Saturday, October 28, 2006

"I love you" Afterthoughts

We had it out last night. Boy did we. We were disagreeing about an issue, and he kept saying “Why can’t you understand…” and repeating the same point over and over and over to me without letting me respond to him. I finally said, “please don’t speak to me like that! When you say “why can’t you understand” it makes me feel incredibly stupid.” He launched into me over that, how it wasn’t about how that phrase made me feel, it was about the intention with which he said it.
Our son woke up right then, and I went in to rock him awhile. He’s been very restless at night, and last night started a fever, so I think he may be teething again. WS followed me into the baby’s room and yelled at me more and I told him to stop yelling, it was scaring the baby. He told me not to come back in until I was willing to be reasonable and talk.

I rocked my son for a long time past when he was back to sleep because I needed the breather. I needed to clear my head so I could really think about things. When I went back in I was determined to just let the whole thing drop. I was tired, and I didn’t want to talk anymore when there was no progress to be made. He pushed me over and over again, and I finally told him what was going through my mind—that I don’t think I can forgive him for things that happened in our relationship prior to the affair. That I don’t know if I can forgive the affair. That he makes me feel like an idiot when I talk to him. Like I waste his time. And he asked me if I even love him anymore.


A few nights ago, he came home a little drunk. His friend deposited him on our doorstep after a night with the guys, and it was actually pretty funny. WS rarely drinks this much, and he gets funny when he’s drunk. We talked and laughed for awhile and at some point he looked at me with bloodshot eyes and told me he loved me so much. I told him to try saying it when he was a little more sober, and he insisted that it wasn’t the alcohol talking. It was all him, he said, and that he meant every word- “I love you so much. I wish I could erase everything.”

I started to cry. I don’t cry, but this—this tore me down. And he told me not to be sad, that I should be happy that he was saying it for once. I told him it meant nothing to me. He said he loved me even while he was trying to decide between me and his mistress, and I realized that I didn’t believe him now when he said that he loved me. How could he say he loved me while he was thinking of leaving me (the old “I love you but I’m not in love with you” cliche) and then think he could use that same “I love you” now when he supposedly is back “in love” with me?


So when he asked me last night if I even loved him anymore, I weighed everything that had happened between us, pre-affair and post-affair, and I told him that I still loved him.

And he told me he didn’t believe me.

I think I love him. I want a life with him. I just don’t want the one we have right now.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I have come to realize in the last few years exactly how important family is to me. Not my family as in my own parents, but having a family of my own. Having a husband that is loving and supportive, and having children of my own and raising them in a loving home. Part of this realization came through dealing with infertility in trying to have our son. It took quite a bit of medical testing and procedures to conceive him, and I think that is where the first disconnect came between me and my husband.

I was on the daily end of dealing with the infertility, monitoring my temperature daily, taking medications, doing injections... and WS? Well, he was there for the sex, and that was about it. Even when I told him how important it was to me that he come to the doctors appointments and that he help me out when I was dealing with side effects of the meds, he was careful to sidestep the issue and say that he would come to the doctor with me once I was pregnant, leaving me to wonder, "what if I never am?"

He was good to his word. Once I got pregnant he was there for every doctor's appointment but one, and he really beat himself up about not going to that one. The thing is, I needed him before that. I needed him while I was trying to cope with cycle after cycle of failure. I have only ever felt abandonment like that 2 other times in my life. Once with my parents, and when I found out about the affair.

In my faith, I cannot remarry if I am divorced. My chance for a family is with WS. Even though there are so many serious issues between us, throwing my hands in the air and saying, "enough already!" would mean giving up the one thing that is so valuable to me-- a family of my own.

So I have to figure out how to forgive all of this so that we can function as a family. So that I can function as a wife and a woman.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bad Timing

This has been a really bad day. It started with my son being up all night sick, then having to call my mom early to see if she could watch him while I worked or if I would have to take the day off. I ended up working only a half day until my son’s doctor appointment, and it’s strep. AGAIN.

WS called right as I was trying to get my son in the door after the doctor, and I told him I’d call him back after I got the kid down for his nap. I wrestled medicine into my son and got him down to sleep. I called WS back, and he had just been calling to see if it was okay for him to go out with some guys after work. I know the guys he works with, and I was comfortable with that, but I was so tired after being up with my son all night and then working and then getting through the doctor stuff. I asked if he’d either skip it this time and come home, or if he’d make it quick and be home by seven to help me with our son. He didn’t really say much over the phone, but I could tell he was upset.

WS came home at the usual time and kind of stomped around and threw his tie, keys and wallet in a pile on the couch before asking me why the laundry wasn’t put away yet. Did it matter that I had made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, changed the sheets on the bed, and taken care of the kid’s daycare bag in between taking care of the sick child? No. It mattered that I hadn’t yet put the laundry away. I told him to back off—I was tired, and it had been a crappy day already.

He held it together long enough to get through dinner and entertain our son until an early bedtime. As soon as I put the boy to bed, though, the floodgates broke.

His side was all “I just wanted some time to hang out with the guys and have a drink” and my side was all, “I’m falling apart I’m so tired and I need some help.”

I can understand his side. I really can. He has done a stellar job of coming home as expected and most of the time chooses to spend time with me and our son over spending time with his buddies. It really would have been okay by me for him to go out tonight if only our kid wasn’t so sick and I wasn’t so overwhelmed.

I told him that this was an example of me actually admitting that I needed him for once, and if I’ve humbled myself enough to ask for the help I do, in fact, actually need it. Pretty darn bad too, or else I wouldn’t have asked. It was just bad timing as far as what I needed from him and what he needed. The good thing about the whole issue is that we were actually able to handle this with some semblance of maturity. There was little yelling, and we were both actually listening to each other’s sides instead of putting up the defensive shields. This is a good sign for us.

We settled the issue and we were watching some show on t.v., and wouldn’t you know it involves a husband carrying on an affair that his wife discovers and the aftermath of everything. When there was the first hint that that was the topic I wanted to ask WS to just turn it off or switch to something else, but I didn’t. I kept rationalizing in my mind that I should be able to handle stuff like that and that it wasn’t fair to WS if I made him switch to something else. So we ended up watching the whole episode, and I am still triggering a few hours later. Why didn’t I just ask him to change it? Now that I think about it I really don’t think he would have minded. He might have been uncomfortable with it too. I have got to stop pushing myself down and do these little things to help myself. How hard is it to ask to have a channel changed?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

From Father to Son

When I think through the issues between WS and myself, I find that the thing I'm most upset about right now is all the lying. He has always been dishonest about silly little things in our relationship, and now I know that I should have seen it for the big flashing sign that it was. And after our discussion last night, I think the lying has been trained into my husband by his parents.

WS and I have been talking about parenting stuff around here a lot lately because our toddler son has started displaying some behavior I'd like to get handled now rather than later. It's mostly tantrum type things, and some of what I consider to be "baby backtalk" and I want to teach him now that that's not the way to express himself. I've been reading a lot and talking with a couple girlfriends about how they've handled this at this age, and I brought it up to WS to ask his opinion.

He immediately brought up spanking as the only way to handle this and it launched us into a debate over why we should or shouldn't spank. Spanking was used in my family as a terror tactic, and I really think that in my brother's case it bordered on abuse. The emotional abuse in my family is insane. Spanking was used by my husband's family for only one thing: Lying. WS was spanked everytime he was caught in a lie, and while his parents never got crazy with the spanking, it taught WS to be extremely sneaky so that he wouldn't get caught.

When his parents found out about the affair, they were stunned, and while they said it was wrong of him and that he needed to do the right thing and stay with his family, they tried to find every reason for him to have done this-- going so far as to suggest that he must have multiple personalities because the son that they know and love would *never* do such a thing! His mother even brought him part of her prescription for anti-depressants because that would "fix him right up."

WS has everyone fooled with his lying, and in a way I think this was created in him because of his parents. Do you think parents really can mold that type of thing? Is it possible that WS's parents set him up for his affair? If that really is part of the reason behind this event, it scares me to think that this can be passed on to our son. I want to prevent that if it's a possibility. I want to parent him to understand and live concepts like trust and responsibility.

Monday, October 09, 2006


One of the recurring issues in our relationship is that I feel that things that are important to me are downplayed, and things that are important to my husband are lifted onto a pedestal.

One of the prime examples of this is sports. WS is a sports nut. I don't think there's a single professional or college sport that he doesn't watch. I swear if something cataclysmic happened and the only sports related thing on t.v. was pro bowling he'd be watching, riveted as if it were the world series.

Usually this isn't a problem. I've gotten used to it. If there's a game on he's going to be watching it, and often times the first thing he does when stepping in the door is turning the t.v. or radio to whatever game is on at the moment. I've given up trying to get his attention while sports are on, because at best what I request is only half-heard, and at worst it's totally ignored.

The part that bothers me about it, is that a few weeks ago as we were discussing a party we were going to be having, I told him it was very important to me to not have the t.v. on during the party. He acted appalled that I would even suggest that he would do such a rude thing, but I specifically said that no matter what game was on, we were not going to be watching it during the party- that's what we have Tivo for.

So this weekend came, and we had our party Saturday evening. He had the t.v. on all day on football games while we did party prep. He was generally helpful (even if I did have to ask him to set up the chairs six times...) and when I asked him to turn the t.v. off about an hour before the party, he did. He kept our son entertained while I finished the last of the food prep, and guests started to arrive. What did he do 5 minutes after the first guest arrived? Turned the damn t.v. on to a baseball game! I pulled him into the kitchen and asked him to please turn it off, and he said, "Well, it's just on in the background and I'll have it on mute the whole time." I told him I was going to unplug it if he didn't turn it off right now. I reminded him that we'd discussed this a few times (including this morning) and that it was *very* important to me that he choose not to have it on. He told me it wasn't that big a deal, and proceded to go talk with guests and leave the t.v. on. After about 10 minutes of him casting little glances at me, I did what I had promised and turned off the t.v. and unplugged it. Nothing was said, and I really don't think that anyone noticed.

Later in the evening (After everyone was gone and Kid was in bed) he yelled at me for making a scene over the t.v. I asked him again why it had to be on, especially when I made a very specific request that it not be on, and told him that it was important to me that he not watch sports during an even that was important to me. He repeated again that having the t.v. on for the game wasn't a big deal to anyone but me and that it was fine for him to do it.

I swear it's crap like this that makes me want to just abandon the relationship. His biggest complaint is that I'm not clear with him on what I want from him, and I made very sure to be clear with him that this was something that was very important to me and STILL it gets pushed to the side. At least I know what I'm going to suggest for this week's counseling topic.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Well Deserved Break

In counseling this week our counselor declared that we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about core issues and dealing with big painful messy things, and that we deserve a break.

Now as nice as that sounds, we go to counseling to get our arguing done there so we don’t argue as much at home. It seems that we are incapable of rational discussion on our own, but with another adult in the room we can work through issues and come to solutions that are, you know, actual solutions (gasp!) instead of reverting to the Kindergarten tactics of screaming, “Fine!” at each other. We both have to psych ourselves up for counseling because it is serious exhausting work to talk about this crap for an hour. But we go in there, work for an hour, and come out feeling some sense of accomplishment or closure concerning an issue

So when the counselor announced that we were taking a break on all the ugly stuff this week, we both thought it was going to be a wasted fluffy hour.

It turned out to be one of the best things we’ve done in a long time.

He gave us each a sheet of paper and a pen then asked us to take a few minutes to list what our spouse is doing well in the relationship. After a few minutes, the counselor asked us to also list some specific instances from the past week when our spouse made us feel especially loved. The things that were helping my husband in his recovery really surprised me.

His list included:
1. I told you that I needed a seam on my pants repaired and you did it that same evening.
2. You did a load of laundry in the middle of the week just because you knew I wanted to wear a certain shirt on an appointment the next day.
3. You take care of more than your share of household things, especially for the baby.
4. You have been working a lot more than we originally agreed that you would work by now.

There were some other things, but a few are too personal to share. All but one of his listed items were about acts of service-- things that I do or did for him. I really didn't think the pants were that big of a deal, and same on the middle-of-the-week laundry, but apparently it spoke volumes to him.

My list included:
1. You brought me single rose earlier in the week on a whim.
2. Since I brought up the fact that I was upset with having the t.v. on so much you've been asking fairly often if I would like to talk about anything before we relax.
3. When you help me pack the baby's things for daycare in the morning, it takes a lot of stress off of me.
4. You have not once this week complained about what a disaster the house is, even though it's really bad right now.

They're such little things, but they've meant a lot to both of us. And having the break from working on all the hard topics was definitely needed. I know we'll get back to the real work next week, but seeing on paper what the good things were reminded me why I stay and why I have hope that we can still be together in a good way.