thinking of you. missing you. loving you.
….and or saved in the drafts folder in order to write more later. the next few posts are likely going to reflect this habit of mine.
posted these image quotes to my drafts folder 4 February 2014. (side note: three days before D-day.)
I was going through very regular and arduous chemo treatments every other week and unlike previous treatment plans, this round was kicking my ass. There was surgery at the end of December and the healing from that was taking longer than I expected. I had once again brought up the subject of counseling to dh, testing the waters if you will, again. And again, he wasn’t interested at all. And even went as far as to say he wished I would lean on friends and my therapist for emotional support because as he said at the time “it’s not in my wheelhouse, you know that.” I admit that in that moment, I already knew who I could lean on, even from three thousand miles away, I was just hoping dh would be the one.
On this particular day, it had been several months since we’d seen one another in real life and yet he had found a way to connect with me that I had come to look forward to. He would leave me a daily greeting the moment he went to his office, knowing that I would wake up to a voicemail from him every day had become the highlight of the two months he’d been doing it. It may seem small or insignificant to some, maybe even most people, and of course horrible to those that don’t approve/agree of our mutual admiration society. But to me, especially to me it was his way of giving to me, what I needed at the time.
Outside of the guilt and the remorse, and yes, there is guilt and remorse. There is also love. I recall starting this post with the three images below because the words resonate and because regardless of who you are, who you love and who loves you back, it’s different for everyone. it’s nuanced. it’s flawed. and it’s messy.
I swear I did *not* go searching for this article, it was served up to my feed on the homepage I use at work. the article in of itself isn’t earth shattering per se, but rather the perspective one doesn’t hear often unless you are a dedicated reader of dan savage and other columnists with a more diverse, and open foundation.
Additionally, Kat, a blogger I’ve been following for a while over on BlogSpot recently posted her thoughts on sexual fidelity (here) from the perspective of being in a long-term (25+ years) marriage and both articles came up in our most recent counseling session. (that post forthcoming).
Jenny Glick for YourTango.com
It sounds crazy that an affair could actually strengthen a marriage. And yet, for those of us who work in therapy, what we see is that couples who do the work after an affair is disclosed often describe having a relationship that is even better than before. Impossible? Not really.
In American culture, affairs are the most taboo choices that a spouse can make while married. It is quite common to hear the unmarried and married alike say, “If my husband cheated on me? I’d leave him! Period!” or “I’d never tolerate an affair. Our relationship would be over!”
Until it happens to you. Can your marriage survive an affair? When an affair comes to light and your entire life, your family, your children, your standard of living, and the person you have loved all stand in the balance — it often does not seem as cut and dry.
If you have a quality therapist, that person probably will not just focus on the affair itself. She will help you and your partner untangle the, often, years of emotional distance, unresolved hurt, sexual tepidness, and complacency that almost always accompany an affair. During this process the “whose to blame?” question gets thrown around a lot but the truth is that in marriages it is not a 50/50 agreement. In a healthy marriage, each partner is 100% accountable for their actions, behaviors, tone, and emotional engagement in a relationship. If the marriage is not satisfying what you want, where are YOU accountable? Tough questions, especially if your partner is the one who cheated on you.
And yet, like most tough questions, it is the question that gets to the underbelly of the issue. I am not saying that a spouse can cause an affair, but I am saying that both parties contribute to creating an environment that sprouts and can sustain an affair.
Often, the person that acts out and has the affair is communicating something loud and clear that their partner has not been able to hear prior:
- I am very unhappy in this relationship.
- I am tired of being ignored.
- I cannot go on living like this.
- I am incredibly hurt and want someone to see and love me.
- I am willing to take a major risk in order to get my needs met.
Almost always, prior to an affair happening, some of these statements have been made aloud. There have been discussions (or arguments) about how one or both people have been dissatisfied in the marriage. Almost always, if each partner were to get quiet and feel back to before the affair, they can see signs of where and how the relationship was breaking down— but you didn’t think your partner would ever cheat.
The statistics are somewhere between 30% and 70% of married people have affairs (texting, chatting, or sleeping with someone who is not their spouse) in America. We can pass judgment or we can see this as an indicator of an epidemic of marital breakdown that is sweeping the country. It is a call for help to find effective ways to revitalize and heal our marriages.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com
I posted this on another blog earlier today, as it struck me how it can apply to so many things in someone’s life or even the various parts of someone’s life. I forget that he occasionally follows that blogger as well…until I see this message in my inbox:
SUBJECT: I have
given the way things need to be and the new normal of limited virtual contact, the additional distance and separator of time zones pierces my heart more than ever before. I miss your touch. yes, of course the actual physical touch but more importantly the touch of our conversations and human kindness in the mutual admiration society we have. the voicemails of encouragement before and after a chemo treatment, the funny limerick left in my mailbox or the good night wish sent as a single note in the ether. that’s the touch I miss the most.
during counseling today i was stunned into silence when the counselor looked at me, then at darling husband, back at me before turning to face darling husband and said “you can’t fault her for finally choosing herself when she has always put you first. always. her choice, whether right or wrong, was still her choice and you chose to ignore her for so long that to raise an objection now is your issue. not hers. we are here to deal with each of these separately as they impact your relationship. but until you can see, not agree, but see things from her perspective, you won’t move forward.” huh…still processing.
dh and i had another counseling session the other day and our therapist said something similar to this and then looked quite pointedly at him and said: “dh this is what i mean about meeting at least half way…” to which he replied “why? it was just fine the way it’s been. before she started to get “more comfortable” [using air quotes] with being fat and unhappy with the frequency of sex etc.”
*sigh* this is going to be a long haul because he doesn’t get it isn’t just about sex. not in a long shot.
on the flip side. this week he and i have had very limited contact and none in “real time” as i was supposed to be in nyc attending a conference in which yes, i was going to be able to see him for a bit each day. it’s been hard as connection is vital for me. he knows this. and leaves me hello and goodnight messages via email which means more to me than it probably should.
the upside: dh and i continue to work through counseling and while there hasn’t been much progress yet, we are still in there trying to figure things out. the kids have remained shielded from most of it because dh and i mutually agreed to work through our conversations away from family time.
he and i connect in little ways making me believe that when the time comes, as it is upon us sooner rather than later, the transition from an us to a new version of distant friends might not be as difficult as it can be.
perhaps this is what my dh means. i do have a new perspective, i no longer care that he just wants us to go back to they way things have always been. i have a new mindset and i am willing to say that it’s not okay anymore. that we should have a relationship that is full, complete and whole. that i no longer care to continue if he can’t make changes. or perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle…