Reconciling the differences

Me having a rough time of it usually precipitates a deep and open kind of communication that we had not really had before d-day. Until your world shatters into a million little pieces, there doesn’t seem to be a need to sit around and talk all day about promises, and behaviors, and other women, and business trips from seven years ago, etc…

Last night Blue Eyes and I stayed up too late talking about “the incident.” You know, the one from yesterday where I got upset because he was happy to see a text from a friend. It is time for me to stop wishing Blue Eyes will spontaneously morph into this perfect man who knows exactly what I am thinking and then responds in kind. Blue Eyes is never going to be able to read my mind. He’s never going to think like I do. He will never be like me. He never was like me. If he had been, he never would have done the things he did. As I said last night, there has never been a day in my life that I would do any of the things he did. I could not imagine sitting in bed with another man lying about Blue Eyes in order to keep a deep dark and disgusting secret. My mind immediately goes to a place where I ask myself, “is what I am doing going to hurt someone, especially someone I care deeply about, someone I have promised to honor and cherish for the rest of my life?” That is my litmus test. Am I hurting someone. I learned it at a very young age. I knew what it felt like to have someone do something that hurt. It didn’t feel good and I didn’t want to do that to anyone else.

But enough about me, because Blue Eyes never lived by that rule. His rule included blocking out other people’s feelings in order to feed the broken down child deep inside. Me talking about what I would have done or what I would do is never going to work. Instead, we talked about how I still desperately want him to go to that place and pull out those memories. I want him to talk about what he did in a way that brings it out of the deep recesses of his broken mind and into the bright light of day… a day that includes me and honesty and humility. I told him when I went to that day where I went home and retrieved his passport so he could spend a week with a whore in a Tokyo hotel room, I wanted him to acknowledge his own memory of that situation. I wanted him to tell me what he was thinking. I want to understand where his head was at… I know it wasn’t a good place, but I still want to visit that place.

I told him my instinct was it was their first out of town trip together. The day was sunny and mild, which it might have been in April 2008 (as opposed to January 2009, or February 2010–remember, their trips were few and far between). He was acting like a whack job. I believe he hadn’t honed his skills yet and that is why he forgot his passport in the first place. Lo and behold, he sat there last night and went to that place in his memory. He said he does remember heaving a huge sigh of relief when I showed up with the passport. He said he was afraid of what the OW’s response would have been if he had had to postpone the trip. At every turn she was threatening a phone call to me. It was already a tenuous situation with all the rules he had enacted for their time together and he wasn’t even sure how it would work, or if it would work. He also said he remembered being even more worried about missing his carefully planned business meetings. Flights to Japan are long and expensive. It is not polite to cancel meetings with executives of companies in foreign countries because you were ungrounded and careless and forgot your passport at home. There was a whole lot of stress piled on worry piled on anxiety.

His openness about that one incident led to further discussions of how he never ever wanted to hurt me. Big crocodile tears rolled down his cheeks as he talked about how much I mean to him. He still doesn’t understand how he did the things he did and I get that. It still flabbergasts me to think about, but I do get it.

Somehow hearing him talk about where he was at and me being able to match up the stories, as incongruous as they are, makes me feel better. It helps me put the missing pieces of the puzzle in their place. It helps me understand how his addiction worked. It helps me reconcile our differences.

24 thoughts on “Reconciling the differences

  1. The fact that my husband doesn’t think or relate the same way I do has been one of the most difficult aspects of trying to reconcile for me. Not only because of the fact that his way of thinking, behaving and relating allowed him to be unfaithful to me; but also because of the way it affects how he deals with my pain. I would react to situations that we face very differently to the way he does, I expect him to react the way I would and when he doesn’t it often causes conflict. My husband is conflict avoidant, he isn’t emotionally sensitive, he isn’t proactive, he finds it easy to compartmentalise…. He is working on all these things, but I don’t know that he will ever fully “get it right” in my eyes. It was hard enough before I discovered his betrayal, but in light of his betrayal it becomes even more difficult.

    I’m so glad that you were able to have a good, open conversation with your husband. It’s moments of understanding and connection like that that keep me going.

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    • I am learning to compromise. The whole, ‘you tore apart my entire world and so now you have to be perfect’… concept, didn’t work. He is still that same broken person and will always be far from perfect and pretty far from who I thought he was. I am learning to live with two new people… him, and me. We never know what is going to be thrown at us, but we do have choices on how we handle it. I am now grateful when he opens up and shares that person that he was, that part of him that allowed him to hurt me. That person is not evil, or mean, or uncaring… that person is desperately broken and trying to find a way out. I, like you, need those moments of sharing, and clarity in order to keep moving forward… not moving forward with me, but moving forward with us. Thank you for your comment. I hope your husband finds his way soon to releasing more of those demons. Sometimes I think all the conflict avoidance, not appearing to be emotionally sensitive, and ease of compartmentalization is not really about being all those things, but is really about protecting that oversensitive part of them they have buried so deep. I know with my husband he was taught, trained even to hide anything that he thought was inappropriate in his parent’s eyes. He carries a lot of shame and in his mind that must be buried. He still reverts to that way of thinking and behaving. I know for my husband he has therapy and 12 step, but he also has me. I desperately want him to release that shame. He’s working on it. xxx

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  2. You shouldn’t have to hold him up to your standards. They should be equal. There can be inequality in many things but standards and morality should be the same. If not, there’s always room for error…and betrayal.

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    • What I am speaking to in this post, is not about standards or morals, but his ability to share with me about what he has done in his past, about who he really is, not who I thought he was, or who he wishes he was. At this point, it is about honesty, and openness, and humility. We have now set up boundaries for our partnership that include those standards and morals you speak of in terms of what will and will not work for us as a couple. He always knew he was breaking his own standards and morals with the behaviors he participated in. He is an addict. They do that kind of thing. That is why Blue Eyes’ recovery is so important to both our healing.

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        • You don’t have to apologize. I know we all come into this with our own stories and our own perspectives. I have read your entire blog and I have read about your stellar morals and standards and how you have been chastised for them, and you have likewise been betrayed and the stance that your children have taken breaks my heart. It is not fair. From reading your words, it is my understanding that your ex-husband has never been humble, has never felt bad for the way he has behaved and in fact, it doesn’t sound like he even realizes the damage he has caused. I dare say that if I was in the same situation as you, I would not be trying to reconcile my marriage, or writing a blog about reconciling my marriage. My husband is mortified by what he has done and is in a full recovery program. He also never overtly treated me with disrespect and disdain. I want to reconcile with my husband and I write about how difficult that can be. I appreciate words of caution and reminders not to let him off the hook. He doesn’t want to be let off the hook, he wants to heal.

          I will say, I do defend my position on my blog because I believe in my husband and I believe in the reconciliation of our marriage. I have taken a lot of grief here and a reader and commenter who adores you and your blog, has come on my blog and told me she thought my husband is a run of the mill cheater and I should prepare myself for the next time he cheats on me. Her words were cruel and she never came back to apologize. I have learned to have thick skin on my blog… a much thicker skin here in the mostly anonymous blogosphere than I would ever need to have in real life. I continue writing because it helps me vent and release some of my feelings and I mostly find comfort from the words of people here on my blog. I have made real friends here. I hope you always feel welcome and I do appreciate your words and your perspective. I truly do hope 2016 brings more healing for all of us. ❤

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          • Thank you so much. I am pulling for you 100% and you are right. If you husband truly does realize what he’s done and how he’s made you feel, that is such a HUGE step.
            Writing does help us vent…all of us who have been wronged and wounded. I would just ask you to take care of your heart…protect it while still allowing the healing. It will hurt me deeply if you are hurt again but as I said, I am truly pulling for you and I’m not one to blow smoke up somebodys’ ass.

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            • Thank you so much. My heart has taken quite a beating, as I know yours has. I think about you and your children often. I believe they do not want to be mean, but they cannot handle the consequences of what their father did to you. They see their father happy (as happy as someone like that can be) and they want to be part of happy. They are not equipped to handle sad and depressed. Not your fault, they are just human.

              I like to know fierce people have my back. You are a fighter and I want you to be successful in realizing your true worth. You are a very special person and you are touching people’s hearts, mine included. You are not the sum of the abuses you have endured. You are a true warrior trying to find her way. You are already changing lives just because you are you. Peace to you in 2016. xoxo

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          • @ Crazy Kat1963……Came across this comment while reading your post and think you may be referring to me. If my memory serves me I was upset (for you) that your H had taken his whore to your home to watch a movie……Some background….My personal journey involves an affair with the office whore and then finding out that he had been sleeping with many others through the years, a cheater……My friend’s SIL was addicted to internet porn but never cheated with another woman…..My neighbor’s husband watched internet porn and cheated with other women, a cheater who also liked porn…..My response to your post was just my opinion, not meant to upset you…….My Mother walked away from a cheating husband with three children and no way to feed them. Her family disowned her because she refused to take the cheating and mental abuse and divorced…..She was suppose to turn the other cheek because she took vows. Because of my Mother’s hard journey to find peace I have always believed that women should stand beside and behind other women who are in trauma…..Please know that I in no way would ever want to say anything to hurt you and if that is the case then you are right in wanting an apology. I would never say or do anything to hurt a woman in distress (except a whore)…….I support any woman who wants to work to save her marriage, just as I support any woman who feels the need to walk away…..I wish you only the best and I an truly sorry.

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            • annasnow, thank you for returning to my blog and apologizing. I really do appreciate the apology and the background information on you. It is incredibly difficult and yet validating for me to pour my heart and soul out here on this blog. I do care about what I write, that it represents a fair and accurate version of what has transpired in my life, at least as much as it can from one person’s view. I started it in order to get my story out of me, I continued it because it helped me heal and I have met wonderful people here. I have contemplated many times just stopping, maybe even starting a different blog, with short stories, or poetry, so I can keep writing but without the same level of vulnerability. I am living this life that I am writing, every day. When people come on the blog and make comments, especially hurtful ones, I always respond and I do try to be really thoughtful and open and honest. I want people to come back. I want it to be a conversation. I do want to know your story and the stories of others. I have been shocked by how many women have contacted me thanking me for sharing. For giving them some kind of hope that living with someone like my husband actually could possibly maybe still work. That they don’t necessarily have to abandon everything they have loved and everything they believe in just because their husband is an addict. You wrote in your original comment that you “believe sex addiction is real for some and they have a sad life ahead.” You also wrote “… I also believe there are a lot of common, ordinary, run of the mill, selfish cheaters,” and you put my husband in that group. I appreciate everyone has an opinion, but I was concerned just what you were reading that gave you the impression that my husband was a run of the mill cheater. I know my husband is a sex addict and not just because he has taken a battery of tests and questionnaires that took him hours, if not days to complete and that he has been diagnosed by three qualified specialists in the field. I know he is a sex addict deep in my soul, and I don’t think my husband has a sad life ahead. I think he has hope and genuine happiness now that he did not have while he was an active addict. You warned me to “prepare yourself for when it happens again… ” Then I read comments you have made on other blogs, blogs of both women who are not with their husbands and women who are. I have not read any other comments where you blast the men so severely, and also insinuate that the wife is a fool. To say I was confused by your comment, was an understatement.

              I know we all come here with our own baggage. I know many of us have been desperately hurt by the people we trusted most not to hurt us. I am sorry you were hurt. I am sorry your mother was hurt. For me personally, I do want people to be honest and open with me about their feelings. I responded at length to your comment. I specifically commented on your concerns regarding my husband and his OW… that she did “try” to contact me over the years, sort of obsessively, but it was all to get the attention of my husband, to drag him back in, to feed his addiction. Mostly empty threats, hang-ups from a blocked number. I never knew it was her or even that she existed. She got what she wanted until she didn’t. It took my husband 8 years to finally rid himself of that sick drug he had created. Sex addicts do have a difficult time ridding themselves of their bad habits… for my husband, looking at women as body parts, getting hits off of the attention of women throughout the day… she looked at me, she smiled at me, she is flirting with me, she wants me. Ultimately for my husband it stems from low self esteem and a serious lack of coping skills, and some serious childhood abuse. He honed his habits for 40 years. I am so proud of him actually that he has given all of that up and replaced those bad habits with good ones. With being mindful, with reading inspirational books, with practicing meditation and buddhism. He is volunteering his time and actively involved in his own recovery on a daily basis. He is so remorseful and humble now. He always cherished me, but did not have any of the life skills he needed to fight the addiction that has plagued him since he was a child. This is not about me being naive, or self sabotaging, or ignorant, or a chump. This is about me loving my husband and coming to terms with the fact that he was far more broken than I ever realized, but that I still want to be his partner. Some days, frankly, it sucks. Other days it feels like bliss. I know we do not have a sad life ahead. I know my husband is 2+ years sober now. Sober from objectifying women, from any kind of pornography, from any kind of flirting or sexual activity with other women, even from masturbating. He knows he does not need any of that to cope with his life. It may have taken decades for him to get to this place, and a phone call from a really messed up and abusive human being, but he arrived, and I am grateful.

              Thanks for sharing with me. Wishing you a peaceful 2016.

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  3. I think one of the harder aspects to come to grips with, for myself, was that we were close, we did talk, we did share. But, of course, I was sharing everything, and he held something back. But you would have never known. We talked. A lot. More than now. And he SEEMED very emotionally mature, very sensitive, very “in touch with his feminine side” – while remaining utterly masculine (is that an oxymoron?) Honestly, the shock of learning that he wasn’t who I was sure he was for twenty-one years was immense. I literally melted! And not in a good way! To this day, I still can’t believe that I worked shoulder to shoulder, nose to nose (we were an amorous couple) daily, and I hadn’t a clue there was this capability. Of course I knew people could lie, people could pretend. But the love we shared and the (apparent) honesty and intimacy seemed to preclude him from lying – long-term, at least – to me. Like you, I can’t fathom how someone who expresses love for you could possibly unleash this kind of pain on the one they purportedly love. That picture of you in bed with another man – OMG – YES!!! I can’t, can’t can’t see how you pull that shit off, and go home to the loving, self-sacrificing partner and make love to them, so tenderly. Hmmm. That said, I know it happens, I know it happened to me. And to you. And to countless others. And it is happening now. And it will happen tomorrow. And no one will ever stop people from treating other people so ungenerously, so unlovingly, so callously.

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    • Yeah, Paula, it will always be a hard pill to swallow realizing so many people have treated their partners so unlovingly while pretending to be a person they really aren’t. For me, I think part of it was a fantasy I had learned to expect… an honest, loving, faithful partner. I mean I am that way and he said he was that way, so why would I think differently. I think, before, I did feel in my soul that we had honest heart to heart conversations built on trust and deep intimacy and respect. I still think he trusted me, and relied on me, and respected me and felt deep intimacy towards me, but he was broken. The difference between Rog and BE in my mind, is that Rog was a certain person at one point in time and he just went off the rails there for a bit. I think they were both the men we thought they were, and then again, they weren’t. BE has always been a sex addict and has always had secrets, but I think it took a cumulation of events swirling around Rog to send him down that dark path. I realize the fact he went there at all, is a deal breaker for you. Either way, we both have been down a hell of a road and to where it leads, perhaps we still don’t know, until we know. But it seems, we have both learned a lot about ourselves in the process. I think you are wonderful, Paula, and I am so glad to have met you. ❤

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  4. These episodes as I like to refer to them these days do usually lead to communication. We have to remember that these guys are not that great at communicating and therefore it is still a learning process for them. They are slowly getting better at it and that is a huge step. Emotional and draining but a new understanding and healing will evolve. (((Hug))) xxxx

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    • Not that great at communicating is quite the understatement isn’t it CF? Ha. You are correct, it is a learning process for all of us I think. The healing is happening, little by little. Thanks for the hugs. xoxo

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  5. I totally get this! Sometimes, I wondered if going through it all as we did was more harmful than helpful. But, in the end, I do think matching up his view of “our story” with my view of “our story” was really helpful. Painful as hell, but grounding in some weird way I cannot really explain. I think just taking away the weight of the unknown was really important for my personal understanding of it all. Kat, you make such a good point too that BE, and in my case MC, can never be us. That doesn’t mean they cannot learn to be healthier people who make healthier and more loving choices. It does mean, however, the way they go about that, the way any of us go about that, is not the same from person-to-person. I suppose I could do a better job of remembering that fact. Good reminder Kat!

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    • Thanks, TL. I know some betrayeds don’t want to hear it. It was really really upsetting to hear some of the details earlier on. But, I am a make sense of it all kind of person. The details don’t hurt anymore. What hurts is when he hides behind this notion that he doesn’t have to go there, or I don’t need to know anymore. He doesn’t say that out loud, but I have a feeling he thinks it. I know it is much more difficult for him to dig out those old awful memories. I’m not trying to punish him. I just need to put the pieces together to make sense of it sometimes. Not every day, but some days. I know my expectations are often too high and that leaves me disappointed. Just because we would never do what they did doesn’t mean we cannot begin to understand and make sense of it all. It happened and they need to own it, but I think assuming BE will come up with that on his own, was over reaching on my part. I am learning as I go. xxx

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  6. I completely agree how some of the best progress is made after what seems like another set back. That those talks can bring about new intimacy. I’m glad you were able to have such a meaningful conversation and have some peace come of it.
    Also, great reminder of people not being able to read our mind’s. That our husband’s will never think like us. Its important to remember.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    • I keep writing that he can’t read my mind and will never be like me because it has been one of the most difficult aspects of this nightmare for me to absorb. I cannot hold him up to my standards. I need to accept him for who he is and who he is becoming (this is very important to me), or… you know the rest. I do feel so much better after a quiet, sensitive, respectful conversation where we are both talking and sharing. He has come a long way too. For months and months he just wouldn’t speak. Now, once I let him know what I am thinking and what I need, he does share in a meaningful way and it is really important and validating to me. xxx

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