Forgiveness has been haunting me this week. It’s too soon to say I can give it but oh how I wish I could. My H has been working hard to restore my trust and repair (possible?) the damage he has done. Voluntary GPS tracking on his phone, therapy for his issues, I am in therapy with amazing Dr. W (have been on and off since our whole marital implosion started about five years ago). And we are in couples therapy. We could run a small community on what we are spending to get healthy finally and I hope it is worth the money, pain and energy we are putting into it. I can’t imagine how hard it is for those that do not have access to help. No guarantees, a calculated risk perhaps, at the very least we will have grown as individuals and I do feel we are learning.
The one thing I can say about therapy, don’t waste your time if both parties are not willing to believe in it and apply it. We had therapy before our separation with three different therapists. One good, the others not so much. I don’t know why H agreed to it other than to put off scary end of marriage stuff. He said he kept agreeing to go because he was not sure what he wanted. It is absolutely infuriating that he felt entitled to keep both me and the pig on the hook until his worship decided what he wanted. He treated therapy with disdain, wasted so much money and of course was doing it in between his “lovely dates with pathetic, desperate Holly”., what a waste of my tears and effort..yes thats a bitter jab and I feel entitled to it at the moment, please don’t judge (she asks with a smile).
H answers any and all questions without hesitation, sometimes these questions are as simple as “how many times…” or hard, “did she send photos of her (rhymes with what, of course she did why do I ask?). Now two months out from D day, the rapid fire questions and outbursts are getting considerably less. The first month was impossible as I connected the dots to his behaviour, where I was when this was going on in minute detail, the logistics. Now I temper my questions, rule of thumb is when it floats into my head, I ask myself how important is the need to know, how will it affect me, and ultimately the deciding factor is, if it floats around in my brain for more than an hour…if it begins to haunt me, if I am feeling upset, I ask. I kind of figure if I am suffering about a thought, well damn, why suffer alone? He caused it, he should share the wealth.
It is hard to be angry with someone that is trying so hard. He seems like the sweet and loving H I married, but I know that the H I married is much more complex than I ever understood. Emotional issues, childhood issues, lack of understanding on how to navigate hurt and not turn it instantly into anger. We are both at fault for problems stemming from our marriage. I have had issues around body image and eating disorders which did damage our sex life partially (I have to do a whole post about marital sex soon!!!), but I do feel more of it comes from his hidden disfunction and trauma. He entered into our marriage with a secret, and kept hidden from me who he really was deep down. I don’t think he did it on purpose, it was something from his past and he wanted to leave it there. He failed to see it was directly responsible for his adult formation and decisions. If I had known, it would not have been a deal breaker but I would have been more aware of how to handle things perhaps…or would I? Hindsight is a hideous thing really….and I feel like I married a very familiar stranger.
Can I do a blog titled “PEOPLE, BE HONEST ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU GET MARRIED!!!!!”????
Back to “our” disfunction. It seems he speaks French and I speak Italian when it comes to communication of feelings or needs. We are both trying to learn English together….it has been discovered that he is “without agency”, yes we both squinted at that one in therapy. What it means is he feels unable to make things happen in personal relationships, effect any change or win an argument. Things are done “to him” he feels a victim. Truth be told, his version of letting me “win” was more like “I will quit talking about this issue but continue to smoulder for as long as I want and punish you in other ways”. I on the other hand have loads of agency, always think things can be solved (up until the cheating) and am perhaps too adept at presenting my argument. We had (a positive rather than saying “have”) a huge imbalance in “agency” in our marriage and I do think that is where much of the hurt happened. It was over stupid small stuff, and in the end, it caused so much damage.
So does understanding this help us right now? Yes and no? We can navigate disagreements more effectively, we have help for the hard stuff in therapy but the cheating still happened. He still lied. I feel betrayed. I am disgusted. I don’t trust he won’t become cold and hurtful again, I ruminate on the other women and give them space in my head they don’t deserve, I go over details I cannot change hoping for a different outcome (a specific type of madness I think). Forgiveness is for ourselves, and then for our spouses. If I was able to forgive, perhaps this would set me free from the jail I am keeping us in. I don’t feel he has earned it yet, I need to see long term effort and commitment to change, something that looks like it will stick. He is in jail and I have the unhappy job of jailor, he forced the keys on me the minute he banged someone else (lotsa someones) and then had the epiphany that I was “the one”.