Well, That was painful. I guess I was right to be nervous going into that first session. Thanks to my blogging, I was able to answer a lot of the questions as they were fresh in my mind.
We do have a strong relationship in many areas now that we’ve been communicating and actively working on our marriage.
We smiled and looked at each other lovingly as we talked about how we met and what attracted us to each other. Wow, that’s making me really angry and upset to recall right now.
The weakest point from Carol’s perspective is sex. I was a little shocked that she rated our sex life 2 out of 10, considering I gave her 2 orgasms this weekend but I understand the intercourse aspect is very much lacking.
We talked about our anxiety over sex over the years and the counsellor suggested I may want to see a sex therapist about it at some point. While we discussed this part, Carol and I looked at each other with sadness and regret. She felt she had failed me as a wife and I told her I was always feeling like a failure of a husband.
She knew about Carol’s infidelity from the brief phone call interview I had. It took her a while to get Carol to talk about it. The approach she took was, “Do you feel like you need to earn back your husband’s trust? Why?”
Finally, Carol said out loud, “I cheated on him.”
The counsellor said she does not judge people on that, that there is a reason, a failure in the marriage that led Carol to do that.
I became angry. “Well, how many times should I have cheated on Carol then?” I replied.
I told her this was a unique situation. The man had treated Carol worse than anybody else had over the past seven years, “at least from my perspective. Am I wrong?” I asked.
“He did not treat me well,” Carol responded.
I then learned that Carol was well aware that Rick had been pursuing her, making inappropriate comments before she finally gave in to him after our big fight. Also, she had heard rumours that he had pursued other workers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“You knew he was trying to get with you the whole time. You had all the warning signs. You’re so smart and strong. You hate people who cheat. You judge your employees for their drama. Are you serious?”
“You can’t underestimate how men in positions of power can manipulate. And with the ‘me too’ movement going on now, we’re seeing how much it happens,” the counsellor responded.
But it’s Carol, goddammit. She would know better. All the warning signs were there and she chose not to protect her marriage. She’s strong and opinionated. I’ve seen her easily talk down to that snivelling prick. She could’ve shut him down with ease. She chose to not resist. She chose this.
“He ruined her pregnancy,” I explained. I told the counsellor about Rick’s taking advantage of Carol’s work ethic while she was pregnant, robbing her of her natural birth. “And a couple of months later, he asks you to go with him to the book store, which he should’ve been doing with his wife but he was trying to date you,” I said. “And you were so damn forgiving to him and wouldn’t listen to my warnings, you actually wanted to go.”
“I was quick to forgive anyone,” she said.
“You never would’ve forgiven me if I did that,” I replied.
“After we separated, she would say how good of a friend he was, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Next thing that happens, he takes another ‘sick leave’ and leaves Carol to do both their jobs again, just like before. He goes home to his wife where he was immediately forgiven and he leaves Carol to do all the work, while her family had been torn apart. He was okay with her losing her family over being his side piece while he went home to his wife.”
“And as much as I was hurt and betrayed by her,” I turned and looked Carol directly into her tear-filled eyes, “I didn’t want her to hurt anymore. I want her to be happy.”
As we walked to the car, Carol took my hand. “How do you feel?” She asked.
“Bad,” I replied, trying to wipe away my tears.
“I don’t like how she excused what I did. It makes me feel worse,” she said.
She dropped me off back at my work and in the car, we looked at each other for a few moments. Carol reached out and caressed my chin. “We’ll get through this,” she said. We kissed and off I went.
Repeating in my head:
“How dedicated are you to making the marriage work?”
“I thought she would be more dedicated to making the marriage work than me,” I said.