All posts by Holden

About Holden

Holden is a really groovy guy. By day a Management/IT Consultant, by night a wiper of his children's asses and regular in group fitness classes.

Aftermath of an Affair

This will be the final post I write about the affair my wife had on me late last year. Honestly, I’m pretty tired of thinking about it, but figure I’ve already divulged so much thus far, I might as well round the story out in case someone else in my shoes stumbles across it someday.

Personally, I found a lot of comfort hearing  from others who had been in my shoes when I was dealing with my marriage tearing apart and my wife leaving me for another man.

So, here goes nothing.

The 50/50 Blame Theory

When I first visited a counselor, she told me it was her opinion that affairs always start with a 50/50 blame. Typically, a spouse won’t cheat unless the other isn’t meeting some sort of need. From there, she starts assessing the couple as individuals and the 50/50 split starts to shift.

I liked this approach and took on the challenge myself of honestly assessing my situation. I started by immediately placing all the blame on myself. I thought of the years of working too much, harboring too much anger, throwing childish tantrums at times. The years of impatience. My blame immediately shot up in my mind to 80%.

But then the details of the affair started to unfold, most of which you can dig up on this blog if you really care to. In short, I realized that my wife was really using me more as an excuse and justification to cheat than anything. Not to say all the things I did wrong were not true. They absolutely were.

What made me shift the blame away from myself was the depths of perception and selfishness my wife exhibited. She persuaded me to move out under the guise of “taking a break” when really it was a ploy just to remove me, but have me still pay the bills while having her guy around. She talked me into taking our children for entire days and nights also under the guise of “I need alone time!” when in reality she was about as far from being alone as is possible.

My point is, it really wasn’t me, it was her. Yes I neglected her and justified the affair in her mind, but she made the decision to take it to the level it went. This wasn’t getting laid, this wasn’t getting drunk and fucking an old college flame, this was a full blown second relationship. This was not all my fault.

Today, I lay the blame at about 25/75 split. 25% my fault, 75% hers.

Thoughts on Telling Your Business to Everyone

One of the biggest mistakes I made during the affair was letting my emotions get the best of me. I told WAY too many people my business. I caution others about this. The reason I caution is twofold. First, when everyone knows your business, you suddenly start to feel foolish. You initially share your woes looking for release and comfort but soon you feel like a laughing stock. You feel weak and inadequate. I am certain that most of the people who know about my affair don’t think that about me… but then again maybe they do.

Since my wife and I worked things out, now I feel like a lot of people think less of me as a man. I feel like they maybe think I’m a pushover or a chump. This is probably my own feelings of myself being projected, but the thoughts still persist with me.

Second, when you spread your business to everyone, you humiliate and damage the reputation of your spouse. I’ve destroyed my wife’s reputation, which is partially my reputation by extension. And now, many people know what she did, while she doesn’t even realize they know. I can’t let her know that they all know because she’d never leave the house again!

It was a mistake. I should have just kept the news to my inner circle.

Thoughts on Making up and Reconciling

On almost a whim, my wife decided she didn’t want to leave me anymore. I talked extensively to Atticus and my counselor, and thought about it endlessly. This sums up why I honestly believe she changed her mind:

  • Jealousy- Once I thought the split was imminent, I started chatting with other women and to my surprise (and probably hers), they chatted back. My wife went crazy.
  • Financial Stability- My wife’s boyfriend is 8 years older than me, makes half the money and can’t even support his own children (he has three between two other women…). Once the infatuation wore off a bit, he became less appealing.
  • Mental Stimulation- My wife alluded to the fact that the other guy wasn’t quite as sharp as she’d like several times. In fact, it is the one negative trait about him she has mentioned most.

Why Did I Take Her Back?

I took my wife back because I have two little girls and I couldn’t stand the idea of another man entering their lives. I also couldn’t stand to see them suffer the hardship of a broken home. I also do love my wife very much, but I admit that was secondary to me.

How can I forgive her?

I don’t know. It’s hard. It is damn hard. I have good days and bad days. Being intimate is also challenging for me sometimes. I also think my wife has some serious issues that go beyond me and I feel it is my duty as her husband and best friend to help her through them

Conclusion

I under estimated the amount of guilt my wife would feel after the affair. I think deep down inside my wife hates herself for what she did to me and our children. I can see it in her eyes sometimes.

I also think that she is now in self-preservation mode. She knows she has nothing left. Between her and I, we burned every bridge she’s got during the affair. I think she’s also looking for redemption.

I was at Freedom Church a few weeks ago. The preacher, J.R. Lee, is one of the most amazing public speakers I have ever seen in my life. At one point in the sermon he picked up a huge bundle of chains and said something to the effect of:

“Forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it is about you! It is about taking the weight off YOUR BACK! It is not about letting the offender off the hook.”

The he followed up with:

“No one could EVER offend you as much as YOU have OFFENDED GOD. No one if beyond forgiveness”.

Those words moved me.  Forgiveness = Freedom.  Forgiveness = Liberation.

Regardless of faith, philosophy or walk of life, these things are truth.

-Holden

Thoughts on Anger VS Pacifism

Sometimes, I daydream about walking into the office of the man who my wife had an affair with late last year. In this fantasy, I turn his desk over. I puff my chest out like a baboon, scream, and glare at him with bulging eyes then beg him to come at me.

He foolishly does come at me and I overpower him, bringing him to the ground. He struggles and slowly I tighten my grip until I have my legs wrapped firmly around his waist and my arms firmly around his neck in an unbreakable chokehold… then slowly I begin to apply pressure.

As he struggled for air, he smacks the ground violently, he gasps, his face turns red, he kicks and squirms but I hold him down tight, now completely calm and collected, until he passes out.

Then I simply walk away. He wakes up a few moments later disoriented but unharmed apart from his ego and pride.

Next, I image that he has nightmares about me. He regrets the day he ever fucked a married woman, especially MY woman, a mother of two little girls, who he insisted he cared deeply for yet had never met them and didn’t care that he was on a mission to assist in tearing their little worlds apart. He vows to never mess with a married woman again, out of fear of the angry man on the other side of the equation.

The deep truth of the matter is that I train for this asshole. Yet, ironically, I train at the same time to find the courage to never act out my fantasy. I so badly want to act on this fantasy. I crave it. I crave not to destroy him physically, but mentally and emotionally.

For the past few months I’ve been fighting with/alongside with Atticus instead in some capacity or another. Either fighting myself, running up and down the streets of Historic Atlanta, GA with him, boxing with him in his garage, or more recently, venturing into Brazilian Jui Jitsu.

Ironically, martial arts are more an exercise in inner peace and a great source of release. Sometimes I find myself craving that physical contact. Sometimes, I feel the need for that full body exhaustion and release.

I’m a fucking angry man pretending not to be angry. I’m “faking it ‘til I make it” as we like to say in the consulting business.

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr day, I was thinking about pacifism. I believe pacifism might be the greatest weapon of all, but the problem with pacifism is that it is such a long ball game. There are no immediate wins by being a pacifist, and sometimes the victory presents itself in ways that maybe you never suspected.

For example, say I decide to forgive and forget what my wife and this other man did. This other man continues to live the life he lives- that of a coward, of a shit head, of weak integrity. I do believe he will ultimately reap what he sows. Not because of some cosmic justice at work, but because he simply is his own worst enemy.

And that will be my victory. I will win by living a life of honesty and integrity while he ultimately undoes himself and lives a life of un-fulfillment.

The real question is, do I have the strength to take the higher ground and tap into that higher game?

-Holden

Recuperation, Mindfulness and Humility

Yesterday morning I took my youngest daughter to her first day at daycare. Up until now she’s stayed at home with my wife and never had to deal with the stress of being left all day with strangers.

She sat in a little chair with her lip quivering, angry and welling up with tears. She refused to take her jacket off, gripped her little kitty cat stuffed animal tightly and hugged her blanket. Heart broken, I consoled her and kissed her then said goodbye and headed to work.

She made me think about how just a few months earlier I felt the same way when my wife had decided she was leaving me for another man- scared to death of being alone, afraid of the unfamiliar, new experience that I was being forced to undertake against my will.

Since then, my wife and I have reconciled. She started a new job yesterday and seemed truly up beat for the first time in years to be honest. I am happy that she feels like she is accomplishing something and even more pleased that even though my daughter was left sitting crying in a little chair this morning, at least tonight she’d be coming home to both mommy and daddy, and at least I would be the one tucking her into bed at night and waking her up in the morning.

A lot of people seem shocked that I’ve decided to reconcile with my wife after what we had been through. Over the course of three months my wife had cultivated a relationship with another man out in the open, unabashedly. She defended it as “just friends”, then she proceeded to have a full blown sexual and emotional affair with him in the background.

Like most people who bear a guilty conscience, she firmly placed all the blames for our failing marriage solely on me. I took on all that blame whole heartedly, in a very personal way.

A full gamut of emotions.

A few months back when my marriage woes were at their worse, Atty (my co-author on this blog) made a point that I probably wanted my wife more than I ever had before, just at the time she was most distant to me. He was right. At the point in time, I’d have given almost anything just to fix the problem. The emotions were unnerving and they entangled me like a wad of bubblegum in a little girl’s head of hair.

Last night my wife and I laid in bed and she insisted that I lay my head on her chest. She rubbed my back and neck, caressed my head. I thought about how mixed my feelings for her had become. Her affection for me seems so genuine at this time. I want to reciprocate but after the extreme betrayal, I have a hard time going back 100%.

Other times, I find myself being strangely indifferent. I think it is a defense mechanism. I love my wife, I want to trust her, I want to be a better husband and have an amazing relationship, but my heart simply refuses to let down the drawbridge and open the gates back up.

Instead I find myself more caught up in moments now. Emotions are now fleeting.

In the past, I might make love to my wife and the affection and love I feel afterword stick with me all day and into the next morning. Now, it seems I have been jarred more so into living moment by moment, taking an experience in for what it is but mostly leaving it behind as it passes. I think this is because I have come to realize that all experiences in life truly are transitory and temporary. All things will pass and eventually fade, including my happy little family and marriage.

I realized recently that maybe there is a name for this. It is “Mindfulness”.

Ironically, Atticus has stumbled across this idea as well as he faces great fears of his own very soon. This idea of Mindfulness has become a topic of conversation as of late.

It will be interesting to see where we go next. It’ll be interesting to see a couple guys coping with the universe knocking us down a few pegs and forcing some humility on us.

-Holden

Thoughts on Brotherhood and Friendship

For about a month now I’ve been consciously meditating. I don’t really meditate the way you might imagine though. Sometimes meditation happens on a spin bike in my garage. A few songs go by, I get warm and I set into deep quad work. Heavy, repetitive music thumps in my ears, I clamp my eyes shut tight and my mind wonders as my legs begin to resemble two large pieces of oak a blaze over a camp fire…

Other times meditation in fact happens around a fire. I recently bought a fire pit for my back patio, and I find myself lighting fires almost nightly over the last couple weeks, sitting for extended periods of time staring deep into the coals, long after my wife and kids have grown tired of roasting marshmallows and the cold became too much for them.

And finally, meditation happens early in the mornings, over coffee. I open the bay windows in my kitchen and stare into the dark, watching streaks of sunlight and they gradually bathe over the tops of the trees. That was my experience this morning… coffee and sunlight.

My meditation this morning took me to brotherhood…

Atty’s post about our jogs, coffee time together and the “iphone” generation a few days ago made a huge impression on me. I’ve thought deeply on it and its implications quite extensively now. I have rolled this idea over in my mind like a stone made smooth by water rapids in a river bed, this important idea of the “long game” and putting in the time to really form something great in your life. It does take time and effort to create anything great- be that a nice piece of furniture, an awe inspiring oil painting, or a friendship.

There are basic tenants that are most important to forming the type of friendship that becomes more a work of art than a relationship over time. It requires deep trust and honesty, but also quite a bit of courage.

Atty and I cross the lines with each other sometimes. Sometimes we say and do things that we probably don’t realize might hurt or offend the other. Where we excel is having the trust, honesty and most of all, courage to speak up. Wounds are not allowed to form and fester between us.

Further, this friendship takes courage as you are forced to defend it time and time again. I don’t know whether or not Atty has had to defend his friendship with me, but mine has been under attack more than a few times. My own wife, my mother, and other past friends I have since let go have all outright attacked my friendship with Atticus.

I get the impression that it offends them. I suspect that they feel jealous of this bond I have formed with Atty that I have not formed with them.

Further, I think it bothers them that I will defend it so quietly yet vehemently. In the case of my wife, I see that it troubles her. I think she hurts that she has destroyed these bonds not only with me, but with most of the people around her, yet my bonds grow stronger than ever.

I think both my wife and my mother are troubled because they suspect that perhaps deep inside, I love this man more than either of them.

Maybe I do. I certainly trust him more than either of them.

Atticus and my friendship are not perfect and neither of us are. No person is perfect and expecting that anyone will never let you down is a serious miscalculation. People will always let you down sometime or other. The key is having the courage to face and admit it when you do.

There are other important elements, such as learning to not covet the possessions, talents and other things your best friend has. Learning to accept each other’s negatives while celebrating their strengths, and so forth. But I do think at the core, courage and trust are the two most important elements.

Cheers.

-Holden

A Christmas Testimony

I’ve wrote pretty extensively about my marital problems of late. Unfortunately, what I share on this blog is only the tip of a larger iceberg, but somehow I’ve seemingly changed the course of what I thought was the Titanic on an irreversible path with the iceberg called divorce.

Over the course of the last month I’ve gone through some outright peculiar emotional trials and tribulations. In the midst of perhaps some of the greatest pain I have ever felt in my life, I have walked away not unscathed, not without harm, not without emotional scarring, but definitely a stronger, mature man.

As I’ve confided in some of my closest friends and allies, I’ve been filled with encouragement and love. I owe my friends everything I could ever possibly offer. I am one of the wealthiest men in the universe because I am so rich in love and friendship from so many.

Still, all the love and encouragement in the world would mean nothing without meaningful change. Only, I didn’t change because I wanted to. I changed because I had to, or I quite possibly might have lost my mind, freedom, or worse, my life.

My wife, the person who was supposed to be the closest person to me in my entire life, but who I had admittedly neglected for so long through anger, mismanagement of emotions, and simple immaturity had waged nuclear warfare on not only me, but my entire family.

This person, who I still love more deeply than perhaps anything else on Earth, and in fact more than ever now that we have walked through these trials together, drove me to extreme desires and plans that I don’t care to share or admit out of deep shame.

To be frank. I nearly lost my shit and I didn’t care how many people’s lives I was to destroy in the process of losing it. My goal was to become a kamikaze hell bent on not only destroying my life, her life and the life of her lover, but also the life of my children and her lover’s children by extension.

Then something happened.

One day I woke up and I wasn’t mad anymore. I’d love to say that I was brought back from the brink by friends, family, counseling, medication, meditation, exercise… whatever! But that wouldn’t be true. Yes, those are all tools I have utilized, and they continue to help me on my journey, but I promise you, they are not what stopped me from doing things I would not ever be able to take back.

I’m not going to lecture you today, on Christmas of all days, about the power of God, or tell you to go to church or tell you to pray. I’m just going to say, I said a prayer out of extreme desperation and I woke up the next day calm and collected and ready to own my problems.

I listen to a lot of “religious” people who frankly, I think are delusional and perhaps even mentally ill. Others I see as great manipulators and control freaks. And others, I may even simply view as small minded, uneducated and ignorant.

For me, my personal experience with God is just that. It is personal. Sometimes as I mediate or workout, my mind drifts and I wonder if I didn’t create these ideas as a crutch to deal with my problems. I wonder if a lot of the things that have seemingly happened to me aren’t coincidence or maybe I am simply connecting the dots in such a way that makes it convenient for me to attribute it to God or Jesus or whatever.

In fact, I can’t even believe I write or feel this today. Me, a well educated, worldly man who has experienced and seen so much, met so many people of different faiths, studied history and is so well aware of the dangers of religion- writing about God.

But I do attribute my happiness and well being today to God and especially the people he has put in my path. I am but a single man floating around on a rock which circles a star at a thousand miles per hour, in a galaxy that is yet just a small satellite itself in a sea of other galaxies, in a universe too enigmatic and expansive for me to ever dream of comprehending…  I’ve decided writing off God is arrogant.

So, take that as you will. That is my testimony. I am not ashamed and I feel no need to defend it or prove anything to anyone.

Merry Christmas.

-Holden

The Secret to Happiness

The secret to happiness is simple really. I’ve spent most of… no, all of my life surrounded by perpetually unhappy people. Moist everyone around me in my family seems unhappy. Unhappy to the point that I’ve disassociated myself with most all of them.

In fact, my family is so generally unpleasant and unhappy that I have opted to adopt outsiders as family, like my co-author Atty who I’ve been fishing for a Thanksgiving dinner invite from for a few days now.

I am not an unhappy person. In fact, I’m the opposite- I’m Mega Happy!

It isn’t because I’m rich, it isn’t because I’m super gifted or exceptionally handsome, and it isn’t because I get to party with rock stars or have sex with super-hot chicks all the time (though I do think my wife is pretty foxy, but you catch my drift).

I’m happy because I choose to be. Because I made my mind up that I was going to be so and I am. I am happy because I take action to make myself happy.

The Bullet Points of Happiness!

I’m going to bust out the secrets to happiness in classic blog style- hell I may even give this blog post a lame bloggy name like “The 6 Ancient Secrets to Happiness”.

  • Health- Happiness for me starts with my health. I don’t doubt that I could find happiness if I were to become disabled or ill, but I have my health and I protect it dearly because to me, it is the cornerstone. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF and you will find enhanced happiness. Work out, eat well, be active, have fun and thankful you can be active.
  • Friends- I don’t have many friends. I have only two very close ones. But I cherish them. They are my brothers. I’d rather gouge my eyes out than betray my friends. Form your wolf pack and keep them close. Don’t let your friends down- EVER.
  • No hay nada que preguntar! –Last year I spent about six months working with a team in the Washington DC area. A Peruvian teammate gave me this phrase which has become my personal motto. It roughly translates to “NO QUESTIONS ASKED” in English. I am a man of integrity, honesty and character- NO QUESTIONS ASKED.   My happiness hinges on my being someone I personally respect- no questions asked.
  • No excuses. All the most miserable people in my life have one thing in common. They all live a life full of excuses. “I’m unhappy because I can’t _____”. “I can’t” is for wimps. How about a little “I CAN and I WILL”. My happiness is dependent on being action oriented and active, not wishing I was somewhere I could be if I would just get off my ass and get to work.
  • Self-Control- I struggle here. I struggle with diet, controlling my emotions, controlling my anger especially, and other things. Finding the power to have control over myself, especially over my mouth is a great challenge to me, but also a source of happiness.
  • Contentment- Contentment is being happy with what you have, but not afraid to go get more if you decide you want it. Contentment is not complacent. I still want more, I still want to go further, but every day I look back on what I’ve done this far and I am content. The grass isn’t always greener. My lawn is plenty green enough.

What makes you happy? Go get it. No hay nada que preguntar!

-Holden

The Upside of Getting Divorced

Yes! There is an upside, at least in my circumstance!

Just a little over a week ago, I caught my wife seeing another man, and over the last week, she’s gone to see him two more times. The last time she went to see him, she strangely didn’t even try to hide it. She outright said she had been to see him for a lunch date and was telling him she probably wouldn’t be talking to him anymore.

The probably part is unsettling, but I have hope. We’ve spent the last two nights together in the same home and this morning, she didn’t scream at me. Baby steps I guess. I’m trying to have an upbeat perspective on this.

This morning, I came to work on a bit of a runners high. Yes, it will probably be short lived and soon I’ll be gasping for air again, but for now I’m happy looking out the window of a skyscraper in Midtown Atlanta and watching the sun rise over Stone Mountain off in the distance and it is fucking magnificent.

Sunrise in Midtown Atlanta
Sunrise in Midtown Atlanta

While I’m watching the sun rise, I’d like to share some positive notes on this whole divorce/separation process I’ve been enduring:

Reconnecting with Family: Last night my sister called me for the first time in a long time, and the day before that I talked to my aunt who I hadn’t spoken to in quite a while.

I’ve reconnected with my mother and father on a much deeper level than ever before and also formed a deeper relationship with my in-laws who have been surprisingly supportive and loving. All these connections resurfaced because I was in trouble and I needed help.

Deepening Friendships: My friendship with my best friends Atty and Josh has deepened more than I ever thought possible. Josh and Atty are complete opposites in many ways, but seemingly parrot each other when getting to the point.

These men are two of the wisest, kindest and most generous souls I have ever known, and this divorce has only proven to demonstrate that further. They have built my confidence in myself, gave me logical and sound advice and told me thing things I do not want to hear but needed to.

They force me to face reality and stay sharp while also providing an outlet to vent and let my emotions out.

A Rediscovery of Spirituality: I still do not completely understand my feelings on God, religion or anything else but I’ve accepted that I have a need for it regardless. I’d like to think my perception of religion is one part cultural and one part humility.

Many people approach spirituality from different angles. I think the important thing is to have a cornerstone in your own life- a cornerstone bigger than yourself.

Relying on people for your cornerstone is only going to let you down. A person will always let you down at some point no matter what. I need a God bigger and better than myself as my cornerstone. I don’t intend to preach or force it on others. I don’t intent to evangelize or Bible thump it into people’s heads. I just intend to hold it within myself, quietly, personally, and wholeheartedly.

Yes, I will fuck up again and yes, I will still say words like fuck from time to time. That is because I am not a religious man, I am just a man, a tiny little man floating around on a rock buzzing around in space 460 meters per second!  I’m not big or strong enough to go it alone.

A Discovery of Self Confidence: The man my wife is/was seeing is handsome, muscular and covered in tattoos. He has a six pack and no back hair. He is naturally tanned and from what I hear, endlessly charming.

For the first few days after I Facebook stalked the asshole, I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror at myself with my shirt off. Yes, I have a little definition in my chest. My arms are kind of muscular… sorta. But I don’t have guns like this guy. I don’t have an arm full of bad boy tattoos. And I also have a tendency to grow quite a bit of hair on my back if I let it go.

But then I had to shake it off and realize a few things.

I have TWO college degrees. I am 30 years old and have already started over in three careers, each one paying better than the last. Each one a new challenge building on the last. I am diverse and well read, cultured and well-traveled and I am fucking HILARIOUS!

Oh, and I’m also a bombshell in the sack. I’d go into details but this isn’t’ that kind of blog.

My point being is. Fuck that guy. I looked into him. He’s a 38 year old under achiever. I don’t say that to make myself feel better either.

Muscles are a few reps in the gym away. Anyone can get muscles. You can’t go fetch brains in the gym, and accomplishment in the workplace and classroom is a little bit harder to come by.

So there you are, the upsides of divorce! If you’re still hanging with me at this point. THANKS! I appreciate you for reading. Have an awesome day.

-Holden

The Most Romantic Gesture of all- Resume Writing

My first night of my separation from my wife was spent at my parent’s house. It was nice to come home, vent and have a laugh. I forgot just how demented our sense of humor is as a family. Still, I couldn’t sleep all night, I tossed and turned, my stomach cramped and I was going on day five of not really eating or sleeping more than a few hours.

I woke up about 4am and decided to get ready for work. My parents live about 50 miles northwest of my office in Midtown Atlanta and I figured at the least, I’d beat the traffic and focus on something other than life.

Then about 10am, I called my wife to see if she’d called to find a counselor for us to see yet. She was flustered. My youngest daughter was giving her hell, my older daughter wouldn’t go to school due to being distraught over not understanding why daddy lived with Grandma.

My wife said she’d been trying to update her resume and write a cover letter to apply for a few jobs all morning and couldn’t think strait or deal with the kids well enough to get anything done.

Instantly, I kicked into daddy/husband mode. I said, “Look sweetie, I’m coming home at lunchtime today. We’re going to create a list of objectives and we’re going to tackle this.” She said okay, sobbing and hung up the phone.

I went home at lunch, unpacked my computer and went to writing my wife’s resume.

Writing her resume was no easy feat. My wife has spent the last four years as a stay at home mom. Before that she worked a few years as a medical assistant then was a server while ‘exploring her possibilities’ for some time in tech school before that. But somehow, I wrote the cutest, snazziest little resume and cover letter that fit my wife just perfectly.

As she read it she grinned. She looked at me, her giant brown eyes glowing, then thanked me, hugged me, kissed my cheek and told me she appreciated me so much.

Then I told her we were going to train her to use Microsoft Word and Office. I said I would find self-paced courses for her and when I moved back home, she could practice it while I studied for my certifications.

I’m going to share that resume with the personal details generalized just so any other stay at home moms out there can have a great example of how to sell yourself when/if you decide to get back into the workforce someday.

 -Holden

BlogTruth Mom Resume
BlogTruth Mom Resume

Divorce, and Blind Faith in Something I cannot see

This weekend was one of the worse in my entire life.

Last Thursday, I caught my wife lying to me, out with another man.  She came home that night at 1am, drunk, angry and telling me she hated me. She despised me.

I tried to patch it, then Saturday there was a relapse. She went out with him again. Lied again about where she would be. Left me at home with our two daughters worried and wondering where she was.

I felt buried. I like I was down to my last hope. I did something I hadn’t done for a long time. I went to church and gave it to God.

I don’t care to go into details. I don’t care to argue the merits or God. The ridiculousness of Jesus, religion, or anything. I just had to give it away. Give it away or to be quite frank- either kill myself or find a doctor who would heavily medicate me until this all passed.

I realized this weekend that I am not a strong man. I appear strong, I act strong, and on paper I am strong. But inside I am a weak, fragile little boy afraid of change and to let go. Afraid to face myself many times.

I don’t believe God is talking to me. I have prayed long and hard, I have wept, I have hyper ventilated. I grieved in ways I have never before. But I don’t know that I feel any sort of super natural power at work over me.

But I do feel a deeper sadness now than I ever thought possible. I can only image a few scenarios where I would feel deeper grief. So I had to go back to my roots, I had to go back to a country church, with a passionate preacher and a crowd full of endless “Amens!” I had to go to the altar, and I had to let a bunch of strangers place their hands on me and pray for me.

I don’t know if anything super natural happened or not, but I know something happened to me. I forgave myself for all my past transgressions. I admitted to myself that I am the root reason my marriage is falling apart. I forgave my wife for going to another man, lying to me, lying to her children and disappointing them, but I have no doubts in my mind, I am the one that has to change, and I’ve decided to give it to God.

Maybe it is a psychological crutch, a mind trick. I don’t care. I need it right now, and if I pull through this and come out on the other end- where ever that other end is, in the back of my mind, in the pit of my stomach, I will remember that I relied on God in my time of need and I pulled through.

Tonight I’m moving back in with my parents.

Part of me feels happy to see them more often. Part of me feels like this is my chance to reconnect with my mother and build a stronger relationship with my father. My wife and I have decided to start fresh as a couple, who is dating. I hope to also start marriage counseling this week.

In the back of my mind I see this as another checkbox off on the list for the divorce filing. Part of me fears that my wife is strategically removing me from her life and I, the hopeless little puppy who won’t go away despite having rocks thrown at me, it being lured into the trap.

  • Ceased intimate relationships.  CHECK
  • Formally separated.  CHECK
  • Attempted marriage Counselling.  CHECK

But… I gave it away to God. So fuck it.

After agreeing to the separation, my wife instantly warmed up to me a bit more. Last night I tucked the girls in bed and sang them their lullabies.  I gave my wife a backrub and I asked her if she wanted to know the secret that I have to get the girls to settle down at night.

I sang the lullaby in her ear, “Go to sleep… go to sleep…. Go to sleep my sweet Sara…..”

I felt so relieved that she at least agreed to sleep in the bed with me on that last night in my own house. As I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, I feared it would be our last together.

-Holden

Thoughts on Masculinity and Hetero VS Homosexuality

I grew up in Northwest Georgia where boys and men typically affirmed their masculinity and sexuality with trucks, boots and camo-ball caps. I’m not originally from the south and never quite identified with the sub culture, but I lived in it, understand it inside and out, and appreciate it on a certain level.

As a kid and especially a teenager, this made me stand out like a sore thumb. I remember it being insinuated more than a few times that I was queer, gay or even a faggot. I remember one very hurtful time when my two best friends at the time insinuated that I was gay while we were driving down the road. Nothing is worse than being trapped in the back of a car and being attacked with the “So, are you a faggot?” question.

Worse, I’ve been propositioned by quite a few men as well. I remember working at Target one summer when a gay co-worker asked me if I wanted to come over to his house and go swimming. His parents were out of town for the weekend.

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this on the inside that I’ve never really talked about. I admit, I do have a lot of hobbies or interests that most people would consider gay, though I have never actually felt attracted to another man before.

This morning I was riding my spin bike at 5am. Yep… real manly right? I had my earbuds in and there was I was alone in my garage with the music thumping in my ears. I sang out loud because, hell, it is 5am and I’m all alone in my garage! So why the fuck not!?

As I was cooling off I wondered what my wife would think about my performance, if she had happened to peek her head in and see me. Would it turn her off? Would she think I wasn’t very manly?

I spend a lot of time afraid my wife doesn’t think I’m masculine enough. I’ve heard her make fun of me to her sister for having solo ‘Just Dance’ video game sessions, or singing along to lofty sounding Silverchair songs with my guitar. And last summer, when I took her to see Les Misérables I got the impression that she felt awkward when I became visibly moved during Eponine’s solo, ‘On My Own’. Yes, I admit, that isn’t very manly and probably isn’t going to help you get laid at the end of the night. But I couldn’t help myself. I got teary eyed.

I’m not sure how I developed these tastes. My dad is a former marine who hunts, shoots, then carves up his own meat. He makes his own wine and beer and spends entire days wondering around in the woods for fun. And my mother isn’t really into much of anything, except shopping and watching re-runs of CSI on Lifetime. I also have zero friends who share any of these interests with me.

I just am who I am for better or worse. I do worry about what my wife thinks though. I pay extra attention to how I dress, how I carry myself, the amount of authority I command and the way I deal with other men who challenge me. I’m careful to never appear that I am not in control.

Sometimes, when we’re going through rough patches in our relationship, I feel that my masculinity is on trial. And to an extent, I feel the same way with most of my friends, especially those I might keep at arm’s length.

Though, I do wonder if maybe the most masculine thing I can do is be secure in who I am, and be a confident leader. I wonder if, at the end of the day, honesty isn’t what is most masculine. Instead of trying to fit into a mold of what society tells us masculinity is.

I am a confident, physical, strong man. I know who I am. I am honest with myself. I am not afraid to stand up for myself, my friends and my family. I am a good provider. And I work hard and love my wife and girls through and through.

That is true masculinity.

-Holden