Changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope is a beautiful thing.  But it needs to be nurtured and backed up with devotion, commitment and a heck of a lot of grit and determination.  I am very happy to say that, every one of those elements are in place right now.  I think my husband had his Come to Jesus moment as one blogger calls it.  Perhaps that was his rock bottom.  I’ll never know because I am not in his head.  But he’s been seeing his therapist weekly now.  And wow, what a difference that has made.

For starters, I’m no longer viewed as the bad guy for wanting him to step up, act responsibly and with foresight to ultimately lead our family.  He now gets that message from his therapist!  She’s making him accountable each and every week, with things he knows he should “do” but always found excuses not to.

Our normal routine is that he will brain dump after every session.  I did have some concerns that she was focused on creating new habits rather than digging into the core reasons behind his shitty behaviors.  I’ve been married to him for nearly 2 decades, so I can say with certainty that I know the man.  Trust me, he is a people pleaser at his core.  And it stems from being adopted and not wanting to be abandoned by anyone (since essentially, that is how he views what happened to him).

I brought up my concerns and he thought it would be a good idea if I met her.  So I did that a few weeks ago.  I gave her the cliff note version of his affair, mine with CEO and how things recently came to a head and I thought our marriage was 100% over.  I gave credit, where credit was due – explaining all the positive changes I have seen in him since starting therapy.  But also mentioned, “I love this new attentive husband of mine.  Trust me, he is great at kicking into high gear after one of our marriage talks.  The issue has always been that it’s short-lived and fizzles out.  I don’t want to lose this new dynamic and I am afraid of that.”

But I’m not sitting here dwelling on that to happen.  I do believe that he is transforming.  We both are.  Together.  In the right direction.

That’s when she asked, “So how was your birthday?”

“Oh my gosh.  I was so blown away.  You don’t understand.  He never does stuff like that.  It literally made me cry.  I was THAT shocked.  Seeing everyone there, friends from near and far….it just, well- it meant the world to know that he even tried.”

As I paused I noticed the therapist breaking into an enormous smile.  I couldn’t help but think – she’s been behind this all along.

Friends, I celebrated another year getting younger.  Yep- I’m stuck at 21.  I don’t make a fuss over my birthday and to be honest, CEO blew mine off.  He did of course, congratulate me on turning another year younger (when we were in the midst of having our affair).  Big woop.  My husband on the other hand, pulled off a major surprise.

We had gone out for a birthday dinner (just the two of us) but stopped off for a glass of wine at a trendy Italian restaurant with a fantastic bar.  As our reservation time got closer, I started to get antsy.  I wanted to know where we were going, which was part of the surprise.  I finagled three guesses out of my husband, as we sat there finishing our drinks.

Is it in X city? (Yes)

Have we been there before? (Yes)

Hmmmmmm I thought.  Ok so it can’t be Blah restaurant.  And it can’t be Blah Blah either.  We’ve never been to those yet.  So I am guessing it’s XX restaurant.  Am I right?  Huh, huh?

He just grinned and said, “I have a feeling you are going to enjoy tonight” as he took another sip of his Allagash.

A few minutes later, it was finally time to leave.  As we drove along the corridor, I stared out the window looking at the beautiful board and batten homes.  Each one, lovely in their own right.  That’s when he pulled up to park, at the rear of a boutique hotel.  There’s restaurants adjacent to the hotel, so I didn’t think much of it.  I started throwing out more guesses then.

Are we going to ABC Restaurant or XX Bistro?  But he wouldn’t say a word.

We walked towards the restaurants, hand in hand, when he suddenly pulled mine sharply to the left, so that I faced the hotel entrance.

That’s when my eye caught a table of 14 women, all standing up–saying, “Surprise!”

I literally walked up the stairs and my dearest mommie friends, from near and far were all there.  I stood there speechless.  Literally.  Speechless.  Then the tears started, which I brushed away quickly.  Laura (from my story–the one who gave advice to me when I thought I had feelings for Billy–aka reunion boy) was there.  My guy best friends wife (who is like family) was there.  My newest neighbor, who just had a baby and whose husband was out of town for a month (all very valid reasons as to why you couldn’t make such a event) was there too.  And then I had my posse of moms that I see every week– the friends that make me laugh till I cry.  The ones who I can communicate with solely by funny GIFS and memes, bitching about life, marriage and if it’s appropriate to drink wine at noon.  Alone.

I had friends that had driven hours to get there.  And friends who live just a few streets away.  All my favorite women were sitting at one table.  And it was beautiful.  So, so beautiful.

Once the tears of shock wore off, my brain was trying to decipher everybody I saw.  As I looked around the table, I realized there were no husbands at all.  Thats strange–where are all the men?  That’s when one of my dearest friends said, “Kate–your husband has been planning this for weeks.  I even asked him why?  My husband would NEVER do this.”

Stunned I said, “Really?  Weeks?”

“Yeah.  He told me he noticed you always light up whenever you talk about hanging out with your girls friends.  So he planned a Girls Night Out, as he wanted you to shine on your birthday.  He wanted that as his gift to you.”

Well, that just started the tears all over again.  I leaned over whispering into my husband ear, “Thank you” as he said, “I gotta go now.  Have fun with your ladies.  I’ll pick up the kids.  Just make sure Kate gets home safely ok ladies?”

The whole table erupted into a giant, “Yes” as the wine continued to pour and laughter ensued.

It was a beautiful night.  Spent with beautiful friends.  And it made me realize, just how much my husband truly gets me.  And that he does notice who I still am, under this cloak of motherhood and responsibility I proudly wear.

When dinner was over, we headed to a nearby bar.  It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and they have a DJ spinning on the weekends.  One of my girlfriends explained, “Your husband arranged this next.”  I stood there- blown away while she gave the doorman some name and viola, we were all taken inside.  I couldn’t help but smile (and send my husband a text to say thank you, yet again!).  He wasn’t there, yet I felt very taken care of.  I felt special and loved and adored.  Everything any woman would desire to feel.

It was a beautiful evening friends.

Walking down the stairs, to the thumping house music, my only concern was whether or not my 5″ heels could handle being danced in all night.  That and keeping my alcohol consumption in check.

The shoes held up fine.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  But that’s what Sundays are for right?

Recovering.

 

 

 

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Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you are facing the collapse of your marriage, it’s a pretty surreal moment. For me, it felt like I was standing on the side of a cliff. And here was my husband failing miserably at a variety of mundane tasks- but I couldn’t save him anymore. I reached a point where I had nothing left to give. It was like I was watching a comedy of errors with regards to his behavior. But I stood firmly planted on solid ground, unable and unwilling to give him any further rope.

After I published my last post, he read it and was ashamed of his behavior. We talked that night and then the following day, things seemed eerily quiet during afternoon. We banned the children from our room and calmly talked about our relationship– from beginning to end, rehashing every major pivotal moment in between. It ended with me saying, “I deserve to have a husband that I can rely upon. I need and want a partner who will lead this family and our marriage. I can’t fill every role, while you sit idly by acting like an irresponsible twelve year old. Your behavior is appalling. I don’t respect you when you behave so irresponsibly. And I’m not attracted to you whatsoever when you behave like this. I no longer wish to have sex with you. I don’t want to share a bed with you. I’m done.”

And that was that.

He slept on the hardwood floors of our living room for three nights, until I finally said that was insane. At the very least, take the bed in our daughters room. I will move her into our bed, after she falls asleep each night. So that’s what I did. She’s a lot heavier these days, so this wasn’t the easiest of tasks. Every morning, I awoke to her angelic face. I had forgotten just how lovely she is sleeping next to me. It made me think back upon all those naps we took together when she was an infant/toddler. And how quickly the time was passing by us. Quite honestly, I enjoyed the renewed bond I felt those evenings and her presence became the highlight of my day. She would awaken each morning, and we would get just enough time to cuddle and have girl talks before Zane crawled into bed too. It was nice and sweet, despite the undercurrent which brought her into my bed.

The following day, I had tons of work to do, so I left for the day. But when I came home, my husband was dressed in his Hugo Boss suit, as if he had a conference to attend. Only, he didn’t. I must have looked at him bizarrely because he offered up right away, “Everything I have done before wasn’t working. So today, I am doing everything different.” Normally, he would be working in casual clothes but recently he had stayed in his pajamas, that’s how lazy he had become. So finding him dressed to the nines, and sitting working on his laptop, taking conference calls–well it was just funny to see. As I began washing the piles of dishes he created that day, I couldn’t help but smirk. A wave of pessimism washed over me.  If putting on a Hugo Boss suit makes you feel better about your crumbling marriage (and if that somehow is going to change directions for you), knock yourself out there buddy.

But I didn’t say that. I’m not that cruel…but the cynic in me certainly thought it. Call it years of hearing words but never seeing actions. It seemed as if he was grabbing at straws.

We went to bed that night, barely saying a word unless it was regarding the children. There was an obvious tension between us with minimal eye contact exchanged. The following night, he slept in the other room and truthfully, I was grateful for the distance. I needed space away from him. His presence honestly repulsed me.

On my daily run, I kept seeing For Rent signs everywhere. Considering we live at a high demand beach, you don’t see many of them. It felt like a sign: that I was meant to move out. As I ran, I would dream of a little beach cottage. Just me and the kids. Even if it meant living in a tiny one bedroom, I would make it work to stay where we live. To keep the kids lives the same. Schools etc. But then the realist popped back into my head and screamed, “There is no way you could handle living in a tiny apartment, even if it was at the beach. Having neighbors resting upon neighbors- so close like cockroaches. You know that would drive you nuts. You need space. Solitude. And peace and quiet. Not the sound of bottles being smashed at 2 am every weekend by inconsiderate beach dwellers.” My fantasy quickly evaporated into reality once I reached the last mile of my run.

That evening I went to bed, much the same as I had before: mentally exhausted and forlorn.

The following day, my husband seemed driven. Exuberant in his conference calls. He had a pep to his step and he was acting like a man on a mission. It was borderline annoying and somewhat delusional as I thought,” Doesn’t he realize our marriage is kaput?” As I made fresh grapefruit juice, he stood in the kitchen and asked, “Can I use your car this afternoon?” Before I had a chance to respond he added, “I made an appointment with a therapist. I have an appointment during my lunch hour. She’s covered by our insurance and highly rated online.” I’m not going to say I was impressed because after years of becoming so disillusioned, it’s going to take a helluva lot more than one appointment to reverse this marriage. But I felt hopeful in that moment. And thats a huge thing friends. Because this has never happened before.

As I walked through the kitchen, I noticed it was cleaned. Dishes done. Counters wiped. Dog fed. Sticky notes were put on cabinets with reminders to buy grocery items that he used the last of. And the trash cans were taken to the curb. All of them.

I could see he was truly trying. He’s always “tried” in the past too, but only for a few weeks and then it was back to the lazy habits. I recognize his efforts are certainly better than nothing. But truthfully, I wasn’t holding my breathe. Real effective change is a long term result which won’t be seen for a long time. I am however, quietly optimistic.

And hopeful for a redeemed marriage.

 

 

 

The Marriage Counselor

“My therapist won’t see us as a couple.  She said she is too involved with me already and it wouldn’t be fair to you.  She wouldn’t be impartial.  So she gave me some referrals but none of the marriage counselors are on our insurance plan.”  That is how the following morning started, in between dressing Vivian and prepping snacks in advance for V’s entire preschool.  Getting dressed he said, “Ok let me see what I can dig up today once I get to work.”

As anyone who lives in Los Angeles understands, asking for therapist referrals on a mommy blog was akin to standing on the 405 freeway, at rush hour, with a blow horn.  Pretty much every mother in the entire LA basin was throwing out recommendations.  So once I kept hearing the same three or four therapists, I knew I had my short list.  That explains how I was able to get into therapy so quickly.

Now Hubby offering to find a marriage counselor was 1) a chance for me to offload some of the work in sorting through our marriage problems but 2) fraught with the very real fear he would likely pull out the yellow pages (like who uses those things anymore?).

We are polar opposites in that way.  So I am telling you this upfront.  To be fair, I drive him nuts with my penchant for thoroughness.  I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and will gladly dive knee-deep into any subject till I become an expert on it, only to abandon it and take up the next topic.  Just how I am.  However, my husband is the exact opposite (can you say yin to my yang–is that even correct?   Whatever.  You get what I am trying to explain).

My husbands lackadaisical attitude towards life in general is embedded in his culture.  I can’t divulge more than that without fear of exposing who he is.  But let’s just say, he comes from an entire country that relishes in being laid back.  And no, he is not from Jamaica.

It’s safe to say that when he found a marriage counselor, I approached our first session with extreme caution.  We both pulled into the parking lot at the same time and I distinctly remember things were really icy between us.  Despite wanting to extend forgiveness, I was combating waves of anger still or maybe it was just hormones.  Who knows.

We entered the therapists office and sat down.  He was fumbling about and clearly unorganized.  And he was slow like molasses in everything he did.  It was beyond annoying because he would ask a question, and then close his eyes for several minutes while he pondered another.  I couldn’t help but think, “This twat is milking our therapy session!”  Despite having several diplomas all over his walls, he lacked any real social skills needed to be a therapist.  That’s academia for you.

“So what are you hoping to achieve?” he implored.

“Why….I want to know why he chose to do this.  Without understanding the why, I can’t move forward.” That is what I said to him.

Incredibly, he replied like Yoda from the movie Star Wars, “You…..may never…get that answered.  The why…does not matter.”

My my mind was racing at full speed and I could feel my heart pounding.  I wish I could say it was because I was pregnant.  Or that someone kidnapped my manners.  But when faced with idiots who lack common sense, I feel compelled (no rather it’s my duty to all of mankind) to inform them of their ridiculous notions.

“Listen here Yoda.  I went to Starbucks this morning.  I ordered a plain bagel and iced latte (it’s ok people the new guidelines say pregnant women can have a cup now and again).  I know why I ordered that.  Because I wanted it.  I craved having carbs and needed some caffeine.  Don’t tell me for a second that my husband doesn’t know why he decided to fuck someone else.  We all make choices.  And we all know why we do that.  We’ve hired you to get to the bottom of the “why”.  If you’re not on the same page, then I am out of here.”

We ended up storming out of his office and fighting in the parking lot.  Me leaving in one car, my husband in another.  And that was the extent of our marriage counseling.  To date.

Needless to say, things were back to being miserable between us.