The road to peace?

I thought I’d send my story out there to see how others might weigh in on the situation. I have found little in the way of compassion over the past two years. I wondered if there was some here.  I also want to preface with the disclaimer that I am well aware that what I am writing is one sided and biased.  Also, there isn’t anything bad others can say to me that I haven’t said to myself.   It starts way back when I was a child (doesn’t it always?).  Dad was high-ranking military, abusive, rocky marriage, killed in Vietnam when I was 12.  I (and my sister) was sexually abused by my brother.  Learned that my primary “value” to others was sexual.  Became sexually active when I was 14.  Got pregnant at 18 and gave the baby up for adoption not because I believed abortion was wrong, but that it was wrong and irresponsible for me.  Was targeted by sexual predators through college, although I could have been sending out unconscious signals.  Pushed my boyfriend to get married right out of college because I felt that would make me worthy.  I chose him because he was “nice” and I wanted to rescue him from an emotionally impoverished past.  Wasn’t really attracted to him – not just physically – but that wasn’t my priority at the time. Didn’t realize that I would be taking care of him for the duration of our marriage.  Along came 2 kids.  Husband became a minister, my mother became sick with cancer.  Mom died and stepfather was an alcoholic.  I was diagnosed with depression and in therapy off and on throughout my adult life.  I am also in a helping profession.So…we moved for his job to a new state. I was adjusting to the role of Minister’s Wife by playing the part.  I really am an introvert.  In his new job as Associate Pastor (his first full time job in our 15 year of marriage) he absorbed all the anxiety and stress he could.  He has never been good at time management.  He continually complained to me about church stuff.  I became very involved in church activities and was on several committees and groups.  All our friends were church friends.  All our activities were church activities.  All our conversations were about church and spirituality.  I felt I was being mother to husband, kids, church and work.  I have always believed “Bloom where you are planted” and that I was responsible for my own happiness.  I kept trying different projects, programs and outlets to make me happy.  I was learning how to be less of an emotional sponge with my husband.  The problem was, the less I absorbed from him, the more I realized I was not that attached to him.  I started a job that had real career advancement possibilities, retirement, etc.  He was so furious at the hours and demands of this new job it was as if he were jealous.  I was thinking: wow!  I finally have something that is just for me!In the church where my husband worked, there was a female senior pastor.  Her husband and I became good friends.  We shared many interests and both had a background riddled with abuse and dysfunction. We were involved in several projects together and found we were attracted to each other.  We felt we couldn’t tell our spouses about it because it would mess up their good working relationship.  I know, that was a rationalization.  We thought we could keep things under control.  And we did for a while.  Then as both our marriages were shaky (his in spite of 6 years of marriage counseling) we crossed the line and became lovers.  We realized that the situation was explosive and quickly called it off and almost didn’t speak for 2 years.  However, projects at church kept throwing us together and things took off again.  I had not consciously entertained the thought that my marriage was bad until I fell in love with someone else.  I just didn’t realize that I was not emotionally invested.  I always thought (and the husband helped me believe) that I was flawed, had issues because of my past and that was why I was depressed.  One Sunday, at a couples’ retreat of all places, I felt a bolt from the blue.  The meditation was on the parable about the guy who found a pearl in a field and sold everything he had so he could buy the field and have the pearl.  We were supposed to think of our marriage as that pearl, but with sudden clarity, I realized that the pearl to me, was my friend/lover.  I knew I had reached a crossroads.  I had doubt that I could salvage my marriage but my lover and I agreed we should try.  He was looking into a job out of state and I was going to finally insist that my husband and I have counseling together. Remember, before, I had thought the problems were all mine. He seemed happy, I was not.  But this was not to be.  My husband apparently had suspicions and confronted me with a phone bill.  I admitted to the affair and he said some very bad things our children overheard.  His behavior at this point was understandable, but it also clarified the reasons I knew the marriage could not continue.  He is a very insecure, negative person who had just had his worst fears confirmed.  I believed that if we were to stay under one roof there would be a lot of ugliness and chaos in front of the kids.  He could not hear any of my explanations and apologies and so I told him we needed a counselor to help us figure things out.  There were times I was afraid of his rage and what he might do.  To be continued…Part II: The SeparationPart III: Doing the best I can…