Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's been more than a year now, and still the emotions are as raw as if it had all come out yesterday.

We had a hellish weekend. I had another curled-up-in-a-ball-sobbing-my-heart-out session. He had told me that back when he was working for someone else and never came home on time, it wasn't because of poor time management, it was because he didn't WANT to come home. OUCH!!! So that, to me, meant, "I didn't want to come home to YOU...I didn't want YOU." Which was true, to some extent. He saw me as this nagging, criticizing bitch who never saw anything he did as good enough. Whoa. Who's this we're talking about? ME??? The one who loved you more than the sun and the moon and the stars? The one who held you in such high esteem that when the affairs came out, you had VERY far to fall, indeed. I recognize now, however, what he was talking about.

After reading the Dr. Laura Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands book I learned a TON. It was difficult to take a long, hard look at myself and see the way I really had been treating him. Sadly, I saw myself SO often in her examples of what NOT to do. It was a real wake-up call for me. I'm extremely glad I read it BEFORE the affairs came out because I then had a different perspective of him and of me and I could take responsibility for MY part in the relationship. (NOT take any blame for the affairs, mind you, but own up to the not-so-good things I had been doing.)

So over the weekend, ALL I wanted was to get a Christmas tree, decorate it, get the lights up outside...oh, and get the CAMPING GEAR out of the living room that has been sitting there since AUGUST! (That way we can have room for the Christmas boxes to sit out until mid-January! Grrrrr....) Those were my goals for the ENTIRE weekend. Do you think we could get just that done???? Nope. The tree is half-decorated, the lights were finally finished being put up Tuesday night. The camping gear got put away Monday.

But did he SAY he didn't want to do any of this stuff? Did he explain what his agenda was? No. Evidently the USC football game was on his agenda. As was helping someone from church. Somewhere at the bottom of the list was me and, oh yeah, the kids. He would probably be just fine with no tree, etc. His parents don't make a big deal out of celebrating holidays, birthdays, etc., so it's no big deal to him.

In my therapy yesterday, I realized that he has done whatever he wanted to do for a LONG time. He would give me lip service then do what he wanted - AKA passive aggression. It was easier than having conflict with me. So when he was acting like that again this weekend, it was a HUGE trigger for me. I was back to feeling unimportant.

The fallout from the weekend has lasted all week. The house is a bloody mess - and the housekeeper came on Monday (but will be in Mexico until January, boo hoo. Maybe I'll hire a college kid. I can't keep up even WITH a housekeeper once a week, God knows what this place will look like WITHOUT one for 4 weeks...) We've stayed up till all hours, so we're exhausted and edgy with each other and the kids. Nothing is getting done because we're TIRED. (And here I am at 10:30 writing instead of sleeping!) We've been tip-toeing around each other, either ignoring each other or snapping...

My poor babies. They have borne the brunt of so much of the shit from this past year! They have watched more videos than I care to admit. They have heard us shouting. And I just read yesterday the part in Dr. Phil's Relationship Rescue book where he says not to fight in front of the kids. He says, "To do so is nothing short of child abuse. To fight in front of your children can and will scar them emotionally, all because you don't have the self-control to contain yourself until you and your partner can take it private. Fighting in front of children will scar them emotionally to the point that it changes who they are." Oh, so you mean when my dad got wildly drunk and beat the shit out of my mom on numerous occasions, that changed who I am??? Unfortunately, I didn't have a real good model of self-control, so I'm trying to learn it on my own at 41. About time.

When it all came out last year, I begged off from volunteering at the school, cut out all my extra curricular activities and just buckled up for the ride. And, MAN, what a ride it's been...more on that next time...

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now...

Monday, November 21, 2005

My Pet Peeves

Parking Lot Designs
Someone ought to realize that when you get out of your car, you are suddenly a PEDESTRIAN and design the parking lot/structure with that in mind! I mean, there are cars rushing about and nowhere safe to walk. Occasionally you'll find a parking area with a sidewalk between the noses of the parked cars where you can walk safely. That makes so much sense!

You really don't realize the importance of this until you are walking in a parking lot with children, as I did today. It was late afternoon and the grocery store parking lot was busy. I had both kids holding onto the cart, so if I stopped the cart, they would stop, too. I had to be VERY observant and vigilant as cars were moving all around us. We managed to navigate our way safely to the van, but it really got me thinking. Drivers can't see kids when they're backing up because the kids are too short, and kids don't understand brake lights and reverse lights, etc. Children will usually follow along if you say, "Stay on the sidewalk," but there are none in parking lots, and few in parking structures. Even if there were a painted pedestrian "path" to walk on, then drivers would be aware of it, people could walk in a designated place and kids would have a defined area to walk within.

Turn Signals
While I'm on the subject of cars, let me just spout off about turn signals. A turn signal is there to give drivers behind you a clue as to what you are about to do. It allows those of us not currently reading your mind to have the opportunity to slow down and not smash into you. So when you're reasonably close to your turn, go ahead and flip on the blinker. It doesn't cost anything extra, and your fellow drivers will appreciate it. But it doesn't count if you hit the brakes out of the blue and THEN turn on your signal as you're turning. That sort of defeats the point, as the driver behind you has already figured out what you're doing and has sent a stream of cuss words in your direction.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now, but don't think you've heard the last of my pet peeves!

Living life to the fullest

Wow, I have a head full of things to write and only about half an hour to get it written down...

Sometimes in my life, I hear the same thing from several very different sources, as though I'm MEANT to "get" whatever that message is. (Call it God, serendipity, whatever...I just recognize that it's happening.) Recently the message has been about living life to the fullest. Today it came in the form of my dance teacher relaying a story her father used to tell.

At the end of the hour of adult jazz dancing, our wonderful, wise instructor has us cool-down with stretches to soothing music and then lie in "corpse pose" on the floor - on our backs with our bodies completely relaxed. She then shares a bit of wisdom with us. Today she reminded us that we are each like sailing ships. While a new sailboat might be made of gorgeous mahogany and gleaming brass, its point is not to stay, pristine, anchored in the harbor. Its job is to journey out onto the sea. There will be days of beautiful calm, serene seas and days of ferocious storms. Some of the brass may tarnish and some of the wood may warp, but the ship is doing the job it's meant to do, SAIL. Like the sailboat, we must venture out into life, knowing that there will be calm days and stormy days, easy times and rough times. But savoring each day for its uniqueness and LIVING each day, rather than just surviving it in some safe harbor.

I've heard this message, too, from Oprah and Maya Angelou - live life being fully in the moment. I'm working on this, as I'm the queen of multi-tasking and not really enjoying ANY of the things I'm doing. And this applies particularly to spending time with my kids. I find my mind wandering off to the next task, bill to pay, phone call I need to make, etc., while I'm talking with them or playing with them. The time I have with them, I realize, is extraordinarily short. I must stop my brain from racing ahead and SAVOR those moments with my babies.

Our pastor prays each week something along the lines of: "Lord, let me have everything, let me have nothing. Let me be employed for you, let me be put aside for you..." His point is, let me experience all life has to offer: all the richness of happiness and the depths of sadness, of having and of needing, ALL of it, for that is the journey we are meant to take.

I've certainly had all of it in my life, the joys and the sorrows. But have I savored it, appreciated the complexities and depth of it all? Not so much. But now I'm working on it. (I say as I sit alone in front of my computer! However, maybe spending time in introspection is the beginning of appreciating my life...) Because, really if I'm not enjoying, savoring, appreciating each moment, what's life for?

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sex, flat tires and Harry Potter

What a long, strange trip it's been...

Today began at 6:00 a.m. with the husband cuddling up, angling for sex. I'm NOT a morning person, so this was a challenge. I went along, however, and he had a great time. It was OK for me, but I didn't "get there" so I was a bit disappointed. He offered to help with a toy, but I just couldn't get into it enough. So from there the discussion went to how this used to be a regular occurrence and how now I know that he was bringing all his affair guilt into the bedroom, and therefore having trouble "performing." He didn't think I was doing a good job of listening to him and his feelings regarding that, so that just set us both off. This is one of the hot button issues in our marriage. Evidently it has been all along, but it only came out in counseling.

We originally went into counseling for sexual issues, as in: it wasn't hard enough. The counseling began nearly a year before I discovered the affairs. (D-day - discovery day - was October 27, 2004) We began seeing a guy who specializes in sexual issues. Over the few months we were with him, the main issue that was identified was that I was "expecting" too much. That I was putting too much pressure on him because I expected an orgasm each time. Well, I'm sorry, but I CAN orgasm every time, so I WANT to orgasm every time. The irony of him and all his affairs is that I LIKE SEX. (OK, 6 a.m. is a bit early, but normally I'm into it as much as he is.) I had thought sex was one area we were doing OK in until the erection issue became a regular occurrence. Then I suggested the counseling. What ended up happening, though, was that I felt like the counselor and husband were BOTH ganging up on ME, blaming ME. After several months with him, we ended that relationship and moved to a new guy. The new one is MUCH better. He validates what BOTH of us are saying. And he is teaching us HOW to communicate. The skill of listening is one I'm still working on... and hubby is working on talking and coming forward with his feelings, telling me what he thinks instead of keeping it all inside. But none of this helped us much this morning.

We ended up sort of "having it out" (again!), but had to end it when one of the kids came in. So we tabled the "discussion." Later, after having dropped the kids off at a birthday party, we went for a drive.

The purpose of the drive was to go to all the places he met with other women. We drove by 6 motels in town, another one out of town, plus a condo and a massage place. Plus there's one about 1/2 hour away and then we won't even count the places he went out of town and met them - places he was supposed to be backpacking or going to conferences for work...

It was extremely difficult going to those places, but VERY important for me. Places mean a lot to me and I need to be able to picture things in terms of where they took place. It seems like I'm a glutton for punishment, but honestly, I have been unsettled about this for the past year. We didn't say much on the drive. He said his stomach was in knots and I know mine was. It made it all very real. One place is just 5 houses away from where my good friend lives. What if he'd been seen??? It's a small community. You never know who is going to see you and know you.

As we were driving on the freeway to go back to see the kids, the tire blew out on the van. Thankfully he was driving and the tire place was nearby, so we just drove on it straight there. (I'm so glad it wasn't me driving with the two kids in some remote area!) That threw a kink in our day and our wallet! We ended up 4 tires richer and about $400 poorer, something we really don't need right now as finances are tight enough!

Then this evening, when I thought he and I might have some time to discuss all of the above, he fell asleep while putting the kids to bed. AAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!! So I told him I was going out to see the new Harry Potter movie - by myself - and he could go to bed. (The movie was excellent by the way! I'm a big fan!)

So here I am, alone again, and we still haven't processed all that went on today. Tomorrow we have church, but that's all, so I hope we can find time to talk.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now cuz it's nearly 2:00.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An addictive cycle . . .

The husband and I started off the day yesterday on a lousy note. As we woke up, there was a song playing on the radio by country group Rascal Flats (sp?) about a little girl with cancer. OK, that touched two nerves: a sick child AND he listened to that group with mistress #4. I (stupidly) asked him about the significance of the group and he said, yeah, it reminded him of when he & she used to listen to their albums together. GAG!!!!! I don't remember all the details, but I ended up facing away from him, curled up in a ball, sobbing. What a wonderful way to start the day.

After our daughter died, he had a terrible time dealing with it. Well of course. So did I. But he felt he couldn't come to me with his pain, so he took it elsewhere. He found women online who had sympathetic ears and willing bodies and took his comfort there. Over the course of six years he carried on his shenanigans with six different women, and I was OBLIVIOUS. Now, I know you're saying to yourself, clearly she knew what was going on and she chose to ignore it. But you're wrong. He kept it all to himself, never told another soul - except the other women. Only one lived in this area - the others were all a minimum of 4 hours away. He tells now about how he "compartmentalized" the whole thing, thinking he was still a good husband because "I told them I was never going to leave you." He deluded himself into thinking that as long as I didn't know, no one was going to get hurt.(!) Of the few people who know our story, NO ONE can believe he was doing this.

Of course now, with 20/20 hindsight, I see some of the signs. He decided not to have detailed cell phone billing - it's his business line and there were SO many calls that it wasn't worth it. He had his computer password protected - again, it's for business and it's a laptop, so if anyone else were to get it, etc. He worked till 6:00 most nights - lots of stuff to do at work, etc. He started taking more business trips - to learn more about setting up his new business. He took extra days on his annual backpacking trip - his buddy couldn't get away on those days, so he'd just take some time by himself. All perfectly reasonable when taken in isolation. And all true - if you don't count the sin of omission. He just neglected to mention that he was going backpacking for a few days AND staying at a cabin with another woman for few days! The only other "gut" things amounted to a dream I had a few years ago that he was having an affair - which, of course, he denied when I asked him. And a friend of a friend who had just finished divorcing her cheating husband said, "That guy's having an affair." The friend told me and we both had a good laugh about it. I mean, really, not HIM. He's so quiet and mild-mannered...

Yes, HIM. He started with a one-weekend fling with someone he'd been emailing and phoning for months. This happened right after the one year anniversary of our daughter's death. He said he "needed to get away." It was weird, but hell, what wasn't weird after the death of our child? We were coping with the complexities of our premature son, I was learning how to be a stay-at-home mom of a preemie. He was dealing with being the sole breadwinner, etc. Nothing was normal anymore anyway, so why not?

When I asked recently if he felt guilty after that one, he said yes, he had cried about it, he felt so guilty. So why did he do it again? Well, therein lies the crux of the whole thing, it was an addictive cycle. He felt bad about our daughter's death so he found women who listened which made him feel good, so he contacted them more which made him feel guilty, then he met up with them for sex and that made him feel good, but later he felt bad and guilty, however when they talked again it was exciting and thrilling, so that made him feel good again, etc., etc., etc. Around and around it went, until he had himself so deep into it he couldn't get out. I am not making excuses for him. It has taken a year, much therapy, several books and MANY late night discussions with him for me to get to this point where I can understand it. NOT rationalize it, just comprehend it.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox - for now. More on this another time...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The worst thing that can happen...

I've been anticipating sitting down with the computer to blog all day, but I'm torn between keeping this a completely anonymous blog so I can be brutally honest and sharing with others that I'm keeping a blog. Perhaps I'll have two - and I can censor the one my friends and family know about!

So let's start with brutal honesty. When I start to tell my life story, I stand back and look at it and think, "Whose life was that, anyway?" I mean, if someone were to write all of this into a movie, people would be complaining that it was too far fetched. See if you agree.

I'm 41 years old, born and raised in California. I have a BA and an MA in Education and taught elementary school for about a decade. I met my husband at 17 and married him at 24. My mom died of lung cancer when I was 27, and the following month I had one ovary removed. My dad remarried when I was 28 and I stopped speaking to him soon after that. A few years later my aunt died (my mom's sister) and I became the matriarch of that side of the family. Meanwhile, we began the infertility rollercoaster, making several trips overseas for treatments and ending up back here in California to do highly specialized In Vitro Fertilization attempts. At age 33, on our 5th IVF cycle, I became pregnant with triplets that spontaneously reduced to twins by 10 weeks. At 22 weeks gestation I was put on full bedrest, but my body had its own plan and my babies were born by emergency C-section at 26 weeks, 4 days - over 3 months early. Both were doing very well but my daughter was given a platelet transfusion that was inadvertently contaminated and she died at 18 days. My son spent 82 days in the NICU and is now a healthy, happy 2nd grader. When I was 36, my next daughter (IVF #7) was born on her due date via a completely unmedicated vaginal birth. (She's now in Kindergarten.) At 37 we bought another house and began a HUGE remodel. At 38 we moved into the new house. At 40 we began our own business. And at 40 I discovered that my husband had had 6 affairs over the previous 6 years.

So that brings us to now...we are currently doing his, hers & ours counseling. Right now I am optimistic about the future of my marriage, but that can waver from moment to moment. So I have yet ANOTHER major life crisis to cope with. Can't I just press the "pause" button on the events in my life and catch up for awhile? I mean really, haven't I had enough? Or, as Mother Theresa said, "I know that God only gives you as much as you can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!"

One of the things our pastor has said that has stuck with me, and applies so well in my life is: "The worst thing that can happen to us is never going to be the last thing to happen." Even the death of my daughter, definitely the WORST thing to happen, was not the LAST thing to happen. Life kept on going. So I know it shall keep going now, too, whether I'm ready or not.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Well, here I am!

I've been meaning to start a blog for awhile now . . . so here it is! My intent (at this point, anyway) is to use this as a place to air my random thoughts and feelings. But maybe that's what everyone blogs for!! Regardless, here I go.

I was making a mental list today of the things that I would post on my blog and they include: my pet peeves, my thoughts on various issues - political and otherwise, quotes that inspire me, song lyrics that move me, musings on my life, etc.

So here's the quote for today:
"Resentment is the poison you take expecting to harm the person who has wronged you." - Patti's therapist

Boy, does this one have applications in my life! I'm learning (now that I'm in my forties!) that I have a tendency to carry a grudge - and it harms no one but ME. Hmmmm...what I have to work out now is how to let go of all that garbage. I guess I think that if I let it go, it is somehow condoning and dismissing what the other person did. Must ponder this.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now...