Friday, March 23, 2007

Witty, yet heartfelt title.

Thank you all for your kind, understanding and insightful words. It means a lot to me to hear what you have to say, even if it's just "I'm sorry."

All right, let me see if i can get this correct, and then we must never speak of it again. :)

I figured out the trigger for my "kamikaze attacks from the past." (Thanks for that phrase Caro, it's perfect.) The Mister has travelled 3 times in the past month. And, of course, that's where this all began, on a business trip.

I am embarrassed as i write this, because how typical, how tawdry. But why am I embarrassed? Because in this culture, i know there are people who think that it must be a reflection on me.

I want to be careful here, because there are thousands of ways to "get it wrong" when describing someone else's issues.

The Mister wants to be attractive to and liked by everyone. A legacy from his father, i believe. Some people, understandably, mistake this for something else, including him. So, the infidelity was just the recognition of this problem, all the way around. The solving of it has taken longer. With slip-ups. Details not to be included as they aren't important. Not major slip-ups, but enough to rip the scab off of my still tender wound.

The Mister has spent the past 13 years working on this issue, trying to recognize and correct the behavior.

I frequently quote Chani on this one. Love is a behavior, not an emotion.

And to quote Patty Griffin from her latest album, "I don't give up. I don't ever give up."

28 comments:

Gordo The Geek said...

Wow. I still don't know what to say, other than good for you both to work through it. Not everyone would have that much faith in their relationship.

caro said...

Thanks ever so much for sharing this Meno.I do know what you mean, unfortunately. And like you, I never give up... (Thanks for the link!)

patches said...

I only know what you choose to reveal about yourself in your blog, and you have demonstrated that you are a strong woman willing to fight for what is important. I believe you used the word "loyal" or "fiercely loyal" to describe yourself in a previous post. Your generosity, in sharing this glimpse of your self is a appreciated. It's reassuring to know that veteran's of marriage feel vulnerable too.

Lucia said...

Good for you for not giving up. I sometimes think about this and don't think I would have the faith, trust and fortitude to move through this. I'm so impressed with the fact that you've tackled the toughest of stuff and come out right side up. You really are an amazing and strong woman.

Sober Briquette said...

Best Title Ever.

Can I care about you right back. Because you know I do.

If anybody thinks this reflects badly on you, I'll kick their butt.

Lisa said...

You and the Mister are both so courageous to hold on and not give up. I'll bet it feels like giving up would be so easy sometimes. Especially in this society where everything is disposable. But it would be so hard, in the end. I really admire you for finding a way through this, and continuing to see all the good in the Mister.

meno said...

gordo, it ain't been easy. But my values are such that as long as there is any hope, i'm in.

caro, you are welcome. :) We'l have to swap stories some time.

patches, everyone's marriage is vulnerable. Only those who can admit it are likely to survive. In my opinion. That's why it's work.

lucia, i will have to admit, that if there had not been a child involved, whose entire world would have been turned upside down, i might have said "fuck it" more than once.

de, i'm glad you liked it. Caring is good. It should reflect badly on the cheater, but you know how the real world is. I'll keep your butt-kicking offer in mind. :)

lisa, sometimes it was only me holding on. Thank you.

Toni said...

Wow! My first hubby had an affair, for a long time I was deeply ashame- that it reflected on me as a wife. Took me a long, long time to realize it didn't. Bravo for you two to work it out!

Cagey said...

Meno,
Kudos to you for having the courage to work on something that so many would have given up on - child or no child. Seriously. I think all too often, our society devalues what it takes to make a marriage work.

I was cheated on during a prior relationship and it took me a long, long time to get over it. And we were not even TOGETHER when I found out what he had been doing behind my back all those years (interestingly, people eagerly crawled out of the woodwork to rat him out AFTER we had broken up.)

Yes, indeed. Love is a behavior, not an emotion. I've always viewed a marriage as a partnership in which love is just one small element. Nothing profound, I know, but it amazes me how many folks don't view it that way and instead, see marriage as some sort of Soulmate Love Connection. Or maybe, I am just cynical. Whatever. I'm happy the way I am.

Hang in there.

Bob said...

I hope figuring out what set this off has helped you deal with it. I hope you feel better.

I'd like to think that people have moved beyond the 50's mentalitiy that "he" wouldn't have wandered if "she" had been keeping him happy. It is embarrasing and demeaning to me that society thinks so little of me that I can only think with my dick and therefore not responsible for my actions.

It is a tribute to you both that you've not given up on your marriage. He must be quite a guy, I already know you're a special person.

Lynn said...

I think that embarassment is pretty much a universal reaction to feeling "less than perfect". I believe that it has it's origins back when we are two years old and we think that the world revolves around us. This leads us to feel that if something isn't perfect it must be our fault...Whether that mean us, our marriages, our children, our house, our car, our clothes, our haircut, our cooking...I think you get the idea. I think it helps to realize that no ones life is without imperfection...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Um, I am embarassed to admit it, but I feel a little bit like your husband (I want to be attractive to and liked by everyone, and who knows why). Is that really so wrong? I've always been 100% faithful, in all relationships (despite some real temptation, brought about by said behavior, I'm sure).

I'm female, by the way. I also feel like this part of my life is short lived (like, how many more crushes can I really inspire, given the grey hairs and wrinkles starting to peek out here and there), so is it really something I need to work on? Surely it will end soon enough--

Nancy Dancehall said...

"Love is a behavior, not an emotion." Man, that Chani is wise.

I've always thought that love is a decision we make, not just something that 'happens' to us. Sounds like you are loving him well.

meno said...

toni, it does take a long time to understand that you are not defective. It hurts too.

cagey, i agree that many people do not understand what marriage takes, sometimes. For better, and for worse. I abhor the disservive that the soul mate concept visits upon us.

bob, you are sweet. thank you. I will bask for a moment in your wonderful insight.

lynn, interesting idea. You are right, if the universe revolves around me, i am responsible for everything. Quite the burden.

anon, wait until men start to ignore you completely because of your age. There's a smackdown. You see yourself clearly, and understand the boundaries. That's good.

nancy, i find myself returning to that thought all the time. You are right, it's a decision. Happening to us makes us not responsible. That's too easy.

Mama P said...

I said it before and I'll say it again. Don't give up on YOU. If you don't do that, you will come at this from a happy place. And then you'll know if it's a good thing, or not, to have kept up with this man, flaws and all, all these years. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I know that your husband is lucky to have you, and clearly you feel that way about him, or you wouldn't put up with this all these years. (By "this" I mean your feelings of betrayal, not him.) I just know you will find some peace some day. I promise.

Bobealia... said...

When you say it that way, I get the urge to say, FUCK THAT GIVE IT UP YOU DON'T NEED THAT SHIT GIRLFRIEND!!! I know, I'm not making any friends and I'm not making you feel any better, because in that, there is some blame for the fact that you don't give up and you don't leave. To that I say, we all figure it out differently... My view on marriage is that we marry people who's faults me can put up with... because it's easy to love, but it's not easy to live with people's shit that we can't deal with. I love the Chani quote.

QT said...

I have been in your shoes, and felt shamed, and wondered why do I feel this way? I didn't do anything! I think part of the shame is just that something so personal is now exposed, or could be exposed, to the world at large and wow, what a thing to have exposed, right?

It takes so much patience and understanding to do what you are doing. You do need time, and you need to be kind to yourself. You can't help the feelings that someone elses behavior, as innocent as it may be, arouses in you, but you have a choice how you will deal with them once they happen. It sounds like you are on the right path, and are not alone.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend.

Ortizzle said...

All I can say is, keep the lines of communication open. That is very hard to do sometimes, and very painful. And there must be so many times when you don't want to drag it out, because you would rather just sweep it under the carpet and pretend it isn't there. But if these thoughts are consuming every waking moment, you gotta say something. The tricky part is saying it without resentment.

I guess there are a million different ways of finishing the sentence 'love is...'. And yes, actions speak louder than words. My personal measuring stick is respect. Which doesn't sound romantic at all, but when there is mutual respect, I truly believe anything is possible. As long as you feel it is worth the battle.

Be good to yourself.

Susanne said...

I'm late, that's why I haven't commented on your last post. It's been ten years ago that my husband and I almost got divorced because he fell in love with somebody else (and had a midlife-crisis). I'm really glad that we were able to work through this and that our relationship has become deeper afterwards.

I'd have preferred the deepening without the cheating, though.

Don't give up.

And why can't love both be an emotion and a behavior?

Jennifer said...

I think you are a rather amazing woman, and I'm so glad to have met you this past year.

Keep the faith, baby. Ain't none of us perfect, but we all keep believing we might could and keep on tryin', don't we? Makes the world go 'round, some days.

Thailand Gal said...

I think it's extraordinary that you are both making the effort, no matter your differences, to rebuild trust. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it's hard ~ but it is worth it. The grass isn't greener anywhere else. No one is perfect and think of all the good things you've built together.

As long as you keep talking, you'll both be okay.


Peace,

~Chani

Dick said...

I think that for a marriage to work you have to trust each other. If that trust is lost or interrupted it can take a lot of work and faith to re-establish it. But, if the two are really wanting it to work and are willing to talk, really talk with each other, it can happen. Once it has really been restored the marriage should continue on an even firmer foundation as you both will have really put a lot of effort into making it work.

As to Love, I think that love is best described as being when you think and are concerned with what is best for another person ahead of your concerns for yourself. And we can love more than one person at a time, although probably in different ways.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You are a brave, strong woman. Thanks for your honesty in this post...you've let us know just enough to understand, and I appreciate that.

meno said...

mamap, i don't ever give up...on me either. Thank you for the kind thoughts and words.

bo, i've been tempted to do the same, many times. Why not? Who the fuck knows. I love the Chani quote too.

qt, right, for all the world to see. Ouch. Thank you. :)

ortizzle, it's hard, sometimes, to admit that i am still bitten by the past. But it's still the truth. So that makes it worth saying. Again.

susanne, Oh. Ouch. Yes, if you can come through the other side, you are stronger. What this quote means to me, is that without the behavior, the emotion is not enough. Don't just feel love, be love.

jennifer, we have all been through shit, in some way. You are so correct, No one of us is perfect.

chani, you just keep on nailing it, the grass is indeed not greener anywhere else. That's why i'm still here.

dick, it has taken a lot of work, and then moments of doubt still reach out and bite me. Nice thought on love.

mona, i try so hard to be fair, to all parties involved. I'm glad you were able to see what i was saying. Thank you.

Mother of Invention said...

I think it's amazing of you (both)not to give up but to keep working on it. Hope it continues to sift itself through.

holly said...

it's so hard to be in that spot, between the intense anger/hurt and the desire to salvage the relationship. so many of are unable to get past that pain. that you have carried on reflects more on you than the initial betrayal. you are to be admired and respected, not embarrassed.

DDM said...

Oh Meno...I'm sorry. I don't know what to say about getting through and not letting kamikaze memories come ripping their way through. I'm just as guilty of letting those get to me. Here's hoping they get fewer and further between until they just stop?

meno said...

moi, most of the time it's all good, but just sometimes the past reaches out and smites me.

holly, thank you for that. I try to concentrate on the success, rather than the failures. Because we all have them.

ddm, i imagine they'll stop the day i die. How's that for cheery? I usually go long stretches without these memories coming back, then sometimes there are triggers. Fewer things are triggers as time goes on.