After my last post, things went a bit bad to worse. It is difficult to explain these days how moody we can both be, for differing reasons, under the circumstances.
I read a blog post a couple days ago that caused me to go to a place of great pain. I honestly thought I was past this and then I realize, I have no idea what I am. I feel fine most days. Really fine. I rarely shed a tear anymore. Sometimes I feel a bit low at points, but it quickly fades away. Then, unexpectedly, I read or see something that brings back the agony of my new reality. This time it all snuck up on me. I knew Blue Eyes was dealing with his own demons and working his way through and it is not about me, after all. But when I needed him, he wasn’t there. It was a bit of an unlucky coincidence, him being down, and out, at the same time I needed him to be present and open.
The blog post was one blogger’s way of trying to figure out how the affair between her husband and his affair partner transpired. I believe she has some of the correspondence, or not, it doesn’t really matter. Her situation is nothing like mine. I have zero correspondence between my husband and the other woman… not a single text or email or love note. Nothing. Because there was no actual proof, he could have denied the whole thing. She was a complete stranger to me. He tried to lie, but I didn’t believe. If he hadn’t crumbled under the pressure, I might still be in the dark about most things. Or perhaps he is telling the truth when he says he wanted it all out there but was too weak to actually say the words himself, so he waited until that fateful day when she finally did reach me, and then he started purging. Regardless of how it all came down, she did reach me and the fact that there was a third person in our marriage, well, it’s hell.
So after reading the post, I became frustrated with all the rationalizing that goes on when a person uses excuses like they were lonely, or bored, or their spouse doesn’t give them enough attention and somehow that is a reason for cheating. I hate when the romance people conjure in a secret fantasy relationship is somehow more satisfying to them than the love they profess for their long term mate. We all know affairs aren’t real. They are full of secrets, lust, abandoned responsibilities, and often deep displaced wounds, festering wounds. Wounds the cheater refuses to treat. To the faithful spouse, affairs are downright cruel. I cannot change what my husband did, or what he is, but I can now expect him to tell me the truth. I can expect him to be open and honest with me. This is the new promise he has made. If he cannot keep this promise, our marriage is over.
As these difficult days wear on, my resolve seems to vanish. By the time we crawl into bed, I am emotionally exhausted from the strain of trying to push away all the nagging thoughts and concerns that creep in. Thursday night, as I sat down on the edge of my side of the bed, I said to my husband, “I am having a difficult time of it, I need to know what you said to keep this woman coming back to you after 9, 12, 15 months of no contact. I need to know how the conversations went between you. I just need to know the truth.” I have asked my husband this question before, but his answer has always been a dismissive one. He would say, “I told her I didn’t know why I was drawn to her. That I was lonely and needed someone to talk to. I told her I wasn’t getting sex at home.” The generalities and vagueness of his answers have always triggered me. My husband and the OW were in an on again/off again relationship for eight long years. The contact was intermittent, but it was continual for all those years, beginning in 2005, and ending in 2013. There was often many months between contact, but every year, there was a connection between them. I know there were thousands and thousands of text messages, emails, phone messages, phone calls… all destroyed. He was a master at hiding the relationship when he was with me. AND, he was a master at blocking me out when he was with her. The difference, when he came home from his business trips or whatnot, he didn’t have to win me back. He didn’t have to win me at all. He had to win her, and I wanted to know EXACTLY how he did it. I knew it would be painful, but it was not really about what he was going to say, but that he could do it. That he could tell me what he really said to her after say, 12 months of no contact. As I sat there on my side of the bed waiting for him to give me a real answer, I could feel him shutting down. I could feel him going to that place of self protection where he rationalizes that he doesn’t have to tap into the truth. He doesn’t want to go back there. He doesn’t remember, remember? After a heated conversation where I said I knew he did remember, I picked up my pillow and headed for the door. I told him that I would sleep on the couch until he did deem it important enough to remember.
And that is exactly what I did. I went and slept on the couch. Or more accurately, I laid wide awake on the sofa staring at the dark ceiling willing myself to sleep. I knew the time had come for me to make a decision of whether I could continue living with someone who was willing to rationalize away my needs. Not only someone who had decimated our relationship with his lies, but someone who was unwilling to be open, honest, and forthright with me when I ask. I know recovery is a long process and hiding behind lies and deceit is the trademark of an addict, but time has run out for me. My patience is too thin now. I rarely ask for any details of his secret life anymore, but when I do, I need a loving, kind, caring, honest and open response… and nothing less. Anything else, is cruel.
The following morning Blue Eyes was off to his 12 step meeting and fellowship. He returned home to take care of the dogs. He acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened the night before. He acted as if he didn’t say anything, it would all just disappear in a poof of his own warped imagination. When he gauged my mood and realized I wasn’t “over it,” he told me he was planning on staying home, going to his office, and working on remembering. He would do that for me. I told him I was going to take a shower and then head out and spend about five hours by myself away from the house. While I was in the shower, Blue Eyes left the house and didn’t return. So, apparently, he had decided he wasn’t going to stay home after all. When I returned home many hours later, Blue Eyes was not home. He finally did show up about 30 minutes later and headed straight to his office without speaking to me. About an hour later, I headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner. I put chicken and veggies in the oven to bake. Blue Eyes was in his office lying on the floor talking with our son about his own tortured childhood. He had not spoken with me, or presented me with the answer to my question. I looked at Blue Eyes with disgust as he shut the door to his office, metaphorically shutting the door on me and my needs. I realized it was time for me to go. He still had not spoken a word to me since his return. I went upstairs and commenced my plan for leaving the house I had diligently and lovingly renovated for the past 18 years, and leaving the relationship I had given every ounce of my heart and soul to for 32 years.
A few minutes later, our 22 year old son came in to my bedroom and said, “Mommy, I want to help you.” My heart sank. He said, “I think you need to talk to someone. You need to talk with someone about your anger towards Daddy.” My heart hit the floor. I was open and honest with him. I told him I didn’t want him to feel like he needed to carry any of my burden. He had his own heavy load. He said that when I get angry at Blue Eyes, it makes Blue Eyes crawl back into that deep dark place from his childhood where he feels bad about himself. Where his addiction lives.” I burst into tears and through my sobs I told my son that where his father crawls in response to the consequences of his own actions is completely on him. That his father’s recovery and healing is all about not going to that place. There is no way a person can inflict this kind of trauma and then expect not to have to face his own truth. My actions are not designed to make his father feel bad. My actions are designed to protect me from further pain. If his father is not healing, he should not be in a relationship with anyone but himself. My son so wisely commented that his father is healing but it takes a lot of time to undo the damage of decades. I agree with him, it certainly does. BUT, it does not preclude a liar from now telling the truth. I asked his father a simple question that potentially didn’t have such a simple answer, but the truth is there for his father to either share, or hide. I said at the time of my asking for this truth, I was exhausted and in pain, NOT ANGRY. When his father deflected, ignored and denied, I became angry. That I have a few ground rules and they must be upheld. No deviation. There is no amount of therapy that is going to make me feel safe in a marriage with someone who won’t face his own truth. Therapy will counsel me to walk away for my own health, happiness and safety. I don’t need to go there to figure that one out.
Approximately 30 minutes later, Blue Eyes entered our bedroom with two sheets of paper in his hands. He sat down on the bed and told me that he created a script of a conversation, as best he could remember it, that had transpired between him and the other woman after one of his long no contact periods. During those times he was not in contact with her at all, trying to manage his addiction, he often fell to porn and masturbation. We now know, there really is no managing addiction without serious help. His time with the other woman was the most demeaning, disheartening, and the lowest periods of his life, according to him. He did what he had to do in order to get his ultimate drug. He chose this particular woman because she was broken, needy, lonely, easy, highly sexual, has extremely low self esteem, thinks sex=love, and because he didn’t care about her. He asked if he could read his script out loud to me. Here is how it went:
After many many months of no contact by either of them, he would start with an email.
Red (his nickname for her): I miss you terribly and can’t stop thinking about you. I know I said we needed to stop seeing each other but I just can’t help myself. I hope you are doing okay. I have an upcoming trip and wanted to see if you would consider going with me. I know that you are angry with me and that we have not had contact for a long time but I wanted to know if you would talk to me. Can you forgive me?
Usually it would take her a few days to respond.
Baby, I miss you so much. I have not stopped thinking about you either. I tried to go out with other men, but it just was not the same. You have ruined me. Yes, I would love to go. What is the timing and where? I have to see if I can get the time off. Please give me a call when you can.
BE: Hi, it’s me.
Red: Hi Baby.
BE: It’s so good to hear your voice.
Red: Oh Baby, I am so craving you. It has been way too long. My pussy aches for your cock.
BE: Oh my god. Stop that.
Red: Do you really miss me?
BE: Yes. I really miss YOU. It’s like I am being drawn to you. I can’t control it. The draw is so strong.
Red: I know, me too. How are things with the wifey?
BE: They are okay, but you know she is not affectionate, we have sex maybe every couple weeks, if I’m lucky.
Red: God I don’t understand that at all. How is that possible. I would fuck you every day. God I love your cock.
BE: Are you going to fuck me?
Red: I am going to ride your cock. Mommy’s going to make you pinch her titties. I can’t wait. Hey, are you guys seeing a counselor? It sounds like if you saw a counselor… have you told her what you want?
BE: She won’t see a counselor. I have told her what I want and she thinks there is something wrong with me.
Red: I don’t understand… if you love her, why you need to see me.
BE: She is just not loving and affectionate. I need affection. I am attracted to you. Like I said, I just don’t totally understand it, but I am completely drawn to you.
Red: Am I just a booty call? It’s okay if I am…
BE: No, you are not just a booty call. I’ll send you the trip info now so you can check your schedule. Let me know.
He came up with this in a very short period of time, so I am sure if he actually thought about it more, which he desperately doesn’t want to do, he could come up with a lot more. Like I said, there were thousands of texts, emails, and phone calls between them for years. She always brought me up, but I was always the scapegoat. I don’t really want to hear any more of this for obvious reasons. All I wanted was the truth, when I asked for it. I wanted to know what he had to say to get this woman back in bed with him after months and months of giving her absolutely nothing. As it turns out, not a lot. I needed him to show me that he was willing to do something uncomfortable, for me. To show me that my needs mean something to him. After all, he did these things. If they are uncomfortable for him, that is all on him.
Of course as he was reading the words above, I was sick to my stomach, and I am sure he was too. I expressed that one big, huge concern of mine that rattles around inside my head more often than I would like… he expended so much effort on getting and keeping that strange and fucked up relationship with a woman who thought sex was love, and yet he didn’t feel the same responsibility to me. I was a foregone conclusion. I was an obligation, an extension of the life that was part of the real world, not the fantasy. Realizing me and our family were not the aspects of his life that brought him great excitement, but the things in his life he was using that sick drug to cope with, it breaks my heart. I told him I don’t feel special. He expended so much effort on his addiction and his drug, and now he does that, theoretically, with his recovery… where do I fit in? The one thing in his life that never let him down. The one person who never left his side, never blackmailed him, never belittled him, never neglected him. Where do I fit in?