This is betrayal

Marriage is challenging no matter how you slice it. All couples have disagreements, arguments if you will. There will often be money issues and potentially child rearing challenges. Some believe in love at first sight, some nurture the love over many months or years. My guess is those of us who hadn’t been hurt prior to marriage didn’t really contemplate what would happen if… if we found out the person we had chosen to spend the rest of our life with ended up cheating on us. I know I never contemplated it. I don’t think I believed in a fairy tale. I know relationships can be difficult. We knew each other for five and a half years before marriage. We were engaged for four of those years. I knew Blue Eyes was fallible, and he knew the same about me. I’m sure he would have also said that I would never cheat on him, and I didn’t. I felt the same about him. I was wrong. I kept my word. He didn’t. I’ve been through all this many times here on the blog.

We’re still together. We’re still working together on ourselves and on our marriage, but we have changed. Some aspects of our marriage will never fully heal from the betrayal. We’re both different and we can’t go back.

I’m cynical now. I don’t believe some of what he says, now. I’m more critical of his supposed acts of love towards me. I still question his ability to fully give himself over and love me. I know that he will never love the way I love. That’s obvious, now.

Blues Eyes has just started a new batch of hard apple cider. Even though we don’t drink, per se, he brews his cider sparkly with a fairly low alcohol content. He’ll drink a little, but he loves sharing with our boys the process of making the cider. He also loves it when family comes over and wants to taste it. But what he really enjoys is bartering with it. He has a friend whose son is a charter fisherman on the Oregon Coast and Blue Eyes loves to trade cider for fresh or smoked salmon. He also barters with a guy downtown who has a Philly Cheesesteak Cart. Hard Cider has become quite popular.

The room where Blue Eyes brews his cider is basically a large concrete storage room under our garage and next to the kitchen. We live on a hillside. This space is honestly a great feature of the house. I store extra crockery, plus canned goods, outdoor furniture during winter, etc… in there. When we refurbished the living room a few years ago, a couple boxes of items that didn’t fit the new scheme are also in the cider room, including some small family photos that need re-framing.

Friday night after sterilizing his cider fermentation containers, Blue Eyes was so excited to tell me he found something special in the cider room while he was cleaning up. He went into his office and pulled out a small brass double photo frame with pictures of me from our honeymoon nearly 30 years ago. They were taken on a walk we took through the woods down to the beach on the central California coast. He was giddy telling me how happy he was to have discovered these photos. Well, I knew the photos were in there the whole time, so it was less exciting for me. There’s also a photo from the same day that I took of Blue Eyes playing the guitar in the beautiful lobby of the boutique hotel where we stayed. It was a gorgeous setting. We had a great time that week.

So the thing that bothers me is the fact that Blue Eyes never paid the least bit of attention to those photos when they sat on the piano of our living room for 15 years. Photos were one of those huge triggers for me post discovery. The inevitable… what was he really thinking about when THAT photo was taken? He acted out for so many years of our relationship it was difficult to reconcile it all. After seeing the 2013 phone records I knew how obsessive his addiction was. If none of it was “real,” and my life was a lie, then what was the point of the past 30 years. Healing eventually helped me metabolize and realize my life is my own, and I was loyal and faithful and happy, and that’s what matters. But, sometimes photos are still a trigger.

Like the photo of me in Nara, Japan taken in 1987. It’s snowing and I’m feeding the deer. I’m 23 years old. The photo of me is framed and sits on a credenza in his high rise office building in downtown. At one point many years ago, the other woman showed up at his office, after hours, and he gave her a tour. I asked him about that photo that he supposedly loves so much, of his wife, the woman he supposedly loves so much. Did he leave it out for her to see? At that point had she been to that very same deer park with him? Because he did take her there. He said he shoved the photo in his desk while she was there. I asked him why? Why put that photo away? He said he did it because he was ashamed of his behavior and looking at the photo reminded him of his shameful acts. I know this to be a lie. I know he put it away because his story to her was that we didn’t have a loving, nurturing marriage and I was not kind, so why would he have a picture of me that he would have to look at all day. She would have questioned it. It would have been the first thing the other woman would have noticed. His whole life back then was about keeping his secret sex life in tact. How satisfying for her to be invited up to his private office after hours and see not one little inkling that I even existed.

Being disregarded, disrespected, taken for granted, and lied about and to… that kind of betrayal can never be wiped clean. The best that can be hoped for for the betrayer is that people give you a chance at being brutally honest about EVERYTHING! It still infuriates (and saddens) me that after all this time, when talking with ME, about HIS betrayal, that he still goes back to a place of selfishness. Because in my mind saying he put the photo away because what he was doing was shameful is a crock of bullshit. It makes him look like some kind of remorseful guy while he is actively cheating. Nuh uh. He put it away so he didn’t piss off the other woman. It’s as simple as that.

He’s doubling down on his SA meetings. It’s the right thing to do.

21 thoughts on “This is betrayal

  1. Here’s me, taking up for BE. I suggest you read about Covert Narcissism. I had a grandmother who was one and she did a number on her children.
    Can I be a horse’s a** for a minute and get preachy? This is how BE survived. If you live in a toxic household you are always on alert. You never completely let your guard down. If lying gets you some relief you lie.

    My suggestion is for you to take your anger out of it and the next time just ask him if he wants to rethink his answer. Be calm, and wait. I promise you he is going to be miserable because you are asking him to give up one of his default survival tools. Just wait. No anger. If he tells the truth hug him. You are helping him break that concrete he has hidden behind all of his life and you are doing it with love. You have known this is a loooong journey for both of you.

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    • It’s okay, K, that you have BE’s back. I know he is still a broken little boy sometimes, but I still need him to step up. I know it took a lot for him to survive his childhood and surviving actually meant not just coming out of it with an addiction, but also with a couple pretty crippling childhood auto immune diseases.

      I try really hard to take anger out, but sometimes it flairs because I am human. It is very short lived and I do write about it because there are a lot of us trying to navigate these waters and just knowing that someone else is struggling the same is somehow reassuring? Not sure that is the right word, but it sure is less lonely. There is a lot of help for people like Blue Eyes, not so much for the not so silent suffering wives.

      I do wait patiently for him to tell the truth, but when he doesn’t, I know he needs to go back to his resources. I know this journey is long… life long. Thanks for the advice, as always. xo

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      • I think you are strong enough to have survived a difficult childhood with your sense of self intact. I don’t know BE except through your blog but he did not survive as a whole, healthy adult. He got stuck.
        I remember seeing John Bradshaw on PBS a gazillion years ago who discussed the inner child. Have you ever seen his programs?

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  2. Never had to wonder about the removal or hiding of pictures. Pig-shit never…in all our years of “marriage” had a picture of me or the children on his desk. He treated us like we didn’t matter so why have pictures to remind him?
    “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.” I could and will never forgive.
    (Shoot me a text…okay?)

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    • You are just full of fancy words, ha. I haven’t heard that phrase in such a long time. My husband actually has quite a few photos of us that he blew up and framed himself or dug out of boxes, including the one of me on his credenza. He chose it and he put it where it is. It just still irks me that “putting me away” became a necessary part of his addiction and acting out. The fact that it went on for decades and I felt like a fool, well that burns. Now I know he was the fool. And he is a lucky man too, that I am still here.

      Text on it’s way… was offline mostly yesterday. ❤

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  3. Will and I have had this same convo regarding pictures in his office, his wallet etc. One of his AP’s, Skank, knew that he loved me..he told her often. The thing is that she didn’t care. She felt like she was more loveable and that after 30+ years of marriage, he would eventually leave me for her. It’s weird, but I almost feel sorry for her and her kind. How sad to be so self-delusional. When she came to our house, Will bragged to her about how I had done so much to make our fixer-upper into a beautiful home. There were family pictures everywhere and many, many pictures of the two of us in various places on vacation. It wasn’t long after that, that she broke it off with Will saying that she was going to “settle down” with someone she met. It boggles my mind that there are women out there like this. It is sad and pathetic. It is also a part of how I look at other women now. It has changed my view of people in general and I hate that I am more cynical and suspicious now. I feel your pain, dear Kat, and can only hope that time and consistency will help diminish it. Much love..💕

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    • Sometimes I think the delusional other women think the men are just trying to convince themselves that they are still happy with us, but why would our husbands be having sex with them if we were all that. It still blows my mind that some women think sex = love with a married man. Get a grip. I agree. I don’t think some of the women care at all, especially the ones having sex with sex addicts because sex addicts are clearly not creating a long lasting romantic relationship. They’re getting a fix. The women are rationalizing just as desperately as our sick husbands.

      Blue Eyes brought the other woman to our house, but I know he did it to get rid of her. She spent only a short time here and apparently was very uncomfortable. They didn’t have sex here, they had already done that at her house, and seriously, once the high of the addiction wore off he didn’t want to be anywhere near her. It wasn’t a romance. It was a fix. So while she was at our house, she managed to bad mouth everything (especially my decorating–and this woman is a hoarder) including our family photo. What a bitch. It’s a beautiful photo of our teen boys and my husband in a gorgeous setting. She could have just ignored that I was in the photo and appreciated my boys, but no. Selfish, self absorbed delusional pathetic w****. Well, that was cathartic. 🙂

      Time is diminishing the pain, thankfully, but the reality is the same. Being married to a sex addict just sucks sometimes. In different ways, I think, than being married to just a regular old non sex addict, because I know that can suck too, but maybe less? Who knows. xoxo

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  4. Oh gosh you are so cute in those pics. The hair changed, but you still look the same. And yeah, totally been triggered by pics. When I left England I left behind everything, destroyed our love letters and wedding cards. I did f want any memories. Then when my ex and I started talking, he sent me a photo of our wedding. I was at work when I got it. It left me in a flood of tears. In my eyes I saw innocence and hopefulness, love… and I thought of what he did to destroy it. It killed me, so yeah, totally get you. ♥️♥️♥️

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  5. Yes, thanks for sharing the hard times, Kat. I, too, have become cynical. I was triggered by something my husband said Sunday morning that I’m sure he meant to be positive. But it brought up his past bad acts for me and I’m still angry today. I won’t hijack this thread by going into it here, but it was a similar situation of him “discovering” something that was there all along for 30 yrs. but he was too deep into his addiction to notice. Oh duh. For me, it was a reminder of the betrayal, disrespect and total disregard of the life I was working so hard to build all those years.

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    • Yes, Maggie as I said to Paula, I keep writing because I still am. I still am a wife living with her sex addict husband and I refuse to pretend like things are just oh so normal. What even is normal these days? I can be a generally happy and healthy person and still be frustrated and irritated by my husband’s behavior. It is still so absolutely mind blowing how they were able to rationalize, compartmentalize, dissociate, or whatever we are calling it today, out their “real” lives. Because indeed we ARE real life. We didn’t cause them to be mentally unwell or an addict. We didn’t participate in their elicit acts. We didn’t knowingly feed their addiction. We are fallout and being fallout is pretty difficult to internalize. Now that the truth is revealed, it still boggles my mind how ingrained their habits are and how quickly they look to self soothe and legitimize some of their behavior. I mean I know they’ve been doing it for a long time, but I thought they were now agreeing they wanted to be different? They must be different if they want us in their lives, but it still seems so difficult some days. The reminders come at me with much less force than they did a couple years ago, but they’re not gone yet. Maybe some day, but I doubt it. xo

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  6. Yep. Looking at photos of our lives during the years of his affair is not the warm and fuzzy walk down memory lane it should be. I always end up trying to look into the eyes of photo-OH to see if I can see the betrayal there.

    Not quite the same, but your post reminds me of when OH was in the early stages of his affair, when they were pretending to themselves it was “just a friendship”.

    The OW would ask how I was, what I was doing. OH admits that mentioning me was uncomfortable for him, so he gave very little time to talking about me or our lives together. Because he felt guilt if he mentioned me, and he wanted to feel excited, not guilty.

    Why burst the fantasy bubble with the pins of reality?

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    • So true, FA. Photos for me, photos and the calendar were absolute torture. I felt like I could read his thoughts through his eyes in so many photos. I know he wasn’t miserable with us. It was never about that. It was about his secret sex life, the life he needed to keep all the rest of the balls in the air. But I know he would not smile in some photos because she followed my family blog and he didn’t want the wrath of her knowing he was actually a happy family man, not miserable and in need of her “services.” When she would see photos of us on vacation on my blog, she would lay into my husband about how he was an effing liar… that he wasn’t unhappy at all and he was just using her as a free prostitute. Well, she was correct, but telling her that would have ended everything, so he pleaded and lied to appease her. Some days I am just frankly overwhelmed by the level of lies, and I need him to know that. Boo hoo for him if it hurts, or if he can’t handle it. Consequences are a bitch sometimes, and so am I. I make no apologies. He knows I love him and I am doing the best I can with what he gave me. What HE gave me… because this really isn’t about me. At least that’s what they say. xoxo

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  7. Reconfigurung timelines is painful. Accepting the loss of what you thought you had, and what you do really have is hard. It’s not bad. Just very different from the ‘plan’ or more likely, the expectations you have for a pretty content future. And I believe this becomes a forever way of life. It isn’t as easy as it used to be. But, it is what it is. And you’re doing it. I really admire you sharing the hard x

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    • I feel compelled to keep sharing the “hard.” I wouldn’t want anyone to think that there is something wrong with them because they can’t just get over it and move on and forgive and forget or whatever. There is forgiving, but there is no forgetting. It’s important for us to be aware of our own needs and be true to who we are. I keep writing because I still am… I still am living with a sex addict, I still am working through healing albeit in a much better place than four, three, even two years ago. He’s still recovering and always will be because what he is recovering from is being a fallible human being who was hurt and who hurt other people. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that addiction just goes away. Also, I love writing on this blog. It’s a bit of a lifeline to a part of me I stopped nurturing long ago. Journaling helps keep me sane. I think you know I don’t prolong these discussions with BE anymore. I don’t sit in agony for days, like before. It’s all part of the process of living. ❤

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    • Nah, he put it away. His story hasn’t changed from four years ago. I just never asked him why before. I always innately knew the why. For some reason his giddiness over the honeymoon pics made me think of it. She is a scary violent person. Leaving it out and inviting her wrath wouldn’t have been worth the trouble. This wasn’t some lovey dovey romantic relationship. She was constantly demanding he remind her why he wasn’t home with me. *sigh*

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