Dude, sorry we’re so miserable, but we really do love your ranch

Journal Entry: March 16, 2014

In January, after B’s initial sex addict diagnosis and his therapist’s recommendation that B immediately check himself in to the Meadows Sex Addiction recovery program for 45 days, and B’s subsequent dismissal of this advice, B did start looking for a seminar to attend. He felt particularly drawn to the weeklong co-dependent outpatient workshops they do at the Meadows. His plan was to sign up for the co-dependent workshop and if he felt like the Meadows was a good fit, he would schedule himself into the intensive inpatient treatment program during the summer, a much quieter time at our business. His original non-specialist therapist at the time thought this a prudent idea as a compromise (although he did really want B in the inpatient program right away). So B scheduled himself into the outpatient seminar at the Meadows for this past week. However, he started up therapy a couple weeks ago with an SA therapist and this guy did not want B going to the codependent workshop. He did not think it would be specialized enough for B’s condition and I think he was concerned there would be women in the group, and that would be distracting. So B cancelled his co-dependency workshop. Unfortunately, the hotel B had booked for himself was non-refundable. So there we were with a reservation at a Dude Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona for a week. The timing was not great for us to leave town (that 50th birthday Panama Canal Cruise is only two weeks away), but we decided to go to the dude ranch anyway.

I could not have imagined how difficult last week was going to be. Despite the beautiful sunshine and warmth, the ranch style cuisine and dude ranch atmosphere (the place was swarming with cowboys in wranglers and cowboy hats), and the lovely spa including my amazing bourbon brown sugar body scrub wrap, I was never far from a complete breakdown. B really wanted to go horseback riding, so we signed up for the “morning ride” on our first day there, and the ride turned out to be three hours long. I have not been on a horse for 14 years and I had no idea turning my leg at the angle that was required to fit around the big horses middle and into the stirrup, would totally kill the torn meniscus I have in my right knee. I literally flew off that horse when the ride was over and then swore off horse back riding for the rest of my life.

I’m not going to say there wasn’t a decent amount of bonding, but there was also a great deal of trauma. I asked some difficult questions and got some even more difficult answers. I was reading a book called ‘Your Sexually Addicted Spouse,’ and it was a big, huge, trigger. The thing about these books on sex addiction, is that there are so many heartbreaking stories of both men and women suffering from sex addiction and the men and women suffering from the subsequent betrayal of trust. B also brought along a bunch of his 12-step books and material, which he would half-heartedly pick up and read every once in a while.

It wasn’t exactly like a second honeymoon although there were some really loving moments of intimacy and pretty hot sex… and then everything came to a screeching halt when I asked a question I really did not want an answer to, but I got an answer anyway. My question was driven by my own insecurities brought on by my trauma, but of course, stupid masochistic me, I went ahead anyway and asked him what attracted him to his acting out partners. Well, since my husband wasn’t looking for another wife, or even a real relationship, you can pretty much guess what he was attracted to, and he went into detail about those body parts. As he will say… it was their voluptuousness, their large breasts and big hips/asses (and I’ll just flat out say this right here and now, I DON’T HAVE EITHER OF THOSE), that he was attracted to. It wasn’t really what he said, because I basically knew what was coming (I have seen pictures of the first two acting out partners) and our marriage is built on a lot more than where the extra fluff is on my body, and my husband is no Brad Pitt, but it hurt like hell anyway and it wasn’t even so much what he said, but how he said it. I could see him thinking about them right then. I am so stupid. Why would I think that he would be strong enough to have a mature (okay, maybe not so mature) conversation with me about something sexual at such an early stage of his recovery. It’s just a fact that I cannot always be the one with my head screwed on correctly. Here we both were in a western themed room at a dude ranch in Arizona and I was asking completely loaded questions designed to further punish myself for some perceived imperfection or wrong doing on my part that caused my husband to behave like a deranged animal and expecting my husband to rescue me from my own insanity. Instead, I get a husband who is standing there visibly fantasizing about acting out partners he has not seen in over a dozen years.

I am purposely leaving the third acting out partner out of this scenario because I know this woman does not fit my husband’s template. She is not voluptuous in any way. Yes, I do believe she has large saggy boobs, but beyond that I believe he was blindfolded most of the time with her, and that is not necessarily a euphemism. I’m pretty sure blindfolding was a part of their ritual, but I digress.

So, what happens when I get myself into a situation I cannot mentally handle? I cry uncontrollably until I eventually go into a dissociative state (I learned this term from my therapist—it’s a BAD thing). I go away. I block out everything around me, I don’t remember anything when I come back. On this particular night about half way through our trip, I cried myself to sleep. My husband, he stayed up all night reading his 12-step SA “white book.” All night. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did something on his own behalf since he had to have realized how shitty his behavior was, but why does it have to be this way? Why can’t I get a grip? Why does HE have to be this way? How long is it going to take before I stop punishing and torturing myself? Will the pain ever end?

We did some other fun stuff on the ranch, like star gazing, and a cowboy BBQ. I highly recommend it, without the betrayed spouse/sex addict part, of course.

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