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, June 6, 2010

Triggered by Get Him to the Greek?

I usually like movies like this because I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy. Slapstick, poop jokes - funny stuff to me. But there is a scene of the guys in a Las Vegas strip club and as soon as that came onto the screen I got nauseous and my heart started racing. I haven't really seen lap dancing before, although I've imagined it since learning that Husband received this service regularly throughout our marriage, and even before.

Seeing a room full of barely clothed women mingling and rubbing up against men as other women swiveled around poles while groups of men gawked and talked instantly brought images of Husband in that situation into my mind. And they've been hard to shake. I went through our computer history last night and checked his email for anything suspicious - found nothing.

But it really repulses me that he participated in this. I think some of my current lack of interest in sex has to do with my being unable to separate the person in him that can objectify women that way from the person he is in our relationship. (I know that repulsive objectifier is still in there with the person I knew. Unfortunately I wasn't aware of that aspect of him for the first 19 years of our relationship.) I've never felt objectified by him. But for a long time now I get a queasy feeling when I think of doing any type of fantasy activity (dressing up in sexy lingerie for example) and I think that's because it feels like it would be part of that ugly fantasy world that also included lap dances and prostitutes.

I wish I had the opportunity to grow and change without having to think about our relationship at the same time. I know sex is part of a healthy relationship, and we've had good sex off and on since his sex addiction became known to me. But a lot of times I just have too much going on in my head to be present. And if I'm not present - well that's just not the kind of sex I want to have with anyone. I'd rather just not. But I know for him my lack of interest in sex feels like rejection. So I worry. Will this perceived rejection cause him to give up on our relationship? Because I'm not ready to do that. But I'm not ready to be vulnerable either.

I'm in a little bit of a freak-out still, although I know I have the tools to keep this from spiraling out of control. But I also feel that I have a lot of work to do to get some things out that are still inside me. Anger, fear, grief. Things that are keeping me from being present.

I don't know how to access these things. A friend from my recovery group is going to a funeral and I said to her that she should really take the opportunity to grieve, not just the loss of the one who passed, but other losses as well, because we get so few opportunities to do that. I think I was speaking in part to myself. I have this image of scraping out from inside me the things I've been unable to express, like scraping out the inside of a pumpkin, so I don't get snagged by the past over and over again, so I can authentically both acknowledge what has happened and internalize that this is a new and different moment. So I can feel peace, instead of fear and anxiety.

I don't feel that peace now. Just queasy, anxious and closed off. I can intellectualize myself back to peace using the tools I have, but I want to use my tools to work through this, not to fly above it. I want to stay with these feelings instead of going to my "enlightened" place about why I don't have to have them. Maybe these feelings and the resulting conversations will drag me through what is here for me to learn so that I can get closer to free.


Scott said...

I've watched your "process," or "recovery" for a long time; it's impressive. You've done so much "heavy lifting."

Be gentle with yourself; this stuff takes time. Your "intellectualizing" will eventually transport you to the "feelings" for which you long.


MargauxMeade said...

For me, grieving comes and goes. I'll go through periods where grief comes up, I feel it and deal with it, and then those feelings will go underground or just sort of dissipate for a while.

I think so often, when the grieving process is described, it sounds like it's all done in one big chunk of time and that one can sort of control it and just make the decision to grieve. But for me, it's kind of like life presents me with the opportunity to deal with my anger, or deal with my sadness or deal with fears of abandonment, or deal with a some aspect of childhood grief, and then I get a break for a while. I don't really get to choose when I get to deal with those emotions--even though I might be in a hurry to just get them all out so that I can have a different perspective or finally experience the improvements I've been seeking as a result of that grief-cleansed perspective. Sometimes "sitting with the feelings" means even being comfortable with the fact that there are feelings I haven't had the opportunity to deal with yet, and being okay with that.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Thanks Scott and Margaux - I really, really appreciate your thoughts.

RockiBottom said...

I can really relate to what you said about not wanting to do anything that plays into fantasy. I have felt that same way for the past few years. Things that used to feel ok, or actually good, in our relationship now feel sick and dirty. And it is all because of finding out about the life my husband was living that I had no idea about. I feel as though to do those things now is just playing into his fantasy world and his addiction. Our own sex life has been permanantly damaged, not just by his betrayal, but by the very fact that they were so deeply based in his "need" for fantasy.