Monday, August 5, 2013

An Innocent Question




It began as an innocent question, “Who is Wendy?” I asked. Then became a long conversation last night:

“I wish you hadn’t asked.” Devin answered.

He explained he had a minor car accident a few days earlier.  He wasn’t going to tell me because he wasn’t at fault, no police were involved and it was in his brand new car.  He was embarrassed and didn’t want to hear me “go on about it.”  I just happened to see the name Wendy jotted down on a piece of paper.

“Devin, you’re supposed to be open and honest with me.  Not telling me about an accident, no matter how small, is not being open.”  I said.

“You can’t use that as an example of me being open and honest.  That’s just one small example.”  He responded.

“I’ve been telling you for weeks that you’ve been ‘off’, that something just isn’t feeling right with you.”  I informed him.

“I know and I’ve been telling you, I’m fine.  I’m sober.  I don’t know what you’re feeling but I’m fine.  You’re going to have to give me more to go on.”  He said.

“I have, Devin, numerous times.”  I said.  I could feel myself getting impatient and reminded myself to detach with love.  I took a deep calming breath before I continued, “I cherished the times when you told me what you learned from SAA meetings and your group.  Now when you come home, you tell me if it’s crowded or the chairs were uncomfortable.  You stopped sharing substance about your recovery.  We haven’t done FANOS in weeks.  I miss our date nights and spending time together.  We're just not connecting.  I’ve detached with love from you.”

Devin sat and said nothing for a long time.  Eventually he said, “You’re right.  I need to reconnect with you.  I don’t know why I stopped.  You have to remember it’s been over forty years of me not communicating properly and I don’t know how to do this right but I’m willing to learn.  I’m still confused about you detaching with love from me.”

I wish I could say when I explained to him it again it went smoothly.  It didn’t.  He felt rejection although I had been detaching from him for weeks and he didn’t know it.  I explained I was detached from his addiction and his behavior, not from him as a person but he still felt rejected because sex was off the table. 

Once I explained when we connected emotionally again, sex would be back on the table, the bed, the floor….he was much happier.  

50 comments:

  1. A tough situation and tougher for me to understand the detachment with love ~ I guess its the way to temper and manage the person with addiction, I don't know really as I don't have this experience ~ What I can relate is the need to have regular emotional connection ~ This can get lost in the everyday blur & busy schedules ~ Have a lovely week Elsie ~

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    1. Detaching with love is a complicated process. It took me a very long time to understand it myself and I have to live it from time to time. =)

      Having an emotional connection with your partner is so important. Sometimes Devin loses that because he gets lost inside himself. He needs a gentle reminder and when the gentle reminder doesn't work, then this is the result. It happens every so often.

      Have a beautiful week, Heaven!!

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  2. poor Devin, it ain't changing after so many years, especially when you're forced to do it.

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    1. Nah, I'm an optimist. Looking at how well and how far he's come in his recovery, I know he'll be able to learn to communicate. As far as being "forced" - I don't think wanting communication with your partner on a regular basis is forcing anything.

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    2. sorry, I missed a word - wanted to say 'it ain't EASY changing' :) I know it's not impossible.

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  3. Communication is hard even for couples that don't have the same problems you guys do. I know there are still times I catch myself saying, "God, why didn't I just tell her about that? It's not a big deal, but not telling her 'just to avoid a hassle' isn't doing me any favors."

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    1. Communication is probably one of the most difficult things we face, believe it or not. The whole "not telling" is the worst thing. It's so much easier just to say something then to say nothing at all than for us women to find out...because you know we will!!

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  4. Car accidents are sure no fun indeed, glad it was only a little one. Even if he hid it. You think that would be easier to tell. Detach with love would be a hard thing to do. But threaten no sex and most anything can come due haha

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    1. Yeah, the accident did zilch to all cars involved. Phew! Much easier to tell me. I would have laughed it off. Take away the sex and now it becomes real!!! ha ha

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    2. Is it even an accident if zilch was done? Oh and fyi Wed you are involved with the little tune under my sun haha

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    3. Oh really? I thought you were having guest posts all week long...hmmm??

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  5. I'm not sure how to comment on this one. Did you just use sex as a tool to get his attention? If so, then that ain't right....but I bet it works like a charm! It would work on me, that's for sure!

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    1. No, no, no!! That would be totally wrong! Especially because he's a sex addict. He was feeling rejected because I won't have sex with him until I feel emotionally connected to him again. I'm not feeling that with him right now.

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    2. I didn't think that's what you were doing. I'm just messing with ya!

      Oh, and you better get to connecting! There is a table, a bed, and the floor calling your name! lol

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    3. Well, I am pretty mean and evil - but only towards you, Dan...only towards you!!

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  6. For all the issues you two have to work through, you seem to come away closer and stronger in the end. More than a lot of couples can say. :)

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    1. We work through many issues in our marriage, that's for sure =) You're right though, we always seem to come out happier and stronger once we work our through to the other side. Phew!

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  7. Communication and connection before any fun I'm afraid.

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    1. It's work before play. Isn't that always the case?

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  8. All I can say, its a hard thing for lots of men to make the same emotional connection with sex that women do. I'll never grasp that, "I want to make love to you because you ran the vacuum cleaner for me" stuff, but I know women do. Also, the floor is hard. And bad on my back.

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    1. We women can be such complicated creatures at times. Throw in the mess of his addiction and it just things that much more confusing. We see our way through it though. I know right, what am I thinking? The floor and table? We have a foam bed!!

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    2. Whoa!! All I have to do is vacuum???
      Gotta go......

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  9. Elsie, it goes without saying that I love you and your blog but even disregarding all that I genuinely think you were 100% right in questioning who Wendy was and in the whole detachment thing as well. Devin seems like a really great guy to me don't get me wrong and I know he's trying but he also had the issue where he wasn't entirely honest about going for lunch with his co-worker as far as I remember on top of this incident and he has to stop that. Both incidents, like with the lunch and with the accident were behind entirely innocent reasons and he thought he was doing the right thing which is why I stand by him being a great guy but he's got to start being honest even in relation to minor things and I hope that he does.

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    1. Yep, he needs to start being upfront with me all the time and stop fearing what I will or will not say. I think he fears being judged. I've told him many times before we've been through the worst of it already. He has nothing to fear and being open is much easier.

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  10. The bed, the floor ... that was a little funny there at the end. Sorry you are going through all this.

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    1. Thanks, Whisk. I always try to add a little bit of humor when I can. =)

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  11. I'm glad that he recognizes that he's not connecting with you. Communication is hard in a relationship sometimes. I don't understand why men keep info from us to 'avoid the hassle' as your reader says above. They don't seem to get that the hassle comes from NOT BEING TOLD.

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    1. So true, JoJo. It's so much easier to be told something sooner rather than later. I'm glad he understands he's not connecting too. It tells me he's going to make the effort again. =)

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  12. I think he must have wanted to talk about it if he left a piece of paper with her name on it lying around.

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    1. You bring up a great point, Andrew. He had it in his car but it was where I would see it. Perhaps it was his way of bringing it up without actually bringing it up.

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  13. Hopefully, if it's on the table, it won't be during breakfast.
    That would really put me off my eggs.

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    1. I already told him, no going over to Al's house!!! He said no!!

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  14. what´s difficult dear and not only wuth your experience you both had.
    I feel the same I cant have sex If I don connect emotionally!
    you understand that I say Elsie?
    is to easy feel apart!
    But I think Devin is in a good mood! Send you hugs and love,
    ah dear!
    xo

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    1. I absolutely understand, Gloria. Communication is essential to feel connected to our hubby's otherwise there's no spark in the bedroom. Now that we've had our talk, he has started opening up again. Telling me about his experience at group, sharing more about conversations he's had during the day vs. projects at work. Much more connecting. =)

      Much love!!! xoxoxo

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    2. The difficult is the connecting sometimes:))

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  15. good on you...these conversations are hard...never easy...but we have to have them...and we have to make decisions that put the relationship over other things...i know it was not easy for you but i am glad you were honest...and that will make a difference...and thanks for sharing it with us as well...as i am sure there are plenty that need the example...myself included...smiles.

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    1. These conversations can be very hard and very draining. They usually take quite some time to get through but are well worth their effort. I'm glad we don't have to have them often. It's like we need a reset button from time to time. A reminder of sorts of just how important the right type of communication is.

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  16. If the Hubby didn't tell me about an accident I would be pretty upset and I imagine there would be some yelling at my end. And if he excused it by saying "I didn't want to hear you go on about it" dishes would be sailing across the room. You handled this very well, especially given the name on the paper.

    You guys got through this well and he's been reminded that there is still work to be done in your marriage.

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    1. We've been through worse in our marriage and have hit bumps and potholes before. I try to look at each situation as a learning experience and so does he. As long as he continues to look at each bump as something to grow from, I'm a happy camper. We are a work in progress, that's for sure!

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  17. You're right in your response to one of the earlier commenters - it's definitely not "forced" to want communication from your partner. That should always be an expectation!

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    1. If we don't have open communication with our partners than what's the point of having a partner?

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  18. wow! I'm kinda blow away by your calmness. way to go!! It's funny how connecting is something they have to think about and make conscience decisions to do.

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    1. It wasn't all calm, trust me. I had to make an amends during the explanation of detaching with love because I snapped at him and rolled my eyes. I talked to my counselor today and she suggested doing a road map of what type of connecting I'd like to see to better our communication. She says she sees this problem quite a bit with SAs.

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  19. Communication is the only way to keep a relationship going.

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    1. I agree, Lynda. Talking is the way to keep things healthy and strong.

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  20. I have a friend who has an issue with an addict in his family - it is ripping the family apart and sadly the addict doesn't look to be changing. I explained detaching with love to him... "But how can we do that?" It is very hard to do but when you have to you have to

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    1. I'm so grateful Devin is changing. I couldn't stay if he wasn't. Detaching with love is such a difficult process. You have to learn not to put up walls and detach completely but only detach from the behavior and not to become enmeshed in it. It took me a long time to learn. I wish your friend luck.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.