I've lurked on this forum for a while now. My wife -- my betrayed wife, I should say, posts here regularly. It has been cathartic for her, and its our hope that we can use this place as something of an interim counseling session, as our own marriage counselor has been somewhat inadequate to our needs.
I have a fantasy addiction, or I did. I think of it more as escapism, panic, and a very hard time dealing with accountability. In choosing to retreat from the 'challenges' of my life (truly, it was just normal life itself, things most everyone goes through)I involved myself in fantasies that didn't include any part of my 'real' life. I engaged in some heavy duty compartmentalization to do so, and involved myself in a string of emotional affairs.
I lied to those women, myself, and my wife. About who I was, what I was doing with my time, where my attention and energies were. I convinced myself that none of it mattered because it wasn't 'real.'
When my deceptions were inevitably discovered, I blamed my wife. I ducked and covered and shifted blame and refused to take responsibility for my actions. I often wonder where we'd be today if instead of utilizing all of those resources to run away from Reality I'd instead used them to begin to heal the pain I'd caused my wife and our children.
Many things regarding this 18 month journey to the Cliffs of Insanity haunt me daily -- I flinch at my phone and laptop. I shy away from activities that would isolate me from my family. I wonder where my marriage would be, where my family would be if I'd been as engaged with them as I am now. If I hadn't always been so willing to let problems go by rather than tackling them head on.
Throughout everything my wife has been superhuman. In the midst of her own pain she does everything she can to help everyone else, myself included, with theirs. The imbalance of it kills me. I see more and more how much effort she puts into us, into our family. She holds nothing back at all. It's something I am emulating. Much of my self exploration has been in part so that I have more to give to my family and marriage.
Everything is relative. The more I learn about myself and choices over the past year and change the more I see them for what they truly were. The more I understand how everything is connected the more foolish it seems to try to compartmentalize or hide anything. I can't be committed to my wife and not give her all of who I am, wherever I am and whoever I am with. The same goes for our beautiful children.
I used to scoff at all those movies where the inevitably male protagonist had to suffer an improbably devastating life event to actually look at himself and evaluate what the choices he made meant for himself and those around him. The confusion they all experience at the pain of others, when things don't go the way they expected is now painfully familiar to me.
Little things like that jump out at me constantly. Every thought and experience in my life is now evaluated through the lens of the horrific choice I made to emotionally abandon my wife and children. How I view it now, how I viewed it before. I ask myself I lot more questions than I used to. I think it makes me a better human. I wish that the cost hadn't been so high for my loved ones.
The feel of progression, of momentum that I've actually had a large part in creating has been... momentous (you like it). There have been ups and downs as we go through Reconciliation, a real one this time. I feel like the highs are getting higher and the lows, perhaps less frequent. Or maybe its just that familiarity breeds confidence. I'm learning more by the day, moving closer to my wife by the moment (though more work needs to be done on sharing that with her). I have hope. And I have drive. And for once I know where I'm going. It's bittersweet. She's more than worth it. And I hope to be worthy of her.