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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

choices

What started off as a relaxing Thursday night, ended in total frustration.  You see, the trackball on my Blackberry broke off several days prior and I decided to order a new phone to replace the old one. After discussing my options with the sales representative, I was quoted a decent price for a new Blackberry phone with a $100 mail in rebate and a new two year agreement.  I decided to go for it and purchase the new phone.  When I received the new phone and called to activate it, I was informed that my mail in rebate would not be eligible.  So after being quoted a certain price, I was expected to either pay the additional $100 or return the phone.  After speaking with a regular representative, a supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor, my options were limited.  Either activate the new phone and lose $100 or return the phone and wait for a reimbursement on my credit card that takes up to two billing cycles.  This had me livid!  So, either way, I was being screwed over – either spending the additional $100 or having to wait 60 days for my money back once the company got their phone. 

I was completely frustrated to the point of tears. After explaining the situation to my husband and going on and on about “my crappy options”, I decided to take a breather for the night and watch some TV with wine as I originally planned to do.  ML had shut himself off in the other room.  Again, this upset me.  Here we go again with him isolating.  I wanted to share a little TV time with him, and he’s off in la la land in the next room.  After an hour of waiting for him, he comes out with my old blackberry with the trackball attached. Granted, the phone looked like a child’s science experiment, but it was functional.  Instead of being thankful, I was annoyed. “I don’t want that ugly phone!  What am I suppose to do with that?”  He said: “Well, you wanted options, this is an option.”  I decided I didn’t like this option and promised myself to continue in my search for the right answer.

After ML had left to work in the morning, I decided to take a closer look at the phone. The phone was actually a little over a year old.  I actually got it the day before I was leaving on my destination wedding trip.  I remembered being so excited to get my new Blackberry and playing with it the entire time at the airport as we waited for our flights.  However, like my marriage, the phone had a very rough first year.  During my beach getaway with my sister, I left the phone out in the sun too long and it acquired some screen damage. When ML came to pack up his stuff after we had separated, I flung the phone at him out of anger and frustration causing it to get all scuffed up.   Not to mention my own “klutzy” nature, dropping the cell phone on numerous occasions.  I thought a new phone – like leaving the relationship with my husband – was the magic solution to my problems. But what is a new phone if I’m still a hopeless klutz? Or a new relationship if I’m still a crazy codependent? I immediately called ML to thank him for fixing my phone and to apologize for my bratty behavior the night before. He seemed really happy that his efforts did not go unnoticed and accepted my apology. At the end of the day, I decided to choose my eyesore of a phone instead of keeping the new one, like I choose this less-than perfect marriage. The phone (like my marriage) may no longer be shiny and new, but it’s still works – and that’s all that matters!!

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Couples Therapy

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We are scheduled to meet with a marriage counselor tonight. Surprisingly, part of me is not looking forward to this meeting.  I think I’m a little “therapied out” at the moment. In addition, between work, therapy, group meetings & phone calls, there’s not much time left in the day for anything else.  I wouldn’t mind incorporating a couples session with our existing therapists (both ML & I go to our own individual therapists), but to add an extra third party to the mix seems a little redundant to me. Dr. X ( my therapist) seems to agree, suggesting that we might benefit from seeing either herself or ML’s therapist for couples sessions every other week because they are both already familiar with our stories.  While ML’s therapist thinks that going to a separate therapist for couples counseling is best. ML seems to be siding with his therapist, insisting on a neutral third party therapist.

So here we are.  I’m not sure we’ll be able to afford another out-of-network therapist, but I want to give it a try – even if it’s only for ML’ s sake.  This seems to be very important to him. He even researched, contacted and scheduled the appointment with the therapist (to my pleasant surprise!). So even though I’m not exactly feeling this at the moment, I guess one session can’t hurt.

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silence

ML and I had a rough weekend.  For the last few weeks, everything was going wonderfully.  ML was being kind, considerate and compassionate.  But like the subtle change of the season, so are the changes that have been occuring in our relationship.  The changes have been small: anything from walking to the next room to watch TV alone (while we’re sitting together) or not engaging in conversation on our date nights.  I’ve been keeping mum about it for the most part, but while we were out to dinner on Friday (and again he was not engaging), I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him I noticed he’s been quiet all night and is everything ok.  He then replied:  I don’t have anything to talk about.  I was crushed.  Here we were at a fun restaurant on a Friday night.  The tables were packed with young couples and groups of friends having a good time together, and then there we were sitting quietly while eating our meals. I even stuffed my face too much as means to distract from the silence ( and perhaps eat my feelings while at it). It wasn’t that we had nothing to talk about, but that he wasn’t even trying to talk to me, even if only small talk.   On the way home, I told him how hurt I was that he had disengaged during our entire night together.  The whole conversation then escalated with me in tears and him saying how unhappy he feels.  He feels unhappy because he feels like he’s walking on eggshells.  I know changing was not going to be an easy process for him, but I never expected him to be unhappy.  The night ended with promises that he will try harder next time and me too tired to even care. 

Saturday pretty much came and went without much interaction. I went to visit my sister most of the day and he attended his Saturday night meeting.  Sunday, I worked from 8AM to 4PM.  When I came home, I suggested that we go get a bite to eat together and go pick up a few things at the supermarket.  During the meal and shopping excursion, we had very limited conversation, except for the occasional “pass the ketchup” or “pick up  a pack of the Chips Ahoy cookies, they’re on sale” comment.  By the time we parked the car, I couldn’t help but break down in tears.  I asked him what was going on with him. I feel so hurt. I feel like he’s detaching from me.  I tell him that we don’t need to talk every second, but we barely exchanged words the entire weekend. Our schedules are already packed with work, meetings, therapy and phone calls, how could we have nothing to talk about when we share so little time together as it is?  I’m scared that this a sign that things are going downhill again.  The only thing he could muster up was an “I know”.  I left the car  with such a heavy heart.  Where do you go when you pour out your heart and only get an “I know” as a response. I was hoping that he would take the opportunity to communicate with me, but he didn’t.  I knew that this situation would escalate out of control if I didn’t do something.  So, I decided to call some program folks. I didn’t mention what was happening with me & ML, but just talking to someone and getting my bearings helped bring me some serenity in that moment.

The night ended quietly.  I cooked a lasagna. We watched a little Dexter. And the weekend ended in silence.  I feel a little loss.  I don’t understand what’s happening.  I don’t understand why ML is pulling away.  Maybe he’s white-knuckling it. Maybe he’s getting too comfortable.  Maybe he’s on the verge of relapsing.  I don’t know anymore. I try to keep the focus on me. I tried to take care of myself this weekend, but that doesn’t mean that ML’s silence didn’t hurt. Or that I wasn’t disappointed all over again and completely exhausted.  Though I managed myself pretty well in this situation, I still feel very sad and just writing this is making me teary eyed.  I’m going to a meeting tonight.  I don’t know what else I can do.

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Walking in New Shoes

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After moving back in with my husband, I’m coming to realize how much I’ve missed him during our time apart.  I especially missed the person I knew before his addiction spiraled out of control. I missed the great couple we were when it was just the two of us.  Every night feels like I’m coming home to my best friend.  We’re a great team around the house – he cleans & I cook.  We’ve been going out for date nights and enjoying as much quality time as possible.  We stay up together watching late night TV.  And sometimes, he wakes up extra early to make me one of his “famous” breakfast sandwiches I love so much or surprises me with dinner when I’m late in coming home from work.  He’s being kind and sensitive to my feelings.  We go to meetings together and meet up beforehand for a quick bite and conversation. We  talk, talk, talk.  Talk about our feelings. Talk about recovery. Talk about our future.  I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying his company again.  This is the man I grew to love over the years.

All that being said…Part of me still struggles with feeling a sense of ownership over this new relationship status – like it’s not really my life I’m living. Part of me doesn’t want to get  too attached to these good feelings because I’m afraid a crisis is waiting for us around the corner.  Part of me is afraid to try on this relationship. Like being afraid to try on a beautiful pair of shoes at the store, because if you actually try them on, it’s so much harder to walk away from them when it’s ultimately the time to leave. My prayer every day is to stay in the present. Enjoy this time in my life. But how do you live in the moment whenyou can’t forget the past?  I know there’s no answer, so I’m just taking it a day at a time. There’s nothing else to do but to enjoy these pretty shoes while I still can…

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Mean Girl

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Adjusting to married life again has proven to be an emotionally challenging task for me.  Part of me wants to move away from the pain and suffering of the last 12 months,  but not without causing ML the same kind of pain.  I’m expressing my feelings, not necessarily to purge them, but to guilt and shame him into deeper levels of remorse.  My sense of self-righteousness is at it’s all time high.  I find myself wanting to win every disagreement – no matter how big or small.  And if ML tries to stand in my way, I play the “addiction card” and he has no choice but to back down.  

The problem with this is I’m feeling terrible about my behavior.  I’m turning into this mean and ruthless person I don’t even recognize.  The sad part is that I don’t get any kind of satisfaction from watching ML squirm. Deep down, I know I don’t want revenge.  I’m just hurting and I’m not sure how to cope.  I feel like I’m slipping back  into dangerous territory, trying to engage ML in the codie/addict dance.  I know I said I felt that program stuff was consuming a lot of my time.  But I’m thinking if I don’t latch on to my recovery tools, I’ll eventually be lost in this pain.  And it will no longer be the pain of changing that I experienced in the past, but the sick pain of staying the same.  Today, I’m reminded (once again) that I still have a long road ahead and that there’s still a lot of cleaning to do on my side of the street. 

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This week I had the pleasure of attending a training course held by my company for employees across the fifty states. The training was pretty incredible and I wished I could have gone to such a conference in the beginning of my career with the company.  They decided to end the series with a guest speaker (of the motivational type) about the importance of providing excellent service to our clients.  I was already feeling a bit down and bitter since my peers were expressing much love for their jobs and their respective team players, and I was unable to express the same amount of passion for my line of work.  The truth is that up until that point I was unsatisfied with my position and felt that my peers were facing the same hardships.  To my surprise, I was the odd man out in an unhappy working relationship. Since I’ve been with the company, I have been bounced around the office and placed with the most difficult teams due to my “people pleasing” nature.  Whenever there’s a difficult team that my fellow coworkers will not touch, they are automatically assigned to me.  However, when discovery happened back in January, I was in  no condition to handle such a demanding workload.  I was already being treated sub par at work, add to the fact that my personal life was falling apart, I pretty much came to work and underperformed.  I was able to shift a lot of the blame for my tardiness in completing assignments and mistakes to having difficult teams and a high work volume, and slowly but surely, my quality of work diminished and so did my motivation to excel.  I was stuck in the worst kind of rut – I really didn’t give a shit anymore!

So when this guest speaker spoke about doing ourselves and the company the favor by “getting off the bus” if we were not natural service oriented people, I felt panic.  I did not want to get off the bus. I love my service-oriented field, but disliked the difficult teams I was placed with. So after the meeting, I had a bone to pick with this speaker.  I was almost in tears as I approached him.  I asked what happens if you are not satisfied with performing at sub-par standards, but don’t have enough resources and are being stretched too thin? His suggestion to me was to give myself a timeline. Start the process of change with myself, see if there are any behaviors I can continue doing, start doing those added things that will raise my performance above the rest and stop doing those behaviors which are hurting my work performance.  Once I’ve improved my performance, approach management and my teams and express what I need from them in order to continue performing at peak levels.  I am to give myself a mental timeline as well, in order to determine if they are doing their parts as well ( approximately three months).  If at the end of this timeline ( his suggestion is January 2010), I am still feeling the same way I felt during our conversation, then it’s time to look for another position.  This realization startles me, I do not like to consider myself a failure in any aspect of my life, including my career.  And to this comment, he replied: “Listen, Enigma.  It’s not that you’re not a good employee, it’s just that your talents and services can be best suited and appreciated elsewhere. If they are not being respectful of your time and resources, then you owe it to yourself to leave.”
That one statement brought everything full circle for me.  So much of my work situation reminded me of my relationship with my husband – pre and post discovery.  Though my husband came into the relationship with his SA baggage, my reactions to his actions only help create this vicious cycle of emptiness and heartbreak.  Our separation allowed me to focus the attention on myself (What are the behaviors I can continue, start and stop doing?). During this time, I was finally able to concentrate on the root of my own codependency issues.  When the time came to reconcile, I compiled my list of conditions/concerns that would allow me to feel safe and appreciated in this relationship. At this point, it is up to ML to fulfill his side of the equation.No matter how hard one can try, a relationship cannot be successful if only one person is doing all the work. All I can do is clean my side of the street and express my concerns to the other party.  If they do not wish to hold up their end of the equation, then it does not represent a failure on my part – it’s just time to move on.  Though this is not a new concept (change coming from within) as I’ve heard this concept in S-Anon, I am astonished at how much of the 12-steps I can apply to my day-to-day life. I’ve noticed all the positive changes in my personal relationships due to practicing these program principles in my personal life, now it’s time to start applying them to professional relationships. I am going back to work tomorrow with new eyes in which to view my current work situation – there’s still hope! 

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During our months of separation, it was very easy to focus on working my program. However as ML and I are working towards a partnership, I am finding it more difficult to establish what really falls in the realm of “my” recovery. For example, I find myself anticipating his triggers – avoiding certain situations that *I* assume will be triggering for him (i.e. the beach, parties, movies). Though this isn’t a blatant form of control, I am still holding myself responsible for identifying ML’s triggers – something that he needs to take responsibility for. Another area I am having trouble with is establishing my boundary around his active participation (which is a MUST for me) in a recovery program, without dictating what “active” participation entails. For instance, does working an active program consist of attending 2 or 3 meetings a week? Do you reach out to your sponsor once, twice or three times a week? Do you go to therapy every week or every other week? I don’t want to dictate these things, but I am not foolish in believing that he can be in recovery without them. It’s important that he work his programs, but the who, what, when, where and how’s are for him to decide.

I have been working my program long enough to know that I am powerless over my husband. However, I realize that if this relationship is to ever work, we will both need to maintain our stability in our own recovery programs. If one individual is wobbly in recovery, the relationship as a whole will be less likely to succeed. The best I can do is make sure that I am stable in recovery and pray that my husband is doing the same. A fellow S-Anoner said in our meeting that our relationship with our spouse can be best represented by a triangle shape, where God is at the top of the triangle, and where we are at opposite corners from our spouse. We both have our own separate paths to recovery; but the closer we get to God, the closer we grow together as a couple. As long as I keep relying on my HP and working my program, I can rest assured that his, mine and our recovery will be headed in the same direction – to closer a relationship with our Higher Power and ultimately, with each other.


Check out the Cirque Du Soleil – Couple Balancing Act. It’s truly magical! (**Warning: This clip can be potentially triggering for sex addicts and their partners**)

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