The thoughts go marching round and round, hurrah

Photo of a black clay heart, cracked upon from side to side.
Image via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

Communication makes such a difference. I’ve come full circle from hurting over the weekend to feeling at least a little better today.

I had a miserable weekend, emotionally speaking. Haven’t had one of those in a while, but it hit me hard. It was bad enough that I checked the Facebook page of the woman who my husband had an emotional affair with about three and a half years ago.

I was gratified to see she has gotten so damned fat (at least it’s not just me), but she looks happy. Just like a person with no conscience troubling them would be happy. Just like a person whose marriage wasn’t rocked by an affair, since she’s the one who had one and I’m guessing that her poor damned husband still doesn’t know. (We have mutual friends, and I haven’t heard anything. When they argue, they tend to have fireworks, or so I’m told.)

Here’s what I ruminated about over the weekend, and it was bad because I felt like I couldn’t talk about it with my husband. He made it plain the last time that he was starting to get frustrated at my bringing the affair up when there’s nothing he can do about it since it’s in the past. (He could listen, though.) It had a quelling effect on me. I didn’t FEEL any less bad, I just stopped talking about it with him.

Things that marched in grim circles in my head all this weekend include:

  • He has alway said the affair was purely emotional, not physical. I’ve never believed that. I’ve hoped, but not believed.
  • I wondered how many times he went to see her. (She lives a distance away.) He says none.
  • I wondered how many times she came to see him. (She was up here at least once “on business” that I know of, according to her Facebook page.) He says none.
  • Did he sleep with her. He says no.
  • The other woman told me something that has troubled me ever since. It was after I decided NOT to tell her husband about her affair (having decided she was his problem, not mine). Speaking of my husband, she said, “Effie, he never told me he loved me.” I thanked her and said that was not a comfort. … Now I wonder why she didn’t say, “We never slept together.” Wouldn’t you, if that were the case?
  • I know the sex isn’t the biggest deal, although it’s a big one. But the FEELING that I’m not hearing everything makes me nutso. I briefly considered calling her, even.
  • Before his affair, he had tons of impotency problems. But right after the affair, he could have sex with me, NO problem. Now he’s having problems again, saying the same old thing, that he puts too much “performance pressure” on himself. I still have doubts — is this his way of punishing me for being angry at him? Is he repulsed by my weight gain? Is he back in an affair with her or someone else? He recently took about a 5-6 month hiatus from sex with me, which drove me nuts.
  • Looking back at the time period of his affair, I saw several instances of his simmering contempt for me. And it reminded me of a time when I was pregnant with my younger daughter and on total bed rest because of toxemia. It can be deadly. He was working out of town and came home only on weekends until his new job at another store was opened. And during that time, he came home several weekends with an attitude of, “Oh, I guess I have to work AND do everything around the house when I come up too.” (I could have *died* from this illness. My blood pressure went up to 220/110, at the worst of it.) I wonder now if he was having an affair with her or someone else during that time. He was staying at his sister’s house during the week; the other woman lived about a 30- to 45-minute drive away. It would have been easy. (He now says no on any affair at that time, but he did feel several times as if I dumped on him as soon as he walked in the door. I probably did. I was entitled to, given my health and fears and being alone without him so much of the time, although I didn’t mean it that way. He should have been my rock. Instead, I had to be my own rock.)
  • I went into the bathroom and cried last night because I didn’t want to share it with him. I also didn’t want to see his often-stated view that, “This is just Effie being dramatic again” expressed in his eyes. I cannot bear his contempt. What kind of marriage is it when I can’t even stand to let my husband know I am crying?
  • I feel like an old, broken woman that he’s just staying with out of pity for the pain he’s caused me. He says no. I’m not sure.

I have spent a large chunk of the past three and a half years avoiding my feelings when I’m not in the therapist’s office or journaling or blogging. I’ve not been dealing with negative feelings nearly as much as I should. I escape to my phone or to Netflix. I changed that yesterday and just “sat with it.” That’s why I was crying at bedtime. I was almost as sad this morning.

As we carpooled to work, he asked me again if something was wrong. I told him quietly that he knew and that he’d made it abundantly clear he didn’t want to hear me talk about it. He was silent the rest of the way to work. But I didn’t bury myself in my phone or close my eyes and lean back my seat to sleep. I just sat with it. We talked briefly when we got here at work before he headed back to the house (he’s off today). I told him that he’d put me in a bad place by causing such sorrow and then quelling discussion by being “tired” of the subject, feeling “ambushed” when I bring up questions about his affair, and getting sad or defensive himself. I didn’t speak to him angrily. It was a quiet conversation.

And I know him well enough to know that he will go home, curl up in a fetal ball of regrets and fears on the sofa and drive himself crazy about this for the rest of the day. And here I am at work, feeling a little relieved for simply acknowledging my pain and thoughts out loud. I feel guilty for hurting him back merely by letting him see me hurt. What kind of a mind fuck is this, that I’m doing to myself.

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