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Click here for part 2
We were originally planning to leave for the cabin Saturday but as it turned out there was an apostle coming to speak to our area on religious freedom Saturday night plus our 8 year old had a friend being baptized that day and he really wanted to attend, so we left for the cabin Sunday morning. We don’t normally travel on Sundays but that is how it worked out.
We had taken a family vote on which cabins to stay at. We could stay at the less expensive, dirty looking, tiny, tastelessly decorated cabins for 4 nights, or the slightly pricier, really nice log cabins we’d stayed at on our couple’s getaway for 3 nights. My daughter and I had voted the nice cabins because we in no way wanted to stay in the nasty looking ones, but we lost. In the end, since we left a day late, we ended up in the nasty cabin but for only 3 nights anyway.
The trip was good for the most part. It snowed most of the time we were there. It was absolutely beautiful. The boys had an awesome time playing in the snow and the dog had an awesome time laying by the wood burning fireplace. My husband had an awesome time doing puzzles by himself and my daughter and I just sort of hung out and did whatever. I watched a lot of HGTV. I love HGTV. This is why we don’t have cable! But I enjoy watching it on vacation.
The first night I learned something really important. I had been laying down with my 3 year old in my room, the room and bed that I was sharing with my 14 year old daughter and 3 year old son (my husband and 8 and 10 year old boys were sharing the other room/bed) and I decided to go out and talk to my husband after my son had fallen asleep. I thought it would be nice to have a little connection through conversation. Everything had been very peaceful and I was feeling safe with that. I went out and sat by him. He was very focused on working on his puzzle. He asked if I wanted him to stop doing the puzzle –this was very thoughtful- I told him that if he wanted to do the puzzle, he should do the puzzle. I was feeling strong and safely detached. I decided to have a little conversation with him while he worked on the puzzle, I assume a person can do a puzzle and chat at the same time. I talked quite a bit and he responded a little, at first. His responses got shorter and less frequent until I stopped filling in all the gaps and we sat there in silence. I sat for about 15 minutes at which point I felt extremely bored and would have rather been in my room playing a game on my tablet, so I decided to do that. I was fine with it. He can do his thing and I can do mine, no problem. However, I’m practicing using my voice. I’ve had throat problems all my life, a manifestation of silencing myself. I come from a big noisy family where I am the quiet peacemaker in the bunch. I never saw any point in competing with that level of noise, so I didn’t. I kept everything in. I said to my husband, “Since I’m working on learning to use my voice I just want to say that I came out here to try to talk with you and you aren’t responding very well so I’ve become bored and I’m going to go do my own thing in my room now.” He turned around and looked at me shocked. “But I asked you and you told me I could do my puzzle!” “Yes, and you are welcome to do your puzzle. I tried to talk with you anyway but now I’m bored so I’m going in my room.” I knew in my gut that I needed to honor my feelings and my words and exit the room at that time. But I lingered. He looked disturbed and immediately pushed the puzzle away and started apologizing. I reaffirmed that it was fine, I was just going to go to my room now. He apologized and again and said that he would like to spent time connecting with me. I decided to give him a second chance. I turned off the kitchen light because it was aggravating my headache but left the living room light over us on. We cuddled up on the couch and said a few things, the conversation was still slow and uninteresting. Then he said, “Man, I thought I was wide awake and you turned that light off and now I’m having a hard time.” This is where I instantly shut down. When he falls asleep while we’re spending time together I feel abandoned and it sends me into days of downward spiral. As a protection I shut down at any sign of sleepiness. The conversation was even more difficult after that. Finally he decided to go to bed and I was upset because I had been promised connection and did not get it at all. I went to my room and numbed out playing games on my tablet and was able to keep my thoughts in perspective enough to avoid any downward spiral. Lesson learned: always trust your gut and exit while you’re still in your strength.
The second night was wonderful. We stayed up together and talked and bonded over tiny house and home makeover shows, dreaming about our future together. All that day and that night I just really wanted to kiss him. Like, for real kiss him, not just a peck. We call this a “good goodnight kiss.” It often becomes more than a kiss… what can I say, I’m a pretty amazing kisser! Haha! We hadn’t kissed since before the separation and I wanted to kiss my husband and he’s mine so I can and I did. I was feeling safe and connected and the kiss was awesome… and it turned into more than a kiss. Not nakedness or sex, but definitely more than just a kiss… we will call it an orgasmic kiss. This was the first time we had been physical in any way since separating.
The third night we stayed up late typing up the options we will present to his business partner. We decided to cuddle up and sleep on the couch together. Honestly, there had been a haunting in my room the night before experienced separately by me and then by my daughter and son. I really didn’t want to sleep in there again. My son kept fussing just as I would start to fall asleep and not long after we’d laid down my husband went to the other couch because it was hurting to lay on his back with my head on his chest which was really the only way to lay because I was still watching HGTV. I turned off the TV after a bit and dozed off and my little one eventually woke up all the way and came and slept all cuddled cozy with me on the couch. We returned home the next day.
This is our fourth night home now. I decided to try in-home separation which basically means that our bedroom is my space and my husband sleeps elsewhere. I have our bedroom as a safe space for myself. At bedtime we say goodnight and I go to my room and he goes and sleeps on a bed in our boy’s room. Thus far it’s worked out well. We spent a little time downstairs with each other the first few nights, just talking one night and watching a show the second night. The third night (last night) we had a date gone pretty wrong and I was very angry and went to my room as soon as we got home. Tonight he was tired so after we said a prayer with our boys he went straight to bed with them. I was sad both of the last 2 nights. Last night my hope was that the date would be connecting and we could sleep in the same bed and cuddle. We made amends today and had a great day today together and I wanted to invite him to our bed to cuddle tonight but he was tired. Inviting him to our bed is a huge deal for me… it’s a very intimate place and it’s also a place where a lot of damage has been done. Actually, almost every single trauma, huge trigger, discovery, disclosure, and fight we’ve had over the past almost 6 months now has been either in our bed or right beside it. It hasn’t been a good place for both of us to be together.
I really miss him. It sucks being married to a man that I do not feel safe with. He is taking steps to prove himself though. The first one is being willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to ensure he has male employees. The second is that last Saturday (the day before we left for the cabin) he started the “90 day program.” This is a program that a guy put together a few years ago based on the Church’s ARP program. The 90 day is not for everyone and a good friend of mine outlines all the reasons why in her blog here. They recently added a 90 day preparatory period before the actual 90 day program, so I expect the program’s success rate will go up. It’s a very rigorous program with a lot of accountability. They are required to submit their written recovery work to the accountability partner in the morning and in the evening. If they fail to do this once they get a warning and must start over with the program from the very beginning. If they fail to do it twice they are kicked out of the program. This can cause a lot of shame for men who are struggling. My husband has 5 months of sobriety and feels he needs a more structured program and accountability. I agree and I hope he continues to stick with it and complete his daily work.
I’ve recently written out a list of the things I need for him to do for me to feel safe. It’s basically a bullet list of my boundaries, but it’s clear now he’s had no memory of what my boundaries are, nor given any thought to them until just recently when he re-read them. I will go over this list with him over the next few days and have him sign it. I also wrote out a check list for us to go over each night for nightly couple’s inventory. It’s become clear that I need to be more involved in checking up on him so we will start this soon. The last thing I wrote up is a detailed list of exactly what I want to know about the affairs/women. I wanted to be sure that I am not given harmful details and that I get all of the “safety” details I want. The details that are most important to me are things like what led up to a physical affair, when and where did the encounters take place, where did he tell me he was while he was with other women, what led to the ending of the affair? I’m looking for patterns. I’m attempting to acquire some safety from understanding how these things happened so I can be watchful moving forward. Also, I absolutely will be looking all of these women up. I’ve seen only 3 of them so far and I intend to see all of them. That may be something many women would not want, but it’s important to me.
(This entry was written 164 days after D-day on January 28, 2017)