Q: I don’t know why I put up with my partner, but I guess that it is because I love him. But my love is wearing thin. Let me tell you why: “Gerald” and I have been together in a supposed monogamous relationship for 15 years. We are both professionals, make good incomes and have friends.
What we don’t have is intimacy, good communications, caring and a happy relationship. It didn’t start that way, and I don’t know where all the love, joy and togetherness went, nor do I know why it left. And, maybe to the point, how and if we could ever get it back.
I don’t know when Gerald decided to go outside our relationship for love (maybe, it was love) or sex, but I think it was about five years ago. At least, that’s when I first heard reports of his infidelity. I cried all night long the first time, but by the 89th time I had already cried out all my tears and had none left.
The first 10 times of infidelity, or so, I confronted Gerald on his transgressions. He always told me that people are just “jealous of us and trying to break us up.” Even then, I knew he was handing me a line but I wanted to believe it, so I did. But, when number 11 or so came along I knew better. I just didn’t have courage to call him the whore that I thought he was – is. I didn’t want him to leave me. I still loved him. I didn’t want to live life without him.
The fact is, now I’m not really living at all. We have no meaningful relationship. We live in the same house. We share finances. We pretend that we are a couple, though our couple facade is just that, a facade – and not a good one at that. Nor does anyone believe it, as they all know that Gerald is out whoring around most nights. So, this whole life of mine is a sham. People must think I’m a fool.
I feel absolutely paralyzed. I don’t know how to move out of this nightmare. I wake up everyday and I find that I am still in this mess; the nightmare doesn’t go away. I’m barely able to go to work, do small chores, or care how I look or if I eat. I’ve lost 15 pounds in the last eight months and I wasn’t trying – not that I couldn’t use to lose a few pounds but now I’m too thin. Gerald doesn’t notice, nor does he care.
I wish I could get up to leave, but I can’t. I just barely make it to work, then come home, watch TV, or go to bed and sleep. I’m not sure if I had the energy that I could even leave, as much as I would like too. As I said, I feel like a fool; one who can’t change his life which makes me a bigger fool.
I don’t think there is anything you can do, Jody. But I feel a bit better today just being able to put this down on paper and know that you will care about my pain. Thanks for listening.
Stuck in the Pit
A: You need to summons the energy to call your doctor, make an appointment, and let him know how you are feeling – right now. You have, over time, become extremely depressed. This depression is why you are feeling so unable to change your circumstances. You most likely need to get on some antidepressants, first. Then, you will be able to benefit from some counseling to help you get to a better emotional state, making it possible for you to move your life from where it is now to a far better place. You need to understand and believe that this is depression talking and given a little help, you can move on. I care. E-mail me back when you’ve made that doctor’s appointment. I’ll be waiting.
Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.