I need to talk this out, okay?

A sky that matches my mood…

sky

I have no idea where this is going, which is fairly unlike me. I really need to write now while my husband is away from the house. I need to think my thoughts out loud, in front of you all. It will probably sound crazy in the end, because I sorta feel crazy at this point.

I love my husband. I actually adore many many things about him. I think anyone who reads this blog can see that I really do want Blue Eyes to be successful in his recovery from sex addiction. And yet, I have been struggling with thoughts of separating from him. I am by no means talking divorce. I am talking a break. A break from the destructive behavior that he cannot seem to understand or move forward from. On dday, Blue Eyes’ secret and apparently torturous life was revealed. A weight was lifted from him and placed squarely on me. He has been diagnosed with an addiction. He no longer has to wonder why he was doing things he knew were wrong. He no longer does things that make him feel deep shame. He no longer has to lie and hide who he really is. He now knows that his worst fears were unfounded… people do understand and they have not abandoned him. What are the consequences for his behavior? He was blackmailed by a crazy woman. A crazy woman he solicited and he kept going back to for his drug. No one to blame but himself. Actually all of this is on him. No excuses. If indeed there are consequences to his crimes, I am the one paying them, not him. I am the one whose life has been turned upside down. I am the one dealing with lying, cheating, deception, and betrayal… an attack on the very foundation of my soul. A shattering of my entire world. I question his fortitude and I doubt his sincerity. His greatest fear is that I will leave him. Maybe he needs a drastic consequence to propel him to the real heart of his recovery. Maybe as long as I stay, things are too comfortable. He doesn’t have enough incentive.

Blue Eyes has physically been here for me for the past 15 months. He has been taking care of me since dday. He has held me, fed me when necessary. He has been intimate with me in all kinds of ways. These are things he has always done, so I wouldn’t expect any different. He has also remained “sober,” stayed and answered the questions he has been asked, for the most part at least, although it did take him months to fully come clean and there were months and months of lying by omission even after I begged him to just tell the truth. Over and over I cried to him that it wasn’t about the actual things he had done at that point, but indeed that I believed that he was now telling me the truth. He wasn’t. I understand these are the tactics of a sex addict. An unrecovered sex addict that is still in denial. The broken place deep inside does not allow Blue Eyes to believe he is worthy of love. The broken place inside does not allow Blue Eyes to truly depend on or rely on other people. People continually let him down when he was little. Even though I have been there, by his side, faithfully NOT letting him down, he was broken before I met him. I just didn’t know until dday. Now it seems that anything not divulged about his 15 years of cheating has been forgotten. I’m pretty sure, for the most part, I believe that although I wouldn’t be surprised if other details eventually come out and that “forgotten” really means buried deep deep inside in a place he doesn’t want to visit. As we move forward, I need him to be honest to a fault. No more clandestine relationships of any kind. No more white lies. No more secrets. I thought we had worked through all of this, and metabolized it. I thought he realized how important it was for him to open up, share his thoughts, stop living inside his head, but now I am not so sure.

Blue Eyes tells me over and over that he is sorry and that he loves me, and that he always has and that he never loved any other woman despite what he told them to get them to have sex with him. He has appeared since dday to do all those things a newly diagnosed sex addict is supposed to do in order to come to terms with his addiction and get on the road to recovery. He found a 12 step meeting that he liked, a place where he felt understood and could surround himself with men who had walked in his shoes, so to speak. He got a sponsor. He went to therapy. He went to a 9-day intensive program for sex addicts where he dug into his past and uncovered the secrets he had been hiding, the secrets to an addiction he had been nurturing since he was an adolescent. All the while he was being reminded of my daily trauma, horrendous and unbearable at first, and then after months and months of tears, and self loathing, and shock and horror, and self harm, me, the betrayed one finally came to terms with all the things about my husband and about my marriage that could never be forgotten or taken back or changed. Now the trauma arrives in waves with days strung together that no longer include any tears at all. This must be a pretty big relief for Blue Eyes. Not so much for me. The reality is the same. Trauma doesn’t run on a schedule. Trauma doesn’t care if you want to forget. Trauma doesn’t care if it happened 10 years ago. My new life does not look at all like my old life, nor does it look like what I had envisioned for my marriage once my children were grown. As it turns out, I am merely managing the pain. When those waves get really, really big and they overpower me, I crash down harder than ever. Not as often, but it’s all still there.

Blue Eyes claims he is changing. He says he has acknowledged who he is and that he will never act out again, in his life. He will never act out again. Funny huh? As I see it, he still has episodes where he objectifies women. He had a meltdown in the supplements aisle of Whole Foods yesterday because there was a single, “mature” and potentially needy woman with extremely large breasts wearing a very tight black sports bra which could be seen through her light colored tank top. Warm days will always be more difficult for Blue Eyes because the warmer it is outside, the less clothing women want to wear and when those mammaries aren’t properly bundled, they are a trigger for men like Blue Eyes. Not the woman’s fault, an addict is an addict. Blue Eyes is not enticed by a tall glass of Scotch, but throw a large pair of saggy boobs in front of him and watch him lose it. He has a “type.” Not like most guys have a type. Blue Eyes’ type is not just about the huge breasts, the women must also appear vulnerable, needy, an easy target. He had to leave the aisle. I was standing right there witnessing the devolving of a sex addict right before my eyes. People have asked if I am maybe a bit paranoid, or “sensitive” and maybe I see things that aren’t there (or am jealous of large, saggy boobs?). Nope. What I noticed first was Blue Eyes falling apart in front of me. He became visibly nervous, fidgety, his eyes were darting around, he couldn’t focus on what I was saying. Then and only then did I look around for the target of his undoing. It still blows my mind how low he is willing to stoop for a hit. I don’t think he was getting a hit yesterday, just left over shit from his past, but still. It’s disconcerting. Falling to these kinds of triggers usually means he is ungrounded, not doing well, struggling, because he never had these moments before recovery. Before recovery, he knew he could have his drug whenever he wanted it and he wasn’t scared. And, it was not that long ago that he sent the flirty smile to the lady sitting in front of me on a plane. It will be a long road to full sobriety and the fact that he believes he is not “acting out” concerns me. He has always flirted, I just never worried about it before… you know, with him loving women and being a charismatic guy and all. Well, those days are over now that I know the truth. Blue Eyes still manipulates people and Blue Eyes still has an active obsession with making excuses. Take our couple’s therapist, for example. Each week Blue Eyes orchestrates a pity party and I know he does this with his individual therapist as well. When you have lived the life of Blue Eyes, and done the things he has done, it is much easier to try and make people feel sorry for you, than to live in your own reality. He manipulated Camilla into believing he was a lonely, needy, sex starved husband with an insensitive wife. Now he manipulates the recovery system with his procrastination and “poor me” anecdotes. It’s tough to acknowledge all the things you have done that you wish you hadn’t… and that is it for me in a nutshell. I just need him to acknowledge what he did. Talk about it. Deal with it. Not deflect from it. Not say things like… “I know this must be so hard on you.” Or “I love you so much and I am sorry to have caused you so much pain.” Well, this is not about me. This is about you, Blue Eyes. Own it. Don’t say how much you love me. Don’t say how sorry you are for my pain… fucking say how sorry you are for the things you did. Say it, say what you did that you are sorry for!

As we were driving down to the painting workshop a week and a half ago, we passed through one of the towns Blue Eyes worked and lived in during the weekdays when our children were young. I didn’t realize we would pass through it until we were pretty much there. I didn’t realize it would be such a devastating trigger for me until it was. The company Blue Eyes worked for provided him with a two bedroom apartment. He asked for two bedrooms so that the boys and I could come visit him and the boys would have their own room, so it would be like a home away from home for them. One June when the boys were six and eight years old, we drove down and stayed with Blue Eyes at his apartment for the summer. The boys and I swam, had picnics in the park, went to the beach. We did all kinds of fun things while Blue Eyes was at work, and then we got to spend the evenings and weekends with him, just like a regular family. Over the years, Blue Eyes was gone from us a lot and I cherished that summer we all lived in California together. I found out on dday that Blue Eyes, prior to our arrival at his apartment, had slept with Ashley right there in the same bed he slept in with me. That was the only time during his 15 years of cheating with 3 different women that he had sex with me and another woman in the same bed (that I know of). It still blows my mind that the man I married could do that. As we passed through the town all those awful thoughts crept into my head and my heart started to ache and the tears started to roll. Blue Eyes’ response was to ask if I needed anything. He knew what was going on, but he did not address what he had done. He did not talk about it. He didn’t talk at all. It is all in the past, right. Kat will get through her trauma episode, just like she always does. No need to bring up all those nasty old things he did in the name of sex addiction, but guess what. It doesn’t work that way for me. I cannot pick and choose when to turn on and turn off my emotions. My pain has a mind of its own and it decides. How nice it must be to be Blue Eyes and be able to turn on and turn off all of your emotions. To watch your wife in pain and not give her the one thing she requires. She needs you to go there with her to that awful place and help her out. Pull the car over and look in her eyes and tell her what a sick bastard you were and that you regret stealing something that belonged exclusively to her and carelessly giving it to another woman, a very unworthy sick and messed up woman. Tell her she doesn’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect and disregard. There are no excuses for not addressing the behavior even if you have to go to a painful place. Stop being lazy and self serving.

Last night Blue Eyes was working on his fourth step… which I am starting to call “the step that took a lifetime to complete.” For Step 4 the addict needs to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves. Blue Eyes has been working on this step for approximately five months. It’s not a race and all that, but I get the distinct impression this step is very very difficult. I guess I should be glad Blue Eyes is not rushing through it. Maybe his turtle pace means he is actually metabolizing something. I think it is more procrastination on something that is incredibly uncomfortable for him. I took a look at his fourth step spreadsheet on his laptop. I could tell he didn’t want me to be looking at it. A couple times he actually tried to pull the laptop back from me, but thought better of it. Unfortunately, there are no more secrets and I don’t care if he is uncomfortable. Him even being on his laptop during our time together is still a trigger. If he wants this marriage to continue, there will be no more secrets. He has lost the right to climb inside that “safe” place where he rationalizes the hell out of horrible, selfish, destructive behavior. As I read through his “moral inventory” it started looking more and more like the old Blue Eyes pity party again. This fourth step will be shared with his sponsor, but mostly it is for Blue Eyes, alone. For him to look at what he has done, own it, re-live it in all its horror so he can move on from it and hopefully never give in to the addiction again. Remember how uncomfortable it was to look at all you’ve done. But instead, I am reading about how afraid Blue Eyes was. How much he worried about money. How he had to live at a start up office for a while because he no longer worked for the company that provided him with an apartment… OMG. Remember guys, he had a wife and two small boys at home that desperately needed and wanted him there and didn’t care what his career was or even how much money he made (I did NOT grow up with money) and he was choosing to be away from us, partly to feed his addiction and now, in his moral inventory, he is feeling sorry for himself. Throwing out excuses again for his behavior. Not owning it. Not saying this is what I did, but instead saying this is how horrible my life was and therefore, I had to give in to my addiction. UGH!!! I just wanted to scream. And as a matter of fact, I did scream. I called him every name in the book. I yelled out how much I hated him in that moment. How little progress I felt he had actually made because here he was making a list of how shitty his life had been, while we were begging him to come home and be with us. We adored him unconditionally and even if he didn’t recognize the safety that was us, his family, he sure as hell better be recognizing it now. If not, what is this all for? He was choosing to be away from us in order to feed his addiction, but somehow it was as if someone had forced him to live on his own and now instead of taking an inventory of his addictive behavior, he was making more excuses. I was at my wits end. I asked him to leave.

He did leave the room, but not the house. Eventually he came back to our bedroom and asked where I wanted him to sleep. I told him our bed was large and there was room for both of us in it, just not to touch me. He touched me anyway. He even said out loud, “I know you hate it when I hug you for my own selfish needs, to feel less alone, to feel wanted and needed, but I am going to do it anyway.” I did not reciprocate on his hug. I couldn’t. I wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to be alone, but I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it anymore.

I know why I want a break. I am Blue Eyes’ security blanket.

—-

Here is where therapy enters the picture for me. I have endured some pretty shitty therapy over the past 15 months but the trauma therapist I saw in Los Angeles, was amazing. She helped me understand why needy people are drawn to me. She opened my eyes to how unfair it was for me, as a child myself, to be responsible for my borderline personality disorder sister. I realized that I give and give and give and don’t expect much in return because I was trained to do so. As a child, my parents were so focused on my sister and my baby brother, that very little nurturing was given to me after the age of five. I knew my parents loved me. They were never cruel or abusive to me in any way, but I became a caregiver myself at a very early age. My personality leant itself to this. When I met and married Blue Eyes, maybe not consciously, but I learned most definitely subconsciously, I put my safety and security, my emotional well being in his hands. Even though I was a caregiver, I desperately needed to be taken care of myself. I had never been lied to or really hurt. I had finally found the person that would give me the love and attention that I needed and that I deserved, and as far as the not hurting me part, well that was just a given… wasn’t it? Blue Eyes would never hurt me… For 30 years, I believed Blue Eyes had my back. I believed he would not betray me. When I learned that he had, my safety was gone. My world fell apart and the trauma took hold in earnest. Never before dday had I been depressed. Never before dday had I ever had thoughts of suicide and I had never harmed myself. Those behaviors are relegated to “crazy” people… or so I thought. Trauma is a bitch and she loves to knock you on your ass. The LA trauma therapist gently brought back some of my strength. She reminded me of how strong I really am. She convinced me I can survive on my own and that I love myself. This all took a while, but we got there.

What I struggle with now is, if I love myself, and I must rely on myself, and I am strong enough to go it alone, why shouldn’t I? What good is a husband I cannot count on? What good is a husband I don’t trust? What good is a husband who plays at recovery because it is easier than actually doing the hard work? What good is a partner, a companion, that doesn’t give his 50 percent? I sat down with Blue Eyes yesterday morning and as much as I didn’t want to be the one talking, as tears streamed down my face, I went through with him the one simple little incident that sums it all up for me. It was that night when he was driving back from an out of town trip with “her” after having been away for one night. That one night, I would find out during his disclosures, was the night they planned out the trip to Sweden, which is painful enough, but is really beside the point. The drive home from his business meetings should have taken three hours, four at most with heavy traffic, five with ridiculous traffic, maybe even at a dead stand still for an hour. We often make the drive in less than three hours. The drive home on that spring day took him eight hours. I was worried sick. That drive happened four years ago tomorrow. I hate that I know that, off the top of my head.

He texted me when he left his last meeting. He said there was some traffic so he probably wouldn’t be home for four hours. When hour five came and went, I started to worry. During hour six of his drive home, I called and texted him asking for him to at least give me some sign that he was alive. During hour seven I was crying in my phone message to him and said I was going to call the highway patrol and the hospitals if he didn’t return my call immediately. My messages were not going directly to voice mail. My text messages were being delivered, and read. His phone was not out of power as he would always have a phone charger with him, especially on a business trip. Plus, he did not mention anything about being low on power. I was shaking as I nervously started googling accident reports along that stretch of road and looking up the numbers for hospitals between there and home. Just as I was about to call highway patrol, a text came through from Blue Eyes. It said, “everything is fine. will be home in less than an hour.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was relieved and thoroughly pissed off all at the same time. Of course I have never forgotten that day and how Blue Eyes made me feel. I found out during discovery that he had taken a long phone call with a Chinese client and he had pulled over for that, but what I also found out was that the other missing time (approximately 2-3 hours) was spent arguing and fighting with her. He was driving and she was reading my messages. She threatened to call me immediately if he responded to my messages. Me and my feelings were so unimportant to him that he was willing to let a horrible blackmailing bitch dictate his behavior towards his loyal partner of 2 1/2 decades. Protecting himself and his addiction was so much more important than my wants, needs, than my feelings, than me. He could have called her bluff. Instead, he kept pulling over and talking it out with her all the while leaving me wondering if he was dead or alive. When I think about his behavior and everything he was protecting at the cost of me and my needs, it makes me sick. When he returned home, he acted like nothing was wrong, that I was overreacting. That there was a lot of traffic and he had had to do some “work.” He was not agitated or out of sorts at all. I will never forget his demeanor and how he made me feel like I should just be happy that he was home safe and sound. His behavior was pathological.

Whenever I feel Blue Eyes is being dismissive of me, or he refuses to engage in discussions around his addiction or his behavior, or when he says something that makes me feel small and insignificant in his life, I return to that night and how I felt on that day, and how I felt on the day I found out what really happened and I hate him with every fiber of my being. I trusted him. I gave myself over to him and was vulnerable, and he fucked me. On days like these, the thousands of wonderful and loving things he has done with me and for me, mean nothing. On days like these, I feel a deep desire to protect myself from the potential for the same pain in the future. I feel like if he was really changing, really recovering, I wouldn’t haven’t these feelings. Is it trauma, or instinct?

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I cannot imagine being in a room with Blue Eyes, searching him out, and feeling nothing.

29 thoughts on “I need to talk this out, okay?

  1. (I know this is an 8-month-old post, but I needed to respond)

    “…..look in her eyes and tell her what a sick bastard you were and that you regret stealing something that belonged exclusively to her and carelessly giving it to another woman…….Tell her she doesn’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect and disregard. There are no excuses for not addressing the behavior even if you have to go to a painful place. Stop being lazy and self serving.”

    As an addict, I completely understand this type of behavior. If I see Leigh going to a dark place, I try to be there for her, but I don’t “go” there with her (Well, right now, I can barely speak to her due to the separation and her safety plan). I, too, just hope that it goes away and we can move on after she feels better.

    Wow…That is so selfish. I’m working my recovery, but I’m afraid to go through that hell with the one person I purport to love with all of my heart. “okay, honey, you go through your trauma. I’ll be right here at the door waiting for your return.”

    To go there with her scares the crap out of me….like she won’t be able to forgive me or love me each time she goes there. But she NEEDS me to go there with her….to own it….to feel that pain….. to trudge through the muck together.

    Thank you for shedding light on this from the traumatized spouse’s perspective (Leigh also has C-PTSD).

    If we are ever able to reconcile, I hope I will remember this and truly be there for her…..and for me.

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    • Thank you for reading my blog. I really hope you are able to reconcile. I hope you are able to be there for your wife. I only know this from my perspective and I, personally, needed and still need (we have this conversation weekly–I just wrote a post with this same theme) for my husband to really go there with me to that place because that is honesty to me. I need him to acknowledge what he did and what he was thinking. The man I thought I knew doesn’t exist… I need to KNOW that other man as I get to know the new man that is emerging through recovery. Knowing he is willing to go there for me and for him makes me feel safer. Ironically, all these months later, the actual context of what he is talking about (pursuing and spending time with other women for sex) doesn’t bother me as long as I feel like I am getting the truth. The truth is what it is all about. My husband still lives inside his head sometimes and I see anger and resentment, which I of course feel is completely unfair to me, but life is not fair sometimes. He no longer has his coping methods and that makes it all much more difficult. He still refuses to open up most times about what causes him resentment. This is a long journey, BUT, as long as I feel like he is being open and honest, it feels right for me even if it is not all sunshine and happiness. Because, truth is, life is so very difficult and this recovery process is a long journey. It took a long while before I could actually hear the truth without deep deep pain. Now, the pain is virtually gone and sometimes my husband falls into a false sense of security. We are now in year three of recovery. It is easy to fall back into old habits. I hope your wife is getting the help she needs to heal herself from the trauma.

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      • She is getting help from a great therapist who specializes in the trauma model. I think she is also doing some EMDR therapy. Hopefully, it will help.

        She isn’t going to any groups because all the groups around here are codependent based, and that just makes her angry.

        I have to give her healing and our marriage to the Lord since I can’t control either one. I need to continue working on my recovery and learn all I can about her pain so I can be there for her if the opportunity presents itself.

        I’ve read a few good books on partner trauma: “What Do I Do With Me” and “Deceived” were both helpful in understanding her actions and reactions. I’m also reading a few partner blogs that seem to help.

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  2. CrazyKat – really feel for you. Especially the trials with therapists.

    SA isn’t an area I know much about but I found this blog via another comment on another site and it reminded me of your post here. Apologies if you already know about it or it isn’t to your taste. There’s so much nonsense out there it’s hard to know what might be useful. All the best to you.

    http://whatfreshhellisthissa.com/2015/04/21/the-smugness-of-patrick-carnes/

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    • Hi Iris. Thanks for the link. I had not seen that blog before. In my opinion, Patrick Carnes is a ‘you take the good with the bad’ kind of thing. Patrick Carnes book “Don’t Call it Love… ” is the first book I read that gave me some perspective on my husband’s illness. I had read “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse,” written by two women (one the former wife a sex addict) and it was heartbreaking because a number of the marriages did not make it and the stories were horrifying to read. They did, however, clearly differentiate the co-dependent model from the trauma model. I associate with the trauma model. As it turns out, I was not quite ready for that book when I read it. Patrick Carnes book, however, helped me understand what was going on with my husband. I absolutely abhor the sections on the spouse and didn’t read them through. He just doesn’t get it. His thoughts are antiquated and do harken back to AA and Alanon and he assumes every spouse has childhood baggage that caused them to choose the addict in the first place. Ridiculous. When we refer Carnes’ book to people to try and help them understand the illness and that it is real (Carnes did a lot of the very early research on the addiction), I always tell them that I do not associate with Carnes’ co-dependent model regarding partners and spouses. Interestingly enough, in her blog, she quotes Dr. Omar Minwalla. Dr. Minwalla actually showed up on my blog quite a bit last summer, however, I did not call him out by name. It was through Omar that I got my trauma therapy.

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  3. My husband told me after his affair that he thought he was a sex addict. I told him I don’t even know if that is even fucking real !!! I still don’t think it is … I think it is an excuse for fucked up behaviour “I just couldn’t help it I’m an addict – that is what caused me to not give a fuck about you and your feelings”.
    And if so – get fucking help – don’t fuck with other people’s emotions and sense of security and love.

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    • No matter whether they are a sex addict or not, it is no excuse for their fucked up behavior. If they are a sex addict it just means they are a lying cheater AND an addict. The addict diagnosis gives them resources and hope that they don’t have to be AS fucked up anymore. I have written about this because in the beginning (not that long ago, January 2014) I also had a really difficult time believing in such an addiction. I also could have punched my husband’s therapist in the face when I met him and he asked if I had ever noticed anything about my husband that bothered me regarding his sexuality, or if there had been any “warning signs.” I told him a couple of things (after 30 years of a happy relationship where we built a family and successful business together) that after finding out the truth about my husband were hindsight 20/20 moments he said, “ah, classic textbook sex addict behavior” and then looked at me almost as if I should have known? Should have known my husband was a liar, I trusted him. Should have known my husband was a sex addict, who the fuck even knows what that is! I was so pissed off and hurt that even a therapist was insinuating I should have known. Well, I didn’t know and I couldn’t have known that my husband had learned to lie since he was an adolescent and that he learned how to use sex as a coping mechanism. Actually, my husband was so good at lying that I thought he was a horrible liar and never could have pulled off what I found out he did pull off for 15+ years, that is how good of a fucking liar he was… he had manipulated me into believing he was a bad liar all the while knowing he was lying to me every single day about HUGE things. In my opinion, after having been immersed in my husband’s diagnosis by three separate specialists after hours and hours of questionnaires and intensive diagnostics and therapy and myself going through CPTSD and having spent hours and hours in trauma therapy, it is real. It’s not a joke or an excuse, it’s an illness. It doesn’t make up for what they did. It doesn’t make up for their total lack of conscience and their abuse of us and our trust, but it does give them resources. It is just like any other addiction. People used to believe that being an alcoholic just meant you had a weak character. The media plays so fast and loose with infidelity and it has bastardized sex addiction and made it into some frivolous excuse for being “bad.” If you saw my husband’s “acting out partner,” you would go WTF, there has got to be something drastically wrong with that guy to keep going back to THAT for sex for eight years. I know I think that every day… and there IS something drastically wrong with my husband, he’s a sex addict and that will follow him around the rest of his life.

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  4. “What good is a husband I cannot count on? What good is a husband I don’t trust? What good is a husband who plays at recovery because it is easier than actually doing the hard work? What good is a partner, a companion, that doesn’t give his 50 percent?”

    I’d imagine that husband is being a perfect teacher for someone who needs to learn how to love and care for herself first before caring for everyone else. If you yourself want to do the real hard work for your own recovery he’s the perfect mirror: if you find yourself wasting your energy on thinking how his recovery is going, isn’t going, should be going, how he’s letting you down etc. that is all energy you are not using to get to know your own strength and love from within. I think your need to control the details of how his recovery is progressing is – though very understandable – your greatest trap: you’re indadvertedly placing your happiness in his hands again that way (if he fails, you’re unhappy). Maybe your therapist can help you get mindful about your own emotions and reactions? That can be a great help in gaining more happiness for yourself is my experience.

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    • Wow. Okay. I haven’t read most of your blog and I don’t know you obviously, so I don’t know your back story or what your experiences are that bring you to my blog, with advice for how I should behave or care for myself. I use my blog to write about how I feel, not necessarily how I feel 100% of my day, or how I behave all day every day. I have written about my therapy journey. I did read your about page and your page on solicited advice and perused a couple of your most recent entries. I like to make sure I am not totally putting my foot in my mouth when I respond to new commenters. Is it my understanding you are a 30-something divorced woman who tried to have an “open” relationship with a married man? I am trying to understand what brings you here with advice for me. Are you saying I should be married to someone without caring about whether or not they fulfill my needs as a partner because as long as I just worry about myself and care for myself I will be fine, regardless of what he does. It would seem under those circumstances you are suggesting I walk away from my marriage because all I really need to do is learn from my husband all the things I don’t want to do, and then heal myself (through therapy). I am not an addict, just a wife who was lied to for 30+ years. Me, I am fine. Me with my husband, not so much. This is what my journey is about… deciding if I want to live the rest of my life with or without my husband. Interesting how you say he is a perfect mirror? Not sure I understand what you are talking about. My husband is a consummate liar and manipulator and an addict. I did not marry someone like me. He led a secret life for more than 30 years. I am an open book. Insinuating that I haven’t done the work for my own recovery, personally, I find offensive. We are all lifetime works in progress, but I am nearly 52 years old and I participated in dozens of hours of trauma therapy and individual therapy before realizing that although I am a caretaker, I am perfectly happy with who I am, and how I behave, and how I love and care for myself. Therapy helped me understand how I got to be the person I am, and I still love myself even after all that digging and prodding. I also love my family, a lot. They helped shape me into the person I am. It is my husband who has an overwhelming amount of childhood baggage. He is an addict, has lied and betrayed me and now, for my own health, I write about whether it is appropriate for me to stay and continue believing in him when, by my observations, he is treating his recovery work on many days like he has treated everything else in his life–as a sick, twisted game where people are to be manipulated. Interesting how you quote the part of my blog entry that talks about the ways my husband falls short of being the partner I need in order to continue our marriage. How is that a reflection on me other than at some moments on some days I feel like I am giving him too many chances. I am not seeing recovery on his part and recovery is the stipulation for us staying together. I explain here how he let me down and how that doesn’t fit my needs as a human being. What do you expect out of your partner(s)? If they don’t meet those requirements do you automatically assume it is something you have done, when you look in the mirror do you see yourself as the failure? I am happy as a person. The question is, and has been, am I happy WITH my husband. If I am not, I should walk away. That is what I grapple with. Again, my husband is a sex addict. Have you lived with an addict? A recovering addict? There is a prescribed path for the recovery of addicts. Sure it takes years and some (a lot) stumble and fall… but they need to stay on the path. This is all on him and for him. My only question is do I walk beside him on his path (where we are constantly stalled out), or take a different path. Do I think boat loads of expensive therapy focused on me will help me make that decision, no. The actions and behaviors of my husband will help me make that decision. And… back around full circle: what good is a companion who doesn’t or isn’t able to give his 50%?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you, I just thought after reading your post that you were having a hard time and this might be something to look at it in a different way. But if it’s not helpful to you, then by all means ignore my unsolicited advice (I’m doing it again, yeah, not good).

        I do not currently have a partner, but I did expect my ex to make me happy in ways nobody could have. I blamed him for our bad relationship, because of all sorts of reasons you might see as valid or not. But during the divorce I learned to see what my part in that was. For instance: I expected him to open up to me, but in hindsight: when he actually spoke his mind I was not really listening but instead judging him for not saying the ‘right’ things. So I was actually not open to him myself in those moments, but I was resenting him for not really opening up. Like: I want you to be honest, but I want you to specifically say A and B and C. I was very demanding in that way.

        Now your dilemma is if you want to divorce him or if you don’t. Because you ask it literally I consider this solicited advice 😉 : bottom line is do you love being with him and really want that? That was what our therapist told us: you can learn to deal with each other no matter how difficult it will get, but you will each have to make the decision ‘do I really really want to be with this person’ first. And she explained: no extra conditions, just this person just the way he is right now.

        So think about that: can you accept him as he is now and want to be with him no matter what? It’s a deep knowing, rather something you feel from the inside than you could think about.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for your comments. I understand what you are saying and how the communication wasn’t working for you in your marriage… perhaps you had already checked out and so nothing he said or did would work. I get it. I’m not there yet. I like your therapist’s advice regarding really wanting to be with the person, the way he is right now and that is what I have decided to do with my husband thus far, with a caveat. Accepting a person for who they are does make total sense, especially taking into account the old adage that people don’t really change (so accepting them the way they are is necessary), however, it is extremely difficult to apply those concepts to a sex addict/recovering sex addict. They need to make changes in themselves if they want to recover. My husband led a secret life where he pretended to be working and instead he was often feeding his addiction with extremely destructive behaviors including an eight year affair. He also had other unsavory habits that he used for coping. I understand it will take a long time for my husband to make the changes he needs to make, if he is able to, but I cannot accept being married to someone who participates in destructive behavior. It is not safe for me. Some days he seems to make great progress, other days he closes down completely. If, 15 months ago, someone had asked how our marriage was, I would have said amazing. That I couldn’t imagine my life being any different. That I cherished my husband and our relationship. We have done a lot in the past 30 years and I had never even gone to bed mad at him. Unfortunately, in order for him to be THAT husband, he also had to lead a secret sex life, to cope. His addiction goes back to adolescence. Now he is a completely different man… an addict in recovery without his drug. A lot of addicts relapse, and a lot of marriages don’t survive, and I can totally see why. I want my relationship with my husband to last, but I have to be practical. I like to talk it all out on my blog, people have been really helpful. Everyone has a unique story, but we can definitely learn from each other.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think I would find that the hardest: how you have had an image of someone so close to you for thirty years, and then at once he turns out to be a completely different person. He had hidden his shadow from you and now you have to suddenly deal with that part of him you never knew of and didn’t sign up for.

            I think you have every right to re-evaluate and leave if it is too much for you. Is your husband now only that recovering addict or do you also see parts of that ‘old’ him you knew? Must be hard to reconstruct the concept of husband after something like this ..

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, discovery day, the day I got the call from the other woman and subsequently learned about my husband’s secret life, basically found out I was living with a stranger in many respects, was the day I went into shock. The trauma response is real. I am very grateful for the trauma therapy I went through.

              I still see parts of my husband that are his “old self.” Unfortunately, as I have written a few times and as I have said to him, I worry that I was actually in love with the sex addict. The sex addict (although completely destructive as he had to lie and cheat in order to keep everything going) appeared self assured, full of energy, extremely successful career wise, very productive, he actually appeared balanced. He was always a flirt, a workaholic, and a bit eccentric and frenetic, but it all seemed to go together. Last year he went from “working” approximately 14 hours a day to not working at all after dday. He was going to a lot of therapy and 12 step meetings, not just sitting around, but still. It was quite an adjustment. He finally built up to maybe 2 hours a day of work by the end of the year. In 2015, he is up to half days. Working really takes a toll as before working and sex addiction were so intertwined. He never really had to cope with the “real” world without his drug. He has been a sex addict for more than 4 decades. Anyway, I doubt he will ever go back to being the same person he was without his drug. It is very strange. The new guy is a little more difficult to adapt to. He is overtly moody and ungrounded. I still very much love him and see the spark of the old guy, but it is definitely not the same. I have to learn to accept what is, for the good of everyone.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I walk such a line reading your blog. As an addict I feel compassion for the addict, and as the wife of an active, unrepentant sex addict, I share your rage and utter dismay at having been so betrayed and disrespected. My ex slept with others in our bed too. A bed we bought together. My skin still crawls thinking about it.
    You are strong and I want so much for you to be able to work solely on making you happy – whatever that means. I want for you to be able to see Blue Eyes as he is and for his actions to have less and less of a hold on you. Of course, I’m still working on that one, and it takes time. But we do what we have to do. Keep being brave and speaking your truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, A_Female, I was waiting for you to comment. I know you know both sides and I think you maybe know a little bit about how my husband feels. I know you know how difficult it is to come to terms with the addiction and manage it. In the same vein, me not knowing that my husband was a sex addict and not being privy to or witness of any of his acting out behaviors (at least not that I was educated enough to recognize) the trauma really blindsides me. My personality is definitely playing in here. I am an incredibly strong and independent and self assured woman and yet, what my husband did knocked me on my ass. I am still trying desperately to get up. He is not really acting out in the most horrific sense of the term, but you know how difficult it is to master those feelings, drives, and desires. They are habitual, him having been masking and hiding and medicating them for decades. I want to be able to see him and accept him for who he is too, but he needs to be actively seeking recovery and he is such a manipulator. Yeah, he looks good on paper, but is it real? I want to believe he is really in there. At least with your blog, I feel like you are really aware of all that drives you and even if you can’t always master it or the outcome isn’t what you want (by the way I think you have been doing a really good job for what it’s worth) I feel like you are being honest with yourself even if you are so so hard on yourself. When I read Blue Eyes’ 4th step, I still think he is giving himself a big, fat pass (is this a guy thing?). He is making excuses and still feeling sorry for himself. Normal? I would imagine so, but as a partner trying to deal with the trauma and being impatient and most definitely not an addict, I so need him to be real with me. I don’t want any of this to get in the way of my happiness or my healthy daily activities, but it does. Blue Eyes absolutely obsesses about me leaving him. My intent is not to threaten or scare or manipulate, but I have to be honest with myself. I wish we had separated at the very beginning, but I wasn’t strong enough. Anyway, the trauma is not with me all the time anymore, but enough that I feel compelled to write a 4,000 word blog post about it (well doesn’t that break all the blog posting rules… I am surprised anyone actually reads these things). As always, if you have any further insight, please share.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I know I am strong enough and now that kids are grown, that issue that plagues so many wives that don’t want to break up a family, no longer exists. My only question is do I throw away 30 years and my belief in my husband and walk away or can I really be happy again staying, looking at my husband every day knowing everything I now know. It is a dilemma and I fight with it all the time. One way or another, I feel like the day will come when the answer will come to me with more clarity than today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kat, my friend, you and I are in the same boat. We know we can survive but do we want to leave what we have spent our whole adult lives building (the marriage, not the addiction). But how do we gain a sense of safety? How do we find a semblance of a life we can actually enjoy living?

        “It will be a long road to full sobriety and the fact that he believes he is not “acting out” concerns me. He has always flirted, I just never worried about it before… you know, with him loving women and being a charismatic guy and all. Well, those days are over now that I know the truth. Blue Eyes still manipulates people and Blue Eyes still has an active obsession with making excuses.”

        This is my husband too. He doesn’t understand the dangers, he has always struggled with boundaries. And then when he crosses the line (“but I didn’t act out”) he just doesn’t get how dangerous his behavior is or how damaging it is to my sense of safety.

        So, “is it trauma or is it instinct?” I just don’t want to give up until I know the answer to that question.
        Kit

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        • I had convinced myself my concerns were the trauma. That recovery takes a lot of time and I just need to be more patient. I still have my doubts, but they usually do coincide with rough days…. so do the rough days bring on the doubt, or does the doubt bring on the rough days? I do want to believe in my husband, it’s my nature and it’s a habit I got into for so many years. I think part of my problem is now that the trauma events are fewer and farther between, I instinctively feel like they mean more, that I should be learning something from them, but I just cannot figure out what. Again, maybe I just think too much. I do wonder if a separation would catapult Blue Eyes into deeper recovery, or perhaps I am just dreaming and I need to be patient. The whole thing is messed up! I do now feel like I am finally getting pieces of my life back after 15 months though, and that feels good. Hugs, Kit!

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  6. I don’t know what to say except that I just want to give you a hug. My story is different but I relate deeply to a lot of your feelings. Maybe a separation isn’t such a terrible idea. I think you need to feel like you have some power in this relationship. I know u are sick of how everyone caters to him, and if for a while you don’t want to be part of that, that is totally acceptable. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first once in a while. There is no shame in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, C. My fear is that by staying, I am also catering to him… making it easier for him not to do the hard work. Not to heal. He has grown so accustomed to my trauma outbursts, that he barely even acknowledges them anymore, or maybe I do more thinking in my head now since I do not get the kind of positive reinforcement I need from him anyway. Somehow, even though everyone says I cannot fix him, or even help him heal, I do feel like I hold some of the cards because I am that security blanket allowing him to have the life he wants without having to do the work. I need to play my hand, so to speak. I could really use that hug, too. WP is a double edged sword. We could all be great friends if we only lived a few thousand miles closer. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes I so wish I could talk to my WP friends too, we could hang out and do fun girly things lol, we understand each other.
        One thing I learned, a very important lesson, is that everything I temporary. The good an the bad. No matter how this plays out, it will come to an end, and you will get through this. I can tell that you are strong enough.

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        • The whole thing is a crazy mess. I write about how I feel on my blog, and yet life goes on, right? I mean we have an appraisal scheduled for our house for later this week as part of a financing package for our new beach house (building is supposed to finally begin next month) and so I am procrastinating on cleaning and decluttering in preparation. My husband will be home in a couple hours and just look at me with exasperation as I sit here at my desk in my pjs having done absolutely nothing except type away on WP and answer emails. We’ve got mother’s day and my birthday next week, more business travel. We have kids and pets that need to be taken care of and dealt with. A business we run together. I can have my reflective moments, but yet, everything would drastically change if I walk away. It is so difficult to figure out what I really want other than I want to be happy. Why can’t I just be happy with the way things are? Betrayal is an ugly bitch I never wanted to meet. I know you have come out the other side and you are correct, everything is temporary and we are strong, no matter what. I think I just think too much. Happy Monday!!! On that note, I bet if I go back through all my Monday journal entries/posts I will find they are generally less positive than the other days. Ha.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Ha, that would be awesome! Since I had to give up my cool friend, “Colleen” (who just texted me from Punta Cana, DR by the way) I feel like I need another witty wonderful friend in my life who lives in and amongst the sunshine and appreciates the finer things (like purses and food and TV). I am really not a downer of a person. For the most part I love life… not that you would know it from this darn blog. Someday I hope to transition it more fully away from all the betrayal/sex addiction to something more fun and classy… someday. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • That’s exactly what I’m trying to do too! I don’t want to BE my drama, I want to phase out of it, I want to go back to being ME, but I also have the intense urge to tell my story and to be honest about it. We are so much more than what our husbands gave to us. I think painting will help you remember. We have so much in common 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Oh, that’s another thing I am supposed to be working on. I decided to paint something for my mother for mother’s day. Yikes I am behind on everything. I can’t wait to do a post on my painting workshop, and my paintings, but I need to finish at least one first!!!

                  Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry for your pain. I’m always cautious to make a decision while feeling so emotional (when aren’t we feeling emotional these days though, right?). However, you need to do what is right for YOU. You are only responsible for yourself. Your well being. If you need time to yourself to straighten things out and gain some perspective. Then you do it. You have the right -and the responsibility- to love yourself first and foremost. Especially now. Only you know what you need and what’s right for you. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. It’s definitely not the best time to make a decision, but putting it all down helps me realize how much I let him get away with and for how long. I need to remember my own feelings and needs when my old habits creep back in and I somehow feel like it is my job to nurture him (and everyone else) at the cost of my own health and safety. Thanks for your kind words of support, and many hugs back to you!

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