I understand why they leave

I’ve been away for a while. No real reason other than I have been busy and also dealing with some health issues. Sometimes no matter what we do, our aging bodies fail us. I started insulin last night for my diabetes, but that is a story for a different day.

Moody waters at the beach house today. The ferocious nature of those waves matches my current mood.

Today I’m talking about the spouses of cheaters. I totally get why some must walk away. It’s freakin’ difficult to stay with someone who has betrayed us. So.freakin.difficult. I know it’s incredibly heartbreaking to walk away as well. We devoted a portion of our lives to one person. All partnerships are unique, but we committed for a reason. We loved that person at one point in time. For a lot of us, we still do love that person. I know a lot of divorced people. Things didn’t work out, cheating or not. Sometimes the feelings are mutual. It just wasn’t a good fit.

A lot of times, however, the choice to walk away is made by one partner and that leaves the other person shaking their head, at the very least. Totally emotionally devastated is where it leaves a lot of us. What did I do? Why doesn’t he love me anymore? I would never hurt him in such a way. I don’t understand why we couldn’t work it out…

Well, once one person checks out, there is no fixing things. A couple weeks ago I was chatting with a contractor working on our beach house. I like to talk, apparently so does he. He’s about the same age as I am, but has two young children. He also lives on a working ranch, does extensive volunteering, and he and his wife both work. I asked him how he did it. I would be exhausted before noon. He gave credit to his extensive martial arts training, but I believe some people are just plain born with more energy. He said he also has a 30 year old daughter, but they don’t have a close relationship. He confided in me that he totally messed up his first marriage. He looked me straight in the eye and said living with and being exclusive to one person for life isn’t natural… it’s a choice. He admitted he had been a dick when he was in his 20’s. He took his wife and daughter for granted. He married too young and was selfish. Once he was divorced, he swore he would never marry again… then he met his second wife. She is 15 years younger than he is and it was love at first sight. Like soul mate kind of love. But he admitted to me that marriage isn’t about that. Even with the love at first sight/soul mate bond he felt with his second wife, he waxed poetic about how being a good partner is a choice every.single.day. That he is actively choosing to be a good and loyal partner versus being a dick. Oh, and he is totally being an active and involved parent, this time.

He acted like this was some kind of an epiphany when for a lot of us, especially women I know, being loving and loyal and making good choices every day is LIFE. Making good choices every day is how I was taught. Why commit to marriage or a long term partnership if you aren’t willing to keep your promises? That’s rhetorical.

When speaking about my sex addict husband, it’s potentially even more complicated. He’s still an addict. Lying about his secret life was actually easier than living in sobriety. The stress in his life leads him to cravings and when those cravings aren’t fulfilled, it leads to craziness. He has a lot of resources, but old habits die hard and sometimes he just plain refuses to use them. The stressors in my life, apparently, lead directly to high blood pressure and high blood sugars. Take yesterday for example. This is an incredibly busy week for us. We leave early tomorrow morning for three weeks away. I had an appointment with an insulin nurse yesterday afternoon and then we needed to leave directly from the appointment to head out to the beach house to meet a contractor. I thought it a good idea if Blue Eyes was at my appointment since this will be my first foray into insulin injections. He agreed. He was late picking me up for my appointment, very late. He had promised, committed, to not being late. I told him exactly when we would need to leave by in order to make it on time. We were late. I HATE being late, especially to appointments where there is a limited amount of allotted time and I needed that time. I could feel my whole body tensing up. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to scream. The message he sends to me when he is late, is that I am less important than whatever he was doing. Instead of being on time for me, he is giving someone else his attention. In this case it was someone at work and he admitted that what kept him from being on time was not important. So I was EVEN LESS important. He seems to have lost track of the fact that he is responsible for his own actions. This is a lesson he seems to have missed in this whole secret sex life/discovery/recovery process. He is the man of the moment. Whoever he has put in front of him at any given time, is what’s important and his priorities are pretty messed up. So, again, back to the point of this post, I totally get why people walk away from their cheating, disrespectful partners.

My choice to stay must include ways to calm myself and be kind to myself so that I don’t continue to suffer emotionally and physically. I can always pin my dreams on the possibility that my husband will change this aspect of his behavior, but I think that would be very unwise.

10 thoughts on “I understand why they leave

  1. I have been thinking about this article, Kat. Your last paragraph was very insightful. I have heard estimates of 60 to 85% of spouses stay with a sex addict after discovery. If these estimates are correct, (and who knows?) I’m wondering where these people are? Those stats are better than the overall 50% divorce rate I hear about. My two support groups are very small, 6-8 people, all women on the average and I live in a large city. How are people managing? I heard recently a talk about partners and the importance of valuing the self. The observation was that the partners with high self esteem tend not to go to the support groups because people with low self esteem do go. Wow. That comment mirrored what I have been thinking recently about my support groups. Now that I’m beyond that initial trauma phase, I find myself losing patience with some group members who always seem in a place of low self worth. What is that about? And where can healthy people (not perfect but healthy) go to get support? I think this is an unmet need.

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    • These are frustrating observations and difficult questions I have struggled with myself. I have never had low self esteem, but I did have some pretty severe, and thankfully temporary, trauma. From the beginning though, I couldn’t be around people on a regular basis that were mired in negativity. First there were traumatized women who seemed to refuse to look at the options in front of them. There were women who had known for many years that their husbands were cheaters, and they stayed, and then women who didn’t know at all, but were not allowing themselves to think about the choices in front of them, because they couldn’t imagine any life different from the one they were living, or they were simply afraid. Many of these women had no higher education and were worried about financial insecurity. These were not my problems. Then there were women who refused to contemplate a life with their cheating husband, mostly because “society” or their friends and family thought it would be a big mistake to give their men a second chance. They didn’t really want to think about addiction and what it meant. This didn’t work for me either.

      I’m glad it was suggested I wait a year to make any drastic decisions about my life. It was torture on many days living with the person who had behaved so badly towards me, but I innately believed that there was disease going on beneath the surface, and although there were days the broken me fought it, I knew none of this was about me. That the man I knew was suffering and none of it had been about getting his jollies, or finding a new wife. He wanted to change and he was doing what needed to be done, however slowly. The question was, could I remain sane during a recovery process that potentially had no end?

      I think maybe we have come to a point where we don’t necessarily need SA partner support groups anymore. We have grown. What we need now is activities we can partake in that take our minds away from the ongoing recovery of our husbands. This is where I am at. I don’t want to define myself solely as the wife of a sex addict anymore. I felt like that was my new moniker for the first three years of healing. I want to move away from it now. I still listen to my husband as he struggles through, but just like any other addiction, this is for life. But just because it is part of both of our lives now (his and mine) doesn’t mean it has to own me. I’m ready to start writing the next chapter now. You are an intelligent woman with a unique situation. In my mind, you are ahead of the game. From the beginning you came on here with maturity and wisdom. I think you are healing and that is why things seem different now. I hope you are feeling like your life has some normalcy back. That has been the goal for me. Much love, xoxo

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      • Thanks, Kat. I think you are right about the healing. The support groups have been good for me from the standpoint of knowing I’m not alone, that others have gone through this. I really only had one friend I could talk to about this. However, I resisted the whole coaddict approach from the beginning because it never felt right. How could I be a coaddict when I didn’t know? And I truly didn’t know. Did things sometimes seem “off” or did my H seem preoccupied/distant at times? Sure. But those times always passed and he would say it was work or whatever. The trauma approach is much more supported by research. Some of the long time members of the groups seem stuck. Their husbands are in solid recovery so that’s not an issue. They struggle with issues like adult children, work, extended family. One woman cries inconsolably around every single holiday because her adult children create chaos. Her SA spouse has been in solid recovery for 10+ yrs. I’m like WTF? Set some boundaries with those kids and get over it. Lol

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        • Yes, I think our natural tendencies, or struggles, if you will are magnified by trauma. Some of us heal, some of us don’t. Some of us may have underlying anxiety or depression that was triggered by trauma. It’s not something to be swept under the rug. I am grateful that I am able to enjoy life again. One positive side effect for me is self care. I give myself permission to just be on some days. I don’t try to do everything and I’m working on my compulsive nature. It’s not my job to take care of everyone else. I’ve also given up on the concept that because I do good, good will come back to me. Sometimes it doesn’t. I have the power to make choices about my own happiness. Again, depression can very much get in the way of that, so I do realize I am lucky. I believe that sometimes low self esteem causes some to associate with codependence. They feel they must be to blame somehow and the feelings go beyond the temporary trauma phase. Perhaps S-Anon is a safe haven for them and things might be worse if they didn’t have that resource. I will be forever grateful for the trauma therapy I received. This blog has also helped immensely, just talking things out. I am really looking forward to the Christmas holiday this year. We’ll all be at the beach house together. I feel blessed. I hope you are enjoying the season! xo

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  2. Wait, wait! A lump and he left you there!!?!! This is so not funny. My rather lighthearted remark about a pinch was so off. I have not one thing to say.

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    • Um hmm. This has been a traumatic almost four years of realizing he chose his addiction over me and the boys on many many occasions. I had two mammograms done that were inconclusive so they scheduled a procedure to hopefully remove/drain the mass. A mass that was large enough that I found it myself. I was told that he just couldn’t be with me because he had meetings scheduled in Silicon Valley. He did have meetings scheduled but they were changeable. What he didn’t want to change was time with his addiction, a.k.a the OW. My good friend went with me and held my hand. I’m certainly not alone and my story is not unique. Cheaters are very very selfish. Add in addiction and somehow they rationalize the most hurtful behavior. Not fun! I really do have expectations that he can do better… one of these days.

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  3. I depend on my h for nothing. His time and what he does is always way important. We are late for everything because of him. It’s pure disrespect and rudeness. Trust me he’s never late for a fucking tee time!! I don’t have him accompany me to any doc appts unless I’m desperate. I’d rather go alone. One time during his affair he actually left me in the ER because it was late and he was tired 😳. I had to call him to come pick me up when they were through. Yes i get why people leave too. Sometimes i feel i could swing a dead cat and hit someone who’d be more caring than him. I’m sorry this happened Kat. Makes me mad 😡

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    • Well, you made me laugh TH. They are truly so selfish sometimes. BE left me to deal with a lump in my breast so he could be off with his OW. Of course he blamed it on work. In disclosure he tells me he was scared and stressed and needed the distraction. Where the fuck does he think that left me???? WT actual F??? The “funny” thing is, I have issues dealing with stress as well (specifically high BP), but my issues will probably kill me one of these days… his will just bring him to orgasm. Something about that doesn’t feel quite right!!! We’re off on a plane tomorrow. Prepping to leave town for a few weeks always makes me anxious. Thanks for the laugh! ❤

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  4. Passive aggressive behavior to make sure you know you can’t tell him what to do. It really is that simple. There were bad people in charge of him when he was too young to do anything but now he can, so he does. If you need to be somewhere at 2:00 tell him 1:00. Easier on both of you. BE if I ever meet you I am going to pinch you hard!

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    • I hope you do meet him and I hope you do pinch him! Ha. He was picking me up from a hair appointment (where he had dropped me off) and so he knew exactly what was going on and when. He shouldn’t even have gone back into the office. I said we MUST leave BY 3:10 to get to the nurse on time. He promised he would be there by 3, to be safe. He arrived at 3:22. We were more than 10 minutes late to the assigned appointment. It’s difficult to trick him into something when he knows too much. I wish I didn’t have to manipulate him for him to be on time. He knew this was important to me. I know subconsciously he doesn’t want anyone to control him or tell him what to do… and so he casually disregards schedules and other people’s time. It’s a really bad and disrespectful habit, which I know comes from years of anger and resentment towards his mother. We are mere days from FOUR YEARS since he realized something was drastically wrong with him and how he was managing his life. I want to be able to rely on him, but I still just can’t, and it stresses me out and affects my health. I need to learn my lesson and gain my own better coping skills.

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