Ask Andrew – I want a one night stand
my husband of 14 years and I have been going throught HCIETYA, it has been very helpful but I am still left feeling unmarried. He and I met when we were in our teens and had only slept with eachother, till my husbands affair. I found the text from his pa in Jan 11 and he told me they had kissed and he had been to her house a few times. We went to relate and I thought things were looking up. It was hard to get him to open up though, and I always felt he thought I was making a big deal about nothing. He continued to work with her and tried to get other work and failed. In Aug 11 I found a new email, he denied anything had happened but with the help of your book he told me he had slept with her 3 times since January. He claimed he loved me, she meant nothing. I was confused and devastated all over again, he left for 10 days and I worked through the book on my own deciding if I wanted the marriage. I felt we had 3 children and a good past relationship so I owed the children, myself and the relationship all my energy and give it 2 years, if it was awful after that then I would leave. In Sep 11 he finally told me that they had been texting and emailing autumn 10 and he slept with her in the dec 10 after the xmas party, he went to her house weekly after that. More shock but we worked through it all and by xmas 11 we were a little more stable. My husband is terribly sorry, he has had no unprofessional contact with her since Aug 11 and her imploring emails support this. She has used work emails to contact him and he has been totally transparant since. I suppose we are in attempted normality but I still feel so angry. I have tried the exercises in the book but find the anger is so close to the surface and I still am totally exhausted by it. I have questioned him about all the details but that makes me angrier and although I’m not proud of it I still want to make him hurt.
Also there is a part of me that is so jealous of his wanton behaviour, I was holding everything together, after our 3rd child 3 weeks later my stepfather died and 5 months later my brother died unexpectedly. I had to support my mother and at the time of the affair beginning my son was in hospital and my uncle had a stroke which we were not sure if he would pull out of. During all this time my husband withdrew into work and was home later and later. During this ordeal he wasn’t supportive and I now feel that I deserve some respite. I am so tired of analysing our marriage and I feel it now has so much baggage it is ‘unclean’ therefore I don’t really feel truly married anymore and through my husband antics he has given me permission to have my own affair. Our own sex life is great considering, and I have tried talking to him about this and tried explaining that I only want a one night stand to see what it feels like. I want to do this for me, it isn’t about revenge, he was immensely selfish in his actions and I feel I should be allowed a night of freedom. We can then renew our wedding vows as equals. I wondered if anyone else has ever felt like this. It isn’t something I can ask anyone. I do love my husband and realise that I might jeopodize everything but I can’t get the wish to go away.
You would not be the first wife who would like to be held, comforted, to feel special again and wash away all the pain. So I can see why one night of freedom might be extraordinarily tempting but I think in your heart of hearts you know that it would be madness. So what’s brought you to this horrible place and what do you need to get out of it?
First, I want to congratulate you on staying so strong and focused through some terrible times. I don’t think many men understand just how difficult it is to hold all the family commitments together (and keep everything going) when your whole life is falling apart. As well as coping with your husband’s infidelity, you’ve had multiple bereavements too!
When we are overwhelmed with pain – and I don’t think this is an exaggeration for where you are at the moment – we just want it to go away. In your imagination, this one night of freedom will take the weight of the world off your shoulders. Sadly, instant solutions are never the answer – just make things worse. We need to truly understand the pain and work through it rather than magic it away. (In a way, trying to make your husband hurt as much as you did by quizing him fits into this category too – please, please, stop it, because ultimately it will only make you feel worse.)
I think you need some space to grieve for your brother, your step-father, the man you thought your husband was (rather than the real man with feet of clay) and to have a long, long cry. To be honest, you need a counsellor not a lover who will let you off load, listen and tell you everything will be OK.
At the very bottom of your problems is that you put yourself last – after your children, your husband, your mother and Uncle Tom Cobbly. You are just about to explode – and that’s the moment when women say ‘I have to be selfish’ and take a lover. It would be much better to give yourself some regular ME time (and look after yourself).
Think about what you really want from your husband and learn to ask for it in a constructive way. Have a look at Resolve your differences for the chapter on assertiveness and Help your partner say yes too. If you give him concrete stuff to do, I am sure he will come through (especially as he’s been able to do full disclosure).
Finally, don’t underestimate how long it takes to recover from both infidelity and bereavment and you’ve been dealing with both. So stop being strong, listen to yourself and get some real help.