If you have been reading my blog, specifically these entries about our history, you know that I was living a certain reality, loving life, hating my in-laws, married with a new baby, struggling to make ends meet, but you also know the bigger picture, and the reality that my husband was living a very different version of our story. Sure, everyone lives their own life. We all have our own perspectives, needs, wants, desires, but when I committed to spending the rest of my life with Blue Eyes, there were spoken and unspoken promises.
First, honesty. We had talked about honesty from the beginning. I knew because of how Blue Eyes was treated by his family that he had a tendency to lie to try and get out of things. His instinct was always to avoid sticky situations. I thought he would mature through this. I really did. I thought once he spent enough time with me, once he realized I was understanding and loving and honest and non-judgmental, basically the opposite of his parents, he would figure it out. He did not. That I know now, but I did not know it back then.
Next, devotion. Upon embarking on a relationship with Blue Eyes, I maintained autonomy while integrating him into my life. I started making decisions based on the coupleship. We are very different people. He was a night owl, I was an early bird. He procrastinated and pulled all-nighters, I was organized and diligent and never missed a deadline. We started weaving our stories together. Turns out though, I gave more than he did. I changed and adapted more than he did. I committed fully to the relationship while he kept secrets and honed his old broken ways. Some of his behavior was propelled by resentment, resentment at the system that broke him. He wasn’t going to conform unless he absolutely had to. Apparently he never got the memo that now was the time to live his life for himself, no longer for his parents, his abusers. Because he continued to live in a fucked up place in his head where he was doing things because it was what his parents expected, he didn’t really heal or mature into a functioning adult. But he did put on a very good show.
Fidelity was one of those unspoken promises. We both agreed to stop seeing other people. When we married, there was no question, to both of us, that meant loving only each other in that romantic and sexual way.
This entry in the history of our love story includes the commencement of Blue Eyes’ abusive and dishonest episodes of acting out with other women. Although I know he considers his acts wrong, I also know he compartmentalized out me and our family in order to feed his addiction, so I know he would say he was not unloving or hateful. But guess what, this is my blog, my version, and my feelings. Just because his intent was not to be unloving, dishonest, and hurtful (and I was never going to find out…. remember?), he was. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, IT DOES MAKE A SOUND!
We moved into our new home and had a big house warming/baby turning one party in September 1992. I was 29, Blue Eyes was 28. Once we were all settled in near Blue Eyes’ job, finances were really tight. I had needed to quit my retail job because it was frankly too far from home and the job didn’t pay enough for all the concessions we had to make in our life. It was impossible to coordinate daily transportation for both of us. We hardly saw each other. Blue Eyes’ responsibilities were growing at his company (but his salary wasn’t) and he had to work late some days. After a handful of months, I started to become antsy. I was cooped up all day, far from my friends and family, very little money, no car, and a one year old. It was isolating and lonely.
In October of that year, I took a much needed break and headed off on a road trip with my sister to a family wedding in another state. I had a great time on that trip with my sister, until I didn’t. We went to Disneyland before heading back home. This is when my old college roommate, Colleen, didn’t show up to meet me at a specified time and then proceeded to tell me I needed to speak with Blue Eyes about it. Blue Eyes blew it off saying Colleen was envious of me and my life and to just come home. There was nothing more to be said about that. Come home. He missed me and the baby needed me. The truth resides in this post (Evolution of a Friendship).
The in-laws visited for Thanksgiving that year and we had a huge Thanksgiving dinner at our new little house with both families. It went surprisingly well. In December I decided to start my bookkeeping business. We purchased a little Honda civic for me, and found a great childcare for the baby. Unfortunately, the childcare we found for him was back across the river in Portland, as was my first client. By Spring we were pregnant with baby boy #2. Totally planned this time. I wanted my kids close together if at all possible. I had lived my whole life with siblings ranging from 5 1/2 to 18 years younger than me and I wanted my kids closer. To be fair, my Mom wanted her kids closer together too, it just didn’t happen for her. It did happen for me.
As the months wore on, I was commuting with the rest of the masses, a toddler, and pregnant, and not liking living across the river. After work and before heading home, I started looking at housing options near the childcare. I drove around, street after street, getting a feel for the area, a completely foreign part of town to where I grew up, and I came across an adorable little post WWII Cape Cod that was for sale by owner. I fell in love with that little house. Two weeks after baby boy #2 was born, we moved into the little Cape Cod.
Things got a lot less hectic for me and a lot more crazy for Blue Eyes. During this time Blue Eyes began traveling to Asia for his job. I was mostly working from our house with boy #1 in childcare/preschool and boy #2 sleeping soundly in his crib many hours of the day. In 1994, Blue Eyes changed companies, still commuting to and working in the state of Washington. His salary doubled, but along with that came an excruciatingly long workday. I was on my own with the boys from sun up to sun down. I ended up shutting down my bookkeeping business and focusing solely on raising two adorable and sweet natured little boys.
We lived happily and cozily in this little Cape Cod for three years. During those years I became heavily involved in the community center where the boys attended preschool. I was involved in community fundraising and sat on multiple boards. Blue Eyes worked and traveled a lot. During this time he cultivated a phone relationship with his first affair partner. We did not have money for luxuries or vacations. We made the most of what we had.
In the summer of 1996, my cousin called on me to help with a project she and her husband (Richard) were working on. His family home, which was a couple miles from mine and Blue Eyes’ house at the time, had been boarded up for some years. In the mid 80’s his father had passed away from a heart attack. In the late 80’s, it became obvious that his mother was suffering from dementia, and she had to be moved into a care home. Richard, now executor of her estate, did not know what to do with the old house, but wasn’t prepared to sell it. He installed a fancy security system and boarded the place up. Now, mid 90’s, the courts were forcing him to sell it and put the money in his mother’s accounts. The house honestly looked haunted from the outside and the inside was even scarier. What you could see of the exterior of the house, through massively overgrown trees and shrubs, was painted a dark and imposing grey and with the windows covered in plywood, it was downright atrocious. Stairs were crumbling, paint was peeling, and the backyard looked an awful lot like a third world country. We started slowly peeling the layers. The shrubs were cut down, the windows uncovered. On the inside, old filthy carpets were pulled up to reveal gorgeous hardwood floors. The draperies were dismantled and windows cleaned. Richard’s mother was a hoarder of what I might call, the impressive kind? Her house wasn’t filled with garbage and dead cats, it was filled with the treasures she had gathered over the last 20 years of her time in that house. Boy did the neighbors have stories about Dorothy. In the mid 1930’s, Richard’s parents had owned a big chunk of the land around the house and had set about selling off parcels and keeping the spot they liked best for themselves. They then proceeded to design a house for themselves where they could raise their children. They raised two boys in the house. As the decades went by, Dorothy’s neighbor lady friends started dying off. Dorothy would lobby the husbands to sell her all of their wife’s belongings. For what purpose, no one knows. She collected clothes in all sizes from 2-16. There were fur stoles and coats, decorative hats, vintage dresses, shoes, bags, and jewelry, lots and lots of jewelry. In her later years, Dorothy would take her big cadillac out about town and shop at all the thrift stores and estate sales. It appears as if she never purchased a whole set of anything, just bits and pieces of all the finest bone china and American pottery she could find. She purchased porcelain figurines, silk top hats, there was a vintage record collection, and a whole room of costume jewelry. Over one summer weekend, we had a huge estate sale. Some items were taken to specialty stores, like much of the clothing and accessories, but pretty much everything else went in the sale at the house. What didn’t sell was donated. A few items stayed as Richard wanted them for himself, like the grand piano in the living room and his mother’s mahogany dining room set.
Once the house was cleared, it was obvious that it needed lots and lots of work, but honestly, the location of the house coupled with the size and the potential… my brain started working overtime. I decided I wanted that old house. I took an accounting of our situation and estimated how much I could get for our current house and I made an offer to Richard. It was everything we could scrape together. He took the offer to the courts and they accepted. Honestly, at the time, I thought it was a steal. In November, 1996, we took possession of the house. When we moved in, there were no fully working bathrooms, just one working toilet, the marble fireplace in the family room was crumbling, the living room fireplace was leaking, most windows didn’t open, and some wouldn’t close all the way. Some windows were still boarded up and the ones that weren’t, had bars on them. There were no window coverings left, at all, and the kitchen was a nightmare. There were appliances in that kitchen that didn’t work, which was okay, because we had no idea what they were.
We started straight away at scraping together our pennies in order to remodel at least a couple rooms. I made sure the boys’ room was all ready for them at move in because they really didn’t want to leave their old bedroom. I mean they didn’t want to leave it so much, that they cried. I felt horrible. Blue Eyes had only agreed to make this purchase and this move if the main bathroom was remodeled before we moved in. I tried and tried, but anyone who has remodeled anything knows, nothing goes as planned. Blue Eyes had to take showers at the local community center for a month after move in. We had a bathtub to bathe the kids in, but the shower doors took FOREVER. He was not happy. Also, the lower level, the basement, where the laundry is, was not habitable. It was so scary down there even I didn’t want to go there. Before move in, the basement got a very quick remodel. It took Richard a few weeks before he was able to arrange to move the grand piano out of the living room. In the meantime, the contractor uncovered the fact that the wall directly below the piano, the one holding up the entire floor supporting the grand piano, was ROTTEN. I mean rotten like 3/4 of the way up. The contractor called me right away to say the piano needed to go, now! He honestly thought it would fall right through the floor.
The living room looked something like the above Grey Garden photo. Actually, it looked A LOT like the above photo.
Truth is, we were living in a 60 year old house (at the time) that was run down, partially rotten, water damaged, with asbestos running through the heat ducts, and scraping every penny together to just live, much less make improvements. The remodeling process was slow going. And then, in Spring 1997, six months after moving into a house we couldn’t afford, Blue Eyes lost his job.
Things seemed weird with him. I could not get ahold of him at work. He would call me from off-site, saying he was working out of an office close by. It didn’t make any sense. He would come home at his regular old (late) time of the evening as if everything was fine. After three days of this, he finally told me he had been fired. His firing was completely unjustified. He wanted to hire an attorney, but his attorney father talked him out of it. He said attorneys never win in court unless they are fighting for someone else, someone that is not an attorney. People hate attorneys. I also think his father somehow thought Blue Eyes must have done something terribly wrong. His mother screamed at him to get a government job… at least he would have medical insurance for the boys. Blue Eyes negotiated a settlement. I was supportive of him. I felt horrible for him. I knew he was devastated, and humiliated, and I knew it wasn’t his fault. But the bigger issue for me was that his parents had known since the minute he was fired, but he held off telling me for three days. This was unacceptable. I was blown away. I continued to be the same loving, supportive, encouraging spouse I had always been, but I was seriously disappointed in his need to call his parents. I was still hoping that eventually he would mature beyond the helpless, needy, insecure boy they had raised.
The next phase of Blue Eyes’ career would include lots of money flowing in, lots of money flowing out, and a ton of travel, and apparently a boat load of stress. He built a lucrative consulting business and spent a lot of time in Central California. For our tenth anniversary (15 years as a devoted couple) we would take our first real vacation together, to Hawaii. I have written before about the early days of the escalation of Blue Eyes’ sex addiction. I was home parenting his children, managing the household, and doing his books, while he was off procuring a business and using masturbation, porn, and a brief “relationship” with “Ashley” to cope with his life. He was gone 20-23 days per month. I was so happy and grateful for our five days in Hawaii. I had no idea I was being duped.
By 2001, his brief affair with Ashley was long over and he was setting up house, I mean setting up an office with “Monica” the slutty (and as it turns out, older) secretary. We, me and the boys, were so happy to have him home. He had successfully set up a venture fund and was well on his way to owning his very own successful business right in the town we lived in. What a novelty. He would go four whole years without acting out with another woman. Fortunately, the next woman would be his last.
Unfortunately, the affair would last for eight years and lead to a single phone call that would cause an irreversible wave of destruction.
As it turns out, after 40 years of sexual addiction, 30 years of hiding his secret from me, and 15 years of intermittent infidelity, that phone call would also lead to Blue Eyes’ discovery and a solid pathway to his recovery. I can’t believe he was able to keep his secret for so long…