Moving on

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Street Art at Wynwood Walls, Miami

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as the third in the trilogy of ‘I woke up to nothing’ posts. I’m over those feelings now, but March included a couple of really difficult weeks. The sadness even spilled over into our business trip to Paris, but again, I’m doing better. I’m handling life better, again.

I’ve never had so much, and felt so empty.

That was the title of that third post. I want to be the strongest woman in the world. I want to take my husband’s emotional neglect of me and my feelings and just brush it off and walk proud. Chalk it all up to his stress levels, to him being overwhelmed with work, with life, with his being a recovering sex addict, every.single.day. But I can’t. I won’t. It doesn’t seem fair that I should continue to be treated with neglect, no matter his mood. No more excuses. I know addicts “think” they are doing everything they can to be better partners, to acknowledge our trauma, our needs, our healing wounds, but what really matters is how we feel. We know, now especially, when things aren’t right.

I truly feel like I have endured one of the cruelest betrayals imaginable. I’m healing nicely, but I’m still with this person who hurt me. I don’t really care what he’s stressed about today, or that he was abused as a child, or that he’s tired, or that he is a recovering addict. I really don’t care. I’m not a doormat or a punching bag. Enough is enough. Five years of healing and understanding have come and gone. This is no longer a new thing. Two weeks ago I wrote those words: I’ve never had so much, and felt so empty. I felt that emptiness deep in the pit of my stomach. I’m surrounded by beautiful things. I have a lot of material possessions. I travel well and often. I have a beautiful family, and yet the emptiness is there. This isn’t malaise, or melancholy, or depression. It’s not menopause. The core of my emptiness comes from that deep dark knowledge that I gave my love to someone who abused it and doesn’t appreciate it. He will tell you he does. He will tell you he cherishes me, that I am everything to him. That he loves me desperately. But all I really care about now is that he shows it. He still struggles knowing how to show me. I find this exasperating. We’ve been together 35 years. I don’t need any more fancy things. I need him to respond to me in a loving and kind way, when I need it, not when it’s convenient for him. I want him to put my simple needs before his own very complicated ones.

I have been willing to walk away for a very long time. I stay because I love my husband and because I am a loyal and compassionate person. I realize now, however, that I need to be loved and respected in the same way I love. Addicts (and selfish people) create a lot of excuses to rationalize their behavior. I’m tired of the excuses.

I just spent a wonderful 3+ days with Totally Caroline in Miami. I’m currently on a plane. Tomorrow I commence my 30 days of healthy living many miles from home. I will use this time wisely, as I have done before. Spring renewal. I’ve moved away from the sad, empty feelings and am giving myself the opportunity to clear my head of the baggage that comes with living with an addict.

Spring in Paris

Happier posts to follow…

36 thoughts on “Moving on

  1. You’ve had a tough stretch Kat… I know I keep saying this but I so admire you for staying so real. So willing to share the journey and your most intimate feelings truthfully (and beautifully). This spring getaway is so well timed, after a hellish March. I hope you’re having an awesome time! “I need him to respond to me in a loving and kind way, when I need it, not when it’s convenient for him. I want him to put my simple needs before his own very complicated ones.” You want to be loved and respected the way you love and respect. Do you believe he is capable? Is your deep, core and very natural and healthy desire to be loved (or rather to feel that you are loved) a realistic expectation in your specific circumstances? Isn’t that the forever dilemma of being partner of an addict – they appear to have a different emotional maturity level, and no one knows for sure if they will ever ‘grow up’ emotionally. Whether they will ever be emotionally mature, loving and kind. As you yourself wrote about this: they will always be addicts, and they will always be addicted to their own addictions the most – whether it’s sex, drugs or recovery itself, you (we) will always come second (at best). This aspect is not likely to change (and I believe they are not even encouraged to change this in their forever-lasting recovery). This is our internal dilemma and it is the hardest we can ever face – can I live with this, can I live like this? Without my deepest most important emotional needs being met? When I know it makes me unhappy and empty to my core? I know you’ll feel better after the retreat, but the question will remain. Not advocating any direction here, just relating to how hard it is to go either way. None of those ways are our originally planned ‘preferred paths’, and hard to weigh the perceived pros and cons. Big hugs to you.

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    • Thanks for the beautiful words, MWS. I’m having an amazing time away, per usual. To answer your question, no. I don’t think he will ever love me the way I love him (both inside and out), but I know he is trying. He will always have his own way and I will have to continue to decide if it’s enough. Even if his recovery is self-based, he can still keep learning and growing. He can be a better partner. I believe he wants this, but he hasn’t blown me away. Just stopping the sexual acting out behavior will never be enough. Those behaviors were symptoms of a much bigger problem. His addiction just helped hide the now obvious problems. Some days I do think addicts fall into old habits of believing their needs are so much more important than anyone else’s and their behavior reflects that. I don’t actually ask for much, in my opinion, tbh. He is a deflector and a rationalizer. I know these bad habits are hard to break. If I continue to have months like March, I might ask for a trial separation. Maybe then he will understand the consequences of his daily behavior. For now I have my time away and when I return home next month, we’ll see where things go. At this point, I’m not afraid, either way. Big hugs back! ❤️

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  2. You said one of the cruelest betrayals imaginable. I feel the same. And at 5 years out I still reminisce that I had so much going for me. The world WAS my oyster. It seems like I made such a terrible choice. I do still love him and truly believe he loves me more than anything in the world ever. And I have a beautiful home on the lake, nice cars, nice clothes. But empty. Perpetually sad. And no one IRL has a clue. And can’t think anyone would understand why I stayed after Dday. If I was on the outside looking in I sure wouldn’t understand it. We can only keep taking care of ourselves and one day at a time. Glad you’re doing your getaways and taking care of you.

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  3. “I don’t need any more fancy things. I need him to respond to me in a loving and kind way, when I need it, not when it’s convenient for him. I want him to put my simple needs before his own very complicated ones.”

    Yes to all of this. If I really want something, I’ll buy it for myself. What I want from my husband cannot be bought for me. It doesn’t have a price tag. I want – together with our kids – to be his priority. He would assure you that we are, but as you said in one of your earlier posts, if that were really true I would FEEL it in my core. I wouldn’t be doubtful about it (or, worse yet, have it made clear to me on a not infrequent basis that he still puts himself and his comfort and addicty needs first).

    I hope that your spring renewal is invigorating and restorative! Even more so, I hope that BE uses the time that you are away to figure out how he can be a better partner to you all of the time (and not just when work/ life isn’t pressing on him). You’ve been very clear about what you need. He needs to figure out how to meet those needs regardless of (self-inflicted or other) stressors.
    xo

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    • I’m blissfully happy here in my spotless little one bedroom apartment, no kids, no pets, almost no work, no husband, no mess. Healthy food, exercise, friends. I know it’s short term and when I return to real life I will be invigorated. I’ve found a healthy way for me to take care of me! I’m thinking this will be a twice a year thing going forward. One month in the spring. One month in the Fall. It’s that important to my sanity! I hope BE is using his time wisely. Wouldn’t that be a novelty? 😘

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  4. I am not a married guy or have faced that much you have expressed(and i believe that it would have been harder to feel too). But I had this feeling of not having the simple acceptance/acknowledgement from those i loved too much.. I always found them careless. (addicts) But I want to say that we all are addicts.. We all are addicts to the particularity of our views about love, sadness, success, friendship, growth, of everything.. This leaves us careless about all the other shades that existed in this spectrum as I see it. I am not calling you numb or selfcentered or that you never tried.. Iam just trying to say that when we give someone something we wish it works we wish outcomes we long results.. And when they don’t comply to our standards we throw them off.. I know it is your life and you have the right to live it for yourself.. But just dont think ever or believe that you changed nothing in that guy’s scheme of life.. You have given him the most precious thing in our lives and it was your time… In the end the contrast between shades is what brings it uniqueness..

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    • So true, Fahad. I have given my husband 35 years of my life. I was honest, faithful, loving, and compassionate. I let him live his life the way he wanted, and he desperately hurt me. I’m still with him. I understand he is an addict. I have learned during this process that addicts can be quite lazy and they rationalize bad behavior. They want control, but it is an illusion. I do understand my husband and I love him, but he must work harder if he wants to keep me as his partner. He must try to meet me with understanding, sensitivity, and kindness. I’m not throwing him off. I’m just asking for in return, some of what I give him. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Hello my cyber friend
    So believing that life shows you the way I read this post and decided (as I often do) to think about it before I responded. Then I went to edit my book and this was in the journal entry from the 7th of November 2007:

    ‘As I say that my eyes fill up with tears; so being frightened must be part of it: I am frightened I will not stay. I am frightened I cannot stay. I am frightened that if if do stay this will not go away. I am frightened I am getting depressed and will not be able to control it. I am frightened I will waste what I have with Rich. I am frightened I will give ‘her’ what she wants, because by walking away, and leaving Rich I will be giving ‘her’ just that. I am frightened for Rich’

    Talk about life showing me the way! I just thought I would share this with you because this was how I felt & as time went on I too became numb and unsure if I would stay, because I was switching off: it is showing in the journal entries I am sharing on my blog.
    Life is never simple (God don’t we know that) but my good old sis said to me the other day that life is about a series of choices really: that is what we have to do every day: make a choice; and we can only make that choice based on the information or how we feel on that day. My only caveat is: life shows us so many choices, and I do believe that it tries to shove us in the right direction sometimes! But more than anything I always believe in the saying that you only have one life.
    I hope this helps and I hope that you get the peace and sustenance you need from your time on your own. Sending a hug, always.
    Moisy

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    • That is awesome, Moisy. I also was scared that splitting up would give Leanne what she wanted. I don’t believe she really wanted Rog.

      She just wanted to destroy us. And she succeeded. Because Rog could not be who I thought he could be/was.

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    • I agree, Moisy, we only have one life! It’s important we live it fully, being kind to ourselves and to others. I have written very similar words to yours, but not so long ago. I’m still processing a bit, I guess. My husband’s infidelities were numerous, but I think the bigger deal is that he is and will always be an addict. He often becomes so overwhelmed with everything in his life that he forgets (or neglects) to be kind and compassionate to the ones who love him the most. I still very much feel the pain of the betrayal. Not in the same deep way as earlier on, but I feel it and I just frankly want to be treated with loving kindness. The golden rule and all that. Problem is, my husband never really learned the golden rule. The people that were supposed to love him and nurture him, didn’t. That stays with a person forever! xoxo

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      • I thought you would be processing it, and fully understand why. Things we learn can never be unlearnt, but we can make conscious choices to not do what we always do: I always walked away, Rich always ran away.
        But only you know the small things about your H that are good, there must be something there, I suppose it is for you to make the decision whether it is enough. As you know I would support you all the way. None of us live another person’s life. ❤️ moisy

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        • Thanks for being so supportive, Moisy. You are lovely. There actually is a lot of good in my husband and I have deemed it enough, so far. I love the little anecdotes you write about with you and your husband. Unfortunately my blog is still mostly about living with a recovering sex addict, which you may have noticed isn’t all that fun. 😉 We do have fun times, but it is nice to be reminded that I have choices and support if things get too bad. Writing helps me process and at 5 years, we’re still working through a lot. 🤗❤️

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  6. I love that you posted about the hard, even when moving forward and pushing away from those feelings again.

    Woohoo on the renewals. They help ever so much.

    These hard patches will probably come forever. It’s the gift of infidelity and addiction. No one who hasn’t had to deal with it has a clue. Even the betrayer, really. It’s how we process and cope, to push forward that changes, improves.

    Love you, CK ❤

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