Claire and I went to counseling again last night. Topics were mostly around the wedding. We discussed Claire’s grieving for her marriage. We discussed some of her trying to pay more attention. We discussed how I felt as well.
Going through a wedding after an affair in your own marriage is a strange experience. You hear the words, but they take on a different meaning now. There is an emptiness. A finite length of time where forever used to be. For Claire there was also an anger that this was all taken from her. The fairy tale is gone. She would alternate between anger and sadness. I feel really bad that I made this happen to her. She doesn’t deserve this.
The grieving doesn’t just happen all at once. Claire had processed it earlier, but the wedding brought it right back. I expect there will be more instances of this in the future. I’m going to skip over the grieving but we spent a lot of time on it in therapy. It was a lot of sorry’s and hurt feelings.
Another topic that we hit on was how I felt during the wedding. Relating it back to Gottman it was clearly Contempt – one of the four horsemen. I wanted to stay in the moment to try to understand how I felt in terms we had been learning while at the wedding, but this terms were too much for Claire. We tried discussing it before counseling, but it didn’t go anywhere.
During counseling we made more progress. What it keeps boiling down to is that she makes me feel invisible even when we are right next to each other. As if she can’t see me. It’s actually kind of crazy to think about. It is also a theme that has come up quite a lot during counseling. The way she makes me feel invisible and unknown.
Looking back I can see how Meredith waltzed right into that. She never made me feel invisible. It was that easy. Sydney is doing much the same, although not nearly as well. Claire is still very much struggling.
Later that night Claire asked me how she could connect in that way, what does she need to do? Frankly I don’t know exactly. It seems from my limited experience that a person has that in their personality or they don’t. I don’t know how. Claire said it sounds like I’m asking her to have an ESP connection with me which will never happen. I told her it isn’t that at all.
Then I brought up an analogy. Think of Sherlock Holmes. Everyone thought he was some sort of magician, but really he just paid attention and anticipated people’s behavior. That’s what I do with Claire, and I showed her dozens of examples. I ask her endless numbers of questions to know her. So many that it actually drives her crazy. But I do it for a reason. I’m learning about her. I know so much I can predict many things about her. I redirect her quite often too, another thing she hates, but I can do it accurately because I pay attention. I know when she has gone off track. I know her behaviors and mannerisms.
What I want is someone to know me. To understand me. To ask me questions. So that we can live in a world that is more of an ESP connection. I had that with Meredith. I loved the questions. It is totally my way of thinking. It seems so normal and natural. She was able to predict my behaviors better than I could and it made me so happy. She was always one step ahead of me. Something I’ve never experienced in an intimate relationship.
Boiling it down I do not feel known or understood in my marriage. It makes me feel invisible and unloved. Without the love I can see that I ended up in the arms of other women. Something I’m not proud of. I guess the question is if I can ever feel known and loved in my marriage. I don’t know the answer to that.