Last week I drove to the beach house by myself. Blue Eyes and I were in a bit of a spat regarding a work issue. I had done my share, it was time for him to kick in. He promised me he would, then he didn’t. It infuriated me. It was a big deal. I left him sitting on the family room sofa frantically trying to finish what he had promised. He yelled at me “I can’t do everything myself.” I thought he was joking. I know he is busy, but I had merely asked him to sign the construction contract for our new space. Construction cannot begin until he signs the doc. He’s an attorney, I am not. I had spent weeks nailing down the construction budget with our designer/architect. I have skills, but signing a multi page, large six-figure construction budget contract needed an attorney’s eyes. Just one final run through by the boss. Our in-house General Counsel was supposed to handle it, but Blue Eyes let him off the hook, so the signing fell to him. That was fine by me, but we had missed the deadline. For no good reason. I was pissed that he hadn’t signed it, and I was pissed that he was pissed. I told him I didn’t want him with me. I jumped in the car with my heart pounding about a million beats per second. I was so angry. How dare he try and turn it all back around on me.
I then stopped the car in the park a couple blocks from our house. I sat there and caught my breath. I didn’t want to drive while I was so upset. I thought maybe Blue Eyes would call me. Ask me to come back. I figured he would quickly peruse the doc and then want to go with me. He didn’t call, or text, or anything. I ended up driving to the beach house by myself. Blue Eyes and I were supposed to have stopped for dinner on the way. I didn’t want to stop. I drove through a torrential downpour on a two-lane highway over the coastal mountain range in the dark with my music blaring. I arrived to our empty beach house and got ready for bed. Blue Eyes had been wildly texting and emailing both me and the construction contractor, which was so strange and frustrating as the contract was really ready to go. He made a huge mess of things. I slept fitfully.
The next morning I had scheduled a hair color appointment in a town about 45 minutes north of the beach house… Astoria, Oregon, actually. The land of Goonies, and Dexter the lumber jack, lol. I’m now blonder than I have ever been in my life. Which isn’t very blonde to a blonde person, but to me, I’M BLONDE. Anyway, my real hair is now gray/silver, so the lighter color better matches the grow out. WIN! Truth: I’m still very much getting used to it. Normally I really enjoy my salon appointments, but this time I spent half of it frantically texting Blue Eyes about the contract as I couldn’t actually put the phone up to my ear due to hair color everywhere and he just wasn’t listening to what I was saying, typing, texting, whatever. Ugh. We finally got things settled and signed by the time I needed to make the two hour drive back to Portland.
On my drive home, I passed a spot on the highway, on the side of the road, rocks, moss, ferns, a waterfall… I remembered that spot exactly. Flashback to five years ago, I was on this same highway with Blue Eyes. Winter 2014 It was an awful drive out to check out a ranch where we were to leave our dogs during some vacations we had scheduled previous to discovery. I was in a miserable state of trauma and everything was triggering, not yet a month out from that horrifying phone call. I remember being inside my head on this day, ruminating on every conjured detail of my husband’s acting out. I remember looking at that spot on the side of the road and out of the blue asking him if he had ever taken her dog for a walk. This was a big deal to me. It was those kinds of acts that burned the most… did she make a meal for him? Did they watch a movie together at her house? Did they walk her dog together? Sex was the ultimate act of betrayal, for sure, but I could put that into the perspective of his sick addictive mind. But the mundane husband & wife kinds of things, her acting like a partner instead of a free whore, him doing husbandly duties around her house, those made my heart ache.
I remember him telling me that he never took her dog on a walk, with or without her. He never did anything around her house. She was a prolific hoarder and her house made him uncomfortable. One time her dog got out of the house and he briefly helped her look for it, but then begged off. He told me she had asked him to go find something in her car once, but her car was filled with garbage, fast food wrappers, junk, and he quickly shut the door and left. He was not there to bond, or make house. He would not be caught dead with this woman in “real life.” I remember him telling me this and me not believing him. Back then, almost nothing he said was going to convince me that there wasn’t something there besides sex, after eight long years of an intermittent relationship with this woman, first at her house, then in hotels around the world. How could that be?
Now I know. It just is. He was willing to go to really grotesque lengths to feed his addiction and that woman was at the heart of the beast. What hit me about driving by that particular spot and having that flashback was that I wasn’t actually thinking about something he had done within his addiction or something he had done to betray me, but in fact, I was looking back to an actual memory, post discovery. The memory wasn’t a trigger. It didn’t bother me. It made me think. First, it must have thrown Blue Eyes for a loop… of all the things he did do, taking her dog on a walk would probably seem quite benign to him. But mainly, how far I’ve come that even on my worst days my chest doesn’t seize up anymore. Tears rarely spill from my eyes. I never go to that place where nothing can get through. I don’t sit in my closet. I don’t hide from the world and no spot on the highway, or song on the radio, or city in the world can take me back to that horribly traumatic space in my head. I’m over it. So even though I still struggle with my recovering sex addict husband, and sometimes I still feel a bit melancholy that my story is drastically altered, and I have to acknowledge the fact that I was betrayed…