Sunday, April 17, 2022

Just Enough

We've all heard the analogy of the frog and the boiling water, right? How a frog put into a pot of water that's slowly heated until it's boiling won't jump out because he's only barely aware that the water is getting hotter. It's happening so incrementally. Yet, if a frog is dropped into a pot of boiling water, he'll leap out with a "yikes, no way" (assuming frogs can talk). 

How many of our marriages are slowly boiling water? How many of us are oblivious frogs?

How many of us stay because it's Just Enough for us? 

How many of us, when our husbands stop showing up for us, turn to girlfriends, to sisters, to work, to hobbies? Maybe to less healthy relationships, like food, over-exercising, booze or drugs?

Just Enough.

A lot of us are queens of Just Enough. 

Just Enough keeps us confused but stationary.

Just Enough might have us occasionally wondering what's wrong but all too quickly blaming ourselves.

Just Enough is believing him when he says he's working late, that he's stressed, that he doesn't know what we're talking about, that we're just acting jealous, or crazy. 

We hang our entire lives on Just Enough.

What if, instead, we imagine ourselves, a decade ago, being dropped into the water in which we're in right now? Would we stay? Or would we jump the hell out? Would we scream no way!

Would we second-guess ourselves? Or would we know we already know, deep down? Something's wrong. I don't like this. I can't live in this situation. It is harmful to me.

Would we demand the truth, even after he insists he's giving it to us? Would we insist on seeking outside help, even if he says we're being ridiculous? Would we pack our bags because if no matter what he says, this isn't okay for us, this isn't healthy for us? 

What changes when we conclude that Just Enough is a death sentence? Either for us or our marriage?

Just Enough is our warning that we're in dangerous waters. That something has to change in order for us to thrive, to be our best, to parent well, to live well. 

The change can be us, it can be him, it can be our marriage. Ideally, it's all of those things. Because Just Enough is actually Not Enough At All. 


  1. Wow Elle, how true, this is the truest challenge for me

  2. Really needed to read this tonight Everytime I come here, I feel so much less alone and so understood.

    1. Anonymous, Which is exactly why we're here. To remind anyone who needs us that they are not alone, that they are understood, that their pain matters but it won't last forever. That they will get through this.

  3. 8 months ago I found a text message on my husband's phone, he denied it was anything more. At that point I felt betrayed but couldn't make a decision on my marriage based on a questionable text, I was accepting to live with being "content" ...3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with an STI; he finally started talking but gave me very little information, just a lot of self pity and self blame. I don't have the words to express my emotions yet and maybe I never will, but reading your notes is making me feel better about myself. I just found your site today and looking forward to reading more.

    1. I'm so sorry. So often we "know" the truth before we officially know it. You know the truth. And now it's up to you to decide what to do with it. He doesn't get to indulge his pity and self-blame if he wants to save his marriage. He needs to own up to what he did and pledge to doing everything he can to make up for the damage he's caused. Anything less isn't near enough. I'm glad you found us. You're among women who know exactly what you're going through. We've been there. We know your pain. We also know you will get through this.

  4. I have been devouring this site since I came across it a few days ago. Yesterday was 4 months since D-DAY and the day before was our 13th wedding anniversary. My husband had an emotional affair for 2 months with his high school girlfriend. They dated for a few years in high school and a semester in college until she finally broke it off due to religious differences (she was/is Mormon, my H was/is not Mormon). ). I have been fine with them communicating briefly on and off over the years via social media. He has been upfront with me when they have touched base but this time he did not tell me. And things grew from messages on Instagram to emails that grew in intensity. This led to communicating via Instagram throughout the day with a few video chats. And then around Christmas things escalated to sexual messages. I found the emails on January 10 and I confronted him. I never ever in a million years thought this would happen. And not only was the affair shocking but my husband's ambivalence about our marriage. Again I was absolutely devastated and shocked. Not only did he cheat on me with the only other love of his life but he isn't even sure he can stay married to me. And here we are 4 months later and he is still not sure about reconciliation (it makes me feel like I am the one who cheated). We are both doing individual counseling, doing an online affair recovery program and have a marriage counselor that we have seen a few times. But I am so confused about how long I am supposed to sit with his ambivalence? In February he asked that we interact as friends (ie no sex no kissing no I love yous) and I have stuck to that save for a ILY. We still sleep in the same bed do things as a family (we have 8 & 2yo) and interact amicably. This is not the man I have known and I do suspect some depression (partly based on some of the ways he was acting even before the affair). There has been no contact with the AP since DDay - of course there is a chance he is lying to me but I really don't believe he is. The other day he that if he does pursue a divorce he wants me to see him as the failure and not myself. And he says yes there are hurts and resentments from our marriage but in the end he isn't holding those against me. He says I am the most important person to him and that he cares about me and does not like hurting me. if he is depressed or just still.coming out of the fog/limerence how hard should I push? He has always been a big big thinker/analyzer and he has to take his time to think our things (INTP for any MBTI people out there). But his ambivalence is wearing me down. I'm fully committed to restoring our marriage but I am not going to open myself up but so much to him until he can say he is fully committed. Grant you out marriage has been far from perfect but there is no reason it should have gone from needing work to I might just walk away. I feel like my husband is a coward and is hiding behind all this other bullshit (marriage should not be this hard, how many happy old married couples do you see, maybe someone could make you happier, we aren't compatible, we have hit out potential etc). I have grown leaps and bounds personally and am excited to see how I grow but I truly love my husband and think we can have something beautiful. But I am scared of the man he is right now and don't know how long to let him stew in his mind.

    1. M,
      Welcome to our shores, where none of us ever wanted to land. What you describe is incredibly common. A guy finds a fantasy -- a world in which he's exciting and interesting and not being nagged about bills or whose turn it is to drive a child to soccer practice. How can any marriage compete with that? How can any marriage, with its day-in-day-out mundanity compete with a fantasy? It can't. Your husband is a fence-sitter. On some level, I suspect, he knows what he'd be losing if he left. On the other, he wants to be able to carry on with the fantasy while not losing the reality. You can wait as long or as short as you'd like -- there are no rules except the ones you make ("My heartbreak, my rules" is our motto). But I wonder if this guy would sit forever if he doesn't get pushed off the fence.
      Meanwhile, you imagine an incredible marriage while existing in one in which he doesn't let you tell him you love him, or express any affection. If a friend described this to you, would you encourage you to just hang in there? What might you say to her? We all get to make our own choices, of course, and each marriage is different. All true. But sometimes it can help to try and see objectively to get a sense of what we're tolerating...and why.
      I understand your desire to fight for your marriage. I felt that too. I had three kids and it mattered to me that they grow up in an "intact" household. But you can't do this alone. If he won't meet you half way, then I think, at some point, you'll want to make that decision for him. And yes, it will be his failure. His failure to prioritize his family. His failure to be honest. His failure.

  5. Elle, and others who are years into this journey, Im curious how you handle DD anniversaries? My 3 year DDversary is soon. We have made tremendous progress as individuals and as a couple, our marriage is loving and supportive and strong now. Of course I still have bad days and trauma triggers etc. But I'm 1000 times better than I was! I know he wont notice the exact date (I'm the crazy date person in the family, he's always amazed at dates I remember but of course this is one I'll never forget). When the last two rolled around I wasnt as nearly healed. I wanted to talk about it, and we did. This time I'm torn. Do I just let it pass? Bring it up but as a reminder of how far we've come? Who knows, the date may trigger me and it end up being a bad emotional day?! Just curious what others do about DDversaries. Thanks as always Elle. There are not enough words for how you have helped me and my marriage!

    1. My D-Day is tomorrow, 2 years ago from when my marriage imploded. Honestly, I can say I'm shocked at how much I have healed so far and yet the anticipation of D-Day is causing me a tremendous amount of pain.

      As much as I'd like to treat it as another day, I don't think I'll ever not remember that soul crushing moment in time when the truth of all that was wrong in my marriage was finally revealed.

      Last year H and I went out on a lunch date while our kids were at school and it was good to remember what a terrible day that was and also recognize how many steps we have taken and changes that we have made to prevent us from becoming those broken people ever again.

  6. M,
    My situation is very similar to yours. My dday was September 3rd. Our 10 yr anniversary was October 7th. It was miserable with so many people wishing us a happy anniversary and I couldn't say anything. His affair started with someone at his company but he doesn't work with her. They met through coworkers who meet once a month for lunch. What my husband thought was a friendship developing turned into the whore bombarding him with texts full of flirtatious sexual innuendos and selfies that were enhanced by an app. She knew full well that he was married. He told me that it took him 2 weeks to realize what she was doing and wanted her to stop yet at the same time, "kind of liked it". She is 15 yrs younger than him. After she sent 163 texts and 34 selfies within a month, he started to return texts. The following month they were sexting with massive amounts of texts. Her 669 and him 435. My husband is not a big texter. During that month she also sent him 92 selfies! It wasn't until after I discovered their affair that they started sleeping together. It took me two months to realize that i should look at phone records. Over the fall and winter I caught him 5 times. Neither one of us wanted a divorce but he could not stop. He was obsessed. I understand now that it was limerence. I should have kicked him out but thought I could "control him" if we lived together. I put a tracker on his phone and would catch him over there. She lives 2 blocks away. The 1st few times that I caught him I naively thought he had ended it. They are both flight attendents and on December 17th while I was having surgery, my husband was in the waiting room talking to her and trying to figure out how they could get a trip together.

    Starting December 18th he stopped contacting her but we were doing a lot of fighting and I told him to leave. I thought time apart would be good for us. He went right over to her place and SHE actually ended it. Time apart was good and after 2 months i let him move back. We have been in counseling and are both seeing therapists. We love each other and have been together for 20 yrs.

    She was never interested in developing a relationship and she actually told him not to get divorced. This was while they were sleeping together. He thought that he was in love with her but she was only interested in sex. During this time my husband was having memory problems and was neuropsych tested in November. I wanted to assume it was from living a double life. We only just saw the results last week and it is possible that he has dementia related to alzheimers. I'm currently trying to get him into a memory clinic.

    Our marriage is better but I am still so very angry. ANGRY with her for being so evil and enticing a married man. As for my husband, my anger ebbs and flows. It seems that i may have something much bigger to deal with now but I feel cheated in a way. How can I work through these feelings of anger knowing that my husband may be getting dementia? I should be focusing on what time we have left together.

  7. Thank you so much for being here and for this post ❤️❤️❤️



Related Posts with Thumbnails