Monday, December 17, 2007

One day at a time

I grew up in a small town. Extremely small - one of those places where you know everyone, and they know you, and you're really never anything different than the kid you were in kindergarten. I grew up in a state that during the 80s slowly switched from Democratic to Republican during the Reagan revolution. I think I was the only kid who stayed a liberal. Well, at least I was the loudest.

I remember in high school civics class, no matter the subject, I was the one who would say, well, I feel bad. I feel badly for the poor and downtrodden, or I feel badly for those who commit crimes because they were raised in circumstances that led them to their poor life decisions. It got so the loudest conservative (who is still a good friend) would start a discussion by saying, ok, we know WhichBox feels badly, so let's move on from there.

I'm no longer the kid I was in kindergarten. But, I can still say I excel at putting myself in other's positions. Maybe a bit too much. I like to hear what others think, and value other perspectives and the background people bring to discussion.

A few people have written me privately (I need to put an e-mail me link on here - maybe I'll try to figure out how to do that next if anyone does want to weigh in privately) and said they hope I'm not taking strong comments/criticisms too personally, and that only I can make decisions for my life. I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't want comments. I want comments. I've gotten incredibly valuable advice from readers, and i am extremely touched that people care enough to weigh in. It's helped me see some things in different lights, and brought some clarity when I was feeling all muddled. You all have helped me be stronger.

I think people react to betrayal, infidelity, loss, and everything else very individually. There are those who would say after betrayal they'd walk away without looking back. And others who say anything is forgivable, under the right circumstances.

Despite my extreme liberal leanings, I used to be a very judgmental person. And then my husband and I went through a very rough time in 2003, that involved infidelity on his part. I don't think I've written about it, though I have alluded to it. The biggest lesson I learned was that no one can ever really know what goes on between two people. And, more importantly, even though you think you know someone inside and out, you can't ever really know the true heart of another person.

So, I don't know where I'm going with all these disparate pieces of information. Still trying to make sense of what's going on in my life, and what's the right path for me.

Maybe I'm better off when I just relay the story, and listen to your comments after?!

So, I got home Friday evening. Once my daughter had gone to bed, my husband and I talked. He had tried to kiss me when I came in and I refused. He told me he had a good counseling session on Wednesday, and that he knew he had messed up. He didn't want to be a coward anymore, he wanted to face and address the things that made him act in destructive ways, and wanted another chance. I said, so I'm supposed to give you a THIRD chance? And he said please, yes.

I said it was possible to tell so many lies, nothing he said was believable. He said he knew, and he wanted to win back my trust.

I said after the last affair, he had said there was nothing he could do to make it up, and so he didn't do anything. And that wasn't going to cut it this time. He said he knew.

He said he had said a lot about the things I needed to change to meet his needs, and he needed to hear from me what he needed to change to meet mine. I said I didn't think he would be willing or able to do the things necessary to do that. Bottom line, I want to be with someone who is a family man, who puts family ahead of his own selfish pleasures. Someone who doesn't NEED to go out with the guys, someone who wants to put his family first in his life. And I wouldn't accept anything less.

He said he had missed me so much Tuesday night, and Wednesday, and had just been so excited our conversation on Tuesday had gone well and was just devastated he had lied about the party. He said he had wanted to move back into our room this weekend. And I quickly said that was not going to happen. He talked some more about improving our relationship in general, and I finally cut him off - all that talk was ignoring the fact he had betrayed me. He had an affair. He put another woman ahead of me - and our daughter - and he was still doing so, every single day. He said he had been, and he was so sorry, and it wasn't that way anymore, and he was taking steps to network and leave his current job.

We left it at that. Saturday was my brother's kid's birthday (twins). He, my daughter and I went there for lunch and it went well. My brother was fine, my sister in law actually gave him a big hug. So it went well. So he cleared one hurdle with my family.

Saturday night we decided to watch a movie, and I let him sit next to me on the couch. (music and Lyrics, very cute). We talked again after the movie was over. We had said during the day we needed to discuss our holiday plans. I said that there were things we had to work out, and I wasn't sure we could do so outside of counseling. He agreed. I thought about it a minute, and decided to just put it out there - I said I was really concerned with his New Year's plans. Without pausing, he said, I'll cancel them.

He planned with his best friend/coworker to go to a college bowl game. Unbeknownst to me, the friend actually bought plane tickets already. The plan was to go on the 31st, return on the 2nd. I've been thinking about it for days, and it was a litmus test - if he went on this trip, he'd return to find his belongings boxed up and my daughter and I gone for a few days until he was able to move out. I didn't say that.

Needless to say, I was surprised at how quickly he said he'd cancel. A part of me doesn't believe he will. He's going to tell his friend, who will make the "whipped" sound effect/hand gesture, and he'll feel peer pressure to still go. It's non-negotiable. Well, it's actually not non-negotiable. If I was going, or if we went as a family, it could be fun. Him going with his friend - his friend the king of one night stands while on travel - alone, over New Years Eve, is non-negotiable.

He just said again how sorry he was, how he knows he needs to change, and how hard he will work to be the man he wants to be.

So now we come to the hard to blog part. I let him move back into our room that night. I even said geez, I hate that I'm caving after 24 hours, I was really hoping to make it to 48. People, it is COLD in the mid-Atlantic.

I'm trying to make light of this. Yes, I'm not sure I did the right thing. I thought a lot about separating. IT just did not feel right. I don't know what the right thing is. I've hated that my daughter is learning to say/distinguish mommy's room and daddy's room. I hate that.

Things aren't perfect, or even back to normal. Though with the other family things we did this weekend, plus snuggling in bed between us on Sunday morning, my daughter is measurably a happier kid. And that counts for something.

I am scared to death that I'll get hurt more. That my daughter will be hurt further. My husband is not a bad person, though he has done bad things. Do not misunderstand me - there is no excuse for his behavior, and he is damn lucky to be getting a third chance. He better not blow it.

We have a joint session tomorrow. I hope it will help make some sense out of where we are now. Cause I'm not sure. I'm not. I really do not know how we're going to recover from these past few months.


meg said...

Wh. Bx., I also thought about how you were reacting to some of the comments. It's easy for people to say, do this, do that, or I would never stand for a.b or c! But it is quite a different matter, when you are in the midst of it...walking in those shoes, yourself.

I like the fact that your husband seems to want to try. I have no idea what you should do, or how you should get through this. But I am quite certain that you will recover from the past few months.

You have been through hell these past months and you have made it, while writing honestly and openly about it. That's how I know that you will be o.k. No doubt. And I'm in a giant crap storm myself, so I know what I'm talking about. Take care.

Leah said...

I think your husband may have finally finally realized what he was going to lose. You have to decide to start from there. Of course you will be angry and distrustful for a long time, but you will have to start again. I will pray for peace for you. Only you know the best thing for yourself but I think you are made a good decision to try one more time.

Am I doing okay? said...

I'm so glad you are back! I'm sure your hits are through the roof, b/c I've been checking in at a stalker-ish rate.

The Scarlet D said...

Are you sure we didn't grow up in the same town? (Except I would have been the conservative friend.) Anyway, I too have been stalking your blog, worried what happened to you after you got back. I have to say that I'm happy for you in an insanely jealous way that at least you have a husband who is willing to try (unlike mine). But I'll admit that I'm also "cautiously optimistic" for you, because I don't trust him with your heart. Is that o.k.? Can we still be friends?

theotherbear said...

You know what's right for you - good luck, whichever way it goes.

Trish said...

I seriously don't know if I can read your blog anymore. Did you ever watch someone, from a distance, as they are about to do something dangerous? You instinctively look away, because you know they are about to get hurt. That is how I feel about you. Your blog is like that MTV show SCARRED. Some people have a morbid urge to see people get really hurt. I am not one of those people. And I just feel that you're in for a big hurt. But who knows, maybe you'll only feel it as a little hurt, because you're willing to sacrifice your own happiness for your daughter's. And if that's what you want to do, that's fine, but I just don't want you to expect too much from that marriage. It is what it is. Your hubby can't keep his dick in his pants, and if you're alright with that, then you'll have to accept that as your future. Some women learn to live with that. I'm not one of them, but I'm a different story.

I don't mean this to sound mean, but I just can't watch you do this anymore. You're a sweet, good wife, who any man would be lucky to have. Unfortunately, you're stuck with a man who doesn't appreciate you.

niobe said...

I guess I'm going to disagree a little with Trish's comment above. I think that people don't change fundamantally, so if your husband has always been the type to tell white lies to smooth things over, that probably won't change. However, I do believe that, as they say, with safeguards in place, he can stop having affairs.

Whatever happened to the idea of gettting a job away from the woman he had an affair with? (or did I miss that?)