I’m thinking about the affair and how my husband has responded in the aftermath. It’s been both nice and sad.
He does lovely things, like:
- Put a couple of freshly folded bath towel on the side of the tub because he knows I often forget to get them until I stand up, dripping wet, and look around
- Packs my lunch for me while I’m putting on my makeup most mornings because I often forget that too, and he says he enjoys doing something nice for me
- Doesn’t complain about accompanying me to some evening commitments related to my work (we are down to one car and thus carpooling)
- Asks me anytime he leaves the room, “Is there anything you need? Anything I can get for you?”
- Gets tears in his eyes when I talk to him about how I’m hurting and I start crying. (It’s not often that I do this anymore, but it still happens when I’m triggered.)
These small things are comforting. I also feel greedy/selfish for accepting small niceties from him while I am still ambivalent about our future.
* * *
In addition to the nice things, there are parts of our shared life that are tough to slog through. I’m tired of him being sorry. I want him to be PRESENT.
I want him to say, “I can’t stop the pain, but I can be present with you, all the way through it.”
There are the parts that make me sad, too:
- His failure to make any change in his communication efforts. He has always had a tough time talking about his feelings, hurts, resentments and even differences of opinion. This reticence let negativity build up to the point he was able to convince himself an affair was an okay way of soothing himself “until Effie is better” (I was depressed). He *knows* this is a problem. He *knows* that I don’t wish to continue in my role of drawing him out, coaxing him to talk, and continuing to observe that his body language and voice don’t match the “I’m not mad” that he is saying. This is so discouraging. I can’t and won’t pry, prod, etc. anymore. I just observe and then take what he says at face value. I hope this nudges him into taking responsibility for his own emotions and his role in communicating them. Mixed results so far.
- The look on his face when I am telling him about a bad memory or something that reminded me of his affair. He gets a braced, sick-to-his-stomach look.
- His lack of confidence in our marriage and in his attractiveness as a man since he has been bathing in guilt and shame after his affair.
- How lonely he looks, and how grateful he seems when we are at ease and having a nice moment.
I want back the husband that took that shared joyful life for granted as the man who married me. I just don’t know if I can have him.