would mean opening way up to pain and anguish again. And the pain and anguish I felt 3 years ago is something I just don’t think I want to revisit.

But I think the deep feelings that I miss so much are related to that kind of openness and vulnerability. And if I have to face the fact that I can’t ensure my own happiness 100% of the time, or protect myself 100% from feeling any pain, then I suppose I might as well take that risk for the reward of the deep connection that I miss so much. Knowing what I know now, being who I am now, it would have to look different somehow. But I maybe I would have some relief from the underpinning of sadness that comes from being my own island when it comes to my relationship with Husband.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good for you! That intimate place is the dangerous and perfect abode.