Feeling the Heat

It’s been really hot around here lately, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m feeling a lot of heat from those of you who read my blog. I’m personally thankful and grateful for the number of people who read my blog on a near daily basis. I find it amazing and humbling that people want to read my story.

Even those who disagree with me. Frankly I’m not sure why they continue to read, but I’m glad they do. It must feel something like a train wreck as I know I’m not really following any of their advice. My life just doesn’t work that way. Yet they still follow – perhaps out of morbid curiosity. Or maybe they want to watch me struggle and fail. Fair enough. There is a good chance of that.

For the most part I think everyone agrees I did the right thing on Meredith. I spilled my guts and have been open and honest to my wife. That is what my moral compass followers have been waiting for. Actually I know not everyone agreed I should spill the beans so even that isn’t a slam dunk.

Then there is the sex. Yes I have sex with my wife. It took a week after telling her about the affair but then we had sex two days back to back. For some reason this really caused a flare up. I just want to let everyone know that I have been having sex with my wife over the last two years since and even during the affair. Nothing has revolutionarily changed just because I told her of the affair.

Or has it? She has changed. The affair has freed her to question many things about herself including her own sexuality. I know she has been recognizing the role the church played in her stunted sexuality. If she wants to work on that I’m proud of her, and will support her but she needs to own it. She is talking to other women, buying sex toys, and even wanting to have sex with me.

But what about Sydney? Jesus I tried to take a week off from her why is everyone still talking about her? Frankly this situation is complicated. It is not black and white. As much as I feel that I need to be with someone like her, the work I am doing with my wife gives me hope. Maybe there is a chance for my marriage to work?? I don’t know. The chance still feels slight but it feels greater than it has in quite some time.

I mean I confessed about my affair with Meredith. It has changed my wife in many ways. In one sense we will never have the same marriage again and neither of us want to. But maybe we still don’t want the same things. We should free each other from our situation.

I digress. Where does that leave Sydney? Right now she’s on vacation a few thousand miles from here. We are not talking. She is in the wings, but she is not on stage. My wife is on stage right now. I did make the decision to separate. Not talking that back. But the situation has changed. I’m putting a stay of execution on the separation. It is still imminent but maybe a few more weeks. If Sydney doesn’t want to wait for me then it was never meant to be. This is a long process.

Frankly I don’t want this to be about Sydney. It’s not. It’s about me. Right now I’m a married man trying to navigate through an unhappy marriage. If I do get divorced and Sydney isn’t there I don’t care. I am a wonderful person and will find someone.

Did I kiss Sydney? Yes. Did I pick up horrible diseases? Maybe. But it would be no more or less dangerous than a drunken kiss at a bar. I’m getting a little fed up with the fear and STD comments. This blog is not about that. I’m wading through an emotional morass of self discovery.

I will continue to talk with Sydney. I will not have sex with Sydney. I will continue to work through things with my wife. These are things I will promise you. I will continue to make choices that not everyone agrees with. Perhaps if you were here with me and saw the landscape you would better understand the multitude of forces that cause me to make the decisions I make.

One last thing. I have decided not to tell my wife about Sydney in detail. I don’t think it would be prudent to do so. She knows there is a connection and that I would want to date her if we were single. That should be good enough for now. I know not everyone agrees. Perhaps you would if you knew my wife. Either way you are entitled to your opinion and now you know mine.

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Letter to Meredith

My wife is directing her anger towards Meredith. I don’t blame her. It makes sense. She even told me it’s not completely logical, but she had to blame someone said it’s easier if it’s not me. Fair enough. Personally I don’t have any ill will towards Meredith, but I also do not feel the need to protect her. She’s an adult who made the same bad decisions I did.

Because of how my wife feels she wants to somehow contact Meredith to let her know how angry she is. Her counselor suggested that she write a letter and they review it. Sometimes the act of writing it can be therapeutic even if it’s never sent. If she does wish to send it though that is her decision. The only thing to consider is how to deal with the response or lack of response and how that will make you feel.

Sex: Post Affair Confession

After our counseling session this week – exactly one week after I confessed about my affair with Meredith – my wife and I had sex for the first time. It was really nice. A little raw. Unexpected. Unscripted. Everyone left satisfied. We were going to head up to bed, but never left the kitchen.

This morning she wanted to again, but the timing didn’t work out with the kids. This evening before bed though I had her pinned up against the mirror in our bathroom. Another unexpected treat.

Even with guests staying with us she couldn’t keep her hands off me. I’m enjoying this turn of events. I feel that it may be related to the freedom she is experiencing now that she knows of the affair, and also a closeness we are experiencing going through counseling. She told me she wants to feel desired. Well there you go!

What Do We Want?

My wife is really opening up. The affair seems to have freed her to actually look into herself purely for herself. She has never really stepped out of ‘us’ to consider ‘me’ before. It’s eye opening to watch, and I’m so proud of her. I keep telling her that I don’t want her to hide herself from me and only tell me what she thinks I want to hear. I want to know her. What she wants. Ironically her constant hiding to protect her marriage drove it right off a cliff!

Ok it was more than that, but that was a big part. We are not vulnerable together. It was something I had in spades with Meredith, but I do not have with my wife. This is a huge topic that I will save for another time, but vulnerability is really important and was missing from our marriage.

What we are going to do is take a mental step away from our marriage, and make a list of things we each need in our primary relationship separately. As if we were looking for a date. We are going to be completely 100% wide open with each other no matter how it makes the other person feel. Then we are going to share them and talk about them.

I’m sure the items we discuss will be uncomfortable, but it will be a good exercise. The other side is that they will probably be in contrast to what we have. In other words a list like this will probably emphasize what we are missing in our current relationship.

Talking about all of this, my wife has been very explicit that she wants to do this, and then evaluate whether it makes sense for us to stay together or not. She is very focused on is being happy whether together or separate. It is blowing my mind how well she is dealing with the thought of us splitting up. She really wants us to be happy. I do too.

Also she has spent a lot of time evaluating her parents relationship and how unhealthy it was. Yes they stayed married for forty years, but most of those they should not have been. After forty years they painfully divorced. My wife does not want us to have that kind of relationship. Neither do I.

Overall I’m very excited to actually learn about my wife. That she will actually tell me what she wants. I have a feeling we will be out of step with each other, but it will be a breath of fresh air just to know who she is.

Lastly, she mentioned over and over yesterday how freeing it was too know of the affair. That it justifies the thoughts she has been having, and her actions going forward to society. If we split then it was her husband’s fault. If we stay it’s because she forgave me. All the uncertainty she had before has been made clear. She feels free to think about herself, just herself. I can understand and appreciate that feeling.

Don’t Stay for the Kids

Yesterday my wife had a day right out of the movies. She was upset and not coping well, but still working and seeing patients. Her first patient was an 80+ year old man.

He asked how she was and she said “Doing fine.”

He responded “Glad to hear it. How are the kids?” She was pregnant the last time he saw her.

“They are doing very well. Growing fast.” She said.

“You know I was married for 50 years.” He said, out of the blue.

“Wow that’s impressive.” My wife responded.

“Yeah, we just didn’t work out in the end. Should’ve ended it long before.” He said.

“Well I’m sorry to hear that.” She replied.

“Let that be a lesson to you. Don’t stick around just for the kids. It didn’t help anyone.” He said.

All of this was out of the blue. He knew nothing of what she was going through. Just speaking his mind about his own life. It made my wife’s hair stand-up on the back of her neck. Add if he were sent to speak these words to her.

Sydney Suspicions

My wife and I were talking about Meredith and how my wife knew more than I did early on in my relationship with Meredith. Then she tells me that she thinks I’m doing the same thing with Sydney! Whoa! I was shocked to hear this. I don’t talk about Sydney very often at home.

My wife can be very perceptive about some things. I don’t know if she picking up on some kinds of tone or specific word choice but that was uncanny.

I did talk to our counselor about Sydney though so I need to be more honest about it with my wife. It’s really difficult to do. I know everyone keeps saying trickle truth is the worst, but my wife can literally only absorb so much at once and has asked me to hold back on things. But today if we get the chance I will tell her more about Sydney – at least what it means to me that she exists and that there is an attraction.

An Open Discussion

My wife came back from her sister’s house. A little hung over but I let her get a two hour nap and a back massage which seems to have helped.

We had a really open and honest discussion about our future. She let me know that she was concerned about our future. She had actually thought about the possibility of us getting divorced, and discussed it with her sister. It seems we both want the same things.

She acknowledged that she knows I haven’t been happy for a long time. Way before Meredith. We talked about how we have grown together in some ways and apart in others. We grew together in very practical matters, and apart in the emotional and physical areas. We talked about how the growing apart probably contributed to the affair. She respects that I learned a lot about myself even if we both agree it was the wrong way to do it.

She talked a lot about how she knew the affair was happening way before I did. That I was just too dense to see it. Which is totally true.

The affair brought to a point a lot of the things we avoid talking about in our marriage. Entire categories of topics were advoided by both of us. Things that were really important to us couldn’t be discussed. My wife talked about ways we could possibly work on communication, but I told her that I don’t think it’s just a communication problem. It’s also an interest and personality problem. Not that either of us are necessarily bad, just that together we don’t work.

For whatever reason, and from very early on, we have not been able to discuss a variety of important topics from sex to politics to things that impact only one of us. I honestly don’t think it’s just a communication problem. We’ve worked on communication. We’ve worked on being more open. We frankly just don’t mix well. She admits she can talk to other people just fine, and I can as well. But together we cannot. Personally I think it’s something at our core in how we relate to each other. When any two personalities get together the interaction is unique.

Perhaps it is related to vulnerability, which is another topic we discussed. She is not and has never been fully vulnerable with me. In turn I have had a hard time being fully vulnerable with her because I don’t trust her to respect it. That level of vulnerability was something I had with Meredith and also now with Sydney. Complete vulnerability. It’s an absolutely amazing feeling and I know it is missing with my wife. To have someone understand you that deeply; who wants to know how you tick; who you trust with extremely sensitive parts of yourself. It’s amazing. I don’t trust many people and I’m very introverted. Being vulnerable in my romantic relationship is not optional anymore.

My wife has not been happy for the last couple years either. She has felt the stress of the affair. She knows something is different. She also knows that she wants it to end. We either figure out how to be happy again or we separate. She does not want to continue this charade. In the end she wants to be happy again, and I want that for her too.

One of her friends, the one in New York, mentioned that she is also dealing with an affair in her marriage. My wife’s friend is so much like her it’s uncanny, but they did not expect to share this stat. She said that where she is in her life is that she can’t really imagine not being with her husband. Her job is too stressful and she has a new baby. She has reconciled that she needs to deal with things where she is in her life now and that means staying with her husband. He says he wants to stay together so she will do so for now. She does not care what others think. She knows in the future she might not feel the same way. She mentioned the same to my wife. That my wife should also consider where she is in her life right now. Does she need stability or a fresh start?

One thing my wife can still barely talk about is the kids. She really does not want them in a split household. I understand. I never did either. What’s funny is that she grew up in an intact family with very dysfunctional parents who should have separated but didn’t. She constantly talks about the stress and lack of emotional bonding with her parents. Isn’t that worse than if they had separated? I was the one in an actual separated household.

The house is an issue that has become emotional too. It is our dream house. I really hope she can keep it. It is expensive, but I’m sure she could do it. It makes her sad to think about possibly losing it. It makes me sad too.

We also talked about separation. It’s a very likely step for us. I’m actually proud of her for being able to discuss it without a breakdown. That is a big step for us. I let her know that I was leaning that direction, but I want to give her time to process everything.

She recognized that we both need to learn what we want from a marriage then see if it works or not. She wants us both to do homework on what we want in an ideal partner. As if we were dating again. I agree with this because I really want to know about her. She never opens up to me. I don’t really know what she does or does not like about many things.

It was a wonderful and calm discussion. She loves me. She did not expect to feel this way. She recognized that she probably couldn’t have had this conversation a year ago but counseling has really helped her. She thanked me for helping her build a support network.

Even though it was a great discussion she is still dealing with a lot of anger and sometimes reaches a flooding point. It’s not nearly so fast as it used to be. She has every right to be angry, and I’m doing all I can to accommodate. Generally she wants to talk for awhile until she reaches a stopping point. We probably should stop before that because she gets angry and has a hard time communicating after she has flooded. Either way I’m very proud of her for working through this. She is doing so well. I hope we can move to a place where we are both happy and functional.