Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Finally, some clarity...

...even if it is just a tiny bit of it.

This evening my H and I had the closest to what I would call a real "heart-to-heart". A discussion where we weren't always just reacting to each other's tones, tempers and slight of words. Where, if any of those things did pop up, we'd recognize them, and immediately remedy them. For the first time in a while, I can say, this really does feel like progress. Over the past two weeks I've had the ability to open up to people, others, friends, family members, in ways I've never imagined, and I've really felt comfortable in what I can say, and how to say it. As though, yes, this is ME talking. And look, I don't have to hide behind any thick mask either!

This weekend was probably the most difficult test of faith and strength for both me and H. I came pretty close to running away from everything, taking the whole mess with me and not allowing him another step toward reparations, not allowing him any more participation in my emotional life. Whether that meant physically removing myself from our home, or emotionally demolishing our bond through self-destructive sabotage, I was just about ready to pluck the life out of this failing marriage. But I knew that my desire to run away was a knee-jerk reaction and that any decisions I made on my own, without his acknowlegment or acceptance would be a clean and final blow to our relationship.

Yesterday, I began being honest with H about my deepest dissatisfactions in our relationship, and about where I am right now. All the things I said to him were so obviously painful and hurtful, that I hated myself for causing him such pain. I realized today that all these things that added up to my unhappiness were the very result of my own insecurities, my tendencies to hide annoyances, to hide dissatisfactions, to hide minor desires, because of the fear of conflict and the fear of disappointment/disapproval. The very desire to please others (namely H) is the root cause of my own stifling of Self. This is a battle over Self that I have been knee-deep in for all 5 years of our relationship. And it slowly built up enough steam that I began acting out in ways I never imagined. In fact, in the midst of it all, I couldn't get a grip over my behavior, and I just couldn't understand where the fuck I was coming from. What has come over me? Why am I so driven to behave in such a rebellious manner? Am I just having fun? There's just so much confusion over what I want, and that's what needs to get sorted out before anything else can move forward.

Today, H and I talked and this time the honesty was good -- still painful -- but good. It wasn't coming from a place of rebellion. It wasn't camoflauged in niceties. It was honesty on a level that is secure and true to my own individual person connecting with H's own individual person. For the first time since all of this began, I actually feel safe. What's ironic is that the decisions we've made leave many questions unanswered. Yet, we were still able to talk about specific points of action (or inaction in our case) clearly and frankly with one another. I felt good for the first time in a long while about giving anything to my H; that is, giving slack, giving leeway, compromising. I've generally always been somewhat reluctant in compromising with him and didn't quite like that fact about myself. But tonight, I gave something freely, and that felt remarkable.

Basically, he agreed that I need a "time-out", from lots of things, but mainly from him. It's not exactly feasible for me to move out of our house quite yet, so we talked about what this extra space entails, and how we can achieve that while living under the same roof. We also talked about what he needs from me in order to give me this space. (More on this in another post, probably.) This buffer-cushion is a temporary zone of individual development, in order for me to work through what I need to work through -- whatever that includes. Primary in my mind is deciding once and for all if having an open marriage is something that I can not live without. And the flip-side of that is deciding if I'm willing to sacrifice H for this unknown lifestyle. Also issues of importance: personal behavioral patterns that are harmful to my core, through repetitive action; interpersonal behavior that gets in the way of true intimacy with others; establishment of boundaries; finding the courage and strength to demand personal time for individual growth and development. There's a lot of shit here to work on. I hope that the time apart from each other will allow me the opportunity to really establish what it is I really want. I'm just a bit emotionally exhausted right now in the midst of it all.

Thank you to my commentors for your honest feelings and regards. Thank you particularly, HankMoody for your very in-depth note. All of your responses have helped me think about what it is I need to do, and where I need to go. I hope that where we all end up is, at the very least, a better place than where we started.


Anonymous said...

Do you re-read your blog much? You sound like a different person now. While you were pursuing this in the early stages you sounded less of a victim than you seem to see yourself as now.

A Time Out without moving out is frankly ridiculous. How long I wonder before we are reading posts about how insecure H gets when you bring men into his family home, because if you don't get to act single then what kind of a Time Out is it after all?

How can you claim moving out is impractical given the lengths we know you will go to for a furtive legover? You are employed and you are intelligent. That actually makes you part of an elite in any society. Unless H has handcuffed you to the sink there is nothing really stopping you from moving out apart from you. If H kicked you out would you die on the sidewalk?

I do get the impression that the author is someone who is prepared to put the people she loves through all sorts of pain but baulks at the inconvenience of moving out of the marital home as a consequence.

Of course, we readers can never really know and there must be something in H's courageous determination to hold on to the person who is hurting him so badly.

But if the author really cares about H, and doesn't want to see him turn into a bitter and self-hating man who is slowly realising that nothing can or will ever make-up for what has happened, she should give him as much space as she needs for herself.

Let him get some self-esteem back. Let him see that he is worth something without you and then see if it is as easy to seduce him as it has been with the other hook-ups.

Cyris Vali said...

Having a timeout while under the same roof could cause pain on both sides. I don't expect you to be so callous as to bring men home, seeing as there is such a thing as motels and short stays, but keep in mind, as your routine changes, H will take note of it and hurt over it. If you were not under the same roof, it would be easier on him because he won't be able to keep track of the routine change. and your routine will change. the freedom of a timeout demands it. you'll feel the right to go where u want, when you want and come home when you want without the need to explain or lie. if your routine doesn't change, if your lifestyle doesn't change, then is it really a time out?

Chris said...

The talks sound like they were good for both of you. Honest and harsh, yes, but I think necessary. I also think the break and introspection work is necessary. Doing it in the same house may be near impossible, but you can't fight the financial realities. I think you're on the right track if nothing else. I think you've started where you need to go. Perhaps some time alone with the therapist to just unload all the possibilities bumbling around your head...

bdenied said...

anonymous has a lot of venom...Time out from what....?You need a ploy relationship.....I think it is heading that way.....I think you are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.....good luck....

Anonymous said...

Where would the trust be for a poly relationship?

It's not venom, it's medecine. If she wants to have a relationship with H in the long term she needs to prove now that she is not a parasite. She needs to do something for H and not herself, give him some space then re-establish the relationship as poly or whatever, when and if he feels ready.

If H loses his self-respect over this then she will stop respecting him too (maybe already has) and that will destroy any chance of a relationship. Equally whatever respect H may have left for her is in the balance.

bdenied - A poly relationship might be the answer down the line but you do not do the lifestyle any credit by just slapping the label on like a sticking plaster when there are still big open wounds that need tending to.

HankMoody said...

I have to agree with anonymous's last post in that H, for whatever reason, has really gone above and beyond what most men I know would do in this situation. This can't be good for his psyche and I'm left to wonder why he has stuck around this long. I am sure that he loves you, but he seems to be willingly putting himself through a lot of heartache.

There is a part of me that is very sad for you, because, as I said in my first comment, I think you are putting the players in your life through a lot of unnecessary drama. I was once in your shoes (minus the poly longings) and I decided to bare all to my spouse. When I proudly told my therapist that I had come clean about everything, she promptly reminded me not to be so self-congratulatory. "You did not tell her for HER benefit," she said. "On some level, you did this for yourself and I find it rather selfish." And you know what? She was right.

I don't think (personally) that what is going on with you right now has anything to do with any kind of conflict about polyamory. Whether you end up engaging in that lifestyle, you will still be left with your feelings of rebellion and/or abandonment or whatever whether you are with H, YoungMan or someone else. The only difference is you will be able to say you are poly.

You are smart and passionate and I have a lot of faith that you will figure this out for the best, for everyone. It seems to me the answers and next best steps are coming clearer now, and soon, all that will be left is to take them.

BobsWorld said...

You sound a little confused. Does your hubby agree with casual sex? If so then he understands you if not then the big problems begin. Ever need to talk just blog me.

vsk witness said...

What a man can handle should hopefully relate pretty directly to who his partner is. Men carry so much baggage about what a man is, and so much of it is based on what others think about them that it does take an exceptional one to admit that he can love his wife even if she doesn't fit into the box that he may have put her in. If H loves you, the real you, it won't be that hard for him to love all of you, even that part that likes some variety. I experienced my wife's infidelity and it was not crushing, it was liberating. I got to know a lot more about her and moveover, a lot more about myself. You may just be going thru a stage. But whether you develop an alternative relationship or recommit to H, its equally good as long as you both level with each other. Which is what I see you working toward.

Here's a link to the post I wrote about it a while back. All I can say is "make your own rules." What others think can be helpful, but in the end, they will project their needs on you, their morality, their insecurities. You are an outstanding person in my book.