Fibromyalgia, parenting, love and loss

Posts tagged ‘infidelity’

Is Monogamy Even Possible?

I’ve been in my head lately (well, as usual) thinking about the past-R’s cheating, my having no clue at the time and trying to understand it all now. Like I’ve said before, sometimes I think I’ve moved on and healed from his cheating, and then other times it bites me in the ass all over again and I’m left sad and confused and ultimately angry. One thing I’ve considered is watching him actually be with another woman. Crazy idea? Quite possibly. But stay with me, folks. I have thought and thought about his being with other women-tried to picture it in my head and wondered what he did with them. Was it garden variety, or was it full-out crazy and passionate? What expressions did he have on his face? Maybe I need to just see it all in real life rather than what I’ve made up in my head. Then I would have some inkling as to what went down four years ago during his infidelities.

These thoughts led me to ask him about it, and his response was “no way.” He thought it was a terrible idea; that it would damage us. He said he would not in any way be comfortable with it. As we talked, I asked about our being together with another couple at the same time. He hated that thought, too. R would not want to watch another man touch me-he’d want to rip his head off and shove it down his throat.
This discussion might ordinarily lead to an argument since it revolved around his past infidelities, but I’m happy to say that it did not. It became a little heated at one point, but was quickly defused. As the conversation went on, I asked if he could have both-the relationship we have now as well as permission to be with others if he wanted, would he? He asked “if we could have what we have now-a healthy, stable, happy life together?” I replied “yes.” He said “Well, that would be hard to turn down.” So, there it is. He admitted that he’d like to have his cake and eat it, too and I suspect that the majority of men would admit to that if they were being completely honest. He acknowledged that if he could be with other women, but not damage his life with me, he would do it. The fact that he wants to be with another (or others) hurts me, sure. However, I have to look at myself and wonder if I feel the same way? If I could basically be unrestricted in my love life without causing damage to R, would I? Maybe…

For the bulk of our relationship, I’ve said and firmly felt that I would not want to be with another man. R has always been enough. Then last year, I had the affair when our relationship was at it lowest and in my mind, doomed to fail. I saw that what I felt for the other man was separate from what I felt for R. One did not diminish the other. So, maybe we each could agree to be open without causing damage. These are all just ponderings, mind you. None of this is even likely to happen; I’m just wondering about it all. Do I want to be with someone who in his heart of hearts would like to be free to be with another? Should I stifle that need? If I am being entirely honest, I do not believe humans are naturally monogamous. We force ourselves to be for innumerable reasons, but that doesn’t mean we are monogamous creatures by nature. If you love someone, should you restrict them? How is that healthy?

Having said all this, I must admit that just casually being intimate with someone has never been my thing. If love isn’t there, I’m not interested in sleeping together. Men are different, though. They can separate more easily. I would think that being with someone, especially the same person over and over again, would create feelings, intimacy and open up the possibility of falling in love with that person. That would obviously be detrimental to our relationship. So-how does one have lovers but not fall in love?

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Good days…not so good days

Some days I wake up and have an overall sense of the growth that’s happened in my life. I feel a letting go of my mate’s past infidelities, or at least a greater understanding of why they happened then and why they won’t happen again. Other days I feel vulnerable again. Maybe I wear my past wounds like a protective blanket and I’m not ready to totally let go. R has been pretty sheltered in our years of living together. He works from home as a writer and he watches our little ones at the same time, so he’s not exposed to other women. It’s easy to remain faithful. He hasn’t even had a Facebook account until this week, and that was because of my encouragement. I hadn’t wanted him to go on Facebook because I knew that would open the door to contact with women from his past, and a lot of his screwing around on me came from Myspace and other online sites. So, naturally I was reluctant. He said he did not really want an account either, so it was fine. Then I realized that now, I need to open that door and test the waters. We both do. He cannot be faithful only because he’s sheltered, and I need to know that he is someone I can now trust. Even if an old flame contacts him, I need to see that he will handle it appropriately. I cannot blame other women for being interested in him-he’s an interesting, deep, sexy man. However, I can blame him for his actions.

I wonder if anyone can be fully trusted. Can I? Or will I always have a part of me that says “R screwed me over so royally that he deserves what he gets.” I hope not. That’s not the person I wish to be in this world. We all have temptations, though. He will, if he doesn’t already. Are people inherently selfish? Lots of questions today…and very few answers. Well, the answers are within me; it’s just a matter of whether or not I choose to see them.

Scabbed-over wounds

I’ve remained silent on WordPress for a time.  Mostly because I’m busy living my life and also because I’ve felt quiet.  It’s been months now since R and I almost fell apart for good.  We’ve been working at rebuilding what was so badly damaged through the years.  I do my best to no longer let myself think of his past infidelities.  Neither of us can change the fact that he cheated on me the first half of our relationship.  It sucks, it’s horrible and it tore me in two.  It’s done, though.  He isn’t the same person who caused that harm; he’s grown and opened up, become a father and transformed his life.  The anger I felt toward him was poisoning me.  I had to let it go.

Has he forgiven me for my one-time affair?  I think so (I certainly hope so).  He still brings up my coworker and asks if we talk at work.  I don’t sense that he is any closer to allowing us to be friends and for now, I’m not pushing it.  I’ve tried to explain that the bulk of my relationship with my coworker was as close friends-strictly platonic.  I turned to him when I was certain that R and I were over for good.  I saw no hope for repair.  So, I let my deep connection to my coworker become more of my focus and I let my feelings of friendship develop into something more.

For the most part, things with R and I have remained good.  We’re getting along, talking of the future (marriage), going on dates and moving forward.  We had one blow up, but we made up within a day, so progress has been made!  In the past, I would’ve just “shut off” and remained angry far longer.  Thank God for growth, huh?!  I’ve tried to heal myself physically, too.  I was in a car accident a couple of years ago that left me with chronic spinal pain.  Chiropractic stopped helping, so I’m now seeing a massage therapist who practices Kundalini massage.  I’m trying to “be in my body” more so that I can re-learn how to relax my always-tight muscles.  Also, I have tried to heal emotionally, too.  I don’t want to live in anger or worry any longer.  I no longer choose drama in my life.  Peace is what I need and seek.  Peace for myself, peace for my children, R and all those I love.  I spent so long worrying about everything that I forgot how to live in joy.  Sure, there were joyful moments, but it’s almost as if I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I take St. John’s Wort for my depression (I take double the dosage recommended on the bottle), and it helps.  Of course, I keep Valium on hand in case the anxiety gets too bad.

I love you

Kava root is something else I turn to.  Hell, whatever helps.  The “down moments” happen less often now.   I was low last night, but it was brought on by seeing a tv show on a blown glass artist.  My coworker and I went to an exhibit of his, and so it reminded me of the friendship I can no longer have with him, and it saddened me.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Mostly, I try to not think of it because then I’ll start to worry.  There’s life here and now.  This moment is all I have, all any of us have.  In this moment, I choose love and peace.

Moving forward

R has been very different these past couple weeks.  His learning of my affair (for those who have not read my previous posts, I discovered he cheated on me the first half of our relationship and he lied about it for years after) caused a profound change in him.  He was angry and hurt, sure.  However, for the most part he has turned it into a positive.  He’s realized that for years, he’s had anxiety.  It manifested as him not caring about little things, not getting stressed over bills/money/responsibilities.  The truth was that these things did stress him; he just pushed them away as a means of avoiding the accompanying anxiety.

He also kept himself from me until recently.  I didn’t realize it fully until now, and it’s because the difference is so noticeable.  When he feels anxious or insecure about something, he tells me of it.  That never happened before.  He acted like everything was fine, or he silently seethed if he was upset (until he eventually blew up).  Things aren’t getting buried anymore.  He’s open and fragile in many ways, and I never thought I would see him like this.

I cannot say that I know if this will continue forever.  I’d imagine that at some point, he will feel less fragile or not fragile at all.  Of course, my hope is that the openness he exhibits now will continue.  He’s seeing the good in me and I in turn am seeing the positives in him again.  I don’t feel the burning anger at his infidelities.  The hurt over it may always be there, but the anger has greatly dissipated, and for that I am thankful.  It was poisonous.

I have sadness over the loss of my coworker (with whom I had a one-time affair), who was my closest friend.  I understand Rich not wanting the friendship to continue.  I’m just sad over the loss, but I cannot really talk to him about that, now can I?  He won’t believe me when I say that I would not cheat again, that he and I could/can be platonic.  He will call bullshit if I say that he will be respectful of our relationship and truly wants only my happiness (even though that’s the truth).  I cannot force him to believe me, however.

So, that’s where I am today.  So many positive things are happening, and it’s beautiful.

My God…what have I done?

A couple of months ago, one of my closest friends (a male coworker) and I went out on a Saturday night.  There was nothing particularly unusual about this.  R was working, I wanted to go out, so my friend and I caught an art exhibit and then went to a gay bar.  I don’t drink, but he had a few beers.  As the night progressed, he occasionally put his hand on the small of my back.  I was a bit surprised by this, as physical touching had never been part of our friendship.  Eventually, we left the bar, went back to his house, and I was about to get into my car to make the long drive to my home.  We both stood there rather awkwardly.  There was something new that had been introduced to our relationship that night, and I didn’t know how to handle it.  It felt like he wanted to kiss me.  We exchanged a few words and I basically got into my car as quickly as I could.  The whole thing made me unsure of how to act, or what to say.

A day or two later, he sent a text and basically apologized for being “handsy.”  This spurred many texts back and forth, as well as face-to-face discussions about it.  R and I were at one of our lowest points yet.  We essentially went a month without really talking to each other.  Sure, we’d exchange comments regarding the kids, but aside from that we were living separate lives.  So much anger and resentment had built up since I discovered his cheating that our relationship had pretty much eroded.  We had our ups and downs throughout the entire 5 year relationship, but never had we gone that long without truly speaking.  We were roommates and co-parents and nothing more.  So, the stage was set for my relationship with my dear friend to transform.  Previously, I only saw him as one of my best (if not my BEST) friend.  We took daily walks together on our breaks at work, we told each other our deepest secrets, and most importantly we accepted each other without judgment.  I had never had anyone in my life who understood me on such a deep level before.  I don’t know…maybe Rich did/does, but at that point in time, it sure did not seem that way.  It was wonderful feeling so unconditionally appreciated and accepted.  All my life, I’ve felt like an outsider looking in.  Deeply connecting with people is a rarity, so when it happens, I cherish it.

My coworker was in my office one day, and there was a lot of sexual tension in the air, and he made a comment about never before having been so nervous to kiss someone.  I asked him to do it, and he did and it was wonderful.  How I viewed him had changed so much in such a relatively short period of time.  We had always been platonic.  My love for R had  been so all-consuming that I really didn’t notice other men.  He was all I wanted, so there was no need for anyone else.  However, during this particular time, I had never felt farther away from him.  I could tell that he didn’t like the person I was, and I returned those sentiments.  We had reached such a low spot there it seemed a given that our relationship would soon end.  I had even contacted DSHS to look into getting assistance paying for daycare for the kids if R and I split.

Fast forward to a week or so later, and my coworker and I left work early to go to his house.  We kissed and explored one another, but we did not take it all the way.  I just couldn’t.  So, I can’t say that I had much guilt over what had transpired.  Given the years of R’s cheating and even more years of lying about it, the fact that I made out with another man didn’t eat at me.  As the weeks wore on, my friend and I grew even closer.  See, we had been best friends, so love was already there between us.  We understood each other, had great communication and enjoyed each other’s company.  The foundation had been laid long ago.  It was just taken to another level with the physical intimacy.  One weekend, I decided that I needed to focus on my relationship with R and stop what was going on between my friend and me.  We would continue the friendship, but that was it.  That didn’t last long.  Almost a couple of weeks ago now,  he and I met at a hotel near my house and made love.  It was beautiful and meaningful and everything I hoped it would be. Along with that, there was deep sadness. He told me he loved me, but I couldn’t say those words aloud.  Crazy as it seems, that felt to me like the ultimate betrayal to R.    He and I had made an agreement beforehand that this would be the only time.  It felt like that itch that you just have to scratch, you know?  We wanted to experience and share that together.  After that, we would resume our friendship and I would make my decision about what to do with my relationship with R.  Whether or not he and I would have a future together was totally up in the air.  I had to get my life sorted out one way or another.

One Sunday, I commented about how my coworker was at an electronics store and there was a sale on laptops, so he was going to front the money for me and buy one.  One of my boys needed one, so I was interested in buying one for him for Christmas.  The fact that this other man was going to do that for me really irritated R.  He said that I hadn’t even shared with him that I wanted to buy a laptop.  He immediately went online to try to find better deals.  This behavior was uncharacteristic of R, but it set everything in motion.  Over the next day, R wasn’t himself.  One night right after I went to bed, he came in and asked if I loved him.  I said “of course, I always have.”  The next day, R texted me about having an “emotional affair” with my coworker.  I didn’t deny it.  Throughout that day, his emails and texts (while I was at work) were panicked in nature.  When I got home from work, he hugged me and told me that we could make this work.  He had been crying and even took an extended break from his work (sportswriting) because he could not focus.  His attitude and behavior completely changed that night as the reality sunk in.  He came in twice once I was in bed (asleep) and awakened me.  He told me I could not remain friends with my coworker, that I had to face the consequences of my actions.  I would not answer him and promise to do that (at 2 in the morning), and he became enraged and slammed the door.  I fell asleep and awoke the next morning to find him sleeping on the couch.

Within a day or so, he took the kids (since we have no daycare because he works from home) and went to his parents’ house for a cooling off period.  This time away gave him many insights into his behavior, why he had kept me at a distance, insecurities he’d always had but never shared with me, and on and on.  He has opened up in ways I never anticipated.  It has even shown me that I never realized truly how closed off he has been the entire time.  At the time of this writing, he’s still feeling pretty vulnerable although not as raw emotionally.  If he is feeling this way, he tells me about it (which he never did before).  He has asked me to not speak to my coworker, and this has been the most difficult part of the whole thing.  I understand where R is coming from, but what he is not understanding is how much I need that friendship.  Yes, we became far more than friends.  However, I believe that in time and with clear guidelines in place, we can return to platonic friends.  There may be an underlying sexual tension, but we wouldn’t act on it.  Maybe I’m being unrealistic, but I think most things are possible if all the players agree to the rules.  I do not want to hurt or betray R again, but at the same time, I can’t see losing my friendship-it’s that important and meaningful to me.  If R and I weren’t together, then I could see a permanent romantic relationship with him.  However, I’ve committed to trying to make it work with R, so I won’t allow myself to stray again.

So-what to do?  My hope would be that after a month or two “cooling off period” from my friend, R would be okay with our talking at work.  I wouldn’t ask to go out and do anything socially with my friend.  It would just be nice to be able to talk to him as my dear friend and share our stories and just be present for each other.  I’ve given R all of myself for so long now, and I’ve fought so hard to stay with him.  I’ve tried rebuilding myself after having been broken so many times.  I need my friends now more than ever.  Especially this friend.  He’s become a part of me.  Maybe it’s an awful thing to ask for or expect or hope for.  All I know is that I feel like a part of me is missing now that I can’t have my friendship.  I know Rich sees the hurt in my eyes.  He’ll ask me what I’m thinking about, and I’ll say “nothing” because I don’t want to hurt him or bring it up right now while everything is still so fresh.  Time will tell how this plays out.  I’m no victim here-I made my choices.  I honestly have no clue what’s in store.

I have felt a depth of love for R that has literally made me crazy at times (more often than I’d like to admit)!  We’ve gone through struggle after struggle and have remained together through the years.  This last year has by far been the hardest, though and I cannot help but wonder how much pain one has to endure before finally saying I give up.  He says he will show me for the rest of our lives how much he loves me.  He’s even talked about getting married at some point; that he wants to show me and the world the permanence of his love for me.  That’s a bold step for someone previously opposed to marriage.  Will these changes stand the test of time, though?  And if they can, does this mean we will be able to leave our pain in the past?  Maybe some wounds are simply too deep to heal.

An eruption in Washington

No, it wasn’t the kind of eruption you’re thinking about.  It was an eruption of the more personal kind.  R and I had it out last weekend.  I cannot even recall what started the argument; I only remember how it ended.  We were both mad as hell and so we ignored each other for the rest of the day and through the middle of the next one.  That Saturday night, we went to a favorite spot and so this helped bring us together for a time.  Fast forward to Labor Day and we had it out again.  He thought I wasn’t being supportive enough; I felt he attacked me out of the blue. 

The next day, he said he had finally given up.  He was tired of my constant negativity towards him, and that he didn’t see any way my anger for him would subside.  I have been angry at him.  Very angry.  I believe that has been my right, given the fact that he cheated on me for over two years and lied about it for years.  He caused this righteous anger, and now that it’s here, I have struggled with how to get rid of it.  It’s not like I WANT to feel this way; I don’t.  It’s a miserable feeling.  I get irritated with him easily and I feel hopeless about the future and our ability to stay together.  This seeps into all other facets of my life.  Not exactly a joyful way to move through life.

I emailed my lawyer with questions about custody and what to do, he said he wanted to move to Olympia, I told him it was game on.  Not pretty.  Well, long story short, I calmly went to him one night and asked if we could talk.  We discussed the anger, and he said it’s only been getting worse.  He’s not wrong on that score; it has gotten worse.  That’s the nature of it, though.  It builds and builds and eventually something has to give.  The reality of losing him, of losing what we have, made me stop and evaluate everything.  What do I do?  Do I really want a life that doesn’t include him as my partner?  Is there any hope of ever moving past this?

At the bottom of everything-all the anger, the lies, the pain and resentment, there is love.  Deep love.  He is someone I’m attracted to, interested in, and one who can help me grow as a person.  While he could use improvement on the face-to-face communication thing, he’s remarkably tolerant, exceptionally smart and funny, and a devoted father to our children.  He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever known and I believe my life would be diminished if he were not in it.  Maybe knowing this is a start.  When I’m at my angriest or most hopeless, I need to remind myself of the love that is there.  He’s my family.  I suppose I need to work on taking him as he is and finding a way to plow through the hurt to get to the abundance of love that exists.

It’s Been a While

I haven’t written in ages, largely because I have not really come up with any additional answers. My day is filled with the new baby (now 7 months old), my 2 year old and my three older boys.  Then there’s work and the numerous responsibilities and stressors that go along with my job.  It’s not all bad.  I help people, feel I’m contributing something positive in the world.  Hell, I’m fortunate to have a job i this economy.

I guess I just would have thought that I would have more answers about my relationship with R, his infidelity, and where in the world we’re going from here.  Our relationship is a day to day process.  One day, I’m convinced I will never forgive his infidelities and lies.  Then we’ll laugh at our kids together, marvel in their brilliance and for that moment at least, we’re a family.  There’s no question in those moments about leaving him, because I cannot envision a future that didn’t include him, that didn’t include our togetherness.

We had one hell of a battle a couple days ago.  He basically told me he couldn’t continue to take my negativity toward him-that he fucked up and he knows it, but he cannot take it back and I obviously cannot forgive him.  It’s the closest he’s come to really sounding like he’s done with “us.”  I promptly got online and filled out an application for state assistance to pay for daycare. He works from home and thus has been able to watch the kids while working.  If we break up, I need daycare pronto.  Then yesterday after he finished working, we walked along the water in Tacoma (a favorite spot of ours), went home and made love, and so for now, we’re closer.  It could all change tomorrow, however.

My ex-husband got remarried today.  I suppose I should have mixed feelings about it, but I really do not.  I think it’s a mistake.  She’s crazier than a bag of cats.  I guess there’s always hope that her medication will work and help her to be stable.  I’ve never heard that she’s unkind to my children, and clearly my ex loves her, so maybe there’s hope.  There’s always hope…

Do I feel sad that he’s moved on with someone else?  No.  I wish great love in this life for him.  I hope that the person he loves returns that love.  We all deserve that.  I have that great love with R.  I just don’t know that it is enough.  Love doesn’t cause pain to vanish.  Love doesn’t undo years of lies.  Love doesn’t erase the mental images I have of R sleeping with numerous random women.  Or, maybe love can do all those things.  Maybe I’m not giving it the chance to heal me, to heal our relationship.

If anyone out there reading this has been through this and found the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, I would love to hear from you.  Tell me how you moved forward, how you found forgiveness, how your depth of love brought you through great pain.  Those are the answers I need, and for now at least, they have remained hidden, crouched in a corner in the darkness of my heart.