Friday was the 2 year anniversary of our D-day of my emotional affair and it has been an incredible trigger for Linda. The fact that it’s the anniversary is bad enough, but what really brought it on was a comment that one of our daughters made the night before.
We were having dinner and were discussing some teenage love issues regarding one of our daughters’ friends. It seems this girl is quite controlling and possessive of her boyfriend, which is quite humorous to our daughters. The conversation evolved to where we were talking about some of Linda’s girl friends and how controlling they can be with their husbands. The word “whipped” was thrown about. The comment that was made that set Linda off was “I think Dad is probably the least whipped father I know.” (I cringed when she said it)
Now she actually meant it as a slightly off-beat compliment to me because I don’t cow-tail to anyone. Linda included. I never have and I never will. Some of our friends, on the other hand, will do or say anything to their wives just to appease them or avoid pissing their wives off, regardless of whether or not they really believe in what they are doing or saying.
Well, this struck a nerve with Linda and instantly generated those thoughts that I more than likely acted as a “whipped” man when it came to Tanya. She was angry. She wondered why I couldn’t act that way with her. When she mentioned this to me later that night, I kind of overreacted and got somewhat pissed myself. I felt it unfair for Linda to be angry with me for a comment our daughter made, and furthermore relate it to my emotional affair based on her perceptions of my relationship with Tanya.
Linda was silent, obviously stewing the rest of the evening. We then went to bed and had one of our infamous late-night conversations about the situation. I knew it was coming too.
Without making this an entire book, the gist of the conversation was that Linda still feels pain at times, especially when certain affair triggers pop up. This has been a tough week for her since it’s the anniversary of D-day, and I understand that.
She was looking for me to be compassionate and try to help her through this pain, but all I could do was get frustrated over my interpreting Linda’s expressions as accusation and obsession with details of something that happened two years ago – issues that we have gone over time and time again.
I told her that I agree that she has every right to be angry with me over my emotional affair and that I can accept that without issue. But since the affair, sometimes it seems as though she is expecting me to be the perfect husband who knows what to say and do in every situation that crops up in our relationship. Well, that ain’t me, and it never has been. Hell, I’m just a dumb man! I tend to speak my mind, sometimes without regard to other people’s feelings. I also at times have this problem with needing to be right and needing to “win,” when I should really learn to step back and try to understand and be more empathetic. Unfortunately, I also don’t come to these realizations until after the damage has been done.
Even though we have both read tons of materials over the last two years on affairs, communication, marriage and love, there are still times when we temporarily revert back to our old ways. After all, old habits can be hard to break. Even so, at least now we both are better at analyzing the situation and understanding where we may have gone astray, and can then correct it for when a similar situation arises in the future.
Perhaps this is all a “male – female” thing – as far as how the sexes tend to communicate and connect emotionally in different fashions and wavelengths. Whatever it is, I need to get better at it. I think I have come a long way since my emotional affair with respect to communication and giving Linda what she needs, but it (I) continue to be a work in progress. I think I need one of those electric dog collars and set it so I get a shock every time I say or do something stupid. I’m sure Linda would like that very much!
(As a side note…it has been two years since D-day, and Linda still feels the hurt and pain from the triggers. We both work on things daily within our marriage, and we both have read every book and taken every course there is with respect to infidelity. Imagine how long it would take to recover from infidelity if we did not arm ourselves with this knowledge gained from the wisdom of the many author’s and professionals that have created these resources. I hate to think about it.)