The F word. The stupid F word.
We chatted this morning. TOIL mentioned that he struggles with how he feels about me being so cold now. He understands why, but mentioned how much he misses how cuddly I was, and how I always liked the reassurance of being physically close, both before the affair, and in those first years after. For about 23 years, maybe more, we were pretty entwined. He is a very tactile person, I think I have mentioned it before. I couldn’t tell you the last time we kissed. Yes, we still kiss goodbye, or hello, but like a family member, on the cheek, or lightly, briefly on the lips. The last passionate kiss I remember (at least from my perspective) pre-dates the end of our sex life, I was struggling for a long time before we actually stopped, and I couldn’t “feel” anything kissing. It was kinda gross. We were really big on kissing, passionate, dirty, deep, hungry kissing.
I sat for a while collecting my thoughts about how to respond. (Do no harm, Paula, thanks Katie.)
I came up with this. I told him that despite knowing better, I just feel like such a fucking failure. I know not to do that to myself, to us, but I can’t seem to help it. I mean, there’s the silly, but obvious “failing” of “not good enough” (utter crap, I couldn’t have been better, HIS failing, not mine) and the “failure” to see what they were doing all over my life, in my houses, vehicles, on my farm, etc (also not stupid, just normal trusting person.) But my biggest “failing” is that I feel like I have “failed” recovery. I have the most embarrassed, remorseful, newly-educated, understanding and reformed cheater. The kind that all the literature illustrates. He gets it. He is fucked off with himself, he was even before he ended the affair, and months before I found out. He has worked his butt off to do the right things. And I feel like I have failed at “getting better.” He looked at me and just said, “no one is owed forgiveness, or healing, you just hope for it.” Which of course, I know! But I WANT to be better, I WANT to feel safe in the world and happy again. So, I feel I fail at this. There haven’t been too many personal “achievements” in my own individual life. I dropped out of uni – three times! I am not a big shot at anything (and I have never aimed to be, but, you know…..) My “success” was my love. I loved hard and true, and I picked one of the best. We made three cool people together, and together we built a pretty damn great life. I was the back seat driver a lot, but I picked up all the slack, and I pushed hard for that financial success, I wanted us to be reasonably comfortable, not rich, that didn’t interest me, but comfortable, “enough” to educate our kids, have a nice holiday home and to be able to kick back a little and live as we aged, lovingly together. TOIL had more individual plans, I now believe. I don’t think he really considered the kids’ education much, yes, he had the corner of his eye on a comfortable retirement, etc, but he lives in the now a lot. We were a great team, as each of us had the other covered! It worked. He said that this morning, he can’t imagine anyone more compatible than us, than me. But I don’t feel it anymore. I, wrongly, feel like I have “failed” at the only thing I ever put full effort into. I think it explains my success at uni this incarnation – I NEED to do well at this, as this will be my success now. So fucking warped! (But great motivation, I am scared every day at uni, but that fear seems to spur me on, against my baser instincts.)
I explained to him that I look at this through a completely different lens to him. of course there is the obvious, he cheated, I was betrayed, we are looking through different windows, but more the male/female thing, and the fact that he grew up in an intact home, and my parents split as I was leaving mine. Although I am “cool” with their divorce, it was a shock, it was slightly confusing. My Dad was a blokey, conservative dairy farmer, for God’s sake! See, my parents loved each other, TOIL’s are quite fond of each other, but I don’t think they LOVE each other, sort of more rub along as familiar flatmates, hell, they haven’t shared a bed since before TOIL was ten years old! So although the reason for splitting was obvious and it had to be done, my parents were good together (except for the fact, as Mum used to say, “she had the wrong equipment!”) Dad still mourns her loss. He loved her, even divorced, and says she was the only woman he ever loved, and the only romantic partner that ever meant anything real to him really. He was at the hospital when she died, and we went back to his house to plan the funeral, with my stepfather, we all got along bloody well. I posted a brief pic/comment on Facebook yesterday remembering Mum, Dad was one of the first to “like” it – and he doesn’t really even DO Facebook much. I ridiculously kept thinking (a dream-like state) that one day I would wake up and it would all be some kind of ridiculous dream, that he wasn’t gay, that they were still in love and married. Not that I was all fucked up about it, it was just this little unreal niggle in the back of my mind those first years of their split. Probably much like many kids of divorce. I was really cool with it, and not devastated or anything like that, it was just this little fairy cloud above my reality. TOIL doesn’t understand how IMPORTANT it was to me that I had a true love story, one that was successful and worked. One that lasted FOREVER. I know, I know, everyone wants one that lasts FOREVER, but I was/am almost obsessive about it!
Anyway, meandering way of saying that I am unhappy, in case anyone who reads this hasn’t got the message yet, lol. And it is about my inner demons, the crap I fight about with myself every day, not really about TOIL at all. My own (stupid) definition of “success” and “failure.”