I apologize for the delay in reply. COVID makes some of its victims quite tired, including me. After COVID, we then got socked in with the horrible Arctic blast, and my son was at home for nearly two weeks.
I am devoting my energy to some quietude during this Lent season.
I appreciate everyone's concern.
I did not have any significant lung issues, thank goodness, but I did experience overall body inflammation, loss of smell and a lot of fatigue, which continues. Smell is back. Important for a guy who likes to cook!
Something significant I hadn't disclosed before here to anyone on SI: I'd had a few ongoing conversations with a single woman in another part of the country. This began after my WW failed her polygraph and I went through the heart scare last year. At that point and throughout 2020, I was moving steadily and resolutely toward divorce.
We'd met initially through professional connections. I've met a lot of women the past four years where there's been a mutual attraction but I never acted on any of this.
I can't categorize this as an emotional affair because it never got off the ground floor and she made it clear that while she found me attractive, she would not engage in a relationship with a married man.
After I mostly recovered from COVID, I reached out to this woman, apologized for dragging her into my situation and told her I was not emotionally healthy and our (in fact, boring and run of the mill) conversations weren't appropriate. She agreed, and my WW knows.
My WW came to me after I told her and apologized for putting me in a position where I would feel vulnerable to potentially starting an extra marital relationship with another woman. I was stunned by this in a positive way, because I certainly did not think that was going to be her reaction.
Things are in a holding pattern for the time being.
I am not in therapy. I did therapy for a good long while and it was helpful in many ways, but I'm one of those people who thinks that talk therapy only gets you so far and becomes repetitive. And indeed, there's good empirical evidence now that talk therapy's efficacy only goes so far. It seems to be about as helpful as journaling, talking to close friends, or counseling with a priest. I'm not dismissing it, and I understand it can be quite helpful for many people. Just not me.
I am going through the Catholic initiation process, as is my wife. This is important to me as I was raised partially Catholic but never confirmed. It's complicated - I had been an agnostic as a young adult, and then I became a devout Christian in my 30s after becoming intellectually convinced through reading apologetics on my own. Catholicism's richness of liturgy, contemplative nature, intellectual depth, tradition and grounding call to me now.
The Catholic position on divorce is hardline in favor of remaining married, including when it comes to adultery. But you don't have to agree 100 percent with every single position of the Catholic Church in order to be a Catholic.
Some absolutists would maintain that, but I am and will remain an ecumenical Christian. As far as my faith goes as an ecumenical Christian in my acceptance and embrace of other branches of Christianity, I believe Jesus was quite clear on this issue, and when the time comes for me to be ready for divorce, I will act.
I'm not ready. I think if you're going to get divorce, you'd damn well better be ready emotionally, mentally and physically unless it is forced on you out of your hands. That's not the case with me. I have a choice. I don't feel prepared and I think putting myself in a situation in which I don't feel equipped would be a bad choice at this time.
I was certainly ready in the fall. I had begun looking for living arrangements, I had visited with an attorney to understand the process better, and I had started lining up what to do to put my things in storage etc.
I've shared repeatedly my concerns about my son. I still have those concerns. I think far too many nonchalantly dismiss the impact divorce has on kids or see people like me on the horns of a dilemma as using kids as an excuse.
I have been a very strong voice in JFO forums for BS's, especially BH's, to strongly consider divorce. I haven't changed my mind on that.
I believe I have also been as "agnostic" on this subject as I can and I certainly hope for reconciliation when it seems to make sense. Where I have recommended or advocated for divorce as a clear option, I have seen that a BS has older kids, usually adults or near-adults ... or where the WS is clearly unstable or cruel or just completely lost.
My WW is not in this category. I've discussed elsewhere on SI the many things she has done consistently for more than four years to show me her remorse. I've also catalogued the things she hasn't done. I don't need to lay all of that out again here. It's why I feel trapped on the horns of a dilemma.
Regardless, I'm tapping the brakes for now. I'm watching and listening carefully. I'm taking care of myself.
Today, I don't feel mentally or emotionally prepared to take on the rather daunting work of splitting up my family. I say "today," because my feelings can and probably will change. When I'm ready, I'll be ready.
But that's where I am right now. I am building up my reserves of emotional, mental and physical strength. I am taking care of myself, sleeping, exercising, losing weight and plugging back in more intentionally in my professional life.
And I am giving myself an emotional and mental rest from frequent posting on SI during this season. I read frequently, but for now I am trying to practice keeping my own counsel as a discipline.
[This message edited by Thumos at 9:32 AM, March 9th (Tuesday)]