Love is a need

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…


10 thoughts on “Love is a need

  1. Key, Key, Key, Key…..right now DJ…is that no matter his need, or rationalization, or fear, or (insert whatever).
    He chose you.
    This will take time and work. But he chose you.
    This will take therapy. But he chose you.
    This will take tears and understanding. But he chose you.

    Believe me … I know what you are feeling. The turmoil and questions….

    But he chose you.

  2. Not Over It says:

    Thank you, LFBA. Your kind words bring tears to my eyes.

    He chose me, but he betrayed me.
    He chose me, but he cut the heart out of me.
    He chose me, but it’s not in him to help me in my suffering.

    I guess there is still much time and work and therapy and tears and understanding to go through…

    I will keep your words close as I go through it. Thank you again.


    • Yes DJ…he did all of those things. I really do know how that hurts. ….and the last one, which shows his fear and inability to deal with some things may be the hardest for you to help him with.
      But in the end, without being forced, he chose you independent of discovery. Try to focus on that, while you work to heal the other.

  3. Not Over It says:

    Most of the time, I can. Right now, with the recent realization of the extent of his feelings for her, I can barely look at him. At this moment, we are in exercise class and my group is taking a breather. His group is getting ready for a performance and he is in front. When I look at him, tears well up in my eyes. It just hurts so damned much.

    I told a friend today about the day our middle child was born. I almost died in childbirth. I’ll never forget the look of love and relief in his eyes when I first opened my eyes after the surgery. I was groggy and do not remember much of that whole week, but I remember his eyes on that day. That, and the sight of him carrying our healthy baby girl… little in my life has ever been so deeply emotional. I thought our love was solid and that we could get through anything as long as we were together. Yeah, right.

    I’m sorry to vent on you like that, LFBA. I know you understand.

    • There is no need to be sorry…and yes I do understand. I know how the realization of their feelings for someone else hurts. I know the sense of abject betrayal.

      “I thought our love was solid and that we could get through anything as long as we were together.” ……..right now you are doing this DJ. As hard as it is. With uncertainty and confusion and turmoil that would give a whale indigestion….you (both) are doing this.
      There is a condition called transferrance. This sometimes happens in affairs. When something is missing (either real or perceived) and supplied by another, they can transfer their feelings. Consider that maybe this happened. That maybe he was not really in love with her, but more the idea of what he thought was missing. Yet, he did come back. He did chose. He may have been in pain or fear…and he may have been a coward in how he dealt with it….but his choice brought him to you.
      If X had taken that path, I would have moved mointains of fire to work through this with her.

      I understand the pain. But I also know that you are in a position to at least work through things.

      It is up to you to decide if you want to work that hard and go through all the discovery that must be a part of this.

      Peace to you DJ

  4. Not Over It says:

    Most of the time, I want to do the work. Sometimes, like right now, I’m not sure that I do.

    I receive the peace you send, and I am grateful. It helps.

    Thank you, LFBA.

  5. aaroncrj says:

    Hi DJ:

    These past few days I have been about as disconnected from the real world as I can recall post-Internet, but couldn’t sleep tonight and decided to catch up on your world.

    We are on a pre-holiday short ski trip that we planned together right after D-day as a means of having something fun to look forward to and focus on. It has been a very nice adventure for us and the girls, but I find my mind wandering as I ride the chair lifts and (not so) gracefully swoosh my way down the slopes.

    I feel exactly as you feel regarding my wife’s non-admission of her feelings for her “lost love.” With respect to the six or seven tries before beating the addiction, time and again I saw comments in their email about “stepping back” or “taking a break” only to see them reconnect a short while later. The hardest part is seeing that it was my wife who held onto the romantic aspects of their relationship even as the OM tried to move to or keep things on a more platonic plane. When pressed, she will not admit she “loves” or even loved the OM. She continues to frame it as a fantasy or as an escape from her real life–even though the emails and messages themselves say it was more than that.

    LFBA, thank you for your words. Though you meant them for DJ, they resonate with me as well. She did choose me. The thing I am struggling most with right now is whether I choose her back. Funny how the realization of her deception and love for another man and her expressed dissatisfaction of her life with me have given me license to reconsider my life with her–or without her. Maybe that’s the problem. I took that life for granted. I am sure she would say that I did.

    Though I am more attuned to her and we are communicating better in so many different ways, I feel a divide between us that I am not sure will ever go away. We are both closer and farther apart at the same time. I am not sure what is causing that divide–my hurt? a lack of forgiveness? her lack of honesty about what happened? (even if she believes she is being honest, I don’t think she is) my continued sense of doubt about the depth and completeness of her love for me? The divide is likely due to parts of all of these and maybe a little of my own mid-life stuff sprinkled in for good measure.

    It will be a white Christmas here at the ski resort and that will boost my mood, I am sure.

    Happy holidays and merry Christmas to you, DJ, and to everyone.


    • Aaron…after X’s 1st affain with J…I felt sometimes the way you do. That we were getting closer and sometimes farther apart. One mistake we made was assuming we coulf get through this ourselves. We worked on it…and based on her words, I thought we would make our life together better than it had been. But she was harboring things. When she had a lash out moment, It was so displaced from what she told me, I was left confused.

      If you are not seeing a professional third party, Please consider it strongly. I still believe that had we done so…or even if we had gone to one just a few weeks before X started seeing J again… then we would have made it through. Now, I will never know. Not knowing is one of the worst parts of this.

      • Not Over It says:

        Yes, even with all the problems I have had with our couple’s counselor, he has helped my husband to understand some things about me and about our relationship that are key to recovery. I will be looking for another one, but I am not giving up on it. My husband and I need a neutral third party to help us see things from different perspectives.

        Merry Christmas, LFBA!


    • Not Over It says:

      Merry Christmas, Aaron!

      I believe the divide will become smaller with time and nurturing of the relationship. It will always be there – there is no escaping our new reality, but it can become a blemish rather than a fatal cancer.

      As LFBA has said, it will take hard work and commitment, but the alternative is no easier. We will suffer either way. More on that after the holidays. Right now, the important thing is to put pain and problems aside to celebrate the birth of Christ and to share love as only a family can.


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