She told me it’s OK to stay

 

Photo by Jes via Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

Recently went to my psychiatrist for our semi-annual chat and renewal of my antidepressant medicines. She asked how I was doing in my marriage, because she knows the traumatic history.

I told her that it’s comfortable. I don’t trust him like I used to, so I’m much more reserved, less reliant and less vulnerable than I was in the past. I’ve waffled for a long, long, long time about whether I should or shouldn’t leave him, but for right now the answer’s no.

I didn’t really know I had decided that until I said it.

She was very accepting. It felt like getting permission — from someone whose judgment I trust — to stay for the shared memories, the companionship, the financial support, etc. That helps me feel less guilty for not loving him nearly to the depth I used to do.

I’m also still a little sad at the idealism about him that I lost after his affair. I used to hold him up as the standard by which I judged whether others were also good guys.

He’s still a good person to spend time with. Just not the good guy I thought he was.

I don’t know if I can or want to live like this forever, but I’m okay right now. I think.

  2 comments for “She told me it’s OK to stay

  1. Bel
    August 26, 2018 at 9:22 AM

    Not sure if this is what you want to read right now but this what I have chosen for my future after too much suffering and emotional trauma…

    I’ve initiated a permanent separation with a man I have been deeply and completely in love with for a number of years.

    Regardless of all wrong-doing, boundary breaking, betrayal, emotional and verbal abuse, overnight abandoning, violent temper outbursts, disrepect, blaming, deflection, immaturity, secrecy, financial irresponsibility, looking at online women, etc., I still feel love for him. I STILL love him and will miss him – for a finite period.

    He is a pleasant companion when he behaves, he’s domesticated, it feels good when he cuddles me, I see his vulnerability, i like our happier memories, I like his family and the sex is good.

    But I finally realised he will not change his ways. No amount of love or devotion given to him will ever be enough. He is not self-aware, it doesn’t interest him to be. Facebook is more interesting, besides – I am to blame for his unhappiness – not his choices each day. Being self-aware is hard work, he’d have to put the work in to affect positive change to fix the wrongful behaviour but he is too busy sleep-walking in a comfort zone. I finally know that now and there is nothing I can do about it believe me I have tried everything.

    Staying in our toxic relationship is unhealthy. I impact on him with my ‘trust issues’ and ‘anxiety’ and he impacts on me with his ethics and behaviour.

    I’m getting out before I lose anymore of myself. He can be a good person but he can also turn at any moment. There is almost no remorse, if it is unimportant to him then it cant be hurting anyone. He can’t help some of it and this will continue until he gets help or wakes the f up.

    In the meantime, staying in this relationship is making me sick, exhausting and draining on those close to me.

    Even though this decision is breaking my heart and devastating to go through, it feels right. I wasnt ready before because I was lost in my love for him and fear of not having him there anymore. This pain will pass. If I focus on all the reasons he is not right for me and switch off all the loving moments stored in my mind, I will make it a lot easier on myself. Believe me I am grieving and this grieve blindsids me when I least expect it to. I am told this is natural and a healthy part of the process.

    Fear of losing him has held me back, until a few weeks ago when I was told the last lie.

    We have different sets of values, different effort levels, different drives. Despite being convinced otherwise by him, we ARE on very different paths.
    I do not need him. I need to be free of being constantly pulled under and I need to sever this maternal instinct to care for him and stop loving a man unworthy of my devotion.

    What has been confusing all along is the trickery in being told he really does want to improve and fix the old ways that have been unhelpful since before I came along and additionally being told he “really does love me”. I have also doubted my judgement each time he has said “you’re always thinking I’m doing something when I’m not and I’ve told you I’m not like that” but I am lucky to have seen through it by obtaining hard evidence numerous times. If he thinks he can get away with it he sure will. The deflection, dramatic departures and outbursts are a common evasive tool used in this situation.

    I need to trust and feel valued. No one stands a chance building trust when they keep being lied to. I will never have either with him.

    I have been convenient and comfortable for him, I’m just someone who is familiar, someone who also loves him. Regardless of the “I love you”, “you mean the world to me” “I’m so glad you are in my life” – actions always tell you the truth.

    This is my story I’m sharing with you in the hope some part of it may help.

    The worst part about breaking up is the pain, fear of the unknown and time that feels wasted. The best part about it is the excitement in knowing life is about to improve greatly and the relief in knowing ALL the turmoil bullshit is now being canned on his way out the door and gaining inner strength on the other side.

    • Effie
      October 11, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      I’m sorry you had to make this difficult choice and I am sincerely and fiercely proud of you for standing up for yourself and actually taking action. Please write again and let me know how you’re doing, or let me know if you have a blog where you journal like I do. ;o)

      I’m in a bit more of a gray area, myself. What I’ve realized about my husband over the past 6 years since finding out about his affair is that he is a weak man. Weaker of character, decisiveness and integrity than I ever imagined. He crumbles under pressure and in crises. He can’t take even the slightest criticism or negative feedback, and he has a moderate but ever-present need for validation and approval from me. I love him, but he’s exhausting sometimes.

      And yet I know that for most of our relationship, he’s been a good husband. I still love him, although not at all in the same way or to the same degree I used to. I know that staying with him is like staying in a trapeze act without a safety net below me. I don’t trust. I hope, but I don’t trust very much at all.

      I’ve decided to stay with him for now, even knowing he is too weak to “have my back” if I needed him too. I can lean on him, if needed, but only for so much or for so long.

      If he were a wall, he would not be a load-bearing one.

      He’s not a narcissist, thank goodness, and he more than pulls his weight in our shared household responsibilities. And there is the familiarity, comfort, shared history and coziness of life with him. He’s good company, and we do laugh a lot together. We have more than 24 years of shared history too. Right now, it feels better to have a known companion than to strike out on my own, even though I’ve been advised often to opt for the great unknown of a life without him. Maybe that time will come, but I’m not sure if or when, and I know I’m not in that head space at the moment. I’d say we have about a 70% chance of a future together.

      Thank you for sharing your story. It does help to know that other people are wrestling with similar decisions. I hope for the very best for you!

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