Meeting our Needs

It’s been two months since my foundation collapsed.  Since I found out our wedding vows were broken. Two months since – For better or for worse, Till death do us part – went out the window. I don’t live in that secure universe anymore.

The most important thing I have learned so far from reading, therapy, and from others is:

What I need is pretty important too.

Tonight my husband and I go over our needs. Things that we have written down as a roadmap to the future. Needs that NEED to be fulfilled.

I feel hopeful.

I also know that reverting into old patterns and following the path of survival in which we get our needs met in unhealthy ways is just a step away.

An example of this became apparent the other day. It went like this:

My husband came to me in the morning, showed me a post he wanted to put on facebook, and said that since he has been out of touch with friends and they are wondering what happened, he was going to write about rehab and how he has ‘never felt better.’

I told him that the ‘never felt better’ piece hurts me because he cheated on me and I’m still grieving. If he never felt better than he is not feeling the pain his wife is going through.

His initial reaction was anger and he said, ‘I can’t even post what I want!’ Then he stormed off and went for a walk.

While he was walking I was formulating what I needed to say to him, which was:

I appreciate that rehab benefited you. When you said, ‘I can’t post what I want’, it translated into, ‘I blame you for feeling hurt because it keeps me from expressing my joy.’ And I will not be blamed for the pain that I feel. You are an individual and you can post what you want. I don’t control you. But I am allowed to share my feelings.

A while later he came running in the house and before I could say anything, he said, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t even want to post that.’

It’s a work in progress. My therapist calls it survival. Getting our needs met in any manner we can even if it is unhealthy. By him getting angry, it could have forced me to give in and say, ‘Well, just post it!’ Then his need to connect with others and share his joy would have been met. But because I didn’t move into passive aggressive mode, it gave us the opportunity to communicate more effectively.

So I asked him later, ‘How did you get your need met if you didn’t post the message?’

I never would have expected his response.

He said that when he went for a walk, he was listening to his Ipod. On it was ‘go to’ music. Stuff he listened to every time he felt upset or down. And he decided right then and there that he didn’t want to ‘go to’ that music anymore and rehab was in the past. He wanted to live in the present. So he took the waterproof case off his phone and put his Ipod in it. Then he threw it into the Tucannon River and he visualized it floating all the way to the Columbia. He said the feeling of being in the present met his need.

You know, I never would have chosen this path for my marriage, but I’m willing to see where this new road leads.

2 thoughts on “Meeting our Needs

  1. It’s so unfair. But consider this: when he was found out – all the shame, deception, embarrassment, guilt that he had been harbouring (whether consciously or unconsciously), that weight was all released onto you. From then on, he went into rehab, where he slowly emerged from a pattern of dark living. It’s true that he would feel better today.

    Unfortunately, you’re left to carry all the weight he has placed on you.

    I think what hurts you so much is that he could walk away freely and feel better, while you’re the one having to deal with the fall out of his lies, his betrayal, he choices. You are grieving as you say. And he SHOULD be there to support you and share some of that pain.

    However, I think there is a difference here. Him feeling “better” than before is HIS healing. His healing from a life of deception and bad choices. He is breaking free of the bonds of sex addiction, and whatever addictive behaviours that held him before. This should be celebrated – He is slowly changing, for the better, and into the man you know he can be/should be. From this standpoint, he has “never felt better”.

    On the other hand, I think this is where you’re concerned and hurting – now that he has begun his own healing, what are his actions/choices regarding your relationship? Is he taking this new found healing and running off leaving you behind? Or is he using his healing to now choose to help you heal, and share in pain and grief of what he’s done, how he’s hurt and betrayed you. He may feel better about himself, but it doesn’t mean that he is not feeling guilt and shame of what he’s done. The pain and hurt he needs to feel now, isn’t the pain of his past bonds, but the remorse of his choices and their consequences.

    I think it hurts you because 1) It’s just so unfair he gets to feel better after the devastation he has placed on you. 2) you feel he doesn’t care about his choices to hurt you and therefore you feel that you/the relationship is insignificant to him. After all, if he truly loved you/cared about you, wouldn’t he be hurting as well?

    It’s difficult, how you may expect/want him to feel may not be what he is feeling. Just remember he is still his own person, with own feelings and and thoughts and you cannot control that. All you can do is communicate how you’re feeling, share your thoughts, and in turn, listen carefully to his as well. This is a journey to healing for the both of you – and the healing has to happen both individually as well as together. He should most definitely be 100% involved in your healing and own up to his choices. However, I hope you will also be present in his as well. I think what really determines whether a relationship will make it depends on whether both parties heal together.


    1. I hear this. I hear what you are saying. I’m going to try and absorb that. You are right, I feel like it is unfair that he is doing so well. And it seems sometimes like he just wants me to hurry up and catch up to him. He’s not really involved in my healing and I feel that without that from him that I will heal in a different direction. So me trying to reinforce that to him by speaking about the pain may not be the answer. I am supposed to be working on asking directly for what I need. This was a good reminder of that. Thank you. Hugs to you.


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