Even though I feel stronger than I did a year ago, stronger as a person and stronger in my marriage, I am not sure I will ever be able to go through an entire day without some reference to the hell my husband has put me through. On Valentine’s Day afternoon, our dogs would not stop barking. Inside, outside, it didn’t matter, they were in a snit. We have a six year old golden retriever who is very well behaved, and a rather unruly one year old mini blue merle Australian shepherd that likes to bark at everything it seems, including his shadow. He is adorable, but the barking really grates my nerves. I was feeling unsettled. Sometimes when they bark uncontrollably, I feel like “she” must be somewhere near. Our pets have sensed my unhappiness and unease this past year. The golden would lay next to me, touching me, whenever I was crying or feeling depressed. Likewise, the cats would get right up on top of my chest, taking turns. I am sure they sensed the heart murmur and were trying in their best feline way to comfort me, calm me. There is almost no comforting me when the paranoia sets in. After all the stalking, I wouldn’t put it past that woman to walk right into our yard. I wouldn’t put it past her to do something horrible. She is crazy.
I needed to take a shower before dinner anyway, and I thought it would calm me. Blue Eyes offered to take the dogs for a walk. In the past, this might have been a trigger. Who knows who he is calling and texting while he “walks the dogs.” But we are past that. It has been more than 18 months since he has had contact with his acting out partner, and he knows that if he goes back into his cycle, our marriage is over. I am pretty sure I will sense it now, and even if I don’t, the higher power he needs to be answering to is himself. Can he NOW live with himself if he starts the abuse cycle all over again. If he does go back, I am not going to stick around to find out if he can eventually kick this thing. I will watch his journey from afar. In a safe place.
While in the shower, I could hear my office door opening and closing (my home office is right next to the bathroom). At one point, it was almost like the door was being slammed. I thought my husband was off on a walk with the dogs? My shower was maybe 15 minutes long, shortened because of my overwhelming uneasiness. Not only did he supposedly take the dogs on a walk during this time, but he apparently went in and out of my office numerous times, and then the dogs were barking again. Fuck it! I got out of the shower and finished getting ready. I gave up on calm and relaxing.
When we left for dinner, I was still on edge. We parked our car in our office tower parking space and walked the 3 or 4 blocks to the restaurant. There were a lot of people out on Valentine’s night downtown. For some reason, I felt like we were being followed. I could not shake the feeling. Gee how I wish I could be as carefree and unencumbered as my husband is after wreaking havoc on the lives of the ones he loves. Sometimes I feel bad that I am so moody now. I wish I could just be happy all the time. But then I look at him and honestly wonder how he is not in shreds inside. That is addiction. You can fuck with the people you love and keep going because the emotions that should have stopped you from the madness in the first place, aren’t there. Ah to be able to rationalize and compartmentalize like a cheating sex addict. I know I certainly wouldn’t need the Ativan if I could just block it all out.
Dinner was amazing. The ambience in this little restaurant is special. We have been here before, it is one of our favorites. The chef had prepared a special price fixe menu for the occasion. We shared many wonderful and mostly healthy courses. The breads are all whole grain and baked fresh each day in house. I had the scallop carpaccio with poached shrimp and red grapefruit for an appetizer, the fig tortelli with parmesan fondue for the pasta course (half came home to the Peacemaker), and the tombo tuna with fennel for the main. Blue Eyes enjoyed the chicken and barley soup with a parmesan proscuitto stock and shaved black truffles, the fig pasta, and guinea hen with farro risotto for his main course. The portions are perfectly sized so that you walk away content but not overwhelmed. We brought home the desserts to our son.
Unfortunately, the entire dinner I had my eye on the door and the sidewalk outside. Even though I knew Camilla would most likely choose work tonight as she has no life and it was a Saturday and a holiday, you just never know. Maybe she would choose this night to further torment me. My gut was in turmoil. We walked leisurely back to our office building and drove home. The whole evening was romantic and lovely and uneventful. There were no Camilla sightings, thankfully. I am pretty sure my continuing paranoia about Camilla will be a topic of conversation today at our couple’s counseling. I am also quite confident that I will schedule at least one separate individual therapy session with Ms. Second Chance to help me get past this bump in my road to health. The tension is not good for my heart.
As we sat in that dimly lit restaurant, I explained to Blue Eyes how debilitating it is for me to not have any closure with that woman. I am not sure if it is just because he chose a crazy woman to have a sexual relationship with, or that he ended it so abruptly, telling her he didn’t care about her and had only used her for sex, after having spent eight years convincing her he loved her and needed her. I know that I will probably never get the closure I seek. I crave closure.
Yesterday, I had dinner with two of my sisters, and eight of my nieces and nephews. They were in town for the holiday weekend. The get together was a lot of fun. They were actually exhausted from a day at the zoo and then swimming at their hotel, so it all worked out well. I love kids, but now that mine are grown, my patience has grown ever so slightly thinner with the pre-adolescents. The energy overwhelms me. The kids were great. When the children were busy eating, the conversation turned to my husband. My sisters do not know much about what has been going on. My Dad and step Mom know (because Blue Eyes told them) that he has struggled this past year and that he cut communication with his family. They know he is in therapy. That is about it. My sisters asked how Blue Eyes is doing. My Dad has nine kids, six girls, three boys, me being the oldest of the bunch. We range in age from 33-51. My Dad and his wife are Mormon. Their seven children together have experienced marriages, and divorces, and children out of wedlock, mixed race marriages, a transgender child, autism, and one husband coming home to tell my sister that he was cheating on her, and that it was with another man. He is gay and now married to that lover. Of their seven children together, three have remained mormon, so far. They are an interesting bunch, and I love them. But even with all that, I am not ready to tell them about my husband’s sex addiction, and I’m pretty sure Blue Eyes isn’t either. That’s fine, but it is incredibly stressful to have a conversation with your sisters and skirt around the real issue. They both were concerned with how I was doing. It is impossible to speak my mind, to be honest, without the truth on the table. I left the restaurant with that empty feeling, that my life is not my own, that I am not free to be and say exactly what I want. I don’t even know if I really want to tell them. They all have their own shit to deal with. Could they really help me. Would I all of the sudden be getting phone calls and emails from all my siblings? I’m not sure I could handle that either. I hate this whole thing.
Last night while I was at dinner with the sisters, Blue Eyes was at his first mindful meditation meeting at a Buddhist mindfulness Sangha, I think it is called? He had wanted me to go with him. I think he was a little afraid, scared of the unknown. It was good that he went alone. Anyway, he talked a little about it with me last night. He said it was a small group and the hardest part was the silent meditation that seemed to go on forever, which brought up visions of Eat, Pray, Love for me. I never did make it through the book (yawn), or the movie with Julia Roberts, but I do remember her struggling with clearing her mind for the meditation. Anyway, Blue Eyes was given the following Mindfulness reading to say out loud:
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
How ironic. I asked him what he thought about receiving that reading. He said he thought it was a weird coincidence, kind of fate.
If I was him, and had done the things he has done, I would not have been able to read that passage. I would have fallen apart in the first sentence. I cannot shut off my emotions in the way he can. And I don’t ever want to shut off my emotions.
Sometimes it hurts like hell.