Surviving my marriage is the impossible task...
It's four years later and I thought I'd share my insights with the hopes of helping others. I'll provide you with a brief history of my affair. While I understand that the bulk of you are deeply hurt and focused on the infidelity in your relationships, for me, it's no longer of consequence. That's not to say that I don't regret my choices. I just recognize that it wasn't about the affair - it was about my marriage.
The history of my A...Four years ago, I became emotionally involved with an old friend. The friendship developed into a 5- month affair, that was physical on one occasion. We were discovered by our spouses. We've remained NC since D-day.
My husband and I began marriage therapy days after D-day. We attended 3 session which basically covered our history and set up rules for discussing the A. We discussed how disconnected we were. How alone I felt. How we were living separate lives.
We went home and he started to send me emails, updating me about his day. We went on date nights. We watched some TV together. We resumed our sex-life. Problem solved?!
During the third session, my husband announced that he had forgiven me and wanted to move forward. He had no desire to hear any details of the A relationship and wanted to put it behind us.
While I was relieved that I didn't have to relive and expose my dark secrets, I still couldn't shake MY questions, "why?" Why had I done this? What was wrong with me? Where did 'I', the person I thought I was go? I continued with the marriage counseling ALONE. I sat in her office too embarrassed to discuss how alone I felt. Too ashamed to admit how hurt I was that my husband didn't care enough to join me.
After a few more sessions, I buried my pain and became a 'Stepford wife'. I cooked, cleaned, and was overly affectionate. I felt obligated to make everything alright. If he was able to forgive me of this horrific act, I could except the shortcomings of my marriage. No marriage is perfect, right?!
One of the issues we covered during marriage counseling was my husband's lack of attention and/or complimenting me. I can remember how uncomfortable I felt just hearing him mouth a complimentary word to me. In my mind it felt so unnatural and forced. I would say to myself, 'you're only telling me I'm beautiful so I don't go sleep with X.' - then I would say, 'if he can forgive you - you can let this go.
It's important to note that to this day, we have NEVER discussed the A. I recently learned from a close friend that the wife of my A-partner had driven several hours, on multiple occasions to stalked me, while carrying a loaded firearm. My husband was aware of this and didn't notify me. It WAS an emotionally intense experience, and we NEVER discussed it!
Well, time went on and the daily emails dropped off to none. The compliments stopped coming and we resumed separate lives.
I should mention that we have a severely disabled child that adds additional stress to our lives. My husband has never taken any interest in his care, beyond paying the bills. Our son is 18 and my husband does not have a good relationship with him. He avoids family activities and is genuinely detached from our son. It has always been 'me & the kids'.
As I mentioned, I'm the sole caretaker for a severely disabled child. I need to get away from him and recharge MY battery periodically. I basically leaned on my girlfriends and sister to provide the emotional support and friendship lacking in
marriage. If anything good came out of MY journey of recovering from my A, its self awareness. I DO recognize how vulnerable I am to have an A. I'm STARVING for emotional support, attention, friendship, love, security... All of the things a good marriage provides. Being self aware, I know that I can't solve my problems, by creating MORE problems.
Two years ago, as a Christmas present, I wanted to book a 3-day cruise for my husband and I to get away. I called him to check on the dates before booking it. He responded by telling me that he didn't want to visit the islands the ship was sailing to. I was devastated - I told him that we hadn't done anything together in over a year. I told him that I wanted and needed to spend time with him. He told me that we'd take an alternative trip together. The year went by without a get away together. In addition to not going away, we had only eaten in a restaurant together twice, the entire year - one ending in a fight. I stopped initiating intimacy - it dropped off -almost completely.
During this time, my husband began a hobby. He started geocashing. For those who don't know, it's a worldwide treasure hunt game. We actually started it together and enjoyed a few occasions of geocashing and hiking. He has become obsessed! On the weekends, he leaves the house at 7:00 and doesn't return until 6:00. This is EVERY weekend and often after work. I have no idea if he's having an affair - I honestly think he's just trying to escape life. I guess a part of me doesn't care.
Last year, I decided that I'm tired of being in a lonely marriage. I'm tired of always initiating intimacy. I'm tired of being the only parent to our children. I'm tired of vacations, dinners, holidays, and weekends alone. If I'm going to be alone - I might as well BE alone. I found an attorney and started making preparation. This will be a massive challenge for my son and I feel guilty that I'm putting him thru it. I just can't continue living like this.
On my attorneys advice, I did not immediately notify my husband about my intentions. I've taken steps to secure a stable future for myself, and my children.
Last Christmas, after buying all the presents alone, and attending the holiday celebrations alone, I broke down. We had a fight and he promised that things would change.
Nothing changed! After he opted to skip coming to Easter at my parents house, I moved into the guest room. Shockingly, this took him by surprise. He was committed to saving our marriage and being a good parent. He started calling me multiple times during the day and wanting to do everything with me. It felt suffocating. I just couldn't flip a switch and hope for the best. I don't want to risk the progress I've made for MY future. I don't believe that REAL change (for us) is possible.
After a few weeks of trying to save our marriage, he admitted we were too far gone. He told me he would move out. He notified his family of our situation and they've ALL stopped communicating with me. I'm sure he told them about my A and they blame me. I gave up my career to care for our son. They've always viewed that decision as a luxury. They don't live near us and aren't involved in our lives.
After making these announcements, he's done nothing. We continue to live in separate bedrooms. We communicate about daily living and the kids. We don't argue or discuss anything. I DONT hate him - I'm just done! We aren't able to fulfill each others needs. We have a lifelong challenge with our son and I'm focused on making the future peaceful. I've spent my entire adult life with him and I respect our family. While I'm no longer in love with him, I still love, care, and respect him. I recognize that he needs time to adjust and I'm focussing on having a healthy relationship with him, after the divorce. It's just incredibly difficult to live like this! I want my own life and time to myself.
I've decided to ask him about his progress in finding a place this week. I hate confrontation but I need him to move forward.
I've learned so much from my journey. I've learned the importance of staying connected and being on the same team.
I hope that the future brings us both partners that will fulfill us and enhance the lives of our children.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it helps someone! (Perhaps I wrote it for myself :-)