Cycles

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I feel like I am caught in a series of cycles. Menopause is one that is getting the better of me. I know I have written about this before, because I have been “going through” menopause since before I commenced writing this blog. I was about 35 years old when we made the decision not to have more children. I continued to have regular cycles until my 50th birthday. The month I turned 50 I did not menstruate. For the following six months, I did not have a period. I thought how easy would that be if it all just stopped? I didn’t feel any other symptoms of menopause, at that time.

Well, four years have passed and I am still dealing with menopause. After the seven months of reprieve in 2013, my period started up again, just like clockwork. I have since gone another seven months without a cycle, and then nine full months, but the cycle always returns eventually. My doctor ran blood tests to see how far through menopause I was, hormonally. That was almost a year ago. The test showed I was through menopause, all the way through, beyond through. The doc said, yippee, you did it. I went home and two days later… my period arrived. And then it once again arrived like clockwork for another four months. This time six months passed before it started again. Last week, right in the middle of hosting a friend at the beach and also having my older son and his girlfriend in town for the eclipse, my period came on with a vengeance. I didn’t even have any supplies in the house! Honestly, I am so tired of this. I also have trouble sleeping. What with crazy dreams and night sweats, I wake up feeling more tired than when I went to bed. There are other nasty symptoms too, more than I want to think about right now.

Along with the erratic female cycling, I am also feeling down, and when I am down and cycling through the betrayal, and I have never wavered from this, I NEED Blue Eyes to not only be there with me physically, but I need him to own his behavior and the ramifications of his actions. And to be bluntly honest, at this point, I NEVER cycle through the betrayal when I am not with Blue Eyes. The vestiges of the trauma are only present with Blue Eyes. When I say ‘own his behavior’, I don’t mean in a shameful way (although I am fully aware he has a difficult time separating owning his behavior and feeling shameful about his behavior), but in a self awareness way. He does SO MUCH work towards recovering from addiction, and yet, what I ask him to do seems too difficult for him. He can sit in a room full of near strangers (for FOUR days), hold hands, sing, meditate, chant, be silent, whatever, but he cannot sit with me and tell me how it feels to know he hurt me to the deepest parts of me and tell me how it feels to him, for him. I can only believe that when he is alone with himself, he is not healing those deep recesses that allowed him to behave so badly in the first place. He is not enlightened in the way I need him to be. This is why shame is so toxic, it hinders healing. Shame is the enemy right now. Shame is blocking acceptance and progress. I need shame to eviscerate.

This is my gauge of Blue Eyes and his ability to be a viable partner to me. Healing myself is one thing. Feeling good again, being strong, owning me, is totally my job and I work at it every day. Aging and raging hormones don’t help, but I am hanging in there. I am good with me. BUT, being in a partnership requires two people to be working it. Working on themselves AND working on the partnership. Blue Eyes has spent his entire life pretending, hiding, lying, rationalizing, and hurting. Hurting himself and hurting other people. True recovery lies in being able to look himself in the mirror and own EVERYTHING. Then, look at me and own EVERYTHING. I don’t want to have to tell him anymore, what I need. I don’t want to have to coax him, to prod and plead. I am tired. Sure, it would be nice if I just stopped thinking about it all. If I was able to block it all out, ignore the things that cause me anxiety. The big problem here is I am constantly self evaluating. I am self aware. And in that self awareness, I know I need more. Ignoring it all is not the same as handling it.

This past weekend, I was standing at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables for dinner, onions, garlic, zucchini, from our farm CSA, listening to the Simon & Garfunkel Pandora Station on our awesome beach house sound system when I started getting that melancholia. All the songs playing were from the 1970’s, a time before I knew Blue Eyes, and the lyrics, all so familiar. I loved to listen to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 in the 70’s. This was my era, my childhood. I was innocent then. Sure my childhood had it’s share of challenges, whose doesn’t? But I never felt less than. I never felt unloved. I never felt like a burden to anyone, and I never felt like I wasn’t worth being told the truth. My parents were my parents, for all their faults, their humanness, and for all their strengths.   I started feeling the weight of the potential mistake I made. The mistake of giving over my heart to someone who wasn’t worthy of holding it. It is a heavy feeling for me. I finished preparing dinner and while we were sitting there eating, I wasn’t present in that gorgeous room, in my beautiful house. I was somewhere else. Somewhere that felt safer. Somewhere from my past. As the tears streamed down my face, I felt sad, really sad.

It took me a couple hours to crawl out of that mood. To shake the gloom, to re-enter my reality and build up the walls. I have to have walls up. I didn’t talk with Blue Eyes about what I was feeling. And the biggest issue I have, is he didn’t talk either. He didn’t ask. He didn’t try to help. I mean he held me and hugged me, but he didn’t speak about what he had done to make me into this person who goes away because she has lost the ability to always stay present in her partnership. On the drive home the next day I asked him if he even cared what had happened the night before. I went into how it happened, why it happened. But he remained disconnected from my feelings, and nearly silent. This is when I pursue. I pursue in him the ability to remain present. I question his neglect, his not wanting to meet me at least half way. To not talk about how he feels about how he has changed me as a human being. Then I have to start putting up the walls again because I need the protection from the reality of knowing Blue Eyes has not met me yet. He has not arrived at that place in the middle, where our partnership is strong, where I feel safe.

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As we arrived home to our Portland house, Blue Eyes needed to move cars around. I sat in the road in my car, the car I drive to the beach house, waiting to pull into the garage. As he pulled my old car out of the garage, he hit the side view mirror on the driver’s side and knocked part of it on the ground. I knew he was out of sorts. The conversation on the ride home, my reality, was too much for him. In my opinion, it’s mostly too much because he crawls inside himself and refuses to let the destructive feelings out. When I got out of the car, I commiserated with him about knocking the side view mirror off (I’ve done it twice myself). He was visibly angry. Now where do you think that anger was directed? Of course it was directed at me, but I am used to this. I walked in the house without another word.

Blue Eyes headed off to the office for meetings. I did one of the things I love, I turned on the US Open Tennis Tournament and lost myself in tennis. Later that evening, Blue Eyes turned in for bed without a word to me. No follow up to our (my) conversation about being sad the night before. No conversation about anything. I couldn’t let it go. I keep trying and trying to make this work out my way. I need this. I asked him if he had any feelings at all about what had happened. I don’t often have disconnected moments anymore, but I fear on some days that it is less about healing and more about putting up walls. I convince myself that Blue Eyes will never be the partner I need, so I must settle and compromise. Then the real me wins out and I demand more. I demand something better. Whether Blue Eyes is not capable, or not willing, is yet to be determined. I know on most days he rationalizes he is doing well. And on many days he is doing well. But he is still disorganized, and distant, and a workaholic on many days. He still hides his feelings inside. He has returned to burying himself in his phone, what once was a HUGE trigger is now mostly a tiring symbol of the broken Blue Eyes needing outside stimulation (now, that stimulation is work emails, texting with 12 step guys, online news articles–not porn or texting with his AP) instead of staying present with me. It is very easy to fall back into old ways.

So once again, I pursued. Something will have to give. I can’t keep doing this. It is not helpful for either of us. I was upset that he was refusing to talk with me about my reminders of his betrayal. I was also reacting to his obvious angry and disconnected mood. Most cheaters want it all to be forgotten and when it isn’t, it is somehow our fault for not being able to heal. Well, in my mind that is bullshit and backwards. We are not able to heal because they are not doing the work to allow us to heal. For me, my instincts are strong and they are what drive my trauma. I asked him a simple question. How did I react in the garage when he knocked the side view mirror off the car. He said I was angry and judgmental. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!! So, I knew this was coming because this is Blue Eyes. He lives is some strange fucked up world that NO ONE else lives in. I actually reacted in a calm and understanding manner. I commiserated with him, but all he heard was what was reverberating from inside him, shame, anger, frustration and all that emotion was directed onto me. This is the not healing part. The resentment. I am not the enemy. I am a human being asking for what I need in order to stay in a relationship that has been battered and bruised… I was emotionally beaten by him and I need to believe he knows and understands and owns it. Of course I cannot change what has been done and I DO NOT WANT HIM TO FEEL SHAMEFUL ABOUT HIMSELF. I want him to own what has caused me the pain, not acknowledge over and over that I am in pain. But unfortunately I know that I am being used as his scapegoat for the feelings he has inside that he cannot manage.

He asked to be given time to write all his feelings down. So, more than 3 1/2 years since discovery, he still has to remove himself from me to metabolize and “write things down.” He is attempting to be open and honest with his feelings with me, but all I want is for him to be able to do this without my asking for it. I want what is important to me, to be important to him. I knew I would never lose my partnership to another woman, but am I to lose this man I love, the father of my children, my best friend, to shame? It feels like I might.

22 thoughts on “Cycles

    • Nearest to us, the Columbia Gorge, the combination of human carelessness and a bone dry (hottest on record) summer is creating a devastating situation. There just aren’t enough firefighters and resources. We are safe, many are evacuating. Much of our state is on fire right now. 😢

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  1. Sound like I am taking up for BE and I probably am to a certain extent. We read each other’s body language and you might have come across as tense when your words were that you were OK. He might have discounted your words completely and just looked at what your body was saying. He has had to do that all of his life but particularly when he was a child. I just think for whatever reason both of you are on edge constantly and it’s wearing both of you out. Obviously you have some form of PTSD. You cannot take in that much information and not have something. He has some form of it as well. It makes you on high alert all the time waiting for another bomb to drop. You can’t live that way. Maybe both of you just need to have a giant temper tantrum, but not with each other, and not to each other, and not about each other, but just about how shitty life is sometimes even when you’re doing the best you can.

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    • Ha, I love that you are taking up for BE, it gives me the chance to think about it, theoretically, more from his perspective. Moi, I really wish this were true. I wish there was a legitimate reason why BE would think I was angry. I wish it was my body language because then I could make sense of it and not feel like it is the big deal that it is. I can assure you that for the most part, what BE sees and hears most often has nothing to do with reality. He literally lives inside his head. I know this comes from how he was treated as a child, belittled, made to feel worthless, verbally abused, and so much more. That is why not communicating is so much easier for him. He is very comfortable inside his own head. In the past I believe he used the intimacy card to manipulate people. Truly letting other people in there is scary and he loses control of his narrative. That story inside that protects his addiction for him. His addiction was the one thing that, in his mind, helped him survive his life. Then it became habit and the littlest things would send him to his drug. He still uses negative emotions to cope with life. He just doesn’t use sexual behavior (at least as far as I know). It is really quite tiring at this point. He has made progress, but I know he is holding on for dear life inside. Holding on to what he knows will soothe him. Sometimes I wonder if a relapse would release some of the pent up energy. Actually get him back on track. I know this sounds contrary, but he is holding onto that sobriety, the date, the chips, like a lifeline. I fear he will combust one of these days. In my mind he must release that ball of shame before anything else in his life can take shape.

      I do agree that we both have PTSD. Me, from the point of the phone call from the other woman and the unveiling of all the lies and betrayal in my life, my marriage, my most intimate partnership. BE has PTSD from his childhood and no doubt from events that have transpired since his diagnosis. Therapy was rough. He had hidden deep a lot of the abuse. The full grown man still blames the little boy for not being stronger, for not standing up for himself, for not being a better person. I understand all this, but it doesn’t make the trauma any less difficult. I wish I didn’t “understand” so much. Maybe it would be easier then.

      Regarding a giant temper tantrum… it is difficult for me to fathom. Even at the seminar for betrayed wives, I was unable to shout out any of my pain. And I know this is a bit off topic, but I think the bad vibes that surround us right now, absorbed through the press and a constant barrage of negative energy, is not helping. It is difficult to balance it all. xx

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  2. You might just have to except that this is his personality. He would probably be this way without the sex addiction or the issues from his childhood. Sometimes it really is just genetics. I am married to a man who is the same way. He does not like to talk about feelings at all. In fact, I am the caregiver in our family. There have been many times over the years when I have kept things from him because I knew they would throw him into a funk that he could not get out of. Of the two of us I am, by far, the stronger emotionally.

    You need someone to put his arms around you and cuddle you and support you while you go through the mood swings that come with menopause. Some women manage menopause and other women have real issues. I have no idea if I ever will because I take hormone replacement. I never tell anyone to do this but I have had to because I never sleep if I don’t have it. Some people breeze through and are so happy to get to the other side but I got stuck. Talk to your doctor and find out what supplements you might be able to take to get you through.

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    • We are all complex amalgamations of the unique experiences in our lives. I get this. The frustrating thing with BE is he is actually a very sensitive guy who has over the course of our relationship opened up to me about almost everything and showed his vulnerability, but he especially opened up to the other woman. This is one of the aspects of the betrayal that hurts so deeply. He told her his truths. He puts everyone in boxes and manipulates us accordingly. The other woman truly believed that my husband was miserable in our marriage. He was using her and in order to keep her in her box, he had to tell her things about me, and make her believe she was special. That I was a horrible wife and that she was providing him with the nurturing and love and intimacy that he so desired and needed (even though they only saw each other a couple times a YEAR). Funny thing though, I had also been providing him with this for our entire marriage, but at some point, maybe at marriage, maybe at the birth of our children, I was put in the box of obligations. I am unfairly in the box with his parents… the box of people judging him, the people with high expectations. I do not deserve to be in that box. It sounds like our coupleship was much like yours, before discovery. Once I found out that there was so much lying going on and he was manipulating everyone, I lost it. I lost my desire to love unconditionally. I have conditions now.

      I now believe that what is most difficult for Blue Eyes, is giving up his addiction. He holds onto the shame because it has become his best friend. Sort of a pity party, if you will. The ultimate pity party because in the scheme of things, he is the abuser.

      Blue Eyes does put his arms around me and cuddle me, he is big into cuddling (the guy who theoretically is lacking in intimacy even though he had both a wife and another woman giving him intimate attention and affection for many years). If it was only menopause, I think we would be alright. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of other stuff thrown in. You’re right. I do need to check in with the doc. xx

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  3. I thought my SA was the only one who did this. Nearly 3 years out, I keep looking at the calendar and wondering how long I can wait for him to meet my needs. Sometimes I get sad too and truly believe that he’ll never be able to be the partner I need him to be.

    I have worked through betrayal and lies, a total ripping apart of my life…and have ended up with an SA that can’t be intimate. (The jokes on me right? I get a sex addict that doesn’t want to have sex). My “needs” have now been boiled down to “kiss me on the couch.” A euphemism to symbolize that after now knowing even when he was with me, he was never with me, I need intimacy to start outside the bedroom. That intimacy is not just about sex. It’s a connection that’s both emotional and physical. For me, kissing me on the couch, having a make-out session, getting “hot and bothered” in the daylight, when he knows who he is kissing, when there is no immediate chance of it progressing to sex, is what I need to feel safe, to feel like he knows it’s me he’s kissing and focusing on, and not just a warm naked body next to him in bed. He can’t / hasn’t done it. Three years of be asking, begging, screaming, crying for him to do this, and he can’t.

    Sometimes, I think “it’s okay, we’ve got so much else going for us, we talk, we laugh, we connect.” And other times the sadness engulfs me and I think “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be with someone who can’t meet this one basic need – just to be kissed on my couch.”

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    • I agree, Radlady. I feel like in some respects that my partnership is the best thing that ever happened to me and I need to go with the flow. And then on other days, I feel totally screwed. I want it all. I think we deserve better. It is so often the case that sex addicts have intimacy disorders. They used sex to cope, as a drug, so trying to approach it in a normal, loving way, is difficult. It seems so unfair to us. I know marriage can be rough, even for those not dealing with addiction, but this level of dysfunction can be soul crushing. We need true intimacy, especially after all the trauma. Are you guys in couple’s therapy? ❤

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      • We have seen counsellors. One who was a recovering SA. He was a good counsellor overall, but the only way my SA would do the activities he gave us as homework, was if my SA had a “check-in” phone call each night at 9pm. If he had to report what he had done positive to move us towards intimacy, he tried. Once the phone calls stopped so did the trying. We quit seeing him, when he suggested a book to my SA and told him not to tell me about it, so that it didn’t make me mad. Yeah. Good suggestion. Lie.

        We saw another one via Skype who was terrible. Kept telling me not to live in the past, no matter how much I would tell him, the hurts I was reacting to were present day actions. When he said “so how often are you going to make love this week?” To my SA, I had to incredulously remind him, that he could barely kiss me chastely, never mind anything else. We stopped seeing him.

        We live in a rural/small city, so between us, we have seen all of the counsellors it has to offer. He sees a psychologist, but when I suggested my SA was exhibiting signs of vulnerable narcissism, he said “let me do the diagnosing” – that was five months in, and three months ago, and still no such diagnosis of any sort.

        Not even sure what to do anymore. My patience is so very thin.

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    • I can relate. Our marriage is seriously lacking intimacy and then my hubby wonders why I’m not as interested in sex as he is. But, he refuses to hold my hand, we rarely have deep conversations and I don’t feel ‘safe’ to open up to him. It really makes it hard for a woman to enjoy sex without intimacy.

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  4. I know what it’s like to want to share your heart with someone who doesn’t really want to listen, its so painful. That quote couldn’t be more true, silence is so accurate and telling. It is a response without words. Sometimes our partners just suck, even the best ones. That’s what girlfriends are for. You are never alone ♥️

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