I wrote to my online coach about those last two triggers and how they had thrown me way backwards in my recovery. He helped me through some of the painful feelings. I am better than when I wrote about being dashed against the rocks. Not great yet, but better than that day.
Then my coach talked about my fear of commitment to my husband. He said, “I don’t think you have to accept your husband as a betrayer. But you and he must find some way to move forward with you believing that he has changed.”
So I must come to believe that he has changed. But in a marriage counseling session last month, I told our marriage counselor, Dr. K, this: “Even if you think we do not need to deal with this affair anymore, I think we do need to deal with how my husband handles emotions and stress and how he sets his boundaries with women.”
What did I mean? I meant that I do not believe that he has changed. He has not participated in counseling to the extent that I can see a change. He has read excerpts but the not the whole of many books on the subject. He is better about being sensitive to my pain, but he is inconsistent. And this all means that the red flags in my head are still at full staff. I am still on alert. It tells me that it is still dangerous and I still need to be on guard. As all of us betrayed spouses know, it’s a matter of trust. As long as I am on guard, I cannot promise him “always and forever.” That was in fact a promise he made to her.
Well, actually we all know it is not as simple as that. That issue of trust and fidelity is probably first and foremost for me. But there is also the issue of whether or not he truly is in love with me. I have talked about that before. I am in love with him still. But I am not convinced that he loves me as anything more than the matriarch of his household. That’s not enough.
And for me right now, with that last trigger of finding his contact list from 2009, I am reminded that I am just so hurt that he gave his heart and soul away to another woman. He became part of her life and her family’s life. She replaced me in much of his life. He promised to love her and cherish her for the rest of his life. He made plans with her to leave their spouses and start a life together. He said he regretted ever marrying me. How do I move beyond that? I do not believe it was just an addiction talking.
I am willing to stay at his side and work to find the right path for each of us and for our marriage. Whether we make it or not remains to be seen. He knows it is not unreasonable to say this. He betrayed me and cut me to the core. He will have to be patient in working towards healing. There is no timeline. My coach and our marriage counselor both say I am doing very well for someone in my shoes. That is ok for both of us now. It took him a while to see that, but he sees it now. I guess that’s a change, and a good one, too. I am willing to keep trying.