Journal entry: Monday, January 13, 2014
Early on in the discussion of my husband’s indiscretions, I asked him if No Caller ID had been the only one. I knew the answer before he opened his mouth. I have known my husband for 30 years. I have always known that he required the attention of both men and women to uphold the rather tenuous relationship he has with his own self esteem. I know that he is an actor and a salesman and both skills help him tremendously in the business world. He has experienced great success in his career. Apparently, however, not without great cost. I have always known that my husband has questionable boundaries when it comes to his relationships with women. BUT, and I’m sure I am going to end up saying this over and over on this blog… I never, ever, thought he would cheat on me. I’m talking about sexting, quickies, and sex all night long in a hotel in Copenhagen kind of cheating. I never thought he would do THAT! We had a marriage that worked. I was happy. I knew he was a workaholic, but otherwise, I thought we had everything. I believed he loved his work and I gave him lots of space. I would never cheat on him, not so much as even look at a man that way, so I would never think he would betray and lie to me, and cheat on me. I can say all of this with complete honesty and no doubt I will say it again…. there is a big difference between a little innocent flirting, and seeking out women for extramarital sex. I know this seems obvious, and it is obvious. It was just never obvious to me that my husband was so fucked up that he would sacrifice his health and his safety and potentially sabotage EVERYTHING he has built in his 50 years, in order to spend a great deal of his time thinking about and acting on a deeply disturbed part of him that desires to manipulate and control women for sex. How and when did this happen? How did I not see it?
And then there is more to his story. I sit and listen and dare not ask too many questions. I feel like any minute, he will spontaneously combust from the pressure that must have been building inside him for the past 40 years.
He explains that he first cheated on me 15 years ago, 10 years into our marriage. He worked out of town about 20 days a month. Apparently, he spent quite a bit of time fantasizing about one particular married woman he worked with regularly. When her marriage was struggling, she came to my husband for consoling, for comfort, for sex. He had been patiently waiting. They had sex once and he immediately regretted it. I mean, I am sure the actual sex was great–he had been fantasizing about her for years! But everything else about it felt wrong and he swore never to do it again. She returned to her husband. But then she begged to see my husband again. He knew she was needy, and broken, but he used her anyway. After the sex, she cried and asked for more from their relationship. He said there could never be any more and he dismissed her, just like that. This behavior makes me sad. I cannot believe that not only is my husband a liar and a cheater, but he is also abusive. He then went for years being faithful. He was able to spend most of his time at home, except for a handful of International trips per year. Once he was back in town, unbeknownst to me, he set up an office in the city where we live. He hired a secretary solely based on his physical attraction to her and his belief that she would be a willing sex partner, a FWB secretary, an SWB if you will. They had sex in his office off and on for about three months, then she started to ask for more, like maybe they could go out to lunch, or on a date? He reminded her that he was a “happily” married man and that their sexual relationship was just that, and it was over, and that she should find herself someone that would love her and give her what she wanted. He kept her around for a couple months, then let her go. I asked him why there weren’t others in between these women since there were large gaps between the affairs. He said he was trying to manage his bad behavior and that he always had porn and masturbation, which he had been addicted to since he was a child. I knew he watched porn and masturbated when he traveled, but I did not realize he was doing those things regularly, on a daily basis. As I listened to his story, I realized that he had a real problem. He said things like, “it’s almost like I am addicted to sex.” “The shame felt like it was going to eat me alive.” “If you had known the truth about me, you never would be able to love me.”
One of the first things my husband had done after “the No Caller ID phone call,” was call his therapist. YES, my husband has had a therapist for four years, since his brother committed suicide. His extremely intelligent, successful brother with a wife and a baby, took his own life in 2010. Since that death, my husband has been trying to cope with the loss and with his family. The death of a family member does not always bring people together. Apparently, however, my husband had never confided in his therapist that he was having an affair, or had had multiple affairs. He had talked with him about his porn/masturbation tendencies and his therapist had, ironically, recommended a book on sex addiction to him, but my husband was offended and humiliated and never purchased the book. Oh how I wish he had come clean to his therapist. I truly believe that with the help of his therapist, I could have been saved some of the most heart wrenching trauma I am feeling. Not all of it, of course, as the facts are still the same. It wouldn’t have wiped away the cheating, the lies, the betrayal, but it would have allowed my husband to come clean on his terms and with the help of a professional by his side.
When you live your life on the premise that ‘what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her,’ or ‘if I don’t get caught, I never did the crime, right,’ you are bound to hit a brick wall eventually. Unfortunately, my husband was trained by his parents to lie and cheat. He was rewarded for lying about his behavior and he cheated and got away with it. Today my husband was preliminarily diagnosed as a sex addict, diagnosed with a process disorder most likely stemming from deep childhood wounds that he never acknowledged or dealt with. Wounds that made him feel like he was alone and unloved. Although I appreciate having a diagnosis, I am utterly dismayed by the realization that by the time I met my husband, he was already broken and there was absolutely nothing I could do for him. Is there anything I can do for him now?