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  • Adam 1:45 pm on December 3, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: anger, betrayal, , graciousness, gratitude, , , , optimism, regret, rising above, tests   

    The Endless Tests 

    The tests in life don’t come when you’re doing well. They don’t come when you can handle it. They come and kick you in the face when you’re already bleeding and crying on the ground.

    Carrie told me she wanted a divorce and that she couldn’t trust me. I accepted it with as much grace as I could. The only thing I asked for us to be friends and to be civil was for her to respect my feelings, to stop sleeping with my former friend and just to respect each other.

    A week later I found out that she’s still doing it, she’s still running around with this disgusting person. I’ve come to realize how this is all very ‘teenager’ this is – how things were in high school – and I thought I’d lived a life away from all that. I thought I’d married an adult and now all I see is this child before me, lashing out, hurting, destroying herself and dirtying herself.

    I told her I don’t want to talk to her again. It ripped my heart out for what seemed like the 20th time in these last few months. I’ve realized that I can’t handle it, I can’t wait patiently to be kicked while I’m already down. I have to get away, I have to separate. I’ve always understood removing myself from unhealthy situations. I just never thought my own wife would be one.

    When I first found out I was consumed with rage. A sick twisting rage that I could scarcely recognize myself in. The thoughts that ran through my mind were darker and darker. I wanted to hurt her, I wanted to hurt him. I wanted them both to suffer.

    I’ve come to realize they already are. That in hindsight, with time, she’ll look back at how stupid and immature this whole dangerous mess has been. I’m sure she’ll be consumed with regret – maybe not for me, but for herself –  and knowing the depths of it, I can almost pity her. My Mother says that underneath anger is always “Hurt, fear, and frustration” I see that now. I feel the hurt, deeply. I’m scared that she’s already forgotten me and I’m frustrated that her promises mean nothing.

    Most of all I’m ashamed of myself. I have worked constantly to improve, to analyze, reflect. To own my mistakes and to have empathy for the people around me. I want to be a person who doesn’t crack under pressure, who can rise above, not just grudgingly but with wings of joy buoying me beyond petty problems.

    I have so far to go. I cancelled all our mutual accounts and while that dark sick part of me screamed to pull it all out from underneath her, I simply notified her, and did it cleanly. I never poured the hate in  my heart onto her, I held back from saying 1000 things i might regret. Not for our future, that looks like it’s gone. But things I would regret in my soul. Hurting someone else, wreaking hot-blooded revenge and reveling in pain is not what I’m about.

    Forgiveness is a skill and a challenge. Anger is a hot weight against your chest, and both can be hard to master. I’m seeing after everything that’s happened, that I’m only a fraction of the way up the mountain. I find myself grateful. Life has tested me, and tested me and tested me. I remain alive, I remain a gracious person. I want love in my heart, and I want to live in joy and gratitude.

    To be honest, I’m crushingly depressed. But I’m working out, I’m losing weight, I’m re-gaining lost friends. I’m re-filling my antidepressants tomorrow and I’m going to start looking for work and a new home. I want to be honest. With myself and other people. For so long I’ve hidden so much, afraid of what people will think.

    I’d rather they think I’m steadfast, straightforward, significant and bold. I want more than ever to be the kind of person I admire in others. To know deep down that my secrets are laid bare, that I have overcome fear, hatred, adversity, hurt, loss, grief and remain standing, smiling, arms spread for the winds of change.

    I burn for this, the more I lose, the more I have of myself. Life has cast me from every comfort and every lie I’ve wrapped myself in. I should be thankful. I get to discover and breathe a whole new life. Every test I’ve endured, I’ve passed. I’m still standing. I still love. I still feel.

  • Adam 11:18 am on September 29, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: , , collapse, , guilt, , mistakes, , regret,   

    Phase 10: Full Circle 

    That kind of brings us to now. I have always had a high sex drive. I’ve dated people I didn’t like and done things I’m embarrassed about. Before I met Carrie, I had awkward one-night stands, weird relationships, marathon porn sessions. Most of that stopped after Carrie and I started dating, well everything except the porn.

    After a few years into our relationship, we started trying ‘swinging’ with another couple. And it was two nice attractive people who seemed to like both of us physically, even though I was not looking so great. For a while it was a balm to my ego and it made me feel like not only can we handle this, but that it’s good for us. It made me feel wanted, and made me feel like there was someone else who would also sleep with me.

    I couldn’t be that bad could I? I mean TWO women are willing to sleep with me on occasion and they’re both gorgeous. It’s something I clung to night after night when Carrie would roll away from me, annoyed at my fumbling attempts to just ‘get off’.

    Oh do my problems stop? Nope. I’m a womanizer.

    Not in the classic 1950’s sense of “A man who treats women poorly or engages in multiple sex-based relationships” more like “A man who flirts constantly, gropes women, and generally acts like he’s single when he’s not”.

    When I was younger I used to just be a flirt, maybe a little over-confident at times, and fairly notorious when I was drunk. But I never thought of myself as someone who made people uncomfortable. I’ve found over time and over the years, that I got worse and worse. More and more bold with people.

    I’ve gotten warned away from people’s girlfriends. I’ve had to make awkward apologies. It got to the point where people would warn other people before meeting me. He’s “Handsy” they would say, or “Doesn’t have boundaries”.

    It’s taken me a while but as I got more and more heavy, more unattractive and more unhappy. I would reach out more and more to everyone around me. If I could grab-ass a little and kiss the girls I must still have “it” right? I felt so bad all the time about how I looked the only way I could get through the weekend was to push boundaries and feel sexy. Most of the time I did this just as readily in front of Carrie as behind her back. It seems like I’m scum, but I honestly did want her to know. I’m not doing this as a secret. This isn’t a “cheating method” this is a just me being me, and if I’m not hiding it from own wife, how much harm could it really do?

    Carrie would tell me how embarrassed she would get at parties when people would ask her “Why do you let him do that?” and she would shrug and say “Oh he doesn’t mean anything by it”. I guess frankly I didn’t. I didn’t want to sleep with everyone, I just wanted to feel like I was the same old Adam who used to break hearts and change women frequently. The Adam that didn’t have a weight problem and people thought was dashing, handsome and charismatic.

    I do at least assure you, I was all those things at some point.

    I think eventually I got by on pure charisma, and then eventually I got by on feeling up women and breaking boundaries.

    One month came along where Carrie was gone for four weekends in a row. She was off showing her prize goats, which she loves to do and it made her happy. I was feeling particularly low when she sat me down and told me that she would be gone for four weekends in a row. Because of our work schedules we didn’t see each other much during the week and I knew with her gone during the weekend that I would be largely alone for an entire month.

    I actually welcomed the solitude. There were times where I was depressed and I just wanted to be alone. These four weekends I actually took the time to be by myself and for the most part I enjoyed it. Things had been strained between us for a while, maybe a break is what I needed.

    For the first few weeks I lazed around and enjoyed myself and it wasn’t so bad. I even got some thinking done about my life. On the fourth weekend things it started to get old and I found myself missing her more and more.

    I remember resenting that she was gone for so long and that she didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t with her. She seemed preoccupied with what she was doing and all I could think about was that I was by myself and no one seemed to care.

    That weekend I proceeded to get drunk at home by myself. I put away a few glasses of whiskey and started texting with people one of them was my old coworker Liz who told me that she was going to quit drinking and that this was her final day to drink. I guess at that point I kind of knew what I was doing although I definitely had some liquid courage in me. I invited her over and we ended up drinking even more together.

    A lot of it’s a blur but I remember making a move and having it reciprocated and things quickly escalating. we ended up in the bedroom and thanks to alcohol, there wasn’t much I could actually accomplish. It’s safe to say that I basically embarrassed myself – and while it was wholly inappropriate – it didn’t go well.

    The whole endeavor took about 20 minutes and afterwards sobriety came crashing in. We both stood there awkwardly, she asked if we could still be friends, I told her yes that we could be friends and while it was clear we both regretted what we had done. We mutually agreed to put it behind us and pretend it hadn’t happened.

    About two months went by and in that time I experienced a lot of guilt I thought about telling Carrie in 1000 different ways what had happened. I even thought maybe if I came clean the right way that she wouldn’t be THAT mad – that she might understand. We had had these experiences with other people and maybe she was open-minded enough to see that this wasn’t as bad as it could be and it was just a mistake.

    I actually started to clean up my act. I think it was the first glimmer I’d had in a long time that something was seriously wrong and it wasn’t going to go away on its own. I started helping more and volunteering more. For a while I actually felt like maybe I was starting to change and be a better husband. Maybe that’s part of why I kept silent.

    Ultimately I was afraid. I knew there was every chance that I had blown everything and if there was a chance that it would ruin everything I couldn’t risk it. They often say that confessing an affair is often relieving your own guilt and putting the burden on the other person and I guess I thought maybe I was doing her a favor or the right thing.

    As most secrets do – It all came out and in a single hour – and in a single day my life collapsed.

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