Friday, November 30
My heart and stomach dropped when I began reading JB’s email.
“I've promised to come clean on everything I've kept from you, so here it goes,” JB wrote. “This is probably too little too late but I feel that I owe this to you. This isn't going to help my cause, but I think the only thing that matters right now is getting to honesty. I didn't even have the guts to tell my therapist most of these things. If I had, maybe we'd be in a different place right now. This will be a long email but I ask that you please read it.
“Please understand I may try to explain some of my actions. I have no intention of excusing any of my behavior.
“You probably are assuming I've been seeing women all along. That's actually not true. I've actually spent most of our marriage avoiding compromising situations on the road, which aren't as prevalent as you might thing (sic) but they can and do happen.
“I haven't been perfect, unfortunately. About a decade ago, maybe a little longer, I had a one night stand with a woman at a conference in Florida. The two times I made this mistake had certain things in common. The women approached me and paid a lot of attention to me. They were younger, attractive but not amazingly so, and they were aggressive and made all the moves. And way too much alcohol was consumed in each case. None of this excuses my behavior, obviously, but I think the clear pattern is that my ego was being stroked and my judgment was impaired by booze. I've always had a pathetic need to feel attractive to women and when anyone feeds that, I am vulnerable. There have been a handful of other instances over the years where women have flirted with me and I was vulnerable to making a mistake, but nothing happened. At various times during our marriage I've imagined or contemplated having an actual affair, but never had one or took any serious action to find one. The two times I did cross the line, beyond any fleeting physical gratification, they produced only negative feelings -- remorse, guilt, emptiness and regret. These feelings were very strong this last time in particular. I was aching the next day. If anything, it's made it clear to me that I'm not really cut out for infidelity. Yet there is no denying I've been guilty of it. I repeated a mistake I told myself never to repeat. I can't change that now. You have no idea how much I wish I could.
“I am not sure we were in such a great place when this happened the first time. What is really killing me right now is that I felt good about where we've been recently. I've enjoyed the past several months together in particular, and have felt closer and more in love with you than ever, which makes my recent actions so much more repellent and inexplicable and tragic. But as I am about to describe, my accumulated secrets were holding me back from being fully available to you and were starting to take a toll on my health. It's what stood in the way of fully repairing our marriage, and I'd been struggling to find a way to reveal them to you so that we could have a completely honest relationship. And yet I have passed up every opportunity to come clear and finally be completely real with you. Until now of course, when I find myself completely out of rope.
“As you will see, the other secrets are mostly fall (sic) into the category of "why didn't you just tell me?" It would have been so much easier. These represent a lot of dumb, careless decisions that I covered up mainly out of embarrassment or desperation. The one insight I did get from therapy was that my ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic) status is consistent with a need to keep up appearances at all cost and avoid conflict. My intense conflict avoidance may be the one thing that has caused me more trouble in my life than anything else. You've pointed this out to me countless times.
“I'm guessing some of these will not come as a big surprise, but there are some sizable lies and omissions contained here."
(To Be Continued)