Coming Clean

I sat down to write my race report for Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene, but as I struggled with how to start, I realized a race report seemed superficial and disingenuous as I struggle with a far more weighty matter: my marriage.

Wedding Day, September 13, 2008

Some might say that I shouldn't be airing my dirty laundry in a public forum, but because I know so many other couples that are also treading water, I thought it could only benefit them. I am not a very public person, so this doesn't come naturally. Bear with me.

Here goes.

A few months ago, I was tempted by the fruit of another (in the words of Squeeze). Some might say I cheated; others, that it was just innocent online flirtation. Whatever you call it, I hid it from Bill, which was a sure sign it wasn't the right thing to do. Fortunately, I put an end to it before it became physical, and came clean to Bill. I regret my actions, and I certainly regret hurting Bill.

But, as the cliche goes, the cheating wasn't the problem itself; it was a symptom of the problem. I was a ticking time bomb.

Since having Carter 7 years ago, Bill and I had grown apart, emotionally. We still held the same values, enjoy the same activities, etc., but the connection was lost. It happened so slowly, so quietly, that we didn't even know it was happening. We lived parallel lives, parenting our two kids, working, training for our various events.... We'd become really good roommates and project managers.

It wasn't until this incident that it became clear I was desperately missing that connection. I'd grown so accustomed to not feeling, to being numb, that when someone made me feel again, it was like everything in the world was brighter. I felt whole. It was the feeling I am sure I had with Bill when we were first dating, but that years of relationship neglect had let slip away.

While I am a bit of a dreamer and romantic, I don't truly believe this feeling I had is something that could be sustained over the long run with anyone, no matter how strong the initial connection. Passion fades. I also don't truly believe that I can magically return to the honeymoon period with my spouse; there is simply too much history, too much baggage. 

Marriage is fucking hard.

I do think that Bill and I are really good for each other, as parents and as partners. I am not willing to give that up without a fight.

So here we find ourselves, in couples therapy, trying to find that connection that we once had. It's a lot of work for something we are not sure is possible, but if it does work, it will be well worth it. What matters is that we are both happy, whatever that ends up looking like.