Jack Kornfield said, “At the end of life, our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?”
I’ve always held my husband completely accountable for all the lies, all the cheating, all the betrayal. Forgiveness came fairly easy to me (perhaps too easy). I don’t hold hate and resentment in my heart, as a rule. I don’t think about it, it is merely how I developed, from childhood. Compassion is also part of my personal repertoire. Although I went through trauma hell for quite a while after discovery of my husband’s secret life, serious trauma for more than three years by my calculation, I still struggle with what is real, and what isn’t in my relationship with Blue Eyes. I still wonder how he defines love and whether he is capable of loving in the truest sense.
I think love is pretty difficult to define, really. It encompasses feelings and ideals. Through all this, I learned that my love really isn’t unconditional unless we are talking about innocents, like animals and infants. For me love is based on how I feel, but it also translates into how I behave. I treat things I love with great care and attention, nurturing, and honesty. Love is about giving. On the flip side of that, if we are to feel truly loved (an important part of life, I think), we need the same kinds of attention given to us. Being truly loved, knowing it, feeling it, is a great gift.
We can love without being loved back, it’s a thing, but where I am right now with my husband, with everything he has perpetrated on me and our marriage, I no longer desire to love him fully, romantically, intimately, without feeling love back. The kind of love that makes me feel appreciated and understood, not taken for granted. And this is where today’s story begins.
This past weekend I wrote about how I have been struggling. About tears. Tears that were actually driven by an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. It started a couple weeks ago. My feelings are most definitely a reaction to how I feel I am being treated by my husband. They almost always are these days. After five years, I have healed from the most obvious wounds. The shock, horror, and esteem wounds have healed nicely. The trust wounds are sorta healing up, but the actual broken heart, it’s still hemorrhaging.
I fell apart Monday morning. I really didn’t feel like doing anything. All the lengthy phone conversations and battling with Blue Eyes regarding our business and our employees had taken its toll. I wanted to pour myself a cup of tea and just watch tennis. They’re in the second week of Indian Wells. I don’t play much tennis anymore, but I love, love, love to watch it. Y’all know that. When I’m not able to watch it live, especially Grand Slams, I watch on TV. It’s on in the background whether I’m taking a conference call, reading a book, or cooking dinner. This brings me to Blue Eyes’ latest and extremely annoying desire to get rid of cable television. He has been plotting and planning this for months now. He wasn’t really asking me if we could get rid of cable, he was telling me he was definitely getting rid of it, so I was to let him know what “I couldn’t live without” before he called Comcast.
I was confused by his sudden desire to eliminate one of my favorite mind-numbing pastimes, and something I have enjoyed for 30+ years. If you are in a marriage with someone who has been loyal and loving and understanding and compassionate towards your horrid behavior, your neglect, your lying, and cheating and acts of betrayal, why would you take away one of her favorite things? Why? His excuse was money. He could save us A LOT of money. Apparently he did a whole spread sheet where he compared what our Comcast cable was costing us per year and what it would cost to just have the channels I like to watch (talk about a waste of time). He also needed to purchase a couple more Apple TV’s (he’s obsessive with the technical shit, we already have one, but these things become outdated super quick… who knew… Apple???). He never showed me the spreadsheet. I never watched much on Netflix, or Hulu, or AmazonPrime unless I was watching a program with Blue Eyes or our son. To be honest, I never really cared to figure it out. I had every cable channel available to me, why did I need that other stuff. But really, Blue Eyes went for months mentioning getting rid of the cable, but he never did, so I kind of forgot about it. Then finally he did cancel the cable. He said he had come up with a solution for the networks I liked watching, especially the tennis channel and ESPN, the two networks that cover professional tennis. He canceled cable, removed all the equipment, and mailed it all back to the cable company while I was at lunch with a friend. A couple weeks ago he showed me his solution for tennis. It didn’t work. He said he would figure it out. He didn’t, and then the cable was gone. I know I sound like a spoiled child, but honestly, I like my fucking cable TV. It grounds me!!!
So Monday morning, while crying tears of exhaustion, I sat down with my healthy smoothie thinking I would be able to watch my tennis (because, again, y’all know how important this is for me). And I tried. I tried to figure out the channel he had subscribed to, but there were no live matches even though, technically, there were about 8 good matches being played at the time. I could feel my tension mounting and I called Blue Eyes, as I started to talk, the flood gates opened and I just started crying. This wasn’t about Cable Television, and we both knew it. Blue Eyes said something stupid, and I had to hang up and I couldn’t catch my breath.
I resorted to texting Blue Eyes and he basically said, oh, I never figured it out. I’ll do it later when I get home. Then I fell apart. I had just frankly had it. All the broken promises came crashing down around me. Why was he so dead set on getting rid of something I loved? We’re not really on any kind of strict budget. At this point, we don’t need to be. So why my cable TV? Why was that the first place he went… because it’s something I love, and he could somehow control me or my behavior by taking it away from me. I strongly feel this because I live with an addict who spent years in the guise of a super nice, loyal, loving, friendly guy, when behind my back he was lying to us all, spending hours and hours plotting his way to his addiction. Even if that meant spending thousands of dollars on business trips even if they weren’t necessary, all to get his hits. Then there were the hours and hours spent viewing porn, texting, grooming, emailing, calling, and visiting other women. Some days it still hits me over the head, like a brick. It’s been five years.
This is the text conversation that ensued, after the phone call, this past Monday morning:
Me: This sucks. I was really trying to be understanding of your need to dump cable. It’s obvious that you don’t understand me at all. You know how much just watching a fucking tv program calms me, grounds me. There’s no one who knows me who doesn’t understand how much I love watching tennis. But this is so much bigger than the tennis channel. This is about you not caring about what’s important to me. It’s about you not following through with promises, about you being selfish and lazy when it comes to my needs. I’m having a horrible day. I don’t know what to do. I can’t face our son this way. I’m going to need to leave the house.
I was already struggling and at this point I was sobbing while typing the above message. My malaise and stress induced symptoms had very little to do with actually watching television, and everything to do with Blue Eyes being a dick. And also, some of the boundaries that had been in place (for my piece of mind, my safety) were shifting. He disregarded my simple needs, he would be traveling out of town without me (by my own making, yes) and hadn’t provided a simple itinerary. His manipulation and control issues were rearing their ugly heads. Basically he was saying with his actions… you are refusing to go with me, so fuck you and your itinerary. I’ve got better things to do. My heart was burning, I felt trapped like I needed a way out. I started looking for sharp objects, just a little release of the pain…
Blue Eyes: I took care of the problem. Our son will help you. I am sorry. I am going to cancel the other channel that didn’t work. Hang in there, deep breaths.
I look at the text message and can’t believe what I am reading. He has woken our son and I don’t know what he told him, but our son is on his way up from his bedroom. After I just said I can’t face him…
I frantically text: This isn’t about the tennis channel. How dare you involve our son after what I said above. You are indeed an asshole. You are fucking unreal. You have no feelings. Just put out fires however suits you. Never really thinking about my needs.
And this is Blue Eyes’ response: I canceled that other channel. Our son will install the new system, it’s called Sling. I am sorry to cause you suffering. You’ve got your channels. Sorry you had to go through this. I regret not being more attentive to your needs.
I read it three times to make sure I was reading it correctly.
Me: You don’t hear a fucking thing I say. This is not about the tennis channel. Who are you? Who is typing this? No matter what I say, you divert to something totally lame. Something almost inhuman. If this is the last conversation you have with me as your wife, is this what you really want to say? I regret to inform you that you have been inattentive to my needs and therefore I tender my resignation as your wife. Signed, your ex wife. I was going to say your ex best friend, but I have no delusion that I was ever your best friend. Best friends don’t treat each other with such disrespect.
Blue Eyes: OMG. I’m sorry. I will call you. I will come home as soon as I can. My apologies.
At this point I was in the bathroom trying to make myself presentable to our son. I have had to stuff down all my feelings in order to just play nice in the real world. I could feel my blood pressure was out of control. My stress level was off the charts. I sat down on the bathroom floor and tried to get my breathing in line. When I returned to my phone (which I never take in the bathroom, as a rule, but Blue Eyes takes his in with him ALL THE TIME, back to breaking all the rules), I listened to his message which is just a pathetic, “I’m sorry, I’ll come home soon.” Translated to mean, “please feel sorry for me and everything I have ever done and I don’t actually intend to come home, I’m just saying that to make myself feel good. If I was actually intending to come home, I would have left already.”
Me: No need to come home. Nothing good will come from that. Our son is up and I am dealing with a monstrous headache. What’s done is done. I’m not quite sure why you don’t read my words and react accordingly. You are like a poorly programmed machine. What I say matters. If you don’t listen, it’s impossible to react properly. This is a bigger problem than you realize. I’m just not strong enough anymore to keep taking the hits. Your inability to see me, my needs, to not be able to treat me with sincere kindness and respect… it’s too much.
Blue Eyes (I’m not kidding, this is his response): You have cable now. This should be grounding. Sling is the cable offering. I get you saying this is not what this is about, but you have cable. We’ll talk later.
Me: I’m not watching television. I won’t be watching television. This isn’t about television. Your comment is insane considering what I have just written here. You have no feelings. You are like a block of ice. You did exactly what I asked you not to do. I needed my space and for you to listen to me, and instead you woke up our son. After I said I couldn’t face him. You are a monster. You not doing what you promised for the 10,000th time was a trigger for living with the reality of having had to live with you not doing what you promised, for 35 years. I know you think I am just venting, but this is much much bigger than that. It’s me finally opening my eyes and realizing you are not capable of keeping promises or putting anyone else’s needs before your own.
When I spoke with my brother last week, getting rid of Comcast was the first thing he brought up??? Why was this such a big fucking deal to you? Because you were able to take something away from me? Something I enjoyed. What was your inner motive? Of all the ways we could save money? Why that??? Because it didn’t affect you other than the fact that you could control me and fuck me over, again. Do you not see your need for control shining through on this one? Then your clear abandonment of the situation once you knew you hadn’t provided me with what I needed. You are so transparent now. Only jumping in to solve the problem after you have upset me and only when absolutely necessary and then patting yourself on the back numerous times… you gave me what I wanted, now just shut up already, Kat! Even your pathetic phone message. I’ll come home as soon as I can. Poor poor Blue Eyes. He didn’t create any of these issues for himself, no. Of course not. Life just keeps handing you shit, right? No fault of your own. And we’re all going to just stick around.
I hope you are having fun. You had nothing on your schedule that I see, but you are obviously filling your time with something far more important than me as you haven’t texted back or even read my messages. You infuriate me. Did you laugh when your pathetic sex partner said she was the least important thing in your life? Did you tell her of course she wasn’t. Of course Kat is. Did you remind her that you literally scheduled me out of International trips so she could go. Obviously Kat is far less important… I lied to her every single day for years. Did you tell her that?
No response from Blue Eyes. Later that afternoon I texted him as our son wanted to know if he had purchased the two Apple TV’s he had budgeted for. Our son wanted to set everything up in the family room as well, as the second location, as that is where my elliptical is. He wanted me to be able to watch tennis in the rooms I frequent. My son is thoughtful.
Blue Eyes texted back that he had only purchased one, but that he would stop on his way home to the Apple Store and purchase the second one. He was supposed to have already purchased the second Apple TV before dumping cable. He was supposed to come home early that day as he was leaving the next morning early for his out of town business trip (or so I was told, because I didn’t actually receive that itinerary until the night before they left, and it came from the PA). Blue Eyes didn’t get home until late, because you know, shopping at the Apple Store is fun. He even sent me a couple pictures of a dog at the store. I didn’t respond. By the time he returned home I had completely shut down all emotion. We barely spoke.
The following morning at 5:42am, while I was sound asleep in bed, he texted me this:
I love you princess (insert princess icon). Waiting for hop along Cassidy. (insert smiley face). Our PA twisted his ankle the weekend before, playing basketball and was now wearing a boot. Miss you (insert kissing heart face) wish you were here.
For anyone still reading… I’m going to stop here for now and write more in my next post. This is just getting too long, but I need to write it out, to keep moving forward.