After writing last night I went and talked to my wife for a while. She was feeling down. She is usually like that whenever I have therapy. It is almost like she is nervous that I am going to have a revelation that I don’t want to be with her. We talked for a while and then went to bed but it really had me thinking.
Then today a fellow blogger (thanks your whole world can change in a minute) posted a link to 6 things the cheater wished he’d known before he cheated. While all 6 were very good and I could relate to all of them the 6th one hit home the most.
Sixth, I wish I’d known what love was. I craved feelings I labeled as love. Feelings that came from having someone I valued value me in return. It made me feel I was all that. In fact, the more I esteemed the other person, the stronger the effect. But, what I really loved was how they made me feel about myself. The reflection of my image in their eyes made me feel amazing. But love isn’t that feeling, rather it’s the grace my wife extended, not when I deserved it, but rather when I least deserved it.
My therapist and I have been discussing this very topic. What is love? How do you know what it is if you never experienced much of it in your entire life (bad childhood but not the topic of this blog). How am I ever to know what I have if I don’t know what is out there. I struggled with the feelings I had for the OW but I also was not sure they were love. Maybe lust, infatuation, the start of a new relationship excitement, but it was not something I had ever felt before. At least not that I could remember. So I have been obsessing about this since I read it. I can think of all the things that my wife and I have been through and we always stood by each other. The last few years had been tough watching her spiral away, but instead of me sticking by her this time, I turned it into a selfish thought that she must not want me or love me and that is why she is like this. It was easy to blame myself, but in reality it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just another tough time that I should have stood by her side and carried her through it.
So after reading all this, I am again overloaded with guilt and admiration for my wife. Why? The guilt I would assume is obvious, but admiration is because after all that I have put her through, put us through, she is still here by my side. She has extended me grace when I least deserved it. So while I have questioned whether or not she loved me or not, it became pretty clear to me that she always has loved me. I am the one who lost their way and needs help getting back on track. I have just moved us on a more difficult path. It seems like I really have never known myself because I never believed I was capable of doing this to someone. This revelation is both good in the sense that I know she loves me, but bad in that it has moved me deeper into the guilt and shame I feel and am struggling to climb out of this pit. I just wish I knew who I was, what I wanted, and what would make me happy and I wish the same for both my wife and the OW.
Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you – Dr. Seuss