Rock bottom

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My last post, prompted by an article in which the author did very little to differentiate sex addiction from sex offending (criminal behavior, pedophilia, sex with a minor, etc…), elicited some interesting conversation in the comments. It also got me and Blue Eyes talking quite a bit about this subject of sex addicts and their escalating behavior. It is true that many addicts progress and fall deeper into their addiction until they finally hit rock bottom, but not all sex addicts continue to escalate behavior, and some addicts never do hit rock bottom. Not the rock bottom where they are discovered, or the rock bottom that has them finally divulging their secret life. And one person’s rock bottom can be quite different from another’s. Some addicts go to their death bed without ever having been found out. It has been my observation that very few sex addicts out themselves, so something they did or are doing got them caught. Sometimes this behavior is unhinged, out of touch with reality, dangerous or escalating in frequency. Sometimes they have merely tried to break it off with an acting out partner who is hell bent on the wife (or the world for that matter) knowing the truth, now. Now that they have lost.

Here are some stories of sex addiction “rock bottom” from people we know or stories we have heard first hand:

A wealthy single 30-something Los Angeles attorney is so dependent on his addiction that he is unable to carry on a lasting intimate relationship even though he desperately wants to. He has had short term relationships with many lovely women, but it never lasts because his addiction always gets in the way. He craves sex with prostitutes. He has to have it, then he feels deep shame for participating in behavior he feels is dirty. It is also illegal. He could lose his license and his career if he is caught. He does it anyway. He tries to stop and tells himself he will never seek a prostitute again. He tries to go “cold turkey.” He becomes so desperate that he leaves his downtown office in his $4000 suit in the middle of the day and heads to the nearest street where cheap prostitutes are readily available. He chooses the first woman he encounters and pays her $50 for a blow job. She does not use a condom. She is a drug addict and her face and mouth are covered in sores and it doesn’t stop him. He is not caught by the police. He returns to his office and in an act of desperation, he looks up a number for an addiction center specializing in sex addiction and he calls the number.

A 50-something man with two children has been married for 24 years. This is his second marriage. He cheated on his first wife and married the mistress. He has now cheated on his second wife (the mistress) their entire marriage. He has slept with 20-30 women, some of them being short term, others developing into longer affairs over the two plus decades of his second marriage. He has never loved any of these women. He regrets cheating, but each and every time he partakes, he convinces himself he will never do it again. That he has control. The wife is clueless. While the SA is on a business trip with his latest mistress, the wife becomes suspicious and finds proof of the affair. The wife confronts him and he lies and says this is his first affair, and that the mistress means nothing to him (this is true). The wife demands he dump the mistress and seek help and ostensibly, he does. He goes to therapy and is diagnosed as a sex addict and regularly attends SA meetings, but he doesn’t take it seriously. You know, the whole “god” thing and he’s not like those other guys, and whatever. He does not give up the mistress. Nine months later, the mistress calls the wife and informs her that they never stopped seeing each other and he will be leaving the wife and they will be married. This is when the SA starts taking things seriously. He sees 12 step in a whole new light, he doesn’t want to lose his wife, his marriage, his family. Today, he is currently more than 12 years sober and has been a sponsor for numerous men and is still married. All those years ago though, he did spend his 25th wedding anniversary with the mistress in his wife’s bed (while she was away on business) before acknowledging his addiction.

A 40-something man, married with kids, regularly sees prostitutes, and one particular prostitute is his favorite. He considers her his friend (delusional much), but he always pays her for their time together (of course). He has spent time with the prostitute in his home when his wife and kids have been away, so the prostitute knows where he lives and generally knows his schedule. He goes away with his wife and kids on vacation. There is an emergency and they must return to their house early. When they arrive home, they find that the prostitute and her boyfriend have broken into, and are robbing the house. The prostitute holds the SA and his wife and young kids at gunpoint while she proceeds to tell the wife all her husband’s dirty secrets. The family is not harmed physically. He enters 12 step and therapy. He is still married.

A retired 70 year old man, father of 4, grandfather of 11, is in his home office. The doorbell rings and his wife, taking a break from baking cookies for her grandchildren, opens the door. Standing there is a county sheriff. He has a search warrant. He proceeds to inform her that they will need to confiscate all electronics in the home, specifically any computers or devices with access to the internet. Her husband has been downloading child porn. He claims he had no idea. He is arrested on the spot. The entire family must be interviewed to make sure none of his children or grandchildren have been harmed by grandpa. He enters a mandatory rehabilitative program for porn addiction. He doesn’t return home for weeks, and once he does, he is not allowed to be alone in a room with his grandchildren. He never touched any of them, but this is the consequence of his escalating behavior into child porn. He is in 12 step recovery and is a registered sex offender.

A 30 something male, married with two young children, day job as a software engineer, night job playing in a band, has been caught cheating by his wife. Desperately trying to save her marriage, the wife agrees to an open relationship. She feels like the reason for his behavior is not enough excitement in the bedroom. The rules are, either of them can “date” and have sex with people as long as they inform each other of their plans and their whereabouts and each comes home to the other every night and they wake up together and have breakfast as a family. Both proceed to have sex outside the marriage. One evening while the wife is making dinner, she receives a phone call from a woman saying she is running late for a date with the husband. The wife has no idea who this woman is, so she asks. The woman says she has been dating the husband for six months and they have had sex since the first night, and every encounter since. She says when she couldn’t get ahold of the husband, she looked up their home number. She wants to know what the big deal is as she knows they have an open marriage. So, even though husband has an open marriage and all he has to do is tell the truth, he can’t. What he really wants is the secret. After months of fighting and husband being kicked out of the house, he enters therapy and is diagnosed as a sex addict. He struggles for two+ years and is not able to remain sober. Divorce pending.

A successful 40-something government attorney is out of control. He regularly drinks in excess, partakes in recreational drug use, and has multiple affairs. He has clandestine sexual relationships with women. He is married with two young children. He “dates” two 20-something women in his office at the same time. When one finds out about the other, she becomes unhinged. Out of spite, she accuses the attorney of rape. She has her sister call the wife. She goes to the man’s house and spray paints it with derogatory remarks about the husband. The man is an addict and although he manages to hold onto his job, and his family, he is unable to master his alcoholism and excessive drug use. It’s probably a matter of time before he loses it all. He rarely attends 12 step meetings.

A 30 something married man regularly sees prostitutes. He has maxed out his credit cards and double mortgaged his home in order to pay for his wining and dining lifestyle. He is nearly bankrupt, but decides to take his prostitute “friend” to Atlantic City for a fun getaway. While he is gone, the bank calls the wife and all is revealed. He literally loses everything, his lifestyle, his house, his job (he is so distracted by the rest of his life falling apart) his wife and of course his prostitute “friend.” He regularly attends 12 step meetings and is still hoping to build his life back, some day.

A 60 something accomplished heart surgeon, married with two grown children, has been having affairs with nurses for as along as he can remember. He slips up and the wife finds out, about one. Eventually the whole truth comes out and surgeon is diagnosed as a sex addict. Wife now hates all nurses. She never has sex with her husband again, but remains married for the lifestyle. Surgeon regularly attends SA meetings and cries because he has lost all intimacy with his wife, the only woman he has ever loved. He has 15+ years sobriety.

A 40 something married man is regularly viewing porn at work and at home, and having extramarital relationships with women he meets in chat rooms. He is warned at work to stop viewing porn on company time and company computers. He continues to view porn anyway, and is fired. He and his wife proceed to move from city to city as he is fired from jobs and also as he runs away from the angry women he pursues and then summarily dumps. A new city never does solve the problem, however, and when his wife threatens to leave him because he can’t keep a job and she is tired of moving, he comes clean, enters therapy, is diagnosed as a sex addict and attends regular 12 step meetings. He has been diagnosed for 10 years and has four years of sobriety. Sobriety is hard, people. He has a contentious relationship with his wife, but they are still together. He is one frenetic guy. ADD seems to be a common diagnosis of sex addicts.

And, the familiar story of Blue Eyes (and so many others)… middle aged man behaves badly, escalates from masturbation and porn to affairs with consenting adults, feels shame, promises himself over and over and over that he will never do it again. Never seeks to find the mystery inside of why he behaves in such a manner, so different from what he presents to the world and against his own moral compass. He really really really wants to stop the madness and he breaks things off with the angry other woman. She calls wife, secret life spanning decades is revealed. Sex addiction diagnosis. Recovery begins.

There are many many more stories I could tell, and I am very much simplifying here, but these pretty much represent the majority of scenarios we have been exposed to. There were numerous methods of meeting and grooming the partners including chat rooms, Craig’s List, Ashley Madison and other dating sites. Lots of lying about availability and lies about spouses. Sexual preferences and porn proclivities vary widely, but generally speaking, the stories are scarily similar. I did not, of course, include any stories of my readers. The included stories likewise are anonymous and are from people that were in a meeting one or the other of us attended at some point in time during the past 3 1/2 years of recovery.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that none of the behavior of these men crossed over into sex with minors, or pedophilia, except the porn addict. From the stories I have heard, quite a few porn addicts (unknowingly?) cross over into the realm of child porn. Usually the excuse is that they were downloading so much porn with diminishing returns and they completely lost control of what they were doing and stumbled upon child porn without knowing. Escalation for most often meant they were participating in the illicit activity to a higher degree than they could keep under wraps. Other women don’t like to be ignored, and they often elicit the first discovery event. Or partners just know something is wrong and go snooping. If there is something to find, perhaps the SA has gotten sloppy. I understand that sex addiction is progressive, but I don’t necessarily believe that left unattended sex addition will enter the realm of sex offending.

After listening to my husband talk about his secret life all those many months ago, and after his filling out dozens of pages with hundreds of questions, and then hours of therapy, and three separate diagnoses by trained professionals, I finally accepted the fact that Blue Eyes is an addict. He was diagnosed with sexual acting out problems, with sexual compulsivity, and finally sexual addiction. They are all the same thing. It doesn’t really matter what we call it. Blue Eyes didn’t want to be the way he was anymore. He was obsessed with shame filled behavior that he couldn’t control. He used it to cope with life. Blue Eyes defined his own sobriety and then he defined his recovery path. No one forced him to go to therapy or to go to 12 step, or to do anything really. Sex addiction is not an excuse to hide behind. Recovering sex addicts know this. Blue Eyes floundered for a while. He went to some SA and SAA meetings that weren’t for him. He didn’t want to go at all, but he did. And he kept going until he found the meeting(s) that worked for him. We have that luxury in the town we live in. There are a lot of meetings. By the time I spoke with a specialist in the field of Sex Addiction Induced Trauma (SAIT), six months into the process, my boundaries (to stay) included Blue Eyes continuing to attend SA meetings. There are many success stories there. To me, success stories are the ones where the addicts keep working towards being a better person, not perfect, but better. They don’t all have decades of sobriety, some slip up, some don’t, some have been there for two decades, some for two days. They do have one thing in common though, they admit that they need help mastering their sexual compulsivity, and they find solace in a room full of people who totally understand how that feels.

For those who have just stumbled onto this blog, when my husband was first diagnosed as a sex addict, I frantically searched for articles about sex addiction. I ended up at Psych Central and there before my eyes was a listing of what my husband described as his secret life. The thing about it though, is that Blue Eyes wasn’t escalating. He wasn’t out of control. He just was. He was participating in the same behavior and in the same way as he had been for years. Masturbation and porn, to grooming, to extramarital affairs, this was the progression, the escalation. And when he wasn’t in the throes of acting act with the other woman, he still had masturbation and porn. They were his best friends and they helped him cope with life, from a very young age. They helped him become successful, both in his partnership with me, and in his business. Blue Eyes’ rock bottom was realizing if he didn’t get help, if he didn’t come clean, he truly believed his addiction would kill him. So, although recovery is hard, it is nothing like being an active sex addict.

From Psych Central:

Symptoms of Sexual Addiction

While there is no official diagnosis for sex addiction, clinicians and researchers have attempted to define the disorder using criteria based on chemical dependency literature. They include:

  • Frequently engaging in more sex and with more partners than intended.
  • Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.
  • Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop.
  • Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic Web sites.
  • Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.
  • Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks.
  • Escalating scope or frequency of sexual activity to achieve the desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sex partners.
  • Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior.

You may have a sex addiction problem if you identify with three or more of the above criteria. More generally, sex addicts tend to organize their world around sex in the same way that cocaine addicts organize theirs around cocaine. Their goal in interacting with people and in social situations is obtaining sexual pleasure.

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There are no villains here

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I was recently reading an article written by a woman who is a life coach and who has spent some time counseling victims of sex crimes. The title of her article was, literally, ‘Sex Addiction.’ That’s it. She didn’t talk about the difference between an offender and an addict. She did talk about addiction in general, how it starts, heredity as a potential factor, that the act of using sex as a drug is not about pleasure, it is about pain and sadness and wounds and long nurtured and escalating habits. Then, she basically insinuates that all sexual addiction behavior escalates into crime. That’s where I started going, wait, what? She offered her help to “victims” of sex addicts, and specifically called out wives. She wants to help us. I’m not going to link to the article because I don’t think it was well written or well informed. I’m not actually the victim of a crime (although I have said many times that infidelity feels like a crime against the non-cheating spouse) and I do not feel like I have been persecuted by a villain. Blue Eyes has never forced sex on me, ever. I know this happens to some, but it does not always happen in relationships with sex addicts.

The author did talk about sex crimes and how those in the path of the sex addict are victims of crime, and in this case she was speaking specifically to what in my case is/are the acting out partner(s). BUT, she used an example of an older man who had molested his granddaughter. Okay, the man is a sexual criminal, not JUST a sex addict. He may be a sex addict, but he is certainly a perpetrator of sex crimes. The two are not necessarily the same. Yes, there are sex addicts who commit actual crimes, but there are also sex offenders who are not sex addicts, and sex addicts who never commit a crime, lots of them. For those of us in the throes of living with a sex addict, it is not appropriate for people who are not, to generalize in such a destructive manner, in my opinion.

Strangely enough, Blue Eyes was called a sex offender by the LA sex addiction specialist he saw in Summer 2014. I believe the specialist (previously referred to as The Director) did this to “scare Blue Eyes straight” so to speak. Blue Eyes did not break the law. He didn’t hire prostitutes, he didn’t force himself on any unwilling person, ever. He did not have sex with minors, or even with someone who was younger than he is. He had sex with very willing and generally older lonely and or desperate women. Although he was the secretary’s boss, she not only knew what she was getting into, she instigated it. Again, Blue Eyes was shy pulling the trigger. These women were not shy. The secretary quickly moved on and even uses Blue Eyes’ business as a reference on her LinkedIn account. Technically he had the power to take her job away from her if she didn’t “perform,” but she willingly performed, and she didn’t deserve that job in the first place. She was a horrible secretary and should have been fired on that premise alone (and eventually she was). Just because two adults (and she was five years older) have consensual sex in an office setting doesn’t make either of them criminals. Disgusting behavior, morally corrupt in my eyes, yes, criminal behavior, no.

In my trauma I have definitely villainized both my husband and his acting out partners because their behavior hurt me deeply and I needed to vent, so I vented here. But in the reality of the bigger world, they are broken people who behaved very very badly and although I do not feel better than them, I am surely glad that I do not have the kind of wounds that would allow me to participate in such vile and hurtful behavior. I have forgiven my husband for his transgressions and I stand by his side as he works towards being that better person, something most of us work towards every day. Likewise, the other women are not villains. They are sad. No one in my story set out to hurt me or anyone else (although the stalking situation wasn’t very nice–and it was definitely a consequence of Blue Eyes’ lies and SA behavior), but in their selfish pursuits of filling empty voids, and of not understanding their own pain and wounds in the process, they did hurt many people, but Blue Eyes is not a criminal, and the women are not victims. It’s not all us against them.

Feeling good

These past few days have been amazing. I am feeling good. I started up eating healthy, again, cutting out a lot of the bad carbs and red meat, and fatty dairy, again.

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Last week’s CSA farm share.

Blue Eyes and I have been doing well, together at the beach house for the past few days, having fun with the dogs. Communication is good. There are only so many times I can remind Blue Eyes that him being open and honest is a good thing. I’m not going to go running away at the next crazy thing I hear out of his mouth, so just spill it. Honestly, I think he still rationalizes that if he gives up all his secrets, life as he knows it will disappear into a cloud of smoke and he will be left with mere ashes. Those of us who learned to tell the truth early on, know that with truth comes light, and a kind of unburdening of the soul that allows space for joy. Fuck if anyone can get him to believe it.

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Cove Beach

Two years ago there was absolutely nothing on this piece of coastal property and now, we have a beautiful home. Below is one of the photos submitted to a magazine. Next month professional photographers will be here taking pictures for an upcoming issue. Exciting!

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A couple nights ago, this was my view as I prepared a late dinner.

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The sunsets never disappoint.

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Oh yeah, and the painting I commissioned from the Australian Rainforest artist has arrived safely and is currently in my painting loft waiting to be professionally hung. I could stare at it for hours.

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And if all that isn’t enough, GQ, his wife, and the Princess are arriving Portland today from Tokyo. We have a whole week of lovely activities planned including volunteering out at the farm tomorrow so the little one can see how fruits and vegetables grow (plus ducklings, they have ducklings right now along with chickens, goats, and pigs). Living in the middle of Tokyo doesn’t afford much opportunity to see farm life. We’ll also visit the zoo and The Children’s Museum and a bunch of other fun stuff. Seeing things through the eyes of a 2 1/2 year old again. So looking forward to all of it.

I’m not bipolar. My life is not all good or bad. This blog is a place for me to talk out what it is like to live with a sex addict, but my life is not all about that. Sometimes I need to remind myself of everything I have to be grateful for.

Peace. ❤

On being the wife of a sex addict

After writing my last post, two things happened. First, my husband wrote an entry on his own blog talking about misery and that he is an addict and recovery is hard, and a choice, and that he is powerless and when he acknowledges his powerlessness, he is better able to see his way out of the darkness, or something like that. He is much more abstruse than I. My immediate reaction was that he was venting. He was frustrated and tired and wanted to off-load his bad feelings regarding my feelings towards last week’s conversation. It’s his blog, he can do as he wishes. The thing is though, this whole powerless thing is, the FIRST STEP. The way I look at it, they WERE powerless to the addiction before they got help. Now, now they should NOT be powerless to the addiction. He has knowledge, awareness, tools, and consequences staring him back in the face. He was always making choices, but now, now, 3 1/2 years in and with more than three years of rigorous therapy, an intensive multi-day seminar on his addiction given by an expert in the field, and months and months and months of twelve step work, he should be able to take some of that power back. Being kind to ourselves is one thing. Letting ourselves off the hook for continued bad behavior is another.

The next thing that happened is Maggie, a reader, recovering wife of a sex addict, posted an insightful comment. Her comment is useful and thought provoking to me, and I hope it is to other spouses as well. I have included it here in its entirety.

Kat, I am sorry you are going through this. I don’t have words of wisdom or advice, but please know that I care. I am 18 months post D-Day, have been through trauma therapy and have attended two support groups for 18 mos. Although, everyone’s story is unique, I have noticed some commonalities. Here are my observations:
1. The long-standing members in my two support groups are all women who are currently married to an SA who is in recovery. Some marriages are 35 years or more and most have been through counseling. The longest sobriety is 16 years, but there are several who have SAs with 13 years sobriety. My groups each meet once a week and typically have 7-8 women present.
2. In all cases, the acting-out behavior preceded the relationship, or began very early in the relationship. In most cases, it preceded the relationship. In most cases the behavior went on for years, even decades before the wife found out. All considered that they had good relationships and happy marriages prior to D-day.
3. The long-standing members in my groups are mostly fifty or older. We have young women attend once, maybe twice, then tell us they are divorcing. Their thinking seems to be that they were unlucky and they’ll do better next time. Possibly the length of the marriage contributes to whether a wife stays, i.e. more of an investment at stake.
4. All of the women in my groups have asked their partners if they would like to have an “open relationship” where both parties are free to date, have sex with others, etc. All the women say their SA partner was adamantly opposed.
5. This leads to what I’ve learned next- The acting out behavior seems to be fueled by secrecy, and covered up by lies. The SAs are accomplished liars who lie by omission, twisting facts, spinning info, etc. Their lies are generally believable. They tend not to tell “whoppers.”
5. The wives’ biggest complaint is the lack of intimacy in their relationships. I would say there is more sadness about that than the acting out.
6. SAs tend to be very delusional. One common delusion is that they tend to believe they look much younger than they are or are still sexy no matter how old. Thus SAs in their 60s or 70s believe because a young woman in her 20s or 30s is polite to them, she’s interested in them sexually. No joke.This comes up often.
7. Those who have stayed with partners for the long haul have learned to detach. They focus on what is good in the relationship and focus even more heavily on themselves. Most have separated their finances.
8. All the wives have learned to trust their instincts and intuition. If something doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t true. All have learned to “speak their truth” and let it go. For example, saying to the SA husband, “You seem preoccupied and distant,” as opposed to observing this behavior and saying nothing, or starting a fight about “what are they thinking about.”
9. No one in either group had a voluntary disclosure of the acting out behavior. All “discovered” it in some traumatic D-day fashion such as a phone call, a text, etc.

My relationship with my husband is 33 1/2 years long, 28 years married. His addiction and behavior definitely preceded me. It escalated over time. I knew nothing about sex addiction, nor the supposed “signs.” I was 50 when I got the call from the other woman. In other words, my husband was outed.

I absolutely 100% believed I had a good, loving, happy marriage and that my husband would never cheat on me. Some of that was true.

I have been counseled by younger women to leave my husband. I have asked my husband if he would prefer an open marriage and he is adamant against it. First because he could not imagine me having sex with anyone else (oh the irony), and second because he knows he would be giving over to his addiction and our relationship would crumble.

My husband does believe that if a woman is nice to him, that she “wants him.” He doesn’t always admit it, but I know the addict in him believes it. AND, unfortunately there are a lot of women whose self esteem is built on the attention of men.

Regarding intimacy, this is a tough one. How to define it all, non-sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy, connection, communication. This is an area for us where I believe more and better communication leads to more intimacy, both sexual and non-sexual. Much of the time we communicate better now than before d-day. I took our intimacy for granted before and didn’t question our sexual intimacy. Now, I question it sometimes. We both desire both non-sexual and sexual intimacy… that is a good thing. There are times, however, when Blue Eyes gets hung up on sexual rituals, and I know this is part of his addiction. We’re working on it.

I guess, in this case, it is a bit validating that me, my husband, our marriage, coincides with nearly each and every point Maggie has made above. Why validating? Because I am not the problem, our marriage was not the problem, my husband’s addiction was nurtured long before I met him, and sex addiction has a definition, and a pattern, and a recovery path, and hope for a fulfilling long term partnership. In my little world, my husband’s recovery path needs to be diligently followed, no excuses, and open communication is a must, but I know I only have control over me.

Thanks, Maggie.

I’m okay, but…

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My blog entries from this summer bear out the fact that I have struggled. I’ve tried to work through the why. To be honest, I feel like Blue Eyes has been doing some gas lighting… I know he doesn’t realize this is what he is doing, but I do. His seeing my unease and confusion, and reminding me that he has broken me, that I am depressed and not the proverbial ‘same person I was before’ is not helpful. It’s a distraction to reality, his reality. Of course I realize I am not the same, and I don’t need to be reminded. No one can ever be the same after such devastating and traumatizing revelations as those divulged by Blue Eyes and his other woman. Truth is, these days, I am generally far less stressed when I am not with him.

That being said, I want to get to that place where I can be with him and regularly feel confident and secure in my choice to continue my life with this man. Right now I am by myself at the beach house, and I wish Blue Eyes was here with me. As I watch the path of Hurricane Irma, and read about the devastation in Texas, and mourn the destructive consequences of human error as fires burn through one of Oregon’s most treasured natural habitats, the Columbia Gorge, I want Blue Eyes by my side. I want to hug and hold him and let him help me feel less sad. I could go back to the city, but Blue Eyes is in meetings all day and into the evening and then off out of town tomorrow. I am better off staying at the coast as the air quality is a bit better here, but I do miss him.

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I have trained myself over the past three years to not focus so much on what Blue Eyes does, nor how he chooses to recover. As long as I feel like he is on the right path (and this is mostly instinctive) I focus on myself. I know he could be attending meetings every day, and mindfulness retreats and sanghas, ringing bells, kneeling and meditating, and still be acting out. He spent many many years rationalizing, it’s a hard habit to break. I know he has been increasingly on edge this summer as our business is booming. Blue Eyes has done a great job of bringing sales up to where they were before he was diagnosed. As mentioned previously, numerous times, this takes a HUGE toll on Blue Eyes because his workaholism and his sexaholism were inextricably intertwined. He has tried desperately to disentangle them, but I know he has not been completely successful and this is what he fights for.

He has mentioned a few times this summer of how unbalanced he feels. I know on some days he longs for his drug. I’m going to say it because I know it is true. He longs for his secret sexual outlet. Saying this doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to. I have healed from any feelings of blame, and any self defeating thoughts and behaviors. I am not lying when I say sex is sex to me. It is not love. I am married to a lying cheating sex addict, how could sex still hold the same level of intimacy for me as it did prior to d-day? I realize not everyone feels the same way I do. I am merely saying this is how I feel. The problem is, I still feel the same way about lying and betrayal. My marriage has been teetering on the brink of disaster because my husband obsessively and repeatedly lied to me. Mostly about who he really was, but he also lied about ME to other women in order to get what he wanted. With more of the truth laid out in front of me, I don’t think my current unease lies in my brokenness caused by the trauma. I believe my instincts are just plain better now. I am not rationalizing anything away. When I feel uneasy, I know there is a reason, and there is a reason this time.

The past Sunday night as Blue Eyes and I crawled into our comfy bed with the lovely white linen sheets, at our amazing beach house, I could feel his tension. I knew he had something to share, and I asked for the truth. I asked Blue Eyes to come clean about what was really going on inside him. I’ve known it’s not JUST work. That the level of work responsibilities currently piled on him will always cause him to seek that familiar place inside, the one he believes only he understands. To Blue Eyes, only he knows his own truth. But that is a cop out. I get it. It’s where he feeds his addiction. I’ve always, to a certain degree, gotten him. My confusion was always in the fact that he creates this kind of stress for himself, so why should it be stressful? It’s a weird dynamic. Now we know it all stems from feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem. No matter what, he will never be good enough, so bring on the addiction, the secret sexual thoughts (and previously, actions). I have for many many months sensed that Blue Eyes was sharing with his 12 step buddies more than he shares with me. I know he rationalizes that they “get him,” and some of what he shares with them might hurt me, or bring back the trauma. I have told him many times that he will need to be able to share all this with me too. I need to know what is going on inside. For an addict, it really only takes a simple thought or action to start the whole wicked ball rolling again. By keeping things from me, he is feeding the addiction. I have never ever ever wavered from this belief. I certainly don’t want to know that my husband is thinking about other women, but I NEED to know. I cannot live with someone who cannot be open and honest. No matter what, we can work on this together or I’m out.

I really do understand addiction and this is why I have wondered about Blue Eyes. As mentioned in a comment on a previous blog entry, I feel like he is holding onto his sobriety with dear life. The way he covets his sobriety date, and his 12 step tokens, I can feel him getting dangerously close to the edge of a very destructive cliff and on this past Sunday night, we talked until 3:30am and Blue Eyes shared a little more about his reality.

Blue Eyes is very attached to his wooden meditation beads. He has many beaded bracelets that he wears daily. The first bracelet he received was a Father’s Day gift from me just five months post dday. He has now received others from his mindfulness mentor and he purchased a beautiful bracelet in Tokyo when last we were there. He is constantly fidgeting with them, spinning them, touching them, counting them. He has broken two of his bracelets and needed to take them in for repair. There is a bead shop a couple miles from our house in a little old neighborhood with shops and restaurants. The last time he was into the bead shop to pick up or drop off a repair, he was chatting with one of the ladies who works there. They were on the topic of Buddhism (the bracelets they were repairing are Buddhist Mindfulness beads) and Blue Eyes mentioned he was seeking a higher quality incense to burn for his meditating rituals since the cheap stuff bothers my sinuses. The clerk mentioned a store across the street that carries high quality incense, amongst many many other items. Blue Eyes popped into this little store and lo and behold, the woman working there, all by herself, fit his template. He was in a vulnerable place, being so stressed out by work, middle of summer (which I have talked about before is a trigger for Blue Eyes) and not managing well, and here is this lovely young woman. A perfect target for grooming. Blue Eyes flirted and even convinced himself that he could probably get her to have sex with him right there in the shop, if he wanted it badly enough. He did purchase incense. He did not have sex with this woman. He walked out swearing never to return. He then shared the experience with both his 12 step group and his closest 12 step buddy. He and his buddy talked about how much work it is to groom women (basically not worth it). No doubt his 12 step buddy gave him proper kudos for not pursuing it further. The discussion of how much work it is to groom women for sex got Blue Eyes thinking about how easy it was to keep going back to the same broken woman for eight years. She was a sure thing. She always responded to his calls/emails/texts. She always put out. He could carry on the texting for as long as he wanted before going to her for sex, or going to her at all, because that was what she was expecting. He got many many more hits from texting than anything else, and although he admittedly liked the sex too, she ALWAYS wanted more.

A few days ago when I was still trying to figure out why I was so ungrounded, and even though I knew nothing of what had been going on in Blue Eyes’ mind (because again, not telling is so much easier than being honest) I brought up the fact that if I kicked him out of the house right then and there, I knew he would go back to the other woman for that false sense of comfort he had sought out so many times. It wouldn’t be the answer to a happy life, but it would medicate him for the moment. She is pathetically easy and he is ritualistic and lazy. So even though he was so distraught with his bad behavior to have broken it off with her four years ago, and then not answering her obsessive calls on dday, and after years of recovery and soul searching, he is still that vulnerable. Reality sucks sometimes.

As our conversation Sunday night carried on into the wee hours, I asked Blue Eyes what he would do if I told him he could go ahead and have sex with the other woman as long as he told me about it (I’m not insane, I was testing him), you know, theoretically to medicate himself. There is no doubt that the Blue Eyes that existed before discovery was a whole lot better at managing his life, he had been medicating for so long. I asked him if it would carry the same fix if it wasn’t secret. He thought about it, and admitted it would still bring him a thrill and it would help him cope. That the high he gets when in his addiction and getting his drug is different from anything in his recovery life. He said she would have to agree to a number of rules (YEAH, HE REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT, and she would NEVER agree to rules), and one of them would be that she couldn’t pursue me, stalk me, whatever. I know Blues Eyes is fucked up. I’ve known for three years eight months now. This conversation did not bother me. After a few minutes of this, Blue Eyes admitted she would not agree to the rules and indeed he knew it would hurt us as a couple, regardless. Addiction hurts everyone (as does extramarital sex). He then said that he would never ever be okay with me having an intimate (read sexual) relationship of any kind with another man, that it would drive him insane and so he didn’t want to open the door to that double standard. He reiterated our relationship is the most important thing to him and he is doing everything in his power to not fuck it up (except telling me about the incense woman, of course).

The main reason I was really truly okay with this conversation is I know Blue Eyes was really thinking about all of this. In his strange mind, he went through it all, realizing he would like to have that sexual relationship back, not because our sexual relationship isn’t great, but that it isn’t a drug, at least not the drug he got from other women. Sex addiction is real and I know it. Having a conversation with a sex addict is like no other conversation, BUT, it can only be like this if he is being honest. If he is pretending, for example, pretending to me that he didn’t think about the incense girl, he never could have opened up and been honest about the other things we talked about.

Blue Eyes will not be having sexual relationships outside our marriage. If he does, just for the record, we will have no marriage. Even if I don’t actually know about it at the time, our marriage will be effectively over. All secrets are eventually revealed. My instincts are too keen now. Only complete honesty about how and when he struggles and how he deals with it will allow our marriage to work.

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ALL that being said, I fucking knew he was holding back. Fuck. His therapist is out of town for three weeks. Double fuck.

Cycles

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I feel like I am caught in a series of cycles. Menopause is one that is getting the better of me. I know I have written about this before, because I have been “going through” menopause since before I commenced writing this blog. I was about 35 years old when we made the decision not to have more children. I continued to have regular cycles until my 50th birthday. The month I turned 50 I did not menstruate. For the following six months, I did not have a period. I thought how easy would that be if it all just stopped? I didn’t feel any other symptoms of menopause, at that time.

Well, four years have passed and I am still dealing with menopause. After the seven months of reprieve in 2013, my period started up again, just like clockwork. I have since gone another seven months without a cycle, and then nine full months, but the cycle always returns eventually. My doctor ran blood tests to see how far through menopause I was, hormonally. That was almost a year ago. The test showed I was through menopause, all the way through, beyond through. The doc said, yippee, you did it. I went home and two days later… my period arrived. And then it once again arrived like clockwork for another four months. This time six months passed before it started again. Last week, right in the middle of hosting a friend at the beach and also having my older son and his girlfriend in town for the eclipse, my period came on with a vengeance. I didn’t even have any supplies in the house! Honestly, I am so tired of this. I also have trouble sleeping. What with crazy dreams and night sweats, I wake up feeling more tired than when I went to bed. There are other nasty symptoms too, more than I want to think about right now.

Along with the erratic female cycling, I am also feeling down, and when I am down and cycling through the betrayal, and I have never wavered from this, I NEED Blue Eyes to not only be there with me physically, but I need him to own his behavior and the ramifications of his actions. And to be bluntly honest, at this point, I NEVER cycle through the betrayal when I am not with Blue Eyes. The vestiges of the trauma are only present with Blue Eyes. When I say ‘own his behavior’, I don’t mean in a shameful way (although I am fully aware he has a difficult time separating owning his behavior and feeling shameful about his behavior), but in a self awareness way. He does SO MUCH work towards recovering from addiction, and yet, what I ask him to do seems too difficult for him. He can sit in a room full of near strangers (for FOUR days), hold hands, sing, meditate, chant, be silent, whatever, but he cannot sit with me and tell me how it feels to know he hurt me to the deepest parts of me and tell me how it feels to him, for him. I can only believe that when he is alone with himself, he is not healing those deep recesses that allowed him to behave so badly in the first place. He is not enlightened in the way I need him to be. This is why shame is so toxic, it hinders healing. Shame is the enemy right now. Shame is blocking acceptance and progress. I need shame to eviscerate.

This is my gauge of Blue Eyes and his ability to be a viable partner to me. Healing myself is one thing. Feeling good again, being strong, owning me, is totally my job and I work at it every day. Aging and raging hormones don’t help, but I am hanging in there. I am good with me. BUT, being in a partnership requires two people to be working it. Working on themselves AND working on the partnership. Blue Eyes has spent his entire life pretending, hiding, lying, rationalizing, and hurting. Hurting himself and hurting other people. True recovery lies in being able to look himself in the mirror and own EVERYTHING. Then, look at me and own EVERYTHING. I don’t want to have to tell him anymore, what I need. I don’t want to have to coax him, to prod and plead. I am tired. Sure, it would be nice if I just stopped thinking about it all. If I was able to block it all out, ignore the things that cause me anxiety. The big problem here is I am constantly self evaluating. I am self aware. And in that self awareness, I know I need more. Ignoring it all is not the same as handling it.

This past weekend, I was standing at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables for dinner, onions, garlic, zucchini, from our farm CSA, listening to the Simon & Garfunkel Pandora Station on our awesome beach house sound system when I started getting that melancholia. All the songs playing were from the 1970’s, a time before I knew Blue Eyes, and the lyrics, all so familiar. I loved to listen to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 in the 70’s. This was my era, my childhood. I was innocent then. Sure my childhood had it’s share of challenges, whose doesn’t? But I never felt less than. I never felt unloved. I never felt like a burden to anyone, and I never felt like I wasn’t worth being told the truth. My parents were my parents, for all their faults, their humanness, and for all their strengths.   I started feeling the weight of the potential mistake I made. The mistake of giving over my heart to someone who wasn’t worthy of holding it. It is a heavy feeling for me. I finished preparing dinner and while we were sitting there eating, I wasn’t present in that gorgeous room, in my beautiful house. I was somewhere else. Somewhere that felt safer. Somewhere from my past. As the tears streamed down my face, I felt sad, really sad.

It took me a couple hours to crawl out of that mood. To shake the gloom, to re-enter my reality and build up the walls. I have to have walls up. I didn’t talk with Blue Eyes about what I was feeling. And the biggest issue I have, is he didn’t talk either. He didn’t ask. He didn’t try to help. I mean he held me and hugged me, but he didn’t speak about what he had done to make me into this person who goes away because she has lost the ability to always stay present in her partnership. On the drive home the next day I asked him if he even cared what had happened the night before. I went into how it happened, why it happened. But he remained disconnected from my feelings, and nearly silent. This is when I pursue. I pursue in him the ability to remain present. I question his neglect, his not wanting to meet me at least half way. To not talk about how he feels about how he has changed me as a human being. Then I have to start putting up the walls again because I need the protection from the reality of knowing Blue Eyes has not met me yet. He has not arrived at that place in the middle, where our partnership is strong, where I feel safe.

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As we arrived home to our Portland house, Blue Eyes needed to move cars around. I sat in the road in my car, the car I drive to the beach house, waiting to pull into the garage. As he pulled my old car out of the garage, he hit the side view mirror on the driver’s side and knocked part of it on the ground. I knew he was out of sorts. The conversation on the ride home, my reality, was too much for him. In my opinion, it’s mostly too much because he crawls inside himself and refuses to let the destructive feelings out. When I got out of the car, I commiserated with him about knocking the side view mirror off (I’ve done it twice myself). He was visibly angry. Now where do you think that anger was directed? Of course it was directed at me, but I am used to this. I walked in the house without another word.

Blue Eyes headed off to the office for meetings. I did one of the things I love, I turned on the US Open Tennis Tournament and lost myself in tennis. Later that evening, Blue Eyes turned in for bed without a word to me. No follow up to our (my) conversation about being sad the night before. No conversation about anything. I couldn’t let it go. I keep trying and trying to make this work out my way. I need this. I asked him if he had any feelings at all about what had happened. I don’t often have disconnected moments anymore, but I fear on some days that it is less about healing and more about putting up walls. I convince myself that Blue Eyes will never be the partner I need, so I must settle and compromise. Then the real me wins out and I demand more. I demand something better. Whether Blue Eyes is not capable, or not willing, is yet to be determined. I know on most days he rationalizes he is doing well. And on many days he is doing well. But he is still disorganized, and distant, and a workaholic on many days. He still hides his feelings inside. He has returned to burying himself in his phone, what once was a HUGE trigger is now mostly a tiring symbol of the broken Blue Eyes needing outside stimulation (now, that stimulation is work emails, texting with 12 step guys, online news articles–not porn or texting with his AP) instead of staying present with me. It is very easy to fall back into old ways.

So once again, I pursued. Something will have to give. I can’t keep doing this. It is not helpful for either of us. I was upset that he was refusing to talk with me about my reminders of his betrayal. I was also reacting to his obvious angry and disconnected mood. Most cheaters want it all to be forgotten and when it isn’t, it is somehow our fault for not being able to heal. Well, in my mind that is bullshit and backwards. We are not able to heal because they are not doing the work to allow us to heal. For me, my instincts are strong and they are what drive my trauma. I asked him a simple question. How did I react in the garage when he knocked the side view mirror off the car. He said I was angry and judgmental. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!! So, I knew this was coming because this is Blue Eyes. He lives is some strange fucked up world that NO ONE else lives in. I actually reacted in a calm and understanding manner. I commiserated with him, but all he heard was what was reverberating from inside him, shame, anger, frustration and all that emotion was directed onto me. This is the not healing part. The resentment. I am not the enemy. I am a human being asking for what I need in order to stay in a relationship that has been battered and bruised… I was emotionally beaten by him and I need to believe he knows and understands and owns it. Of course I cannot change what has been done and I DO NOT WANT HIM TO FEEL SHAMEFUL ABOUT HIMSELF. I want him to own what has caused me the pain, not acknowledge over and over that I am in pain. But unfortunately I know that I am being used as his scapegoat for the feelings he has inside that he cannot manage.

He asked to be given time to write all his feelings down. So, more than 3 1/2 years since discovery, he still has to remove himself from me to metabolize and “write things down.” He is attempting to be open and honest with his feelings with me, but all I want is for him to be able to do this without my asking for it. I want what is important to me, to be important to him. I knew I would never lose my partnership to another woman, but am I to lose this man I love, the father of my children, my best friend, to shame? It feels like I might.

Come on, ladies…

Although this blog is not about politics, at all, and it is already emotionally charged enough including topics such as betrayal, trauma, living with an addict, etc… voting my heart is very very important to me. Forewarning: this entry is political. I don’t vote my wallet (as dumb as our accountants think that is), I vote from inside that place in me that cares deeply about the rights of all humans and I want our laws and governmental programs to help, not hurt, people, especially those in need. In my perfect world (which obviously doesn’t exist, because as we all know, no one and nothing is perfect), we would have useful resources available for the mentally ill. Our legal system would work and our prisons wouldn’t be profitable for white men while housing a larger percentage of black men. Equal educational opportunities would be available to all our citizens, and universal healthcare would exist. I believe strongly in certain human rights and I vote accordingly. By vote accordingly, I attempt to vote for the person who appears to represent my point of view. That’s the best I can do, especially in the current climate. I research voting records and personal character of political candidates, as best I can, and then vote. I always vote.

I believe I was born a liberal. I have never felt any other way than I feel right now. Jimmy Carter is my favorite past president. I love that man. I love his humbleness and his humaneness. Since 3/4 of my parent base are republicans and two are conservative republicans, I wasn’t necessarily nurtured to be a democrat. Both my fathers are proud gun owners (not that there aren’t liberal gun owners, I am just not one of them). My step mother is 100% against the right to choose (because that is what it is, an individual’s right to make decisions about her own body), and even my mother at one point voted against gay rights. If I didn’t look so much like my parents, I would swear I am adopted. I am sad our two-party system separates us as a country, but the truth is, I am a liberal democrat. I am not a wacko. I am not a far left faction. I don’t bring weapons to rallies. I don’t chant derogatory words about anyone. I believe in human rights and for many many years I have felt our taxes were being misspent. They are definitely being misspent today. We (me and Blue Eyes, our company) pay A LOT of taxes. We have accountants who work diligently to try and help us, but as they tell us, we don’t make it easy. We pay a total of 52% of our income in taxes. I believe in paying taxes, but I also believe that those taxes should be going towards good. I’m not going to embrace the negative here and spew out a bunch of ways our taxes are being misspent. To me, it is all so obvious. I realize many people disagree with me. I am not saying mine is the only opinion or I am the only one with feelings. I am merely stating my opinion.

So, back to this blog. My older son is visiting from Brooklyn this week. He and his girlfriend, his brother, friends are camping out in the middle of Oregon somewhere having this morning witnessed a full solar eclipse in it’s totality with clear blue skies and no light pollution. I can’t wait until they return tomorrow to tell us all about it. Here in Portland we did not experience totality. Our coverage was 99.5% and although the sky darkened and held a chilly somewhat gloomy cast, and the birds were going absolutely berserk, it never reached darkness. We used our fancy approved glasses and watched the moon glide over the sun leaving just the tiniest of slivers of sun showing, but even that little bit of that huge burning ball of fire was enough to keep us in the light.

Saturday night we had a family barbecue with my parents and unfortunately one of the dinner conversation topics turned to politics. There was a big discussion around Charlottesville and racism, and then somehow abortion rights entered the conversation. I honestly don’t remember how all this went, but my father kind of blew it off saying, “oh come on, abortion is legal, that decision was made a long time ago, there are a lot more compelling things to talk about these days.” Well, I took offense. We have a conservative faction in the American government at this time that has some power. The right to choose is always a “big deal” to me. If we become complacent, rights over our bodies could be next on the chopping block. Yes, I also believe we have reached a pivotal turning point in the race war, and the environment here in America is downright toxic, anti-semitic signs were hung on overpasses over this past weekend as we welcomed thousands of Californians up for eclipse totality (what the actual fuck?), but that doesn’t mean other topics are no longer important.

As we were talking about our government, our theoretic “leadership,” my son brought up a point I had not mentally explored before. I know I had heard this, but I guess I blocked it out. He felt especially deflated at learning soon after last Fall’s election that a majority of WHITE WOMEN voted for Trump. Numerous legitimate sources place the number at 53%. This percentage is only for WHITE women. Even as he said it, I refused to acknowledge it. He pulled out his iPhone and googled it and found numerous references. Of course I knew it was true, but like 30 years of betrayal, I didn’t want to believe it.

Later that evening I googled: why did white women vote for Trump… and this article showed at the top of the search list:

I’m on a roll with New York Times articles this week. I am not going to specifically cite anything from this article, which highlights nearly a dozen women who voted for Trump, and their reasons why. I did read through every single one of them though and with each woman I felt more and more sick. In my mind, some of the reasons they used have already come back to bite us all in the ass. I still have a hard time understanding this phenomena. In my mind, none of the reasons they state are enough to obliterate the one image of Trump making fun of a disabled person.

The sick feeling I got from reading these women’s words remind me of reading mistress blogs all those many months ago. Women rationalizing disrespect. Women hating on women. Somehow these women rationalized voting for a man with no political experience (as Tom Hanks so eloquently put it over and over during the campaigning months: if you need a root canal, are you going to go to someone who thinks they might be able to do it, or to the person who has done 6000 of them and has impressive credentials on the wall), who is a misogynist, and who is backed by white supremacist groups (and everything that goes with that). These women didn’t just vote for Trump, in my opinion, they voted against Clinton. I know they were partly voting against the establishment and many were sucked into the lies, but I do think, now, these white women were choosing not to vote for another white woman because we as women are learning the hard way not to trust other women. In polls, there was a serious lack of trust and respect for Hillary Clinton. One woman even blames Hillary for what Bill did with an intern? Seriously? Okay, I am going to quote this:

And it’s like Hillary has the right to talk about Trump when she stayed with a guy who was in the White House and took advantage of a young intern? Why would you stay with him?

Lady, this is in a major newspaper. You just blamed the wife for the actions of her philandering husband and then compared her staying with a cheater to actually being a cheater. WTF?

Okay, just one more…

I run my household like a business, my classroom like a business. I expect him to run the country in such a manner. You don’t pay more money out than you have.

In an article I read this morning, the security detail alone required for Trump and his family and all their shenanigans has now bankrupted the Secret Service.

That’s all I have to say.

Mystery man, or liar?

Blogger friend, B, has prompted another post. She’s good that way! In a comment on my last blog entry, she posted a link to this NY Times article and mentioned that she thought I might be able to relate.

I read the article twice, and then replied to B’s comment. I absolutely can relate to this article, but my conclusions about marriage and “mystery” diverge from hers, and I’m not sure where that lead in line came from about “lack of curiosity”? Of course we are different people, have unique experiences, and we are married to different men. The author is also a hospice chaplain and has drawn some of her conclusions based on talking with a lot of dying people who are finally ready to give up their secrets. But they are giving them up to her, not the person who may have wanted or needed to know these secrets, or mysteries as the author calls them. She seems to have accepted that her husband is a mystery (I read that as keeps secrets, or doesn’t tell the truth all the time), and she analogizes not knowing another person, kind of like not knowing all of what will happen in the future. For me, these two concepts are vastly different. One is about lying and the other is about a journey. I do very much want to be on this mysterious journey of life, but I don’t really want to be on a journey with a liar.

As I have talked about so many times here, I know I will never know everything about any other person, namely my husband. A lot goes on each day in our separate brains. I do talk a lot, so a lot of what is in my brain comes spilling out all over the people I am with. People who know me or have met me can attest to this. It’s not necessarily an asset, but I really am an open book and even though I realize other people, namely Blue Eyes, need more space than that, that they are not like me, and I realize that is okay, it should never be a rationalization for hiding and lying.

I have my own bachelor party story, briefly outlined in this entry, Wedding, but I had a spy at the party, so I knew about it right away. No one was arrested, but my guess is, some should have been. I did feel like a fool, that my soon-to-be-husband could be coerced into participating in such a vulgar display, but also that the participants “took a pact” not to tell any of the wives and girlfriends. Fucking cowards. If a person needs to keep secrets about their behavior, maybe they should rethink their behavior. Yes, I really believe this.

Two nights ago at the beach house, Blue Eyes and I were discussing our budget and going through our bank accounts. As a continuation of his education, our older son applied for and was accepted to a prestigious fellowship program at a well known Manhattan museum. The program is heavily subsidized, but there is an entrance fee and he will need to cut his work hours. We are very proud of him for this amazing accomplishment. During this time we will subsidize his income. I went to his bank account, where I will electronically deposit money, and was shocked to see his visa charge card was nearly at it’s limit, when a few days ago it was paid in full. I perused the charges (he knows I do this) and found a substantial charge for the release of a NYC boot on his car. For anyone who doesn’t know what a car boot is, it is a contraption the traffic police attach to the wheel of a car. The owner is unable to drive the car while the boot is on. It costs a lot of money to have the boot removed. Why does the city put boots on cars? Unpaid parking tickets, that’s why. How do I know all about this? Blue Eyes, that’s how.

In college, Blue Eyes was the king of “rhino boots” as they called them. When we saw the charge for the boot release on our son’s visa charges, Blue Eyes immediately said… “well, we’re not paying for that.” I asked him what he did when he was in college and needed the boot off his car (he would leave it on there for quite some time, until he actually needed the car). He sheepishly admitted he would go to his father for the money for the fines and boot removal. *sigh* We’ve had this “like father, like son” conversation quite a few times over the past few months. I love the father, and I love the son, but man do they have a lot of similarities that bust my butt. The father/son conversations were not had to make Blue Eyes feel bad, but merely to point out that his actions have consequences. Cat’s in the cradle, silver spoon, when you coming home son, I don’t know when… kind of consequences. Very predictable. I saw it coming. Our actions are not done in a vacuum.

More frustratingly, however, was Blue Eyes saying, yeah, yeah, I make a lot of mistakes… I get a lot of tickets. Wait, what? Current tense. I “get” a lot of tickets. Over the years Blue Eyes has received lots and lots of tickets, parking tickets, moving violations, expensive fucking tickets. At one point they suspended his night driving due to his poor judgment. A 30-something attorney with his own business… suspended license for lack of good judgment. I looked at him and he realized just a second too late. I asked him when was the last time he received a ticket? He said, oh a year ago or so. I parked in a truck loading zone. But I could tell he was lying. I asked him where was the truck loading zone? Who was he visiting that he parked in a truck loading zone? And when exactly was this? And where is the ticket? I don’t remember seeing a ticket. And what car was he driving, etc… etc… If there is anything I have mastered, it is pummeling Blue Eyes with questions about his lies.

My frustration built as I could see the lies in his eyes. FINALLY, he admitted to parking in a truck loading zone outside a downtown restaurant while picking up a to-go order A COUPLE MONTHS AGO. By the way, there is a parking lot next to AND across the street from the restaurant with legit parking for maybe $5 (as opposed to the $200 ticket). But interestingly enough, the ticket wasn’t even for the illegal parking (which is idiotic as it is). The ticket was for an expired registration. What? He neglected to renew the registration on his vehicle, THEN, he parked illegally. WHAT? But the thing is, and this is what gets me, is that when he is doing these things, like parking wherever the fuck he wants regardless of “rules” he really believes he is impervious to consequences. The consequences don’t hurt him, I guess. When he parks there he thinks, I’ll be less than 15 minutes, no way will I get a ticket, not me. And I won’t tell Kat when I do get that ticket, because, why? I don’t have to answer to anyone. She doesn’t need to know and that way I won’t have to look like an idiot. I’ll just have sex with this woman a few times, I won’t get caught, not me…. Oh wait, yeah, the lying does bring back a whole lot of bad bad memories and feelings for me. It still makes me wonder if he is capable of telling the truth. He knows my response would have been to say he was an idiot for assuming he wouldn’t get a ticket and also if he doesn’t have enough time to have the car registered, give the damn thing to me. I’ll spend the two hours and get it done. Getting a ticket is just not worth it. But instead, he willfully breaks the law and then lies about it. First by omission, then he just flat out lies. Blue Eyes is quite the “mystery man,” isn’t he.

I don’t want that kind of mystery in my life.

Beyond the sea

Apparently I won’t be facing my in-laws any time soon. Phew. I’m still not sure what provoked his desire to make contact, we need to have a long discussion about this, but truth is, I haven’t felt up to the conversation.

When I left the beach house last week, my cold was bad and I was not well enough to clean house. I have had the beach house professionally cleaned exactly once, because it was so dusty and I have severe dust allergies. We have been told to expect construction dust to keep popping up for at least a year. Sigh. During that cleaning, a light fixture and a couple other items were broken. Not to mention, I struggle finding things because the cleaner rearranged all the drawers. Most likely she took everything out of every drawer and dusted & cleaned them thoroughly, unfortunately she didn’t keep track of where things were, or… she had a desire to put things where she would want them rather than where I had them. Who knows. I have decided for the most part that I will do my own cleaning and let someone else wash the massive windows. We’ve had to tighten our budget in order to afford the house payment without increasing salaries, and cleaning is a good place to start. I enjoy the feeling of working hard and then enjoying a spotless house. It doesn’t last long unless I am the only one there, but it is still very nice while it does last.

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This foxy gentleman traveled home with me from Paris. I’ve named him George (Clooney). Totally Caroline has his twin brother out in Florida. 🙂

I spent yesterday cleaning the house… vacuuming (mostly dog fur and sand), dusting, laundering sheets, cleaning bathrooms, and cleaning obvious spots on the windows. I love to turn up the Sonos sound system loud, it keeps me motivated. Yesterday I chose the Michael Bublé Pandora Station. Blue Eyes called me mid-afternoon and I answered before turning the sound system down. I asked him to hold on a minute while I paused the music. The song that was playing was Bobby Darin’s ‘Beyond the Sea,’ but it was being sung by Kevin Spacey. I adore Kevin Spacey. ‘American Beauty’ is one of my all time favorite movies, if not my favorite. I am currently in Season Five of House of Cards. I love me some Kevin Spacey… the more evil, the better. I didn’t realize until watching House of Cards, that Kevin Spacey can really sing. I realize a lot of actors are multi-talented, trained dancers, singers, etc…, but I didn’t realize he was. Anyway…. I told Blue Eyes I thought it was funny that Kevin Spacey was singing that song, I didn’t even realize that it was a Bobby Darin song. Bobby Darrin is a little before my time and so many others have covered ‘Beyond the Sea.’ I particularly like Harry Connick Jr’s version. Anyway, Blue Eyes not only knew that it was a Bobby Darin song, but he could also hear that it was the Kevin Spacey version. WTF? The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I know this is presumptuous of me, but I have shared 34 years of my life with Blue Eyes. The personal things like music and movies, that we have shared, are important to me. Even when he would travel, he rarely watched movies on the planes, and never at the hotels, but if he did watch something without me, he would tell me (I thought) and vice versa. Often we would discuss a movie even if we hadn’t watched it together. This was important to both of us (I thought). I know I didn’t know everything about his life, of course, still don’t. Do I know every person he talks to for business? No. Do I know everything that is discussed between Blue Eyes and his doctors? No. Am I privy to the conversations he has with say, the checker at the grocery store? No. BUT, when it comes to movies and favorite songs and restaurants we like, etc… I feel like they belong to us as a couple. I feel like we should have a similar knowledge base. Share and share alike.

Back to yesterday. He proceeded to say, “yeah, remember Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin in that movie… I remember not liking it because Darin drank a lot and there was a lot of arguing and fighting with his wife.” No, I don’t remember that. No, I have never seen the movie. Yes, I would have definitely remembered. He insinuated I had just forgotten. If you read my blog, I talk a lot about the past. I have a pretty amazing memory, like an elephant, or a steel trap. What I do remember, is a conversation we had nearly three years ago about a different movie… one he claimed to have never seen, but he insisted we watch. I could tell he had seen the movie before. He denied it. He lied. My instincts didn’t lie. He did. I hate this aspect of betrayal. The fact that my instincts are good and yet, he continues to say things that cause me to go… wait, what? It’s not like him having seen or not seen a movie or heard a song or eaten in a particular restaurant that I haven’t changes anything for me or our marriage, but all I have ever asked for is the truth. His instincts are to spit out whatever he remembers before thinking about the implications of potential past lies, or lies by omission. The problem is, when the hairs on the back of my neck stick up and I feel that burning ball in the pit of my stomach, I know I am not mistaken.

I recently finished a book called ‘The Silent Wife.’ I knew it had to be written by a woman because the husband character is so shallow. He is completely void of honesty and integrity. He is a caricature of a man (in my opinion). He is not overtly mean, nor is he uneducated or a failure. He cheated monotonously and was even unfaithful to his mistresses. Every woman was a sex object, but he loved them all–so strange, and he was delusional enough to think that even after he had moved out with a girl less than half his age (whom he had impregnated–the daughter of his best friend), he still believed he could have a civil relationship with his first wife, including sex if he so desired. Even after he evicted her from their apartment and stripped her of all of his income and wealth, he still thought about the relationship they would have. The husband made me angry. I couldn’t figure out if I was mad at the author for writing such a vacuous male character, or if I was angry because some of the things this man thought or did reminded me of things that Blue Eyes must have thought and done during his many years of cheating. Blue Eyes is not a stupid man, but he had to be delusional to think he could carry on as he did without being caught.

Blue Eyes is adamant that he did not see that movie with the other woman. He still claims we saw the movie together. He was adamant before too, about so many things. I don’t like being played for a fool. I realize for some strange and absurd reason he thinks it is better to lie than to tell the truth. It is the oldest habit he possesses. He most likely has been lying for as long as he has been able to speak. I have no doubt he saw the Kevin Spacey Bobby Darin movie. He even tried backtracking and saying maybe he just read about it. He was so vivid with the details of the movie and why he didn’t like it. The movie came out right at the end of 2004. His Craig’s List ad and subsequent relationship with the alcoholic hoarder all started right around this time. It’s a strange coincidence, no? I do not believe in coincidence anymore.

The Peacemaker brought up a good point the other day. He said I seem antsy, on edge. He noticed I have been having an increasing number of stress headaches, the kind that pound on the back of my head. He asked if I was doing any meditation. He reminded me that I have not set up my painting supplies at the beach house like I had said I was going to do. Initially I didn’t unpack my painting supplies because there was still work to be done on the house, namely an overhaul of the sheetrock and then repainting the affected walls (which is most of them). My son is right. I have waited long enough. Later this month when I am back at the coast, I plan to start painting again.

I will start with a somewhat abstract version of this photo I took in front of our house last month. I think I will title it: Beyond the Sea.

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Inspiration.

A weight on my shoulders

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Oregon Coast

As much as I love my beach house, and I do love it, and I have spent lots of time there recently, this has been a trying summer so far for me and Blue Eyes. He has been working A LOT. We have been apart. He has been traveling, very few overnights, but many many day trips. Due to business demands, his time at the beach house has been truncated. He has also devoted quite a bit of effort to his mindfulness activities, which in theory is fantastic, but in reality eats into our couple time as well.

Last week was particularly difficult. We spent our 28th wedding anniversary together at the beach house. I had wanted it to be just the two of us, but as it turned out, sometimes life messes with my plans. The Peacemaker has been struggling lately with anxiety and depression. His difficulties come in waves. So, instead of Blue Eyes arriving by himself for a romantic anniversary weekend at the coast, the weekend turned into family time with two fluffy, energetic dogs who LOVE to run around on the beach (much time spent washing them off at the outdoor shower), and a melancholy 23 year old who likes to sulk. Slowly but surely Blue Eyes is working with him on some coping methods and also getting him back to therapy. In the meantime, he is either mine or Blue Eyes’ shadow. The three of us had a lovely dinner together and then, BAM, Blue Eyes came down with a horrible sore throat. All his running around had taken a toll. Also, our architect/designer team had asked if we would mind having photos taken of the house for a publication with a deadline of Aug. 1st. Not only did I have to clean the house in preparation for photos, but we all needed to be away from the house for about six hours. Blue Eyes’ sore throat turned into a cold and then both The Peacemaker and I contracted the cold.

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Oregon Coast

Meanwhile, I had friends visiting the beach house that Tuesday after our anniversary, just about the time the sore throat hit me. The friends only stayed one night, but I still had to change out the bedding and clean bathrooms. Thursday my family arrived for my sister’s birthday celebration. I had invited them nearly two months ago to come out for the occasion, and of course I didn’t want to cancel. By this time my cold was full blown. My big ideas of making my sister a beautiful birthday cake (I love making birthday cakes) was shattered and instead my parents picked up a bakery cake. We had a fine few days with my family, but I sorely missed Blue Eyes, who was at a four-day Mindfulness Retreat (theme: Childhood Wounds) about an hour outside Portland.

We all reunited back in Portland on Sunday and it felt good to have Blue Eyes back, and to have his help with beating this cold (picking up chicken noodle soup from the deli, bringing me herbal tea, and running to the store for medicine, etc…). Unfortunately, when sharing all about his retreat, Blue Eyes threw out his thoughts on making contact with his toxic parents. He has not had contact with them since February 2014, and he has not seen them since August 2013… almost four years since he has set eyes on his parents. All in all, that part of this trauma, recovery, healing period has been bliss for me. After so many years of verbal torture, it was nice to have a break from that, at least. I’m not really sure if the shock and horror at his revelation of being ready to see them again registered on my face, or not, but I could feel a heavy weight descending on me from the moment he mentioned his parents.

I’m not ready to have contact with those people, and I’m pretty sure, just my observation and opinion, that Blue Eyes isn’t either. I’m not quite sure what prompted his desire to make contact, I may have floated off into space after that. I know he said something about hanging around with his parents as three year olds in one of his intense guided meditation sessions at the retreat, but his parents haven’t been innocent three year olds for eight decades. I honestly thought the next time he saw them would be on their death beds. I know that sounds harsh, but they have done some serious damage and they will never change. They will never be nice, or keep boundaries, or treat us with respect and kindness. They will never stop manipulating their children or making them feel worthless. I’m not sure why anyone would want to have contact with them?

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Forest Fire Haze at sunset over the Pacific Ocean.