As previously mentioned, Blue Eyes had invited me to go with him to his weekly therapy appointment yesterday morning. We decided to organize our thoughts the night before, to make sure there was some semblance of order between us before unleashing our mess on The Shrink. I started to become frustrated as I felt like maybe my going to his therapy was a waste of time. It is all so overwhelming constantly putting into words what I want and need. I want him to get it already and I am tired of explaining to people, including Blue Eyes, just how my needs aren’t being met. I know recovery from sex addiction and from betrayal in general is a long and agonizing process. I get that. I can be compassionate, and kind, and understanding, and loving, but it empties my reserves. I need someone who is giving me something back, refilling my tank.
The therapy session actually went okay. I mean, I really don’t care for most of the therapy I have received, and most likely my belligerence and animosity towards some of what goes on in the kind of therapy we are dealing with is going to show here in this post. So, here goes…. in a roundabout way, we covered all the basics from the dysfunction of the last two weeks. Me asking Blue Eyes to be open and honest with me about something that was incredibly difficult for him to acknowledge, him deflecting and hiding, and then finally him sharing some really painful shit. It included Blue Eyes becoming angry and resentful at The Shrink’s assignment of going back into his childhood to address the wounds around the illnesses and surgeries of his past, and then him not really being able to put all that into perspective to come to any form of peace or understanding about the process. And, finally, we went through last Thursday’s –a day in the life of a sex addict and his wife– nightmare.
The therapy went okay. I mean there were a couple times the angry, impatient, frustrated Kat wanted to tell The Shrink to go fuck himself. Like when he said I needed to try and keep my son out of it (after telling The Shrink about The Peacemaker explaining to me how my anger sends his father back into an addicted state). Well HELLO, he IS my son and I know what is going on, but let me get this straight… I am supposed to compromise my sense of safety and security, not to mention SANITY in my own house by keeping my mouth shut if there is someone around who might possibly be affected? I am the only one who has to monitor what I do, now, after everything I have and am going through? Somehow me being traumatized and trying to scrape by on the scraps my sex addict husband throws at me to make up for all he has done, and begging me not to leave him because he is changing, just not changing in a way that makes me feel any better on some days… I am supposed to bite my tongue and play nice, all for the sake of someone else’s sanity. Wait, I did this, for years… it didn’t work. Now I am supposed to once again grin and bear it in regards to not one, but two adult men in my house who are sensitive and cannot handle living with the truth, and living with the consequences of Blue Eyes’ behavior. Maybe The Shrink doesn’t understand that I would love nothing more than for none of this to have ever happened. Maybe he doesn’t get the fact that I am The Peacemaker’s mother and I have spent every waking moment since the day he was born trying to make sure he had everything he needed when in fact what he really needed was his father to be there for him and to be honest with him, but instead his father was lying and hiding and fucking a stranger? Maybe he doesn’t understand that The Peacemaker chooses to live in our very comfortable family home where Mommy and Daddy pay all the bills. Maybe he doesn’t understand that I am a person with needs too?
And there were exasperating times when I wanted to scream “I know what is wrong with my husband (so stop trying to gently explain it to me in psychobabble, it is pretty fucking easy to understand what happened), but that doesn’t mean he should continue to live in the past and rationalize full on pity parties, excuses so he doesn’t have to bear the consequences of his actions and he doesn’t have to be a decent caring and compassionate husband.” There was also the point where in recounting the events around Blue Eyes struggling with sexual images of Delilah, The Shrink interrupted me to say “Whoa, TMI, Dude!!!” to Blue Eyes. He didn’t ask me “how does that make YOU feel,” he basically told Blue Eyes that he had told me TOO MUCH OF THE TRUTH. In my world, there is absolutely never a point when there is TOO MUCH OF THE TRUTH. The truth is all I want and then we work with it. I do think Blue Eyes uses me as his security blanket. He can tell me the truth, he just shouldn’t expect me to always be able to make it all better for him. He must learn to do that for himself. When he goes to a deep dark place, Blue Eyes has resources. He has his circle of guys, he has his sponsor, he has his shrink, he has his meditation materials and his 12 step books. It just so happens that on Thursday, we were in that mess together. Blue Eyes running away and not telling me the truth, would have spelled disaster. It worked out okay, but in a perfect world, he would have told me the truth, then reverted to his addiction recovery pathways versus literally leaning on me to carry the load for him. I have my own load. I also had to metabolize the information I was receiving, and not expect Blue Eyes to make it all better for me. We make quite a pair, don’t we? This shit is difficult.
So now, the positive. The Shrink was able to see just how much Blue Eyes is NOT sharing with him. It is always shocking to me how shocked these people are when they hear the truth about Blue Eyes. How do they not realize he is manipulating the fuck out of them sometimes? He shares what he wants. He shares what makes him feel good. Even though going back and reliving the trauma of his past (which is only consciously done because The Shrink takes him there), of course, doesn’t make him feel good, but it does allow him to rationalize continued dysfunctional behavior IF he doesn’t come out of that dark place quickly, and if he doesn’t come out with a purpose. I honestly think in Blue Eyes’ mind it’s okay to live there in anger and resentment (and sometimes fear and anxiety) because The Shrink sent him there. Maybe The Shrink is his higher power today. Maybe someone will make it all better for him, so he doesn’t have to do it himself. He doesn’t share what makes him feel bad in his new reality. He has spent his whole life hiding what he is ashamed of and medicating with a sick drug. Do people really think these guys can change overnight? It is easy to become all wrapped up in a person’s childhood trauma and forget that the entire goal is to bring them out of the dark and into the light. The childhood trauma cannot be ignored or shoved under the carpet, but indeed it also should not continue to rule a person’s life. How do I know this is what is happening with Blue Eyes? Because I see it every day. In my mind, his anger and resentment reside in those deep dark recesses of the corners of his mind, where the bad parts of his childhood live. The only way out, is right on through. Gee, I think The Shrink even said those exact same words yesterday. Too bad it has been 18 months and they are still stuck there. Too bad for me.
Bottom line, Blue Eyes recovering from addiction and learning to live in his present reality with new positive coping skills and all that jazz, is NOT mutually exclusive to him being a decent partner. And actually, if they are mutually exclusive, for example, if I need to wait say, another two, three, four+++ years for him to fix himself so that he can be a viable partner, well, that just doesn’t work for me. I’m pretty sure no one believes his healing and his being a good husband are mutually exclusive so I’m hoping that maybe he and The Shrink can at least add me back into the equation as in, “hey, let’s spend a few minutes talking about whether you are holding up your end of the bargain as a husband”… which could also be stated, “hey, Blue Eyes let’s spend a few minutes making sure you are being a responsible adult when it comes to respecting and caring for the person you claim to love more than anyone else in the world, or at least the second most important person, after yourself of course.”
Let’s put the therapy aside for a minute. The real bottom line is that I have been a loyal, honest, faithful, loving, nurturing, happy, productive, trusting partner for the better part of 32 years. Blue Eyes has lied to and about, cheated on, betrayed, disrespected, and humiliated the person he claimed to love more than anything else in the world. And now, he is asking for a second chance. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that in order to receive a second chance at a genuine long term relationship, he has to earn it? The first chance was given freely based on the information I had at the time. I’m not playing games anymore. I know the truth and it is not pretty. The second chance is contingent on him actually becoming a better man. The better man doesn’t run from fear, he stands up to it. The better man understands the pain he has caused others (REALLY understands it), and makes amends. The better man doesn’t attempt to tell others what he thinks they want to hear, he actually understands what they need and he gives it to them in words AND actions. Being given a second chance, is a gift that shouldn’t be wasted.
Also, that second chance, has a shelf life.
23 thoughts on “The only way out, is right on through”
It’s frustrating Kat- it’s like everyone applauds the betrayer because he now wants to make good and yes that is commendable but what about the spouse!!!
Can we all agree that things happened to our husbands that were fucked up? Yes, absolutely! Can we all agree that they struggle with deep seeded issues of poor self esteem and self worth? Once again, yes!!
But -We had no part in the shitty things that happened to them. Knowing about his hurts breaks my heart! But he dealt with his hurts by hurting me. He chose to hurt me!!
Their actions shatter our self esteem!!! Our sense of self worth.
And we’re here -trying hard to pick up the pieces caused by the hurt and also at the same time trying to pick up the pieces of our self esteem. Try doing that when you realize your husband basically chose a crappy woman over you!! And now the hurt spouse is obsessing over the ow while in the midst of constant fucking triggers- the biggest one being – oh yeah the betraying spouse!!!
Now we’re suddenly wrestling with many of the same things our husbands have experienced BUT — and here’s where the real fucker comes in for me!! My whole narrative of my life has changed!
At least when our husbands were getting fucked over – they knew it!
I feel like this life that I was living was a fraud.
Do therapists stop and think about that!! My husband has stolen from me my reality!!
Suddenly I’m expected to deal with all these different blows all at once and still continue to give and give and give to my husband!
I’m expected to be sensible,
compassionate, patient, forgiving, and whatever else my husband needs because my dear husband now wants to live in reality and not fantasy and he wants to be a good man but I need to push aside all my stuff- brought on by his fuckery, and treat him with kid gloves! While I’m being manhandled!!
Yeah not fucking happening! Husbands – you want to be a man finally, than man the fuck up!!!
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That was an awesome rant! I definitely could not have said it better myself. I intimately relate to everything, absolutely. This whole thing is fucked up. And, it is true. Even though their reality was messed up, they were living in it and when the time came for them to make their own choices, they chose fucked up and decided we didn’t need to know. Yeah, it is tough to be understanding every day. Sometimes I even find myself apologizing for behaving like I don’t care about his pain because I am asking for something for me… and then I realize, oh yeah, just another way I am fucked up by this guy. And now that my husband is no longer living in the fantasy world, he is a completely different person in many ways. Stocking full of coal for me, and I wasn’t even the one who was naughty.
You know you can “bring it” here anytime you like. xxx
WELL Said! Nailed it!
More later because I’m on the run, but had to say 1000 yeses! Yes to shelf life!
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I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy your blog! It is incredibly well written and so reminds me of my life. You do a much better job at putting your feelings and thoughts into words than I am able to at this point. I actually have sent posts of yours to my husband and my therapist. I have been reading it for about a month now and just signed up on wordpress so I can leave you comments. You captured in words so well the issue I am currently struggling with my husband. It gets exhausting trying to focus on my own recovery from my husband’s years of deceit and infidelity and the snail’s pace of his amends making and truly taking responsibility for repair of the marriage. He is so sensitive towards his own feelings but so insensitive to mine and our children’s often times.
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Thank you! I keep writing for myself, and now, for others too because it is a lonely place, where we are. It does help just the tiniest of bits to know someone else gets it, gets how we feel. It is truly exhausting watching them stumble through and being in constant confusion over how they cannot possibly understand what they have done, and what they are doing. I keep believing that as he recovers, he will get it. I hope this for all of us. ❤
Thanks so much for your reply. For me, the most helpful thing I do is to read, read, read everything I can find on the disease itself and how to heal myself and my husband. Dealing with my SA husband and my trauma from the gaslighting, lies and horrible women he has been with is sometimes way more than I can deal with. When I can’t sleep, I read. At my office, I read. That being said, I came across an article a month or so ago written by Ella Hutchinson that essentially was saying exactly what we are all saying… our sex addict husbands have a responsibility to work on the marriage as well as their own recovery at the same time. What a novel concept! When I shared it with my husband’s CSAT and mine, they summarily dismissed it and looked at me like I believed in monsters. You can imagine my frustration! Our CSATs’ advice: “work on your own respective recoveries”. I want to scream. My anger, trauma and pain are things I am supposed to work out in my individual therapy. Really? I keep pushing on this wall because it doesn’t make any sense to me. He can’t just push the “pause” button and just work on his own recovery. There has to be a way to do both.
Your blog posts are a welcome addition to my day. Please know that I have shared your blog with other women in my recovery group and they too love it.
Wishing good things for you and Blue Eyes….He is really lucky to have you!
Have a peaceful evening.
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Wow, you make me blush. Thank you so much for sharing. I relate so well to what you are saying, that I actually wish I had been strong enough to choose separation at the beginning. I really truly believe that my husband would have taken everything so much more seriously. I mean, he took it seriously, but because the pathway for the addict is paved with understanding and support and guys who get him and the recognition of deep childhood wounds, my behavior seemed out of control. The 12 step process basically cuts us out as well because their new best friends “understand them” and the steps are about sharing with the sponsor and the guys and they are in a “safe” space when they are together and theoretically home is not a safe place, basically because they destroyed it as a safe place. Anyway, at first Blue Eyes was SO FOCUSED on ME, but mainly because I was suffering severe trauma with self harm and dissociative periods. It was actually easier for him to focus on me and deflect off of the severity of his own situation, and then to somehow ignore the fact that my trauma was a direct consequence of his own actions. As I started to heal in earnest, he became really really inwardly focused, especially on the first (which took about nine months) and fourth (which took another six months) steps. Then slowly, surely he started changing behaviors and growing, and then something like surgery sends him backwards and instead of sharing with me, he goes back to that comfortable place inside again. I know this a process, a long and painful process. I am grateful for the lovely and kind people I meet here. Rest well. xxx
Ack! It’s like we are the same person Kat! You know, I completely get that addicts have the whole emotional disconnect, I fully appreciate that they have their own personal hell, and I totally understand that their recovery is difficult….but, dammit! What do these therapists think the partners are going through? It would be helpful for them to remember that we are not the perpetrators and that we are the ones who have been wronged. We simply don’t have the time to wait for the addict to feel better about their own recovery before they get to our pain…we’ve already been waiting for months, years, decades! Shit or get off the pot!
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I agree totally, Leigh. I feel really lucky to have received the early on trauma therapy in Los Angeles, otherwise, I might have gone mad. Some of these therapists are so in tune with the addict, they just cannot focus on us as well. That seems crazy to me. It is their job to understand the whole picture. As I have written about in the past, I try to hold it together, but then I am treated like a second class citizen, like I am made of stone and need to have the patience of Job. It is not until I completely crumble and fall apart under the pressure and stress of the situation that they actually look at ME and go, oh yeah, you are traumatized too. And, if I hear one more “specialist” say it takes 3-5 years for recovery, I will scream. Maybe it takes 3 years, maybe 10, but they still need to be working on being kind and open and honest and understanding and loving and generous to the person they have harmed. The person that was completely clueless to their addiction because they held all the cards. They held the whole fucking broken and ripped up deck of cards, hidden away. I refuse to believe they cannot work on themselves and their marriage at the same time if they even have a marriage to work on anymore. If they don’t work on the marriage, they are just perpetuating what they were doing before, putting us and our needs after everything else in their life. xxx
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I don’t think you could realize just how important this post is to me. Since D Day 14 months ago I have consumed every blog from an SA spouse I could get my eyes on, and all for the most part have said “my H is doing everything right and doing everything he can to help me heal.” Mine’s not. Mine is still so stuck in the shame spiral, that at the beginning of January I moved into my son’s bedroom (he is away at University) because I just couldn’t take his emotional rollercoaster anymore. I have my own to deal with. And mine are actually evening out. Even before I moved rooms. But he is stuck.
His CSAT therapist has given him all sorts of “assignments” -“be her rock, text her love messages, ask her how she is doing in her healing, plan date nights.” Nada. Except he did do the text message thing for a while, but only because he had to phone his therapist every night at 9pm to tell him what he had done that day. Being addicted to “atta boys” as much as he is to sex, as soon as the check-ins were over so were the texts.
What’s so very frustrating is that NO ONE else can see what he’s NOT doing. Nearly all of our friends and family know, and all they see is this quite, remorseful man, who wants to be married. They don’t see that he rejects me and runs away from me when I suggest intimacy. They don’t see how he never tells me if he’s reaching out to his sponsor or other SA members when he’s stressed (to alleviate my panic that it will push him to AO), but he sure will tell me about all the stress, leaving me to wonder what his coping mechanisms are. His step work is almost non-existant. Despite telling his female coworkers that he won’t text with them any longer, I “caught” him bantering with one (nothing sexual) and had to point out that she was a hot mess and that it wasn’t a good idea. I feel like his mom!
About 6 months ago I finally learned how to detach and step away from his recovery and focus on my own. I finally got that I was on my own for learning to heal. He wanted to kiss and hold hands and glom to me at night like a security blanket. But it was always on his terms. Two nights ago he gave me a grand speech. As he said it, my blood started to boil. He talked about how he wanted “us” so he was going to crawl out of the black hole and work on himself so that he could learn to like himself again. So that he could see how he was a good man. So that he could feel better about himself. All good things, that I realize have to happen for him to heal,but do you see what was missing from this grand speech? Me. Not once did he say something like, “you deserve to be treated better, you deserve a man who is whole, you deserve a man who loves you and SHOWS you that love. Nope. As always it was all about him. Except for the “us” at the beginning I wasn’t mentioned once.
At our last MC appointment the CSAT said I should eek out 15 minutes twice a week to talk to my H about where we are at in the state of our marriage. I said no. He got all snotty with me and in a sarcastic tone said “so you aren’t willing to give 15 minutes twice a week to save your marriage”?” Yeah that’s it. Put it on me. I’ve stayed despite the betrayal, the lies, the selfish behaviours. I see my own therapist, a MC, and have read hundreds of books, blogs and articles on SA. Trying to wrap my head around it. I have forged new hobbies, taken women’s only adventure trips, to stop being codependent, do yoga and meditation daily to feel centred, and have been supportive, understanding, and accommodating, while he has done none of the exercises, none of the step work, has no hobbies, still does not forge friendships, and is sad and depressed all the time, but it’s ME in his view that won’t give 15 min twice a week to save the marriage. Having told him that he backtracked and said “well how about he instigate these conversations they. Would you be willing to listen and take part?” I said yes. That was four weeks ago. He still hasn’t instigated that conversation.
Sorry, I got off on a tangent. I guess in the back of my mind, seeing no other women whose husbands weren’t “stepping up” to do all that they can to heal the marriage, I figured mine was super broken (which he is) or that he is just using me as a security blanket,and not here because he actually loves ME. (which could still be true). Just nice (?) to hear that someone else is dealing with an SA husband who is so wrapped up in themselves they can’t see what’s right in front of the. A rich fulfilling life with love and joy if they just had the courage to reach for it.
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There is no such thing as going off on a tangent. You see how I write this blog, everything is a tangent. Everything is out of whack. I get everything you have said and it is a fucking dilemma. The same dilemma I have on many days. I do totally understand and am living similarly. I often tell my husband that before, the scales were nice and balanced in that he had his quirks, his shit and I had mine. I loved so many things about him and therefore overlooked a lot. Now that I know the truth, the scales are way out of balance. I get that he is in recovery and that having an addiction is difficult, BUT, they are grown men and they have committed to changing in order to keep us and their marriage (as well as just being decent people). I have seen progress, but there are stops and starts, which frustrates the hell out of me. I rarely question whether he loves me, and I know he doesn’t want to lose the marriage… but I do question whether he is capable of making the necessary changes to be a legit partner, to anyone. He keeps saying yes, and I keep writing these posts…
There are many words I want to say, and most of them aren’t too pretty. Your insight: “I am supposed to bite my tongue and play nice, all for the sake of someone else’s sanity. Wait, I did this, for years… it didn’t work.” Right, it doesn’t work, and it is not your job…actually…you are not capable…of ensuring that everyone feels good. I try (TRY being a goal, not always achieved) to react in the present, in HONESTY, operating in goodwill and respect. I’m not willing to live in that “bite-my-tongue” and “walk-on-eggshells” place anymore. That was a place of utter craziness for me, and I see now, simply allowed the addiction a safe place to co-exist. You take care of you, dear Kat. I hope BE will see how precious your faithfulness and loyalty are and have been, and move into caring to discover your needs and how to meet them. HUGS.
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Me too, me too, SS. He tries, and he says and does lots of nice and pretty things, but when push comes to shove, when the going gets rough, he still hides inside that scared little boy place and forgets I am there and I need something from this relationship too. Partly it is healing and recovery, and partly he still struggles with realizing I need some of the same things he does, and I need them to be genuine. I can tell the difference. xoxo
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Of course you can. And it is agonizing loving someone who struggles like this. Big HUGS.
Kat you know so much about where you’re at and what’s happening with Blue Eyes, you have made yourself informed and used incredible insight to get you to where you are. Your intelligence shines through your posts. Everything you say is a mixture of how you feel, what you know, how everyone else feels – all packed between the shit sandwich of adultery. No one gets it except us. I can’t offer any insight into your situation because you see very clearly where you’re at but I can offer love and empathy from a distance.
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Thank you for the love and empathy from a distance, MR. I come here to write out what I feel in my heart and I know people get it and that’s why I’m still here. Adultery is a bitch. Add in sex addiction, and it is at least a bitch and a half. 😉
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I wrote a response. The Internet ate it. I think your husband only sees that you in the marriage need to heal with him healing… It’s contingent or concurrent so you just have to wait until he’s ready.
He seems completely in denial or remiss that you also have a path to healing which you will have more control…. Alone. Solo. No marriage, no concurrent linked healing.
Dude better get his head out of his ass. He’s still wired to think this is all about him.
Take care of you.
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You are correct. It is a deep hole he dug for himself. Sometimes I think he expects things to just go back to “normal.” Thing is, he messed up normal, big time. He has always apparently been under the impression that he didn’t have control over his real life (stemming back to childhood), so he would have control over his secret life. Thing is, he does have control over all his life, and he really fucked it all up. Time to grow up, be a man, and take responsibility.
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So… How long is your leash? Or is there a deadline? I’m struggling with how long I can pretend in my world, I’m wondering about how I develop a timeline of “after this its diminishing returns” … For you, the longer you stay I feel like the more he will think the current is the status quo? Or that you may wear down and accept this half baked life? Or do you think you’re going to snap or make a hard line?
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Very good question. I don’t really have a deadline anymore. At first it was one year. In a situation like ours, they often say don’t make any drastic decisions for a year, unless of course safety is in question. I say people should do what they want on their own terms especially after all the deceit, rationalization, etc… Due to the dynamic of our situation, I am pretty sure he knows that every day is a gift and there is no status quo anymore. As far as accepting the half baked life, yeah, that is an issue. On many days, our life is actually quite wonderful. If it was bad, I wouldn’t have stayed with him for 30+ years. I still need more though and as long as he is working towards it (along with all the other shit he is dealing with), I stay. I guess at this point it is just more a feeling inside me… is it worth it, or not? I think he does realize that there is a cumulative effect. The longer it takes him to really get what I need, the closer it gets to him not having the life with me that he wants. Wow. I feel like I just danced around that one like a pro. Bottom line, I go with my gut.
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Nope. It’s like the movie the girl next door. For now, “the juice is worth the squeeze”….
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