The Future

Well, if you count The Future as the next six months. The CSAT asked us to consider how we’d like to look back on the next six months sitting from next January.

For you to know why he asked that, you’d have to know we’ve entered this next phase of recovery, whatthefuckever it shall be. We’re not in crisis as a couple, I’m not fucking smack dab in the middle of trauma any longer and The Player is moving along pretty well, still learning but feels “solid” with where he is. He’s even been talking about starting to work 12-steps with a sponsor. You won’t hold your breath? Yeah, me, either.

We’ve – or I’ve – been struggling with the lack of amount of energy coming into me and us and I’ve been saying it for a few months now. Each time in therapy together, like once a month, I’ve brought it up. Until recently, The Player acted like he didn’t really know what I was talking about. I’ve said it’s a lack of connection, energy, and time being pointed towards me and our relationship. I stop short of saying we’re lacking intimacy, but maybe that’s it? I don’t know.

Anyway, the CSAT said because of the areas we’ve passed during this recovery, it’s no surprise that we’d need to learn what this next level of our relationship is. During our last session The Player talked about how he feels it’s under a year since he’s been in true, full recovery, because of the medication that has lifted the debilitating depression. Since things have calmed down, I have had more twinges of “huh?” about our relationship. Not necessarily his recovery and his sobriety, but our relationship. Like “What now?”

So during this appointment when the CSAT asked about The Future, The Player did a lot of talking. He said he hoped that we could grow closer, that we will continue to recover in the marriage and I would perhaps even trust him a little  (will I ever fully trust him? I don’t know.). He said he hoped we could be closer and “share each other’s burdens.” The CSAT asked him what he meant and The Player said, among other things, when we each need support he wants there to be a very open line of communication to share those burdens, and joys, I suppose.

I just thought to myself, “What the fuck did you just hear?”

After I said, “Can I say something,” the CSAT said he visibly saw me tense up just then and I know he is observant and so I really tried not to physcially tense up but I said, “I feel really defensive about that statement, because while The Player hasn’t really been sharing in my burdens for probably the whole marriage, certianly not deeply and unfortunately when it counted, I certainly have shared in his.”

The Player was surprised. He questioned it. He actually said, “What burdens have I shared with you?” I told him pretty straightforward several conversation examples, I cited several examples (4) of people – including their first and last names – of situations in the past several months that have been stressors that I have allowed him the space to talk and process. I talked about the stress of money and dividing his time. I mentioned specific quotes from him about several of these issues, proving, indeed, I have shared in many of his life’s burdens.

He sat quietly for a moment. “I guess you have shared in my burdens.”

No shit, dumbass.

I every so slightly started tearing up and the CSAT asked me what my emotion was about and I had to tell him, finally, that all of those years I was dealing with the incredible special needs of one of our kids, I hated to admit now that I felt alone. I guess I didn’t know it at the time throughout the years, because I had this false sense of a team or a family unit with myself and The Player, I didn’t notice, he wasn’t only “doing his part,” as I had attributed to his lack of involvement, but he was actively escaping, by having emotional relationships and fucking women all of the years of our marraige. I guess I hadn’t spoken about it so plainly. I guess I haven’t had the mental space to process it until now that The Player wants us to “share in each other’s burdens.”

I have known for many years, and The Player has admitted, the he was unable to take on anymore stressors for a majority of the marriage because of his own shortcomings. He said at that appointment he let so many things get to him that shouldn’t have, that his self-doubt took over his life. We both knew I was better at managing crisis. I was better at juggling the multiple things one must for a family to get through crisis. I told them both that the void I felt with The Player’s absence was filled up by doing the at-home mom thing and the friends and family who stepped in when I needed. They were my surrogate spouses. The middle of the night calls, the help to get the other kids to school when I was in the emergency room or their sibling was hospitalized. I filled it up with hobbies and interests. I traveled to see and traveled with friends (and alone!), made incredible new friends (lost some too, who couldn’t handle the threat of a child of ours dying). I picked up new interests, kept growing as an individual.

The floodgates of tears and emotions has opened apparently, waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so. I hadn’t been able to see it, or really feel it until now, but I have a deep, deep grief for the years I carried my own burden.

I was alone.

 

9 thoughts on “The Future

  1. I can so relate to that whole being alone thing. Like you I filled my time- with volunteering, friends, kids, pets, family. And like you I was the one who was better in a crisis and could juggle everything that needed to get done. Shoot, I was the one that had to get the bat (the flying kind) out of our house.

    I’m sorry you spent so much of your marriage alone. It truly does suck. I hope The Player steps up and is there for you in the future.

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    • You know though? I was happy because I did things that made me happy. I guess he made me think he was there but in retrospect and to his admitting it, he wasn’t all there very often.

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      • Yes! Even my mom will say, “You weren’t really unhappy though, were you?” No, I wasn’t. It wasn’t like I walked on eggshells or had a home that was filled with yelling or any kind of tension. I knew some husbands spent more time with their wives and some dads were more involved with their kids but I figured being happy was my job. You choose to be happy, right? If I wasn’t happy I needed to do something about it. And I was happy hanging out with friends, raising my kids, doing things with them, volunteering. I adjusted my expectations. Unfortunately for me when CF decided to do something about his unhappiness he chose to find it with someone else.

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  2. I, too, can relate to the being alone, carrying my own burden while in the marriage with my sex addict. It is one of the most painful aspects for me: how I made myself accept, even rationalised for him his emotional unavailability – he was too busy working for our lifestyle, he was too stressed setting up his own company, he was too invested in his new business -, so much so that it became my normal. Once the whole mess came out and I realised, I dared to tell myself, how lonely I have been with him, and especially so when I was pregnant and when our baby was born, I faced this immense grief, too, that you are describing. One of the hardest things to get through – and I still get angry about it. Time consuming process, sadly.

    I continue to love your writings, your style is so honest, so straightforward-no-bullshit, so awesome. Hard stuff, but great read.

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  3. It is so disheartening when we come to the realization that they chose to act out versus be part of a family that desperately needed them. You needed him. You do so much and you are so very strong, but it takes a toll. And I am glad you are voicing your concerns and your needs. He needs to rise to the occasion to be your partner. They all do. Good or bad, he will always be your children’s father, but he may not always be your husband. He needs to understand those potential consequences. Complacency is a bitch. It’s not okay to avoid life, put the burden completely on someone else just because they appear to be able to handle everything, and then go do bad things. Just because he is “being good” now doesn’t mean you have forgotten what he did. I know these feelings intimately, but my burden was nothing like yours so I can only imagine your pain is exponentially multiplied. Good for you though for standing up and voicing your needs. It shows you care about the outcome. ❤

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    • I guess philosophically I knew he wasn’t “present” because how can you be, right? If one spends 20 years figuring out where/how they are going to get their next buzz from a female (and I’m not even talking about sex, I mean, every single female he ran into was a potential giggler of his), it’s hard to be truly present for the hard times in your family. While I knew this over the last almost three years during his/our/my recovery I have set aside the grief because I was grieving the husband, marriage, history, etc. Now, I just think there is time and space and so I am. I think am also realizing his being “present” before was really just witnessing. That is hard, hard to realize because then I have to admit I let it happen all those years and I have a lot of regret about that today.

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  4. I can relate so much to what you wrote. The realization of being alone, holding it all while he went out to numb out or whatever, felt like another betrayal, another smack. And when the CSAT asked the future question to us, he gave a similar answer. I was like, that is what I was giving you. I don’t want to talk about the future until I see some changes in the present.

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    • Yeah, I think that is where we are. The Player has done a lot of work and admittedly has a long way to go. When you shut down emotions, empathy, compassion, and caring for 25 years it takes a long time to get in the habit of it, so that is where we are. At least we each feel free to speak our truth.

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