Cheap studio apartment for one, please

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I sent something very similar to the above to my husband very early on in our healing. I asked him to think before he spoke. A lot of times he didn’t speak at all. I did all the talking and it was oh so frustrating. I cried out my truth, my pain, my agony every day, for months, and he just sat there. My words weren’t usually very kind, but they were true and they were necessary. Two outta three ain’t bad, right? Well, no. But, this wasn’t about me being a good and enlightened adult. This was about me trying to understand my new reality… and that new reality sucked. It was all part and parcel to the trauma. I truly felt it was necessary at the time for him to understand what he had done, how he had devastated me. I kept at it and kept at it because, unbelievable to me, he didn’t seem to get it. He didn’t seem to get what he had done to me. I hoped it would help him understand why he could not continue the behavior and have me in his life at the same time. And by his “behavior,” I’m not even talking about the sexual acting out. He had already stopped that. I’m talking about the continued lying and hiding and rationalizing his bad acts of the past as well as his current behavior, which seemed to center solely on his own needs. As he had rationalized me out of his addictive behaviors, he was also leaving me out of his healing path. As I watched him distance himself from my pain, I wrote out my truth and writing about it prompted numerous discussions on this blog about empathy.

Eventually, when Blue Eyes started talking, responding, whatever, some of what he said was very hurtful. He seemed so understanding and empathetic regarding stories he heard at his 12 step meetings. He seemed devastated by what he had perpetrated on our sons, but me? Not really. I got the impression that he felt like I was a given. I would understand and if I didn’t right now, well, I would eventually. I just needed to “heal” or “forgive.” Or, I would walk away and that was that. I was utterly overwhelmed by the cruelty of his obvious dismissal of my belief that I was living a pain greater than I had ever known and it was all at the hands of my life partner? How could this be… and how could he not understand the enormity of the crimes he perpetrated at my expense? I later learned that this inability early on (or even for a very long time) to be empathetic to the betrayed is part of the mechanism they built in order to cheat in the first place. They cannot tear down those walls overnight, and some never do. Some just move on and away from the mess they created. Why? Because it’s all too much. With time and healing, in proper recovery, the enormity of their betrayal is laid out before them, but not at first. I actually think his inability to relate to my pain allowed me to heal faster and to realize how crucial it is that I believe in myself. That I know deep down that I will survive no matter what. His inability at first to be empathetic allowed me to truly know I could live without him, and that is something I needed.

I know Blue Eyes is not a mean person, so I wondered what really drove him to do what he did. Cruel acts like sitting next to me on our bed texting another woman. Leaving me for days on end with no communication while he shared a hotel room, visited places we had been as a family, shared his inner most feelings, with another woman. But most of all the lying… the lying about me. I started to realize the level of anger and resentment he harbored from his childhood drove much of the rationalization that he deserved his drug. His coping mechanism for the abuse just happens to be something that is not conducive to a loving, caring intimate long term relationship. Lies and secrets all around controlled his life. He did his best to have it all. He wasn’t happy, but he also wasn’t willing to give up me, or his drug. I know I’ve said this dozens of times before, but he truly believed he needed his drug to survive. He believed that because he never shared his truth with anyone in the real world. If he had, someone certainly would have set him straight. From an outsider’s point of view, what sex addicts do is fucking crazy. They risk their very lives to get their drug. WTF? But, but, but, by keeping it all a secret, they are also protecting their drug to the detriment of everything and everyone around them.

When I asked him to stop and think, he started using the acronym wwKd… what would Kat do. It bothered me. I am not some pinnacle of propriety or perfection. Just do what in your heart feels right. Just do what is kind. Stop putting me up on some weird pedestal, especially when you are also willing to be so cruel and dismissive of me and my needs.2170845_0

So yeah, I have heard over and over that what he did was not about me and I get what everyone is saying. I did nothing wrong. I get it. But, once an addict has been diagnosed (realizing no one is perfect) it is time to stop rationalizing and start absorbing the fact that what they did affected us deeply. Cheating is cruel. Cheating on your spouse is cruel. Cheating WITH someone else’s partner is cruel. But the disease goes much much deeper than that. Blue Eyes is (I’m counting this up here…) 4 years, 8 months, 13 days sober, and yet, he’s far from recovered. No, he doesn’t text/call/email/or fuck other women anymore and hasn’t for a very very long time. He doesn’t view porn or masturbate. Those sexual behaviors were the drugs of choice for 40 years. Once he was “caught” those drugs weren’t much of an option anymore. The truth was out and the risk was too high. He could no longer rationalize getting away with those behaviors, BUT…. he still has the wounds. He still walks around with emotional holes that need to be filled. Even after a fuck ton of therapy. Yeah, a FUCK TON!!!

How is he filling those holes now you might ask. He’s filling them with his other addiction, workaholism. He thrives off the attention, and again, he will get it no matter the cost.  He still loves grandstanding and being the center of attention, being a salesman and many outsiders might think that is just hunky dory. What’s the big deal, Kat. You have a successful husband whose business affords you many luxuries, you spoiled brat. Yeah… no. I have said numerous times that I would give up EVERYTHING just to have a husband that hadn’t betrayed me. EVERYTHING!!! I don’t fear that he will act out again sexually. But what I do fear, is that he will go so far down the rabbit hole again that my happiness will be contingent on leaving this whole mess behind and starting over. The truth is, Blue Eyes still ignores some of my most important needs. He still makes decisions that affect me, without my knowledge. He still puts himself first and he still harbors anger and resentment regarding just plain old daily life. I know we all have issues. I never expected him to be perfect before I knew he was an addict, so I certainly don’t expect him to be perfect now or any day in the future, but I do expect him to listen to me and take my needs into account.

I’m pretty well healed from the betrayal trauma. That does not mean, however, that my marriage is safe. That I no longer contemplate what it would be like to be free. Yeah, FREE. Living with a recovering addict is hard. They have to keep the path. It’s super easy to get sidetracked. It’s super easy to fall into the trap of a co-addiction and rationalize it away, because it’s not THAT. It’s not fucking other women, so it can’t be THAT bad, right???? Wrong. It can.

Some might call me spoiled. I mean he just planned a fucking awesome trip to London and Wimbledon for me, because he knows what I LOVE and I did absolutely love that trip. But then not two weeks after returning home, he scheduled business visitors to stay with us at our beach house. Something he has promised… “he will never do again.” He’s promised that a few times now. He knows I don’t like it. He knows I want our beach house to be our sacred retreat. He knows I don’t like entertaining business people (especially people I don’t know) on my time after he has been working 12-14 hours a day all week, plus working on weekends. He knows I HATE it. And yet, he claims I agreed. Why would I do that? I just said… I HATE it, and he knows it. I asked him to send me the itinerary he had worked up, so he sends it AFTER he has sent it to everyone participating. Get it? That means I am stuck. I can’t make changes. He scheduled a mindfulness afternoon with even more business “friends” attending, at my beach house. Also people I don’t know.

In the end, I decided to stay home, in Portland. He is at the beach house being all mindful and shit. I’m not happy. I threatened to find him an apartment today. I actually did look. It would be nice if he got a real feel for what it is like to live by himself after 35 years of living with me. He hasn’t lived alone since college, in a dorm surrounded by lots and lots of other college students, before he met me. When he still went home to Mommy and Daddy on holidays. He was 19 years old. Or wait, there was the time he lived for a few months in a company dorm in Kyoto, Japan, surrounded by his work buddies and friends. They totally took care of him. Earlier this year I was gone for 10 weeks, but he was still here in the home we built together, with our pets, and our son.

Sending him off alone isn’t an idle threat. I mean, don’t get me wrong here… I’m glad I’m not kicking him out because he’s being a man whore, but honestly, I don’t think he truly realizes what it would be like to not have me in his life anymore. It’s time to go back and re-visit the boundary list I created four years ago. I spent a lot of time on that thing for good reason.

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34 thoughts on “Cheap studio apartment for one, please

  1. Mr. P also has alternative thoughts/behaviours that I see as unhealthy ways to try and cope, and I’ve honestly wondered if he has ADHD/OCD. For example – we have a beautiful house yet he always wants to change things about or in it, or if he hears about something that interests him, he will do research and talk about it for days on end about it even if it’s something we don’t want or need. He also invites people over without checking with me, and I’ve insisted it’s something that needs to be discussed especially since I do all of the cooking. I’ve had him cancel the last round of guests because of this.

    Have you ever wondered if there is something else (diagnosable) going on with BE?

    Liked by 1 person

    • What you describe is very similar to BE… he only obsesses about certain things though as he is not a neat or tidy person, so he doesn’t obsess over home/car/etc… cleanliness, but he is a clean person, himself. Sometimes he thinks of our main home as his, but most of the time, not really. It’s more a burden. I purchased this home and have spent 20+ years restoring it. It was boarded up when we purchased it. He does not care much for other people’s possessions (and has actually broken a number of pieces of pottery, glass, etc… of mine or that I purchased, but never breaks anything of his own). Two separate therapists brought this to my attention. Misplaced rage, or passive aggression. Can’t remember how they each explained it. I didn’t really even realize how often he had broken things that meant something to me… because it was always an “accident.” Totally explained away.

      He will research the death out of a car, or a new technology, or some historical event, when he really has about 100 other things he should be focusing on. BE’s mother (the narcissist) constantly invites people to their homes and is so proud of herself. Her deal is the more friends you have the better person you are. After so many years of hearing and observing this, I do believe BE subconsciously feels the same. He definitely gets hits from feeling accepted and liked by other people. I am the opposite. I like people well enough, but do not need other people to validate me.

      BE was diagnosed with anxiety and attention deficit. He briefly took some medication, but the side effects were debilitating. We have been discussing hiring him an assistant (something he has not had basically since the slutty secretary all those years ago). The problem is he wants that person to basically do everything for him, and make sure he doesn’t double book, and whatnot, which sounds alright, but BE doesn’t like to answer to anyone, so in theory, great idea, in reality, not so great. He disappears with little notice and sabotages himself constantly. This past Saturday we were due to attend a play my niece was in. A matinee at 2:30pm. I told him I wanted to leave at 1:50pm so as not to have to stress out over finding a parking space. At 2:00pm I told him if he wasn’t ready to leave immediately I would leave without him. He didn’t even answer me. So, I got in my car and drove away. I arrived with 10 minutes to chat with my brother and sister in law and leisurely find a seat in the theatre. Blue Eyes ubered to the theatre and arrived just as the lights went down and the play started. So stressful to me. He didn’t really care.

      So yeah, BE does have other stuff going on. It’s an issue. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I can’t remember what the medication was…. I would ask him but ironically he is at a therapy appointment right now. It may have been Wellbutrin. I think they were hoping it would help with both anxiety and attention. They started him on a low dose and gradually increased it. The problem was, the symptoms were there from the very beginning. Now I know from taking blood pressure meds, that often, eventually, the side effects do diminish and/or go away, but his side effects did not and kept getting worse. Anyway, side effects were extreme lethargy, falling asleep all the time, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a meeting, missing meetings, etc… Also, zero drive to do much of anything and zero sex drive. Not that I was so much worried about the zero sex drive except that it was coupled with a total lack of drive. BE is normally incredibly engaging and engaged in life, especially business. Eventually after a couple months (and missing some critical work meetings), he gradually went off them. In my opinion he stayed on them too long, but he wanted to believe they would help him.

          BE has a childhood friend (also an SA weirdly enough) who takes something for adult attention deficit. It works for him. I think he takes Ritalin, but not positive. I will ask BE and post here later. Everyone’s system is so different and sometimes it takes time to find the correct drug. BE has not gone on anything else since. It’s difficult to give a drug with significant side effects a chance when you’re trying to run a company. I wish it was easier. xo

          Liked by 1 person

  2. While reading your post, my thought was that I would have flexed my muscle by just staying home- let him entertain them. I gave you a high five when I finally read that you had done just that. I think you mentioned in one of your recent posts that the path to recovery never ends… and this is a great example. I continue to be amazed at how you are able to assess and respond to each situation with such strength- especially when there is no guide book.
    PS- my work friend and her husband purchased a lake house – a sacred place like your beach house. They have both been focused on the renovation and decorating of the home and seem to be renewed by this piece of paradise. Their erratic journey continues and we all at work continue to support her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Having someone like you there for support has got to have helped get her to this point. I write partly because I don’t ever want to fall into a trap of denial. I choose to be happy under the circumstances, but it is a rocky journey. I like writing out my process. It helps me organize my thoughts. Thanks for being so supportive! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

    • I get it, FA. I have healed. Once I realized I would be fine on my own, healing commenced. I chose to stay but never promised it was forever. He still has work to do, but I feel good knowing I have solid and viable choices, regardless. Much love! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I am just hovering on the brink of knowing I would be just fine without him, so fingers crossed that is positive and it won’t come to that.
        I do have days when I am completely indifferent to him. Was it like that for you? X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhhh… the freedom dream. I have that one. What life could be like, if only…(there were no SA, no skanks, no Craigslist, no sleazy hotels). It’s a good dream but only a dream.

    I think Dr. M did a great job with Handsome developing his empathy for me over the betrayals. He owns what he did, but to me he just glazes the surface of how he could be so cruel. To me it’s not quite enough to say “the addiction drowns out your conscience” because, while I know it creates havoc inside their heads they aren’t zombies. They also aren’t stupid (well, they are, but they aren’t unintelligent). It’s baffling to me that BE could express empathy to your kids and yet not so much for you. Do you think maybe he sees the trips/ luxuries as his efforts at empathy and amends? That’s just the misguided kind of thing a guy would come up with. They often believe a grand gesture is more important than small, heartfelt, consistent behavior.

    And of course, like you, while the grand gestures look great from the outside I’d give them all up in a heartbeat for truth, integrity, and fidelity.
    ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have written quite a bit about BE and empathy. At the very beginning it was difficult for him to show true empathy with me. He would go on and on about his 12 step brothers, and he cried when he told our older son what he had done. That was a couple weeks post dday. But with me it didn’t seem genuine. He was like a zombie. Eventually that first year the empathy flood gates opened, with tears, and big bear hugs, and a genuine level of remorse, but never really when I needed it most. Year two he pretty much embraced full on empathy and it hasn’t been an issue since. The trips are genuine. He loves it as much as I do and especially the London trip, during which he did minimal work, and didn’t have a single business meeting. It was a wonderful seven days, but then smack back to reality.

      What I struggle with is him, in the present, going back to his workaholic tendencies. Just like his sexaholism isn’t conducive to a successful marital partnership, neither is working to the exclusion of all else. It’s a way to avoid a lot of other things going on in life. He definitely takes it for granted that I will be here when he returns home, no matter how many hours he works. He’s going to need to rethink that. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope things get better. How frustrating. Perhaps I’m jaded, but I firmly believe the Mr. Right we want never comes in the package we think we want :). Go for the real one. Your Mr. Blue Eyes truly sounds like a narcissist. Great help in dealing with that are videos by Richard Grannon (easily searchable online). I like his earlier ones, haven’t kept up with his latest. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. God bless, honey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, SITR, for your comment. I have written quite a bit about narcissism here on this blog. Blue Eyes has gone through extensive psychological testing by three different sex addiction specialists and he is not a diagnosed narcissist. He is an addict, and he is very selfish some of the time. He was raised by a textbook narcissist, so we definitely know what they look like. There’s a post somewhere on this blog where I go through the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder and how they relate to Blue Eyes. He doesn’t bully, he’s not mean, he doesn’t think he’s better than others, he doesn’t exploit others, etc… but he does live inside his own head a lot and he does rationalize certain behaviors. He doesn’t consult me enough, and he does work A LOT. He learned to rely only on himself when he was very young. He was neglected and abused. He self medicated and kept his secret for 40 years. We have been together for nearly 35 years. He did an amazing job of covering his secrets and keeping a lot of balls in the air. If he was a narcissist, by the nature of the disorder, it would have been obvious all along. A leopard doesn’t change his spots, but hopefully in recovery he can learn to accept that he has spots and having spots isn’t bad, and learn to work with them in a productive manner. My thinking is he might do better with that if he didn’t have the rest of us around to fall back on. We’ll see.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I really appreciate this post. As I said in a reply on another’s blog, I’m now struggling with the “ongoing” nature of being married to an SA. We had a great discussion this morning in my group about “disappointment,” which for me is the “ongoing disappointment.” Not of acting out, because he has not done that in almost a year (as far as I know), but getting in touch with the reality that this is an “ongoing” situation in that he will always be an SA. I agree that the acting out is more a symptom of deeper issues. I asked our couples therapist this week, “Do people ever just get tired of this?” The therapist looked me in the eye and said, “Yes, they do.” So much work to do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think most everyone dealing with an addict gets tired of it. The drug is often medicating for underlying issues and taking away the drug doesn’t solve those issues. The only way I keep sane is knowing I have choices. When making the choice to stay, I’m making the choice to do my best to be kind, and understanding, and loving in this never ending recovery process. When I can’t be that person, that kind person I strive to be, it’s time for me to make changes. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m tired. Literally.

        Spot-on about the “drug” medicates underlying issues. The drug isn’t there, but what’s left? A dry drunk. That’s what I’ve got on my hands a good portion of the time. My dry drunk is 7 years old and 17 years old. I’d prefer a 57 year old, thank you very much. That is his actual age.

        At times, I have seen him “in recovery” and I have felt more safe, emotionally. Other times – not so much.

        I am putting my effort into myself, my healing and my vision for what my future could be. It will take some time and I need to be gentle with myself around that. Baby steps.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s all we can do, beleeme, is be kind and patient with ourselves and realize we have choices. Some of those choices are very very difficult, but just knowing we have them is important. We are not responsible for any other adult’s happiness, just our own. I think once partners of addicts and friends and family of those with mental illnesses realize we can’t fix the other person and no level of diligence, watching over them, will provide us with peace, it’s a gift. We have to be able to let go believing our love is enough to keep them safe or sober. It sounds sad, but it is actually freeing. Much love. xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

          • I implemented some NEW boundaries for me regarding the “Naughty Teen” bullshit. I got huge pushback. And then, PEACE. For me, peace and empowerment. I will NOT tolerate his “inner-punk” adolescent taking his anger out on me.

            I may have to use a line I used to use with children (when I taught), if they were being disrespectful. I’d say “You may NOT speak to me that way.” They’d stop. The kids learned boundaries. In many ways, men who are referred to as SA/IA are “stuck” in their maturity. Probably from trauma – – – but no more freaking excuses! I MATTER, dammit!

            Liked by 1 person

            • YES, you do. You matter and your feelings matter. It’s always easier for them to deflect back to us than acknowledge their own behavior. It’s habit. Busting through those bad behaviors takes time, and no more rationalizing! Glad you’re standing up for yourself. I’m still hurt by some of the things BE does or says. Then, I remember, to voice my displeasure and move away from the pain. I didn’t create the monster! xoxo

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  6. I feel like the root cause of infidelity is selfishness. Do what I want. Because I want it. I need to.
    So whether it’s sex, spending, workaholic, hobbies, etc., the question remains to me: will he change his selfish behavior?
    I was married to a man that is not a bad man. He’s a selfish man. And I knew that he’d never change. He just can’t. He doesn’t even know how to get to it to solve it. Doesn’t even recognize the behavior. So I knew I’d be unhappy, or at least unfulfilled or resentful, for the rest of my life if I ever went back to him.
    Your husband at least is trying. Sounds like therapy really helps figure those things out. But you know what you’re up against so I’m not trying to pacify you. You’re not a brat or selfish so I think this really hits home for those that recognize infidelity is a symptom of something bigger. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is indeed trying, DWM. The therapy, but also the 12 step meetings, fellowship, and friendships help him be a better more well rounded person and in turn he’s a better partner. When he falls back into his extreme workaholic tendencies, he is also too busy for all those productive behaviors. It’s a vicious cycle by which his physical health takes a hit, as does my mental health. And yes, ultimately any obsessive behavior stems from his selfish entitled thinking. Time to get back to the basics! Hope you enjoyed your summer! ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Man, this post was needed by me today. I know you are doing pretty well, all things considered, but we all have those moments, when we question and are mad at the injustice, and our partner’s lack of understanding. Thank you for always being there for me, and so many others, Kat xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many days you helped me through and also gave me wonderful words of advice. Anyone who thinks blogger friends aren’t “real friends” has never met you!

      I am generally doing very well, under the circumstances. I guess now I truly realize when things are off and I actually have less patience. I know I deserve better and I intend to have it. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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