[thechat] marital crisis update.

Joe Crawford jcrawford at avencom.com
Fri Jul 5 16:41:00 CDT 2002

Hey all.

Because of the fact got so much good advice on this list when my marital
shit broke bad 2 months ago (my wife left me and we are separated
completely). I have a strong urge to give you all a good update. Maybe
share what I have learned and where my head is at. Might be useful to
someone. And again, thank you all so much for listening, and for having
offered such good advice. It was a blessing.

Some of the more desperate shit I did - stupid phone calls begging,
sending flowers and cards, indeed came to nothing. This was precisely as
was counseled me here. And they pushed her away for a longer duration
than I would have expected.

Things I did right:
My rasher and stupider ideas of putting up flyers near her work
declaring my undying love, or buying up domains (I remember specifically
whois-ing winbackjenny.com and considered buying it seriously). Dumb
dumb. And thankfully, UNDONE.

I got into individual counseling. I'm working through years of shit, and
understanding the mistakes I've been making in my outlook and in
man-woman relationships for years. I've been a fuckwit more than I like
to admit, but understanding my fuckwit tendencies (and learning to
understand when I get attracted to fuckwit tendencies in women) is key.
I've also gotten into understanding my passive-aggressive tendencies,
and seen how they do nothing to help and aid communication. They fight
against a healthy relationship.

Pressing for joint couples counseling. We've been twice now, and it is
going well. I think the relationship is over. I can feel it. And she
does too. But hearing her talk about it, and me talk about, and having a
neutral third party there to call us on our bullshit (both when we're
being too negative and too positive) has given me a better feeling.
Like, we did a lot of stuff, RIGHT. Last month I was beating myself up
for being the cause of all the strife, but I think counseling has shown
that we both fucked up and went off track. Blame can be laid pretty evenly.

Support group. I've been checking out CoDA (Codependents Anonymous)
locally and that's been a real eye-opener. I've always been kind of down
on support groups, but this works for people. It still has a cultish
feel, and I'm cynical about such things. But a good group can be a great
support system. My essential caution about such groups remains, but this
works for me, and feels natural.

Letting go. I let go of the cat, and let go of all efforts to try and
control Jennifer remotely. Money. The cat. Through her friends. Through
her family. All these mechanisms to try and exercise control over her I
considered, and let go with time.

I've got a line of self help books 2 feet long (sorry, not gonna do the
metric conversion) -- The Solo Partner has been the one that has struck
the most truth: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0881791296/ --
worth a good look. If anyone has questions about other self-help books I
may have an opinion or two.

The queer blessing of it. I've been amazed that this has been a catalyst
for good change in me. I've been walking, and eating better, and have
lost 40 pounds (again, sorry for the lack of metrics here) in 8 weeks. I
think I have a much more serious commitment to a balance of
intellectual|body|spiritual|emotional than I ever did. I've always tried
for 2 out of 4. I'm trying for all 4 now. I know better now that I'm no
good to anyone if I'm not happy and in and of myself.

New friends. I've connected very deeply with a female friend of mine.
She went through something similar, and we've spent a good deal of time
together in many respects. There is no expectation of anything long-term
or permanent, and we are very conscious and honest when we do have those
feelings. It's not a lifelong commitment, but it is probably the most
even relationship I've ever had with a woman. The difficult question for
me here has been - "is this diminishing the odds of reconciliation with
Jenny" - and so far, I think the answer is no. But it's one I struggle
with. But honesty, true, brutal honesty, is a real turn on. I think I've
never been truly openly unself-consciously honest in my relationships.
Going forward, this is how I have to be, whoever I'm with.

Hope for the future. I'm 32 years old. Not dead by any stretch. But I
thought I was done there for a while. If you'd asked me last year what
my ambitions were - I'dve said "I've got what I want. Good wife. Good
job. Good friends. Good family. I'm all done." I think that I stagnated.
I stopped striving, stopped moving forward. And I've always been in
motion all my life. Thinking I was "DONE" was a terrible mistake. If you
are an ambitious person, and ever think you're done, I think you should
watch out. It's a real trap to get in a rut and think you've completed
your life.

I'm ever becoming. Ever striving. Got to move on and keep evolving what
it means to be me.


And that's the state of my world right now.

Tomorrow, who knows?

	- Joe <http://artlung.com/>
p.s.: I don't know if this will be useful to anyone. I'm no guru, by any
stretch. But I've been through shit. If this helps anyone, I will be

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