*****I would like to make it clear to begin, nobody has done anything. We’re good. Going through a bit of a dip in the roller coaster of life, but, still, good.********
It’s so well designed, this whole temptation thing, isn’t it?
If you aren’t a closet kleptomaniac, it won’t matter if the jewelry store is empty. Even if you found yourself in that situation, there would be little to no temptation, because stealing isn’t something you think about.
It’s been a difficult week for us. Not really anything to even talk about, certainly nothing of interest. It’s been little things, little struggles, things that happen over and over again, not because we want to hurt each other, but because we’ve already acted out of habit and not out of thought. It is learned coping mechanisms, that we insist are our own choices, because who wants to believe that they are being controlled by forces they don’t even realize, that the force of the long practiced habits can be stronger than the desire to do differently?
You always read about cheating, or hear about it. And, it’s wondered “Why didn’t you just talk about the problem? Why didn’t you just fix it? Why didn’t you tell that there was a chance?” Why? Because it’s freakin’ hard. It’s hard to look at the person you love more than anything and say “We have a big problem, and I’m tempted.” Even though you’ve done nothing wrong. There is this false idea that if you really love someone, you will never think anything like that. If your spouse ever admits this weakness in their thought process, even if they NEVER act on it, or come close, then obviously they don’t love you. Which is bull.
And then, you have the little issue of, when do you tell? Is it when you are angry? The 4th time it happens? The first thought? The first attempt? When have you crossed a line? When you actually become tempted to cheat, or when you notice your thoughts becoming more critical of your spouse, while at the same time, rewriting a past as prettier than it was?
I had to tell him last night that we’d been dealing with an issue. Unfortunately, I’ve always dealt with feeling badly, especially when it comes to emotional pain, by finding somebody to help numb the pain. For a little while, at least. But, when Brad is the one causing the hurt…all of a sudden, I can remember people from the past. Nothing even explicit, just little thoughts “Well, other guy wouldn’t have done that.”, “Well, he always paid attention to you.”, “Well, for all his faults, he never lied about that.” Just little things. Comparisons that chip away at how I really feel about Brad. You know how awkward it is to explain to your husband “yeah, so, I’ve been thinking about this guy and how he isn’t doing the stuff you’re doing that is annoying me.”
I suppose I didn’t have to tell him, I don’t even talk to the person anymore. I hadn’t done anything, except compare. But, then…how far do I let these thought go? How long before they become actions?
I thought it last night, then Brad said it, without me prompting or mentioning it…that temptation comes in the ways most likely to work. This has been a struggle for me in the past, and when times got difficult, I was tempted by what I knew. He wasn’t mad at me for thinking what I’d always thought. He was glad I told him, so he knew what I was feeling and thinking, and that perhaps that explained why I’d been pushing him away lately, further justification for my thoughts, even if it was sub conscience. He was proud of me for not acting on anything.
And, he pointed out, he’d been tempted too. Not by somebody else. But, his coping mechanism is lying. Especially about little stuff. Big things he’s pretty honest about…I guess he figures if it’s big he deserves to deal with the fallout, but little stuff he doesn’t want to have to deal with the possibility of a blow up about little things. So, he lies. He was faced with a situation last week that he has always lied about in the past. And, he told me anyway. Looking scared as hell, because, I might be mad, and he was being honest. Even though it might be easier to lie. He said he thought about it, about how easy it would be to not mention, to hide it. But, he wanted to do better. And, he did.
The problem isn’t in the temptation, it’s in what you do.
I’m glad I have him to work through things with.
I’m not sure the point of writing this, maybe a lot of points.
One, to remind myself of how great he actually is, that he wasn’t mad. He took it how I meant it. “Look, we have a problem, I’m making it worse, even if only in my head, so please help me.”
Two, I guess to get it out there, that this happens. I hate the “fairy tale” that so many women (and men) are raised with. That one kiss and you get to live happily ever after. No. There is a heck of a lot of happy, but, not always. And, expecting differently just sets you up for disappointment.
Three, to dispel this myth that if you ever think fondly of another person, then you must not really love your spouse. You can. And, I think that fear is why so many people continue down a slippery slope, because they are afraid to get help at the top.
Four, to remind myself that temptation is just that. It happens, to everyone. Being tempted is not a moral failing. And, of course it comes dressed up like everything you want. It wouldn’t ever work if it didn’t.
Five, to snap myself back into reality. To being my logical side back around. Brad is not as bad as my head has been telling me this week. I KNOW that. I was snapping at him over stupid things, and then going “See, you he really loved me, he would XYZ”. No, if he really loved me he would do exactly what he does. I can’t expect him to be better than human. He isn’t perfect, he leaves the shoes in the middle of the bedroom floor, and forgets to start the dryer, and stays up to late playing video games sometimes. And? So, every time I have one of these annoyances or irritations, and think of someone else, I plan to make a purposeful effort to think of at least one reason I really do love him.
And maybe somebody else will get some help out of this as well.