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As Good As It Gets

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Raidra posted 5/7/2013 20:28 PM

My father mentioned this movie to me the other day, and where the title comes from. The main character says at one point, "Do you ever wonder if this is as good as it gets?"

I've been thinking about that a lot lately because I've been really struggling with a sense of disillusionment regarding love and marriage in general. Things are decent in my marriage right now, I guess. I just feel very apathetic about us and marriage in general.

I feel like I (along with every other woman in this country) was sold a bunch of crap. Like we were told there was this wonderful thing called romantic love, that we could have a wonderful marriage, that Mr. Right was out there waiting for us.. and I believed that for a long time. But after finding out about my husband's sexaholism, I wonder if love and marriage are all just a fantasy. Are there any really truly happy marriages, or is that something we just see on TV?

Is a good working partnership with someone you get along with as good as it gets?

rachelc posted 5/7/2013 21:05 PM

I talked with a friend recently about how ambivalent I felt about my marriage. She said,"are you sure you wouldn't be throwing something away that is good enough?" Or my mom saying, "at least he wants to stay with you."
W. T. F.?
Yep, I get it....

HardenMyHeart posted 5/7/2013 22:23 PM

Your topic title, As Good As It Gets, is a question I have asked myself many times.

The following brief YouTube video by Jon Kabat-Zinn pretty much describes how I have tried to look at the affair, as well as other areas in my life where I have suffered:

Are there any really truly happy marriages, or is that something we just see on TV?

Yes, there are many happy marriages out there. I include mine as one of them. Happiness is found from within. It does not come from your spouse or your marriage. Learn to find your own inner peace and calm, and you will see things differently. I recommend the following book to get you started on looking at things differently:
The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

So sorry for the pain you are going through.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 11:58 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

mysticpenguin posted 5/7/2013 23:10 PM

This is an interesting question for me on a sociological and psychological level. I do feel that movies and the media in general portray love as something that never needs any maintenance or upkeep or hard work -- you meet Mr. or Ms. Right and everything is hunky dory forevermore. And at the very same time, there's a subliminal sense of entitlement: entitlement to perpetual effortless happiness, a permanently trouble-free and satisfying sex life... and I do wonder whether these overt and slightly more subliminal messages have something to do with the fact that large-scale marital woes like infidelity and divorce are on the rise.

To address your question, though, I do think there are truly happy marriages. I think they require a lot of proactive work and compromise -- BUT I also think that everyone deserves a fulfilling relationship that meets their needs. I'm not a big believer in settling or "good enough."

I'm so sorry you're having a rough time <3

FeelingSoMuch posted 5/7/2013 23:12 PM

I used to be happy. Happy about my life, happy about my marriage. When my WW first got caught cheating and went to IC, the therapist told me she said she didn't know why she cheated, that her marriage was "perfect" and that I was a "wonderful, kind husband."

It's not just women who were sold a bunch of crap.

Some people cheat. Some people don't. It hurts a lot when they cheat. But it is possible to feel happy and be genuinely happy. I had that for 11 years before my WW cheated.

I'm sorry for your pain. Please don't lose hope.

Take care of yourself, as hard as that sounds. Please don't lose hope.

Undone1 posted 5/8/2013 00:12 AM

For a long time I thought I was Cinderella and living the perfect life. Great husband, great marriage, wonderful kids, started my own business, etc. That all changed on October 27, 2012 when I found out about my WH 3 year affair. I was devastated. I believed in a fairy tale life, but that was a lie.

I just started reading Goodbye Prince Charming: The Journey Back from Disenchantment : Creating the Marriage You'Ve Always Wanted from the Ashes of Storybook Romance

Not far along in the book but it addresses the very issue of expectations etc. You might check it out.

Raidra posted 5/8/2013 08:57 AM

Thanks for the responses, guys.

I do know (now) that my happiness isn't dependent upon another person or relationship. I am happy with most areas of my life and I do feel fulfilled as a person. I wouldn't consider myself unhappy in general.

At the same time, though, I do feel like I was sold a line of crap. And I worry about my own daughter. What do I tell her as she grows up? I don't want her to have to deal with this same disenchantment, but I also don't want to be negative, either.

In S-Anon the idea of finding happiness and joy in spite of living with a sexaholic comes up sometimes. I've gotten pretty good at that, but it is still sometimes rough to realize that this could be as good as it gets.

Raidra posted 5/8/2013 09:01 AM

Okay, this is kind of silly, but I just got a link to this video in my email (our UU church is playing it for our Children's Sunday service).

This morning, I love this message.

PeaceLove187 posted 5/8/2013 10:50 AM

Thank you!! Love it!!

hopefullromantic posted 5/8/2013 11:10 AM

there's a subliminal sense of entitlement: entitlement to perpetual effortless happiness, a permanently trouble-free and satisfying sex life...

Well said, Mystic.

Raidra, like you, I went thru that phase of disillusionment too. Which is surprising because previous to the A I had found myself in amazement at how easy and rewarding my marriage had become. Just as there are myths about the fairy tale marriage, there are just as many claiming that marriage grows stale over the years, whereas for me it had become better than ever. Maybe it was just the calm before the storm. It wasn't fairytales that had set me up but my own surprisingly happy experience. So maybe I took things for granted and that is why I was so shocked when the marriage took that awful turn. I thought we had "arrived", but really for us, the journey was just beginning.

I do think there is an element of destiny to many marriages. The person was destined, but perhaps so was the infidelity. Or some other tragedy (or tragedies). But the infidelity was part of the marriage experience, not the marriage itself. If I had lost one of my children that would have tainted my marriage experience, but it would not have defined it as a whole either. Life happens. Shit happens. Infidelity is just one of those things that a great many of us must endure. And to be honest, if I had a choice in tragedies to be befall me, I'd chose it over many others. Partly because I always knew we would survive it.

So yeah, I am in a truly happy marriage. It is not a perfect marriage and it certainly has some sad undertones. But it is more than "good enough" and if it never gets better I'm okay with that. I have someone to love that makes me smile (most) every day and that is as good as it gets.

Edited to add: It took me 5+ years to really feel happy (more than fleetingly) again.

[This message edited by hopefullromantic at 11:24 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)]

Sal1995 posted 5/8/2013 13:26 PM

I feel like I (along with every other woman in this country) was sold a bunch of crap.

Read my bio and those of many BH's on this site. It's not just women who get sold a pile of crap. As a man, I always assumed that I could keep infidelity out of my marriage simply by being faithful myself. 80 days ago I discovered that my reward for not so much as kissing another woman during 17 years of marriage was a wife who had spent the past 10 months screwing someone else. Every chance she got, apparently.

Believe me, I understand your disillusionment.

[This message edited by Sal1995 at 1:30 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]

I think I can posted 5/8/2013 13:45 PM

I remember feeling this way. Like "life is shit and then you die." And my kids' lives will be shit.

It got better.

Undone1 posted 5/10/2013 14:19 PM

On a forgiveness podcast the counselor talked about if we don't forgive and move on, how will our children view us? This question really resonated with me. I want my children to see me as a strong woman who can stand on her own, who can get thru tough times with grace, that is respectful, honest, and can apologize when I am wrong. There are no guarantees that our lives are going to go as we planned and I think we owe it to our children to be a good example in the ups and downs.

crazyblindsided posted 5/10/2013 14:29 PM

And I worry about my own daughter. What do I tell her as she grows up? I don't want her to have to deal with this same disenchantment, but I also don't want to be negative, either.

^^^This is my biggest concern over everything. I tell my daughter that she does not have to marry if she doesn't want to and that sometimes married people don't get along and have lots of issues and need to get D. Some decide they want to try and work on it (like mommy and daddy).

I'm definitely not pushing any fairytales on her. Plus after what she's been through with my WH's A she has voiced that she never wants to get married, which isn't good either.

It's so hard. The thing I don't want her to see is a mother that is a doormat.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 2:29 PM, May 10th (Friday)]

sisoon posted 5/10/2013 16:05 PM

I feel like I (along with every other woman in this country) was sold a bunch of crap.

Overgeneralization. Both my mother and my W's were happy to be M, but never pretended it was a bed of thornless roses. Both my W and I always knew there was more to life than being in love - and I place a very high value on being in love.

Gently, take responsibility for accepting the image sold by people who just want to take your money. Change your view. In particular, a working partnership can be immensely more pleasurable than the marriage sold by marketers.

[This message edited by sisoon at 4:08 PM, May 10th (Friday)]

so_lost posted 5/10/2013 16:46 PM

I think most of us are delusional especially when it comes to happiness. While my FWH was in the midst of his affair, he told me he just wasn't happy anymore. We'd only been married 2 years:( I thought well, duh, happiness waxes and wanes in marriage and in life. It takes work. It's not all roses all the time. We expect happiness always and that expectation in itself is absurd.

Sisoon-I totally agree.

[This message edited by so_lost at 4:50 PM, May 10th (Friday)]

FeelingSoMuch posted 5/10/2013 18:43 PM

Sal1995, I feel the same way. Agreed, it's hell on earth.

I'm finding that there are better days, but there also are terrible, unbearably painful days.

cdnmommy posted 5/11/2013 16:19 PM

I never believed in fairy tales. I believed in deep friendship, mutual respect, shared dreams and values, and a healthy (if sometimes varible) dose of attraction. FWH and I talked about these things throughout our relationship. I figured if that was as good as it got, I would be petty happy. And I was!

Respectfully, I don't think it is about the death of the fairy tale, but of what we thought we were building. That is why it hurts so much whether you're male or female, old or young, living out a fairy tale or not.

FeelingSoMuch posted 5/11/2013 18:48 PM

When I was happy, before the A, it never felt like a fairy tale. It felt like I had a lover and best friend all in one.

Yes, there were problems, difficulties and we both have many flaws. But that's life with anyone on earth. I believe the affair felt good because they weren't living in reality. They were meeting for sex, told each other they were confused as justification and went on until they got found out.

They were living the fairy tale.

An honest marriage, where you grow together, is much more rewarding and much happier.

I failed to see that my WW didn't get this. I gave her too much credit. Now she gets it and I'm asking myself if it's too late.

The MC tells me the life lesson for me here is to learn to forgive, but that my WW has to do her part to regain my trust.

The pain is unbearable at times. I feel like a shadow of my former self. My WW is in pain all the time, too, which leaves me asking, was it worth it? Why do they do it if it's never worth it?


So on we go. I want to want my friend and lover back.

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