On our recent business trip back east, we stayed at a hotel in Boston for four nights. When you get off the elevator of the 14th floor of this hotel, there is a little grouping of paintings, with this quote in the middle:
After a few arrivals to our floor, and Blue Eyes looking at the sign, he decided to take a photo and send it to his SA buddies. It spoke to him. I told him I had used that Edgar Allen Poe quote on my blog ages ago. It’s one of my favorites. I assumed I had used it in relation to Blue Eyes and the way he lived for decades (and still does sometimes), inside his head.
Out of curiosity I searched my own blog for this quote. It shows up way back in a journal entry, The Darkness, which I wrote on April 27, 2014, and subsequently posted to my blog on November 5, 2014. It’s one of a flurry of journal entries I posted in the first couple months of my blog, trying to tell my whole story, while also frantically wanting to catch up to current. I have always been a journal writer, but never before Fall 2014 did I think of posting any of my journal writing for the world to see. Something propelled me, however, in early October 2014 to do just that. But even after I did that, I didn’t think it would be seen, or read, or be up for debate! It was a bit scary to be honest, to hit that publish button for the first time. But then it wasn’t scary, it felt validating… a little tiny bit of the burden I carried was being lifted with each and every post.
The thing is though, that particular post is not actually about Blue Eyes. It’s about me. It seems there is always an inclination to believe an addict’s acting out partners are more like affair partners. It’s difficult to understand how they don’t have real romantic or loving feelings towards them. It’s incredibly difficult to not believe they were looking for someone to replace us. It was downright devastating in my traumatized state to think about Blue Eyes looking for someone to replace me… and even if he wasn’t trying to replace me, it was soul crushing to believe he needed more than me. That I somehow just wasn’t good enough. It’s difficult to reconcile decades worth of living and loving and family making and laughter, of intimacy, and compromise, the good, even the challenges, could be wiped out with a few sex acts. And if he didn’t want our marriage, our decades long partnership to implode on itself… why would he do it? It’s not like a diagnosis of sex addiction wipes out their culpability, or our massive esteem obliteration. The diagnosis brought up more confusion, not less.
In the post I talk about the things he said to the other woman to convince her I was a horrible wife. The fact that those words could come out of his mouth, for any reason, literally floored me. Today, I still think about it, like an irritating little gnat buzzing somewhere in the room, and every once in a while dive bombing my face. It’s not really hurting me, but it is annoying me. But back then? Back then it left me in a such a dark place I honestly did not know if I would ever recover. It was never really about the other woman, acting out partner, whatever she shall be called. It was about the space my husband’s brain was in that he could make the decisions he did, tell the lies he did, rationalize the way he did. That was what was devastating. That was what left me in darkness. That I didn’t know my husband at all. It was an obliteration of my reality.
For those first few months I did live quite a bit inside my head. I was afraid to reach out. I was afraid to talk about it. I was afraid of everything. So so so unlike me. The only people I really had to talk about things with were a few bad therapists. I honestly wish there had been a blog like mine that I could have turned to. I doubt I would have had the courage to reach out back then, but it would have been nice, I think, to at least know there were others out there going through what I was going through. Things have changed drastically since 2014. So here I am to say, there are others out there going through the same thing you are. We know how you feel and you’re going to be okay.
4 thoughts on “Will I be okay”
Well, my husband DID lose his mind. Major Depressive Psychotic Break. He lost his career too. But not from betrayal, he lost it b/c certain states punish docs who get depressed, are not on substances, haven’t harmed anyone, and are admitted to the hospital for suicidal ideation. It’s ridiculous. I digress.
He just plain broke because he was carrying so much guilt and shame (and truly – the trauma he saw in his career builds up – cumulative workplace trauma). It was very complex, psychologically, for him.
My husband didn’t have “affairs” – he bought prostitutes every 6-9 months based on body type and race. He didn’t do “that” for 8-10 years (he looked at porn though) . He treated himself like we may treat ourselves with a special facial, pedicure, special shoes (which is okay!). He thought it was okay to have secrets. That’s why I don’t buy the term SA for him (that his life became uncontrollable b/c of his addiction). He could control what he did; he waited; he chose. An addict needing to self-soothe can’t wait 9 months.
My husband, the cheater could wait until his wife left town for a baby shower, family event, etc., and then “treat” himself. Whatever. He thought these women liked him. Um. No. They liked your money and were nice to you for an hour.
Porn itself is a very insidious “affair partner” – a never-ending buffet, and it will never fail the user. Ick. Not healthy intimacy or a relationship. It really ticks me off about this “industry” — the definition isn’t so clear for some of these betrayers. I do believe sex addiction exists. Not every man or woman who “cheats” or betrays is SA, though, and I feel the industry has let me down, too.
Words we have accepted – betrayal, integrity issues (lies/secrets), intimacy issues which developed after marriage (that’s the big issue for him – changed after marriage and it wasn’t obvious because it was gradual over time).
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I get it, beleeme. It’s complicated, so very complicated. We are all unique individuals and our situations should be handled as such. I feel the same way about how we teach children. We are all on a very broad spectrum and it’s important to recognize that individuality. The reason I use the term sex addiction for BE is because he was diagnosed with it by three separate therapists… some more competent than others, but they did all agree, and they personally gained nothing from the diagnosis. The diagnosis was definitely a lifeline to healing for him. Therapy combined with the intensive combined with Sexaholics Anonymous, connecting with other men who have lived a similar life, has really been a life saver to him and to our marriage. We don’t have the actual sexual intimacy disorder, but his lack of honesty and integrity definitely is part and parcel to an intimacy disorder. He felt from childhood that he was worthless and that left a huge hole that needed to be filled. His parents are intimacy deniers. He was a neglected child living in the guise of the American dream. He’s obviously not alone.
Blue Eyes likewise went months and months without sexual relations with the other women. At one point he didn’t speak to the last one for 18 months. He says he was always trying to stop himself, and he had porn and masturbation to take the edge off. He actually went years in between acting out partners. But his using masturbation to soothe himself started in adolescence. He ALWAYS felt bad about it, like he was different from everyone else. He isolated. An addict can wait months to self soothe. My uncle is an alcoholic. He went years sober just to fall off the wagon again and again. Definitely most people who cheat aren’t sex addicts, BUT, there are some very telling characteristics in addicts… they partake in activities that they know are outside what they think of as right, or normal. They are convinced they can stop at any time. They swear they will never do it again. They feel bad about what they do/did. They put relationships at risk, even though they don’t want to lose said relationship. It’s insidious. But again, it’s not about the label, but about the healing.
And speaking of healing. I am thinking about you and wishing and hoping for a positive outcome with your upcoming surgery. Deep breaths. xoxo
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Thanks for your thoughts, Kat. The big day is tomorrow.
I appreciate this response. There’s a good deal of food for thought here. I hear you about a diagnosis opening to a path for healing for many of these people. That makes sense. Some type of direction.
In my husband’s case, it just seems the traditional route isn’t working really well. We’ve had conflicting advice about SA or not too. We, as spouses, need to be able to wrap our mind around what we were living. I still have a lot of confusion and story changes (gas-lighting).
In the mean-time, I’m caring for myself. I’m getting this diseased tumor out. My mantra is: I am healed. I am strong and healthy. It is gone.
What a great mantra. I am thinking of you. ❤
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