I have a chronic illness, and it was a definite contributor to the state of our marriage and my husband's stress level that contributed to his A.
It's like dealing with a triple whammy. First your own body betrays you, then your spouse betrays you, and in my case I discovered that by giving in to my illness I betrayed myself.
H and I have spent a lot of time learning how to communicate better about the effects my illness have on not only me, but all of us as a family and on he and I as a couple.
One of our biggest trials during R was facing my first big flare since D-day. It was terrifying, but the work that we had done brought us through it with flying colors.
If there's anything I can do to help others dealing with this, please, please let me know. I would love to help.
[This message edited by KSA2 at 7:55 PM, April 8th (Sunday)]
A little over a year ago, I was given the diagnosis of a "large brain tumor". Three weeks later came my first DDay. Someone in my JFO thread asked me which was more difficult to deal with. Answer: my WW's A. No question. The BT was like being floating in the middle of the ocean; DDay was like a shark attacking me. You tend to forget that you are in the middle of an ocean.
It has been tough, no question about it. And my WW has been absolutely no help. If anything, she has added to my misery by complaining about my health problems and the burden I am to her, the "long" five minute drive to the hospital to visit me, etc. Just goes on and on.
I had treatment last year and am doing reasonably well.
He lives with OW now and is quite happy. She is 11 years younger and very healthy.
Since he left I have become much healthier. I still have bad days but more good ones than bad ones.
He left me when I was at my sickest. I would never have done this to him.
After the cancer diagnosis, WS's younger brother died of Melanoma after the initial 5 year "all clear" designation.
WS was laid off from 2 different jobs after the Cancer diagnosis....and this all happened while just after WS turned 50, our oldest child was approaching college.
So I don't doubt that he was having a midlife crisis....it's just that his 'cure' happened to be 15 years younger than me, in a town 2,000 miles from family and cutting edge medical care, where WS had accepted "the only" job he could find.....
Did his Cancer diagnosis give him the permission to cheat??? He did try using the "I don't know how long I'm going to live" card as a justification for his bad action.
And I have been more accepting of his actions than I would have been if his health hadn't been in question....
What a weird trip....
[This message edited by hanecita at 10:26 AM, April 10th (Tuesday)]
Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. -- Yoda
It's like dealing with a triple whammy. First your own body betrays you, then your spouse betrays you....
....One of our biggest trials during R was facing my first big flare since D-day.
....One of our biggest trials during R was facing my first big flare since D-day.
You said this so well. It was bad enough that my WH had an A, but it was during the whole first year after my disease diagnosis. That made it so much worse.
He was the hero, the one taking care of his sick wife, the house, the kids, and going to work. Everyone thought he was the best husband on the planet.
My parents even formally thanked him last Christmas for taking such good care of me. How he could look them in the eye at that time, I'll never know.
All those nights in the hostpital last year, all the surgeries....my time away from home just gave him more freedom to continue his EA. without my being in the way.
I can't even let myself think about my next flare up. I know there will be one. I know there will be more hospitalization. And there's a good likelihood of more surgery. What's going to happen?
He couldn't even handle the first year after diagnosis without straying. What about the next 40 years of this damned disease?
What happened to "in sickness and in health??"
Better off I sparkle on my own ~ Anna Nalick
My H didn't cheat until several years into my illness. During those years, I was in almost constant flare, and most everything fell to him. He would be gone to work for four days, and then when he got home, he would work at home for five days taking care of me, the house, the kids - everything.
He got tired. He got depressed. And he felt like he couldn't talk to me about how my illness made HIM feel. I was the one hurting, he thought, how could he bitch and moan and put more on me?
He honestly thought that unloading to a stranger was the best thing he could do for ME. He didn't want to burden me.
What he didn't realize was that depression began feeding resentment. Eventually, his purging led to an EA with a woman who told him all about how hard he worked and how he deserved better, and so on and so forth. It lead him from being beaten down by and resenting my illness to a feeling of resentment against me.
That lead to him feeling guilty because he loved me. So he'd take on more and more to take care of me. Eventually it got to the point that he wouldn't let me do *anything* around the house, and unfortunately I let him. And I gave in completely to my illness and completely checked out of life. My life revolved around reading, sleeping, and taking meds. His revolved around constant work, and moments of escape where he talked to her and she told him things to make him feel better. An EA was in full swing - but he didn't see it as an EA. To him, it was and emotional release valve that kept him going for the family.
When it became a PA, he realized what he'd done. It was like suddenly it hit him - "Holy shit, I cheated on my wife!" - and he confessed.
One of the biggest things in our R have been for me to fight the temptation to give in to my disease, and for him to learn to encourage me in that and know that he CAN talk to me about how hard it is on him. I CAN support him, even though I'm in pain. I want to support him, too.
We learned that my illness didn't just happen to me, it happened to US - and we had to work together to defeat it by communicating with each other and by working together.
Him being able to talk to me helps him deal with the emotions, and it also spurs me to work as hard as I can to do as much as I can.
And now when I can't, he feels no resentment towards me. Just love and a need to take care of me when I can't take care of myself - knowing that I'll still listen and understand, and that I won't give in to the illness again.
Because he's worked so hard to learn to talk to me and share with me (which was VERY difficult for him), I know he's not going to turn to someone else because the pressure has become too much.
He really needed to hear me acknowledge how hard dealing with the results of this illness is on him, too, and that those feelings didn't mean he was a selfish or bad person - just that he's human. He needed to hear that I *wanted* him to talk to me and let me help him, just as he wanted me to let him help me when the pain became too much.
It's made a world of difference, being able to communicate.
I was diagnosed about a year before the A started but the flirtation began before that.
It was a difficult and unpredictable time in our lives.
I'm sure he was wondering what the future held for me as well as himself.
He obviously didn't feel he could be there for me and his selfishness and what he needed was uppermost in his mind.
I had flares during the A and I can't honestly say he was very supportive then either.
I've been doing well for the last few years so its a non issue right now but I wonder sometimes.....
[This message edited by kdny at 11:59 AM, April 10th (Tuesday)]
I remember back during the A - before I knew anything about it - I would approach him and say "I'm sorry, I know this has to be hard on you, too." and he'd always reply "It's fine, honey, don't worry."
THAT made it harder for him to reassure me after the A. I didn't want to hear "I'm fine, don't worry."
He finally learned to tell me "Thank you for understanding, and thank you for trying so hard to deal with this. Why don't we talk later after the kids are asleep and we're lying down?"
That time in the dark where I can cry about how my body has betrayed me and how it frightens me that we'll end up in the same place, and he can cry and tell me how hard it is to see me in pain and how tiring it is to work all the time but that he'll never turn away from me again, and holding each other has really, really helped.
[This message edited by KSA2 at 12:26 PM, April 10th (Tuesday)]
didn't think much of it then.
at the end of being 19 going on to 20, i had my first bad taste of infidelity with this same person. i thought i was the only one. i thought he was honest.
it wasn't until i found out his long distance phone bill that things were not what they seemed.
and after finding out he was having affairs with drag queens, a co-worker who'd give him blow jobs and more in the stock room during working hours, and well, after coming down with a mysterious full-body rash that no doctor could diagnose or even figure out despite biopsy and steriod shots with failure to treat, blood tests, etc., i thought it was time to get tested for hiv.
and well, one april day, i found out i was positive. it was before i turned 21 but i had been infected ever since we fucked when i was 19.
he never looked sick. he was buff. he was hot. he was alive and a cheater!!! and after i urged him to get tested, he was also positive.
a few weeks later after we both were seen by a specialist and gotten special tests to find out further immune damage, i had about 400 t-cells.
he only had 25.
he had aids.
back then, i felt bad telling him to get lost but i didn't tolerate the truth that came afterwards. yes, he was fucking around. yes, he was cheating. yes, he messed up. yes, he lied.
i was much stronger then to walk away. and i did.
he wasn't out to his family either. i must have a knack for getting involved with men who are closeted, huh?
anyway, he didn't make it. he died a little less than 2 years later, right before he turned 30.
i will never forget that period in my life. i was only 22 when he died. and i was scared that i was next. he died while visiting me and before he went back home. this was after christmas and before new years.
he wanted to visit me because he had gotten into a bad awful argument with his mom.
it's a shame that he died like that, on bad terms with his mom. i am sure if she knew what she did afterwards, things maybe would have been different.
so in a nutshell, i've been positive since i was 19. now i am going to be 37.
and yet, despite taking medication and in good health with regular doctor visits, having this illness isn't really a major concern for me. i don't focus on it. i think it was a gift from God to call me to His attention.
i do get scared when i get the flu or really bad headaches.
i don't know why i am not as tough when it comes to love troubles and infidelity like i am with this disease.
being cheated on by someone you love is worse than having hiv.
when i was told that i was positive, i was okay.
i was more devastated when i was finally told the truth of all the lies and the other men.
today there is really ABSOLUTELY no reason why anyone in the USA needs to be infected with hiv.
this disease is so easy to avoid.
and if there is anything that i can do for any of you to keep healthy and not infected, let me know.
i had a TV show that i hosted in austin, tx back in 1992-1993 on public access. it was successful. and yet, at the peak of my success, i was charged by the state of texas for being obscene. the state of texas called a grand jury and soon enough there was a trial. i was scared. i was naive. and i was tried and found guilty. i got a misdemeanor and sentenced to 1 year probation and 250 hours of community service.
basically, that screwed up my chances of ever becoming a teacher. i wanted to teach math and well, with a misdemeanor (C), i basically got scared that i could never teach.
i left texas and when to new york.
i am now in DC and still want to be a teacher
i am now in DC and still very healthy and strong!
i am now in DC still wanting to do something good with my life
i am now in DC surviving the aftermath of an affair that i never wanted.
i know God has a plan for me.
i have something wonderful to offer in some way for someone or for many.
it still is going to happen.
GB, you offer wonderful things to everyone here each time you're here. You know what to say to provide inspiration when people are at their lowest - I've seen you do it time and time again.
[This message edited by Skye at 7:48 PM, April 11th (Wednesday)]
-- now the WW- his Dday was Nov 6, 2007; I had a 4 week intense EA, mostly on-line
You don't have to go back to that place - you don't WANT to go back to that place, for YOU. Having been through it, it's easier for me to recognize the slide down and get help before I hit rock bottom.
The hardest thing for me to face, as I said, was knowing that I would flare again. And again and again and again. It made me sick with insecurity.
We have to communicate about it, and we have to keep a plan in place for *both* of us to ask for what we need during those times. It's the best we can do. My H has worked really hard on this, and that gives me comfort.
But I can't control what he will eventually do. I can trust in the man I see now, and hope to hell I don't get hurt again in the end - and I really believe I won't - but there's a bit of a leap of faith to that. Point blank, I have no ironclad guarantees, but I choose to believe, and I feel comfortable with that because of what I can *see* him doing. If it was just talk, and I didn't see the work, I wouldn't be where I am now. He's been integral in my regaining that trust in him by what he's *doing*, not just what he's saying.
We've made it through a couple of severe flares now, and he's come through for me with flying colors.