Like most people, I am on a journey to self awareness, happiness, health, contentment, whatever you want to call it. It’s not a race, I don’t have to rush it. There is no one destination or result that will mark the completion of this journey, except death. Every day until then, I have the power within myself to improve, to do things better, to re-evaluate, to reflect, to do things right that I have been doing wrong. I accept and welcome the trials and tribulations of this pilgrimage. I have already learned numerous lessons that I will take with me on the rest of my journey.
Marriage is also a journey. The day we committed to spend the rest of our lives together, the day we agreed to love and honor and cherish each other above all others, or whatever vows we took, or agreements we made, that was just the very beginning. We did not know what we were doing. We did not know what all would be set before us. We did not know whether we would have children and if we did, how we would tackle every challenging moment of parenthood. We did not know what direction our careers would take. And, we did not know that infidelity would play a part, because we had both agreed that this was not something that was acceptable to us either as individuals, or in our marriage.
Individually, we answer to ourselves. In our marriage, we answer to ourselves, and to each other. Each person gets to decide whether the union fulfills their needs or wants, and whether that union makes them feel more whole, or less so, but the actions of one partner in a marriage will most definitely affect the feelings and actions of the other and that always has to be taken into consideration. For the past 13 months, I have contemplated how my marriage makes me feel. Prior to dday, I would not have hesitated to tell you (and I did tell people and write about it in other blogs) that marriage in general is difficult, and full of compromise, but it definitely helped make me a whole person. It was so worth it. I love my husband and my children and our family and the life we had built. I had spent three decades with Blue Eyes and worked hard for what we had, or what I thought we had. I was, unfortunately, completely unaware of my husband’s secret life, the secret life that would force me to question every single element of our union for the past 30 years. Being the victim of such pathological deception crushes the spirit. It makes trust nearly unattainable.
For over a year, I have felt like I have been held hostage to my husband’s illness. First it was the destructive disclosures that were spewed out over many months time, then it was my crippling trauma, and his continuing and challenging recovery, and my eventual self awareness, and now I am left with the lingering question: am I happy? I have learned that for happiness, I need to feel safe. To feel safe, I need to believe that the people I have chosen to surround me are trustworthy… that they have my back, that they won’t hurt me. Not just that they didn’t think they would ever hurt me, or when they were hurting me, they didn’t think I would find out, or that they just fucking blocked me out and so hurting me was not even a factor in their decision making when they hurt me. I NEED SOMEONE THAT WILL NOT HURT ME. No excuses. Not just someone who loves me, or says he loves me. On this, I am BLACK AND WHITE. It still hurts so bad to think that this person that I devoted my life to could rationalize doing things that were so destructive and so hurtful and so wrong. So, yeah, I contemplate this shit all the time.
For me to feel safe and secure and to feel like the union with my husband is meaningful, I personally need a few things to be happening. I need to feel like my husband understands me. I need my husband to want to help me feel better when I am struggling with issues in our marriage. I need my husband to behave in a manner that is trustworthy. I could say I want all these things, not need them, but I would be lying. I NEED all these things in order for my marriage to survive the chaos my husband has unleashed upon it. The trauma knocks me on my ass daily. Sure, I can get up all on my own, dust myself off, and move forward, but I can do that alone. In order for me to feel like my marriage is now something to be cherished, to be nurtured, something I am going to continue pouring my heart and soul into, I need him to stand up and fulfill my emotional needs. He is fulfilling my physical needs. He feeds me without me asking, he cares about my health and wants me to succeed at losing weight and exercising more, he encourages me to go walking with him and the dogs, and use the expensive elliptical that takes up a big portion of our family room, he does the laundry, he cleans the kitchen, he does the grocery shopping, he satisfies me sexually. All these things, although I have no doubt they are done out of love, are not difficult for him to do. The difficulty lies in him emotionally connecting with me (or anyone, for that matter). It is what we talk about at couple’s therapy. It was what we talk about at home. It is what I think about.
I could tell lots of stories here about what is prompting me to write this entry. Our days are filled with me and my grief providing Blue Eyes with opportunities to step up emotionally. Despite what Blue Eyes might think, I keep a lot inside. But then sometimes I am sad and tears might just spill out of my eyes, sometimes I am frustrated and anxious, sometimes I am angry and I also just want to walk away from the stress (like he wants to), but the emotions are a result of the turmoil inside me filling me up… it’s too much, it has to come out, and one way or another, it does. These are the times I need Blue Eyes to step up. These are the times I need him to do his 50%. I need him to own his behavior, to understand my needs, and really embrace the emotional effects of his addiction. I have always done so much more than my 50% both physically and emotionally, and it has been pointed out to me by therapists, that this is a problem. Fine. Let’s fix it then. Let’s get Mr. less than to give more, so I don’t have to step in and fill the void. I understand it is not easy. Marriage is not easy. Life is not easy.
I am a bit obsessive compulsive, so when I said I would give my husband a year, and when that year was up nearly a month ago, I knew it. I knew right down to the minute when a year from dday occurred. We were in a foreign country, so figuring out the exact hour was tedious, but I did, of course. When it happened, I didn’t jump up and yell at my husband, “your year is up, let’s evaluate.” I didn’t run out the door and say, “it’s over.” I didn’t stay and think, wow, all our problems are solved, so glad I gave him a year. None of those things happened. But I can say that since that day, I have felt more anxious than sad. I have felt like, why does everyone say “give it a year.” I now realize a year is not a magical amount of time.
Blue Eyes is making progress. I am happier than I was a year ago and I am feeling less traumatized than I was even three months ago, and although he is not acting out sexually in any way, he is also not connecting emotionally like I need him to. Am I unrealistic? I don’t know. But what I do know is, I need more to be able to stay in this marriage. That’s it. I am just calling it out here.
I’m not putting him on notice.
I’m putting myself on notice.