My blog entries from this summer bear out the fact that I have struggled. I’ve tried to work through the why. To be honest, I feel like Blue Eyes has been doing some gas lighting… I know he doesn’t realize this is what he is doing, but I do. His seeing my unease and confusion, and reminding me that he has broken me, that I am depressed and not the proverbial ‘same person I was before’ is not helpful. It’s a distraction to reality, his reality. Of course I realize I am not the same, and I don’t need to be reminded. No one can ever be the same after such devastating and traumatizing revelations as those divulged by Blue Eyes and his other woman. Truth is, these days, I am generally far less stressed when I am not with him.
That being said, I want to get to that place where I can be with him and regularly feel confident and secure in my choice to continue my life with this man. Right now I am by myself at the beach house, and I wish Blue Eyes was here with me. As I watch the path of Hurricane Irma, and read about the devastation in Texas, and mourn the destructive consequences of human error as fires burn through one of Oregon’s most treasured natural habitats, the Columbia Gorge, I want Blue Eyes by my side. I want to hug and hold him and let him help me feel less sad. I could go back to the city, but Blue Eyes is in meetings all day and into the evening and then off out of town tomorrow. I am better off staying at the coast as the air quality is a bit better here, but I do miss him.
I have trained myself over the past three years to not focus so much on what Blue Eyes does, nor how he chooses to recover. As long as I feel like he is on the right path (and this is mostly instinctive) I focus on myself. I know he could be attending meetings every day, and mindfulness retreats and sanghas, ringing bells, kneeling and meditating, and still be acting out. He spent many many years rationalizing, it’s a hard habit to break. I know he has been increasingly on edge this summer as our business is booming. Blue Eyes has done a great job of bringing sales up to where they were before he was diagnosed. As mentioned previously, numerous times, this takes a HUGE toll on Blue Eyes because his workaholism and his sexaholism were inextricably intertwined. He has tried desperately to disentangle them, but I know he has not been completely successful and this is what he fights for.
He has mentioned a few times this summer of how unbalanced he feels. I know on some days he longs for his drug. I’m going to say it because I know it is true. He longs for his secret sexual outlet. Saying this doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to. I have healed from any feelings of blame, and any self defeating thoughts and behaviors. I am not lying when I say sex is sex to me. It is not love. I am married to a lying cheating sex addict, how could sex still hold the same level of intimacy for me as it did prior to d-day? I realize not everyone feels the same way I do. I am merely saying this is how I feel. The problem is, I still feel the same way about lying and betrayal. My marriage has been teetering on the brink of disaster because my husband obsessively and repeatedly lied to me. Mostly about who he really was, but he also lied about ME to other women in order to get what he wanted. With more of the truth laid out in front of me, I don’t think my current unease lies in my brokenness caused by the trauma. I believe my instincts are just plain better now. I am not rationalizing anything away. When I feel uneasy, I know there is a reason, and there is a reason this time.
The past Sunday night as Blue Eyes and I crawled into our comfy bed with the lovely white linen sheets, at our amazing beach house, I could feel his tension. I knew he had something to share, and I asked for the truth. I asked Blue Eyes to come clean about what was really going on inside him. I’ve known it’s not JUST work. That the level of work responsibilities currently piled on him will always cause him to seek that familiar place inside, the one he believes only he understands. To Blue Eyes, only he knows his own truth. But that is a cop out. I get it. It’s where he feeds his addiction. I’ve always, to a certain degree, gotten him. My confusion was always in the fact that he creates this kind of stress for himself, so why should it be stressful? It’s a weird dynamic. Now we know it all stems from feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem. No matter what, he will never be good enough, so bring on the addiction, the secret sexual thoughts (and previously, actions). I have for many many months sensed that Blue Eyes was sharing with his 12 step buddies more than he shares with me. I know he rationalizes that they “get him,” and some of what he shares with them might hurt me, or bring back the trauma. I have told him many times that he will need to be able to share all this with me too. I need to know what is going on inside. For an addict, it really only takes a simple thought or action to start the whole wicked ball rolling again. By keeping things from me, he is feeding the addiction. I have never ever ever wavered from this belief. I certainly don’t want to know that my husband is thinking about other women, but I NEED to know. I cannot live with someone who cannot be open and honest. No matter what, we can work on this together or I’m out.
I really do understand addiction and this is why I have wondered about Blue Eyes. As mentioned in a comment on a previous blog entry, I feel like he is holding onto his sobriety with dear life. The way he covets his sobriety date, and his 12 step tokens, I can feel him getting dangerously close to the edge of a very destructive cliff and on this past Sunday night, we talked until 3:30am and Blue Eyes shared a little more about his reality.
Blue Eyes is very attached to his wooden meditation beads. He has many beaded bracelets that he wears daily. The first bracelet he received was a Father’s Day gift from me just five months post dday. He has now received others from his mindfulness mentor and he purchased a beautiful bracelet in Tokyo when last we were there. He is constantly fidgeting with them, spinning them, touching them, counting them. He has broken two of his bracelets and needed to take them in for repair. There is a bead shop a couple miles from our house in a little old neighborhood with shops and restaurants. The last time he was into the bead shop to pick up or drop off a repair, he was chatting with one of the ladies who works there. They were on the topic of Buddhism (the bracelets they were repairing are Buddhist Mindfulness beads) and Blue Eyes mentioned he was seeking a higher quality incense to burn for his meditating rituals since the cheap stuff bothers my sinuses. The clerk mentioned a store across the street that carries high quality incense, amongst many many other items. Blue Eyes popped into this little store and lo and behold, the woman working there, all by herself, fit his template. He was in a vulnerable place, being so stressed out by work, middle of summer (which I have talked about before is a trigger for Blue Eyes) and not managing well, and here is this lovely young woman. A perfect target for grooming. Blue Eyes flirted and even convinced himself that he could probably get her to have sex with him right there in the shop, if he wanted it badly enough. He did purchase incense. He did not have sex with this woman. He walked out swearing never to return. He then shared the experience with both his 12 step group and his closest 12 step buddy. He and his buddy talked about how much work it is to groom women (basically not worth it). No doubt his 12 step buddy gave him proper kudos for not pursuing it further. The discussion of how much work it is to groom women for sex got Blue Eyes thinking about how easy it was to keep going back to the same broken woman for eight years. She was a sure thing. She always responded to his calls/emails/texts. She always put out. He could carry on the texting for as long as he wanted before going to her for sex, or going to her at all, because that was what she was expecting. He got many many more hits from texting than anything else, and although he admittedly liked the sex too, she ALWAYS wanted more.
A few days ago when I was still trying to figure out why I was so ungrounded, and even though I knew nothing of what had been going on in Blue Eyes’ mind (because again, not telling is so much easier than being honest) I brought up the fact that if I kicked him out of the house right then and there, I knew he would go back to the other woman for that false sense of comfort he had sought out so many times. It wouldn’t be the answer to a happy life, but it would medicate him for the moment. She is pathetically easy and he is ritualistic and lazy. So even though he was so distraught with his bad behavior to have broken it off with her four years ago, and then not answering her obsessive calls on dday, and after years of recovery and soul searching, he is still that vulnerable. Reality sucks sometimes.
As our conversation Sunday night carried on into the wee hours, I asked Blue Eyes what he would do if I told him he could go ahead and have sex with the other woman as long as he told me about it (I’m not insane, I was testing him), you know, theoretically to medicate himself. There is no doubt that the Blue Eyes that existed before discovery was a whole lot better at managing his life, he had been medicating for so long. I asked him if it would carry the same fix if it wasn’t secret. He thought about it, and admitted it would still bring him a thrill and it would help him cope. That the high he gets when in his addiction and getting his drug is different from anything in his recovery life. He said she would have to agree to a number of rules (YEAH, HE REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT, and she would NEVER agree to rules), and one of them would be that she couldn’t pursue me, stalk me, whatever. I know Blues Eyes is fucked up. I’ve known for three years eight months now. This conversation did not bother me. After a few minutes of this, Blue Eyes admitted she would not agree to the rules and indeed he knew it would hurt us as a couple, regardless. Addiction hurts everyone (as does extramarital sex). He then said that he would never ever be okay with me having an intimate (read sexual) relationship of any kind with another man, that it would drive him insane and so he didn’t want to open the door to that double standard. He reiterated our relationship is the most important thing to him and he is doing everything in his power to not fuck it up (except telling me about the incense woman, of course).
The main reason I was really truly okay with this conversation is I know Blue Eyes was really thinking about all of this. In his strange mind, he went through it all, realizing he would like to have that sexual relationship back, not because our sexual relationship isn’t great, but that it isn’t a drug, at least not the drug he got from other women. Sex addiction is real and I know it. Having a conversation with a sex addict is like no other conversation, BUT, it can only be like this if he is being honest. If he is pretending, for example, pretending to me that he didn’t think about the incense girl, he never could have opened up and been honest about the other things we talked about.
Blue Eyes will not be having sexual relationships outside our marriage. If he does, just for the record, we will have no marriage. Even if I don’t actually know about it at the time, our marriage will be effectively over. All secrets are eventually revealed. My instincts are too keen now. Only complete honesty about how and when he struggles and how he deals with it will allow our marriage to work.
ALL that being said, I fucking knew he was holding back. Fuck. His therapist is out of town for three weeks. Double fuck.