Open letter to my wife
Edit: Rereading this I realize some of it is harsh. But if I start editing, I would never stop. I don't even know if I will have the courage to ask you to read this, but if I do please understand that I am writing from a place of anguish and my intent is not to hurt you but to try to begin healing us. I miss my wife.
What I feel, What I need
For the past week, I feel like I have been living from breath to breath, not knowing how much the next one will hurt. For the first time I am feeling angry, so this may not be the best time to write...but this is also the only time I've felt even marginally lucid.
I have been convinced of my being fully to blame for the situation, and that is wrong and unfair. YOU put yourself in those places. I feel telling me that "you weren't looking for it to happen" is a sad excuse, especially having been warned of the danger of where you were going and choosing to continue anyway. Regardless of what I may of done or failed to do before now, I did not deserve that. I have given you absolute, blind trust, even after you first gave me reason not to and you took advantage of that to continue down a path that you swore you weren't.
Every time I have tried to explain to you how devastated, lost and alone I am feeling right now, you start listing all the things you consider to be my failings go back for more than a decade as if to say that I deserve any amount of pain your actions may inflict. Or, you say that I am weak and that I need to "wrap my head around it and move on". That is cruel and unfair. Being shell shocked by the turn of events and your inability to provide any reasonable measure of reassurance does not make me weak. It makes me a man who is fully and hopelessly in love with his wife. I need to stop apologizing for being hurt and I want you to stop belittling that pain.
What I need
I have told you that I am committed to repairing our marriage and have been trying to show you that in little ways while beginning work on the larger things. You have told me that I "know what I need to do (money)" and then "maybe" things will be ok. You say that marriage is a partnership and then act as if all the blame for our problems rests on my shoulders and that it is my responsibility to fix our marriage...alone. Feeling this way, is it a wonder that I cant even tell which way is forward, much less move in that direction?
I need you to show me that YOU are committed to repairing our marriage to support my efforts to do the same. "Maybe in a few months if you have done this this and this I will think about it" is not a commitment, it's opting-out.
If you really are still committed, and believe that our marriage is the most valuable thing in the world next to our children I need your reassurance. Without it, I feel like I'm treading water in the dark. If that makes me weak, so be it.
Things I need to feel that commitment:
I need you to Touch me, let me touch you, allow me to do simple favors for you. You know I love you, and maybe those things don't fix any of our problems...but allowing me to express my affection in small ways reassures me that you WANT my love.
I need you to tell me the things you love about me and the things that you loved but I haven't done recently. I need to know you are committed to US, not just choosing the lesser uncomfortable living situation.
I need you to support me on my job search; not accuse, threaten or confront but listen and help when asked. Plan with me. When I had so many failures before, I did come home down each day, but talking to you each night always gave me the confidence to go back out and get my ass kicked again the next day. You used my employment as your nuclear ultimatum...supporting and helping my search shows me that you WANT me to be successful in fulfilling my commitments to US. Supporting your spouse does not make them a dependant any more than accepting their support makes you dependant.
I need you to talk to me. Talk about the library, talk about your warts...anything! I still cherish every day with you...even these recent ones. Talking reassures me that you WANT to share your life with me.
I need you to cut all non-essential contact with XXX, for real this time. You can't unring that bell and reset that relationship. As long as that relationship continues, no matter how much you think you can minimize or hide it, neither one of us will be able to move on to healing the damage and fixing our other problems. Twice you have promised to do this and at least twice broke that promise and then flat out lied to me. Which brings me to...
I need to trust you again. This means:
You need to earn back my trust. I need to know where you are/who you are with all the time. This does not mean me tracking your phone as you have suggested. Even if that were reliable, I don't see how that could possibly be trust forming for either of us. I means you need to commit to telling me where you are because you WANT me to know. Set alarms if you have to, until we can re-establish trust "you know I always just lose track of time" wont cut it. I also need you to be completely honest about everything that has happened/happens. Saying that you "shouldn't tell me something because I'll just get mad" isn't doing me any favors. It is just seeking to shield yourself from the repercussions of your actions, I have every right to be hurt and angry. Even if I don't know what it is, after 20 years I can tell when you are withholding something. No matter how ugly it is, the whole truth can't be more hurtful than leaving me to wonder what your are hiding/omitting.
I need to let you earn that trust, as hard, uncertain and frightening as that may be for me. This is why I have declined to put your phone into tracking mode and continue to only use it when I need to locate you for other reasons. As terrifying for me as it may be, given the circumstances, I believe the only way to learn that trust again is by risking trusting you. If I can't do that, I don't believe I will ever grow beyond this moment. During this process, I beg you to be extra vigilant in avoiding any action that might cause me doubts. Beyond childhood, I have never felt/allowed that kind of trust in someone else and I feel hollow without it.
I want to move away. You said to me "It's hard because, to me, Lewiston IS Mr XXX". If we are rebuilding our relationship, how do I get around that? How do YOU move beyond it? I know this may not be immediately practical, and I would not destroy our financial future for it, but I need to know that you are seriously looking to leave Lewiston behind given what you've said the town means to you. This is on top of my concerns for the children living here.
I need you to not tell me that he is an honorable man and that you still wish I could like him. While married, he actively pursued a relationship with a married woman with young children. There is no honor in that. Listening to conversations of his friends, associates, wife, it is clear that you aren't even his first. Please don't ever ask me to respect that.
I know all this sounds insecure; you have given me reason to be.
Whatever you ask of me, I will pursue to best of my abilities. Just need to know I'm not in this alone.
For more than 20 years I have loved you with all of my being. That love will continue long past the day I die, it is not in me to feel otherwise.