Fibromyalgia, parenting, love and loss

Archive for August, 2011

Trust is elusive

The all-knowings often say that without trust in a relationship, you have nothing.

We have so much, you and I.  Deep love, passion, a child, shared memories. 

Through all the worries and doubts, we’ve made it to the other side.  Who would’ve thought?

Yet I don’t trust you.  Not fully.  You have those secret spaces in your soul that you won’t give up.

And I wonder so often what is going on in your head, where you are wandering when your eyes glaze over and your stare is forlorn.

You tell me again and again that you are committed; that I’m the one who questions. 

Yet when I see you glance at a pretty girl, it tears me in two.  And it shouldn’t; I know.  It’s just a look, nothing more.

To me a moment’s notice of another means so much more than that.  It means an openness to the idea;  a willingness to see who else is out there for you in the world.

For me, there is simply no other man besides you.  You are my tears and my guts, my air and my laughter.  Everything I am I give to you, laid bare.

The love I feel for you overwhelms me still, and underneath it is the constant fear that it’s all a sham.  You will hurt me anyway, so it might as well fall apart now.

So I withdraw from you into my shell where I know I’m safe, and you’re left frustrated and wondering why I’ve gone silent again.

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Musings Part Three

The events that happened in Musings Parts One and Two happened  four years ago.  Life is vastly different now, but to get to the “now” part, I need to finish the story.  Scott and I tried to rebuild our marriage after my affair ended.  I could see how much he cared for me and needed me.  He needed me too much, and always did.  He was adopted, and while his home life with his adoptive family was stable, there was a certain insecurity in him.  I understood it, having been raised by a mother who was also adopted.  He clung to me.  This is not to say that all adoptees move through the world this way, so please don’t be offended.  It’s just that with him, there was an obsessive need.  I was in the midst of it, so I was not able to see it objectively at the time.  If we argued, I couldn’t leave the room, cool off and have my space.  He would follow me.  I never really felt I had any measure of privacy.

So, days and weeks passed, and we resumed our normal routine.  We took a family vacation to the coast of Oregon, a much-favored spot of ours.  I felt horrible guilt for having hurt him, and I convinced myself that our being together was right.  I went to work every day and got along well enough with most of the folks in our small office.  There was one person there I didn’t know well, as he was fairly quiet.  He was bohemian in nature, and so was I, so I figured we would hit it off, but I was overwhelmed with all that had gone on in my life, so I never tried to get to know him better.  One day, I made some treat or other for everyone, and it had nuts in it.  I thought I remembered something about him having a nut allergy, so I sent him an email warning him not to eat it.  We chatted in person briefly, and then an email string about the wonders of Nutella happened, which he couldn’t try due to the fact that it contains nuts.  We shared thoughts on life in general, relationships, music and the friendship grew.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking “She just had an affair and is supposedly trying to work on her marriage, and now here comes another guy and another relationship.”  Well, you’re right but you’re also wrong.  I understand now that people come into our lives at various times for various reasons.  Getting to know R (my coworker) ultimately helped me admit the truth to myself as well as to those in my life.  Our conversations became intimate very quickly.  I don’t mean inappropriately intimate; I mean that we shared our deepest truths and ponderings.  It felt like a wonderful discovery that someone I could relate to so well worked in my small office and had the whole time!  He felt the same way.  He normally had not bothered to get to know his office-mates well (on a personal level) because he was so different than most and he assumed that those who surrounded him were far more conservative than he was.  I was married with children, and he logically assumed that I might not be someone to whom he could relate. 

R had been in a relationship for a brief time with someone else-an unhappily married woman.  They were still involved when he and I began our conversations.  He had been married before and had no children of his own, although he did help his ex raise her child from the time he was a baby.  His lifestyle was very free.  He spent his free time playing music, writing, playing sports with his friends and partying.  R is bright and inquisitive, with long curly hair that he wears in a ponytail most of the time.  When I allowed myself to truly “see” him (I was no longer obsessed with and consumed by my relationship with “the other man”) I saw how attractive I found R physically as well as intellectually.  Tolerance is in short supply in this world, and R was someone you could say anything to without fear of shocking him!  He represented the part of myself I had long stifled in my pursuit of being the perfect wife and mother.  What a nice change of pace it was so talk with someone other than my husband on a deeper level about life.  Texting was relatively new then, and R was the first person to send me a text.  We talked on the phone while I grocery shopped once, and of course I knew Scott wouldn’t be happy with this new relationship.  As the weeks passed, I felt more and more drawn to R.   I had to admit to myself that my feeling these feelings for someone so soon after my relationship with the other man ended meant that I needed to give serious thought to ending my marriage.  When I was with the other man, I thought he was my one true love.  The fact that I was falling for someone else surprised me greatly.  I’m not a flighty person, believe it or not.  Fidelity was something I always took seriously.  That may not sound like the case given my relationships with the two other men who were not my husband, but for 15 years, I had been physically faithful to my husband.  Monogamy was something I was proud of, especially given the fact that it was extremely difficult for me since I was not physically attracted to my husband during our entire marriage.

I developed my nerve and approached Scott about my thoughts on ending the marriage on more than one occasion, but he always blew it off and acted like everything would be fine.  Finally, I brought it up again and he seemed more willing to face reality.  He point-blank asked if I wanted to end it, and I said yes.  I didn’t love him.  I wanted more out of a relationship; I needed that emotional and physical intimacy that I now knew I could experience in this life.  We agreed to split up, and it was pretty amicable for quite some time.  A month or so later, I moved into an apartment and we agreed to share custody of our children.  They were saddened by the break-up, but Scott and I getting along better than most divorcing couples made the transition somewhat easier on them.  My news of breaking up with Scott made R nervous, of course.  He was not exactly in the right place in his life to commit to a relationship.  I didn’t end my marriage for him, though.  Yes, he was a big part of it, but mostly he just helped me see what was there all along.  Scott and I needed each other when we got together, and for the most part, our relationship was wonderful.  It ran its course, however.  It was time to let it go.  R helped me do that.  We saw each other sometimes only once every two weeks outside of work, and then a month or so into our coupling and while I was still living with Scott, R had an auto accident that nearly killed him.  He was more than a little reckless, and he drove while drunk and drove his car into a ditch.  No one else was involved, fortunately.  After he was released from the hospital, I went to his house that night and we made love for the first time.

My feelings for R grew deeper not just by the day, but by the moment.  I found an apartment and moved out, and  I loved being on my own with my kids in the apartment.  I felt a true sense of independence for the first time in my life.  So, I don’t feel I needed R in a codependent way.  I craved his presence and his touch.  I’d paved the way for this new life, and I was finally free in every way to pursue this great love.  I think it was only natural to want him around.  We were in different head spaces, however.  He lived an hour or so away, so it was certainly harder to get together.  I saw him at work, but it was not the same as seeing him privately.  R was very guarded, and did not want folks at work to know much about his personal life.  He that if others knew he and I had a relationship outside of work, this would affect his work relationships.  I understood his point of view, but didn’t like it.  I was finally able to live authentically, so hiding a relationship that meant so much just felt wrong.  I’m nothing if not professional, so I never would have acted inappropriately at work or flaunted the relationship in any way.  I just did not want it to be a deep dark secret.  R told me he loved me.  Funny how in all the time I was involved with the other man, he never once said those words.  R said them easily, and I believed him.  He wasn’t the kind of person to say things carelessly.  In fact, he was nothing but careful in our relationship.  I wanted things to move quicker, always quicker.  The feelings were so strong I saw no point in moving slowly!  R was cautious.  We still saw each other outside of work only sporadically.  He told me he would not see anyone else, and I tried to have faith in that.  Even though we weren’t together as often as I wanted, we were monogamous.

What I didn’t realize back then was the deep insecurity I had.  Some of it stemmed from childhood, and some of it was because of the ended affair with the other man.  I had placed him on such a pedestal for so long, and so to be discarded the way that I was by him had scarred me deeply.  If I could be so wrong about him, then what else was I wrong about?  What other long-held beliefs were flawed?  This insecurity became more and more rooted due to R’s cautious nature.  In my mind, the fact that he didn’t fully and quickly commit to me meant that he didn’t love me as I loved him.  If he knew he loved me, why didn’t he want to see me more often and be a real couple?  How could once every two weeks be enough for him?  The rest of the story I’ll save for another day…

Musings Part Two

(more…)

Where do I begin? Musings on spiritual growth, love and neurosis.

I’d like to start by saying that I’m a pretty stable person.  I manage to walk out of the house early each morning pretty color-coordinated and put together.  I’m always on time, if not early.  People know they can rely on me to lend an ear in a world where they so often feel alone, and while at times being needed by others can weigh heavily on me, I would not change a thing.  I need to feel useful.  As I type, it’s 8:15 a.m. and I’m at work (my work gives me some downtime), hiding in my office.  People stop in and out of  my office all day long, so first thing in the morning, I like to be invisible.  Morning person I am not, admittedly, even though I awaken at 5:30 at the latest each day.  I have my moments of seeking others out and needing that connection, and at other times, I wish to hide away in my own little world so I can be left alone with my thoughts.

Once, in what seems like another lifetime, I was married to a man named Scott.  We shared three children together, and I was a stay-at-home mom who occasionally worked part-time from home in recruiting and transcription.  Scott and I had what others would have called a great relationship.  We enjoyed each other’s company, had great talks and agreed on how to parent our kids.  My nature was always somewhat bohemian, but I kept this in check during my marriage.  I wanted to be seen as someone who had settled down and grown into a mature, responsible adult.  Any doubts or insecurities I had about myself I tried to stifle.  One day flowed fairly easily into the next, my children were born, we moved around with Scott’s job, and did all of the things you do in creating a shared life.  We were never rich, but we managed to pay the bills and have comfortable houses.  My remaining at home was a trade-off.  We did not take many vacations to speak of because money was tight, but we both felt it was well worth whatever sacrifices we had to make.

During our marriage, I always felt I was on a spiritual quest.  Reincarnation had always been something I believed in, but I never openly talked about this with my parents or sister.  I was raised in a Southern Baptist home, so this belief certainly flew in the face of all that I was raised to hold true.  I was usually reading some kind of book on spirituality (the Conversations with God trilogy is like a Bible to me).  I had my spurts of daily meditation, and whenever I took the time to meditate, I felt instantly calmer and more focused.  Feeling a sense of calm is a beautiful gift to me, as my childhood home was filled with anxiety-prone people.  We were never taught how to let the small stuff go.  Everything became mountainous in its impact on us; nothing was “laughed off.”  It’s only as an adult that I have realized how important maintaining a sense of humor is.  Finding a peaceful, loving, calm way to move through the world was that jewel I was forever in search of-not only for myself, but for my children.  As a parent, who doesn’t swear that they will do it differently than their parents?  Who doesn’t proclaim to have a better way?

Such is the way my days passed in my life with Scott.  Of course, the majority of the time was taken up with changing diapers, breastfeeding, taking the older kids to school, cooking dinner, and baking-always baking!  It’s a great love of mine, to be sure.  Especially cookies!  Not just any cookies, though.  They have to be partially uncooked so they’re wonderfully gooey!  My kids take for granted always having cookies on hand because it’s all they have known all their lives.  Scott changed jobs, and those changes took us from Oklahoma to Washington state, to Kansas and back (fortunately) to Washington state again.  I loved being a parent to my boys, and was proud of the healthy relationship I had with Scott.  So what was the problem, then?  Why do I refer to my marriage in the past tense?  Well, it’s not easy to explain (it never is, is it?).

While I always loved him, it’s only post-divorce that I will admit that I was never “in love” with him.  I desperately wanted to be.  He was my best friend and life partner.  I held him above all others-always said he was “the best person I knew.”  I met him when I was 21 years old and had just come out of an abusive relationship.  During that destructive time, I became an alcoholic to cope with the daily stress of living that way.  I attended the local community college as a Mass Communications major and worked in the school’s NPR station.  Scott worked for the college’s PBS station down the hall.  He was married to a crazy gynecologist (yes,I wrote that!) whom he never saw, and he and I struck up a friendship.  He had red hair and was physically not “my type,” as I had always had a penchant for men with longer dark hair.  We shared the same group of friends, so we found ourselves drinking together occasionally.  A physical relationship ensured, and he left his wife.  Do I feel guilty about the fact that I was “the other woman?”  Not really.  Not in that situation, at least.  They hadn’t been married long, she had been cheating on him.  It was more a marriage of convenience than anything else.  He was unhappy and taken for granted by her, and I needed stability badly.  We needed one another, simple as that.

After a 6 month or so relationship (I moved in with him shortly after our relationship began), we married in my parents’ home in West Texas.  A month later, Scott accepted a job in Tulsa and so our life as a married couple began.  I went to college, changed majors, two of our children were born and life moved on.  I became sober prior to starting our family (thank God), and this sobriety is what helped me want to lead a stable life.  I also had the need to appear perfect to the outside world.  Admitting that anything in my life was less than ideal just wasn’t something I felt okay doing.  Loyalty to Scott was extremely important to me.  I was never really attracted to him, but our sex life was okay.  He wanted it more than I did, but I gave in once a week or so and technically, it was good.  He had all the right parts and knew what to do with them!  The thing that was missing was that “spark” we so often dream of.  I convinced myself that everything else my marriage had made up for what it lacked.  No relationship was perfect, and I reasoned that most people probably did not feel that kind of chemical attraction to their mate.  We marry for practical reasons, usually.  Because I am a dreamer, I spend a great deal of time lost in my thoughts.  It’s the way I’ve always been, so I don’t think much of it most of the time.  Over the years, I developed secret crushes on other men, but never acted on those feelings.  Monogamy meant quite a lot to me.  I never worried about Scott cheating.  He told me most everyday how beautiful he thought I was, and truly made me feel special.  I was lucky.  I’d spent a lifetime before meeting him feeling that I never cut muster, so having this affirmation from him was meaningful.

I’m not exactly sure what brought it on, but one day I decided to write a letter to a former love of mine.  He was someone I dated when I was 17- 18 and he was 27.  I met him because he dated my sister for a time.  She married someone else and he and I found ourselves together, and ultimately, he left me for his previous girlfriend and broke my heart.  I always found him incredibly interesting, though.  He was bright and saw the world in a way no one else I had ever known had, and this intrigued me.  Physically, I could not get enough of him.  He always kept me at arms’ length in our relationship, though.  Anyway, as a married adult, I wrote that letter to this long-lost love of mine.  Some time later, he replied and the conversations began.  He called me and we updated one another on our lives and families.  It seemed harmless enough.  I was completely open about it with Scott, too.  We would only talk once in a blue moon at first.  Then as the Internet’s popularity grew, we climbed aboard that train and exchanged emails.  Scott and I shared an email account, and I left the emails from this other man in the Inbox, clearly visible.  Harmless, right?  We can convince ourselves of many things, and I believed and in fact maintained that I COULD be friends with a former lover.

It was a recipe for disaster, of course.  I was not in love with my husband and he felt his wife shunned the intimacy he claimed he needed.  Our conversations became intimate.  We were both the pondering sort (he is extremely analytical) and given our past, it’s only natural that things would move in the direction they did.  We both lived, oddly enough, in Washington state (we dated in West Texas).  We were in different cities, hours apart, so we never saw one another.  That is how I convinced myself that what I was doing was okay.  At one point or another, I set aside my need to be loyal to Scott, and began having the kind of communication with this other man that was clearly not acceptable in my marriage.  I fell deeply in love with him and wished he was my husband.  I imagined what our life together would be like.  I wanted him to meet my children, and I wanted them to know this wonderful man I placed on such a pedestal.  He never told me that he loved me.  That should have been my first clue, I know, but I rationalized that he was keeping me at a distance to protect himself and his family.  Made sense, right?  He hinted at love, and I convinced myself that that was enough.

One night, Scott found a love letter I emailed this other man.  I had deleted it (so much for being open and honest), or so I thought.  A blow-up followed, he talked to the other man on the phone, and oddly enough, the other man let Scott take his spot in a personal empowerment seminar in Nevada!  Crazy, I know!  The other man (maybe at some point, I’ll refer to him by name) wanted to preserve his family, and things with us went too far for his liking.  Backtracking is what he did best, and he backtracked with me and our relationship.  It had to end, according to him.  As far as I was concerned, I loved him and needed him.  I could not imagine a life for me that did not include him.  How could I just walk away from this beautiful thing we shared?  How could he?  Fairly easily, apparently.  So, Scott went to Reno and came back a changed man.  Part of the reason the other man sent him was so Scott could find passion in his life and learn to express it.  He always felt passion for me, but I guess the point was to make him more assertive, more take charge.  Within a few weeks of his return, Scott sent me to the same seminar.  I really came to understand how much I had taken Scott for granted, and how blessed I was to have him as my husband.  I returned home full of energy and focus.  Shortly thereafter, I discovered I was pregnant with our third child.  I did not contact the other man and he did not contact me.  After our baby was born, we moved to Kansas and life went on.

I can’t leave well enough alone, though, and after a few years, I reached out to the other man again.  He never left my thoughts.  I told myself that I was just “seeing how he was.”  I’m a master of lying to myself, clearly!  But then again, most of us believe what we want to believe.  For whatever reason and on whatever level, I felt I (still) needed him.  My marriage lacked the one thing this romantic dreamer needed-love.  I needed that spark, I craved those butterflies.  I wanted to feel that need to completely bare myself emotionally to another man.  I did that with the other man.  He was the only person in my whole life I had fully revealed myself to, except my children.  I didn’t feel a need to hide from him; I wanted him to see all of me.   I lived in Kansas and he lived in Washington, so there was no chance we would see each other.  However, my  husband was unhappy in his job and I always acted as his personal headhunter.  I found a job with an established company in Washington state, and we ended up moving back to the beautiful Northwest.  We packed up the minivan with our three little boys, two dogs, a cat and a guinea pig and drove for four days.  This opportunity was viewed as our fresh start-a chance for Scott to be fulfilled again in his career, and it got us out of Kansas, which we hated.

The other man and I exchanged emails here and there with no real regularity, but then we decided once and for all to see each other.  I told Scott about it.  In fact, the other man came to my house, met and shook hands with Scott.  We got a coffee and walked around a local park and chatted.  The chemistry was there, for sure, but we talked of our families and lives, and it was above-board.  Another meeting occurred a month or two after that, and that’s when the complications truly started.  We hugged.  Just a hug, but it wasn’t your average, platonic hug.  We kissed and touched, but it did not go past that.  I felt horribly guilty.  I had always harbored strong feelings for him, but never in all of my marriage had I actually physically cheated.  Emotional cheating is just as bad, I know.  I fully admit that now.  You know what they say about hindsight, though.  I began to view the other man as my husband.  He was the one I wanted to share my day with and he was the one I dreamed of sleeping beside.  Our lease was coming up on the new house we had been renting, so we had to move.  We decided to buy a home in a nearby town, and I had mixed feelings about it.  I knew my marriage was falling apart.  It was hardly the time to purchase a house.  Purchase we did, however, and the visits continued.  I was eventually completely unfaithful.  I reasoned that I was being honest because I always told my husband when the other man was coming over.  I was lying, however, to everyone including myself….

Just a quick hello

 

Hopefully many blogs are to come!  I welcome any comments you have to give. 

Be well!

Tara