It still happens

As previously mentioned, yesterday was Blue Eyes’ Birthday. We’re on vacation.

I knew he would need to do some work on this trip because we had arbitration last week, which put us both behind, AND, he can’t take a 10-day vacation these days without working. Sad to some, not sad to us. We’re short handed and our company is important to us and our livelihood, AND I’m married to an unrecovered workaholic. It’s not perfect, but far better than living with an unrecovered sex addict? Compromise much?

But on his birthday, he promised he only had one work call to take. The rest of the day would be family time. Funny thing though. It was HIS birthday, so I say people get to do what they want on their birthday. Just not sure it’s healthy to want to work all day on ones birthday? That phone call was at 9:00am. But then I turned around after lunch, and there he was out on the balcony on the phone. At first I thought maybe it was a birthday call from a friend, but I looked at his mannerisms and his tone. He was talking quietly, and to the side, away from the door. This wasn’t a birthday call.

Suddenly I had one of those moments… that awful emptiness in the pit of my stomach feeling that I was looking at that other guy. The guy who got hits from clandestine relationships and talking to women on the phone. He did it, before, while he was with us. He talked with the other women on birthday trips, and anniversary trips.

This moment passed quickly, but the little trauma bits are still there and he still chose to step outside without saying a word versus, “hey, I know I said one phone call but I’d really like to talk with Robert about this one client. I’ll keep it quick.”

His instinct is still to take it outside because he was doing something he either knew wasn’t healthy, or he knew I wouldn’t like. Problem is, if he had just told me what he was doing, honestly and up front, I wouldn’t have had the feeling. And that’s it.

And then the compulsive side of me got to thinking… did I have that sick gut feeling because my instincts are telling me he’s crossing a line, or is it indeed residual trauma. And this is the betrayal gift that keeps on giving. Not only not knowing which instincts to trust, but even having all these thoughts in the first place.

He could make it easier, but because his instincts are the opposite of mine, he doesn’t. I’m not sure why he still thinks taking his phone, going to another room, and talking quietly would be anything but triggering?

31 thoughts on “It still happens

  1. Me too, Joyce, me too. I hope you can be happy again. This is a process and old habits die very hard, even when they’re in recovery. No one is perfect, but these guys have real dysfunctional issues that must be dealt with and worked on every day! The triggers will get better, but only if he’s changing and recovering. In my opinion, we’ll always be cautious now. The innocence is gone. 💔


  2. Will it always be them putting themselves first from their years of betrayal and not even thinking that their actions now trigger our emotions ? They get to go on with life like nothing happened while we spend the rest of our lives trying to trust a person that may not ever be trusted. How do you cope with this ? Every time the phone dings I get sick to my stomach remembering the text he got and I seen which is how I found out to begin with. I read the post and its like all the same person commenting. All the wives have the same heartbreaking, gut-wrenching stories of their SA husbands. I hope someday I can be remotely normal and happy again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, Rosie. I don’t think they can understand those emotions, because if they could, they would be devastated by what they did. I mean I know most try to understand, and they feel remorse, but they have other emotions that protect them. xo

      Liked by 2 people

    • Any type of trauma (including years of suddenly-discovered infidelity, or watching a friend get blown up in war) can suddenly rise up, even after solid personal work on the trauma over time.

      What triggers me the most these days? People passing comments about “suicide is a coward’s way out” etc. When a person TRULY gets to that point from Major Depression / breaking apart, the sick person isn’t thinking that way. There’s no logic. It pisses me off that people are still so clueless and judgmental about mental health. Sigh.

      Good news is that I haven’t had those flashbacks or nightmares about my husband’s attempt in several months.

      One “protector” these guys have from fully feeling / understanding the pain and emotions they caused us to have is toxic shame. I wonder, really wonder, if that can ever truly be healed? The shame?

      It’s ok, because we all have parts that hurt, and flaws. In marriage (better/worse, sickness/health, etc.), it’s part of the deal. BUT. We wives/partners do have to have limits to take care of ourselves. And it certainly helps to talk to people who get it. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Even without the cheater in my life anymore, I am CONSTANTLY triggered. It never goes away. This is the gift of infidelity. So much self doubt, second guessing. I never knew how traumatising it is until it was my life.

    Hugs, CK. Hope you enjoy your boy’s birthday xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m definitely enjoying myself. We’re about to head out to Hanalei beach and we’re dragging BE along with us!

      I’m much less triggered these days, but of course it still happens. What they did is devastating. You don’t just get over someone stealing your story, but it does get better. I’m so sad you had to start over after years of torment and healing. But you are rising again! 🔥🔥🔥😘

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh I so get this. It’s the nagging conflict of “my gut is telling me something is off, but I don’t know if it’s just me now being hypervigilant due to the familiar feeling from the trauma…but I didn’t listen to my gut before and I should have…but what is it now??” BUT BUT BUT.

    I don’t have time, patience or room for BUT’s anymore. My mantra is now to always trust my gut, and at the very least, tell him what I’m feeling and why, so he can perhaps give the fair warning next time to avoid the nagging conflict.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t know if we ever get over having those triggering thoughts and feelings. It’s as if they have survival value and are trying to protect us from ever being hurt so deeply again. But they also make life very uncomfortable ….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s one of those funny/ not funny things, but I had to chuckle at the “why he still thinks” remark. At least with my husband those kinds of things never come to mind. In hindsight, after I’m upset, he can look and say “oh, geeze, I should have been more considerate,” but he rarely bothers to think of me beforehand. My husband is kind of omnipresent in my mind. I can’t help but to consider him constantly. That just isn’t true in the reverse with my addict husband though. He’s trying to be less selfish, but it’s still the case that I’m often an afterthought.

    I really get that BE has to work (I’m often in the same boat), but maybe he could try to schedule work time with clients and staff while he travels. I often tell folks that I’m available before 10 or between 4 and 6, for example. Generally speaking, there is little that can’t wait 6 hours. It gives me windows of necessary work time but also large chunks of the day when my family can rely on my undivided attention. It would be great for you if he could set a realistic boundary and stick with it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh geez, now I’m chuckling. I never talked with Blue Eyes about this situation yesterday, or this post. This morning he read the post and said… “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” Predictable much??? They don’t think about us. They think about their own needs, often still driven by habit and brokenness. *sigh*

      He has set some boundaries and managed to mostly keep them. Most of his work time is actually calls. He’s less attorney, more salesman. Also, his calls are often scheduled around clients’ schedules and some are in Europe and Japan. Yesterday my brother was really sick, but he was scheduled to close a big deal with a prospective client on the east coast (6 hour time difference from where we are). BE took it off his plate, even on his birthday, because… this business is his baby. We all get it. I just hate the lack of proper communication, the lack of even thinking about my needs, and the not even realizing he is doing something triggering. It passed really quickly, but still.

      He has promised to take the next three days (his son’s birthday and the weekend) completely off. That will be a good thing for all of us. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lonely Author for the wishes and the hugs. Always much appreciated.

      No excuses he should be better about putting family first. This trip is a bit awkward in that we just celebrated our 30th anniversary in July/August for three weeks and have been giving a lot of time to the beach house arbitration the past couple months so our biz is suffering a bit. It’s always a give and take when you own the business that supports numerous families. On one hand, you’re your own boss, and that’s cool, on the other, it’s stressful balancing everything.

      This trip was meant to be a birthday present to our younger son (his day is tomorrow) as he has been handling a lot of the household/pet management while we travel for business. He knows his father really well, so his expectations are pretty low, and I do find that sad. We’re having a good time though, and we’ve all committed to a bunch of together activities for the next three days! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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