Sleeping With the Enemy (On Marital Separation and Sex)

I invited Husband into my bed last night. And yes, we’re on our way to divorce.

It was cold and after midnight. The roads were covered with slushy snow and more was coming down. I’d been out with friends. I was feeling good.

Fire in Dumpster

When I came home to quiet and dimmed lights, I paused when I saw Husband. He looked so innocent, asleep on my couch, minding the house so I could catch up with old friends. In his sleep, he looked fresh, incapable of lies, deceit, secret drinking, drugs and late night porn fixes. His arm was thrown over his head, asleep on his back; I felt a wave of tenderness as I looked at him. Our oldest son sleeps just like that.

We’ve always had a great sex life. Through everything, we’ve maintained wonderful intimacy. Our second child was conceived mere weeks after Husband left rehab. We had our struggles and I thought that we’d moved past them. Perhaps I was in denial, naive, or overly hopeful.

In this I don’t think I’m alone–one of my favorite divorce memoirists, Theo Pauline Nestor, wrote of this in her fantastic book, too. Reading about others’ betrayal and subsequent actions helps me reflect on my own choices. If you haven’t read her yet, start here.

Susanne Finnamore fucked her husband as well, and after the divorce was final, no less.

Why should I be any different? One of the funny side effects of accepting Husband’s alcoholism (and working on my own recovery from codependency) is that I like him a whole lot more. And I can love the alcoholic but hate the disease. So I loved my husband last night, and for that I am not regretful.

I’m not focusing on his weaknesses (see crumbs swept onto floor, constant forgetfulness, outrageously littered car), as I know he is sick. I accept him, for the first time, for who he is.

Instead of being bitter and resentful, as my resentments were not serving me at all, I am working on being grateful for what he does bring. He wrestles with Big Brother, dances and sings to Little Dude, and makes us all dinner. He shoveled the driveway and washed the laundry. He makes me laugh and I enjoy his company (on many levels).

But he’s still an alcoholic. He’s still drinking. Not around me, but I know he is. He was going to AA once in awhile, but now that I’ve backed off from my controlling behavior, he’s not going at all.

I do think we have a future: we will be great co-parents, and friends. I will pray for him. He’ll probably end up in my bed once in awhile. We’ll always play an integral role in each other’s lives. Not the role I envisioned on our wedding day seven years ago, but an important role, nonetheless.

Our marriage will end, because I refuse to live with or be married to an addict. And Husband isn’t seeking help. I’ve given up on trying to figure him out, and I know I can’t fix him.

And the sex? It’ll peter out. Already it’s causing me to feel closer to him, and hopeful, and then disappointed. All within the same hour. I get a little angry, too, at his lack of recovery, but I’m feeling that emotion and letting it go. I’m not letting it overtake me, as I was when we were first separated.

He’s at his apartment now. I’m in my home. Separate. Safe. Sad. Detached.

I hope that one day again I’ll be able to have all of these things in one package: friend, lover, husband, roommate, co-parent.

For today, I am grateful for last night’s moment of intimacy, and today’s peaceful quiet time with my lovely family.


12 thoughts on “Sleeping With the Enemy (On Marital Separation and Sex)

  1. I think human needs coupled with the person he once was and the person you hope for in the future. My wife and I were still intimate when I was in my fire storm of holy hell. But today, nearly six years sober and still together, we are only together in the physical proximity sense. Keeping one home and tending to the needs of our children.

  2. Wow. We really should have lunch. I’ve been on a blogging break because December is such a hectic month, but our situations are so very similar. Our partners could be twins. Mine played has guitar and sang with the boys last night. He played with them for hours in the yard and cooked a fantastic dinner. However, after we all went to bed he drank the two bottles of wine someone gave me for Christmas minus the one glass that I had with dinner and was hungover all day today. At least yours recognizes that he has a drinking problem.

    • I’ve been thinking about this comment all day, about how wonderful men can have dark sides. No one is perfect, but it sounds like our husbands stretch the limits. I’m sorry yours doesn’t see he has a problem. Mine knows he has a problem but doesn’t do anything to fix it. I’m not sure that’s better.
      Hoping your 2013 brings you strength, joy, and serenity!

  3. Does that affect your ability to divorce? In my state, any sexual contact resets the clock on the separation and pushes the possibility of divorce ever farther into the future. I understand the human urge here, but I hope that doesn’t mean you are now starting from scratch on your divorce process.

    • I don’t think so. I believe my state only requires a 30 day separation before divorce. But it’s definitely something to think about. Now that I’ve signed legal separation paperwork, and I know his drug use has continued/escalated, I won’t be close to him anymore. I need to be around people who are healthy and well.

  4. During my first separation, I invited the soon-to-be former spouse into my bed. In the midst of the act and the after-glow, things seemed normal. I felt good. Then, came the crash and the emotional hangover. Staying physically connected did not give me enough space to detach emotionally. That moment of finally letting go, of being free, of releasing all that was… that was the moment when I really began to recover and live. Just my experience.

  5. Pingback: Should I Divorce My Alcoholic or Addict Husband? | Broken American Dream Diaries

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