And then it all went to s*%t

This afternoon we attended our weekly couple’s therapy appointment. Things were going pretty well. We were discussing the “new” schedule and how Blue Eyes was generally handling being at work more and having all that responsibility and not having his addiction as a coping mechanism, and his eyes started tearing up and became red rimmed. He spoke for quite a while. His voice broke many times. When I was talking about how great things were going for me, watching him handle the reality of his career, seeing him manage some of the stress without caving to his addiction, and me having more time to myself, he was breathing deep and heavy trying to ground himself. His eyes were shut, tears trickled down his cheeks. We were pretty exclusively talking about him and where he is at and how difficult every little fucking this is to him.

We moved forward into discussing some other aspects of the past week and how we communicate and Blue Eyes continued to be moved and a bit emotionally overwhelmed. I thought this is good. He is present with his emotions. I then brought up the “broken” incident from Saturday. Ms. Second Chance wanted to know if I had wanted Blue Eyes to hold me right then, on the hillside in our front yard. I said, “no, not really and I definitely did not want him to just say, I’m here, I’m here.” I told her, “If he can’t say how shitty it is that he has basically shattered my world, I would prefer he not say anything at all and not touch me.” She suggested that when I am going through a particularly difficult episode, Blue Eyes should ask me if I want to be held and that if I say no or don’t answer, that should be his cue to open up and be honest with me regarding how he is feeling. At that point Blue Eyes started blabbering on about himself and basically repeating exactly what the therapist had just said. She asked me what I was thinking while I was sitting there crying in the yard. I told her pretty much what I wrote about yesterday on the blog and then, I knew I needed to go to a deeper place there in therapy. I told her that I feel empty inside sometimes and that I have stopped telling Blue Eyes what I want because he rarely if ever is able to give it to me. Do I think he is getting in touch with his own emotions? Yeah. Do I think he is better able to go in there with me and understand what he perpetrated on ME? Maybe, but he sure as hell isn’t able to verbalize it. This is when I knew I needed to be bluntly honest about how I feel. I knew it was going to be terribly painful for me to voice this. I have said it before in individual therapy and I have thought about it a great deal on my own, but I knew I needed to say it out loud and I was sincerely hoping that because Blue Eyes was in an emotional state, he would join me. That he might even be able to verbalize, like in one past therapy session, how he feels about what his behavior has done to me. I said that while I was crying over the brokenness, I felt bitterly alone. I generally give a lot more than I receive. It is just the way it is. I was trained to be a giver and I think I put off an air of not needing others, of not needing compassion. The fact is, EVERYONE needs compassion and understanding. It is a human right and Blue Eyes knows he abandoned me in this regard. He bought in like the rest, depriving me of honest to goodness empathy. We all need to be treated with dignity and respect, and told the truth. I have gone through most of my life carrying the torch. I have been the giver of guidance and the nurturer of spirit. My parents were overwhelmed with what they were given with my sister. I learned to take care of myself, to be independent. I received a great deal of positive energy from raising my children, but as the years went by, my tank was running low. I was happy with my life, but emotionally abandoned. Just about the time I was desperate for high quality attention from my partner, our children had flown the coop, our nest was empty, our company was stable, I got hit with dday. NO, I got SLAPPED in the face with dday, and then I got pummeled with months and months of trickling disclosures. Lies upon lies upon lies. I sobbed in the therapist’s office talking about how empty I feel because everyone assumes I will be strong, no matter the circumstances. Well, guess what? I thought that too. I thought I was the tower that would never fall. I was wrong. I also thought I had a partner who would never betray me. Again, I was wrong. As I looked over at Blue Eyes, I realized he had completely changed. He was now vacant of true emotion. His eyes were clear and bright. He was sitting up straight. He was completely disconnected from my pain. He looked present, but he was shut down from his feelings. It was time to wrap up. The therapist had interjected a few helpful comments along the way to Blue Eyes about how to be more emotionally available to me. Her words were falling on deaf ears. I was defeated and frustrated and I know Blue Eyes could tell.

On the way home I waited for Blue Eyes to speak, but he didn’t. I explained to him how distinctly his emotional availability had shifted between his sharing about himself to the end of the session where I was sobbing out my pain. I waited for him to respond. He started to rebut what I had so clearly seen with my eyes and felt in my heart. I am not even sure it was debatable. I absolutely wish it was on film. I wish he could see himself. I wish he could see how he shut down from me and my pain. In the car, he accused me of not giving him the chance to speak. For many long quiet minutes in that car, I wasn’t saying anything. The excuses and deflection are getting really old. Finally I said to him, “at this point, I feel like throughout my life all the times I needed nurturing and then empathy, compassion, tenderness and understanding, and I didn’t get it, I sustained little cuts to my body that healed, but left scars of vulnerability. Then, all of the sudden dday hit and you just started stabbing me, over and over.” At this point he was pretty overwhelmed and unable to do much other than talk about how he needs to be present for me and be a real partner going forward, blah, blah, blah… I pretty much stopped listening. Even though I had literally just said in the therapist’s office that I need him to say something like, “I feel like absolute shit for the way I treated you. You absolutely did not deserve the pain I dumped on you. You are my rock and I am devastated by what I have done to you… ” (Oh, I could go on for days with this), he could not do it.

I still feel totally sliced up and in pain. I need to heal, but I guess it is ridiculous or naive to expect the person who inflicted the cuts to administer the bandage. I can bandage my own cuts, but it would be great if my partner could actually wake up from his abusive stupor and help me bandage the wounds. It is like I have purchased the first aid, laid it out on the table, explained to him how to administer it and then instead, he just throws it all away and stands there. What I surely do NOT need, is someone lamely saying, “I will help you, I will help you, I will help you,” and then doing absolutely nothing for me.

53 thoughts on “And then it all went to s*%t

  1. Pingback: Revisiting empathy | try not to cry on my rainbow

  2. Dear kat, I know very little about SA specifically. However I think that assuming empathy in an individual cannot be learned or increased is an extreme view. You may like to refer to Simon Baron-Cohen – note that his definition of empathy is complex – and look at the science from there, see where it takes you. This is an extract from an interview about his book: ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy’:

    “You are right that my book has an optimistic message, namely, that empathy can be increased. For some people it is simply a matter of waiting for development, and gaining experience. For others it may be a matter of either education or therapy. Imaginative approaches are being taken in many fields to facilitate empathy, and I do believe in the idea that people can change – because the evidence supports this.”

    I think you should take heart: it seems from everything you’re saying that there’s every reason to keep working on this.

    With my best wishes, Iris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Iris for the reference material and the support. I will look up Mr. Baron-Cohen. I have read quite a bit specifically about sex addiction and how difficult it is for the addict to tap into empathy in regards to the person they hurt the most. As I write in my next post, my husband does have empathy for many people and circumstances including me in many ways. Unfortunately, the level of compartmentalization and rationalization that goes with the kind of secret life they carry on for so many years/decades numbs them from the trauma they have caused. I think the idea is, if they weren’t able to compartmentalize out the pain they are causing and rationalize that somehow I would never find out, so therefore I would never be caused the pain, they wouldn’t be able to do it. It is part of the pathology of a sex addict. In BE’s intensive with Dr. Minwalla, since the trauma and perpetration on the partner is a big part of Omar’s research and practice, they spent quite a bit of time on the SAIT model and over the past year, BE has been able to show glimpses of that specific empathy. Above I felt like he regressed a little (or a lot), but this path is a bumpy one. It will take time for him to open up fully to that kind of pain, and as time passes, I am healing and requiring less of him in terms of understanding every little aspect of my trauma. He still needs to go to that place that allowed him to do all this, otherwise, in my mind, he is not conquering it, but merely squishing it deeper inside. I feel like such a hypocrite when I say I know my partner of 30+ years and so I can see when he is or isn’t going to that deeper place of understanding… because, of course, he kept a secret life from me for a long, long time. How could I possibly know anything about him. But, I need to remind myself that I do know him and I do have needs and I should not push those needs aside. He is also no longer able to use his addiction to medicate and cope so he is a much rawer version of his former self. Some days it is like getting to know a completely different person and that is when I question whether I even like this new person. In fact, I do love him, and I absolutely feel there are so many reasons to keep working on this most of the time. I do need to learn patience and accept the limitations of his addiction. When people say they don’t think people can “learn” empathy, I think they must be talking about a narcissistic personality who has no ability to show empathy. That would not be my husband, but I totally understand because I do know people that appear to not be able to be truly compassionate. Thanks for the wishes… I can always use them!

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      • It’s so interesting when you talk about compartmentalisation in this way because I think this is relevant to other forms of infidelity, in other words when we would not call it SA.

        ‘He still needs to go to that place that allowed him to do all this, otherwise, in my mind, he is not conquering it, but merely squishing it deeper inside.’

        Yes, you’re so right to ask for this. It’s extremely difficult but essential and actually for him even more than for you, wouldn’t you say? Goodness, you’re so brave sharing all this.

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        • Thank you so much for your kind words of support. I do agree that compartmentalization and rationalization are two components relevant to most forms of infidelity. There are also many ways a betrayer can get help that have nothing to do with joining an anon group or being identified as a sex addict. If someone has not thought of themselves as a cheater or a cheating type and yet they find themselves in that spot, I think there are numerous emotional and psychological issues not being addressed (for the OW too). I think when those psychological issues are never dealt with, it is difficult for the person doing the cheating to be authentic with themselves. There is some reason they did it and I do not generally believe it is just selfishness or a lack of control. They are trying to fill an empty void with something toxic to themselves and everyone involved. These are just my observations over the past months as I try to figure out what has been dumped on me.

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          • Yes and it appears it’s often from early childhood. Sometimes hard to make sense of because the trauma happened too early for us to have had the language to express our distress.

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  3. A couple of things. I like how you and Paula fit in the wine talk in all of this and secondly the comment Trying made about being so new into all of this. It rings a bell with me Kat. BE has still come a long way since DD. Emotionally he still has a long way to go. I still feel that if he is aware of what is needed and he is at this point unable to give you what you want he will work towards it. Just talking in relation to my H who was emotionally quite a retard. It is thru all this painful work that they get to hear what we are saying and even though they don’t yet get it there is a possibility that it will happen. Never say never. Amazing things can happen. If it is heading in the right direction then there is always hope. If he is working hard then there is always hope. This bloody journey we are on is two steps forward, one or two back but every time we have a communication there is hopefully more understanding or a slight glimmer of light in their brain. If he really wants it to happen then it can happen.
    Hugs xxxx

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    • I agree with you, CF. I know he does “get it,” he is just not yet capable of giving me exactly what I need. I am way ahead of him and always have been. I need to learn that to be able to have what I really want, I need to be patient on this journey. Thanks for the hugs!!! K. ❤

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  4. I keep seeing the word “control”.
    It’s an unwieldy concept, ironically.

    I agreed with the replies about empathy. Those who lack it have an incredibly difficult time learning it, especially when the lack is created/reinforced by FOO dysfunction.

    I see how much you love BE. It is strong and unwavering. All of this wouldn’t be so hard if you didn’t.

    I hope you are able to love yourself as much and more through what comes next, whatever that ends up being.

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  5. I don’t know why this thing kicks my comments to the top. Kat, I am not an expert on SA. I have read about it and what I found was mostly ons with random women. Your husband needed something else. If she is unattractive it may have been how he punished himself. He didn’t deserve a better lover. Who knows. I think most men are nuts anyway.
    What I get from your blog, and a few others, is that the cheaters don’t have the same “what ever it is” that you and other bs have. You have some inner compass that keeps you headed in the right direction. I don’t understand love that finds lying to a spouse easily. I hope the two of you make it, but for you to be sitting on the side of a hill sobbing your heart out says you are far from ok. If you left him what would he do? I am guessing you are the anchor in his life and a divorce would find him unmoored. I have read your blog from the beginning and cannot imagine the strength of character it takes for you to continue.

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    • Hey Let go, my blog kicks your comments to the top because I have it set in reverse. The newest comments are at the top and the oldest comments are at the bottom. If you “reply” to my actual comment to you, it will not end up at the top. It will be placed right below the comment you are replying to. If you go to the comment box at the bottom, your comment will end up at top.

      Yes, I agree. Sometimes I am far from okay. I was happily living my life with a man I have known and adored for 30 years. We have two great children and a successful business and then one January day in 2014 I get a call from an older woman with a smoker’s voice saying she is having a relationship with my husband. I was thrown into shock and trauma. It is taking me a while to heal from that. I have made lots of progress, but some days I do sit on the side of hills and cry. I mean honestly, that has only happened once so far, but I have cried in my closet, on my bed, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, at a restaurant in Hawaii, in the shower (many many times), etc… I write a blog because it helps me to talk it out. Some days I am as confused as you by my husband’s and other people’s behavior. I no longer try to figure out why my husband had sex with an older, unattractive, hoarding, stalking, alcoholic, single woman from the other side of town who he scrounged up from a pathetic Craig’s List ad (but if you have read my entire blog, you know she was not the only SP). My husband was always grooming other women and getting hits, but the process sometimes takes a while. He is after the chase and the sexting and the secret of it all, not just a quick hook up. I think that ons view is generally not reality but maybe something hollywood has conjured up. My husband has absolutely nothing in common with his SP other than they are both sick addicts. This woman is the opposite of me in every single way right down to her hair and eye color. This is not about me, or about her actually. She is the only person that does not know that. Why she agreed to such a horrifying relationship can only be attributed to mental illness on her part. I am astonished my husband would go anywhere with her but I am more astounded that he put my life in danger. That is addiction. He and I have a full life that includes everything a relationship should including great sex. Unfortunately now it includes a lot of trauma and drama too. They had pathetic mediocre sex, but it fed my husband’s secret life and that was all he was after. It could be that she is all he thought he deserved in his messed up way, but he was certainly grooming others so who knows. Frankly, I just think she was easy and she loved to sext up a storm. With the sexting he could get turned on when he was in his addiction and he didn’t have to look at her. Sick, sick, sick.

      I could post a lot more links to articles and other data we have gathered over the past 17 months, but that is not generally the nature of my blog. Some days I do just want to blast away posting information especially when people question the validity of it all, but I am not necessarily trying to educate people. It has been an eye opening process to read about what people think about sex addiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh. It seems we all struggle with a similar issue. I have nothing new to add that hasn’t already been said. Just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone in how you feel and this struggle you are in. Hugs.

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  7. Kat, if your husband is unable to control his addiction that is on him. I do believe he loves you. From work that I have done I recognize that some people bond so deeply they are incapable of cheating and others have much weaker connections to others. Compartmentalizing is ok until it becomes pathalogical. His addiction sounds different from what I know. Most sex addicts don’t have long term lovers. They move quickly from one sexual partner to the next. Something about his last SP met some need. I am angry on your behalf that he took her on trips that should have been for you. I wonder how he explains that?

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    • Yes, I agree with you. If my husband is not able to control his addiction that is absolutely on him, BUT I will not stay with someone who cannot control his addiction, regardless of whether he loves me, or not. I am incapable of cheating not because I have bonded so deeply, but because I am an honest person who does not want to hurt the people I love. Nothing else matters to me. Even if I was abused and lonely, I would not cheat and lie. Cheating and lying are hurtful. I am not sure it is appropriate to say “most sex addicts.” Many sex addicts have long term lovers. Many of the men in my husband’s SA group had long term lovers. Some had no lovers and were addicted to porn or prostitutes. Some went to the same prostitute over and over and over for many years, longer than my husband had his affair partner even. They do not ALL “move quickly from one sexual partner to the next.” Some do not have partners at all. There is just no cookie cutter description of a sex addict. I am not even sure where you were going with this? Are you insinuating my husband is not a sex addict? My husband has gone to dozens and dozens of meetings and each person has their own pathology and they should not be grouped or denounced or even diagnosed because they did or did not do one thing. Shit, I could write about this all day and to think, 17 months ago I had no idea what sex addiction was. Now, I definitely know and I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. And then, who really cares? As long as the person is getting the help they need to acknowledge their wounds and their atrocious behavior and are becoming a better person, who cares about labels or how they are doing it? If they are REALLY managing their behavior, good on them.

      The thing about his sexual partner that met his need…. was…. SEX. He used secret SEX to medicate himself. This sick, broken woman was available on the occasions he sought her out in the eight years they knew each other. In one entire year, they got together for one out of town trip to HELSINKI in JANUARY. She spent her hard earned money to have sex with my husband approximately 10 times in a hotel room in Helsinki in January. ONE trip! He “managed” his addiction the rest of the time. Here, let me say this again. The need that the SP met was secret, destructive, bad, sex. Like if he was an alcoholic, and he normally would like, oh say, in his very public and well established life, a glass of luxurious champagne (that’s me, the champagne 😉 ) but he felt so bad about himself “needing” to have a drink when he knew he shouldn’t, so he would stop at a sleazy bar on the way home and have a glass of cheap whiskey, but hide in a dark corner of the bar, feel bad about himself, and keep it a secret. She meant nothing to him and YES, I am incredibly angry that he took her anywhere. How does he explain it? He is an addict. They do crazy, secretive shit to feed a destructive sickness that lives inside them. A sickness they want to be able to cut out with a jagged knife, but they just cannot bring themselves to do it because it is insidious and too painful to deal with until there is nothing left and most times they have no idea what causes their behavior they just know they don’t want to be doing it and it makes them feel shameful, but they don’t know how to stop. Until they have hit rock bottom. It is like any other addiction.

      Wow, thanks Let go for giving me the opportunity to spew out some of this anger I have been holding inside, It is not directed at you. It is directed at the world, at my husband, at society for so many not even trying to understand this addiction that afflicts so many. Thanks.

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  8. Kat, you are trying the impossible. You cannot change personality. It is set in concrete. People are born with certain traits and those are either reinforced or damaged during childhood. Anything that interferes with the natural growth of a person helps pour the concrete a certain way. You have not discussed his childhood in detail but it sounds like his natural, healthy growth was retarded by his FOO. I read a book once that said the male brain is designed so that when the first hormone hits at puberty his sexual focus is set. He can change his behavior but not his personality. I suggest you are banging your head against a brick wall hoping he “gets” what he did to you. He gets it intellectually but not emtionally. His emtional walls are 100 feet thick. He can decide that you and your marriage are too important to lose so he can/will control his behavior, but make no mistake, he is who he is. I think he is very sad. Children never completely recover from a damaged childhood. There is one type of therapy that might help him. EMDR.

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    • Let Go
      That is it!! You put it perfectly. They get it intellectually but not emotionally! Which I think is a lack of empathy? My husband is like this. He never knows what to say or if he’s even saying what I want to hear. So I interpret and have derived that he does get it intellectually,( although most times have to give to old “how would YOU like it if the shoe were on the other foot” if I really need to make my point).

      I’ve come to a place of acceptance. Acceptance that NO matter what he says or answers it will NEVER change the fact that he wounded me and that will never go away. I accept he has many other wonderful qualities and has been nothing but loving and respectful since the last DDay 4 years ago. I have NO idea what forgiveness is and frankly I think I am way too unimportant to be bestowing forgiveness on anyone. I’ll leave that to a higher being. I do know and have learned to find peace through total acceptance. I wish this for all.

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      • I am sure that feeling of total acceptance is a great one. At this point with my sex addict husband, I have boundaries and expectations and they are important to my own emotional and physical safety. Maybe when my husband is farther along in his recovery there will be total acceptance of who he is and his behavior, but not now. If he was acceptable the way he is, he wouldn’t need to be in recovery from sex addiction.

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    • Thanks, Let go. I guess we shall see how it goes. He has and is receiving extensive CSAT therapy and attended an intensive program which helped him understand (both intellectually and emotionally) my trauma and how he perpetrated such destruction. I have written about his FOO issues. He had a narcissistic mother and an emotionless workaholic father. I tend to have a little more confidence in his ability to feel empathy and exhibit compassion than some might. We have been on this recovery path for a very short (in the scheme of things) 17 months. He, recovering from sex addiction, and me, recovering from sex addiction induced trauma. He actually has shown empathy and compassion but this is a bumpy road. I doubt he will ever be able to exhibit it on command, but he has a long way to go to recovery so I guess we will see.

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  9. I know EXACTLY what you mean by this. I felt like him truly feeling responsible for the pain in my life was the only thing still missing. He would make comments like “I wish this never happened” or “I’m sorry this happened to you”, but what was missing was him admitting with his choice of words that he had control over it… that HE did this to me. The day after writing my post “Deep Sorrow and WSs” I had an emotional melt down. He teared up with me, he held me, and for the first time he said “I’m so sorry I did this to you”. It’s amazing how freeing that was. I could really feel the emotion in his words, too. He normally seems detached and removed from the situation when saying “I’m sorry this happened to you”, but when he changed the wording I felt him owning it, I felt how sorry he was for what HE did to me. I needed that so badly. It was one of the first times I felt true warmth, ownership, responsibility, and concern coming from him. Finally his words, his EMOTIONS, and his actions matched!

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    • I am so glad you were able to experience a glimpse of how good it feels when they break down their barriers and say the right thing. I know all these feelings all too well. When I wrote the stop saying you’re sorry post, and we were talking about it, I asked him to talk about what he had done in terms of my feelings without saying I’m sorry at all. It was so difficult for him to come up with words like, “I feel horrible about how what I did affected you,” or “I am sick about how much pain you are in because of me.” In my mind, it’s pretty easy to talk without saying he’s sorry, those words “I’m sorry” seem to be a catchall band-aid and I need more than that. It seems so difficult for them but I am sure it comes from a place of fear and pain. Hugs to you!

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  10. Kat, It’s called empathy and unfortunately there is NO therapy in the world that will teach or show a person devoid of that emotion/feeling to ever get it. Empathy is learned as a child and well from the sounds of his shit family they didn’t teach it to him because they themselves have none. You are beating your head against a brick wall if you think he will ever feel empathy for his actions. That’s not to say you can’t have a marriage with him or even a good marriage with him but if you keep expecting this tiger to change those stripes you will be making yourself miserable. A lot of times we show great empathy in hopes they will learn it, they don’t. I hope you can find your happiness in your marriage to Blue Eyes regardless his lack of empathy. Hugs to you

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    • Thanks, trying. I do have happiness in my marriage or I would walk right now. I do also have pain. Call me ignorant, or naive, or wishful, but I do think Blue Eyes needs to be able to feel compassion and empathy in our relationship for me to feel like it is a viable marriage. I also feel he must break down the fear barrier and get to those emotions in order to recover and I do not intend to stay married to an unrecovered sex addict. He has been there before and he has been compassionate and empathetic, but in very small doses… little glimmers. Yesterday I felt like he regressed and that does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. There is generally a lot of love and laughter and fun and playfulness in our marriage and I do not write about that enough. This is a good reminder. Thanks for the hugs and many back to you. ❤

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      • Kat
        I hear you. Getting to the point of acceptance and having boundaries and expectations are NOT mutually exclusive. Damn right you have expectations and boundaries, I do too. Acceptance doesn’t imply you condone, it’s simply you accept it happened. You accept you are wounded and scared and scarred. You accept that no matter how many good things he does going forward does not change the fact he’s screwed up or a sex addict or just a plain old asshole. Whatever their demons are they are real to you. Doesn’t make any difference if he is or isn’t a sex addict according to you or anyone else. Your pain is real. Your husband did horrific things, but you know what? People whose mates who aren’t sex addicts and had maybe a couple of months emotional affairs hurt just as bad. They suffer day in and day out wondering if their mates no longer love them. Wonder if they really want to be with the OP and in most cases there were no trips to Helsinki !!

        You’re still in the somewhat early stages of discovery. Heck at 17 months I was still fantasizing about being an ax murderer 🙂 somewhat kidding. I went back and forth through the stages and truly struggled through most. Ten steps forward five steps back. At four years I can say I’m pretty much there. I e gotten through it stronger and smarter. There are still days when I try very hard to make sense of it all only to find there is no sense.

        On DDay 2 we were driving across country when he decided to spill it all. We were in MC and were working through it. I was led to believe the affair was over. It wasn’t. He had just been with her the day before at her insistence, how could the poor sap say NO?? Yeah right! Well during that conversation he pronounce he thought he may be a sex addict because well after all he had read half a book about affairs and now he was so knowledgable he self diagnosed. I almost flipped. I swear I wanted to jump from the moving car. We got to our destination and I let loose, AGAIN. He’d lied and betrayed me again. I gave him the ultimatum that if he truly believed he was a sex addict he needed to get diagnosed by real doctors and get into some kind of Tiger Woods rehab clinic. I knew nothing about sex addiction and had no intention of learning anything about it. This was his problem not mine and I was NOT sticking around to witness his struggles. Well upon our return and going to MC he self diagnosed he wasn’t a sex addict. Sheesh that word was being bandied about freely now Kat he may or may not be a sex addict but what he is for sure is an entitled, selfish, middle aged man with FOO issues. None of that is my problem. It’s all on him. I’ve wasted way to much time and energy trying to get in his head when I should have been spending my time and energy getting into my own head. And it has nothing to do with love. None of this has anything to do with love. I know I love him and he loves me, always has even in the middle of his affair, it was always me. What it is all about is respect or the lack thereof. Respect for you and himself.

        I see your struggles in dealing with his addiction and if it truly is an addiction you are very correct in questioning yourself to stay in a marriage with an addict. Your feelings are valid sister, your fear is valid, it will be a constant roller coaster ride and addicts are very good at hiding their addiction and fixes. It’s not a case of how good YOU are, it’s a case that he believes and so do you that he’s an addict. Facing the next 30 years of dealing with that notion is frightening. Your brain and gut are warning you. Don’t discount them. I hope he does make personal progress with his demons. I also hope, for his sake, it’s not too late and that the best thing that ever happened to him doesn’t end up walking away from it all. It gets down to the simple point, regardless whether or not you love each other but do you have enough respect for yourself, your partner and your commitment to continue living with each other.

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  11. That sucks for you, I couldn’t even ‘like’ this post. Sorry to hear it all went down like this..
    So if I understand correctly the truly painful episode started with this: “As I looked over at Blue Eyes, I realized he had completely changed. He was now vacant of true emotion. His eyes were clear and bright. He was sitting up straight. He was completely disconnected from my pain. He looked present, but he was shut down from his feelings.”?

    He was completely disconnected from your pain, you thought. You felt sure of that. No wonder you were in so much pain.

    Are you open to the possibility that your interpretation of BE’s composure could have been off? It’s very common for the human mind to look for evidence of its existing convictions. The smarter the person, the more elaborate the evidence. So if you are really diving deep, experiencing your own feelings of not being cared for and left in the cold while always being the caregiver yourself – can you see how you might have been more prone to interpret someone with a neutral expression as disconnected and not really emotional?

    The problem with other people, even the ones closest to you, is that you can never be really sure of what they experience. It’s always just interpretation in the end, because you’re not them. What if BE’s rebuttal was not an excuse, as you feel it was, but actually him being truthful about his experience in that moment?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Anything is possible, of course, but this is not the first time we have been down this road. It is actually very difficult for him to hide now that he does not have his addiction to medicate and neutralize everything. It is pretty much what you see is what you get and when he rebuts, he generally says what he thinks he should have done (or what he thinks people want to see or hear) but then admits that is not what he did, but wishes he had. I think the biggest issue for me yesterday was that he was clearly regressing from behavior he had exhibited just a few weeks ago. It gave me an incredibly cold feeling, but it is not uncommon with recovering sex addicts (or so I have heard and read and read and heard…). He literally dropped my hand from his, distanced himself from me, and changed the subject from me to him before we left the session. When we walked out, he was like a zombie. I am pretty sure I was not misinterpreting. This is not about me being stubborn. It is definitely about my expectations though. I expected him to at least be able to stay in the room when I talked about how when I needed compassion and attention, he was unable to give it to me and I still need that, as a living breathing human being I need him to be present with me. During our couple’s conversations and couple’s therapy is the only time I wish we were being filmed because Blue Eyes lives in a very strange reality. He will literally say something, then when I say how could you say that, he will deny saying it. He is easily intimidated and lives in fear and it is a whole lot easier to shut down when the going gets rough. Recovering from sex addiction is confusing, and painful, and fear inducing, and humiliating, and humbling, and produces anger and confusion and resentment (all triggers for his addiction in the first place). It is ALMOST like fighting a losing battle, but what it is generally not (in my opinion with my husband) is nuanced. He and his emotions (or lack thereof) are out there for the world to see. He wants to hide and he does. But I do appreciate the chance to explain more fully how he exhibited his emotional distance.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My husband does this also – just shuts down. I’m trying to talk and tell him what I need and get nothing back. Then my rage builds and I have a blowout. I might get a “I’m sorry for your pain”. We both see the same CSAT sometimes together but usually separately. She explained that his emotions were arrested at a young age and he doesn’t have the emotional bandwidth to handle emotions like I do. It’s either on or off with no in between. With therapy he can grow that but slow process. He does now work very hard at not shutting down and sometimes we can even joke about bandwidth. This info helped me greatly. I saw him as refusing to help me out of him shame when really he was incapable. Big difference. I hope that helps you; the situation sounds very similar.

    Hugs.

    Liked by 4 people

    • We actually have not found a CSAT that would see us separately and together. It would seem to make things easier in my opinion since they would understand where the individuals are coming from and then see the dynamic of the couple together, but they have all told us it is a conflict. I do think with time he will gain the ability to stay in touch with those emotions when dealing with me and my pain. He is now able to do it with his own pain and childhood wounds. Blue Eyes has also been able to do it with my pain and that is probably why yesterday it hit me hard when he seemed to regress. I think it is the nature of the addiction and the recovery process. It’s all over the place and fear definitely rules my husband. I was also enlightened regarding my husband not necessarily choosing to shut down when my emotions are involved (or go into a strange caretaker type mode), but that what I really need, for me, is for him to tackle that hurdle. I know it is slow and I am impatient. I guess it is the back and forth that is so frustrating? Hugs back. This is such an incredibly difficult journey.

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  13. I am so sorry. I wish I could give you a big hug. Maybe u need a little break from him? A nice vacation on your own where u don’t speak with him for a bit? Somewhere beautiful and peaceful where the focus is on you for a change. I feel like you aren’t just hurt, you are also so angry and frustrated, first u had to deal with D-day, but now, BE takes the spotlight. He gets to cry like the poor baby he thinks he is, and you get overlooked even more. It diminishes you. It’s like The Blue Eyes Show. Get back to your painting. Do what makes you feel good. You are not Simply BE’s wife. You are Kat: your own woman. Reclaim her.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I totally agree! I struggle with my husband making it about him and what he’s gone thru. He says he’s sorry “for everything” but still no tears. He says he gets it.

      He remains self centered and righteous.. The characteristics that lead him to cheat

      I hope you know how much I admire your strength and perseverance. You ARE an amazingly strong lady. I always look for your posts. You’re so wise and worldly, I always walk away and reflect on your posts.. I’m sure I’m not the only betrayed spouse who feels the grief and sadness, this miserable journey you so beautifully put into words.

      May I ask a personal question? Why do you stay? Please read No judgement at all I in my question. But I’ve wondered and so I asked.

      You have undeniably chosen the most difficult path after an affair.. Staying with your husband. Of all the affair blogs I’ve read… Your story is by far, the biggest hurt. I hurt for you. I’ve wanted to shake BE for how careless and cruel he’s been to you. I’m most positive that I would have walked away if I were you. And I get that he has an addiction. I understand and empathize with addicts. I do get it. But it’s not the reason. It can’t be a crutch.

      Have you considered a separation? I wonder if that would help you heal YOU, to focus solely on yourself. To not be as focused BE’s recovery. It might be good for him too. He leans heavily on you Kat. He’s truly a luck man. I hope he gets that.

      ❤️

      Liked by 5 people

      • Hi Rac. Thank you for your beautiful words. I do not read judgment into your question about why I stay. It seems very logical to me and something I might write to someone else, especially reading a blog where I only see snippets of a person’s life and those snippets seem very painful and not very pretty. Also, when you write that my story is by far the biggest hurt, I feel like that does say something about me. That I take on a lot, maybe actually more than I can handle. I talk about how I was “trained” to be a caregiver, but it also comes very naturally to me with my personality, but at some point I do need to stop it because it has become overwhelming. I have been counseled that people seek me out because I am strong and organized and compassionate and they instinctively know I will take care of them. I don’t fault them, but with all these relationships, I also need some care in return. I give away a lot. I take care of myself, but I do get depleted. I need to start taking.

        Bottom line, I stay because the vast majority of my life with BE is good. He has caused me and continues to cause me great and deep pain and I write about it, but we also spend much of the day laughing and playing and being kind to each other. He is not acting out and he is in recovery. I receive a great deal from my relationship with him. I should write about it more, but I feel compelled to write when I am struggling. We have considered a separation and I have written about it. It is still very much on the table. It would serve two purposes. It would give me all the “me” time I crave and the ability to focus on myself and my activities and it would take away Blue Eyes’ security blanket. I outlined a while back how I thought it would look. We have talked about it. With our new schedule, I currently have plenty of me time and on my own, I am doing fine. Most of the time I really enjoy being around my husband. Blue Eyes made significant progress during his fourth step, but seems to be stagnating. I guess it is the nature of the process. I have never done this before, so it is all trial and error right now. I also want to shake BE for how careless and cruel he has been to me. Unfortunately, the addiction was the reason but that doesn’t mean it ever has to be a reason again. Since he has been in recovery and 12 step, he does take responsibility for everything he has done and has not so much as hinted that anything is my fault, but his baggage preceded me and he still has a long way to go on his recovery.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, C. I am angry and frustrated. It does seem inevitable that I will need time to myself and to claim myself. I have always been someone else’s something, someone’s child, someone’s wife, someone’s sister, someone’s mother. I love that dynamic and it filled me up and helped me feel whole, but it was partially based on the fact that I had a loving partner for the past 30+ years and that none of those people that I love would take me for granted, or heaven forbid, hurt and betray me. Another thing, I really don’t like couple’s therapy. Maybe that says something.

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  14. I read your post, went and ate some breakfast and I was thinking it over. When someone is in so much pain you want the thing you say/right to be the correct thing, I wanted to offer some good advice and if I could throw some humour in all the better. And then I thought maybe this is what BE is experiencing, my husband also suffers with the same affliction, but maybe the fear of doing more damage leaves them speechless? (I would like to say I have looked this kindly upon rich when he has had this reaction, I’ve not.)
    But really I wanted to say I’m sorry, because it’s shit, you deserve more.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you, owlie, for your sweet words. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing to me… I welcome all words and I love humor and have a bit of a wicked sense of humor. Sometimes it is easier to look upon the suffering and experiences of another and offer advice we are not able to practice ourselves. I feel like I do that all that time but I am aware and I am trying. BE lives in fear, but I think he is speechless because it is easier for him and he shuts down, not potentially less harmful to me. If anything has been a running theme on my blog, his lack of showing empathy is it. Sometimes I need it for me, but mostly I need it for him because for me it is a barometer of his successful recovery, for himself. Digging out of the addiction hole is a long and painful process. I want to come out of this process with him stronger. Some days I desperately struggle.

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  15. Dear Kat, this sounds awful and I feel your aloneness in this. Can you really be sure how he feels? Is it that he is just lousy when it comes to articulating himself? It’s just that my husband scores 0 for emotional intelligence and is not in my league when it comes to the ability to use words – especially when genuine & truthful. I have said what I wanted to hear and at times when he’s a bit lost with me he recites my phrases!!!! His boyish charm just doesn’t wash anymore with me but he has no replacement charms!!!! Whatever the adultery did to me it caused any scales in my eyes to drop. I will never see my husband in the same light. I’m still adjusting my vision!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Unfortunately, it IS awful. 😦 . I agree with you, I will also never see my husband the same again, but I always knew he was messed up in certain ways just not that he would so blatantly hurt and betray me. That was a total shocker. My husband doesn’t even recite words I have laid out for him, not that I would want him to, but he doesn’t even go as far as to say… I feel like shit about what I did to you. He can say he feels bad about what he did, but not what he did TO ME. And he may actually be able to say it without emotion during a “safe” time, but he cannot do it when he needs to. He is too afraid and he too easily shuts down his emotions when it comes to my feelings. I can never really be sure of how he feels, but I have known the man for over 30 years and I believe there is body language that to me is unmistakable, especially now that he doesn’t have his addiction to medicate with. Of course his being able to hide all this from me for decades is astounding to me, but he was mostly able to be a consummate liar and cheater because he was feeding a very powerful addiction that leveled out his personality and allowed him to compartmentalize to a ridiculously high degree. I stopped reading about sex addiction last year because it was difficult to read over and over how similar these addicts really are. It is pathological. I get that, but in my opinion if they are really recovering and want to have an intimate relationship with another human being without continuing to hurt them, they need to be able to tackle their fears and conquer this part of their pathology. How long that will take or if it will happen depends on each addict, I suppose. If my husband wants to stay married to me, I will need him to tackle that fear that keeps him hiding in a dark place rationalizing he doesn’t have to do this or that. People can say that it is not just that he doesn’t want to go there, but that he cannot go there. In my mind, that will be a deal breaker. I know this is a process. A very painful one.

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  16. So sorry for your pain, I feel it, I’m right there with you.
    I read something on a well known infidelity blog, the blogger is pretty anti reconciliation because she doesn’t believe people can stand being labeled the ‘f**k up’ over an extended period of time, they’ll get fed up, shut down, get defensive just to protect themself because it’s an awful feeling.
    My husband is like this, he will say the right words ‘I understand’ ‘I see where you’re coming from’, ‘I’m sorry’ But they are just words I can see there isn’t always feeling in it, he gets defensive talking about my pain and will always deflect to the issues we had beforehand, as if to say ‘hey you messed up to!’ That’s not the point though, it’s about us wanting them to fully feel and empathise with our pain – I guess it’s too hard for them to go there or maybe they don’t want to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, streetpoet. It is incredibly difficult for them to admit what they have done and live with that. I get that. Sometimes people have to be able to do the hard work in order to have what they want, you know? With my husband, I feel like if he cannot do that which is so important to me, the marriage probably isn’t viable. For me it will mean he isn’t truly recovering and I have already told him I do not want to live with an unrecovering/unrecovered addict. Without doing that work, he will always be more vulnerable to his sex addiction. I think some guys can move on and everyone can just agree they acted badly, hurt people, and they’ll never do it again. Not sure that works for addicts. But I do absolutely understand how difficult it is for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. So sorry Kat. I have a friend in Tennessee that has lived with this reality for nearly four and a half years. She kept hoping her husband (who is also emotionally damaged by screwed up parenting) woyld see her agony and need and change. She’s the same age as you and married to him for 29 years. Four boys. She thought she had a good marriage. Not spectacular. Just good. Working. Loving. She has only quite recently begun to fully accept he is either incapable or unwilling to. I believe incapable. The damage seems too great. I think BE has shown more compassion in the past. Maybe he is in therapy overload. Where the eyes glaze over? I really hope this is an aberration. Much love. Wish I was there to give you a hug. Your pain is palpable xoxo

    Liked by 6 people

    • Writing out my story here does help, but it is incredibly painful and takes a toll on me. I have actually started giving myself some space (time) between posting and checking comments. It gives me time to live in my own reality before conversing with people about our life… I really appreciate the comments and I do spend a lot of time responding. It is an important part of my process, but wow it is draining. This morning I couldn’t believe the response to this post. I mean I guess I can because the lack of empathy issue is fairly widespread in the betrayal community and especially the sex addiction community. I do think Blue Eyes is on overload. It also doesn’t help that he has his individual therapy late morning on the same day we have our couple’s therapy just a couple hours later. He is very focused on himself. He has been much better than yesterday and has shown compassion. I got my hopes up too high and let myself be really vulnerable. I was really aching. I wish you were here for that hug, too. I’m telling you, the Pinots are fabulous here! Thanks for the support. The damage is incredibly deep, and I think two things need to happen. I need to realize I am not going to ultimately get what I really really want and I have to figure out if I am okay with that, AND, Blue Eyes needs to conquer this fear that keeps getting in his way. He is afraid of being truly vulnerable to anyone. He lives inside a dark place. He will never heal if he doesn’t climb out of there. Recovery is about accepting some things, but changing others in order to really like yourself. I really am doing better, but in the end, I need to be honest with myself and others when I am in pain. My reality is much different than I thought it was. Facing that is incredibly difficult. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know. I have been in a very similar place, Kat. Those first three or four years I thought our love was strong enough. I was strong enough, Roger was suitably remorseful and empathetic. But as my forever stretched out in front of me I started feeling very dragged down by it all. I know NOW that I can’t give myself to him as I had always before. And I don’t want that half love. It took a long time to get here. And here ain’t so great either!

        We shall meet and you can try some of our Central Otage pinot noirs. I can’t wait to try some Oregon ones. I might even try to source some here. I drink quite rarely but when I do, I am a bit snobby about it these days, and try the best I can afford, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I visit, I will bring you some really wonderful bottles in my luggage. I know the sex addiction facet adds a whole different element and I am not as worried about my feelings for BE as I am about living with an unrecovered sex addict. It is a scary proposition because it is an insidious disease. Recovery is long and painful. If, as some readers have said, he is absolutely unable to have empathy due to his childhood wounds, I am afraid it will be a deal breaker because I really do feel without that, recovery is impossible. I love my life with my husband and do not see any obstacles to continuing the path, EXCEPT lack of recovery. As I told him this morning, you cannot just murder a person’s soul and not expect to have to do the difficult work to try and resurrect her. I do not believe he is unable to. I believe he is currently unwilling to because it is too painful. He will need to get over that.

          Liked by 1 person

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