Archive | June, 2012

Needs, Communication, and filling gaps in the Information Environment.

29 Jun

Communication is key! This is so very true. I love this blogger’s step by step process on identifying needs and bringing them up to your spouse in a healthy, productive manner. Affairs would never happen if all spouses followed this easy process. You would be able to know immediately whether your spouse was willing to meet your needs (actual needs, not just desires) or not, and how to create a plan to make that happen.

The Pillars of Her Earth

In the past few days I’ve seen and responded to a number of posts about blame and infidelity and one in particular about how a spouse could have an affair if they really loved their partner ( http://ourjourneyafterhisaffair.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/that-age-old-question-after-the-discovery-of-an-affair/#comment-312 ).  A subscriber to that blog argued that the betrayed spouse has responsibility in that they failed to meet the wayward spouse’s needs, and that is why the wayward spouse strayed. 

I want to be clear in this: that I am not bashing that poster, or wayward spouses/partners, and I am not bashing my wife.  These are my thoughts on most affairs, needs, and communications.

On why affairs happen:  I believe each situation is unique.  Either way, most times the affair is a selfish act.  If you feel that your needs aren’t being met and you decide to satisfy them somewhere else, you are at fault.  Communication here is key.  Let’s take…

View original post 686 more words

Being Independent

28 Jun

This topic is something that I just haven’t been able to find the right words for.  I am independent, and I pride myself on that.  So how, at the same time, can I also be codependent?  It’s something that I struggle with because the codependent side of me is not welcome.  It’s not who I want to be.

I don’t want to control other people.  Even though I am independent, and can do it all by myself, I also don’t want to feel like I have to.  Far from it!  I want someone to tell me that they will take care of things, that they will do what needs to be done, that I don’t have to do it all.  I want that person to be my husband.  At the same time I’m afraid to let go before I see that he has the wheel.  What if we crash?  He hasn’t exactly proven to be the safest driver.

History has taught me that when you rely on someone else it doesn’t work out.  I have been hurt, let down, betrayed.  Not just by my husband, either…  The only person I have been able to fully count on is myself.  My family is wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  If I was ever in a position where I needed help and support, they would be there, without a doubt.  I have worked hard for everything in my life, though, and had to prove myself to lots of people.

I was the oldest and felt like I had to take care of myself and be independent so my parents could focus on my brother and sister.  My Dad worked, and my Mom stayed home with us, and I knew how hard that must have been.  I was also smart, so I was expected to achieve great grades.  I let my Mom focus on helping my sister through school, since that wasn’t her forte.  If I got all A’s then that took the pressure off them to worry about me.  I was talented, so I was expected to perform and be spectacular.  My Dad loved sports, so I put everything into playing softball and making the all-stars team every year.  The list goes on and all.

I was also home-schooled until 6th grade, which I have talked about (See Pink), and was the odd-man-out once I got into private and then public school.  I am an introvert (See Being Complete Opposites), so I’ve never been one to have an entire gaggle of friends hovering around me at all times.  That sounds exhausting to me.  I have always marched to the beat of my own drummer, zagged when others zigged, and done things my own way.  I left home to live on my own the day I turned 18 – no free-loading for this girl!  Instead of going straight to college after high school I took off across Europe with money I had saved while working as a file clerk at a local company after school.  I still think that is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I bought my house at 19, and established myself in a career early on.  When I did go to college 4 years after high school I still got a full scholarship because my prior academics were very strong and my essay about my world experience and desire not to just follow the pack must have impressed them.

When I met my husband I was living very well on my own, thank you very much.  I was several years into home ownership, I almost had my car paid off, and I was in a very good job.  I was nearly done with my degree, which I finished in 3 1/2 years while working full-time.  I had a 4.0 GPA, which I kept all the way through graduation.  I was comfortable.  My credit cards had very low balances or were almost paid off.  My credit score was through the roof.  I didn’t need anyone.

I think that is part of why this relationship seemed to start off on a good foot.  I’m not needy, for the most part (although who doesn’t love to feel loved?).  I was doing my own thing.  I think that was very attractive.  He wasn’t doing so well on the financial front and was just starting a new job, but I could understand that.  He was about a year out from a very bad breakup.  I was coming off a 7 year relationship.  I could definitely relate to how difficult it can be starting your life over.  Even though he wasn’t in as good of a place as me, he also didn’t seem like the clingy type.  He was sweet, but was more than comfortable taking things slow and giving me my own space.  That was what I wanted at that point, so the emotional distance was something I readily accepted.

When I look at where we are now and everything that we have come through I sometimes wonder where that independent woman went.  What happened to her?  I am still a homeowner, I still have amazing credit, and I could definitely still handle all of my responsibilities and bills by myself.  So why am I worried about rescuing him?  Why did I cling when there was barely anything in it for me?  Why did I sell myself short for those first few years when I knew something was off and didn’t demand that he get therapy?  Part of me thinks it’s because I thought we had something great and maybe we can have it again.  He does  have strengths where I am weak and vice versa.  That seems like a pretty thin excuse, though.

Another part of me wonders if my independence is just a shell, another coat of protection to shield me from being hurt.  It is easier to do it all than to open myself up to being disappointed or wounded.  It is easier to be strong than vulnerable.  It is easier to take charge than put things in another person’s hands.  It is easier to focus on someone else’s problems than my own.  I think that is really the heart of the issue.  Maybe it’s also why I love turtles so much.  Once someone has gotten through that shell to the heart of me, it is very hard for me to push them away.  It is easier to “help” than watch someone fail and reap the consequences.  I want the people I love to have the best life possible, even to the point of taking on their pain as my own and taking away from my happiness.

So here I am, a strong, independent woman who is also attached to a lying husband who has cheated on me multiple times.  I’m in a codependent relationship.  What an oxymoron!  I am starting to become more and more self-aware at the same time that he is beginning to take responsibility.  I want to continue down this path more so I can fully realize the joys of being cared for and nurtured as much as I do for others.  Letting go of that control and peeking out of my shell is a requirement that I continue to work on.  I think I’m getting better at it every day.  I look forward to truly being the independent yet vulnerable woman that I know I can be.

Should You Divorce a Sex Addict?

27 Jun

I really like the article that she quotes from here. It is exceptional advice for both partners.

Being Busy

27 Jun

I know I have been away a bit longer than just through the weekend.  Ooops.  I have been running all around like a crazy person lately.  Some of it has been good – but it sure has been hectic.  So here’s a quick rundown.  This weekend I attended a wonderful party that I wish we could have stayed at longer, then drove 2 hours to a fantastic concert.  After seeing 4 amazing bands we then had to brave that 2 hour drive back home… not so fun.  Good thing the next day was Sunday, though, because sleeping in was definitely in order.

Fast-forward to Monday when we had a terrible storm blow through.  Winds reached 86 mph, there was driving rain, hail, lightning, and some tornadoes a little farther out from me (thankfully I didn’t see any).  The wind and rain were so hard and heavy that water was actually forced under the front door at work and caused a semi-flood in our foyer and warehouse.  Oh, and it knocked the power out.  I’m sure you can imagine the fun time that ensued attempting to clean up the water in the dark.  Thankfully we have lots of windows – except in my office (of course) – yay!

Since I live only about a mile from work the power was also knocked out at my house.  We weren’t quite like the people in the picture above, although I did have tons of candles lit.  Thankfully my Dad lives next door (another story entirely) and he has a generator.  We plugged in an extension cord and stretched it on over to run our refrigerator, A/C and television.  That really was a lifesaver!  Except our cable and internet were also down.  Thank goodness for Criminal Minds on DVD!

Work was an entirely different story, though.  We really, really need our computers to be able to invoice items and all of the other daily operations.  Generally power comes up pretty fast for the business where we are, but not this time.  There were over 100,000 people without electricity not counting the businesses.  We thought we would get power back in the morning on Tuesday, but when I called there was still no estimated time to get it back.  I tried limping through work on my tablet and cell phone, but by mid-day it was obvious that wasn’t working and becoming more and more clear that power wasn’t coming back.  Cue shopping trip for a generator, setting it up, gassing it up, and stringing together several extension cords throughout the office to get our key equipment up and running.  Let me tell you, it was fun crawling all around on the floor – not!

Did I mention that in the middle of all of that I was recruiting for a job opening?  Trying to set up interviews on a tablet in the dark is not as fun as it sounds.  I also conducted a few phone interviews and coordinated with the President on his schedule for face-to-face interviews.  In my dark office.  Oh yeah, and I had a funeral to attend in the middle of all of that.  I also had to sing 2 songs yesterday so I had to get some music together and try to practice – without a printer or the internet as a guide.  Thankfully I’m good under pressure and can “going with it.”  No one had any clue that I hadn’t devoted my normal hours of preparation and practice.  Everyone said I did wonderfully.  Phew!

Today we finally have power, internet, and phone service back in the area – at home and work.  That is such a relief, but it also means picking up the slack for the past 2 days without power.  I promise I will get back to thoughtful writing and introspection… Tomorrow.  I’m feeding my procrastinating side today.  Well, not really – I still have a therapy appointment, chiropractor, and dinner with the girls in my group tonight – all by 6:30 pm.  And I need to pick up a Redbox rental on my way home to care for my sick husband – who has been vomiting today.  Hopefully it’s not from the boil advisory we received for our water – because I drank that stuff, too (The power outage also knocked out the water processing plant, so we could have any number of unknown bacteria in our water – which they didn’t deem worth telling us until 12 hours after we had been drinking said water from the tap).  See you around soon!

No Power Sucks

25 Jun

A storm rolled through today with high wind, rain and hail that cut power to hundreds of thousands of people. As usual our power is out and we will be the last to get it back. In fact, there is no ETA. Yay (read heavy sarcasm here)!

It seems to be an analogy for me right now, though. I have absolutely no control over this just like I have no control over a lot of my things in my life. How appropriate.

Tomorrow will be fun getting ready for work and a singing engagement with no power or hot water. I’ve just got to look at it like an adventure.

Signing Out for the Weekend

22 Jun

I’m gonna take a break from blogging this weekend to just enjoy myself and my husband’s company.  We have gotten some VIP tickets to see Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, and the Eli Young Band tomorrow night.  We are also attending a friend’s housewarming/ birthday party, although we will have to leave sooner than I wanted in order to get to the concert.  Sunday will probably be a glorious day of doing absolutely nothing.  🙂

After some thoughtful and deep posts this week, I thought I would leave you with a little levity.  I stole these questions from The Other Side of Infidelity who got them from someone else, who also probably got them from someone else, and so on.

81. What’s your favorite action movie?

Hmmm…  I’m not a big fan of the action genre in general, so I have to think about this.  If you had asked me for my favorite movie in just about any other genre I would have one off the top of my head.  Ok, got it!  Taken.  I loved that movie!

83. Do you believe in lust at first sight?

I’m leaving her answer – Hell yes.  What gets referred to as “love at first sight” is just lust at its core.  It’s a bodies chemical reaction more than anything else.

84. Favorite type of venomous snake?

I don’t really have a favorite snake, but if I was forced to pick one that I think is pretty bad ass I would say the cobra.

85. Do you drink alcohol?

Not very often, and even then in moderation.  I have seen too many people do a lot of really stupid things because of alcohol, and alcoholism has touched my family.  I enjoy an occassional glass of wine with my husband when we’re having an evening in.  I don’t like the taste of beer, but those fruity drinks can be dangerous if I’m not paying good attention because they are so yummy.  Now that I’m on antidepressants I have to be even more careful because of the interaction potential.

87. What do you wear to feel sexy?

There are different levels of feeling sexy for me.  Sometimes I feel the sexiest in a simple white tank top and cloth shorts.  Other times I like the feeling of lace and ribbons and the more traditional “sexy” lingerie.  A great pair of boots makes me feel sexy.  The best thing is a well-timed slap on the ass from my husband with a nice, long kiss.  Then it’s more about what I’m taking off than what I’m putting on.

88. Do you like to learn?

Oh my gosh, yes!  If I could be a paid student for the rest of my life I totally would!  Those grants and scholarships aren’t really enough to pay for a mortgage, two cars, insurance, etc., etc., though.  I just LOVE learning!  I am constantly trying to learn new things, expand my horizons, and find out something I never knew before.  I am a fantastic student.  It is something I can say with absolute certainty that I am amazing at.  I am a great writer, I can examine complex subjects, and I enjoy being challenged.  Anything less than a 4.0 GPA was always unacceptable to me.

89. Have you ever been hit on by someone who really overestimated their attractiveness?

Absolutely.  There is nothing more unattractive than someone who thinks they are the most attractive person ever.  That cockiness is a major turn-off.

90. Where did you last go on vacation?

Orlando, Florida with a quick stop-over in Charleston, SC.  I wish we had more time in Charleston!  Orlando was fun, but half of the week I was working.  Disney, commercialism, and beaches really aren’t my thing, but it was a nice little mini-vacation.  I would like a real one that doesn’t involve work soon, though!

91. Dallas (as in J.R. & Bobby) returns this week. What film or TV series would you loved to be resurrected?

I am sad at what happened to Medium, and I also really liked Lie To Me.  I could use a few more tips on how to spot a lie!  I’m just kidding (mostly).  A show that I really loved as a kid?  Little House on the Prairie.  Where is that kind of family series today?  Nowhere.

92. Explain your karma beliefs.

I don’t believe in karma as an actual thing.  I’m not big on spiritual entities of any kind.  I do think that if you live your life in a negative and hurtful way it will come back to bite you in the butt eventually.  Not every good person gets good in return and not every bad person gets bad in return; however, I do think that you are more likely to end up being treated the way that you treat others in the end.

93. When do you think that you have a hard life?

I’m not really sure I understand this question.  It is worded quite strangely.  I have had hard things to deal with in my life, but I don’t think they are necessarily any harder than what every person has to go through at some point.  Pain is the inevitable outcome of living.  What I’ve been going through in the last few years is harder than anything I’ve dealt with before.  I do think that other people have much harder lives than me, though.  I am really lucky.

94. Favorite comic strip?

I never read the comics much.  I do remember one about a mom who was really stressed out.  It had a married couple and some stuff with their kids.  I did a quick internet search and think I found it – For Better Or For Worse by Lynn Johnston.  Appropriate title for what I’m going through, huh?  I think that’s funny!

95. Have you ever broken a heart?

It’s possible, but not very likely.  I went through a few boys in my young teenage years.  None of them could hold my interest very long.  None of them should have gotten their hearts broken, though, because we were never really that serious.

96. Should pot be legalized?

I don’t really know.  I don’t think it will be, though.  There are too many people who really don’t want it to be.  As long as it stays illegal I will be staying away from it.

97. Have you ever gone skinny dipping with someone that you shouldn’t have?

I have never been skinny dipping, so no.

98. What do you do when you’re down?

I have to leave the first part of her answer here, too – Blare music.  Music can almost always make me feel better.  Or it can help me wallow if I want to.  I also tend to eat, especially chocolate.  Or buy stuff.  Or sleep.

99. Last time you were really angry?

I can’t really remember, which must be a good thing.  It was probably about a month ago or so.

100. What is your favorite flavor in general?

Yummy.

“… But I Still Loved You”

21 Jun

Today I came across the most wonderfully well-written post from a wayward about what love is – and isn’t.  He addressed a line that I heard from my husband after his acting out and affair.  It’s the infamous “… but I still loved you.”  You can put anything you want in front of that “but” like: “I did the wrong thing,” “I screwed up,” “I know that I betrayed you, ” or even “I never thought about how this could hurt you.”  It’s something that I could never understand then – how can love go hand in hand with lies and broken trust?

The short answer is that it doesn’t!  Love is selfless.  It is giving.  It is putting another person before yourself.  That’s not what an affair is.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  Even though sex addiction played a part with my husband’s behavior, it doesn’t take away the selfishness of what he did.  It doesn’t take away the fact that he wasn’t considering my feelings or the ramifications that his actions would have on me.  That is why it is hard to reconcile the idea of him still “loving” me in the midst of his hurtful acts.  While I know that his addiction wasn’t about me, wasn’t aimed at me, and most of the time no thought of me entered his mind – I can’t help but think that if he really loved me during that time he would have considered me!

That’s why today when I read floridaredman’s post on Surviving Infidelity something just clicked.   I got his permission to post his comments here on my blog, so here is what he had to say:

How many of us WS’s have said this. “Even though I had the affair I still loved you, even in the midst of it”

To a BS they are wondering how could this be possible.  How could you say you loved me and still betray me?

The answer is the WS’s misconception of what love truly means.  Love does not seek to be selfish… on the contrary… it is quite selfless.  Loving who you are and being content with being you is a key factor to loving someone else.
If you do not love who you are and have no respect for yourself… then how can you truly give love to someone else?

An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse…” I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met” How do you think your spouse would respond?

A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.  They would most likely believe that if you loved them you would have been more forceful in proving your point.

To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone.
Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.

It is a proverbial slap in the face to a BS for a WS to say, “But ..I still loved/love you”

The response could be…”Where was that love when you met your AP?” “Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  “Where was that love when you were being intimate with them and giving me the cold shoulder?”

Even if you say… “I never wanted to leave you.” This becomes a selfish statement because what you are really saying is… I wanted to have both.
I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.

Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time. Love can hurt. Love can hurt when you want your spouse to be one way and they are not. However the true love for them will help you overlook those faults while still communicating about them. Love does not give up, but it is willing to give in to a certain degree. I say to a certain degree because if you truly love who you are… you will know when to throw in the towel if the love you are giving is not respected.

If I took a gun and said… “I don’t want to hurt you.” Yet I unloaded the clip on you after I said it… the outcome shows my full intention.

Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.

I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?

I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness. Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.
I didn’t truly love myself. I really had no confidence in me. I really was insecure about me. So how could I give love that I didn’t have for myself to give?

When I found out my “why’s” and when I began doing the work… I found reasons to love myself.  In loving myself… I was able to truly love my wife.  Before I do anything to hurt her… I check myself because I don’t want to put her through any kind of pain intentionally.

I know a lot of people may not agree to this, but it was this type of thinking that led to my own self-awareness.

The thought came when I asked myself…

If you love someone… how can you give yourself to another? It is not to say that the love cannot be there somewhere… just needs to be resurrected and matured.

It is one of the reasons I came up with when your BS looks at you with unbelief when you say

“But…I still loved you”

When I read that I felt validated.  My husband has acknowledged some of those things before.  He has said that he was being completely selfish.  He has said that he sees now he should have reached out for help with his sex addiction.  He just never said it quite like that.

Some of that is so powerful to me that I just have to post it again.

“An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.”  Again, this was incredibly true for us.  He would not let me meet his needs.  He wouldn’t even express them to me.  How can I give him something he refused to let me even know about?  I guess I never could have – since I’m a real woman who actually cared about him, not some flat picture or video on a screen or a random, nothing whore in a chat room.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse… ‘I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met’ How do you think your spouse would respond?  A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.”  Exactly!  True love involves being vulnerable and open, expressing yourself, and sharing with your partner.  It doesn’t involve hiding your feelings and going outside of your relationship for self-gratification.

“To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone. Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.”  Disrespect.  That is a great word.  That’s exactly what it was.  It certainly wasn’t love.  In our case my husband even openly admits that he had no respect for the OW in the least.

“Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  Ouch!  That hit close to home!  That is almost exactly what was happening.  He would text the OW 60+ times a day and barely have 2 minutes to chat with me or send me a text during the day.  Sure sounds like love, right?

“I wanted to have both.  I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.”  Very true…  He wanted to have his fantasy world and his real life girlfriend/wife to comfort him, support him, and take care of him.  Lucky me! 

“Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time.”  I want to comment on two things here.  First, this is a really deep concept that is hard for many to comprehend.  Secondly, to those who blame the BS for your affair because they weren’t doing everything possible to meet all of your needs, refer back to this statement.  Love isn’t about making you feel good all of the time.  It’s not even possible because real, true love entails real, messy emotions.  You have to love yourself.  You have to meet some of your own needs.  And if you need your spouse to do more, you should refer to the statement a few lines above because love entailing honest communication of those needs.  Remember, this is from the mouth of another WS – these are not my words even though I completely agree with them.

“Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.” Amen.

“I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?  I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness.  Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.”  This is something that my husband has realized in the last few months.  It’s one of the most profound thing in this entire post.  Read it a few more times.

I think the end part about having to truly love yourself before you can love someone else is borderline life-changing.  It is something that I need to work on as well.  I like myself.  I even like myself a whole lot most of the time.  Some days I love who I am.  I love how I feel.  There are days when I am harder on myself than I would be on anyone else that I love, though.  On those days it is hard to accept my husband’s love and love him fully in return.  On those days I am holding myself back.

The Hard Way

20 Jun

I had to travel about an hour away today for a meeting.  On the drive up and back I couldn’t stop thinking.  That’s not really unusual for me because I’m a thinker, but there was something out of the ordinary.  Usually after I write a blog post it eases my mind.  The racing thoughts abate, and I’m able to put that topic behind me for a while.  Today I was still thinking about some of the questions that I answered yesterday about reconciliation.

I got a lot of really great comments after my post.  One of the things that has stayed with me is the common perception that staying to work on the marriage is “weak” or letting the wayward spouse “off easy.”  Those two things couldn’t be farther from the truth, so it blows my mind how they have seemingly become the collective cultural idea.  Usually stereotypes have some grain of truth to them, which is why they are so enduring.  This I don’t understand.  Maybe some people out there just give their spouse a pass and move on like nothing happened, but I don’t know anyone like that!  All of the men and women who I talk to on message boards and blogs are going through the same difficult journey that I’m on.  Sure, we’re all in different places, but I don’t think a single one would say this is easy – for us or our spouses.

I was also thinking about my blog in general and wondering where all the music went.  When I started this I was posting more music and using songs to express my ideas.  I still believe music is very powerful, so where did it go on my blog?  I have a pretty cool radio in my car, and I have a flash drive loaded with basically all of my music that I let play continuously instead of listening to the radio (all of the stations around me pretty much suck).  While I was driving and thinking my music was playing away.  I rolled through a few songs from various artists, then it hit the Keith Urban section.

A picture I took from one of concerts I attended. I was right up next to the catwalk he had, and actually reached up and touched him once!

I paused in my musings to remember how much I used to love his music (and still do).  He is just the consummate musician.  I have been to several of his concerts, and I really couldn’t get enough of him live.  He and his band are amazing.  At their concerts they have a big jam session on stage.  They improvise, riff, extend songs, do fun and interesting transitions, and have this rare music-driven performance that is mesmerizing.  Keith Urban himself plays the guitar, bass, drums, piano, and a few other things (I think he played the trumpet during one song).  The first time I saw him in person I’m sure my mouth was open in amazement the entire time.

Another thing about Keith Urban that you may or may not know – he is an addict.  Today as his music was filling my car I understood the deep emotions behind some of his songs for the very first time.  I heard his words from a completely different perspective.  I was amazed at how much more I liked the songs (which I didn’t even think was possible), and how they really connected with me.  One in particular started playing, and I cranked it up as loud as I could stand it.  Then I put it on repeat.  I listened all the way through at least 3 times barely breathing, then repeated it a few more times while singing along.  It was perfect for where I am right now.  It paired perfectly with my post yesterday.  It was right in line with all of the things I have been thinking all day long.  Just listen:


Combining Grey’s Anatomy and Keith Urban?  Rock on!

Here are the lyrics for the chorus:

But I do love you.
You keep me believin’ that you love me too.
And I know it’s true,
This love drives us crazy but nobody’s walkin’ away.
So, I guess we’ll have to do it the hard way.”

The whole song just really fits, but I’ve already said that.  I think my main point here is that we shouldn’t consider people who want to save their marriages “weak.”  We should be looking up to them in admiration.  Just take a hard look at the state of marriage in this country.  It seems like divorce is as common as the cold!  Love, committment, pushing through the messy stuff, and learning to change and grow is so special!  It’s definitely harder than walking away.  But it’s also more rewarding.  So, bravo everyone for sticking it out and putting your all into things!

In closing, I will leave you with this picture of Keith Urban’s cute behind.  🙂

Thank You!

20 Jun

I received a nice little nod from the wonderful Recover1Day over at Screw Infidelity.  She is such an honest, fascinating writer.  She delves into all aspects of infidelity, and she always provides links to great articles.  I love reading her blog, and you will too if you haven’t checked her out already.  She nominated me for two awards that she received, the Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you!

I have already received the Versatile Blogger award (yay!).  That means I get to skip over all of the rules, questions, long list of nominations, etc.  Why?  Because I say so.  Consider it a new rule.  🙂  I have never seen the One Lovely Blog Award, but I love it already!  The picture is so peaceful and wonderful, plus it’s pink!  Awesome!  I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but I will be stalking a few of my favorite blogs to pass this award along.  Have a great hump day!

Choosing to Reconcile

19 Jun

I have been so caught up in the codependent characteristics list the last few days that everything else has been pushed to the side.  Today I read some questions posed by Samantha Baker of Repairing Shattered Pieces on the forum After the Betrayal that got me thinking in a different direction, though.  Here is what she asked:

What made you choose to reconcile with your spouse?
Are you glad?
Are you fearful of another affair in the future?
Do you think that choosing to reconcile was the right decision?
Do you wish you had done anything different?
Do you ever think your spouse got an “easy out”?
Do you ever wonder if you appeared “weak” by choosing reconciliation in your spouses eyes?

So, that is a lot to try to answer, but I decided to take a shot at it.  Rather than use a question/ answer format I’m just going to write down some of my thoughts on the topic and do my best to hit on each of these questions.

Why I chose to reconcile is a complicated thing.  At the beginning of this I would have told you I stayed because I really love him.  He has a kind heart, a positive attitude, and a lot of energy.  We are total opposites in many way, which means that he added things to my life.  He taught me the joys of being spontaneous, introduced me to new foods, and made me cut loose and not take myself so seriously.  I got to know him, as you should with your spouse.  I knew he had faults, and I loved him despite those.  I was able to see past what he did to all of those other things that I didn’t want to cut out of my life.

We were also recently married (the last discovery was only 6 months after our wedding), and I believe in following through with commitments.  I didn’t want to just throw him away, and our marriage along with him, without knowing that I had done everything I could.  I made a promise in front of my entire family, his family, our friends, and everyone who is important to me.  I made that promise to him, but I also made it to myself.  I promised that I would love through thick and thin, better and worse, richer and poorer, and all of that other stuff.  He had betrayed me, but did that mean I should betray him, that promise, and myself in return?  I wasn’t there.

All of those things are still true, but now I have some additional insights.  I’m not a quitter, I hate admitting defeat, and I didn’t want to be a failure.  I didn’t want to be divorced at 26.  I didn’t know what I would do without him, I couldn’t let go of the “ideal marriage” in my head yet, and I couldn’t picture life without him in it.   I was in so much pain, but I felt like making myself the main priority was selfish.  How could I just walk away from everything I had put into this relationship?  From him?  What would he do?  Plus, I told myself that I had done things wrong the last few times I found out about his infidelity and lying.  I should have set firmer guidelines, I should have checked up on him more… I should have, should have, should have.  I felt like this problem was my fault.  I couldn’t walk away and leave him with nothing.  When I saw him so broken and defeated I wanted to help him.  I wanted to fix him.  I wanted to fix us.  In short, I am codependent.

This journey that we are on has taught me that.  It has also taught me more about myself and my husband than I knew at the beginning of the process.  Am I glad I stayed with this instead of walking away?  I feel like a stronger person.  I don’t feel “weak” at all.  This is a much harder road by far than leaving it all behind.   If I kicked him out immediately, there would still be unanswered questions.  There would still be hurt.  His actions probably would have pushed me farther away from my own issues because I would have been able to lump them all together and put them in the back of some dusty closet that I never opened again.  My next relationship most likely would have been impacted, and it would always be there making me feel uncertain, self-conscious, leery, and closed off.   I wouldn’t have worked on myself nearly as much.  In that way, I am benefiting personally from taking a hard look at the ways I contributed.

As for whether he got off “easy” or not, I don’t think so.  If he wants to keep this marriage, he will need to overcome his bad habits, some of which are decades in the making.  He is learning new tools to communicate.  He is figuring out how to deal with tough emotions.  He is working a program.  He is dealing with family of origin issues, boundaries, triggers, and more.  He will have to be vulnerable.  He will have to be honest – not only with me, but with himself – maybe for the first time.

I still have fear, but I am leaving it farther and farther behind everyday.  As I heal myself, I find those paranoid thoughts are fading.  I don’t think about what happened nearly as much as I think about where I’m headed now.  I am realizing what things I can control and what I can’t.  Even if he does have another affair, worrying about it now won’t change that.  It won’t do me any good.  It won’t make him decide not to stray.   All I can do is focus on myself, set boundaries about what I will accept, and be prepared to move on if he doesn’t hold up his end of things.

I do wish sometimes that we had found our current MC earlier.  I wish I had picked up Codependent No More way sooner than 2 weeks ago.  But I’m also letting go of my wish list and “should have” or “what if” thoughts.  I am dealing with each thing that comes up as it comes up.  I am trying not to regret the past because it has brought us here.  That last one is a tough one.  I’m taking it all day by day, though.

Finishing up the Checklist

19 Jun

Well, today I am going to finish up the checklist from Codependent No More.  It was a lot more than I remember reading when it came time to actually type it all out.  Spreading things over several posts has given me more time to really think about each list of characteristics and take the time to properly rate them for myself.  I’m really excited to keep digging into this book and see what healthier solutions she has.

WEAK BOUNDARIES

Codependents frequently:

  • say they won’t tolerate certain behaviors from other people.  (1)
  • gradually increase their tolerance until they can tolerate and do things they said they never would.  (2 – sadly, this is definitely true)
  • let other hurt them.  (2)
  • keep letting people hurt them.  (1)
  • wonder why they hurt so badly.  (1)
  • complain, blame, and try to control while they continue to stand there.  (2 – Ouch…)
  • finally get angry.  (1 – I tend to have the anger while not really doing anything about it – see above)
  • become totally intolerant.  (2 – this has been historically correct.)

LACK OF TRUST

Codependents:

  • don’t trust themselves.  (0)
  • don’t trust their feelings.  (1)
  • don’t trust their decisions.  (1)
  • don’t trust other people.  (2)
  • try to trust untrustworthy people.  (2 – not sure how this one and the one above can be true, but they are)
  • think God has abandoned them.  (what God?)
  • lose faith and trust in God.  (see above… boy do I really hope “god” isn’t the answer in this book because I will be very disappointed)

ANGER

Many codependents:

  • feel very scared, hurt, and angry.  (1)
  • live with people who are very scared, hurt, and angry.  (2)
  • are afraid of their own anger.  (1)
  • are frightened of other people’s anger.  (2)
  • think people will go away if anger enters the picture.  (1)
  • think other people make them feel angry.  (1)
  • are afraid to make other people feel anger.  (2)
  • feel controlled by other people’s anger.  (0)
  • repress their angry feelings.  (1)
  • cry a lot, get depressed, overeat, get sick, do mean and nasty things to get even, act hostile, or have violent temper outbursts.  (2)
  • punish other people for making them codependents angry.  (0-1)
  • have been ashamed for feeling angry.  (1)
  • place guilt and shame on themselves for feeling angry.  (0-1)
  • feel increasing amount of anger, resentment, and bitterness.  (0 – I am on the decreasing end of this spectrum lately)
  • feel safer with their anger than with hurt feelings.  (0-1)
  • wonder if they’ll ever not be angry.  (1)

SEX PROBLEMS

Some codependents:

  • are caretakers in the bedroom.  (2)
  • have sex when they don’t want to.  (0)
  • have sex when they’d rather be held, nurtured, and loved. (0 – usually these things go hand in hand for us)
  • try to have sex when they’re angry or hurt.  (0 – not gonna happen)
  • refuse to enjoy sex because they’re so angry at their partner.  (0 – again, it doesn’t happen if I’m angry)
  • are afraid of losing control.  (1)
  • have a difficult time asking for what they need in bed.  (1)
  • withdraw emotionally from their partner.  (1 – not so much now that we are more communicative and he is more vulnerable with me)
  • feel sexual revulsion toward their partner.  (0)
  • don’t talk about it.  (0)
  • force themselves to have sex, anyway.  (0)
  • reduce sex to a technical act.  (0)
  • wonder why they don’t enjoy sex.  (1)
  • lose interest in sex.  (0)
  • make up reasons to abstain.  (0)
  • wish their sex partner would die, go away, or sense the codependent’s feelings.  (0 – whoa… glad I don’t have this one)
  • have strong sexual fantasies about other people.  (0 – unless dreams somehow count… I’ve had a few steamy ones)
  • consider or have an extramarital affair.  (0 – huh… wonder if my husband needs to take this?)

Some people think this is healthy… It’s not. It’s also not possible!

MISCELLANEOUS

Codependents tend to:

  • be extremely responsible.  (2 – definitely)
  • be extremely irresponsible.  (0 – never been a problem for me at all)
  • become martyrs, sacrificing their happiness and that of others for causes that don’t require sacrifice.  (0 – I don’t think so…)
  • find it difficult to feel close to people.  (2)
  • find it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous.  (1 – my husband has helped me in this area a lot already)
  • have an overall passive response to codependency – crying, hurt, helplessness.  (1 – at some points)
  • have an overall aggressive response to codependency – violence, anger, dominance.  (0-1 – not really a main issue, but sometimes intense anger has come out)
  • combine passive and aggressive responses.  (1)
  • vacillate in decisions and emotions.  (1 – decisions, no.  emotions, yes.)
  • laugh when they feel like crying.  (1-2 – does smiling count?  I often have am inappropriate response to uncomfortable situations or death like smiling when I really am not feeling happy or amused in the least)
  • stay loyal to their compulsions and people even when it hurts.  (2 – yes, I am very loyal)
  • be ashamed about family, personal, or relationship problems.  (2)
  • be confused about the nature of the problem.  (1-2)
  • cover up, lie, and protect the problem.  (0-1 – I don’t remember any specific times when I have done that.  I definitely don’t lie, but I might “protect” by not telling many people)
  • not seek help because they tell themselves the problem isn’t bad enough, or they aren’t important enough.  (0 – not any more…  there was a time years ago where that was true, and I’m not going back there)
  • wonder why the problem doesn’t go away.  (1)

PROGRESSIVE

In the later stages of codependency, codependents may:

  • feel lethargic.  (2)
  • feel depressed.  (2)
  • become withdrawn and isolated.  (1)
  • experience a complete loss of daily routine and structure.  (0)
  • abuse or neglect their children and other responsibilities.  (1 – work has suffered a bit)
  • feel hopeless.  (1)
  • begin to plan their escape from a relationship they feel trapped in.  (0)
  • think about suicide.  (0)
  • become violent.  (0)
  • become seriously emotionally, mentally, or physically ill.  (0)
  • experience an eating disorder (over- or -undereating).  (1 – I wouldn’t really call it a disorder, but both of those things have happened)
  • become addicted to alcohol or another drug.  (0)

And that’s all folks!

Being Self-Aware

18 Jun

I started talking about the checklist from the book Codependent No More a few days ago (Being Self-Reflective).  I have gotten some positive responses from my followers, but the best thing is that I am feeling accomplished.  This book, this check-list – they’re making sense.  I didn’t think they would.  I fought against it.  But now that I’ve given in I feel so much relief.  So here’s a continuation of the checklist and my self-evaluation.

REPRESSION

Many codependents:

  • push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt.  (0 – although I guess I wouldn’t really know if this was true?)
  • become afraid to let themselves be who they are. (1 – used to be true more than it is now)
  • appear rigid and controlled.  (2)

OBSESSION

Codependents tend to:

  • feel terribly anxious about problems and people.  (1 – I don’t have a lot of anxiety)
  • worry about the silliest things. (0)
  • think and talk a lot about other people.  (1 – maybe?)
  • lose sleep over problems or other people’s behavior.  (0 – I rarely lose sleep because it is very precious to me)
  • worry. (0 – nope, not a worrier.  I find it rather useless)
  • never find answers.  (0)
  • check on people.  (1 – Not so much “people” (plural), but sometimes on my husband)
  • try to catch people in acts of misbehavior.  (same as above – this has gotten much better in the past few months)
  • feel unable to quit talking, thinking, and worrying about other people or problems. (1)
  • abandon their routine because they are so upset about somebody or something.  (0)
  • focus all their energy on other people and problems. (1)
  • wonder why they never have any energy.  (2)
  • wonder why they can’t get things done.  (1-2)

CONTROLLING

Many codependents:

  • have lived through events and with people that were out of control, causing the codependents sorrow and disappointment.  (2 – absolutely!)
  • become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally.  (2)
  • don’t see or deal with their fear of loss of control.  (1-2)
  • think they know best how things should turnb out and how people should behave.  (2)
  • try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination.  (2)
  • eventually fail in their efforts or provoke people’s anger.  (1)
  • feel controlled by events and people.  (2)

DENIAL

Codependents tend to:

  • ignore problems or pretend they aren’t happening.  (0)
  • pretend circumstances aren’t as bad as they are.  (0-1)
  • tell themselves things will be better tomorrow.  (1)
  • stay busy so they don’t have to think about things.  (1)
  • get confused.  (0)
  • get depressed or sick.  (2)
  • go to doctors and get tranquilizers.  (0)
  • become workaholics.  (0)
  • spend money compulsively (-2 – I am so far in the other direction it’s not even close)
  • overeat (2 – check)
  • pretend those things aren’t happening, either.  (0 – I can see my flaws, I just don’t know where to go from here)
  • watch problems get worse.  (0)
  • believe lies.  (2 – in the past, but not anymore)
  • lie to themselves.  (1)
  • wonder why they feel like they’re going crazy.  (2)

DEPENDENCY

Many codependents:

  • don’t feel happy, content, or peaceful with themselves.  (1)
  • look for happiness outside themselves.  (1)
  • latch onto whoever or whatever they think can provide happiness.  (0)
  • feel terribly threatened by the loss of any thing or person they think provides their happiness.  (2)
  • didn’t feel love and approval from their parents.  (2)
  • don’t love themselves.  (0-1)
  • believe other people can’t or don’t love them.  (1)
  • desperately seek love and approval.  (0)
  • often seek love from people incapable of loving.  (0 – I don’t think “often” applies or that my husband is “incapable of loving.”  Maybe he is stunted, but he does love me.)
  • believe other people are never there for them.  (0 – I have a great family and support network)
  • equate love with pain.  (1)
  • feel they need people more than they want them.  (0)
  • try to prove they’re good enough to be loved.  (2)
  • don’t take time to see if other people are good for them.  (2 – definitely)
  • worry whether other people love or like them.  (1)
  • don’t take time to figure out if they love or like other people.  (0)
  • center their lives around other people.  (2)
  • look to relationships to provide all their good feelings.  (1)
  • lose interest in their own lives when they love.  (1)
  • worry other people will leave them.  (1)
  • don’t believe they can take care of themselves. (0)
  • stay in relationships that don’t work.  (1)
  • tolerate abuse to keep people loving them.  (1)
  • feel trapped in relationships.  (1)
  • leave bad relationships and form new ones that don’t work either.  (not sure how to answer this because I haven’t had a ton of relationships – just 2 serious ones)
  • wonder if they will ever find love.  (0)

POOR COMMUNICATION

Codependents frequently:

  • blame.  (1)
  • threaten.  (0)
  • coerce.  (1)
  • beg.  (0)
  • bribe.  (1)
  • advise.  (2)
  • don’t say what they mean.  (0)
  • don’t mean what they say.  (1)
  • don’t know what they mean.  (0)
  • don’t take themselves seriously.  (1)
  • think other people don’t take the codependents seriously.  (1)
  • ask for what they want and need indirectly – sighing, for example.  (1 – I have been known to do that sometimes, but I am usually pretty blunt.)
  • find it difficult to get to the point.  (0)
  • aren’t sure what the point is.  (0)
  • gauge their words carefully to achieve a desired effect.  (1)
  • try to say what they think will please people.  (0 – rarely)
  • try to say what they think will provoke people.  (1 – when in a heated argument… but who doesn’t?)
  • try to say what they hope will make people do what they want them to do.  (1)
  • eliminate the work no from their vocabulary. (1)
  • talk too much.  (2)
  • talk about other people.  (1)
  • avoid talking about themselves, their problems, feelings, and thoughts.  (1 – I am trying to get better about this… see?)
  • say everything is their fault.  (1)
  • say nothing is their fault (1)
  • believe their opinions don’t matter.  (0)
  • wait to express their opinions until they know other people’s opinions.  (0 – rarely)
  • lie to protect and cover up for people they love.  (0)
  • lie to protect themselves.  (0)
  • have a difficult time asserting their rights.  (0)
  • have a difficult time expressing their emotions honestly, openly, and appropriately. (0 – I am really pretty good at this)
  • think most of what they have to say is unimportant.  (0)
  • begin to talk in cynical, self-degrading, or hostile ways. (1 – I can sometimes be sarcastic… does that count?)
  • apologize for bothering people.  (1)

Wow…  this list is longer than I remember.  There is still a lot of it left.  I will get back to this as soon as I can.  In the meantime, I hope that you all enjoyed your Father’s Day weekend and are feeling as free and positive as I do right now.

Being Self-Reflective

16 Jun

I have been reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.  On my tablet.  That officially means I am doing two things I never thought I would be doing.  I have been adamant about my strong loyalty to paper books and my dislike of reading things on a computer screen.  However, my tablet came with a Kindle app, and I’m an Amazon freak.

So…  One night a week or so ago I was checking out a few books on Amazon that had been recommended and I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.  While I was browsing around I noticed that you can get the first chapter of most books as a free preview on the Kindle.  I figured that would be a good way to really know if the book would be a good fit for me because I could check out the first chapter and get a feel for the author and content.  I opened the Kindle app, registered it to my Amazon account, and promptly downloaded the first chapter of about 4 or 5 books.

I immediately found that I like this system!  Right off the bat I was able to eliminate two books that were far too religious and didn’t speak to me at all.  I also found a few to be mildly interesting.  I had some bad pre-conceived notions about Codependent No More from a woman in my support group, but I thought I would read the first chapter to see if I agreed.  My secret hope would be that I would find some major flaw in logic or point that I disagreed with completely so that I could justify my avoidance of the book.

Instead I found that I was devouring it.  A lot of what she said spoke to me.  I really “got” a lot of what I read.  And I wanted to read more.  I was so hooked that I went ahead and downloaded the rest right there.  Amazon made it even easier because the Kindle version was a few dollars cheaper than even the older paperback version.  I read the first 3 chapters in one sitting.

Then I forced myself to slow down.  I discussed a few things with my husband.  I told him what it had me thinking about.  I discovered the bookmark and highlighting feature in the Kindle and really started going to town.  I went back and bookmarked some things I want to think about more.  I highlighted a few passages that were especially meaningful.  I started pondering the parts that I connect with.

Yesterday I got to a list of characteristics of codependents.  She said that the first step toward change is awareness.  I agree with that.  Then I started reading the various lists.  I do identify with a lot of them.  My first gut reaction was that this list is so varied and generic that a LOT of people could identify with several things on the list.  That is true.  However, I started to realize that I agreed with more than just a few.  In fact, I identify with more things than I don’t.  The bookmarks were flying.

At the end of the chapter she suggest going through the list and rating the characteristics.  She said to rate it a 0 if it is never a problem for you, rate it with a 1 if it is occasionally a problem, and mark it with a 2 if it is frequently a problem.  The list is long, but I decided to start doing that today.  I also decided to share that list here on my blog.  I think it is something that others may relate to.  I also think that it will really force me to be completely honest with myself by having some accountability and transparency with others about the things I need to work on.  So here it goes:

CARETAKING

Codependents may:

  • think and feel responsible for other people – for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny. (2)
  • feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem. (2)
  • feel compelled – almost forced – to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings. (2 – with the caveat that my need to help generally takes the form of actions, like helping them study, doing the research or work myself, etc.)
  • feel angry when their help isn’t effective. (1)
  • anticipate other people’s needs. (2)
  • wonder why other don’t do the same for them. (2)
  • find themselves saying yes when they mean no, doing things they don’t really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves. (3 – I know that is off the scale, but it really applies to me)
  • not know what they want and need or, if they do, tell themselves what they want and need is not important. (2)
  • find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others, rather than injustices done to themselves. (2)
  • feel safest when giving. (2)
  • feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to them. (2)
  • find themselves attracted to needy people. (1)
  • find needy people attracted to them. (2)
  • feel bored, empty, and worthless if they don’t have a crisis in their lives, a problem to solve, or someone to help. (0-1)
  • abandon their routine to respond to or do something for somebody else. (1)
  • overcommit themselves. (1)
  • feel harried and pressured. (1)
  • believe deep inside other people are somehow responsible for them. (0-1)
  • blame others for the spot the codependents are in. (0-1 in everyday life, 2 with my husband’s infidelity and sex addiction)
  • say other people make the codependents feel the way they do. (same as above)
  • believe other people are making them crazy. (same as above)
  • Feel angry, victimized, unappreciated and used. (same as above)
  • Find other people become impatient or angry with them for all the preceding characteristics. (0 except for my husband, which would be a 1)

LOW SELF-WORTH

Codependents tend to:

  • come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families.  (1 – we had our share of issues, but I think I was very lucky overall to have the parents I had)
  • deny their family was troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional.  (1 – although according to this my family must have been a nightmare and I’m denying it)
  • blame themselves for everything.  (2)
  • pick on themselves for everything, including the way they think, feel, look, act, and behave.  (2)
  • get angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indignant when others blame and criticize the codependents – something codependents regularly do to themselves.  (off the charts here I have to admit)
  • reject compliments or praise.  (1)
  • get depressed from a lack of complements and praise – stroke deprivation.  (0)
  • feel different from the rest of the world.  (0)
  • think they’re not quite good enough.  (2 – absolutely!)
  • feel guilty about spending money on themselves or doing unnecessary or fun things for themselves.  (2)
  • fear rejection.  (2)
  • take things personally.  (2)
  • have been victims of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, or alcoholism.  (1 – I think my Dad definitely could be called emotionally abusive when I was growing up, and maybe even physically abusive as well, depending on where you fall on the corporeal punishment spectrum)
  • feel like victims.  (0)
  • tell themselves they can’t do anything right.  (0)
  • be afraid of making mistakes.  (2)
  • wonder why they have a tough time making decisions.  (1)
  • have a lot of “shoulds.”  (2)
  • feel a lot of guilt.  (2)
  • feel ashamed of who they are.  (1)
  • think their lives aren’t worth living.  (0)
  • try to help other people live their lives instead.  (0)
  • get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others.  (1)
  • get strong feelings of low self-worth – embarrassment, failure, etc. – from other people’s failures and problems.  (1 – only when that person is tied to me – like in a marriage. For instance, I still want to help my sister succeed in school, but I don’t feel personal embarrassment if she doesn’t.)
  • wish good things would happen to them. (1)
  • believe good things never will happen.  (0)
  • believe they don’t deserve good things and happiness.  (1)
  • wish other people would like and love them.  (1)
  • try to prove they’re good enough for other people.  (2)
  • settle for being needed.  (2)

Well, that’s all I have time for right now.  I will come back to this later.  Hope this gives you some food for thought.  I definitely have plenty to think about!

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Our Boys About Sex — The Good Men Project

16 Jun

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Out Boys About Sex

 

This article is so very true.  I wish more boys were taught about their body and sex.  This is an interesting read that describes the process of dealing with sex from boyhood to manhood in great detail.  My husband said that this was his experience exactly.

screw infidelity

What Happens When We Don’t Teach Our Boys About Sex — The Good Men Project.

Interesting food for thought.  It’s old news that’s current and urgent.  Is it any wonder that porn thrives, sex addiction occurs and infidelity is so common?

View original post

Being Open About Sex

15 Jun

I have to warn you now, this topic is personal.  I have grappled a bit with if I should post it, but I decided to take my own advice from my last post and be honest.  I know this will probably make my husband uncomfortable, so I apologize in advance to Mr. Mess.  I just feel like I need to get this out there and talk about it so maybe someone else in a similar situation won’t feel like they are all alone.

I have heard from lots of people about their hysterical bonding after DDay.  That never happened for us.  We maybe had a slight upswing in our sex life a few months in, but nothing drastic or immediate.  Now things are back down to pre-DDay levels which is around 1-2 times per week if I’m super lucky.

I’m a very sexual woman.  I have always heard that men are supposed to have a higher sex drive than women, but that is definitely not the case in our relationship.  My husband often turned to pornography and masturbation rather than actual sex with me.  When I was interested he was always “too tired” or some other lame excuse – except for about once or twice a week (usually on the weekends) when he couldn’t think up a lie I would believe.

Like I said, there was a slight upswing in sexual activity a few months after DDay, but nothing sustained.  And nothing to write home about.  The fact is that it doesn’t take much to have an “upswing” from nearly never.  Part of the disparity in our libidos may be that I am 20 years younger than my husband.  I am 27 and he is 47.  Women are just hitting their sexual peak at my age.  If you consider his sexual addiction issues and his age I guess I can see where my sex drive might be a little higher.  But he’s a sex addict for goodness sake!  A s-e-x addict who never seems to want s-e-x!

I have voiced my concerns in the past about the lack of sex in our marriage.  That has been when some of the upswings have occurred.  He has now been on anti-depressants for a little over a year, and I know that those can effect sex drive.  However, I just keep feeling like there is something more.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something.  It’s just not right.  I’m here.  I want sex.  I’m open-minded and flexible (in more ways than one).  I put myself out there.  Still, when it comes to our sex life, I get crickets…

The other night my husband was ready to head off to bed early – at around 9.  He never wants to go to bed that early, and it hadn’t been a particularly long day.  His work was normal, and he didn’t have to go to school.  I was thinking that maybe I might get lucky!  Alas…. no.  He basically wanted to get in bed, put on his CPAP machine (he has sleep apnea), and go to sleep.  I was beyond frustrated.  It’s not like we don’t connect or touch.  It’s not like he isn’t affectionate.  We kiss, he slaps my butt, we hold hands on the couch, I had snuggled up to him and was wearing barely anything… but it rarely goes much further.

Wenesday night it was just too much.  I told him that I am frustrated.  He thought it was because he wanted to go to bed so early.  I told him that wasn’t it.  I can almost always sleep because I am stressed right now, plus I like us to go to bed at the same time so we can unwind, talk, and connect.  I feel like if we start going to bed without each other we may as well just get separate rooms – something I am not willing to do.  I told him straight-out that I am disappointed by how infrequently we have sex.  I told him that I am not ready to be in a sexless marriage at 27!  And to me once per week is basically that – because there is no passion, no need, no feeling of hunger or desire from him.

He was quiet for a long time.  I thought he had just decided to go to sleep and ignore me, which was making me even angrier.  Then he finally said that he can understand.  I said something like, “oh, really?” in a slightly (okay, very) sarcastic tone.  He just replied “Yeah.”  That was the extent of our conversation.  Sometimes it is like pulling teeth with that man!  I was still frustrated, but let it go for the night.

Yesterday at lunch he gave me a call.  He said that he has been thinking about what I said.  He said that he is sorry that he has been neglecting me.  Then he said that he thinks he is really just afraid.  I asked him “what of?”  He said that he is afraid that if we have sex more he will start thinking about sex more and he is worried that will lead to acting out and cheating on me again.  He was teary – I could tell from his voice – and it gave me a little pause.  I thought about it, and told him that I can see where that might cause some anxiety.

I pointed out that there is a difference between healthy sex and unhealthy behavior.  He should be able to have sex with me without that making him want to have sex with someone else, too.  He said that he does know that.  So I asked again what is it that makes him feel afraid of sex with me (the healthy, normal, necessary to sustain a marriage sex).  At first he said he wasn’t sure because he knows that isn’t the same as his unhealthy, obsessive, unsatisfying, secret porn/ chat room/ affair-driven sex life (if you can even call it that).  I asked if he really feels like he has addressed those issues.  He said yes immediately.  Then I asked him if that is really true… has he dealt with them or has he just been avoiding anything that would make him have to confront them.  He then admitted that was probably it.

He is so afraid of messing up again that rather than develop healthy coping skills, confront those triggers, and do the work to heal himself, he is just trying to avoid sex altogether.  Once it reached a timeframe where he felt like he needed sex or he should be giving it to me, he would give in briefly and have sex.  Then he would bottle up all of his sexual feelings together and store them away somewhere.  He would only allow himself to feel sexual during that hour (or whatever) he allotted for us each week, then he would lock everything down.

He told me that he knows that isn’t right.  It isn’t fair to me.  It isn’t healthy for him.  It’s not what he really wants.  He said that he wants to be more open and sexual with me.  He is just afraid that once that box is open he won’t be able to control it.  I told him that I can understand now that he is talking with me about it…  That it definitely allows me to give him more grace around this matter.

I also told him that I’m not the person who knows what the solution is.  I’m patting myself on the back for that one a little bit because in the past I would have tried to come up with some “game plan” or started researching and looking for an answer.  Today I just told him that I think he is feeling that way because he hasn’t really addressed things.  I suggested that he talk with his IC today in their appointment to get guidance.  I didn’t push.  I didn’t call and get the schedule.  I didn’t dictate to him anything that he needed to do – other than reach out and start figuring this out with appropriate people who can provide assistance.  I said that I am really glad he shared that with me, and I want him to keep talking to me about those sorts of feelings.  But I didn’t try to become the “rescuer.”  I think that is a healthy step for me.

What I am wondering is if anyone else has had a similar issue with their spouse.  I know not everyone is dealing with this kind of situation, but I am curious about if other people’s partners have fear around sex.  Do they worry that letting go in one area will cause bad habits to pop out in another?  I haven’t heard a lot about this, so I’m not sure the best way to support my husband through this.  All I know is that it’s frustrating as hell.

%d bloggers like this: