Our last couple’s counseling session was good in some ways and not so good in others. One thing that stands out for me is Dr. K’s explanation of love. I have heard it before but it really hit me in this context. He said that love is not a feeling. He said, psychologically speaking, it is a need. It is responded to and reacted to like any human need. We need love and when we fall in love, we need that love and the one who provides it. He likened it to an addiction. He said a cocaine addict feels a need for the drug. A smoker feels a need for the cigarette. A person in love feels a need for the lover. If a person realizes that the thing they feel a need for is not good for their survival, they try to give it up. He said this usually takes six or seven attempts before they can finally really give it up. He said it hold true for cocaine addicts, for smokers, and even for people who make the decision to divorce. He said there are typically seven attempts at separation or emotional distancing before the couple actually makes the decision to divorce.
The emails show that my husband and his OW did indeed try to break it off a few times but always went back to each other. I have struggled with the thought that maybe this time is still not the last time.
Dr. K said that my husband loved her and so felt that need, but realized that he could not keep two women. To his credit, he made the decision to leave her without my knowing any of it. It took several attempts. On the last attempt I found out and a fire was put to his behind to make it permanent. Dr. K emphasized that he chose me. He went through the process and came out of it wanting to be with me.
My husband agreed with Dr. K during the session. He said that, yes, it had been a process.
I understand this. And I can even see now that my husband no longer wants to be with her. He may still feel a need for her sometimes, but he wants to be with me. It doesn’t make me feel very good that he feels a need for her, but I get it.
The caveat here – the thing that sent me back into a flashback on Saturday, back into numerous triggers, back into nightmares – is that this contradicts the story my husband has maintained over the past year. He has maintained that he fell into a fantasy of her for the first year, but when he saw her that first time he realized that it was all an illusion. She was not who he thought she was and he was not even attracted to her. He spent the next five years trying to find a way out without hurting anyone.
I never bought the entire story, but that’s what he said. Now, however, with his acceptance of Dr. K’s description, he has admitted that he was in fact in love with her. He was so in love with her that it took six years for him to give her up. It was all a lie – again. Lies upon lies upon lies… and so I have put up my guard again – all guns loaded and ready.
However, last night my husband got me thinking about whether this is all true or not. He asked me why I was so depressed and triggered again. I told him. He was silent for a while, then he said, “Dr. K is assuming a lot of things. He never asked for my story or asked me my opinion. He is only partly correct.”
I just looked at him. What do I believe?
I am pondering all this today as I sit listening to Christmas music…