Data – What did I Learn?

My therapist said something interesting today. He said you will read a lot of disparaging comments and articles about affairs, but when you are trying to get past one it’s good to look at it from a data perspective. This resonated well with me. I’m a data guy. 

He said to think about this affair, and look at what I learned about my marriage. There was something not working. Something I was getting from my relationship with Meredith. Figure out what those things were. Then look and see if they can be added to the marriage. 

Essentially I need to make a decision at some point about whether this is the marriage I want to have for the next many years. Use the data I learned about myself, and my relationship, to address the problems in my marriage. Eventually I may decide it’s not going to change enough or at all but I should use what I learned. 

He said very few marriages are at an A+, but many are in the high B’s to low A’s and they do really well. Another group are in the B- to C+ range and they can float there for a long time. Usually below that and things breakdown. I feel like we are probably in that B- range and floating. Can we pull this marriage up to a B+ or even an A? Maybe. I need to use what I learned from my experience with Meredith to understand what it would take to get there. 

Truth be told she was amazing for me. Even if you take out sex. We had such a close and wonderful connection. She could navigate my mind with ease. I felt understood and accepted for the first time ever. I crave that connection or at least something similar. 

The sex is also important and my wife and I are trying some things. I’ll give it time. There is a lot to learn. We also need to get a marriage/sex therapist to help us through some of this. He will look for referrals for me. Someone who can keep us moving forward, hold us accountable and allow us to have a real conversation. My wife does not like talking about sex. Even with me. 

We also talked about Meredith a lot. How I’m grieving and last week fell. He said its common to bounce around during the grieving process and it may take awhile. He also asked what I would’ve talked to her about last week. Honestly it wouldn’t been just the stuff going on at work and home. Nothing about sex at all. 

He also asked me what I would say if she called me and said she split from her husband. Oh god. I both dream of and fear such a call. I would be overjoyed that I could be with her, but scared to death that I would not be able to resist being with her if my marriage was working out. 

Lastly he flat out poo poo’d the idea of limerence. Yes I brought it up, Moi. It fell very flat. He brought it back to taking what I learned about myself, and separately dealing with the grief of loss. 

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9 thoughts on “Data – What did I Learn?

  1. I have no quarrel with your therapist. Limerence is when the yearning goes on and on with no encouragement.

    People break up all the time. They leave for someone else. I just think the idea of a long, drawn out lie(which is basically what you are living) is so unfair to your wife. She is who she is. I don’t have a clue about the kind of sex you like, but this is who you are and what you want. Don’t make your wife the bad guy in this. She has no idea that you have already fallen for someone else. Why should she feel shame because she can’t get to where you are?

    I watched this play out in my extended family and children were affected. Not about sex. Just a low point in a marriage that resulted in an affair. Neither has moved on. Just so sad.

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  2. I am not familiar with Limerance.

    I really like your Therapist’s data approach. Often, we can have a feeling about whether something is working or not working but sometimes these things can be measured and quantified. I find it affirming because often many couples are experiencing similar highs or lows and the problems we are facing are really common to all of us.

    It is sort of like a doctor’s prognosis. A description and measurement of the disease does NOT determine the outcome but it may be informative and comforting to know how other couples fared with similar satisfaction ratings.

    Regardless of the outcome it sounds like you are receiving well rounded advice for you to make an informed choice about the best course for you and your marriage.

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    1. Great question! I think part of me would be in the same position I was in when we found our sex sucked for both of us. Like a realization that she wasn’t happy either. But then I would be sad. We have a very comfortable life and we are really great friends. And our kids. That would devastate me to break up their home. After cycling through the emotions I think we would both become very practical and figure out how to split up in our own way. It may not be what everyone else does but it would work for us and our kids. After that a part of me would be relieved that I could go after a more fulfilling relationship. And that it was something we both wanted. I would work really hard to maintain a good friendship and working relationship with her. I think in many ways our relationship might improve if the expectation of sex was taken off the table.

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      1. You are very right about this, “I think in many ways our relationship might improve if the expectation of sex was taken off the table.” What does your counselor say about telling her the truth?

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  3. I like the data idea. If you don’t get hung up on the questionable morality of an affair (and you know I’m not judging), this is actually sound advice. Use what you learned and go forward. The trick is that Meredith and your wife are so different. One of the biggest data points is the level at which you and M connected. How to create that with the wife? I have no idea. Does your therapist? We all know you can’t make your wife BE like Meredith, no matter how well you two eventually navigate your sex life. So what’s the takeaway? I have no answers. But I’m interested to see what happens. Hugs.

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    1. They are very different. But what did I learn about myself? What did I learn about what I’ve been missing in my other relationship? How you find it isn’t necessarily known. It will never be exactly the same but can it be enough to make a good marriage? In fact the results will probably be different.

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