Friday, February 8, 2008

catching up

It's been too long, and while I don't have time right now, I have to catch this up. I've found over the past few weeks that having this record- this journal - has helped me go back and process some of the things that have happened. So I don't want to lose that...

So, a brief (as brief as I can!) update. Two weeks ago, I was on travel, and got back on a Wednesday night. This was just after the weekend when I said to my husband that I needed to HEAR how he felt about me. It was nice to come home, and we had sex that night. Pretty good sex, and what felt like a strong emotional connection. All I wanted was for him to SAY how he was feeling, and he wouldn't.

The next day, I was short with him, and by the time we were home from work and our daughter had gone to bed, he asked what was going on. And I just let lose - how badly I needed more from him, how the last things he had said about his feelings or me had been in December, when he was saying he the right thing to do was stay with me, but he still wasn't happy being here. How he had worked SO hard to destroy our relationship, and he had to work 1 million times harder to SAVE this relationship. I just felt like I had reached my limit. Why did I have to BEG him to give me any small morsel of comfort? The talk turned into his sobbing, and me just feeling so cold hearted. It really is possible to be pushed to such a point that you just don't feel anything any more, and I had been pushed that far. He asked me if anything had been good over the past weeks and I said no. Even if it had been a good experience, it was all tinged with me needing so desperately to be assured by him that it was all ok. He said he had told his counselor that ever night when we go to bed he says a prayer of thanksgiving that he got another day, that he was petrified every single day I would tell him to leave, and I would be perfectly justified doing so. He can tell her these things, but can't tell me.

No resolution to the discussion - I was too mad and fed up. Friday night (still two weeks ago!), we talked more. At one point he said that he didn't know what had happened, he had really lost his sex drive over the summer. And I just exploded at that, too. If he lost his sex drive, what's he doing sleeping with another person? He swears it was just once, and then he actually said he had to turn her down "so many times." What the hell? He said what he regretted was that he allowed himself to be drawn into an emotional relationship. Remember that, as that's the point at which I'm stuck now. I've got to the sex post at some point, it's too complicated to get into, but let's just say sex has been a big issue for us and dominates his life. The extremely short version is that he is a pr3.matur3 3jac.ula.tor (man I do not want this blog to be hit by people searching for that term), and it badly affects his self esteem and is certainly not helped by his uber focus and obsession.

Anyway, the resolution of that discussion was him saying he'd do better. We had an ok weekend, and he was better verbally at assuring me of his love and how much he appreciated me.

That takes us to the counseling session I wrote about last week, where we discussed trust. I made the point that more than anything, I needed constant verbal reassurances from him. Wow, that makes me sound really needy when typed out, doesn't it? But if someone has spent months telling you horrible things about how they feel about you, everything you're done wrong to drive them away, how they don't care anything for you anymore, believe me, you need at least an equal amount of time debunking that. And I wasn't getting any. My counselor told him in very plain language that the top emotion I expressed when with her was grief - grief over all that happened. And as most of us know, you can't rush grief, can't wrap it up in a bow and put it on the shelf and be done with it. I said it just felt like he wanted to pretend the fall never happened. He admitted he wanted to stop talking about the fall and his affair, though knew I needed to talk about it.

We had an ok week, for the most part. Last Saturday, I ran some errands while he stayed home with our daughter. Something happens to me when I spend a lot of time by myself, doing mindless things like driving. It's just too much thinking time, and I just relive everything, probing through it in my mind, rehashing conversations, remembering details, having new thoughts occur to me. Which leads to tears and sadness and the crushing grief. It's the waves I've talked about before, and why I posted that poem. I'll be fine, and then out of nowhere the blackness comes, and I can't stop it. I'll be singing along to the radio and them Bam! it hits, and I'm sucked into the vortex of grief. I wish I could explain better how it really comes ou of nowhere and punches me in the stomach. I can't put words to it.

Friday night had been my monthly night out with my mom's group. They are the ones I turned to when the shit hit the fan, and they know all the details. In general, a lot of people had no idea he and I were splitting up - we never made it to the telling people stage. But I needed help and support from somewhere and this group gave it to me. It's a big group, 15 women, and naturally I'm closer with some than others. At one point someone with whom I'm more distant was saying something about her husband and I started to pipe up, oh mine does that too, when I realized she didn't want to hear it. My friend did not want to hear any sort of comparison between my husband and hers. I was sitting next to a closer friend and we talked about it a little bit, but it made me sad to know that my main outlet, this group of women, was not a place where I could go back to normal life. It was a lifeline for crisis, and would continue to be a support for me. But with other friends who didn't know, it was easier to slip into normalcy. How's your husband with friends who didn't know was a discussion of his job and what was new. With this crowd, it was different. How's my husband was an invitation to talk about how I was, how was counseling, how things were going. Not your plain, basic, how are you, fine type conversation. And sometimes you want normalcy, you know? I think that kicked off some of the sadness.

Saturday night we went to a party, and I was still sad. I saw some old friends, and there were some interesting connections to my new job, so I spent a fair amount of time in intense discussions with others, feeling slightly irritated at my husband hovering close by. It was a Mardi Gras party, an annual event. I used to live in a group house in the mid 90s, before my marriage, and we inherited this party from a friend. Our house hosted it for three years, and, well, it was something. Hundreds of people, a band, many many kegs - it was a crazy, knock down, drag out, full on crazy party. After I got married, the house broke up, and we moved the party to a bar, and the craziness continued. I was partyer in my younger days, but by this point I was merely a "legacy host." I'd go to the party, but I haven't been a wild and crazy partyer for over a decade. My husband, though, still revels in it. And it's been an issue the past few years with this annual party. In 2005, I was pregnant but too early to tell anyone, so he insisted I go and I spent a miserable hour or so huddled in the corner feeling like I was going to throw up at any second, pretending I wasn't drinking because I had bronchitis and was on antibiotics, which was actually true, before I escaped and went home and he stayed out. In 2006, with an infant at home, we got a babysitter and I went for a few hours while he stayed out and partied. In 2007, I had just lost the baby and had immediately gotten terribly sick with a horrendous cold and stayed home, and yep, he was out, partying. So this party has some history for me - some good memories from the old days, mostly bad ones from the let's try to hold onto the old days feeling of my husband.

This year's party was tame and much more mature. Out at a bar, but a nice one, not frat central as in the earlier years, and it was organized for a charity, and we raised a lot of money, nearly $3000. I had a good time networking and reconnecting with some people, but again tinged with some sadness at the past. My husband didn't invite his partying friends, as he has in the past, and stayed close by, and didn't drink much, and acted, in general, like a 37 year old husband and father should act. But I still have so many regrets, and wonder if he's really happy changing that much.

We walked part of the way home, and I said, so that night in November you said you went out with friends - you didn't really go out with friends, did you? He sighed, and said do we have to talk about this, and after my look said, no, he had been out with her. I said I thought he still didn't understand the cost it had been to me. That night, I had been so anxious I had to call a friend to come sit with me for several hours, because I couldn't be in the house by myself, my anxieties were too high. I hadn't blogged about it, but it had been a bad night. He said even that night he knew it was over with her, it hadn't felt right. But, I said, that night was right before Thanksgiving, when you said you couldn't help me go see my family because you didn't want to spend that much time with me. I said you loved her, didn't you? you told her you loved her? And she loved you? And he sighed again. Asked how was he supposed to answer that. I said I needed to process this. That it didn't make sense to me. His revisionist history didn't allow me to get what had been happening. After I had discovered the affair, and had called her, things between us had gotten worse. And he just said yes. He told me back in November the relationship had become professional, but that wasn't true. I think what happened was my call to her pulled them closer together, actually, emotionally. I think maybe they did stop sleeping together, but in that desperate I want you so much I love you so much phase of a relationship. And it only lasted a month - the month of November - but that's a long month and a lot of hurt.

And so, without any pre-thought, and not even realizing what I was about to say, I said, I don't want to be married to you anymore. But I don't know how to do that and make a good life for our daughter.

We walked along very quietly for the rest of the trip. As we got closer to the house, he put his arm on my back, and I said I just can't take this pain anymore.

And now it's Friday, and have we talked about it at all? Nope, not one word.

I had this huge project at work Tuesday and Wednesday. And my daughter got sick Monday night. He was up with her, he took her to the doctor Tuesday, he stayed home from work, he did it all, and my project went well. And if he wasn't here, I don't know how I could have done it. I got sick Wednesday night, and was totally out of it Wednesday and Thursday, so he cared for us both. It is easier being married than not being married.

I don't know how I'm supposed to get past this, especially when he won't talk about it.

I had my counseling appointment yesterday, and dragged myself there. My counselor listened to me and finally said, I guess the question is, is he capable of being emotionally there for you? Can you all have an emotional connection that satisfies your needs?

Because I can't. I can't take all this crap, tie it up with a bow, and put it on a shelf. He can forge a deep emotional connection with some 25 year old girl, and his wife of 8 years, the mother of his child, the woman who went through a devastating loss exactly a year ago - he can't make an emotional connection with me?

Now I know the connection he thought was was making with this girl wasn't really one. It was a false escape from real life. There is no comparing a months long fling with a years long relationship. I am torturing myself making that comparison. I know that intellectually. And yet it's there. It hurts.

Last week, before it got bad, we decided to go away this weekend. We're driving a few hours outside of the city and renting a cabin in the woods for the weekend, with our daughter. Some hiking, outdoors time, at the time we planned it I was so looking forward to it. Now she's in the last stages of her cold, the runny cruddy nose stage. I think I'm recovered. He might be coming down with something. We haven't talked except superficially since Saturday night.

Ugh, sorry this is such a long post. I have needed to get it all out. I hope we'll have some time to talk this weekend, and I hope he's willing and able to talk. I think a lot about that stupid Ladi3s Hom3 Journal feature, can this marriage be saved? I honestly do not know. Could I get past the affair? yes, probably, with enough time, sure, I think so. But I can't be satisfied with a relatinoship that doesn't meet my emotional needs.


meg said...

Wow, so much stuff has been going on. I don't have a clue about what you should do or how things will work out. But...after reading all your words, I got to the last few ones, and went ahhh. I think that's it. I don't know if your emotional needs can be met (I sure hope they can), but saying that you can't be satisfied with a relationship that doesn't meet a really big deal.

I hope you have lots of time to talk on your weekend away. And I hope you can figure some of this stuff out soon.

Lisse said...

Well, this is going to take time. That's the hard part.

One question would be do you think he was happy acting like a 37 year old married man at that party?

Is he ready to grow up? Ready to be a partner and a father? Ready to be the kind of man you can admire, in time?

Because of what's happened, you find yourself needing the constant reassurance that most women married this long would not (though we still appreciate romance from time to time).

I don't know that he'll be able to give that to you until he has fully processed the loss of that baby.

The Scarlet D said...

Oh, you so remind me of me! I guess any woman who has been through betrayal needs constant reassurance, but I have to warn you that usually the guy doesn't want to keep re-hashing it over and over again. It's like he's being punished. One counselor explained that men's brains are like waffles - that part of their life is closed up, done with, over - in one little waffle-square, apart from everything else, and he could be ready to move forward. But a woman's brain is like spaghetti, where what happened to you - and the lack of trust that goes with it - is woven throughout everything from now on, and you can't get rid of it. The good news in your situation (from what I read) is that it really does sound like he is repentent and ready to move on - really aware of the huge mistake he made and becoming appreciative of what he has and what he stands to lose. I don't think my husband ever really cared if our marriage survived or not. He was so apathetic throughout the whole process, it was like he was dead inside, and still is - just trying to fill the God-shaped hole in his heart.