Friday, February 26, 2010

Funny Friday: Chocolate to Make You Feel Better (Duh!)

While chocolate has always soothed my soul, I veer toward fair-trade and organic. But there's a new chocolate on the block that boasts the promise of "optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being for the benefit of all beings.”
Bring it on! I'm sure all of us could use some 'o' that.
How does Intentional Chocolate do it? The company's chocolate is infused with good intentions from advanced meditators, some, the Web site notes, who trained with the Dalai Lama. What's more, we eaters of Intentional Chocolate are promised that the chocolate is delivered with love. With might be more than your spouse is delivering these days.
Whether you believe or not, it's hard to go wrong with chocolate. And given that we're far too often the recipients these days of bad intentions ("I didn't mean it", "It just happened" "Insert asinine excuse here"), some good intentions might be a pleasant change...
Eat it up, ladies.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Improving Your Sex Life Won't Stop Him From Cheating

The thing about affairs that most people just don't understand is that they're rarely about sex. It seems illogical. After all, it's generally the insertion of male-body-part into female-body-part-that-doesn't-belong-to-his-wife that gets the guy in trouble. And, for those couples who don't really dig deeper for the roots of the affair, it can likely end with that conclusion. That he was after sex and the OW was available for it.
Unfortunately, in the days (and sometimes months and years) following D-Day, many of us wives devote entirely too much brain activity to berating ourselves for what we perceive as our sexual shortcomings: we're not va-va-voom enough, we're not adventurous enough, we aren't available enough, our boobs are too small, our ass is too big and blah blah blah right into crazy-ville.
Yet books and articles featuring expert after expert report that men usually don't cheat for sex but generally for attention, praise, escape, excitement. In other words, things that they could get in their own marriage but aren't entirely sure how to. And believe me, this is not offered up by way of excuse, but explanation. My sympathy for those poor men whose wives just don't appreciate them is...ummm...non-existent.
But when we wives remain focused on the sex itself, we miss the chance to improve our marriages (assuming we haven't already sent him packing!) in ways that are much deeper and more long-lasting.
By all means, have crazy sex if it helps you reconnect (after all the STD test results are in, of course!). But don't delude yourself into thinking that good sex will keep you two connected...or him from straying.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guest Blog: Three's a Crowd...

Betrayal
by Tabulous


I've been reading a lot about infidelity and how to recover from it. I visit blogs, I get on forums (which if you know me, is totally not my gig), I talk to others I know who have survived it, I do what I can to deal with the emotions and betrayal that surround my husband's affair.

However, I've come to realize something. I'm not just dealing with the betrayal of my spouse in relation to his extramarital activities. I'm dealing with the betrayal of my spouse in his lack of defense for myself and our relationship to his mother. And that's a whole unfathomable level of betrayal I would never wish upon anyone.

I know I'm not alone in this – in the scores of women with in-laws who see them as less than, who make it known how much they despise and loathe them, who have to stand up not only to the challenges of sustaining a marriage but to also the barrage and emotional warfare of people who really don't belong in the marriage – but that doesn't dull the pain or the bewilderment. It doesn't change the feeling of being thrown to the wolves. It doesn't change that I feel like there are two "Other Women" in my marriage – his mother and the whore.

And oddly, I can almost excuse the whore because, well, that's what she is. She's a whore. Yes, my husband participated and chose to let her into our marriage, but she's inconsequential to me. As some of the resources I've consulted have said, she's really nothing more than the figment of my husband's imagination, not a real person. If she were real, she'd be in my place. And she's not.

But I cannot do so for his mother. I cannot excuse the lies that were told to my face over the years. I cannot excuse the threats made to my face, in front of my own parents, in my own home that she was not welcome in and she knew it. I cannot excuse the way she manipulated my husband to her every whim to try and eradicate me from my own life. I cannot even excuse the way she invaded my home after she had my husband kick me out of it -- the pettiness of buying chemical-laden cleaners and ignoring my environmentally friendly ones so she could scrub my house of me; the throwing of my personal belongings into a rarely-used upstairs closet, including artwork she once claimed she liked; the rewashing and refolding of clean towels in a manor that she approved of; the cajoling of my husband to remove his wedding ring because he didn't need it anymore, and the statement that his affair was acceptable behavior, and the admission that divorce was what she flew across the country to accomplish. The ways she tried to erase me from my own home, from the lives of my family, from my life, are inexcusable.

So I wrestle with more than just the betrayal of infidelity. I wrestle with the betrayal of what I would have considered family. It's like a backhand directly following a right hook. And it leaves twice the damage for my husband to begin to repair, in order to repair our relationship.

Betrayal isn't something I take lightly. I've excommunicated others from my life for far less than this. But I also understand that for as much as my husband is accountable for his own actions, I also know him, how influenceable he is, how honestly weak he can be under pressure, how confrontation frightens him. I know for as much as this is on his hands, it's more so on the hands of at least one other who knew the same of him and warped it, warped him, to their desires. And that betrayal, of him and his trust ... well, that's far worse than any sexual escapade.

So through our joint betrayal, we try to heal ourselves and heal each other. Because that is what real family does -- loves you in the face of adversity, and is there for you in the ways you need them to be, not in the ways that best service them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Would You Rather Be the Cheater? Or the Cheated Upon?

It's something of a rhetorical question. And I'm not encouraging anyone to act on their choice. (Indeed, I'd strongly discourage anyone from having a revenge affair!)
But it's a question I've considered before. And it's currently being asked on the BeyondAffairs site...which got me thinking again.
Even in the midst of the most excruciating pain I'd known, I never wished to be in my husband's shoes. In spite of sometimes feeling he'd been "rewarded" for his cheating by the sex, the variety, the excitement, I knew that the shame and guilt and self-disgust he was experiencing hardly made it worth it.
However, that was my situation. What about you? Knowing what you now know, which side of the affair would you choose? Perhaps you've been on both sides? Share your thoughts...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funny


  • From Courtroom Funnies:
  • Q. Are you married?
  • A. No, I’m divorced.
  • Q. And what did your husband do before you divorced him?
  • A. A lot of things I didn’t know about.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the Eve of Tiger's Press Conference...

The world waits... Or maybe just the gossip mags wait.

In any case, on the eve of Tiger's press conference (will Elin stand beside him? Will she put her wedding ring back on? Will her face be etched with pain? And blah blah blah), here is one of the most balanced, honest and realistic articles about sex addiction that I've read. And I'm not just saying that because I'm quoted at length. Really.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Down the Pain, Part Two

If you weren't swayed by my first blog post about putting your feelings / thoughts / delusions onto the page, perhaps the findings of Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness will convince you. Gore, curious about what helped women feel happy, asked a dozen to keep a happiness journal. What she discovered, according to the March 2010 issue of Body + Soul magazine, was that "the simple act of recording...moments actually expanded them." In other words, writing down something that makes you happy – your infant's smile as you enter his room in the morning, your dog's wagging tail, the sunshine streaming in a window, discovering that the infidelity diet has rendered you skinny beyond your wildest dreams – actually expands the happiness created.
I remember perfectly the day, a month or two post D-Day and when I was still in the "will I ever feel happy again" phase, I was walking my dogs. I was trying hard to not let my mind go into that dark neighborhood where I obsessed about the OW, details of the affair, myriad ways of killing my husband or myself or both, etc. etc. It had snowed the night before and the lawns were blanketed in white. The sun shone brilliantly. I focused on my dogs. The sunshine. The twinkling snow. And, for a few fleeting moments, I felt happy. At peace. Then my dastardly brain yanked me back into the darkness of my thoughts.
BUT! Later that day, I wrote about that moment. Which expanded it and let me turn it over and over again in my mind. And I was assured – because my journal said do – that happiness was possible. Perhaps even likely.
What Gore notes is that, by noticing, appreciating and documenting those moments, we are more likely to intentionally seek them out. And, it follows logically, the more we seek out those moments that give us happiness, the happier we'll become. Maybe not today. But...soon.

Monday, February 15, 2010

When Smiling Hurts

I often remark that I not only survived betrayal, but have ultimately thrived. Well. Some days...not so much.
Take today, for example. I'm completely off ADs (yay me and my formerly mutinous endorphins!). It's mid-February, which isn't exactly my favorite time of year. My house is undergoing renos so it's a bit chaotic. My career is in the pooper. I could go on... But the point is, life is not exactly coming up roses.
And, to compound all those pesky little problems, my marriage is, ummm, fragile.
And that's the thing with betrayal. You can patch the marriage back together. It can look almost as good as new.
But it's not.
The cracks are there. Making it more likely to shatter again at the slightest tremor.
Like, for example, having a pre-teen who's got more attitude than Lindsay Lohan. Like having financial issues. Like dealing with renos.
All the day-to-day stressors seem somehow bigger when they're against the backdrop of betrayal.
Suddenly, I find myself doubting my husband's announcement that he has an early meeting tomorrow (early a.m. was one of his favored adultery hours). "Meeting my ass," goes that nasty little voice in my head.
I find myself feeling unappreciated (which, frankly, I am at the moment). Feeling overwhelmed (which I also am at the moment). And feeling incredibly furious at all those I'm-sure-wonderful women boasting about their wonderful husbands and all the wonderful ways they feel loved and appreciated.
So...thriving might be a bit of an overstatement at the moment. Surviving is even a bit generous in description.
You might say I'm hanging on by my fingernails over a chasm that could easily swallow me whole with nary a burp.

Happy F&%$ing Valentine's Day

Not that I'm bitter... :)

But if you're sick to death of reading books (and Web sites, for that matter) that offer up thoughts on how to get over betrayal...and just want to indulge in some fiction in which, for the most part, adulterers get their due, check out this list of literary scoundrels...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Writing Down the Pain

I started a diary when I was nine. Now, almost 35 years later, I still keep one. At first it was the usual, "my brother's a moron", "I have the biggest zit in the world on my nose", "I have SOOOOOO much homework" type of entries. But it didn't take long for me to realize that within those pages lay my salvation, if not my sanity.
I could say ANYTHING in those pages. And I wouldn't be judged. Or criticized. Or silenced by shame. I admitted things in those pages that I'd never be able to admit to a real flesh-and-blood person.
Then life got busy. And busier. Daily entries gave way to weekly or monthly. Or bi-annually. Writing became my career...so I didn't feel the same pull to write as a hobby. Or as therapy.
Then came betrayal.
And with it, anger and shame and humiliation and a seemingly bottomless sorrow.
I picked up a notebook and started writing.
I wrote about my anger and shame and humiliation and seemingly bottomless sorrow.
I said all the things I couldn't quite bring myself to say to real flesh-and-blood people.
I spewed hatred and fury and thoughts of revenge. I spilled my agony onto those pages...which somehow shored me up enough to contain it the rest of the time.
Writing through the pain saved me. It allowed me an outlet for the hugeness of the feelings that I thought would swallow me.
It allowed me to see, when I read earlier pages, that I was actually moving forward. That, though I felt raw and ragged, I wasn't as raw and ragged as a few days or weeks ago.
"If I don't write to empty my mind," said Lord Byron, "I would go mad."
Dean Koontz acknowledged that "Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write...can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition.
I believe I would have gone mad, but for the ability to put my madness on the page.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Funny Friday: Courtesy of The Onion

I hope this link gets you giggling. Do any of us have husbands like this?? Nah, didn't think so.

Sex, Lies and Journalism

I had a horrible dream last night. And the night before (in which I dreamt my husband was having an affair with a friend of mine. Amazing how that ooooof to the gut can be conjured up so easily). Last night's dream wasn't about infidelity, not directly anyway. It was about trust...or lack of.
Yesterday I was interviewed by a lifestyle writer at the Toronto Star newspaper for an article she was writing on "when your spouse cheats". The writer found me via another article in which I was quoted that ran on the Web site BettyConfidential. In both cases, I requested anonymity. I've thought long and hard (gotta be careful using that phrase on a Web site about cheating!) about why I don't reveal my true identity (ie. real name. Believe me, you people hear know my true identity better than many of my closest friends). And I do it because my children don't know their daddy cheated on mommy. And they're young enough that they wouldn't really understand the nuances, they would likely only process the basics: Daddy lied. Daddy cheated. Ergo, lying and cheating maybe aren't so bad after all. Or maybe they are and Daddy is bad. Either way, not exactly the message I want to send.
And, I suppose I'm also protecting my husband, who would be humiliated by public knowledge of his transgressions. If he wasn't so contrite and so determined to "become the man [I] always though [he] was", I might not be so charitable. And, though there are days I'd love to pull away the mask and reveal to the world that I am all those things they think I am...but that I'm also a betrayed wife.
Though trust can often be a casualty of betrayal, I must be hard-wired to expect the best in people. (It's called either faith or idiocy, depending...). I trusted both reporters to not use my real name, to respect my choice to remain "Elle".
In my dream, I opened up The Toronto Star to not only discover that the reporter had used my real name, but that he had identified me as the author of – and she included the name of my most recent book. I felt numb...then, fortunately, woke up.
I turned to the online version of The Star and discovered that the reporter had protected my identity. And for that I'm very grateful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reason # 784 To Be Glad You're Not Famous

The girlfriend of Jon Gosselin (dear God, please let him fade into obscurity) has put her...ummm...assets on display in Steppin' Out magazine, dishing inside on poor beleaguered Jon, his private thoughts and private parts. When infidelity enters the equation, kinda makes you glad no-one really cares about your life, huh?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Married Men: Use Your Head (The One on Your Shoulders!!)

Yet another public figure, this time Toronto mayoral-wannabe Adam Giambroni, has admitted to a series of relationships with women other than his long-time, live-in partner. While this is all getting – yawn – a little overdone (are there any public figures who keep it in their pants?), there remains a certain train-wreck attraction to the stories because they generally reveal otherwise intelligent men making unbelievably stupid choices. And I'm not even talking about the stupid choice of having sex outside of marriage or committed relationships (have you heard of divorce, gentlemen?? If you're that miserable, we'll be happy to give you one. Though most of us know all too well that your affairs have nothing to do with your marriage). Rather, I'm referring to their choice in affair partner.
With rare exception, these men seem to favor porn stars, reality-show wannabes and celeb-stalkers. In the case of Giambroni, one of his paramours is a 19-year-old, since turned 20 and since turned traitor, offering up extensive texts and sordid details of the affair. In other words, these are women who have little to lose and much to gain (at least in their estimation) by selling telling their story.
If I have any advice to give men considering cheating on their wives (and, oh yeah, I have advice!), it's this:
If you simply can't locate your moral code as perhaps you left it on some woman's beside table beside your membership card to ashleymadison.com and your Trojan PleasurePack, at least choose partners who have as much or more to lose than you do by 'fessing up.
And, for goodness' sake, stop calling it the "biggest mistake you ever made". We know. Ohhhh...how we know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Searching for Sleep in the Wake of Betrayal

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to.  ~F. Scott Fitzgerald


F. Scott Fitzgerald clearly knew a thing or two about insomnia. And infidelity, in a clear case of life imitating art. Or vice versa.
Those of us dealing with betrayal know the endless agony of a restless night. 
I would start feeling anxious about sleep hours before I actually went to bed. I would issue a silent prayer to the Gods of Betrayed Wives to please, please let me fall asleep and stay that way.
Inevitably, I would wake around 3:30 a.m. with a sudden, wide-eyed dread. And I would stay that way. My mind, to paraphrase my favorite author Anne Lamott, is like a bad neighborhood. You don't want to go there when it's dark. And – ohhhhh – was it dark. 
It would whisper awful things to me. About how hideous I was. How unlovable. Words it wouldn't have the nerve to say in the light of day. But night unleashes the dark dogs.
I was making a strong effort to steer clear of alcohol, barely trusting myself sober to stay on this side of the law and certainly not willing to tempt fate by climbing into a bottle of merlot. So that sleep-incducing option was out. I tried various teas. But my particular insomnia needed the big guns. I leaned temporarily on a doctor-prescribed sleep aid, Gravol and finally settled on melatonin, a hormone that a flight-attendant friend of mine relies on to adjust her body clock during long-haul flights.
Wonder of wonders, it worked. It took a week or so for my body to adjust. And the cynic in me wonders if perhaps it was a psychosomatic response to the ritual of taking the capsule... Whatever the reason, it worked. Not perfectly. But I perfectly recall actually falling asleep and waking up with enough energy to get myself to noon, if not to dinner time, without falling apart.
If sleeplessness if one of your betrayal-related souvenirs, what have you tried? What worked? Didn't work?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Porn Addiction: Not Just for Men Anymore

In university, I lived with two guys. It was completely platonic and based on necessity more than desire. I couldn't afford to live alone and, having grown up with a brother, I was more comfortable with the laissez-faire attitude of male room-mates than the estrogen-fuelled abodes of my female friends.
But every Sunday night, my room-mates would go to a nearby video store and rent porn. Really raunchy porn. And though I considered myself open-minded and can credit my university years with giving me a certain confidence in my sexual self, I loathed the Sunday night porn fest. My bedroom was right above the living room and the sounds (EGADS, the sounds!) would float upward, distracting me from reading, homework or whatever else I was trying to do.
But though I hated it, I nonetheless considered it harmless. And continued to throughout my life.
My husband, on the other hand, indulged, though secretly. It wasn't until after D-Day that the extent of his porn "habit" was revealed. And it wasn't until he really examined what messages he got from porn (that women were always sexually available, that they loved it fast and furious, that they were no more than objects to satisfy men) that he could acknowledge just how far along the path to porn addiction he'd ventured.
But it never dawned on me that women could become addicted to porn, too, though I suppose I would have acknowledged it was possible.
A recent video, from a courageous woman whose blog I follow, gives the addiction issue a female face...and a glimmer of hope that we can discuss this candidly.
Do I think all porn is bad? No, I do not.
I think much of it degrades women, but fortunately, not all. And, frankly, it has never really done anything for me...other than provide a source of derision or amusement.
And I think, like anything that removes us from our lives and offers up an intoxicating tonic of empowerment, entitlement and easy access, porn can be dangerous.
What are your thoughts? Do you use porn? Did porn have anything to do with the infidelity in your marriage? 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It Ain't Over 'Til...Well...It Ain't Over

I ran into a friend today. Once upon a time we were close friends. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding; I was MC at hers. Now we're "it's-great-to-see-you-how're-the-kids" kinda friends.
She married a guy I can only barely stand. He's a small "m" misogynist. He works for a company that builds army machinery. I'm a feminist and a pacifist. We tend to disagree. A lot.
Yet there was my friend. Still happily married, or so it appears. And there stood I. Pieced back together after betrayal and though the cracks might not be as apparent as they once were, I suspect anyone who looked closely could see them.
And I was so jealous I was almost choking on it.
Not that I would wish betrayal on anyone. But why, when my husband was such a good guy, did it happen to me? It wasn't supposed to happen to me. I chose so carefully – someone who treated people, especially me, well. Who seemed so principled. Who shared my pacifist and feminist leanings.
And my jealousy and subsequent short-lived fury at my husband made me realize – yet again – that betrayal changes everything. I will never be the carefree wife who laughed at the mere notion that my husband could cheat. He just...wouldn't. Or so I thought.
That person is gone. And she bears little resemblance to me, who still struggles to trust that anyone can be true to their word.
Sure, I have my good days. When I can appreciate the silver lining of being dragged behind the betrayal truck until I'm raw and broken. The silver lining that reminds me that I'm stronger. And that my marriage has more honesty (not sure it could have less...). And that my husband is a better and happier man who's faced his demons and is evicting them one by one.
But I also have those days when I hate that this happened. When I seethe with jealousy at women whose lives haven't been gutted by their spouse's secret. Who can still look at their husband and believe. What I wouldn't give to still be one of them...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Funny Friday: Eavesdropping on my son

A guilty pleasure of mine is eavesdropping on my kids' conversations. The best ones seem to happen in the car – my kids seem to forget I'm there. I simply stay silent...and listen.

Tonight, as my 9-year-old son was chatting with his friend, whose parents were packing and moving into their new house today, they got talking about the woman who bought the former house.

"It's her first house," explained my son's friend. "And she's only 23. Why would she want such a big house for one person?"

My son, who's never met a question he couldn't answer, responded, "She's at that age," he said. "She'll be getting married and having S-E-X."

I stifled a giggle.

"What's that?" his friend asked.

My son sighed...

Shifting Focus: Forget the OW! This is About You

I read a fascinating blog post yesterday about a woman whose husband cheated with – and ultimately left his marriage for – this woman's best friend. The story is heartbreaking. But the story of how this woman, Carolyn, came to a place where she no longer focused on the other woman, despite having to see her every time she dropped her kids off, and instead moved forward with her life is triumphant.
It's not easy. Many of us instinctively lash out at the other woman, heaping our fury, disgust and scorn on her. I dropped off a Christmas card to the OW (she worked for my husband) complete with a family photo and a note thanking her "for all she'd done" and noting that the holidays were a time to "reflect on all we've done over the past year and take stock of how we've contributed to creating a better world..." Biting sarcasm tends to be my preferred method.
Did it work? Did she suddenly acknowledge her role in the mess? Resolve to never again have sex with a married man? I doubt it.
And though it offered me up a measure of satisfaction (It really did. I cannot tell a lie!), it also kept my focus on something I couldn't control (her) rather than something I could (me). 
If you must dump your rage (and sometimes, really, you must – just don't do any illegal, immoral or undignified) on the OW, keep it brief. Then get to the rest of your life, however battered it appears at the moment. Wear an elastic band around your wrist and give it a good "snap" every time thoughts wander to the OW. It can help (really!) if your husband can give you something he hated about her or that was embarrassing for her. She's just a sad woman willing to sell herself short. 
Even if she winds up your spouse, consider these lines from Carolyn: "I also trust in karma. I don’t think she won anything great. I think what she took from me is probably making her life worse and she probably knows it."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Elin Nordegren: The Face of Betrayal

I'm sure Tiger Woods' wife Elin never planned on becoming the current face of betrayal, following, most recently, Elizabeth Edwards and Jenny Sanford. But there she is, her face "etched with pain", according to news reports.
Of course her face is etched with pain. Of course, she looks tired. Pain over betrayal is hardly news.
Why is it treated, then, as news?
Well I could be cynical and assume that it's because she's gorgeous and rich and the details of her husband's infidelity is so salacious that writing about her gives the paper another chance to dredge up the dirt. However – Pollyanna alert! – I like to think that it's because Elin and these other women, who bear their betrayal with a dignity and grace but never shame, offer the rest of us hope that we, too, can survive.
I suspect the thinking goes that if they can endure, with cameras in their windows, mistresses dishing on the talk shows and the whole world offering up an opinion of whether they should stay or go, surely we mortals can endure the stares of the neighborhood gossip and the possibility that our lame excuses for our puffy eyes sound...lame to the ears of our friends and colleagues. If they can overcome infidelity, we hope, then we can, too.
So, Elin, though you never wanted to become the poster woman for triumphing over infidelity, please know that you're inspiring many of us. Might be little comfort when your kids are asking when daddy's coming home. Might not help when you spot yet another tabloid cover in the supermarket selling lies and half-truths about your life. But you're certainly helping us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Blog: I'm Ready to Be Ready to Let Go

by Meg






Last Monday my divorce was final. I took the day off to go to court and the hearing took less than 15 minutes. I call this the year of my humbling and believe me it was humbling to have my marriage disolved quickly and without my ex husband there. People kept telling me congrats and I didn't know how to respond. I didn't feel like congratulations were in order, but what are you supposed to say? Lord knows, I don't know the rules for this.  I know I'm another step closer to something and hopefully that something is peace. My wants and needs are so different. I want my husband back, I want what I thought was my life back, but I know I need a life without him in it. I'm so lonely and I'm just ready to move on and I'm closer and closer to truly letting go of my old dreams. 

Friends threw me a divorce party and I highly recommend one. It was a way to release tension and have a few drinks and even some laughs. My party was the day after my divorce and a friend took a photo of me asleep on the couch after several cups of "D Punch". I can't get the image of me on the couch out of my head. She laughed about it, but I could see the pain in my face and my jaw was clenched tightly.  I don't want to be that woman anymore!

My last year has been so full of pain that I haven't enjoyed anything, so I'm ready for change. I've always been a bit of a homebody, a comfy couch and good book are two of my favorite things, but I say yes to almost every invite issued. Even if I'm tired I go out if someone offers. I've started taking yoga classes and that has helped immensly. I'm taking a break from the self- help books and I'm trying not to dwell on my pain. It used to consume me, and it still does at times, but I don't want it to define me. I want the cheesy clich├ęs to apply to me: It's all for the best. I'm better off. It will get better. I'm determined to make those statements true. I'm ready to be ready to let go.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But...: How Much Do You Think You Need to Know?

I recently watched the movie Revolutionary Road (trigger alert: infidelity!), in which Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) confesses to his wife April (Kate Winslet) that he's "been with a girl a few times". While BWC members' responses range from "Who" to "When" to "Why"...most center on that last question. Frank attempts to answer by offering up the usual two-bit psychoanalysis of what might have driven him to have an affair, but April stops him short. "Not why did you do it," she says, but "why are you telling me?"
It's a fair question. She seems to not know nor suspect, though their marriage is fragile to say the least. Assuming Frank is honest in his desire to put his transgression behind him and to focus on his marriage, why did he tell her?
And, in hindsight, would you want to know? Or would you rather move forward together or apart without knowing the full truth of your relationship? Is that even possible?

Full Disclosure
If it's true that Tiger Woods is at a rehab center for sex addicts, one of the steps is full disclosure of his sexual acting out. In other words, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I was offered the same process or rather I was told that I would be participating in the same process – complete with his and hers therapists to support both of us during the disclosure session.
I opted out. It struck me that it was sounding more like an ambush than a disclosure session, though one could argue it's just a matter of perspective. Byt hat point, I had asked – and received answers for – my most pressing questions. I had been tested, thankfully negative, for STDs, including HIV.
I didn't want to know any more. I felt shell-shocked and completely overwhelmed.
Experts insist that the disclosure process isn't to ram unwanted details down the betrayed wife's throat, but rather to put both spouses on the same page, metaphorically, so that they can move forward in their relationship equipped with the same information. Honesty, they argue, is critical to a healthy marriage.
I agree...but I think the betrayed wife should hold the controls. She should be the one to determine the questions, decide the level of detail and even define a schedule.
What do you think? Did you want to hear everything? Or "just the facts, ma'am". Can too much information create more problems? Or, if something is held back, might it re-emerge at a later date and create more problems?

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