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, December 18, 2011

Talking, listening, and opportunity

I decided not to give weight to much of my conversation with Husband Thursday night. I'm not at my best when I'm drunk, so I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt. Friday morning he apologized for walking out on our conversation, and for the things he said. As I suspected, throwing in the towel was just a drunken gesture.

So we have work to do.

We both lost our wedding rings this year. He on a balmy September day at the beach, me a couple months later. I don't know where. I'd been thinking about what a new ring might symbolize for me, and I'd decided that instead of "forever" the circle would be an "O" and represent opportunity. Because our relationship is that for both of us - an opportunity to confront the deeper things we need to grow and develop as human beings. As long as we can maintain a healthy environment in which we're both working and progressing, I'm willing.

We went out tonight and had some good conversation. Mostly I talked, actually, and he listened. I talked about how much his lying hurts me, presses on the places where I'm tender - where my feelings of unworthiness reside. I told him that I hoped he'd try to get to the roots of the things it seems his addictions are servicing - his fear of being left, his resentments for being undervalued and unacknowledged, the entitlement that arises out of that, and his fear of inciting my anger. I'm an absolutist, but I'm not an angry, irrational person. His mother is. I'm not her, but I'm paying the price for their relationship and I'm not willing to stay in that role. I told him that, too.

I acknowledged some of my own issues that contribute to our dynamic: My absolutism, my deep seated feeling that I must never need a man so  I won't be vulnerable to dependency, and my need to make sure men I'm in relationships know that I'm not dependent on them. Of course they fit neatly into his issues. I guess we really do seek out that which we need to learn. 

He went to his first AA meeting today, and wasn't surprised to find he was in the right place. He told me he'd always avoided going to AA because he wasn't an alcoholic, and didn't want to give up drinking. But he said that recently all the problems we've been having - the lies he's told - have revolved around his drinking. He talked about how he'd stopped having boundaries around work, and let his practices and meeting attendance slip because of it. He's going to return to regular spiritual practices, regular meetings, and to regular exercise as well - the things he needs to do to take care of himself.

Addicts slip. We all do. But he's willing to own up to his mistakes, willing to take responsibility for his actions, for his well-being, and for his part in building a healthy relationship. He's willing, as I am, to choose to move toward his challenges instead of running and avoiding.

So things are better. I don't feel so lost. In fact, because I am more grounded in my own self now and less reactive, I feel stronger and more peaceful.

There is still work to be done, for sure. The difference now is I've learned that I'm up to the task.

1 comment:


That was an awesome post. Very positive and hopeful.

One thing that I liked was the fact that it is true that even if someone isn't an 'alcoholic' in how much & often they consume, if when they drink it has such a profound negative effect in their life, then AA is the right place as it is a type of alcoholism. It's great he has recognized that.