Journal Entry: November 5, 2014
You know how they say a marriage can be better after an affair…
Yeah, I thought it sounded like a bunch of bullshit to me too. Ten months ago I cried and screamed that there was no way my marriage could be saved, much less be better. Some days I still believe that. The betrayal trauma healing journey is a very bumpy one, and most of the time, I have no idea where I am going to end up.
But today, as I was making dinner, I realized perhaps, I am wrong. Maybe our marriage can be better. For so many years I have let my husband use his career and our business as an excuse for not so much being a bad husband and father because I never thought he was “bad” at those things, but I did let him use it as an excuse for why he wasn’t home, a lot. Or even when he was home, for not being present with us, always more focused on his computer or his phone than he was on us.
So many times he would tell us he would be home from work by 7 or 8, and I would prepare dinner for the family based on my husband’s schedule, his “needs.” Blue Eyes rarely showed up on time, or anywhere near on time. We would wait a bit, then we would just eat without him. He would come in whenever it suited him and eat by himself, but he never liked eating alone even though he orchestrated the situation. We did not ask him to push us away or avoid family meals, family time, he chose to do this. I’m pretty sure he rationalized that I had the kids covered (this is how he grew up, with his Dad working all the time), and that because I was caught up with the kids and my own activities, that I didn’t “need” him. He neglected to consider that I “wanted” him, but always the understanding and giving wife, I thought his work made him happy, and I was generally happy with everything I had going on in my life. He had trained me well.
With the dozens of trips my husband took a year for work, and then all the late nights, and the dinner meetings and sporting events with clients, we did not see a lot of him. A good part of that time he was actually working. Some of that time was spent with other women, but if you add up all the time with the other women, it was not a lot. Work got most of his time, wife and family came in second, other women/porn came in a very distant third. Now that he has been diagnosed as a sex addict, he has cut back on work by about 75%, and on covert sexual activities 100%, and we get the rest of his time. Mainly I get the rest of his time. Now is all that time spent in wedded bliss? No. He’s a fucking addict trying to recover, which is damn hard work. Some days are a royal pain in the ass pity party for him, and collapse on the floor sobbing fits for me. But at least he is finally starting to be honest about who he really is, take stock in his life, and realize where he wants to be and who he really wants to be with.
Some days his recovery feels like his new addiction what with meetings, texts and phone calls with sponsors and 12 step members, therapy appointments, plus the other work he does individually on his recovery. Sometimes I have to ask him if he plans to be surrounded by 12 step guys and therapists on his death bed, because that is all that will be left with the way he is behaving (i.e., putting my needs last), but at least now we both get it. We both know the truth and therefore, we can deal with it. He still needs to work on balance in his life, and now, unfortunately so do I.
I believe we will get there. In the meantime, we are both being honest about where we stand, what our individual needs are, what our fears are, and what we need to do for our marriage to grow stronger.
4 thoughts on “Saving a marriage”
Reading your blog today made me think back to exactly the same occurances. He was always “working”, I believe most of the time, always late for meals, I did the same thing, plan for him and he would be late, so I covered for him with the kids, trips I was not invited on. Business or pleasure…not sure. Looking back I wonder how long this has really been going on, I am suspecting most of our marriage. But I do believe we are making some progress, time together and planning retirement and trips. He has told me he enjoys being home and having some quiet time. I actually took a day this weekend for me and went to a clinic in Scottsdale for a horse competition I want to do. I am looking to the future and doing something for me, which I have not done since before dday. Getting better? I hope so, still lots of triggers, and I also do not believe I will ever be as happy and I know never be as trusting as I once was. I find that sad, and it still may be a deal breaker. The AP called his cell phone a couple of weeks ago after work, and another time on a weekend, he did not answer it but wondered if he would have if I had not been standing next to him. Makes me sad. We have become stronger since TBYL, and hopefully we will be able to continue to improve. You are lucky in that your husband is remorseful and trying to get right. Mine has said he is sorry but has not told me much of anything, which concerns me as to why. He has always protected her, or them, as I believe there were at least 3 total in the last few years, at my expense. Which hurts
Hoping you the best, and have a wonderful time in Japan. Breathe deep when the triggers start and keep your head high. You are beautiful and strong . Bless you
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Thanks Deb. It is all so painful. Changing out my husband’s mobile phone number was a must. She would still be calling his, I think. Calling the police got her to stop calling mine. Didn’t stop the stalking, but at least it stopped the obsessive phone calls. With my husband being a sex addict, I know hearing from her and seeing her is a trigger into a dark place, for both of us. I want him to be able to heal from all those feelings. I truly believe he does not want to have anything to do with her, really never did, but he kept going back, for the drug, she made it easy–fed him even. She really is a monster, in many ways. I know it comes from a very broken place in her, but still, we have to protect ourselves regardless. The only thing that makes this do-able for me now is that my husband is now pretty open about everything, even his horrible moods driven by inner anger and resentment. This is a part of him I never saw before this year, this is what drove the secret life. It took him 10 months to do his first step… a non-addict could have done it in a day. The whole thing makes me so sad. I don’t think most of these guys are in love with the OW. I think she made him feel needed when he felt lonely (no fault of ours, their weakness). I think they want out of the affair, but they don’t know how. They compartmentalize out our feelings, but somehow can’t do that with the OW. The OW becomes the needier one. I have read some Huff Post articles this year on dating over 50 (not something I would have looked at before this year). They talk about how men like you to make them feel needed, and wanted all the time. How the women need to really listen to the men, and not talk too much about themselves. How they need to appear vulnerable (even if they are not?) and have the man fix a few things around the house, etc… it’s like a mistress’ handbook. I guess they are saying men are shallow and needy. Not sure I disagree on most days. Anyway, the betrayal feels so awful. What happened to the men we married? How did they block out our feelings? Thanks so much for the encouragement. It’s still a daily struggle, but as my friend says, it’s now 3 steps forward, 1 back, instead of the other way around. I hope your husband can be truly honest with himself and you one of these days. It’s crucial to your happiness. ❤ you Deb.
Good for you guys, Kat. I agree, embrace the opportunity to make a fresh start!
I think this is what I meant by my earlier comments. Some people do get a better result. I was so blessed (and I knew it) in that I had an attentive man, who I worked with, so spent a huge amount of time with, and we never got sick of each other. We laughed, we ribbed each other, we sometimes disagreed, but ALWAYS came back together quickly, never staying mad long. We were very close, very bonded, and yet healthily non-jealous, I was always comfortable with him going off to do something social alone, I knew he got on well with people of all kids, all genders, ages, sexualities, political persuasions, educations, etc, and I was happy and comfortable with that. I also did my own thing from time to time, but we also enjoyed a fair amount of social time together. We were that couple at a party who would go our separate ways early in the night, and then my best friend said she always swooned when she would see that moment that seemed to happen every time, the moment when he would deliberately look across the room, catch my eye, hold it, sometimes wink, but usually just the fireworks would fire, I would glow, and we would make our way to each other. We were bloody great! We prioritised time with the kids. not every time, he worked hard, too, but we tried to eat as a family – I never prepared separate “kid” and “adult” meals. I recall that zing as ours eyes would meet, even after more than twenty years together – even while he was fucking his AP! I questioned it, maybe he did it to everyone, but no, it was only me, he never sought out contact on that level with anyone else. We talked, about real things, as well as the boring stuff in life. We philosophised, it was really mutually satisfying and stimulating.
I miss all of that so damn much!
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Yes, I am reading that about you and your relationship. Damn I wish it had worked for you. I am only mid way through May of your blog! I need a whole day devoted just to getting all the way through. It’s hard to come by a whole day right now. Maybe on the plane to Japan later this week, if I can hold myself together (triggers, triggers, everywhere). The comments on the blogs are what take a lot of time, ha! And trying to keep everyone straight… all the BS’s. I am coming into this late and trying to catch up and there are new bloggers leaving and arriving every day it seems. I am so sad that you have been unable to find that connection again with Rog. We have to be true to our heart and what our heart wants, but you had something really special. I guess it is so hard to be thankful for that when they stole it away. The betrayal erases a lot of the happiness. I let my husband get away with a lot and called it all workaholism. Again, I thought he was happy, but he was living a lie. Those days are over, so yes, maybe we can make it better. I guess we shall see. I fear, however, that he will be happier, but I will never be as happy. I’m pretty resilient, but I was never prepared for anything like this. Also, I LOVE your property. Since we are square in the middle of winter here, and we live a very urban lifestyle (I can hear the freeway traffic as I type in the middle of the night), I long for the peace and tranquility of the pasture with your cows and sheep. A girl can dream. Before dday we were planning a trip to AUS/NZ for this month. I am a huge tennis fan, so we were planning Australian Open and then I have an old friend who lives in NZ and she wanted to take us all around. Not going to happen in 2015, maybe 2016. We kind of lucked out actually because as it turns out we just found out the in-laws booked a very similar trip and leave in a couple weeks. Phew, how weird and disturbing to see them thousands of miles from home… almost as horrifying as seeing the OW on a plane from Hawaii…