I knew it wasn’t perfect

It was Sunday morning of this past holiday weekend and I was triggered by something, I don’t quite remember. It wasn’t so much debilitating as it was distracting. Those feelings of not knowing, of my instincts being totally off, for years. Of him telling me about Ashley, the first, how she had worked years before for a vendor, that’s how he “knew” her. How he wouldn’t shut up about her and it all seemed off. How I asked, all those years ago when he had a separate apartment in Silicon Valley, if something inappropriate was going on. How he convincingly, very convincingly denied anything untoward until one day I stopped hearing about her. He admitted she tried to kiss him, in a bar, SHE crossed a line. He “fired” her. Mostly all lies. It sounded plausible if not totally believable at the time. The big deal is that I trusted him implicitly. The man I knew had a moral compass that would never allow for infidelity. And there was no need. I loved him wholly, and faithfully. I believed he wouldn’t cross that line. I believed it until the day I knew for sure he had.

Those lingering doubts are often just under the surface. I actually don’t believe he has broken his self imposed rules. I believe he is totally sober. It’s not about that at all, hasn’t been for years now. Anyone reading my words, all the thousands and thousands of words, also knows he struggled at first to empathize with my feelings. He couldn’t, it was overwhelming. He had blocked out so much, shut down so much, rationalized so much, and lied so convincingly, to everyone and to himself. Then he did go there. He started to feel, to cry, to hold me tight, desperately, and plead for my forgiveness. This happened regularly after he had completed his first run through of the 12 steps. But we are now in year six. All the difficult questions about his past behavior have been asked and answered. All the emotions have been faced, again and again. This isn’t about empathy, or bringing me flowers, or getting home from work when promised, or about putting me and our family first in his daily life. It’s not about that. I never lived in a fantasy world. I don’t now either.

Blue Eyes to this day goes through all the motions of recovery. He’s a poster child. Multiple days a week of 7am 12 step meetings, fellowship, therapy with EMDR, daily meditation, weekly Buddhist Sangha, acknowledgement of what he is, a sex addict. No question addiction is the disease of “me.” 12 step encourages lots of self reflection and a complete focus on self, and new healthy relationships with steppers, “brothers,” people they haven’t wronged. Even the amends step is about offloading the guilt of prior bad acts. I’m not questioning any of that anymore. It’s all good.

Therapy has been and is, for Blue Eyes, all about acknowledging the wounds, uncovering and dealing with abuse, dealing with his lack of coping skills. Focusing completely on himself and how to be kinder to himself and live in his new reality.

It’s incredibly difficult to know, even with all I have written, how our relationship as a couple works. We didn’t struggle. We didn’t go through rough periods. We had worked out how our life together went. Blue Eyes was/is incredibly successful in business. I handled pretty much everything else. We rarely argued. If something about Blue Eyes bothered me, I acknowledged it. He never really changed, but my truth was acknowledged. He never argued, rarely complained about me or anything I did. I thought it was all real, and it was. The part that wasn’t real was how Blue Eyes dealt with the demons inside. I didn’t see those demons. They represented anger and resentment from his abusive childhood. They lived within him and were kept at bay through his addictive behaviors.

So that brings us to today. The demons still reside inside Blue Eyes. They’re not as strong as they once were, they don’t have the same power, but they’re there. What’s not there is the drug that kept them completely hidden. What is there now is therapy. Unfortunately, in my opinion, therapy isn’t nearly as effective as drugs. I’m hoping one of these days it will reach that threshold, but today is not that day.

Back to Sunday morning. I wasn’t in a good place, sinus headache, not enough sleep, achy knee, who knows. Something made me flashback to that feeling of being duped, of my life partner totally pulling one over on me. How I felt stupid and played. It was strange as I hadn’t felt that way for some time. I was tired, depleted. It probably had to do with Blue Eyes recent blog post. Mostly a pity party about how loving himself will help him be a better partner to me. Actually, being kind, open, and honest with me is all I ask for. It seems he spends a lot of time concerned with loving himself while thinking merely showing up will be enough for me.

Blue Eyes sat across from me and said, “I know you’re never going to be completely healed from what I have done to you, and I’m okay with that. It’s okay.” That’s a direct quote. He’s okay with that.

That’s when I wrote the poem. It spilled out of me in one fluid motion. I posted it while he was at Buddhist meditation. It’s okay for him to continue writing about and thinking about his parents, forgiving them for past abuse, acknowledging their part in who he is… and who he is now, is an adult addict who betrayed his loyal life partner.

Apparently, however, his commitment to being there for me, as I continue to reconcile all he has perpetrated and how that fits into my life going forward, has run its course, and he’s okay with that.

37 thoughts on “I knew it wasn’t perfect

  1. I stumbled across your blog after a search of Omar Minwalla. Our timelines are scarily similar. D-day for me was 5 years ago yesterday, one month shy of our 20 year anniversary. 5 years ago, I found out about 20 years of a second, incomprehensible life. 20 years of lying, theft, betrayal, escorts, strip clubs, bath houses and tons of porn. Obviously, it started well before our marriage. Reading your blog has been very validating for me. I feel this internal pressure to “get over it”, “let it go”. I know I am in a much better place after a TON of therapy and most importantly, know that I would be ok if our marriage blew up. But I cannot just “get over” the betrayal and I was starting to think there was something really wrong with me. It helps to know that others still struggle with the betrayal but at the same time can be ok with themselves. Make sense?

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    • Yes, that makes total sense! I’m okay, but the betrayal still affects me. I don’t cry in the closet for hours anymore, but I still look at him and wonder why, how, and are you kidding me? I don’t live in fear of a life without him. I know I am in fact more stressed living with him because even though he is in active recovery and sober, he is an addict and always will be. Without his drug(s) I see it clearly now. We learn to live in this new relationship, we are forever changed, but we never “get over it.” xo

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  2. Dynamic, academically and/or corporately intelligent driven people often lack the emotional intelligence to be wholly rounded balanced people because as with all good things in life there has to be a sacrifice of something to make way for more of the other! …..there would just not be enough room for both in equal measure yet still remain top of their game, especially for people with addictive traits. Emotional intelligence is a natural inherent skill, it can take 3years to earn a degree but a lifetime to learn basic emotional awareness which others feel so naturally. I consider myself emotionally intelligent yet after my D-day I stay because one thing worse than my pain is witnessing my children’s pain, I know my limitations. Holding my pain is enough and so my shame at staying becomes bearable for the moment.

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    • My children are grown and thankfully mostly nurtured by me, so I know they have similar emotional traits to me. They know about their father, who and what he is, and everything he has done. They have metabolized in their own ways and are very accepting of him, but I do totally get protecting children from the harsh realities of adult decisions. I’m pretty sure the corporately driven nature of my husband was nurtured into him. My husband’s narcissistic mother instilled in her children the concept that money wins the big game. Money over emotions, money over feelings. His success as a man was tied to his success in business. Unfortunately, he still harbors these dysfunctional feelings and work is also an addiction… a distraction from his own reality, but also a source of pain, low self esteem, not good enough—and a source of ego, pride, and accomplishment as well. In my mind he uses it all as a distraction from being emotionally available to me. He is not well rounded, but is working on it. He obviously had to shut down some healthy emotions as a child to survive in the environment he was in. But now he’s an adult, with adult decisions and adult consequences. Adulting is hard. I hope you don’t continue to feel shame. It’s such a destructive emotion.

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      • Yep. Money, success. My hub’s drive for it was to prove his parents wrong about his ability to achieve, and achieve, he did. Dental school, and then medical school. Professional licenses in several states. And it was all ripped away from him after he allowed everything to spin out of control. The OH medical board thinks it’s okay to publish private medical records (names of psychiatrists, medications… WTF?) I would love to blow the lid off this. He harmed no one and his issue never crossed into his professional life (oh – those boxes). Talk about mental health shaming. He self-reported to the board. Medical boards are untouchable.

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          • He has a hearing in NY in June. I don’t know if any other states can be resolved. OH literally trashed his entire career bc he became sick w Major Depression when he had already left his job. He reported himself, and they disciplined him. Automatic discipline in other states. Lost Board certification. We can’t sue OH. OH will never take down his private health info from the internet. It just seems so wrong, ethically. I’d understand if he harmed a patient or something. He doesn’t drink or do drugs either. It’s mental health shaming. That’s why docs don’t seek help and so many kill themselves. The Boards don’t want to address THAT though. Disgusting.

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  3. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and never really commented but what I’d really like to know is – are you okay? BE has declared that he is ok with where you are at emotionally but you don’t seem to be ok with where you are at. Are you willing to accept a relationship with BE where he is ok with you not being ok?

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    • Michaela, I’m okay. Personally, emotionally, I am fine. I’ve spent the past five years working through the destruction and rebuilding of what I thought my marriage was, but in the end, I realize I am just fine. My marriage, and my husband, on the other hand, are bigger works in progress. I think at this point my husband’s healing has stagnated. He’s like a hamster on a wheel. It’s important that he continues to make progress on his journey in order for our partnership to be viable. I feel like our relationship is a mirror of where he is at. But I am fine.

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  4. Hang in there Kat….I read and reread his comment on your last post. And I had to giggle a little- mostly because I think your Blue Eyes and my Formerly Cheating Bastard are really stuck at the same point in terms of emotional growth.

    There were so many “I”s and “Me”s and “Mine” s in the obviously heartfelt and sincere apology….It just made me want to slug both of them. Primarily because – Look…..we get it…. we all get it- You screwed up. And we’re happy you finally understand that you screwed up. What we’re all a little less clear on is your ability to recognize how much your screwing up cost someone else. i.e. the whole, “I murdered my best friend…..” line of reasoning. My immediate emotional response to that line, was….”How unfortunate for you- you are now missing one of the keys to your very comfortable and enjoyable life- and you’re very sorry that you’re less able to tap into that limitless source of support and emotional validation…but, really? Is there any level of awareness of what you’ve cost someone else with your actions?”

    The ultimate mind fuck. My narrative. My life. My values….Not mine. Because- that narrative was based on an ours, a together, a mutuality, a series of compromises required to build a life with someone else…..and that became a lie and then a series of lies and ultimately a whole separate reality. And they chose to deny us the courtesy of a choice. Maddening. I know I’m rambling…and what I’ve shared here is less than constructive….but it’s so weird to see similar striking patterns of a lack of awareness and similar levels of frustration.

    At the end of the day, it’s all still a work in progress. The cut was deep, the wound is healing….but there will always be a scar, and it would be nice (and probably a necessity)….if there was commensurate awareness that their inability to manage and understand their own pain now compels them to invest in really understanding what their choices meant to someone else – that the survival of a ” we” now hinges on really understanding how much infection and putrefaction and ugliness had to be overcome for that scar to form. That to build an us, an our, a we…. there has to be that level of understanding….and it’s going to require a bit of focus on someone other than themselves. Because quite frankly- that scar took it out of me. I won’t go through it again…and my tolerance for pain….and bullshit has been reduced….significantly. I sense it has been for you too. Hang in there Kat….you’re a gem. You’ll shine.

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  5. He’s okay with that? Of course he is. So was Loser. Just be “okay.” Don’t try to go beyond your own selfish scope of “it’s all about me…wah, wah, wah…please feel sorry for me…I’m the one hurting here.” Makes me want to set something on fire.

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          • Kat, I’ve had no contact with my raging N mother for ~23 years. I can promise you that your MIL does not “lament” anything, they are incapable. All my fucking mother says to my brother (who has a little contact with her as possible) is “I did nothing wrong.” A fundamental characteristic of NPD.

            And I’d say, anyway, who gives a shit what she thinks or feels…I certainly don’t. Holidays and special occasions were once tough, but I learned to tell myself, “tomorrow will come and it will be in the past” until I truly stopped caring at all.

            Hugs

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            • You are correct, B. She does not believe she has done anything wrong, but I do believe she misses torturing us. As far as verbal torture goes, the more the merrier where she is concerned. She’s a party animal. 😏 I do enjoy the peace and quiet though, and I always hated the games she played, so I will be grateful for however long she is out of my life. ❤️

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  6. Again, it goes back to the difference between his recovery and work on the marriage. They aren’t remotely the same thing. Even if we give BE some benefit of the doubt here that he wasn’t trying to be a complete selfish ass, he doesn’t seem to realize that if you aren’t happy there is work to be done with you and for you on your marriage. It’s not about fixing you. It is about repairing your coupleship.

    Is it “okay” if he’s happy with the status quo and you aren’t? No. Why would you stay in that situation? What is there to be okay with about that? Nothing.

    BE is a smart man. I hope he can recognize that he stands to lose that which he is actively ignoring.
    ❤️

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    • One of BE’s serious challenges is planning ahead and recognizing future consequences. Even when doing simple tasks, like driving, he doesn’t think or plan ahead. It’s mind boggling to me. He is incredibly intelligent in many ways and yet fairly well incompetent in others. I have a difficult time determining whether this is learned behavior or just plain old nature. We are so very different it’s crazy. I think his most powerful challenges are a combination of nature and nurture. His coping skills are oddly dysfunctional, but they work for him. In my mind he has shut down some of what I would think would be natural instincts. It’s just plain messed up. I try not to get too involved in trying to change him. However, I won’t be a scapegoat for his lingering negative emotions. That I do know. xo

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    • We have had more than one conversation about his recovery vs the recovery of the coupleship. If my husband wants to be married to me, he has to work both. It’s so easy for these guys to go into “me, myself, and I “ mode and that’s what their recovery preaches.

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      • Very true, beleeme. It’s what 12 step preaches and it’s necessary for them to take responsibility and acknowledge the addiction. But it doesn’t stop there. Next steps include discovering what the addiction is medicating, and then on top of that, deciding whether they want to be less selfish, less anti-social, so they can live in a world that includes us. At least that’s how I see it. It’s cruel that we get the betrayal and the fallout from their emotional enlightenment, and continued bad behavior as they navigate true recovery. This is most likely why the specialists suggested separation during the first period of recovery and healing. So we were each dealing with our individual emotions during the most tumultuous of times. I have been a security blanket for BE. Albeit he constantly lives in fear of said blanket being ripped from him, but because he doesn’t deal well with predicting real consequences, he plugs along in a dysfunctional state, poor him, he was abused, he did bad things, he’s different now… but my question is, how different? Not THAT different. xo

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        • Less selfish. Less antisocial. YUP.

          I’ve been a security blanket too. He has (had) no one else. I didn’t realize this until IT happened.

          Exactly – what is he medicating? I have some ideas, but not sure if he really knows to root of it.

          All I can take care of (really) is myself and I deal with my shit. My attachment issues began in my mother’s womb. And I am dealing with it in hypnotherapy. I’m not afraid to look at “my stuff.” That’s what helps me be the best me I can be.

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