As previously mentioned, a separation period has been discussed. I had suggested starting with three months. When Blue Eyes asked me when I wanted to start the separation I said, “I don’t.” He seemed confused. I explained to him that when I spoke of a separation, I wanted him to know how I thought it would play out. You know, because in my mind, in a healthy marriage with healthy communication, discussing the logistics of a potential separation would be the beginning of the conversation, not the end. This isn’t Kat’s world and everyone just falls in line and does what Kat says you must do (I am not his mother, never have been, never wanted to be, never acted like her, but some people carry A LOT of baggage). We are in a marriage, a partnership. I would expect him to come back with his opinions, his requests, his ideas, his wants and needs. But nope. He was confused because I was talking separation and he immediately went to a place of extreme fear. I could tell he was trying to be strong (this conversation happened a while back), but that he was frantic inside trying to picture himself in the scenario I had described: a furnished apartment in town, separate from our house, by himself. Have I mentioned how he is no longer able to hide a lot of his emotions inside without his addiction? Yeah, a lot of that “skill” is gone. On the plus side, he wouldn’t have to clean up after anyone but himself, not even the pets. He wouldn’t have to worry about my schedule or whether he was waking me up in the morning when he left for his 12 step meetings. He wouldn’t have to worry about whether I was eating properly. He wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not I was being triggered by his being in his home office alone, or whether he was taking his mobile phone into the bathroom or not. The responsibility for him maintaining his boundaries would be all his. He could also eat and watch whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He would have the entire day to schedule in work, exercise, recovery, healing, and mindfulness. There would also be no excuses and no security blankets. He would have true independence, which technically he has always had the autonomy to make decisions about himself and his own life, but somehow he still wants to blame some of those decisions on others. With a separation, no excuses. No one can change his past, but he has full control over his future. I am offering him up an option for self reliant healing. As I explained to him, in my mind, this would give him full control over his own life and his own schedule. He could focus on independently getting back into a healthy work routine. In the past, his workaholism and sexaholism were inextricably intertwined. He could not have one without the other, or if he could, he never actually did. This routine goes all the way back to law school, possibly even further. I told him I thought he would need to be the one to dictate if and when a separation period would begin. I am not afraid of separation. But I do think part of Blue Eyes’ recovery and healing and maturing, is realizing and acknowledging when he is not progressing and also when he is doing more harm than good in his current surroundings. Additionally, being able to say “I NEED to separate because I am not making sufficient progress, I am still making excuses, and being lazy with my recovery, and that is not good for anyone,” would be an amazing amount of progress in and of itself. Maybe he can make that progress without needing to separate. Maybe not. Either way, he needs to man up.
Separation is still very much on the table, and last week the conversation was mentioned in couple’s therapy. I cannot even remember who brought it up… again with the not remembering the therapy sessions very well. For most things I have an amazing memory, just not couple’s therapy. The topic was revisited this week because Ms. Second Chance wanted to know what my thoughts were on separation. I explained to her what I explained above. She said, “so you don’t really want to separate?” And, I said, “no.” But then I said, “I don’t want to separate, but I do want healing. I do want MY life back. I do want Blue Eyes to recover with no excuses. I am sick of the excuses. There are excuses for everything. I no longer intend to be one whether he admits I am or not.” She asked how things were going now, since the initial discussion above had been a few weeks ago. I told her we had recently, and finally, taken her early advice to get on a schedule. Blue Eyes and I talked this past weekend about coming up with a schedule that had him at work more and me back in my old routine more. My old routine included large portions of my day for myself. Whether my time was spent working, or taking classes, or exercising, or cleaning, or baking, or whatever, it was my time. I don’t have that time anymore. At first I was afraid to have him gone and he was afraid to be away from me. We were both really sick and broken. I have also not wanted to do anything from my old life, for a very very long time. I am getting past that now. I also blog now, a lot more than I ever have in the past, and I feel like Blue Eyes’ often resents the blogging. I feel almost like I have to hide the blogging because he seems to become more needy and clingy when I am doing it. In the therapist’s office I likened it to when my kids were little and as soon as I was on the phone, they needed me. They became clingy and whiny, and that was okay. They were small children who needed my attention. I gladly gave it to them. Even though they needed to respect me, I didn’t want them to think that the phone (or even whoever was on the phone with me) was more important than their needs. Eventually they matured (pretty quickly actually) and they were so caught up in their own activities and lives that they did not need my undivided attention as much. We grew together. Blue Eyes is not a child. It is controlling behavior, not growing behavior. We talk probably more than most married couples talk at this point due to our circumstances. Actually, since Blue Eyes was so caught up in his own life for so many years, if he wanted to talk or do something, most times I dropped everything. The few times I didn’t, yeah, another reason to act out. He didn’t need a “reason,” but he sure had a lot of them, like his wife having a life separate from him on the occasions that he felt he deserved my undivided attention. He has a lot of work to do.
The therapist wanted to talk more about our new schedule. Blue Eyes and I had spent a couple hours on it over the weekend, we talked and I wrote it down. I suggested Blue Eyes talk about the schedule first since I am mainly trying to get him into a routine so I can have my life back. He has to own his own schedule. I wanted to hear what he had to say to Ms. Second Chance about this schedule. Sometimes the things he says in therapy shock me. Blue Eyes did take a little step backwards right then and start talking about him not being able to stay on schedule and something about his childhood and his parents and control and WHATEVER (did I mention Blue Eyes is looking into adult ADD medication?). The therapist was patient with him, and after a few minutes of talk that had nothing to do with his current life, he corrected himself. I kind of wish she would stop him when he goes off to the pity party, but she has her reasons for what she does (I am assuming). The preliminary schedule covers when to go to bed (both of us, at the same time), when to get up (him three days a week, otherwise the both of us) so he can make it to his 12 step meetings, when and how much he will work during the week, working around his therapy session(s) and Buddhist meditation, when to schedule in mindfulness. I know this seems basic for most people, but Blue Eyes has never been able to keep to a schedule. Basically, his old schedule went something like this … get up when he woke up, get showered and go to work, could have been 6am or 9am depending on the day. Create a huge task list of things he needed to do in a day/week/month, get completely overwhelmed by his list, and distracted by anything and everything while at work. Accomplish very little of the tasked items but do other stuff including work not on his list, acting out (which could have been texting or emailing his AP depending on his cycle, or watching porn, or wandering the streets looking for women to groom) and then scheduling out of town sales meetings and depending on his cycle, these would or would not include the acting out partner. They always included acting out behavior. I never had anything to do with his schedule because I had a whole life of my own that included my own job, kids, volunteer work, meals, the kids’ sports and activities, whatever exercise I was doing at the time, whatever hobbies I was doing, and friends and family events. In and amongst the acting out behaviors, he did get a lot done. He put together a venture fund and then created a successful business from nothing. We both now wonder if he could have accomplished all that without his addiction. I often remind myself, I fell in love with a sex addict. I lived with a sex addict for 30 years. It is mind blowing.
Since dday, my life looks completely different, and so does his. The therapist was pretty impressed once Blue Eyes actually delved into his proposed schedule and the whys and wherefores. I think the schedule is a good one and although my brother (The Listener) has been in town the first part of this week for sales meetings, Blue Eyes has done an excellent job of sticking with the plan. He did miss his own self imposed deadline (May 31) for his fourth step, but as long as he can complete it soon, and let himself off the hook for it taking a little longer than he would have liked, I have to say, I feel like things are progressing. I have more time to myself. It feels great. The time is helping me find the clarity to be a healthy, happy, contributing partner to our marriage. Now, it is my turn to start being more productive with my newfound time. What ever happened to those accountability reports I was posting anyway? Honestly, one thing I have decided for myself, as I sit here typing on my blog, ha, is that I need to monitor the amount of time I blog and put some parameters around it, and keep the blogging completely out of the limited couple time Blue Eyes and I now share. A couple weeks ago, Blue Eyes installed the WP app on my phone. I didn’t ask him to, he is an electronic gadget guy, he did it when he was bored. One annoying habit I have now, is trying to read blogs on the phone app and accidentally unfollowing people with my fat fingers. If I unfollowed you recently, most likely it was a total accident and I will figure it out eventually. Also, now I receive updates on my phone every time someone comments or likes something. It is very distracting. I need to shut my phone down during couple time. Other than weekends, and couple’s therapy, and meals, our new schedule only allows for Blue Eyes and I to have about one and a half to two hours of time together per day for productive conversations or play time. I feel like this structure is a positive progression in our healing. I hope Blue Eyes is able to handle the new schedule as well as I am handling it. I think it is a really positive step for both of us.