Reflecting on an Undocumented Session

The last time I saw HT in therapy, I didn’t provide the full details of the session in a blog post. We mostly discussed my health but at the end of the session, there was an exchange about Carol that I’ve been thinking about:

“She had to do something so terrible to realize that what she really wanted was already here. Now, she has the life she wants with the man she wants but it came at a cost: my loyalty. I no longer feel obligated to stay with her if times get tough. I always said I’d be there to take care of her, like her grandfather did for her grandmother, but now, I doubt I’d stay by her side in that situation,” I said.

“That is punishing her,” HT replied.

“Is it? What about not forcing myself to do something I don’t want to do for someone who doesn’t deserve it from me?”

“Is she not redeemable? She is human. She made a mistake,” said HT.

“It’s not longer a mistake when you do something willingly over and over for years.”

“True, but don’t you think that she’ll be there for you if you were in the same situation as her grandparents with the roles reversed?” HT asked.

“No. She betrayed me when I was getting better after my health crisis. I was fighting to get as better as I could get and she went off and betrayed me. No way she’d stick around when times get tough.”

This was in mid-August. I still have not booked a follow-up.

I still believe there’s a real chance that I’ll just up and walk away from this marriage at any point. It’s still much more the family unit than Carol herself that keeps me around. I say ‘family unit’ rather than ‘kids’ because it is also Carol being part of my family that makes it complete. Kind of a ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ situation, if that makes any sense.

I think maybe if I stick around long enough that we reach the stage in our lives where Carol’s health may be declining, I imagine I’d probably be in it for the long haul by then. If we hit a really rough patch now though, I just don’t think I have it in me to see it through at this stage. Time and circumstances will tell.

I do think a lot of my thoughts of leaving are thoughts of punishing. I think about our relationship continuing to go great as far as she’s concerned, and then suddenly I give her the shock of her life and tell her I’m out. Sometimes, I imagine us standing with our arms around each other as the last child leaves the nest and as soon as the door closes, I turn to her and say, In spite of all you did, I still managed to give our kids the childhood I never had. My work is done now, have a nice life, I’m out.

The punishing thoughts come from my hurt. Carol has hurt me tremendously, and I have fantasies of giving at least a little of that hurt back to her. Anytime I think of leaving, there is at least some amount of wanting to cause hurt in those thoughts.

I still am doubtful about whether Carol would be by my side if my health were on the decline. I think it’s possible that things would be different as Carol has been putting in the work to be a better person but I wouldn’t put my money on her standing by my side through another crisis.

I think of leaving her the most when I’m at work, less when we are at home, and almost not at all when we’re out together or are being intimate. It does come up in her presence and it’s usually just out of anger and I start pushing her away. One night, I had multiple bad dreams about her and apparently, I quite literally pushed her away in my sleep when she tried to snuggle.

The internal struggle is real. I’m still picking those petals (I love her, I love her not), in an endless back and forth. It’s just that all of life is good and bad. You have something good, you get the bad that comes with it. You leave something bad, you lose the good that came with it. And sometimes whether it’s more good or bad is just a matter of your perception in the moment.

She’s a different person now, so much better to me than ever before, but the past is just as real as if it’s happening right now. The flashes of conversations, arguments, discoveries- sometimes I go down that rabbit hole just to look for reasons to be mad, reasons to leave. Other times, it appears out of nowhere when something related causes it to pop in my head, an old memory with a new darkness around it.

Yes, she is different now but what she did was so beyond infidelity, it’s too much to forgive, to process, to accept as a terrible thing and move on. But it was also so beyond infidelity, it was clearly the actions of someone completely broken and at their lowest, it was almost a suicide of sorts.

Yes, but, no, but, yes, but, no, but…

I cannot process this. Well, maybe I can. Maybe someday I’ll process it and discard it.

Maybe I should take it easier on myself. After all, I’m not so much being indecisive as I am giving myself time to try to process it and leave it behind. I’m in the second year of this relationship now. That is a decision: trying out a new relationship.

It’s okay to be uncertain. So, yeah, that’s what I’m going to continue to be for now.

Now I remember why I started writing. Because it feels good to get it out and when I do, I end up providing myself some insight.

Thanks, me.

And thanks to you for reading and writing your own thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on an Undocumented Session

  1. Everything you have described is what happened to me, especially at the stage you are at now. Then I moved on to a phase where I just felt as if I was leaving D behind, but he had the temerity to stick with it, as I have said before, he hung on like a Limpet; and I recognised how hard that was, respected him for it, loved him for it and eventually we evolved to where we are today. It’s all normal Jack, just keep going, life will show you the way. R ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this blog and https://makingthisbetter.com/2019/09/26/the-power-lies-with-you/ quite regularly. And the thoughts of both of you resonate with me so much.

    I am staying now, but I go through these thoughts regularly – of hurting her, giving back to her, fear of losing the good that is there, what we constructed. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish is it fear or is it revenge or is it just the futility of it all.
    However, my spirituality helps me reign in some of the negative thoughts but the internal struggle is a very intense one. And you seem to sometimes get lost in that internal dialogue.

    I read in Rosie’s blog that ultimately the betrayed has the power in his/her hands to make things up. I found that statement profoundly honest. I get it totally.

    But I have a hard time understanding this – “Then I moved on to a phase where I just felt as if I was leaving D behind, but he had the temerity to stick with it, as I have said before, he hung on like a Limpet” Maybe I will with time,

    Thanks Jack for baring your mind and heart here- seeing both and Rosie express yourself, I think, I should also keep a journal/blog for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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