“The big topic that came up during our argument was that he feels I don’t even want to be in a relationship. He feels that when he’s recovered I don’t even want to stay around; he thinks I’ve already made up my mind on the subject and that nothing he does to get better is going to change that.
After rereading my journal (entries written in 2000) I realized that I have felt hurt, disappointment and lack of respect for many years and I’m still plugging along. Why? Good question. I think due in large part to the kids; I don’t want to disrupt their lives. They love their dad. It’s also due in part to the fact that I come from a divorced family and I want better for my kids even though the situations are very different.
I’ll never forget the time I had gone to see Dr. ‘Brody’ (our marriage therapist) and I was so happy to tell her about a dream I had. The dream was about all the things that I wouldn’t have ‘Carl’s’ help with if he wasn’t around (when the kids were younger his help was important to me). I told her about the dream and felt like I had made a breakthrough regarding why I wanted ‘Carl’ in my life. She listened and then said ‘But those are all the things that he does to help around the house. What would you miss as a woman, emotionally, if he wasn’t around?’ I was dumbfounded. Emotionally? What would I miss? Then I started to think about all the problems I wouldn’t have if he wasn’t in my life. I’ll have to explore that idea soon.
Bottom line is that he feels I have made up my mind regarding our relationship. I say, who knows what will happen? I’ve lived with anger, frustration, disappointment and hurt for 10 years so what’s another 10 years?”
Now – 2/27/11
I was so torn at the time I wrote that journal entry. I had ‘Carl’ hovering over me, testing me with his passive aggressive behavior, searching for answers to our future and fighting me when I didn’t have any to give. I did not want my children to be the product of a divorce and wanted space to figure out what to do. It was difficult for ‘Carl’ to give me space during the earlier years when we were happily married therefore, with the end of our marriage hanging in the lurch, he was suffocating me.
I did feel compassion for him. I knew the uncertainty was driving him crazy but I was trying to make sense of many years of marital dysfunction, adding the newest revelation of his addiction onto the pile of issues. The camel’s back was at a breaking point before the revelation; now I needed to put all the pieces of this warped puzzle together.
What I didn’t fully comprehend when I had previously shared my dream with my therapist was that I was beginning the separation process long before I found out he was an alcoholic. When she asked me what I would miss emotionally, I thought about it during our session and then stuffed it away because I really wasn’t ready to address what my lack of answers might mean to my future. I didn’t realize that such a simple question would become so difficult and so important for me to answer.
Unfortunately the role of defensiveness was contagious and less than two weeks later I was ready to blow.
Next week – What are you doing to fix this?
- Are you thinking about divorce? If so, what would you miss emotionally?
- Are you divorce? If so, have you found yourself with emotional longings for your ex?